Tech Tips - Business IT Support Tips
Archive for 2011
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
A client recently reported a problem with 10 user laptops. Users could receive email, but sending email resulting in a 550 5.7.1 error via bounce back. Accounts were configured through Outlook 2010 with SMTP to a corporate Exchange server.
Interestingly enough the laptops were connected to the internet with Verizon 4G modems. They were able to download files, surf the internet, and do pretty much everything else as normal. No settings on the laptop, Outlook 2010, or the Exchange server had changed from one day to the next.
We ruled out the Exchange server by sending from Outlook Web Access as the user. We ruled out the user SMTP account by sending from a stand-alone desktop machine as the user. We then ruled out the laptops themselves by connecting them to a hard wired LAN connection and sending from Outlook 2010 without any problem. The only time we experienced the 550 5.7.1 error was when connected using Verizon 3G or 4G.
Could these recent problems with the Verizon network have something to do with it? We updated the VZAccess Manager software to the absolute latest version (Help / Check for Updates). During that process the firmware of the device was updated as well.
Surprisingly, after the Verizon software and modem updates it was possible to send email again. Hopefully this helps anyone else who is having trouble sending email through SMTP while connected to a Verizon 3G or 4G modem. Upgrade your modem!
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Friday, December 16th, 2011
A bug was found recently in version 9 of the Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat software that would allow an attacker to take over your computer or steal data. Any time you open an infected PDF from your computer, on the internet, or sent to you via email you could be at risk. For all versions of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader, keep yourself safe by updating your software and following these steps:
- Download and install the latest security updates from the Adobe Product Updates page.
- You can also check for updates from within Acrobat by going to Help, Check for Updates.
- From within Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat, click on Edit/Preferences. On the left go to the Trust Manager tab, then uncheck the box ‘Allow opening of non-PDF attachments with external applications.’
Close the program.
As always, you should also have a good anti-virus running on your system. We recommend Trend or Microsoft Security Essentials.
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Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
When we repair a computer at my PC Techs, one of the first items on our list of work to perform is dust removal. In Arizona, dust is a big problem and coats everything. When a new computer comes into our shop we never really know just how much dust we are going to see! It’s always a surprise when you “pop the case” of a computer for the first time.
Here are a few pictures of the inside of a case that recently came into our workshop.
Over time, dust accumulates inside your computer case
Over time, dust can cause internals components to overheat, due to lack of air circulation
Dust is a slow computer killer. Dust prevents normal air circulation through the computer case. The case draws cooler air from outside the case through the various airflow openings of the case. The lack of circulation caused by dust will often result in internal component overheating and failure. These include video cards, hard drives, computer processor and other internal hardware.
Common intake openings of the case include the front and the sides of the case, while exit openings include fans usually mounted in the rear of the case and the power supply.
Keeping these openings clear of debris can help to maintain the proper airflow around the case. A good practice is to also maintain four to six inches of clearance from the computer to any object which could block airflow.
In conclusion, dusting out your case every month can help to extend the life of your computer – instead of it suffering the fate of death by dust.
Saturday, November 26th, 2011
A hard drive is a small box inside of computer equipment that may contain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, social security numbers, etc. If you are upgrading to a new computer (desktop computer, laptop, office copier, etc.) always remove and destroy the hard drive before selling, donating, or recycling any computer equipment! Failure to destroy the hard drive before giving the computer away could result in sensitive information ending up in the hands of the new owner, who will then be able to copy old files and go through your personal information stored there.
There are many options available if you are looking to dispose of an old hard drive. Some professional destruction methods include:
- Shredding it using a local shredding company
- Taking it to a computer recycling company
- Mailing it to a hard drive destruction specialist
- Bringing it in to a local computer shop that will dispose of it
These methods are ideal, but they usually cost money. Professional destruction of a hard drive could cost $70 or more in some areas! So what is a low cost method to dispose of the hard drive and keep your personal data safe if you are low on funds? Considering you have all the right tools, this method won’t cost you a dime and is a very secure way to get rid of a hard drive while keeping your data secure.
Step 1: Wipe it! Wiping a hard drive in essence destroys the data by writing over it with random characters. There are many free utilities to help, a good one is Active@ KillDisk. You can download the free utility from their website, click: Active@ KillDisk. This free software overwrites all of the data on your old hard drive with random characters and WILL DESTROY ALL OF YOUR DATA! Be sure you have performed a complete backup and have transferred the data from your old hard drive to your new system before wiping it.
