Steve Levy
PinPoint Computer Services
718-279-2222 (Hanesbrands Inc.)

Tips from New York City computer repair expert, cont'd:

1. Call your Internet provider: "Troubleshoot with them. Have them test the line." If the problem persists, Levy tells his clients to call him back.

2. Don't call manufacturer tech support: The reason: "They may suggest that you reinstall Windows. Be extremely reluctant to do it," cautions Levy. "Reinstalling Windows can cause a lot more problems for you."

"For example, if your files aren't backed up, you could lose your data," he explains. "Plus, it can take days to reformat your hard drive, replace and reconfigure the software that you have, reload scanner drivers, printer drivers, camera drivers. Not to mention getting your data back.

"If the Internet Service Provider says the line is OK, I suggest that my customers call me," he says. At that point, Levy can troubleshoot, uninstall and reinstall programs, and ensure that all the software is working compatibly. He also can retrieve any data that is lost or that "looks different," as customers often report.

3. If your computer is just slow, try re-booting it: "Sometimes, using many programs at once will cause slowness. There isn't enough memory for everything to work at once. Shut down the computer and re- boot it," he suggests. "That may solve your problem."

Click here for ways to prevent problems. »

Extra Tips: Keep Your Kids Safe Online

The Internet can be a great resource for kids. It can help them learn, have fun, and access the entire world.

But that access also poses hazards, as every parent knows. Steve Levy, of PinPoint Computer Services, warns that while software to filter your kids' activities may seem like a good idea, it often isn't:

"Parental control software may block out more than porn," he says. "Many of these programs slow computers down and can cause other problems." The safety program Levy recommends: "Keep an eye on your kids." offers parents many helpful tips about online safety.

And here's very useful, concrete "what-to-do" advice about cyberbullying.