DFU Restore Tutorial (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

iPhone-6-black-screen.jpg

Entering DFU Mode on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

  1. Plug your device into a computer with iTunes installed using an MFi certified cable.
  2. Hold the power button for three seconds and swipe to shutdown.
  3. Hold the Home and Power buttons for ten seconds.
  4. Stop holding the power button but continue holding Home.
  5. If you have followed the instructions above iTunes should notify you that there is a device in 'Recovery Mode' connected within about fifteen seconds.

Your device should auto-magically exit DFU Mode once a restore has been successfully completed, but if the restore fails or you want to return to a normal boot just hold down Power and Home for five seconds to Hard Reset your device.

HP Stream (Unexpected Blue-Screens)

Initial Description

Device is able to boot and operate as expected for about ten to fifteen minutes. If the user attempts to run any programs that time period shrinks drastically.

Diagnosis

Possible software corruption, failing storage media, or failing memory.

Troubleshooting

- Attempted to verify integrity of the filesystem but device blue-screens too quickly.

- Device passes integrated quick-tests for storage media.

- Device passes integrated quick tests for RAM.

- MemTest full run confirms that there is failing RAM.

Resolution

- Disassembled device and reflowed RAM.

- Verified Full Functionality via MemTest.

- Verified Full Functionality via in OS Testing.

Donate Your Electronics - Help Us Create Repair Guides!

So, here's the deal. We recently repaired a crockpot for one of our customers and realized that there is almost no repair documentation for this type of device which is readily available to consumers or repair shops like us. By donating your old, weird, or broken electronics to us you will be helping us create repair guides, or at the very least disassembly guides, that we will share directly with the public.

We have the first of many teardown documentation projects underway and will be posting the results to iFixit as a repair guide that anyone with an Internet Connection can access. Who knows, we might be able to get your supposed eWaste running better than something new off the shelf!

iPhone Charging Issues

We have noticed quite a few iPhones coming in with charging issues recently and wanted to get some information out about the most common causes. Other guides may provide part of the solution, but we have yet to find anyone who explains all of the possible causes (except Jessa who is an exception to most rules).


Lint In Charging Ports can cause the phone not to charge. Ohh, the joys of pulling pocket lint out of iPhone charging ports. Although it is relatively easy to do with a pair of thin tip tweezers we strongly recommend relying on a third-party. There are two main reasons for this: (1) There are thin pins that can be damaged if not carefully avoided, (2) Additional diagnostics can be run on the device to verify that there is not another underlying issue contributing to a failure to charge issue.

Failing Batteries can cause a whole range of symptoms from unexpected shutdowns to a failure to charge properly. You can check the current health of your battery using a utility like Coconut Battery (http://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/#faq) but there are more thorough options available to determine the current health of the battery which are not readily available to consumers.

Consumed Batteries frequently fail to charge as quickly as entirely functional batteries and in some cases can stop charging completely or simply not be able to provide the amount of power required to turn a phone back on once it is completely discharged. Most consumers hold onto their devices for long enough that their battery will enter a consumed state. Battery replacements are quite affordable 

Damaged Logic Boards are a possible cause as well either because of a device specific component failure like the U2 Chip in many Apple Mobile Devices which is supposed to control power flow or liquid damage. Luckily damaged logic boards can be repaired, but you should expect a turnaround time of about a week due to the complexity of troubleshooting required to identify problematic components.

 

 

Recognizing Battery Failure in Apple Laptops

Unfortunately, nobody has been able to come up with a battery to put in electronic devices that will last for more than about three years without either losing a significant amount of charge capacity or failing entirely. Fortunately, replacement lithium-ion batteries are plentiful and in many cases quite affordable. If you've ever found yourself running around like a crazy person to find an outlet to charge your laptop you may want to review the following symptoms and consider having the you battery replaced!


