How to Fix a Jamming Printer

Imagine printing out some important documents at work and all of a sudden hearing the dreaded beeping sound of your printer being jammed in the middle of the print. Chances are that isn’t even the first time it’s happened that week. We have all been there! No matter what we do, it seems like the printer is constantly getting jammed. Because of this, we have put together some guidance on ways to fix your printer.

First thing you should do when your printer gets jammed is shut it down completely. Things will be moved around within the printer, this way you’ll be avoiding any electrical issues. Next, you would need to open every door or lever that leads or is connected to the paper path. Follow the path of the paper from the opening tray all the way through the output tray. This way, you will be able to see where the jam is occurring.

Many times, small scraps can be the cause of printer jams. Because of this, once you have followed the paper’s path, you should carefully pull out the paper while closely checking to see if there are any small scraps wrapped around. Also, when pulling out the paper, you should make sure to do it firmly and carefully towards the direction of the path to avoid any more jammed scraps or any mechanical issues. Once this is done, you should close all the doors/levers and restart the printer. It should automatically reset after this.

Once the issue is resolved, in order to prevent this from occurring again, make sure to only use one kind of paper at a time, make sure to reload the paper tray in the correct way, and verify that all the settings are set up in the correct way needed.

If the printer continues to jam, or doesn’t reset correctly, you may need to contact an IT professional like M&H to take a look and determine what the root cause of the problem is.

Data Backup Plans

 

No matter what your business field is, data is probably at the heart of it. It is therefore, crucial for your company to protect this data for the day-to-day running of your business. Backing up files can protect against accidental loss of user data, database corruption, hardware failures, and even natural disasters. What types of backup plans do you have? What is your data recovery plan? If you can’t answer these questions then you are a few keystrokes, or virus away from a catastrophe. Here is a look at the different types and kinds of backups available for your business.

 

There are many techniques for backing up files. The techniques you use will depend on the type of data you’re backing up, how convenient you want the recovery process to be, and more.

 

  • Full Backups – A full backup is exactly what the name implies. It is a full copy of your entire data set. Although full backups arguably provide the best protection, most organizations only use them on a periodic basis because they are time consuming, and often require a large number of tapes or cloud storage. 
  • Incremental backup – Incremental backups only backup the data that has changed since the previous backup. These are less time consuming. 
  • Differential backups – This type is similar to an incremental backup, the difference being that while an incremental backup only includes the data that has changed since the previous backup, a differential backup contains all of the data that has changed since the last full backup. 
  • Daily backups – Designed to backup files using the modification date on the file itself. If a file has been modified on the same day as the backup, the file will be backed up. This technique doesn’t change the archive attributes of files.

What combination does your company need? In your backup plan you’ll probably want to perform full backups on a weekly basis and supplement this with daily, differential, or incremental backups.Talk to M&H about data backup plans that may be right for your company.

Hardware for your Business

 

Small and medium sized businesses have the challenge of finding and investing in hardware that gives them what they need to run a successful business, as well as giving them the biggest bang for their buck. This is where M&H can help. We are professionals that know the newest advances in technology both on the software and hardware end of business. Believe it or not, 78% of mid-size companies and 82% of large ones aim to purchase hardware in the next six months, just 32% of small plan to do so due to budget, time or information about the products. Call M&H to set up an appointment for us to help you choose the right hardware for your business while keeping you on budget.

 

Launching a New Business?

When starting your business here are just a few of the products that you will need to get off on the right foot.

  • Desktop Workstations – Look for hardware that will last several years and will need minimal upkeep and maintenance. In fact, you may want to work with a company that can design a custom computer system specifically for your business needs.
  • Server Solutions – You can choose from several server solutions based on the amount of storage you need, security requirements, and backup options. M&H can help you choose the one that fits your business.
  • Storage and Backup – An external hard drive can be a wise investment for startup businesses that don’t want to store information in the Cloud or on their computers’ hard drives. We can talk about what type of  storage you may want, whether it is cloud or some other source.
  • Router – Keeping your business team connected is needed by almost all companies in some form.  Using a wireless router may be a good bet so that cables are not strewn all over your office.
  • Printers – Your options for a printer range from rather slow and inexpensive (inkjet printers) to fast and more expensive (laser printers). In comparing the costs of different printers, it’s important to look beyond just the initial purchase price.
  • Mobile Devices – If employees are on-the-go in your field you will want to have mobile devices ready for use. Options out there include laptops, tablets, smartphones and the list goes on and on. Again, we can help you choose the right tech for your unique company needs.

