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5 Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and what to do about them:Techsonduty specializes in providing a full range ofonsite computer services for small and home-based businesses. Just

like your car, your computer should be getting proper, regular

Maintenance service to prevent it from crashing, locking up, catching a

viruses and keep running smoothly.

The types of services and support that Computer Troubleshooters

provides to small business includes (but is not limited to):

Hardware troubleshooting

 Software troubleshooting

 Internet/Email Setup and Assistance

 Networking (cable & wireless)

 Server installation & upgrade

 Application Setup and Support

 Regular Computer Maintenance

 Website Design

 Virus Protection and Removal

 Internet Security Troubleshooting

 Remote Access and Diagnostics

 Service Plans

 Hardware and Software Purchase & Installation

 

While a reliable up-to-date technology platform is essential to the success of businesses everywhere, most businesses tend to experience a number of common problems. From our combined 20 years + experiences as computer technicians,

we have identified 5 common problems that businesses experience with their computer systems and networks. Regardless of the size of your business and computer network, if you understand and avoid the following problems you will likely experience a reliable, risk-manged, trouble free technology platform that will support your overall business objectives.  So here goes….

Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

 

Problem #1

Computer Security… Computer Running Slow?

It Was Great When I Bought It But Now…

Once upon a time, your computer was brand new. It started up

perfectly, ran without errors and it had never even seen the internet.

However, over time things started to slow down. As you visited

websites and installed software, something had a negative effect on

your computer’s performance. These problems can be cleaned up but

what happens when you get your computer back again? Is it just a

matter of time before another service is needed?

Fortunately there are some things that you can do. Below are the top

five Tips for speeding up your computer:

  1. Use a ‘firewall’: A firewall allows you to prevent access from the

internet to certain areas of your computer. This increases your

level of security and makes it harder for ‘hackers’ to get to your

information. Firewall protection is provided by special

software on your computer, or your network hardware (e.g.,

your broadband internet modem may have a firewall built in).

A firewall is essential for anyone with high speed internet

access. If you have the Microsoft XP operating system then the

firewall is included in the latest Service Pack (SP2). Since this

comes at no extra cost it is recommended to use this firewall.

Firewalls may also be included with bundled security software

such as those available from Norton or Trend Micro

  1. Use up-to-date anti-virus software that works: Anti-virus

software is essential for any computer that reads information

from another source (including emails, websites and files on

USB sticks). To be effective, your anti-virus software must be

working and it must be updated with the latest information

from the manufacturer – they regularly send out updates telling

your system what new viruses to look out for. Check with your

anti-virus software maker, as you may need to pay a

subscription fee to entitle you to the updates

  1. Use anti-spyware/anti-adware software: Spyware and adware

programs will slow down your computer, running ‘in the

background’ without your knowledge and they will not be

picked up by your anti-virus software. Anti-spyware/antiadware

software must also be kept up to date, but those scans

do not examine each file as it is used on your computer. Run

your anti-spyware and anti-adware scans on a regular basis,

and see if you can schedule them to start automatically at a

certain time each day.

 

  1. Apply new ‘Windows Updates’:  As it becomes aware of them,

Microsoft releases updates and patches to fix security

problems. Find the ‘Windows Update’ icon or visit

http://update.microsoft.com to check if there are any new

updates that your computer needs. If you have Windows XP

with Service Pack 2, this can be automated in ‘Control Panel’ –

‘Security Center’. It is also strongly recommended to select the

“automatic update” option if you have broadband access.

 

#1b Computer Maintenance… additional reasons

why your computer is running slow Modern computers are nice and quiet when you first buy them, but

over time, they may start to become noisy for no apparent reason.

Often the problem is that computers collect dust through their fans,

and over time those fans become clogged. This can make the fans very

noisy, resulting in a decrease in performance and, in bad cases, cause

the PC to just “turn itself off.” To fix this problem, you would need to

clean out the inside of your computer. It is recommended that a

professional does this so that you do not run the risk of damaging your PC.