Service Battery Warnings are a way for your laptop to let you know that it has detected either a failure to charge as expected or that the internal battery has been consumed, or is unable to hold more than a specific percentage charge. You will see notifications that the battery needs to be serviced near the top-right corner of your display.

Trackpad Not Working is one of those symptoms that may at first seem like it couldn't be related to a battery issue. More than a few times we have into situation where we have quoted a customer for a trackpad replacement over the phone and it ends up being a failing battery. The reason the two symptoms are related is the location of the battery itself. For example, on non-retina Macbook Pro models the battery is located directly underneath the trackpad. When a failing battery swells the path of least resistance is towards the trackpad which can prevent movement of the trackpad and in some extreme cases even crack it!

Short Battery Life is quite common with both failing and consumed batteries. Although consumers are able to access information on their battery health we strongly recommend consulting a third-party for an analysis of that information. Most service providers will be able to provide a quick explanation of current battery health at no cost and recommend replacement options.

Overheating can be caused when the electrical current flowing to individual cells in the battery encounters unplanned resistance. The excess energy that builds up is released as heat and can cause significant damage to your laptop. If you notice that your device is overheating we recommend consulting a technician to ensure that there is no risk of fire.

Unexpected Shutdowns can occur when a battery is unable to provide the necessary amount of electricity to your computer. If you are plugged directly into an outlet periodic loss of battery power is less significant, but without that fallback anything that is unsaved will likely be lost when the device loses power and reboots.

iPhone Unexpected Shutdown/Restart

Unexpected Shutdowns on your iPhone/iPad are nothing new, but it seems like they are becoming more common, especially on older devices. Use the guide below to match your symptoms with a possible cause. Got questions? Get in touch with us and we will diagnose the issue for free at our physical location (5020 SE Division Street Portland, OR 97206).


Corrupted Software/Firmware is one of the most likely causes of this type of issue and luckily it is one of the easiest to address. Although it is possible to restore both iOS and the appropriate version of firmware for your iPhone using iTunes many people opt to have a this done on their behalf to ensure that the issue has been completely resolved. All iOS and Firmware restores that we perform include a battery health check and device cleaning.

Failing Batteries are the next most likely cause of these symptoms. Fortunately, battery replacements are generally completed in under an hour. All battery replacements come with a one-year limited warranty.

Logic Board failure can cause these symptoms and if it is diagnosed the cheapest way to get a fully functional device back in your hands is to replace the logic board or device entirely. In these situations we offer a trade-in program to customers who are interested in replacing their iPhone with one of our refurbished devices. All refurbished devices have a one-year warranty limited warranty that covers non-accidental damage and workmanship built into the price.

Macbook Pro 13" Mid-2009 (Boot Issue, Keyboard, Trackpad)

Initial Description:

- Device powers on and displays an Apple Logo as expected for a few seconds, but instead of completing the boot into the user environment it displays the 'Do Not' icon after about fifteen seconds indicating that the operating system was unable to load as expected.

Troubleshooting:

- PRAM Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- SMC Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- Booted into Recovery Partition ... Success!

- Determined that Keyboard is non-functional in Recovery,

- Determined that Trackpad can move cursor but not click in Recovery,

- PRAM Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- SMC Reset ... Keyboard works but Trackpad remains the same,

- Installed Known Good Battery ... No Change in Symptoms,

- Removed Known Good Battery,

- Installed Known Good Trackpad and Trackpad Flex Cable,

- Installed Original Battery,

- Booted into Recovery Partition ... Success!

- Determined that Keyboard is fully functional,

- Determined that Trackpad is fully functional,

- Boot Issue Persists,

- Removed Internal SSD,

- Rebuilt HFS+ Directory Structure,

- Booted into Install Media (USB),

- Disk Utility First Aid recommend a format reinstall,

- Unable to rebuild directory structure via third-party tools,

- Removed Internal SSD,

- Backed up Data to Known-Good Storage Media,

- Reformatted Internal SSD,

- Clean Install of 10.11.6 ... Success!

