Kirby's Computers of Maquoketa Iowa

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Welcome to Kirby's Computers of Maquoketa Iowa

Here you will find information and software to teach you how to be more efficient, get more done, perform tasks you may not know how to do and keep your computer safe from infection and preventable hardware failures.  Be sure to check back often because things are always being updated, especially custom software written right here.

Unfortunately I cannot take recommendations for software you would like to have written as my time is limited, but I have already written some useful programs, some of which may save you a trip to my shop by helping you to automatically remove many common viral infections from your computer and the settings they leave behind which leave your computer unable to connect to the Internet or run certain programs or program types.  Some of these programs are in a final useful state and are unlikely to be updated often, if ever.  Others may be constantly evolving and new version may be available often.  Be sure to read any special instructions and warnings listed with the software as there may be important information there telling you how to get the programs to work.

Windows 10 free upgrade has ended

The upgrade to Windows 10 is no longer free.  Your computer may still be upgradeable for free under a couple of circumstances.  First, if your copy was reserved, but didn't install, you can still upgrade for free once the issues are fixed.  Second, if you did upgrade but then went back, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free.  As of the time of this writing there were still some technical ways around this, allowing you to upgrade Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 free of charge, even if your copy was not already reserved.


Windows XP support ended on April 8th, 2014.  What this means for Windows XP users is that Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP and there will be no more updated for Windows XP.  What it also means is that other companies are going to be dropping support for Windows XP in the coming months as well.  Sooner or later you will no longer be able to buy a printer or download a program that works with Windows XP.

Kirby's Computers offers only limited support for Windows XP.  I can fix some issues with it yet, but anything serious such as reinstalling Windows XP or serious repairs of the operating system are now unlikely, especially when it comes to activating Windows XP.  Additionally I now offer only limited support for the older style ATA hard drives (the type with the wide ribbon cable instead of the newer, thin SATA cable).  Though I can still access them it is becoming more difficult to maintain compatibility with the older equipment.  I currently have only one computer which still has the older ATA connection.  When that computer is retired I do not plan to include an ATA connection in its replacement.

Should I upgrade to a newer version of Windows?

Definitely not.  A newer version of Windows will be a very expensive upgrade and most computers which currently have Windows XP are not powerful enough to handle a newer version of Windows easily.  Installing, say, Windows 7 on your computer will cause it to slow down considerably and as Windows 7 updates keep coming in every month the speed will decrease quickly.  You will have spent potentially a couple of hundred dollars buying and installing the new version of Windows only to find that your computer has become so slow that it's virtually useless.

The news makes it sound like using my computer is dangerous.  Is it?

A little, yes, and more and more so each day.  As long as you keep up-to-date security software, don't use Adobe Flash Player or Internet Explorer, keep your browser up to date and either keep Java updated or uninstall it, you should be relatively safe for a short while longer.  However, updates for Google Chrome have ended and Mozilla Firefox is on the Extended Support Release for Windows XP, meaning that there will soon be no updates for that either.  That means that very soon you will not be able to get an up-to-date browser at all.

So what should I do?

You should consider replacing it soon.  Kirby's Computers has had reduced support for Windows XP systems since late 2017.  It is getting more difficult to find drivers which work with Windows XP.  This means that newer hardware such as printers simply will not work.  Microsoft has even gone so far as to stop supporting the newest Intel processors on Windows 7.  They are pushing hard to get everyone to Windows 10 because it is a constant source of advertising revenue for them.

What is the conclusion?

You should probably not upgrade your current computer.  Instead you should consider replacing it with a new, or at the very least a newer used computer.  Upgrading the operating system on your computer (Windows) will cause it to slow down considerably as the newest version of Windows is made for the newest hardware and doesn't run nearly as well (not nearly as fast) on older hardware.

Why not upgrade?

There are several reasons I don't recommend upgrading a computer more than 2 or, on the outside, 3 years old.  One I already mentioned.  If you upgrade only the operating system it will slow your computer down.  But what if you make it faster too?  Computer technology moves fast.  Specifically, processor technology changes quickly.  The number and layout of the pins on a processor is known as the "pinout".  This pinout changes all the time.  Intel released its first third generation processors late in 2011 and its first 4th generation processors late in 2013.  The pinout of the two processors is different.  This means that to replace the processor in your computer with a new one you have to also replace the motherboard.  In some cases you would also have to replace the memory, and we're already talking about replacing the operating system.  These are some of the most expensive parts of a computer.  On top of that you have the labor involved with replacing all of those things.  You end up paying half the price of a new computer or better, getting usually a 1 year warranty on the new parts only and actually paying more in the long run because there is no labor cost with building a new computer.  Upgrading your current computer is generally a bad deal for the customer.  A computer store can easily make more profit from the customer upgrading than they can just selling a new one because of the labor costs, and they have less liability because of the reduced warranty and the increased chance that a failure will be caused by one of the components not replaced (which is completely out of warranty), potentially voiding the warranty on all the new parts.  Yes, it costs more to buy a new computer than to upgrade your current computer with same-quality parts, but when you break it down you actually get far less value for the money that you spend.

111 E. Platt Street
Maquoketa Iowa  52060
(563) 652-6447