Why your Computer Keeps Rebooting

Are you using a PC that keeps rebooting after a while or even when you attempt to start it up? This usually means two things; something is crashing within your computer software and you are still using an older version of Windows. Windows versions older than Window 8 respond to crashes by rebooting. When this keeps occurring, the best way to solve the issue is by fixing the crash and updating your Windows software.

In order to fix the crashing that is causing the rebooting issue you must first find it. Here are the steps to finding the crashing program:

  1. Continuously press “F8” until a menu appears.
  2. Click on “Safe Mode.”
  3. Click Start.
  4. Type “sysdm.cpl”.
  5. Click the “Advanced” tab.
  6. Click “Startup and Recovery.”
  7. Unclick the “Automatic Restart.”
  8. Click “OK” and restart.
  9. Wait for the “Blue Screen of Death” (BSoD) to show up.

Once the dreaded BSoD shows up (a blue screen with white text), it will give you information on where this crash is taking place. After this information is given, proceed by starting your computer in the “safe mode.” You will then want to start the MSConfig program and click on the startup tab, which will open a window with a list of programs and check boxes. Uncheck the all programs that are set to load automatically. To find the specific program, though, you will have to go back to check one of the programs, restart your PC, and wait for one of them to trigger a reboot.

As imaginable, this entire process can be pretty tedious. So, in order to prevent something like this from recurring, make sure to update your Windows software to the modern version. To find out more information on how to update your software or on how to prevent crashes, contact M&H.

Choosing the Best Software for your Business

Finding the right software is critical to any successful business. It could mean increased profit, lower expenses and running a smooth business operation; or it could mean just the opposite. M&H Consulting is often asked about choosing the right software for businesses. Regardless of the type of software your business needs, taking time to consider a few simple points can make all the difference between choosing the right software and wasting money on the wrong solution. Call M&H Consulting to discuss the right software for your business needs. Until then, here are a few suggestions about how to go about choosing software.

 

  • Evaluate Needs – Exactly what needs is the new software going to meet? There are thousands of software options out there so knowing exactly what your company needs is important to choosing the right kind. But how do you determine what the “right” software is? How do you choose the program that will best meet your needs and help your business run smoothly? First make a list of the challenges you’d like the software to address and separate it into two categories; Needs and Wants. Your needs should be short and absolutely necessary to the running of your company. The wants list should be broader and include some wishlist items. 
  • Budget – After you have evaluated what your needs and wants are, continue to do your homework by setting a realistic budget for the software you are looking for. 
  • Security – Evaluate the security of your new software. Make sure the software you invest in, and the company that provides it, has a reputation for security. Research what kinds of breaches and hacks the company has had and how their software rate according to other companies. 
  • Organize – Take all the information you have gathered and make some sort of evaluation sheet that includes items such as: approximate price, ratings, security, and speciality needs. Once you complete this part of the process you may find that you can immediately cross a few options off your list as they may be way over budget, or possibly do not rank high in security or internal needs. From here you can create a list of finalists and possibly get a demo version of the software to try out before making your final decision.

If this all seems like a time consuming process, you may be right. M&H Consulting has years of experience helping companies choose the right software for their needs and budget. Call us for a consult today.

Why is my Internet Network Slow?

So, we pay for a speedy networking service and later realize that it is not as speedy of a service as it is advertised to be. Most of the time, however, service providers are not the ones to blame. A lot of the time, the issue with our network speed can be easily fixed. Before you go off on your network’s service company, find out all the other reasons for why your Internet network could be slow.