Over time, the startup of your PC will gradually decrease in speed. This

is perfectly normal, but there are some measures you can take to try

and keep your PC booting as fast as possible. When you install

programs, quite often they will set themselves to start every time the

computer is switched on, sometimes without you noticing. This can

considerably slow your computer’s start up, but there is special

software which can be used to reduce the number of operations

running when you power up your PC.

The speed of your PC can also decrease over time. This is usually due to

your files becoming fragmented and also because of the way your

computer creates temporary files. A solution to this is to regularly

defrag your PC, which will sort your files into a structured order

enabling the computer to load faster. Also, regularly, perhaps once a

week, clean up your temporary files and adware to keep your computer

running at optimum speed.

All of this may seem to be a lot for the average business or home user

to do (which is why it often gets left undone). Computer

Troubleshooters can create a regular maintenance plan for your

business, or we can take all your worries away by scheduling a regular

short maintenance visit to work on each of your PCs (and don’t forget

your printers) to ensure they are running as good as the day you

bought them.

Here are an additional five tips for looking after your computer:

  1. Cleanup your disk: As you perform tasks on your computer

(like browsing the internet), a trail of ‘temporary’ files are left

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and What to do about Them

behind, so your computer can access your information faster

the second time around. Unfortunately, these are often not

cleaned up again and the pile of temporary files grows bigger,

taking up valuable space on your hard disk. The easy way to

delete these (without deleting something important by mistake)

is with Microsoft’s Disk Cleanup program. In Windows XP you

can find it under Start > All Programs > Accessories > System

Tools > Disk Cleanup. We recommend you run this once a

month.

  1. Defragment your disk: How does your paper filing cabinet

look? Is everything logically stored and labeled, or it is messy,

with documents stuffed in wherever you could find room?

You’d agree that it’s much quicker to retrieve documents from a

tidy filing cabinet. The physical storage of files on your

computer can get messy too, slowing down the time it takes to

open them. Microsoft’s Disk Defragmenter program literally

tidies up the ‘fragments’ of your files, much like tidying your

filing cabinet. In Windows XP you can find it under Start > All

Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

We recommend you run this once a month too, after your Disk

Cleanup.

  1. Remove & prevent dust: A serious, hidden danger lurks in the

room with your computer – dust. Just like a blanket, even a

thin layer of dust inside your computer causes heat to build up

which can cause permanent damage to your computer’s vital

internal components.

Do not place your computer directly onto carpet – it will suck up

carpet fibres and dust. Check the outside of your computer

case and brush off any dust from the fan grills (with your

computer turned off!. If they are looking particularly dirty, call

your local Computer Troubleshooter – they can clean the dust

from the components inside your case too.

  1. Upgrade your hardware: As technology advances, new software

programs require more computing power. Asking your old

computer to perform new tricks could place too much strain on

  1. You may have an option to upgrade individual components

rather than buy a whole new computer. Consider upgrading

your computer’s memory, hard disk or processor to speed

things up and handle your new software. Your local Computer

Troubleshooter can advise if this is a cost-effective option for

you.

  1. Address little problems before they become big ones: If you

notice a minor problem with your computer, call your local

Computer Troubleshooter. It can be significantly more costeffective

to fix a minor problem straight away, than waiting for

it to compound and then require major work. Keep a log book

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

to record the details of any problems, including what you were

doing at the time and the exact wording of error messages.

This can help speed-up our troubleshooting process, as we

follow your trail of ‘clues’ to help us determine the source of the

problem.

Call your local Computer Troubleshooter to discuss how these tips can

help in your particular situation.

Common

Problem

#2

Excessive email SPAM

Spam is an unwelcome e-mail message from a business or individual

that seeks to sell you something. SPAM emails often come from non

existent email addresses and have made up user names. It is almost

impossible to avoid SPAM altogether however if you follow the

following tips then it can be minimized and managed.

