fbpx

Have you tried turning it off and on?

This solution is one of the most banded about solutions in IT, turn your device off and back on and see what happens and surprisingly it often works. So why do you need an IT expert to solve all your problems?

IT Support

Take a Microsoft blue screen for instance, if you see this, Windows cannot continue working and restarting your computer may be all you need, but – if it doesn’t then it’s time to call your IT guys.

Sometimes applications will freeze or your system locks up and all you can do is stare at the screen. If it’s an application you can try a “Force Quit” (CTL + ALT + Delete in Windows). If that doesn’t work you may have to force a shutdown. On a PC just hold the power button down for as long as needed for the computer to shut off. If this fails to rectify the problem then it’s time to call us.

When you have issues with the internet or network connectivity powering off your computer may again be the solution. By doing this you reset its connections to the router, server or even ISP allowing the necessary information to get back online to be communicated back and forth. If that doesn’t work try powering off the router or modem, the same explanation applies only this time you’re resetting the connection from the other end.

A couple of cautions

Before you power off, assuming it’s not a complete freeze, save any documents and close any open windows as unexpected shutdowns may cause data corruption in any open files. You should also remember to regularly save your documents as you are working making multiple, incremental copies as you go. For example File v1.doc., File v2.doc etc by using the “Save As” function.

If you do have to turn something off and on again as a quick fix don’t immediately power back on, give the device a “cooling off” time of 5 -10 seconds allowing it the necessary time to reset.

You should avoid turning your computer off and on again many times in a day as doing so repeatedly can stress the device, especially older computers. If you’re having to do this many times a day because of freeze-ups then there is an underlying issue with your device that needs to be fixed.

If you are having issues with any devices call us on 01543 889 444


How to Solve your Work from Home Internet Problems

Your internet has always been fine with no problems but suddenly you are working from home and problems are starting to occur, it’s slowing down when your boss needs a large file sending or you keep dropping out on an important video call with your colleagues. You need help.

It’s your service providers fault
Yes it could be your budget internet service provider (ISP) not providing you with enough bandwidth but you get what you pay for, that’s why they were cheaper. Bandwidth impacts the data transfer rate making a difference to downloads and connectivity. The cheaper ISP’s might sell their capabilities betting that not everyone will be online at the same time but now everyone is working from home including you.

Switching to a higher quality ISP could help solve your connectivity problems but its worth checking what they can offer before you switch.

Most people living in towns now have full fibre optic connections meaning they can access data more quickly, however some people, especially in more rural areas have old style copper cables for their connections which use electrical pulses to carry data meaning slower data rates. Also the further the signals have to travel the lower your signal strength will become.

If old style copper cables or distance is an issue you could swap to point-to point Wi-Fi, 4G or 5G. For Wi-Fi you would install a disk or antenna on your house pointing to a nearby wireless provider or with 4G or 5G you would be using a mobile phone tower.

It’s your end not the Service Provider’s
It’s possible that the internet problem is from your home or your neighbourhood. With the whole family at home it’s entirely likely that your partner is on social media, your kids are on an online classroom tutorial (or more likely social media as well) and you are trying to send that large file all at the same time plus all your neighbours are all at home as well on their Wi-Fi resulting in congestion in your area.

You could switch to a 5 GHz connection which will improve your speed and you will not be in as much competition as many home Wi-Fi setups are 2.4 GHz frequency.

So What is the Best Solution?
This will vary depending on your location and the ISP options available and there’s no one size fits all solution but there’s no need to worry, give us a call on 01543 889 444 and we’ll will help you find the solution that’s right for you.


World Backup Day

Today, 31st March, is World Backup Day.

What is a Backup?

A backup is a second copy of all your important files — for example documents, emails and photos. Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe.

Data Backup

What’s the best way of backing up your data?

Whether it’s due to hardware or software failure, or simply because someone deleted the wrong file, data loss is a real threat that must be taken seriously.

