Top Ways to Really Mess Up Your Computer

At M&H Consultants we have seen it all –  from data loss disasters to personal password problems. We have been helping small and medium sized companies keep their computer systems “healthy” for almost two decades. The old adage is true that, “To err is human, to really mess things up you need a computer.” Here are a few ways that we humans have “messed things up in regards to business computers.

  • Failing to Back Up Data – It is really disheartening when you realize you have lost data that took you days, weeks or even months to gather. All of it can be gone in the blink of an eye due to a power failure, equipment malfunction or natural disaster. Having multiple avenues and regular back ups is the best way to prevent a real disaster.
  • Dangerous Downloading – Sure that “free” software program looked great but beware, it may have a virus or Trojan Horse that can severely damage your entire system. Talk to your IT professionals before adding any downloaded material.
  • Lacking Protection – Every computer should have anti-malware and anti-virus protections. Having an unprotected system is a sure fire way to open the system up to spyware, malware or all sorts of viruses.
  • Forgetting Upgrades and Patches – We see it all the time. Work gets busy so companies forget to install the latest software that may help prevent viruses or use patches that can stop criminals from finding their way into your system.
  • Using Unsecured WiFi – If you leave your wifi open or unsecured or, worse yet, use public wifi, you may be opening your systems to cyber criminals.
  • Opening Bad Emails or Clicking on Pop Ups –  Pup up ads and bogus emails, when clicked on, can harbor spyware and/or malware that when loaded can wreak havoc on your computer system.
  • Plug in Without Surge Protection – We have all done this now and again, but the first time a surge fries your hard drive you will always remember to use surge protectors.

If you have done any of these things or any of the thousand other ways you can mess up your system call M&H Consults to help you fix it!

Windows Features for Macs

When making your first transition from a Windows computer to Macs, there may be many new aspects that can be difficult to get accustomed to. There are many basic features that are very different on Macs: from track pad navigation to shutting down an application. Fortunately, there are many ways to bring those same basic features into your Mac experience. Follow along to learn about how this can be done.

Trackpad Navigation:

When using a Macbook for the first time, you instantly notice two major changes in relation to your trackpad. The first is that the scrolling direction is different, and the second is that there is no right-click! Unlike Windows devices, to scroll down a page on Macs, your fingers have to swipe down, whereas Windows requires you to swipe up.  To change this, you can navigate to “System Preference” > “Trackpad” > “Scroll & Zoom” and then check off “Scroll Direction: Natural.” Although there is no way to instantly create a right click button on the trackpad, you can tap on it with two fingers to get the “right-click” effect.

The Delete Button:

If you are a long time Windows user, then you must know the difference between the backspace and delete buttons. Unlike Windows, Macs only provide users with a delete key, which functions the way the backspace button does. As far as the Windows delete button, there is no real delete key on Macs. To bring the right of cursor deleting feature to your Mac, you must press on “Fn” and “delete” at the same time.

Finding Files:

A different feature that can be frustrating to long time Windows users when making the switch is the finder’s name search. When searching for a file on a Mac, a various amount of files pop up in no particular file organization matter. On a Windows computer, after searching for a file by name, the results will be organized with folders at the top and other files below, unlike Macs. Luckily, this can be adjusted by going to “Finder” > “Preferences” > “Advanced” and then selecting “Keep folders on top when sorting by name.”

Need further assistance on your new computer? Contact M&H!

Macbook Pro’s New Touch Bar Tricks

If you have recently purchased a brand new Macbook, you have probably noticed its cool new feature, the touch bar! There are many new tricks and technological life hacks provided by the touch bar, which is why we have decided to share the details with you. Follow along to learn about some of the tricks below.

One simple, but useful trick, is the volume and brightness adjuster. With the touch bar you can simply tap on the volume or brightness button and then slide up or down to adjust them to the perfect level for you. Sure, the respective buttons will still be on the keyboard if you would rather use that, but using the touch bar allows for more precision.

Another simple way to use the touch bar is to communicate with Siri. All you have to do is press and hold the Siri button on the touch bar and give your command. Once your command has been made you can release the button and she will be able to complete her task. Easy, isn’t it?

Jumping ahead or backwards on a video or song is now an easy act. Once you are on the video or music application, a bar-like buttons appears on the touch bar. Tap on that button and slide your fingers over the scrub tool to jump ahead or behind. This is a great feature for those who are in the video editing business.

Are the applications available on the control strip not ones you typically use? These can be changed. You can manage available apps by going to System Preferences > keyboard > Customize Control Strip. Once there, you can drag and drop buttons more relevant to what you use onto the control strip.

With its cool new features, the Macbook’s new touch bar has come to make getting tasks done more easily and quickly.