  1. One sure method of avoiding SPAM is not to have an email

address, however this is not a practical option for most

businesses. The next best thing is to avoid using your main

business email address when responding to on line enquiries or

surveys. Instead use a temporary web based email account such

as hotmail for these activities. If SPAM has become a serious

problems then one last resort is to change your email address,

however this is not practical if your email address is used on

widely distributed marketing materials, business cards and

letter heads.

  1. Another method is to host your email service with a reputable

email provider. The reason for this is two fold. Most reputable

email service providers often employ their own anti SPAM

filters that will filter out 90% of known SPAM even before it

reaches your email box. Secondly most providers will also

offer an anti SPAM service at no additional or small additional

charge that will further reduce the amount of SPAM you

receive. Also reputable providers will also allow you to change

your email setting to avoid certain kinds of SPAM or incorrectly

addressed email from reaching your inbox.

  1. There is also another anti SPAM service available through some

providers called Box Trapper which only allows emails from

legitimate users to reach you. Only emails from senders in your

approved user list – the so called white list will be sent to your

in box. When a user that is not in your list sends an email they

are automatically sent a reply email asking them to verify their

identity and resend the message. They are then added to the

“white list” and won’t see that message again. This avoids

SPAM but would inconvenience senders – particularly if you

are trying to attract sales enquires.

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

  1. Microsoft have also built in anti SPAM measures into their

version of Outlook 2003. Outlook 2003 has its own anti SPAM

filter which is effective in identifying and trapping potential

SPAM messages in a special junk folder. Outlook 2003 can also

be set up to redirect messages from particular users to specific

folders. For example if you have a list of existing customers or

suppliers and you know their email address it is possible to

redirect those message to a specific folder called “Customers

and Suppliers” for example. That way you won’t miss any

critical emails. If you send a message to a new client that email

address is automatically added to the list and return emails

from that customer will then automatically be sent to the

correct folder. The advantage of this system is that it doesn’t

cost any extra – only time and expertise to set up.

  1. Microsoft Outlook 2003 can also work effectively with the anti

SPAM services provided via your Internet Service Provider.

Many anti SPAM services mark suspected SPAM messages by

adding the words ***SPAM** in the message header. Outlook

2003 can be set up to redirect these messages from your inbox

to a special junk mail folder so that your inbox remains free of

clutter from SPAM emails.

If you would like further information on any of the anti SPAM methods

mentioned above then please call Computer Troublehooters for more

advice.

Common

Problem

#3

Wireless Security

Now that high speed internet access is common in homes and

businesses, many people are now investigating ‘Wireless’. Wireless

internet access is the ability to connect to the internet without needing

to be plugged in with a cable to a physical computer network. This

gives you the convenience of using the internet on your laptop from

multiple offices & meeting rooms, or even at home, outside by the pool.

To date, wireless networks are not as fast as physical cable networks,

though their speed is increasing as the technology advances.

A ‘wireless access point’ creates the wireless network for your

computers to connect to and use the broadband internet that comes

into your premises. Once you have the right wireless equipment, there

is no additional charge for using your own internet connection

wirelessly.

Does my computer have wireless?

Many of today’s new laptops and some new desktop computers have a

wireless capability ‘built in’. This means you don’t need to buy an extra

piece of equipment for your computer to connect to a wireless network.

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

If there is a network, you computer will technically be able to access it

(with the right configuration settings). You do still need a wireless

network to be in place first – i.e. a wireless access point that is going to

send the internet traffic wirelessly to and from your computer. If your

computer doesn’t have built-in wireless, you can get a card or USB

device that will send and receive the signals from the wireless network.

Is it secure?