  1. It’s your device.

Sometime the device you are using your network on could be the actual reason for why your service is so slow. Make sure your device is free of viruses or, any other malware, and that your system is updated to its newest software.

  1. It’s a program in your device.

Go through your device and make sure there are no major programs of files loading in the background. Some major files or programs reboot on their own while you are using your computer. When this happens, the program uses a large amount of your network as well, which can slow down the speed of your service.

  1. It’s your router.

A lot of times, the issue can actually lie in your router. Most of the times, the router just needs to be rebooted. Doing this once in awhile can help your internet network to work just as fast as it did when you first had it. If this doesn’t work, your router may need an update. After a few years, the router can become outdated.

  1. It’s the location of your router.

Do you ever think about whether or not your router is in the best location? Well, you should. You never want to place your router behind the door (i.e. a closet), in a corner out of the center of your home/office, or behind a metal wall. These walls and doors, in particular, can cause a barrier between the signals and make it difficult to connect to your device.

  1. It’s a cluttered network.

When multiple devices are connected to your Internet network, it can become cluttered and thus slow down your service. If this is the case, consider upgrading your service and expanding your network.

  1. It’s your location.

Your location can play a major part in your lack of network speed. If you live in a rural region, specifically, your region probably received an overall small and slow connection.

If you are having a difficult time determining why your Internet network is slow, or solving the issue, contact M&H for help.

Budgeting for your IT Needs – Outsourcing your IT Department

 

Recent research shows that small and medium sized businesses are struggling to find affordable IT staff with the breadth and depth of experience needed to maintain successful and efficiently working computer systems. Budgeting, therefore, has become a question that we hear all-too-often here at M&H Consulting. Often the question revolves around the problem of finding IT experience that can change to the evolving needs and specialty of a certain field of business. It’s almost like companies need IT professionals that are “jack-of-all-trades”, knowing something about everything like security, upgrades, backup options, and software, but also need someone who knows specifics about your field of business. It is truly a double edged sword.

 

One of the solutions we offer to this budgetary problem is outsourcing. M&H Consulting has experts that know your specialty as well as have extensive knowledge of the newest advances in the technology field. Here are just a few reasons why using M&H for your IT needs may save you money and keep you in the loop to the newest technology.

 

  • Security – Keeping up with the latest malware and threats to the security of your computer systems could be a full-time job. Small and medium size companies don’t have it in the budget to expand the IT department solely for this purpose so, many companies are choosing to outsource for this reason.

  • Specialists – Many companies do not have it in the budget to find talented specialists to hire full time in-house for their needs. M&H has consultants whose job it is to become specialists in your field and understand the needs that are unique to your field. This comes with years of training and the ability to recruit some of the top consultants.

  • Cost – Yes, it sometimes comes down to the almighty dollar. The bottom line is that outsourcing your IT needs can significantly reduce your IT costs. If you’re able to better accommodate shifting projects and priorities, spread out resources where you need them, gain access to talented specialists when needed, and free up your internal resources, you can reduce costs across the board and improve the effectiveness of your overall IT department.

Finding the Root Cause of an IT Problem

Do you ever think you have gotten rid of a computer virus just to find your computer acting the same way as it did when you had the virus? We have all been there. The reason why this happens is usually because you have actually taken care of the symptoms rather than the actual root cause. Because this is such a common issue, we have decided to go through a few steps to help you find out the root issue to your IT problem and how to prevent them from reoccurring.

We have combined a few steps to help analyze the root cause. Read along to find out.

  1. Find out what the issue is.

You have to first figure out what the symptoms are in order to figure out what the problem is.  For example, if your computer is infected, ask yourself, “why is it infected?” You may figure out that it is because your malware program is outdated.

  1. Find out why the problem exists.

This step doesn’t necessarily give you the root cause of your IT problem but, it could definitely be a first step direction to it. In continuation with the first example, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to figure it out: (a.) “Why is my antimalware outdated?” Maybe you simply didn’t update the program. (b.) “Why didn’t I update it?” Maybe you forgot to, or the program didn’t offer one. (c.) “Why didn’t the program offer an update?” Maybe there is no longer an update for this version of malware program.