New Samsung Update

Samsung has updated their laptops in the Notebook 9 series! There has been a lot of talk about the new updated laptops and how they compare to the other versions, such as its speed and graphics. While doing research, however, we found some interesting details that contradicted each other, such as the lifespan of their batteries. Let’s take a closer look at our research findings.

The updated Notebook 9 will be available in 2 different sizes: 13-in. and 15-in. screen. They have a lightweight design with full HD display, which means better graphics, to convenience professionals who are constantly “on the go.” The update is also meant to be faster than the last version. According to Computer World, it is measured “an improvement of 5 percent to 15 percent in Kaby Lake performance.” The aspect that is unclear, however, is the lifespan of their battery. When you look into the laptop’s description on Samsung’s website, they claim the lifespan to be between 10-12 hours, depending on the laptop’s size, while Computer World claims that the new model has a battery life of 7 hours. Regardless of its lifespan, the battery is said to have a quick charging rate.

Some other laptop features include:

      256 GB storage

      720p webcam

      2 USB 3.0 ports

      1 USB-C port

      HDMI port

      MicroSD port

      1 USB 2.0 port (15-in. laptop only)

The new update also comes with enhanced security features such as pattern login, secret screen and record block to protect all files.

Tech Life Hacks (Pt. 2)

This post is a continuation of the two-part tech hack series. We will be provide the second set of tips to make your life with technology more simple! If you would like to learn about these hacks, follow along.

To maintain the life of your phone charger:

This tip is a common one that can be applied to any charger, not just that of your phone. Take apart a clicking pen and use the pen’s spring to wrap it around the top of the charging cord. This will help keep the wire from bending and breaking out.

In case you lose your phone:

Here is a tip so simple that you’ve probably not thought of it before. In your note section, type your name and contact information and then save a screenshot of it. Change your lockscreen to the screenshot image, this way, if it gets lost, someone will know how to return it to you.

Picture Taking:

Taking pictures with one hand, especially when it is a selfie, can be difficult and cause your hands to cramp. Solving this issue is very simple. Once you have gotten into the right pose or gotten the phone in the right position, use the volume buttons to snap the picture.

For charging your phone:

Charging your phone can be a tedious process, especially when you are in a rush and need it to charge quickly. The best way to charge your phone quickly is to set it on airplane mode while it is on the charger.

For “resetting” your phone:

Many times, when your phone has a hard time connecting to a signal, or has a glitch, we shut off the phone entirely or reboot it. An easier way to do this is to set your phone on airplane mode for a minute. This will help your phone to connect to a signal.

If you haven’t read the first post on this series, click here to check it out.

Tech Life Hacks (Pt. 1)

Technology can be complicated and understanding them can require a lot of work. Because of this, there are many tech hacks available to help make our technology experience easier and our overall lives easier through technology. Since there are so many hacks available, we have split these lists into a two-part series. Here is the first set of tips to help you get through your technology uses; stay tuned for the next set!

For quick browsing:

Type on “CTRL” and “Enter” at that the same time after typing a domain on the URL bar and the “.com” will appear.

For capitalization purposes:

Highlight a word or phrase and press on “Shift” and “F3” at the same time to switch the capitalization through lowercase, all uppercase and first letter capitalization. Unfortunately, this hack is only useful for PC devices.

For slideshow presentations:

When saving PowerPoint presentations, try saving it as “.PPS” rather than the standard “.PPT”. By doing this, you will be able to skip a step and automatically open your presentation as a slideshow whenever the file is opened.

For your headphones:

To keep your apple headphones handy and safe from getting tangled all up, stick them onto your macbook while doing work. Confused? Well, apparently the Headphones are able to stick onto macbooks like magnets.

To help you differentiate between left ear bud and right ear bud, and skip the misplacing process that can be uncomfortable, try painting or marking each ear bud with different colors.

Test these hacks out and stay tuned for the next set!

Microsoft Edge vs. Google Chrome

Since the Windows 10 update, there has been plenty talk about all its cool new features and updates. With the update, Microsoft decided to completely eliminate their Internet Explorer browser and replace it with Microsoft Edge, which is meant to be much faster and more energy efficient. Not much, however, has been said about the new upgraded Internet server; that is until recently.

Microsoft has recently claimed that their Internet browser is not only faster but also better for battery life. The exact claims are that the Edge is actually 24 to 43 percent more energy efficient when it comes to browsing than its competitors (TopTech.com).

“Edge lets you browse and watch longer, so you can get more out of your devices without worrying about finding an outlet.” – Jason Weber, Microsoft Director of the Web

Among all of these claims of battery efficiency, there are many other upgrades Microsoft has developed through this new browser. For instance, the new design is much lighter than its predecessor, Internet Explorer. It also has the online assistant, Cortana, incorporated into the browsing, which is already a plus in itself when compared to Chrome. However, when installing Chrome, Adobe Flash is also installed, which is an important program to have. Because Google Chrome’s extensions, like this one, the browser tends to slow down. This is also where Microsoft Edge has the advantage of being a faster browser, thus the most battery efficient.