Like any computer system, wireless network security is dependant on

how well the network has been configured and how good the ‘hackers’

are. Wireless equipment can create an un-secure network if the

security settings are not enabled. The default factory setting on most

wireless routers will leave you without any security measures. They

also contain well-known default settings and passwords, which should

be changed upon installation. There are many security settings like

encryption and pass phrases that will ‘lock down’ your network, like

locking your car doors. But remember, you are still accessing the

internet, so protection tools like anti-virus software and anti-spyware

software are vital.

How Wireless Security Settings are Configured.

Wireless security settings need to be made on the wireless router

device and on each wireless equipped computer or device on the

network. The security is achieved by a method called encryption –

which is basically a secret code that is shared between the wireless

router and the computers and preferably not by any-one else. The code

prevents everybody other than your own computers from eavesdropping

your connection, accessing your files or stealing your

internet connection. The encryption information (or secret code)

needs to be created on one of the computers or the wireless router on

the network and copied (either on a USB device) or manually copied

down on paper and then typed into the configuration settings on the

other devices

For networks at home or in small businesses the only type of

encryption we recommend is called WPA. An older type of encryption

called WEP is also available but is not recommended, because the

encryption can be easily broken and your security compromised. Most

computers that are less than two or three years old will be WPA

equipped. If your computer is older then we recommend that you

purchase another wireless card (either USB or PCMIA ) that is WPA

capable and replace your existing card or disable the inbuilt wireless

card. If you use WPA security then all computers on the network need

to configured with, and capable of supporting WPA

If you are confident to attempt to configure the devices on the network

then the most convenient way to set up a wireless network is to use the

built in wizard in Microsoft XP. This can be found under Control Panel

– Network Connections – then Create a new connection. Then select

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

set up a new wireless network. Follow the prompts. This wizard will

allow you to save the settings onto a portable USB flash drive that can

be used to configure other wireless equipped computers on the

network. You can also use the wizard to produce a printed copy of the

settings which are required to configure the wireless router.

Access to the settings on your router is made via your web browser

(Internet Explorer) to a local address such as http://192.168.0.1. or

http://10.0.0.1 . You will need the user name and password to access

these settings on the router. In many cases the default settings form

the manufacturer will be in place. These default settings will be

outlined in your Wireless Router user guide.

If you are not confident of making these changes then call your local

Computer Troubleshooter for support.

It is often recommended that broadcast of the Wireless network

identifier (also known as the SSID) be turned off as an additional

security measure. The SSID broadcast enables wireless equipped

devices to identify and locate available wireless networks within range.

We do not recommend that you turn off the SSID broadcast as it

makes it difficult to locate and diagnose wireless networks. Also

turning off the SSID broadcast provides little additional security when

WPA encryption is used.

Another security measure that is some-times recommended is to

restrict the access to the wireless network to specific computers. This is

achieved by limiting access to specific “MAC” addresses. A MAC

addresses is a unique number which identifies each computer. We do

not recommended this because, again it adds little additional security

to WPA encryption and has the disadvantage of making it difficult to

add new wireless devices to the network.

What if I have a wireless equipped network at home and at

work?

If you use your laptop on wireless networks in more than one location

then the computer can be configured to securely access both networks.

Your computer can also be configured to automatically select the home

network when at home and the work network when at work. Once set

up correctly the use of wireless networks requires minimal

intervention to connect to the Internet.

When you have your computer in a new location Windows XP will

automatically detect that you are in range of a new network and may

show a small balloon type message offering to display a list of available

networks If this message doesn’t display you will need to click on the

small wireless network icon in the bottom right of the screen. Once the

available networks are displayed then click on the network you wish to

use. Windows will detect the type of security used and prompt you to

enter the network key. Enter the key that was originally used to set up

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

the network and the connection will be made. This set up only needs to

be undertaken once for each new network.

Conclusion

Your local Computer Troubleshooter can advise how wireless access

will benefit your particular situation. If you already have a wireless

network, consider a security check where your local CT consultant can

ensure that all practical steps have been taken to protect the security of

your computers and your important information.

