New Year Computer Clean Out

 

Most of us like to start the New Year with a clean slate. We like to start fresh and do things differently, or at least better in the coming year. Unfortunately, for most of us these resolutions are long forgotten by the third week of January. A “Computer Clean Out Resolution” may be one that you will benefit from not just at the start of the New Year but also throughout the entire year. Here are a few digital suggestions of how to clean out that crowded email folder, desktop, or overstuffed folders this year. If you do this you may find that your computer runs better, looks more organized and keeps you efficiently “on-track.”

 

  • For starters clean off your system’s desktop. Your desktop should not be a storage area. You may need to take 5-10 minutes at the start of each day to get this one under control especially for the long run.
  • Empty your trash or recycling bin.
  • Clear out your documents and downloads folder.
  • Clean out your apps and programs that you have not used in a while. Do this on your smartphones and tablets as well.
  • Recycle the electronics that have been filling up the junk drawer at home or work. Usually towns and cities have an electronic recycle day once or twice a year. Take advantage of it.
  • Tackle the email. Yes, I said it. Start organizing folders of email even if it means starting with naming folders “Mail from 2017” and so on. Then get more detailed. You will be so happy once you have scrubbed all the junk and are left with folders that mean something when you are in a rush to find an important document.

 

Most of us let time slip by and these tasks get pushed aside to a day when we “have the time.” Use the new year as a marker to get yourself digitally organized. Need help? Call M&H Consulting at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website at http://www.mhconsults.com

 

The Latest on Krack

On October 16, 2017, security researcher Mathy Vanhoef publicly disclosed a serious vulnerability in the WPA2 encryption protocol. This  Wi-Fi vulnerability affects millions of routers, smartphones, PCs, and other devices, including Apple’s Macs, iPhones, and iPads. By using a  key reinstallation attack, dubbed Krack, an attacker can exploit the weaknesses and gain access to sensitive information such as: credit card numbers, personal information, passwords, usernames, photos, and business data that is accessed via the Wi-Fi in question.

 

While this latest attack has many computer and mobile users concerned, it is not really the time to push the panic button quite yet. There are still steps that you can take to protect your information. In fact, only six weeks after the event most operating systems have a patch and workaround planned that will eliminate this weakness. Apple has announced that it already has an antidote to the vulnerability affecting Wi-Fi routers across the board. The only catch is that the solution is currently only available as part of the latest beta version for iOS, 11.1 Developer beta 3. Google was also reported to release a patch in early November to secure Wi-Fi connections on Android devices. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions for users to exercise caution and prevent the Krack attack from impacting you and your sensitive information.

 

Protect Yourself from Krack

 

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi, but if you must, stay away from any personal or business activities such as banking, business software, CRM, patient management software, or Medical EMR applications.
  • Consider using a VPN or Virtual Private Network, which means that all your network traffic (not just your web browsing) is encrypted, from your laptop or mobile device to your home or work network, even if it travels over an unencrypted connection along the way
  • Companies that deal with sensitive client data and material should stay away from accessing any sites that contain PII or PHI as it could be at risk unless using a secure VPN.
  • Be sure to install patches that are available from Apple and Microsoft and listen to what your IT department tells you to do regarding safeguarding business data.

 

Check back with M&H Consulting as we stay on top of recent breaches and will keep you up-to-date. Call M&H Consulting at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website at http://www.mhconsults.com

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.