Is the Edge’s efficiency enough for Internet users to make the switch from Chrome? Many would say no. Even though, Chrome happens to be slightly slower, there are many features and extensions that come along with it that are considered to be the best. In the end, Microsoft would have to do more than securing battery life in order to convince users to make the switch.  

 

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.

Protecting your Technology While on Vacation

Vacation! You have been waiting all year to kick back, relax and step out of the rat race for a while. You may have travel plans and are finally getting to visit the places you have only dreamed of all year. The last thing on your mind is protecting your technology. While we don’t want to ruin your blissfully happy vacation plans, we also don’t want you to have a technology induced headache upon your return, or even while you are off on this idyllic vacation. Thus we have compiled a list of ways you can protect your technology while you are on your dream vacation.

 

  • Back Up – Before you head off into the sunset and dive into vacation be sure to back up your family and work devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Backing up your devices will protect your work, photos, and stored information in case of a lost or stolen device while on vacation.
  • Keep your Devices Nearby – While you are focused on jumping in the pool, playing frisbee on the beach, or getting up to capture the perfect photo, criminals are focused on how to grab any unattended devices or bags. Carry your smart phone in a fanny pack that stays around your waist. Be sure to secure external USB and hard drives, and pay a little extra for a room safe in your hotel.
  • Be Wary of Internet Logins – Avoid doing anything that requires me to log in if I’m on a completely open network at an airport, cafe or anywhere else to protect your data as much as possible. If something seems odd about your connection such as pop-up boxes start flashing on the screen, strange messages, etc.,  immediately disconnect and go somewhere else. Always try to connect to a password-protected network associated with the cafe or hotel.
  • Quit the posting Check ins and Geo-tagging – While it might be fun to post socially where you are on vacation, this comes with some risk, especially abroad where cyber attackers can zero in on you.
  • Physically Protect your Travel Devices – Be sure to have strong protective covers for all of your mobile devices. Smashing your phone can be a real bummer and can cut you off from communicating with your group depending upon how badly damaged the device is. Protective covers are useful for avoiding splashes and keeping dirt and sand away from your phone’s inner workings. Tablet covers also work in a similar way, and they’re very useful if you plan on reading, browsing the Web or checking email while on vacation.

Be safe and have fun by taking a few simple technology checks before you head off for your vacation this summer.

How Often Should Technology Be Upgraded?

When your company is busy it means that business is good and while there may be funds to do necessary upgrades, there probably isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done. Then, when business is slow, it might mean that the extra funds for upgrades has dried up or been allocated for other projects. It is a double edged sword that businesses face all over this country. It is tempting to wait until a computer breaks or a piece of software becomes obsolete and to think about how you’ll replace it, right?

 

How exactly does your company decide when the appropriate time is to change out hardware or update the existing software that you need for the day-to-day running of your company? Do you wait until it is do-or-die time? Wait for signs of cracks? Wait till employees complain? M&H can help you create schedules and timelines for how long your technology should last and when the appropriate times are to upgrade. Here are some strategies for helping your company make these decisions.  

 

  • Create a Technology Plan – Upgrading and refreshing both your software and hardware should not be a haphazard procedure that is only discussed when there is a problem.  Using feedback from managers, leadership, employees and, most of all, any of your tech experts, creates a technology plan that takes into account budgeting for needed upgrades and updates to the technology that your business may depend on. This plan should look into the lifespan of certain devices as well as take into account the regular pace at which upgrades to software turn out.
  • Look at warranty and Insurance Plans – When deciding upon replacing existing tech look at any warranty and insurance programs that may remain on the devices. This may save your business a lot of money in the long run.
  • Examine how an upgrade will help your clients/customers and patrons. You do not need the latest and greatest of every new technology. With the fast pace at which things change in this industry, your company would go broke just trying to keep up. So, examine what impacts the change may have of your customers first. Will the upgrade help with your customers having a better experience with your business? Will it increase a positive impact on customer service? This may help in your decision.
  • Budget – Yes, it may come down to budget. Does your company have the funds to upgrade, or would it be best to wait on items for the next fiscal year?  
  • Prioritize – Obviously software upgrades that are imperative for the operation of your business should take priority over splurges for new devices for employees. Make a list and regularly examine what takes priority in your company. For companies just starting out this list may need to be fluid as unexpected costs come up, but have the list to keep you on track.

Talk to Experts – Talk to tech experts like M&H whose business is to know what upgrades and new tech are coming down the pike. We can help you prioritize and create a tech plan that is right for your unique business.