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Windows 11 – Your questions answered

Microsoft’s latest operating system is here. But before upgrading your current systems, read this first.

After six years, Microsoft has released it’s new operating system, Windows 11. With technology playing an important role in our lives and businesses, Microsoft’s answer to this growing demand for better technology at home and in business is Windows 11.

We’ve compiled a list of five frequently asked questions about Windows 11 and set about answering them.

1. What’s the difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11?

Windows 11 gets a major boost in performance, functionality and style compared to previous versions of Windows.

  • A new makeover: If you’ve used macOS before, you may see some similarities between Windows 11 and macOS. The taskbar is now centered, tightly rounded corners and new icons just to name a few.
  • New Teams integration: With hybrid working becoming normal, Microsoft integrated Teams into the operating system, making it easier for you to communicate with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Android apps on your PC (coming soon):  Microsoft has announced native support for Android apps within Windows 11. However, this feature will not be available until 2022.

2. What are the system requirements to run Windows 11?

To run Windows 11, you need:

  • At least a 1GHZ dual-core processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • At least 64 GB of storage
  • A graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver
  • 720p display, at least 9” diagonal size, with 8 bits per colour channel
  • TPM version 2.0
  • UEFI, Secure Boot capable firmware

Your processor also needs to be on the supported hardware list, which can be found here.

3. Does it come with Microsoft Office?

No, you will need a valid Microsoft Office license.

But if you have an existing Microsoft 365 subscription, then you are ok. You just need to install Office after upgrading to Windows 11.

Side note: support for older versions of Office, such as Office 2010, ended last year. So if you are still using an older version of Office, we suggest you upgrade to Microsoft 365.

4. How can I upgrade to Windows 11?

If you want to upgrade to Windows 11, you have nothing to worry about. Simply go to Windows Update section within Settings and click check for updates. If your PC is compatible with Windows 11, it’ll be available in the upgrade section. Click ‘download and install’, and then sit back and wait.

5. Do I really need to switch to Windows 11?

If your PC or laptop isn’t compatible, then you don’t have to upgrade, Windows 10 will be supported by Microsoft until 2025.

If on the other hand, your PC is compatible with Windows 11, the choice is yours. Some people like change, while others hate it. We personally love Windows 11.

If you need help understanding the pros and cons of switching to Windows 11, give us a call on 01543 889 444 or contact us here


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.

 


Why do some computers feel so slow?

So your old computer is starting to show it’s age. It takes ages for it to boot up, it’s randomly crashing, and you hate using it. Enough is enough, so you start to think about investing in a new one. But before you do, you might want to think about upgrading your existing machine. Here’s three common reasons why computers aren’t as fast as they should be.

 

Mechanical hard drive

Mechanical hard drives are the most common reason why a PC or laptop slows down. 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. Swapping out a mechanical hard drive for an SSD will give you a serious boost in performance.

 

Not enough RAM

In some cases, the computer does not have enough RAM (Random Access Memory) and is your computers main memory. It allows your computer to do more at once. When you turn on your computer, the operating system, programs and data are stored here to allow for quicker processing. But when the RAM gets full, the processor needs to go to the hard drive, which can slow down your computer.

We recommend at least 8GB of RAM to run Windows and all your programs, and upgrading your memory can be quick and affordable.

 

Bloatware

When you buy a new laptop or PC, most of them come with a lot of pre-loaded software. A lot of this software you will simply not use and can be uninstalled. Also, when you install a new piece of software or hardware, such as a printer, manufacturers will include additional software that can slow down your computer. Again, most of these are simply not needed.

Computerworld recently reported computers without the additional bloatware installed, boot up 104% faster, shutdown 35% faster and on laptops have around 28 minutes of additional battery life.

Don’t let a lagging laptop or PC disrupt your productivity. We can help. Give us a call on 01543 889 444


SSD: Make Your Old Computer Your New Computer

The solid-state drive (SSD) has swiftly become the go-to upgrade to breathe new life into an ageing computer, and for good reason too. An SSD swiftly brings an old laptop or desktop up to date with modern machines in just a single step.