  • USB Memory Sticks – Also known as flash drives, pen drives or memory sticks, they are extremely portable due to their size. However, the storage capacity of them is limited when compared to a hard drive. Also, their small size makes it easy for you to lose them.
  • Portable Hard Drives – Portable Hard Drives are great, they can hold a lot more data than a memory stick, and designed to be compact and portable. Although they are less likely to be damaged than a memory stick, they are still prone to failure, especially if it receives a knock when plugged in.
  • Cloud Backup – Backing up your data to the cloud means your data is backed up to massive servers in data centres. You don’t have to worry about hardware failure as cloud providers have built-in redundancy (multiple copies of your data) to ensure your data is safe. Cloud backup providers will also encrypt your data as soon as it’s uploaded from your computer, meaning no one has access to it apart from yourself. One advantage of cloud backup is that it is offsite, so if the worst should happen, such as a flood or fire, your data remains safe.

No matter what the cause of your data loss, it always has a deep impact, particularly when it comes to precious data like photos and documents. Most importantly, it’s a loss that is very avoidable.

If you want help in protecting your data or need help with anything else, give us a call on 01543 889 444.


Merry Christmas from SJH Computing

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Our Christmas Opening Times

We are closing on Friday 20th December and will be returning to work on Monday 6th Jan. Our offices will be closed during this period and we will respond to any enquiries and emails as soon as possible upon our return.

Thank you for your business this year. It has been a pleasure helping you solve your IT issues, no matter how small or complex.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year!


How Secure is Your Password?

Passwords are essential to your cyber security, but you probably have dozens of them and its difficult remembering them all. Over time you are prompted to change your password, or you forget one and rather than create yet another new one to remember you start using the same password for everything. You are not alone, over half the Internet users in the world have only one password.

Some people also use “password” or “123456” as their logins or don’t change device default passwords meaning anyone can pick up a router for example, look at the sticker identifying the password and access the network.

Cyber criminals can also guess your password with a little bit of research about you online then make informed guesses. Common passwords include pet names, birthdays or anniversaries and are all easy to find via your social media accounts.

Criminals can also use brute force, they may script an automation bot to run thousands of password permutations until they get a hit.

Criminals might also work with information from a data breach. 360 million MySpace emails and passwords and 117 million LinkedIn account details have been leaked and in early 2019 a security researcher found more than 2.7 billion email/password pairs available on the Dark Web.

They can also access your account if you’ve used a hacked public computer where they install a key logger, recording all the keys you press on the keyboard, or they may have compromised a router or server.

Another method criminals may use is phishing. For example, you may get an email from your bank but with a very slightly different email address that you do not spot. The email will be very urgent and directs you to what looks like a credible page.

What Can You Do?

All the above can look frightening and unnerving knowing they are trying to get their hands on your valuable data by all these different methods, but you can try these handy tips to try and keep you safe:

  • Be careful what you share on social media. Special birthdays giving your date of birth, nicknames, addresses, where you used to live are an absolute goldmine of information to hackers
  • Avoid obvious passwords, when you must create a new one or update one steer clear of simple, easily guessed patterns. Use complex passwords using capital letters, numbers and symbols, it might seem complicated but <character> <word> <something about the site> <numbers> <character> becomes !K1ttyFB75! for example which is based around the word “kitty” and where FB is for Facebook and just change the FB for something else on a different site.
  • You could also use a passphrase rather than a password. A passphrase is a whole sentence, no spaces, typically at least 19 characters long and which means something memorable to you but again not easily guessable.
  • Use a unique password for each site and although it might seem overwhelming do not store them on your computer, if hackers do get onto your computer, they will have hit the jackpot. You could use a “password manager” which is a secure site that will keep your passwords secure.
  • Be cautious about your online activity on shared computers or networks you don’t trust.
  • Pay attention to who is sending you emails and hover the mouse over the link to see where it goes. If you are concerned about your bank account for example open a browser and type the URL manually rather than clicking the link.

What to do if Your Password Has Been Hacked

You can check to see if any of your accounts have been compromised by entering your email into a site like “haveibeenpwned.com”. If it alerts a breach you need to change your passwords immediately, all of them. Use the example system described earlier to create a new set. If you are struggling to remember your set of passwords consider using a password manager described earlier such as LastPass (http://www.lastpass.com).