- Restored Customer Data,

- Service Complete,

Diagnosis:

- Malfunctioning Trackpad,

- Corrupted Operating System,

Apple SMC Reset

 

Macbooks with non-removable batteries

  1. Turn your Mac off.
  2. Remove the power adapter from your Mac.
  3. Press and hold the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left side of the keyboard and then press the power button. Continue holding these keys for 20 seconds.
  4. Release all keys.
  5. Connect the power adapter to your Mac.
  6. Turn your Mac on.

macbooks with removable batteries

  1. Turn your Mac off.
  2. Remove the power adapter from your Mac.
  3. Uninstall the battery.
  4. Press the power button and hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Reinstall the battery
  6. Connect the power adapter to your Mac.
  7. Turn your Mac on.

imacs

  1. Turn your Mac off.
  2. Unplug the AC Power Cable.
  3. Wait 15 seconds.
  4. Plug the AC Power Cable in.
  5. Wait 5 seconds,
  6. Turn your Mac on.

Apple PRAM/NVRAM Reset

What is NVRAM?

NVRAM stands for "non-volatile random-access memory" and is the part of your computer's memory that handles the storage of settings like Speaker Volume, Screen Resolution, Startup Disk Selection, and Recent Kernel Panic Information.

Resetting the PRAM/NVRAM in your laptop or desktop is generally the first troubleshooting step that you should take when attempting to distinguish between software and hardware issues. One situation that we tend to run into on a regular basis is a customer's laptop booting directly into their Recovery Partition instead of into the locally installed Operating System. In many cases a simple reset of the PRAM/NVRAM will resolve it.

If you continue to experience issues after following the instructions below please feel free to reach out to use via phone or email. We offer mail-in service in addition to our walk-in service for customers in Portland, OR.

reset-pram-or-nvram-mac.png

How to Reset NVRAM

  1. Power off your Mac entirely.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Hold down Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
  4. Continue holding these keys until you hear a chime.
  5. Stop pressing down these keys and allow your Mac to boot normally.

If this troubleshooting step does not resolve the issue that you are experiencing or your Mac does not power on at all you may want to consider resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) as well. You can find instructions for that process HERE.

Special Instructions for MacBook Pro 2016 and Newer

  1. Power off your Mac entirely.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Hold down Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
  4. Continue holding these keys for thirty-seconds.
  5. Stop pressing down these keys and allow your Mac to boot normally.

iPhone Stuck on Apple Logo

iPhone-Stuck-On-Apple-Logo.jpg

Software/Firmware Issues

Corruption in the software or the firmware on your iPhone is the most common cause of this type of issue. When Apple releases a new version of iOS it has to get installed on your phone. If there is a pre-existing issue, most likely caused by a third-party app, installing that iOS update could have stopped your iPhone from starting up properly.

Unfortunately, restoring your iPhone to factory defaults is the only reliable way to bring it back to a fully functional state again which will remove all of your data. If you need to have your data backed up from a phone that is stuck on an Apple Logo get in touch with us.

Liquid Damage

Exposure to any type of liquid can also stop your iPhone from starting up properly. If you know that your iPhone was exposed tortant to have it treated as quickly as possible. Do not try to dry your phone out with rice (Find out why).

We have a number of tools that allow us to ensure that any trace of liquid in your iPhone have been removed. Please give us a call or stop by our physical location

Where can you go to learn about technology in Portland?

Free Geek is a local non-profit that provides instruction to the general public on a wide array of technology subjects. Our most recent experience with them was an introduction to home automation class that was incredibly engaging. 

The Multnomah Public Library offers classes that walk users through the basics of computer use. There are also scheduled times that are available for you to bring in your own questions and ask an IT Professional.

 

How to find your Windows Product Key.

Checking for a Certificate of Authenticity (CoA)

Before using any software methods to recover an XP/Vista/7 product key make sure to check the bottom and rear of your computer for a Windows Product Key Sticker like the one below. The string of numbers and letters on that sticker is your Windows Product Key and you should be able to reactivate using it.