  1. Find out the root cause.

Once you have figured out all the reasons why this problem exists, you are able to determine what the root cause is. Using the example, once you have figured out that you malware program no longer offers an update, you may wonder “why doesn’t it offer an update?” and through research find out that the service company may no longer exist. This means that the virus system kept coming back because you have a program that is no longer working for your system.

After figuring out the root problem, it’s important to design a plan to prevent the problem from returning. Maybe, after you figure out that you need to download a new malware, you can design a maintenance plan to remember to check for updates and to see if your malware program is still relevant.

If you need help figuring out what the root cause of your IT problem is, or you need help designing a solution for your problem, contact M&H.

How Long Should Your Business Tech Last?

 

With almost 28 million small businesses in the U.S. currently, these companies are the heart and soul of our economy. One major expense that small businesses need to assess regularly is the cost of the technology to run a successful business. Part of this is knowing when the technology has been outdated or has hit the end of its life cycle. Most tech savvy entrepreneurs know when it is time to retire old technology and invest in new technology for the expansion and betterment of the business. But, what if you are not a tech whiz? How long should your business tech last, and what are some signs that it is time for, “Out with the old and in with the new?”

 

What are the major reasons to replace computers and other office technology?

Having the shiniest and newest technology would be great but with the rate that technology is evolving, advancing and becoming obsolete it would be impossible to keep up, let alone afford. There are, however, solid reasons why computers and tech should be replaced. Here are the top reasons. . .

 

  • Computer has reached the end of its lifespan according to company policy
  • Computer has failed or is unreliable
  • Computer is too slow and unproductive
  • Too expensive to maintain
  • Too risky to maintain because of age and high likelihood of failure
  • Excessive demands on computer from new software or growing data stores
  • Computer or technology can not safely maintain data and company information in the wake of current threats.

 

How long is reasonable to expect technology and computers to last?

The average useful lifespan of a PC or server is 3-5 years. It could be longer or shorter, depending on what the computer needs to do. In addition, computer experts believe that the standard recommendation is to replace hardware after 3-4 years.

 

What should companies do before deciding on replacing computers or technology?

Businesses should annually (if not more often) discuss the needs of the company as it relates to technology, upgrades, security threats, software updates and the age of the technology. There should be long and short term technology goals. These annual/bi-annual meetings will help your company choose the right time to upgrade. Tech costs can vary dramatically by season, and unnecessary upgrades can increase costs without boosting productivity. In addition, these reviews can help every company stay on top of new advances that could help your business expand and grow. Do you need help making these choices? Call M&H Consulting and our technology experts can guide you in these choices.

Why your Website May Need a New Design

Often, we try to visit a website and find ourselves constantly refreshing the site or waiting a much longer period of time than necessary to upload a page. When this happened, we frequently tend to blame the issue on the computer or Internet network when the issue really lies on the website itself. We have put together some points to help determine whether your website needs to be redesigned. If you are someone who owns a website and are questioning if you should redesign your website, keep on reading to find out.

One major point that should stand out as a red flag to you is, if when visiting your site, your devices (computer, laptop, phone, etc.) are refusing to upload your web pages. This could mean that the coding for your website is outdated and not compliant with new devices. Another point that should stand out is if your website takes an extended amount of time loading. This could also tie into an outdated code. Not only is this annoying for you but it can also affect the amount of users visiting your website. Websites that take to long result in lower Google search ranking as well as loss of users.

Another factor that could affect the speed of your website is if it relies heavily on Flash. Not only is this bad for the speed of your site but, it also affects its search engine optimization, its ability to function on mobile devices, and difficulty in navigating through the site. These are all indicators that the issues arising in while online has to do with your website rather than your Internet network.

If you have updated and redesigned your website but are still finding that you are having a difficult time loading the pages, chances are that this issue is occurring with other websites as well. In this case, you may actually have an issue with your Internet network or, even, your device. In order to resolve this issue, contact M&H for advice on how to fix this issue.