Step 2: Remove it! Physically remove the hard drive from the system. This is usually the easy part, you’ll just need a screwdriver and a little patience. Keep in mind that you will still be able to sell or donate the old computer without a hard drive missing, just be sure to let the new owners know in advance that they will need a new hard drive and operating system.
Step 3: Drill it! If you plan on using the old hard drive again, skip this step. Otherwise it’s best to physically destroy the old hard drive just to be 100% certain that the old data is completely destroyed. This step is not only fun, depending on how much personal data you had on the old drive it can also help you sleep better at night.
Wearing protective goggles, gloves, and a dust mask for your mouth and nose take a drill and a metal drill bit to the drive. You’ll want to drill through the drive completely from one side to the other, and you’ll want to do this multiple times. Two important areas for you to drill through are the platters and the controller board. See examples in the below images.
Hard drive from an old computer, data already moved to new computer and ready for destruction.
A few things you should have. Drill bits, eye protection, gloves, mouth and nose protection.
Hard drives contain many round platters inside that store the data. Drill through them.
In this example, the drive has been drilled through one side to the other. You can see the light behind it coming through.
Close up of the hole drilled through the hard drive
The green area is the controller board. Drill through that as well.
Don’t stop with just one hole, drill several times through the drive.
The last hard drive was a 3.5″ desktop drive. You can drill 2.5″ laptop hard drives the same way.
This laptop hard drive has a much larger controller board on the bottom, but is easier to drill through.
Multiple drill holes through a 2.5″ laptop hard drive
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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
For Immediate Release November 15, 2011
my PC Techs named ASPIRE Award Gold Prize winner by Ready-to-Go Marketing
Phoenix, Arizona — November, 15, 2011 — my PC Techs, Expert Solutions You Can Trust, today announced that it has been named recipient of ASPIRE Award Gold Prize sponsored by Ready-to-Go Marketing. my PC Techs is being recognized by Microsoft for successfully utilizing the corporation’s partner program Ready-to-Go Marketing resources to create innovative sales and marketing campaigns and improve its reach to high-quality customer leads.
Specifically, ASPIRE Award entrants’ campaigns were evaluated on business impact; innovation and creativity; Microsoft Ready-to-Go integration; results and effectiveness; and overall campaign excellence. my PC Techs is one of nine partner companies to receive a Gold Aspire Award.
my PC Techs makes it easy for businesses in the Phoenix area to save time, save money, and increase productivity by delivering world-class computer repair and computer consulting services directly to you throughout the Phoenix and Scottsdale metro areas. They are locally owned, and provide experienced and honest services with no hidden fees. Computer services provided by my PC Techs include computer repair (PC and Macintosh desktops, laptops, and servers), server maintenance, new computer sales and installation, computer consulting and training, email and internet support, networking, data recovery, and more.
“We are honored to be a winner of the Gold Microsoft ASPIRE Award. Microsoft technologies allow our small-to-medium sized business clients get more done in less time. What sets us apart from the competition is our willingness to go the extra mile in order to provide our customers with a technological advantage over the competition,” said Andre Morris, President and Founder of my PC Techs.
“The Ready-to-Go Marketing program is designed to help partners save time and money and effectively market their business,” said Cindy Bates for Microsoft Corp. “By leveraging the full range of Ready-to-Go Marketing tools, partners gain access to increased customer visibility and a tremendous competitive advantage. We are proud to offer our partners a sales and marketing support system that enables them to position themselves effectively for success, now and in the future.”
Microsoft’s Ready-to-Go Marketing helps fuel your marketing from planning to execution with easy-to-use, relevant, and useful resources. Ready-to-Go Marketing provides the tools, guidance, and support to help you grow your business and generate leads more efficiently.
my PC Techs provides expert solutions you can trust. They understand the importance of your business data and go to great lengths to provide you only the highest caliber of technology professionals. They hire friendly personalities, require a minimum of five years, proven hands-on experience, and require that all team members pass extensive background checks. Having computer problems, thinking about upgrading, or just have questions? Let my PC Techs help your Arizona business increase productivity and save money today. Give them a call at (602) 456-0150 to schedule an expert computer consultation for your business.
For more information, press only:
Andre Morris, my PC Techs, (602) 456-0150, firstname.lastname@example.org
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