The price of solid-state memory has fallen dramatically in recent years. As costs have dropped, the popularity of the technology has increased exponentially. At one time an SSD was a rare treat for serious PC enthusiasts, now it’s cheaper and more readily available than ever. No other single solution is as cost-effective, quick to swap, and impressively effective as swapping out an old hard drive in favor of the faster and more modern SSD.

 

SSD Upgrades

Out with The Old

The hard disk drive (HDD) is a technology that dates back as far as the 1950s. They became the default solution all PCs would use for decades to come. Most old laptop and desktop machines still contain their original, worn hard drives they left the factory with.

The HDD was a mostly mechanical device. Inside a solid outer casing was a series of spinning disks arranged in a delicate stack known as a platter. Each disk could read and save data using a tiny needle moving across the disk’s surface.

The technology looked and worked much like a miniature record player. Like a record player, widely in use at the time that hard drives were developed, the hard drive had some serious drawbacks in their use.

The series of tiny disks and needles that made up the HDD were incredibly fragile. Vulnerable to dust or movement, computers commonly succumbed to hard drive failures that rendered the machine and its stored data unusable. Occasionally, simply moving a laptop while reading or writing data can damage a hard drive’s spinning disk.

In with The New

The primary reason to switch to a more modern SSD, on top of their impressive durability, is the incredible increase in speed. The SSD has no moving parts at all, working more like a digital camera memory card than a vinyl record player.

An SSD simply makes the process of retrieving and saving data to storage many times faster. Eliminating the mechanical component, removing the need to move a physical disk, and not needing to physically pick up the data means a much faster and smoother operation.

Computer startup, where the operating system loads all its data from storage, can take as little as one-quarter of the time of a comparable HDD. Additionally, loading regular applications and data from an SSD takes a fraction of time of an HDD.

An SSD completely breathes new life into an old machine. Computers with an SSD replacement for the hard drive feel like using an entirely new machine for a fraction of the cost.

Replacing the main mechanical component additionally eliminates wear and tear working to break down your machine. While an HDD slows over time, degrades, and can eventually suffer mechanical failure; an SSD remains as durable as the day it was purchased.

Ideal Laptop Upgrade

In a laptop setting, the SSD makes complete sense. They require less power than older hard drives, making the most of your battery charge.

In addition, not needing a large disk platter, mechanical parts, or protective outer case means they are about half the weight of a mechanical drive. Making an old machine lightweight brings it another step closer to a modern machine.

They run almost silently too. The familiar click-clack of the hard drive inside a laptop is a thing of the past. Many users comment on the noise their laptop used to make starting up and loading programs. Noisy laptops are a tech throwback we’re happy to leave behind.

For many who feel like their old laptop or desktop is showing its age, the prohibitive cost of purchasing a whole new machine keeps them invested in their old one. A simple, fast SSD upgrade can make your old machine new again at a much smaller price. If swapping long startups, and slow load times sounds right for you, consider upgrading to an SSD. You won’t look back.

Give us a call at 01543 889 444, and we can give your machine a new lease on life.


Why annual tune-ups are essential

Remember when you first bought your computer or laptop? You’d hit the power button and it was ready to go waiting for you. Fast forward a year or two, it doesn’t seem as quick does it? That’s because computers need regular maintenance in order to keep them running at full speed.

 

Computer tune-up

Let’s take a look at some of the culprits.

Start-up programs: A lot a programs will start automatically when you turn on your computer, some of these are required for day to day operation, some are not. For example, the iTunes helper automatically loads in the background to speed up things when you connect your iPhone or iPod. But if you can’t remember the last time you connected one of these, it can be disabled.

The average computer can have anywhere between 50-80 programs automatically start-up, each one using system resources which slow down your computer. However, if you don’t know what you are doing and disable the wrong programs, your computer can become unstable and will not work correctly.

Viruses and malware: Almost every computer we see, has got a virus or malware infection and the person those computers it is, doesn’t even know about it. These infections sit in the background, using valuable system resources, slowing the computer down even more. Not only that, but they are also spying on your actions, stealing your private information or  possibly infecting other computers and laptops on your home network. As part of our tune-up process, we make sure your system is completely clear of these infections.

Temporary junk: Computers have a habit of leaving junk everywhere. Every website, document or program you’ve opened, there will be ‘junk’ or snippets of information left behind. These junk files can and will eventually slow your computer down.