Using Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder

Navigate to https://www.magicaljellybean.com/downloads/KeyFinderInstaller.exe

Open your Downloads folder and run the installer that was downloaded.

Launch Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder by double-clicking the icon on your desktop.

Your product keys should be displayed in the new window that opened. Now record them somewhere. 

Finding us on social media.

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing what social media platforms we are going to use going forward to engage with our customer base. After much thought we have decided to go with all of them. We are on Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, Twitter, Tumblr, Google Plus, and a ton of others that I honestly can't even remember.

So, why did we decide to do this? To be entirely honest, we just don't know who our primary customer base is yet. We could have stuck with the bare minimum of Facebook and a webpage, but that would have cut out a large group of people who choose not to engage with Facebook. The same reasoning holds for Twitter and Instagram.

So, in the coming days, weeks, and years please help us find out what networks allow us to reach people who need our help most effectively. You can do this by engaging with us on the social media platform you use most commonly and if we aren't using it yet just let us know and we will start.

PS :: As an added bonus, just mention that you are following or have liked one of our pages when you're having a repair done and we will make sure to include a gift when you checkout.

Many Android Users Infected with Ransomware

A new type of ransomware is now targeting Android devices. In Russia, for the moment, this malware locks access to the homescreen of your device, and repeatedly requests that you enter valid payment information. The ransomware appears to be targeting only Russian-speaking users (the ransom note is only available in Russian).

In contrast to the downward pricing trend for English language ransomware in the last few months this Russian ransomware demands nearly $10,000 from users who wish to recover their personal data. Even after the recent rising prices of smartphones in Russia this is between ten and one-hundred times the value of the average smartphone.

Unlike many other ransomware attacks, the screen which users are prompted to pay the ransom on does not seem to be routed through as robust of anonymizing services like Tor which may indicate that the attackers are still perfecting their methodology.

The attackers can lock or unlock the device's screen, add new contacts to the phone, steal contacts, send SMS messages, and update the malware’s code.

As is the case with most Android exploits today, the threat is hidden inside an app that requests administrative rights, which makes removal difficult. The easiest way to accomplish removal is restore the device to factory defaults, but some advanced users may be able to remove the app by connecting the device to a computer and using app management software.

Where can you get rid of your old electronics?

Almost everyone has that drawer or box (or closet in my case) with stacks of old phones, computers, and tablets. How does one dispose of these relics responsibly? Well, it's actually pretty simple and could take as little as a few minutes and a short drive to a drop-off location!

In the State of Oregon you have access to an array of awesome recycling options, but the first thing you should determine is if the device you are looking to unload has any resale value. We commonly run into older devices that have hard to find parts and our salvation is almost always something that was donated with compatible components. If you are interested in getting a quote for your old or broken electronics please feel free to reach out by phone or email. We offer free pickup options for large items as well!

Here are some other places you may consider checking out for resale of your device:

- eBay.com

- swappa.com

gazelle.com

- glyde.com

If your device does not have any resale value you can safely move forward with the following recycling options:

- Oregon DEQ

- Free Geek

- Green Century Online

Earth Friendly Recycling

How to tell if there is malware on your PC.

There are a few specific symptoms that are generally associated with a malware infection on even newer versions of Windows. If you have noticed any of the following symptoms on your PC please take advantage of our free malware checking service. Just swing by our location at 5020 SE Division Street and within a few minutes you'll know if you've been infected. Alternatively, give us a call and describe your symptoms to get an idea of what you may be dealing with.

Symptom #1 :: General Slowness

Symptom #2 :: Changes in your Web-Browser

Symptom #3 :: Pop-Ups

Symptom #4 :: New Startup Programs

Symptom #5 :: Crashing

Symptom #6 :: Slow Internet

Symptom #7 :: Disabled Anti-Virus

Symptom #8 :: New Startup Programs