Easter holiday 2024

We’re closing at 2.00 pm on Thursday 28th and re-opening on Wednesday 3rd April for the 2024 Easter break.

Phone calls, emails and messages will not be answered during that time.

2023 Christmas holidays

We’re closing today (22nd December) at 12.00 and will be open again on Tuesday 2nd January.

Have a safe and happy Christmas.

Things to look out for in Windows 11

If you buy or receive a new Windows laptop or PC from Santa its going to come with Windows 11 installed. Here are a few “must do’s” and some “that’s a good idea” things to do in order to save a lot of trouble in the future.

You will need a Microsoft account to get Windows 11 set up. If you have one already (usually a hotmail or outlook.com email address) use it, otherwise you will need a new account with Microsoft. Be absolutely sure that you know what the email address and password that you set at this stage are written down or recorded somewhere other than just in the computer.

You will also need to set a PIN. Record this too. If you forget your password can’t access the email address for your Microsoft account and also forget the PIN there’s a very good chance that you will lose everything on your computer as data recovery from Windows 11 hard disks ranges from very difficult to impossible in certain circumstances (Windows 11 Pro encrypts hard disks by default).

During setup you will be asked if you want to store your data locally (on the computer hard disk) or in the Microsoft One Drive cloud system. The cloud is handy if you don’t have a lot of data (the first 5GB are free) and need to access files from several devices, but we recommend keeping your files on the computer with a proper backup solution in place.

Regardless of where your data “lives” always keep at least one other copy on a different computer, external hard disk or USB stick.

Windows 11 harvests an enormous amount of your data – what you search for, your internet history etc. in order to “improve your experience” by targeting adverts and content to you. This needs to be turned off in our opinion. This website:


will show you how to do it, or if you aren’t sure about it come and see us.

You’ll also be pressured into signing up for Office 365 for a monthly or annual recurring fee. This isn’t necessary as perfectly good free alternatives such as Open Office or Libre Office are available free of charge.

Your new computer will probably also come with a 3 month trial subscription to either McAfee or Norton security software. In our opinion these products are a waste of time and the inbuilt security software in Windows is more than adequate for the home user. Don’t be pushed into buying an expensive licence and uninstall either of these packages as soon as you can.

As ever please ask for help or advice if you get stuck with anything. Advice is always free at PECS.

New wave of telephone and online scams – please be careful.

Over the last few days we’ve seen a resurgence of the “this is Microsoft” telephone call scam where the caller (usually from an Indian call centre) pretends to be from Microsoft – they 100% aren’t no matter how convincing they sound or what their website looks like – with news that they’ve been monitoring your computer and have found all sorts of problems with it.

They’ll take remote control if you let them, point out all sorts of fictitious errors then ask for payment in order to resolve them. One client was asked for £800.00 which is when they worked out that the call was in fact a scam.

Their computer is now with us for major repair due to damage caused by the software downloaded in the background while the scammers were in control. Thankfully no money was stolen.

The next one is a return of the Trojan software that pretends to be a legitimate website but then locks your computer and gives a telephone number to call in order to have it “fixed”. Again a scam, usually with a spoofed UK telephone number which will connect you to India when dialled.

If this happens to you, turn the computer off (hold the power button until it goes off) and take it to someone who knows how to properly fix it (preferably us). Your data and your money if you bank online are at serious risk is you see this on your screen.

The last one is new, and involves a call from “BT”. It isn’t and again appears to be from an Indian call centre. This time the story is that your router / hub has a public IP address instead of a private one which needs to be resolved otherwise data coming from and going to your devices can be intercepted and used by criminals.

This is just enough detail to confuse most people (if you ask nicely I can explain it to you) but is again the lead in to trying to initially get your email address. If you don’t give this out (please don’t) the thief will then ask for bank or online shopping details in order to “confirm the privacy of the IP address”.

This is of course nonsense and an attempt to steal your identity and / or money.

As ever if you get an unsolicited call from “Microsoft” – they won’t ring you, ever, under any circumstances – or “BT” or anyone else who wants personal or account details hang up at once.

Please, please back up your data.

We’ve had two cases recently where clients have almost lost years worth of work and data as they didn’t have a tested backup in place.

Thankfully on both occasions we were able to recover the information (in one case with outside help, at considerable expense) and put things right, but all of this could have been averted by having a backup structure in place.

We can advise on solutions suitable for your particular circumstances at no cost – its up to you to go ahead and sleep soundly at night or take the chance of losing it all.

July 2023 holidays

We’ll be closing today – Friday 7th July – for a week, and will be back on Monday 17th bright and early.

The phones will be off, and we won’t be answering emails or messages during this time.

We’ve had a really busy year so far; many thanks to all of our clients old and new who have been in to see us.

Easter 2023 holidays

We’re going to close early on Thursday 6th April, and will be closed until Wednesday 12th April.

The cats will be well looked after during the break 🙂

Current office closure

Most of you will know that PECS consists of me and the two cats, so not a big operation.

I’m currently (slowly) recovering from emergency surgery on Sunday 19th November to remove a burst appendix and repair the damage caused by it, and have a fairly sizeable abdominal wound as a result. Thankfully due to prompt action by the NHS there is no lasting damage.

I’m not allowed to do a whole lot, certainly not covered by car insurance, and as a result the office is closed and will be for at least another two weeks. The phone is turned off and will not connect if you try to call it.

I’m aiming to re-open in a couple of weeks, but will add details here as I know more. At present I can’t get out of my own road.



Fresh wave of scams

We’ve seen several new scam attempts over the past week, after a bit of a lull in thievery attempts.

One involved the theft of £5000 from a business via the “this is your bank, we need you to transfer your money to a safe account” phone call. The person who took the call unfortunately had access to the firm’s online bank, and transferred the money.

According to the thieves it had to be £5000 at a time for “security”. Only one transaction went through before the real bank caught on and froze the account. The stolen money was repaid to the company, but the robbers are 5 grand to the good out of it.

Your bank will never, ever phone you to get you to move your money. If you receive such a call, hang up, and ring your bank from a different phone to advise them. As we’ve mentioned before, scammers can keep the line they’ve called you on open with a fake dialing tone, so that when you try to ring the bank you are still speaking to them.

The next one was a locked PC due to malware brought in on the back of a compromised website (to do with medieval castles). This froze the computer, and supplied a helpful phone number for “Microsoft” (it wasn’t) to put it right. Thankfully this client does not use online banking and did not give any financial details, though they did speak with the scammers at length, so all that has happened is that they are left with a broken – for now – PC.

The last scam was the classic “this is your broadband provider (always nameless as they don’t know who you are with) – there is a problem with your internet speed and we need control of your PC to put it right”. The thieves were given control, but the scam was detected before there was too much damage and thankfully no loss of money.

As we’ve said a lot, your ISP or bank will NOT be ringing you out of the blue. If you get such a call, hang up, and ring the police on 0300 1232040. If you can get the number who called you via 1471 do so. If “your bank” have called, find the correct fraud reporting number for them – usually on a statement or on their website – and tell them too, especially if you think your bank or card details may be in the wrong hands.

Please be careful. If any communication – phone call, email, text or the look of a website – smells in the least fishy, it probably is.

August bank holiday / back to school or college

We’ll be closed on Monday 29th August.

If you or anyone you know is heading back to school or college and is looking for a new-to-them laptop or PC please get in touch.

We currently have two laptops and a PC ready to go, (with more on the way) at fair prices, ready to work and with a warranty.