Common

Problem

#4

Backup – Live every day like it’s your computer’s

last!

Once upon a time, computers were only used by big companies. To

protect their information, they used their big budgets to buy expensive

backup machines and employed people to maintain them.

Fast forward to today, and think about the amount of information on

your own computer. Most of us don’t have a backup machine, yet we’d

be devastated if we lost the digital photos of our daughter’s first

Christmas. Small business owners are impacted even more – imagine

losing all of your financial records and your outstanding customer

invoices. So how can you prevent losing your precious information

without spending the earth?

Here are out top tips for backing up your important information

Get that data off your Hard Drive!!

The most important thing to do is to get a copy of your data off your

hard drive. It is critical to save your data from your hard drive onto

something else. This data includes your letters, projects, sent e-mail

messages, your e-mail address book, and any other information that is

essential to running your business. It is not necessary to copy

programs like Microsoft Word or Outlook—they can be reinstalled

from the original CDs you purchased.

Data Storage Options

Options for saving your data include recordable CD’s, DVD’s, Tape

cartridges and external large capacity hard disk drives. Don’t save your

data onto standard floppy disks for long-term backups of important

information. Floppies are less reliable than hard disks and are best for

short-term storage of small files and in most cases are too small to hold

all your data. You can even upload your data to an Internet-based file

storage service.

Nearly all computers today come with built in DVD burners and these

are excellent if your critical business data is 4.7 Gbytes as this can be

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

stored simply on one DVD. Use a quality rewritable DVD for reliability

of longer term storage. Also consider locating a copy off site in case of

fire or flood at your business premises.

For large amounts of data an external hard Disk drive with built in

back –up software is a good choice. Some models offer a one touch

button to provide for back-up of your critical data.

Tape has been the medium of choice for a number of years. Tape

backups are relatively slow, but the process can be automated. You can

schedule the backup for when you’re sleeping. Tape drives have a

capacity of 10 to 40 gigabytes, with the data uncompressed. Most

advertise that they’ll hold twice as much if the data is compressed. It’s

true that they can hold more compressed data, but you’re unlikely to

get double the storage. Some file types just don’t compress.

Most tape drives cost several hundred dollars. Tapes are relatively

expensive, too. And the software can be difficult. Tape is a great backup

medium, once you understand it. It has its drawbacks in terms of the

time and work involved. But once you get a system down, it can go

smoothly.

On Line back -up

One answer has emerged as technology has grown. High speed

broadband internet connections are now available to most homes and

are more affordable than ever. Computer hard disks continue to

increase in size and reduce in price. Enter ‘online’ or ‘remote’ backups

to the scene.

In essence, an online backup copies files from your computer, across

your internet connection, to a backup computer at another location.

You may need to run some software on your PC so you can select which

files are backed up and how often your backup happens.

Security features may also be available to ‘encrypt’ or code your

information so it cannot be easily stolen and read by someone else

during the copy process.

Some benefits of an online backup solution are:

  • There’s nothing for you to remember – Once your backup is

configured, it can run automatically on a regular basis. You

don’t need to start a program or insert a blank tape.

  • There’s nothing else for you to buy – As the file copy happens

across the internet, you don’t need to buy a tape backup

machine or blank tapes.

  • Your files are somewhere else – If anything happens to your

computer or premises, you’ll still have access to your files which

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

now also exist at another physical location.

Schedule regular backups

How often should you back–up. Consider the cost of say loosing 1

month worth of customer data and invoices – what impact in $ terms

would this have on your business. If this is high ten consider weekly or

even daily back-up

Check that it works.

Finally, whatever backup option you choose, be sure to check that it

works. Duplicate a single folder or group of files, and then try to

recover those backup files to a another computer to verify that

everything has been saved correctly

Common

Problem

#5

Printing with ease…

Printing is one of the most expensive parts of owning and operating a

computer today when the costs of toner, paper and maintenance is

considered. One of the best ways to overcome the high costs of toner

is to have a single high volume, reliable printer that can be shared

amongst many employees. This way business owners can avoid the

high cost of owning and operating individual printers.