If you need help changing your passwords or setting up a secure password system, let us know on 01543 889 444 and we’ll be more than happy to help you.


How to Get Your Devices to Play Together

Desktop computers, laptops, tablets, routers, smartphones, smart speakers, gaming systems, network printers, media players.

Homes today have many if not all of these and each has all sorts of features and it would be useful if they all connected to one another. If only it wasn’t so challenging to get all these devices to relay information between them reliably.

Business IT Wifi

Home networking can bring many benefits including:

  • accessing emails on all your devices wherever you are
  • being able to share files, photos, and other media with any other networked device
  • printing from your smartphone or other devices even when not connected directly via a cable using AirPrint or Google Cloud Print
  • viewing a baby photo album from your computer onto a Smart TV
  • backing up all computers in the house to a centralised location via the network
  • securing your activity on all devices at home with a protected WiFi network

Sounds good but how do we get all our devices to do all that?

What Your Home or Business Network Needs

Take a moment to imagine connecting all the computers and smart devices in your home or office via cables running everywhere. A much better solution is a wireless network to connect them altogether and to the Internet, which means setting up a router.

A router connects you to the Internet with its built-in modem and also connects all your devices to each other. The router does this by giving each device on your network its own address and communicates with them by wireless signal.

If your home or office is spread over several floors or you have thick walls you might have difficulties with WiFi dead spots, not to worry, you could try a mesh network using a primary router and many smaller satellites or nodes relaying the signals without loss of power or you could use a Powerline setup which uses your electrical wiring.

Securing Your Home or Business Network

Once your devices are connected you will need to secure your network to protect your personal information and prevent cyber attacks. These simple steps will help:

  • change the default passwords on your router choosing something more complex than 123456 or “password”
  • set up a guest network so visitors can access your WiFi without having to share access to your main network
  • rename your WiFi network so it is not obvious its your premises or what router you have (for example change the name on a BT router)

These simple steps will make it harder for someone to identify which network you are on and hack into your system.

For business networks there are other considerations too but the above is a good starting point.

It may seem a bit of a headache getting all your devices networked and running smoothly and securely but you will be glad you did. If you need any help give us a call today on 01543 889 444


Make your computer or laptop feel like new again

Like many things, computers and laptops suffer from wear and tear over time. Remember when you bought your ultra-fast machine a couple of years ago, you would turn it on, and it would be ready and waiting for you. Now it doesn’t seem so quick does it?

If your computer or laptop is no longer running at peak performance, a simple upgrade will breathe new life into it…and for a fraction of buying a new one.

SSD prices have fallen dramatically in recent years. At one-point SSDs was a rare treat for only the most serious PC enthusiasts, but now they are the most common and popular upgrade for any computer.

 

 

I am speed

Unlike a normal hard drive, that has many moving parts, an SSD has none. The process of retrieving and saving data is a lot quicker than a traditional hard drive. Your computer loads up in a matter of seconds instead of minutes, and your programs will open as soon as you click the icon.

 

Combine it with an ultra-modern Operating System

Although Windows 10 has been out for many years, we still see a lot of Windows 7 machines. Windows 7 was an extremely popular Operating System and many machines that run Windows 7, are more than capable of running Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 10.

But the problem with Windows 7, is that Microsoft is ending support in January 2020 for it. This will mean no more security updates and if there is an exploit or problem found within the OS, Microsoft will not fix it. This will leave you open to a cyber-attack.

 

Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Upgrading to both an SSD and Windows 10 isn’t as much as you think and is just a fraction of buying a new computer. Call us on 01543 889 444 and let us handle your upgrade.

 


Wi-Fi dead spots are a thing of the past

Let’s face it, we all rely on Wi-Fi. It provides our wireless high-speed network connection to the rest of the world. As we rely on it more and more, we often find there are area’s in our home or office where the Wi-Fi simply isn’t reliable.

This is where Mesh Wi-Fi comes into play. Traditional Wi-Fi relies on a single router or access point located in a central location to provide the best coverage. If you were having issues, you might invest in a booster, but these were often slow or unreliable. But now, with a mesh network, you can provide reliable and fast Wi-Fi to those hard to reach places.