Hardware issues: When we perform our tune-ups, we also test the components inside your computer to make sure they are working at peak performance.

Dust build up (all those fans inside your computer or laptop act as a vacuum cleaner, sucking up dust and trapping it inside) causes components to overheat. As the temperatures inside rise, your computer will start to throttle back it’s performance in order to keep itself cool. We recommend a full strip down and clean once a year to keep everything clean inside.

Also, hard drives slow down over time. Traditional hard drives are made up of stacks of platters, spinning up to 7200 rpm, which a read/write head whizzes back and forth. Eventually, the platters take longer to spin up, resulting in a slow computer. This can happen on new computers, so we also recommend testing hard drives once a year to make sure they are not failing.

Just like a car, computers and laptops require regular maintenance in order to make sure they are working correctly. That’s why we suggest having it done once a year. If you haven’t had your computer looked at by us this year, then now is the perfect time to book it in for a tune-up…just in time for Christmas.

Call us today on 01543 889 444 to get your tune-up booked in.


Our SSD upgrade process

Another hard drive to SSD job in progress. We always take what is known as an image of the original hard drive and use that to restore Windows, programs and data to the SSD. If the original hard drive is failing (which we see a lot), a straight clone can often cause the drive to fail completely, meaning your data could be lost (unless you’ve got a backup of course).SSD Upgrade

If your computer or laptop is a few years old and starting to feel sluggish and slow, you don’t have to replace it, just upgrade your traditional hard drive to an ultra-fast SSD. Installing an SSD into your computer or laptop will not only breathe new life into your machine but is also cheaper than buying a new computer or laptop.

For £130*, we’ll supply and install a brand new 240GB SSD. Even better all your files and programs will be there where you left them.

If you would like SJH Computing to upgrade your computer or laptop to an SSD, give us a call on 01543 889 444

 

*Price correct as of 15/11/2018


Why Do Computers Slow Down Over Time?

Remember the awe you felt when you turned on your new computer and it loaded in a flash? Your computer was the envy of your friends and you weren’t afraid to bathe in that glory. Button on, ready to go, those were the days!

Computer tune-up service Cannock

After a year or two though, it doesn’t seem to be quite as zippy…no, you’re not imagining it. It really has slowed down, not just in comparison to newer models and your expectations…There’s a measurable drop in speed and power that has nothing to do with worn out parts. The good news is a little maintenance can have that baby cruising at top speed again. Let’s take a leisurely walk through the system and spot the culprits:

Start-up applications: It’s super convenient to have Skype start automatically and your anti-virus too. In fact, many of the applications starting themselves with the computer are essential to your experience. But some of them are getting a little too ‘helpful’.

For example, iTunes helper loads in the background to speed things up when you connect your device – but if you can’t even remember the last time you ran iTunes on your computer, then it can go. Programs like that are holding onto a portion of your processing power and adding to your speed issues. The average home computer automatically loads around 75 programs at start-up!

Temporary junk: Computers are kind of messy. They leave temporary files and snippets of information all over your hard drive, each action leaving a trail rather like a roaming toddler with a sticky sandwich. Every webpage, every image on that webpage, every program you run and every game you play leaves something behind.

It may be the tidbits of information called “cookies”, saved game files, auto-restore files or even a log so that you can hit the undo button 100 times while it remembers your actions for you.

The more junk your computer builds up, the slower it gets.

Viruses and malware: These infections sit in the background consuming resources while doing various nightmarish things. They may be spying on your actions, stealing your information or reaching out through your network to infect others. Occasionally, the impact is limited to seeing your computer slow to a crawl, however the flow-on financial costs of an infection can easily reach into the thousands.

Bloating: With every new version of software comes a new set of features, introductory sequences and design improvements. The problem with this is the application becomes larger and larger with each new version, requiring more system resources to install and run – and slowing your computer down.

Just like a car, computers need regular maintenance – we offer a Tune-Up service to bring your computer back to its original speed and extend its life.

Give us a call at 01543 889 444 to book in a Tune Up.


Should You Repair, Upgrade, or Replace Your Computer?

