These days, more students are heading to class with laptops in their backpacks along with textbooks and folders. Keeping those computers in tip-top shape helps make the semester, and the machine, run smoothly.
Unhealthy systems and broken electronics are common problems that University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus and small business owner Ray Reinders ’95, sees with his residential customers. Located in the heart of Oshkosh on Ninth Street, Reinder’s Link Computing Solutions offers computer, networking and IT support in the Fox Valley.
“I always wanted to open a business,” said Reinders, who majored in management information systems. “It’s just more of a passion and I’m lucky enough to open my own business.”
Reinders has 12 years of experience in helping customers with Microsoft Windows, servers, computer networks for small businesses, computer repairs, email and data solutions, networking, computer security and more.
“I try to educate everyone who comes in on keeping their systems healthy, or even how to properly put a laptop into a bag so it doesn’t break,” Reinders said. “Keeping a computer running is like giving a car an oil change. There’s a large amount of maintenance in a certain time frame.”
Part of keeping a computer system healthy is being aware of two different forces: antivirus and malware. Antivirus will assist people in keeping viruses away, which could cause a computer to fail. Reinders emphasized that even though viruses are bad, malware is the “critical nemesis.”
“Malware is malicious software,” Reinders said. “A seed is planted into a computer that allows things in from different sites that you didn’t have anything to do with. I educate my customers on how people can drastically reduce that problem.”
Reinders’ mission with his small business is to bring back old-fashioned customer service values that he learned from serving in the U.S. Navy. He works hard to build trust with his customers and hopes to help people for life.
“My success is based on how customers perceive us, not how much money I make in a day,” Reinders said.
While residential and commercial customers always receive personalized tips each visit, Reinders offers a few standard guidelines for students and faculty who want to ensure their computers remain healthy:
- Clean your browser. Believe it or not, browsers keep all the information of your website visits, and they can become cluttered. Reinders suggests a one-click cleaner.
- Keep your computer clean. Reinders offers tips on how to safely use water to clean a computer, but strongly suggests keeping liquids away from keyboards to eliminate the hazard.
- Don’t leave your laptop plugged in all the time. Leaving a laptop plugged in can actually kill the battery faster. Reinders said the battery can be reduced 50-60 percent when left plugged into a charger all day. He said the batteries used in computers actually want to be exercised, kind of like a muscle. He suggests that people let the battery run down until it starts to “yell that it needs to be plugged in,” and then unplug the computer again when fully charged.
- Keep your laptop away from fabrics. Reinders said a big issue students, faculty and other customers forget is to keep the fan clear of fabrics, such as sheets, blankets and carpets. He said the best way to use a computer is to have a solid pad underneath since most computer fans are located there. When laptop temperatures increase, the thermal case on the CPU can become too brittle.
- Clean your computer fans. Animal hair and dust can collect in the fans, causing the temperature to rise and other buildup that can be detrimental to computers. If it gets to a certain point, Reinders said sometimes the motherboard, or the brain of the computer, has to be taken out along with other content to fix or clean.