 

Wifi issues

 

How Mesh Wi-Fi works

Instead of having a single router or access point, a mesh Wi-Fi network relies upon several smaller, connected devices placed around your office or home, known as satellites. These satellites capture and rebroadcast the signals giving you better connectivity. Benefits include:

 

  • Better speeds and reliability
  • Better coverage, allows you to provide Wi-Fi in those hard to reach places
  • Easy to use. A typical Wi-Fi mesh system is automated and often comes with a mobile app for easy management

 

Setup

As with traditional Wi-Fi, you will have to do an initial setup to secure the Wi-Fi mesh. This may include:

 

  • Changing the default login credentials
  • Setting up the satellites to automatically check and install security patches and firmware
  • Changing the default network name and password to something unique

 

Are there any negatives?

Well yes, one. The Cost. Multiple devices mean more expense. But consider this: How often do you suffer from connectivity issues? Are there any dead zones where traditional Wi-Fi simply does not reach?

Suffering from connectivity issues? Give us a call on 01543 889 444 and we can help you decide on the best solution for you.

 


Why Buy a Refurbished Laptop or Desktop?

A refurbished laptop or desktop is exactly that, a machine that has previously been used by someone else but has been refurbished so someone else can use it. Although you won’t usually find the latest tech in a refurbished device, they can be a great way of saving money while still getting a product that works and looks great.

 

What is a refurbished laptop or desktop?

A refurbished device is one that has been used by someone else. A specialist refurbing company will test each device to make sure the hardware is working perfectly and any components that aren’t working, are replaced. The hard drives within the devices are securely wiped and then a fresh genuine copy of Windows is installed. Finally, the device is cleaned inside and out to get rid of any dirt or dust build up.

 

The Advantages

One of the biggest advantages to buying a refurbished laptop or desktop is the cost savings compared the buying a brand-new machine.

Another advantage is that it’s eco-friendly. Instead of the device going to the landfill, it’s given a new lease of life and so it helps reduce environment damage.

 

Things to Consider

The main thing to consider is the device will not be new. Depending on the grade you choose, there may be slight scratches or marks on the casing. However, all the components inside are in perfect working order.

You are unlikely to find the latest generation of hardware in a refurbished laptop or computer. However, they are more than capable of running the latest programs and applications.

Looking at replacing your current laptop or computer with a refurbished machine? Give us a call on 01543 889 444.

 


Computer Myths Debunked

There are many common misconceptions about computers, from a slow computer has a virus to my laptop battery needs to be dead before I recharge. Here’s some common myths about computers.

 

My computer is slow, so it must have a virus

A virus can be to blame, in fact, this used to be the case 90% of the time. However, in recent years, the number 1 reason for a slow computer is down to the speed of the hard drive. Computer and laptop manufacturers still build machines with mechanical hard drives.

Mechanical hard drives are like a record player, a series of spinning disks arranged in a delicate stack known as a platter. Each disk reads and saves data using a tiny head moving across the disk’s surface. Over time these, mechanical hard drives naturally slow down, leaving your computer feel sluggish. Replacing a mechanical hard drive with a solid-state drive can give you a serious boost in performance and make your computer or laptop feel like new again.

 

Macs don’t get viruses

This simply isn’t true. The Mac operating system is vulnerable to infections, especially as more and more people switch from Windows to Mac.

We usually do a quick scan on all Macs just to make sure they are clean and virus free, yet almost every Mac we see has got some sort of infection. In fact, we shared a photo on Facebook last year after a customer told us “Mac’s don’t get viruses”. This machine had over 100 different infections, which we cleaned up and returned with an antivirus solution in place.

 

My laptop battery needs to be dead before I charge it up again

This was true in the past. Laptop batteries were made from Nickel-cadmium and they suffered from something called the memory effect. If you discharged and recharged the battery at the same point, they would remember that and so they didn’t perform as well.

However, modern day batteries are made with Lithium-ion and so they don’t suffer from the memory effect.

Need help with your computer or laptop? Call us today on 01543 889 444 to see how we can help you.