The good news is that the software for computers and printers today

allows printers to be easily shared amongst employees provided they

are set up correctly . Unfortunately many businesses are missing out

on the benefits of sharing by not knowing how to properly set up a

shared computer. Sometimes even after the system is set up it only

works some of the time or it works differently with different

computers.

To share a printer with other users you will need to have a network

which allows computers to be connected together to share files,

internet connections and printers. Networks require a special device

such as a switch or router to connect all the devices together.

There are two main ways of sharing a printer. The first method

involves connecting a printer to a specific computer and then

configuring the printer to be shared amongst all users on the network.

The second method is to have a “network printer” which is not

connected to a specific computer but is connected instead to the switch

or router.

If the printer is connected to a specific computer then it is important to

ensure that that computer that the printer is connected to is switched

on – and does not power down automatically. If the computer is

switched off then you won’t be able to print. Also many computers are

set up to power down when not in use and this can prevent printing as

well. This can be fixed by changing the power setting under the

5 Most Common Computer Problems Affecting Business Owners and

What to do about Them

Windows control panel.

Setting up a shared printer is relatively easy. If your business network

has a central Server then this should be set up by your trained system

administrator using the printer configuration tools on the server. Once

a printer has been set up on the network then it will automatically be

available to all users on the networks who have been permitted by the

administrator to use that printer.

If your business has a network but no central server , then printer

sharing can be achieved by configuring the printer sharing capability

on the computer that it is connected to. Go to Control Panel and select

Printers and faxes. Then select –the add printer button and then follow

the prompts. It is that easy.

Summary

By understanding each of the 5 common problems affecting your

computer/networks, you will avoid the pitfalls often made by

businesses with their technology platform. By implementing strategies

to address the following 5 common problems you will:

  • Have a secure computer protected from viruses
  • Have a well maintained computer ensuring your computer runs

faster for longer

  • Be guarded against excessive email SPAM
  • Have implemented appropriate security to protect your

wireless network

  • Have an appropriately configured wireless network to

maximise its effectiveness

  • Have a back up strategy that ensures regular system back ups

and have tested back ups for easy data recovery

  • Have a troub
 

Business Computer Support / Services| Business Computer Networking, VOIP, Repairs

  • Server Setup/Support
  • Small Business Network Computer Support
  • Networking Router/Switches/Firewalls
  • Computer workstation support
  • Computer cabling & wiring
  • VOIP Installations & Support
  • Website and SEO

How we help small businesses and associations with their computer needs

Small business owners and associations don’t have the time, skill sets, resources, or budget to hire a part-time or full-time staff to help them with all the IT needs. Techsonduty is here to help our clients with a wide range of small business support and no matter what the size of the issue or business, we’re always here to help.We help small businesses and associations with all levels for IT support. As your external IT staff we have the expertise and ability to handle all of your IT needs from website design to computer support. Below you will find a list of computer support services we offer:

  • Virus/Malware/Spyware Removal
  • Computer Restoration
  • Hardware/Software Installation and Upgrades
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Virus Software Installation and Tune-ups
  • Computer Maintenance
  • Operating System Upgrades
  • Computer Purchasing

Give us a call a today (516) 360-0757. We offer low rates & fast service. Let us take care of all you technology needs. Our computer repair/laptop repair experts can help you.        

Located in Valley Stream – Techsonduty provides service to surrounding towns like Lynbrook, Malverne, Elmont, Woodmere, New Hyde Park, Franklin Square, Mineola, Hewlett, Freeport, Rosedale, Manhasset, Lake Success, Floral Park, Queens Village, Rockville Centre, and East Rockaway.

Call Today for support – Call 516-360-0757

 

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