Like many valuable things we buy, new computers suffer from wear and tear over time. Our computers are particularly vulnerable as we have placed more and more demands on them every year. New machines have got faster, quieter, more reliable, and more capable over time. At the same time our own computers have begun to slow and sometimes even stop performing altogether.

There are many ways to address the problem of a PC which isn’t quite performing up to the task anymore. Whether frustratingly slow or no longer working; we are happy to take a look. When you bring your computer to us we will diagnose the condition and find a solution that works for you. Often times the simplest solution works best. A complex problem sometimes only needs a simple repair to get your home computer up and running like new again. Whether a small replacement part, loose wire, or bad connection; we will find and fix the problem to give your familiar, home machine a new lease of life.

Computer Repair Staffordshire

Many computers come to us running slowly, taking a long time to start up, or freezing when trying to load files and programs. Often owners have reached breaking point and become convinced the machine is fit for only the scrap heap. In many cases, the problem can be pinpointed to a bottleneck in the system. A single, seemingly trivial, part can be holding up the entire system. Amazingly, upgrading just that one component can make the whole machine run like new again.

Adding memory can provide extra space for programs to run faster. Adding an updated, faster hard drive can allow files to be retrieved without delay. In both cases, a low-cost single component can provide a cost-effective solution that makes an old machine like new again.

In some cases, computers succumb to more major faults. A critical part, difficult to replace, may stop working altogether. A failure of the motherboard for example, the backbone that all other components connect to can be expensive, if not impossible, to fix. Typically, with the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of computing, a motherboard will only house computer parts that were manufactured around a similar time.

A motherboard is almost certain to be incompatible with components built just a couple of years before or after its own design for example. Occasionally even a motherboard failure can be resolved too. In these cases we strive, whenever possible, to find a replacement board of the same generation that will work alongside existing components. The result is a cost-effective solution that keeps cost down by saving replacement parts.

In cases where a like-for-like replacement motherboard is not available, many parts of the computer may have to be replaced at the same time. Often replacement costs in these cases can get close to, or even exceed the cost of buying a new machine.

We would always give advice where it makes sense financially and practically to consider replacing an old machine. Often, in this respect, a home PC can be considered a little like a car. Sometimes a simple, non-expensive, easy to replace component such as the window wiper can fail. While a crucial part to be used for driving; it would be silly to suggest replacing the vehicle once it has worn out.

A window wiper may be low-cost and simple to replace, but if the engine were to wear down or break the solution may not be quite as simple. Attempting to make a 30-year-old car as fast, safe, and reliable as a brand new model generally doesn’t make any financial or practical sense. Sometimes the best course of action to save money and avoid breakdowns is a more up to date vehicle.

In computing, many of the same rules hold true. The best solution in each case is always tailored personally to fit you and your own computer.

Bring your machine in to us or give us a call us at 01543 889 444 to discuss your computer issues. We’ll keep you informed about your machine and advise on the best course of action to get you up and running as quickly as possible.


Thinking of buying a new computer? Why don’t you upgrade your current one instead?

Technology is always evolving, especially computers. However, depending on how old your current machine is, there are certain things that can be done that can extend it’s life for a fraction of the price of buying a new one.

Regular maintenance
By performing regular maintenance on your computer, you can extend the life and increase the speed of your computer. Clearing out temporary files and defragging your hard drive are just some of the things you can do at home. We also offer a tune-up service where we perform much more in-depth cleaning and maintenance.

Memory upgrades
People often get confused between memory (RAM) and their hard drive. The hard drive is where all your data is stored, memory (RAM) is a temporary location where everything that you open (programs, files, pictures) gets stored until you turn off your computer. The more programs and files you open, the more memory is required, until the memory gets full and your computer feels sluggish.The more memory you have, the more your computer can do.

If your computer is a few years old, we highly recommend a memory upgrade.

Hard drive upgrades
We’ve mentioned SSDs in the past. A traditional hard drive can be slow when compared to an SSD. For instance, if your computer takes 2 minutes to turn on (from pressing the power button to logging into Windows), upgrading the hard drive to an SSD can reduce this down to 10-20 seconds. Not only that but programs and your files will open a lot faster.

SSD Upgrades Cannock

All these can be done at a fraction of the price of a new machine, so give us a call on 01543 889 444 and let us upgrade your computer.