Some real-life answers to real life computer problems and business technology questions asked by small businesses in our networking meeting

Real life computer problems – At our breakfast meeting yesterday, it was my turn to present in the 10 Minute Slot to the other 30 or so, business people in the room.

Rather than do the normal presentation thing, I decided to do a Question and Answer session and asked my fellow members to provide some questions on techie things that may have been bothering them or stuff they would like to know. Here is what happened.

Question 1

Carl says:

“I wondered if you could explain about cloud storage.

My queries are

  1. Is it able to back up hourly (like Apple Time Capsule)
  2. How long would it take to back up 2 Tera Bytes (Initially)
  3. How much for that amount of storage?

 

Answers

  1. Yes, this would be down to the backup service used. SkyKick backs up 6 times per day for example. It would probably be best for us to discuss this in more detail to come up with the best solution.
  2. A VERY long time – depends on internet connection upload speed. If you had 100mbit leased line it would still take 100+ DAYS to backup to cloud. You can send the data on physical drives to a Microsoft data centre – 2Tb would cost around £ 4,000. Our suggestion would be to archive most of the data you don’t need on a daily basis and start with a much smaller amount of data in the Cloud. This warrants further discussion. The archive could be on a local drive for example where you could access files you don’t need regularly and use the Cloud for ‘working data’ you would use regularly
  3. With SharePoint you get 1TB included, then it would be around £10 per month for an additional 1TB
  4. In summary, your set up demands a bit more thought and we would recommend a meeting and a bit of time and effort to come up with a workable solution which is cost-effective.

 

 

Question 2

Caroline says:

“I have a netbook I have locked myself out of is it possible to get past the password protection?”

Answer

Keep a list of all passwords securely (use last pass, commonkey or something similar. Although less technical and less secure, you could use another device like your smart phone or even a paper reminder somewhere ensuring the reason/purpose of the credentials cannot be guessed. Or use a password protected excel doc on another device.

Windows 10 has various password recovery options – PIN CODE and Password – you get free 2 factor authentication with Office 365 which is very useful but will need setting up properly.

You can install password recovery software on your device but it is a more technical process. If you really are stuck, we would suggest one of our engineers looking at the device to sort it out. Golden rule – don’t forget your main password/PIN for logging onto your device – that is like losing your front door keys!

Caroline also asked:

“The young person who lives with me cannot get the internet on her laptop. It simply won’t connect. – any ideas?”

Answer

This is probably a faulty wireless adaptor on the device – It would be worth ensuring the latest drivers and software are installed on the device. It could be replaced or you could install a wifi dongle as a short cut. This installs in the USB port – you could then arrange for someone technical like us to remotely investigate the device. Or you could pair the machine with your mobile.

Failing that, have it looked at by an engineer.

Question 3

Neil asks:

“Simple question what should a one man band have to ensure efficiency and at the same time be protected?”

Answer

This is a bit of a broad question but probably:

 

  1. A domain with Office 365 with Advanced Threat Protection
  2. All required Office software downloaded onto the device
  3. Decent router/firewall at home
  4. Encrypted Hard drive on your laptop (Solid State Drive rather than HDD)
  5. 8Gb RAM
  6. 2 Factor Authentication
  7. Bit Defender Anti-virus or similar
  8. Cloud based back up for data
  9. Password system for secure storage, retrieval and creation of passwords

 

Question 4

Liz asked:

“I have a garden office and when we built it we wondered whether we should get ethernet cable down to it – is this a good idea or are wi-fi hotspots are a better alternative…

 

Answer

Hard wired cable is best – external ethernet cable (cat5e, cat6 or fibre if it is longer than 90m). Could also be armoured. Terminate at both ends and install a small switch at the remote end. It will work at 1Gbps. Note Broadband may only run at 80Mbps down and 20 Mbps up.

Wifi is an option – WIFI6 is new and boasts speeds of 1.3Gb. Normal wifi runs at around 1-2Gbps. Older routers and access points will be slower and may not have external aerials.

 

Question 5

George asked:

“Where is the best place in a house to locate a broadband router?”

This should be installed into the master BT socket (with a proper high-speed faceplate, properly terminated. If you then need to connect a device elsewhere, the best option is to run cables to that point. You could also add a wifi extender or a device that uses your mains cabling (sometimes unreliable – called a Powerline adaptor and worth a try as it only costs around £ 30).

Using a router in spurred sockets is a NO NO. Your internal wiring (even your master socket) and other devices plugged into it can really slow down the performance  – it is often worth getting this looked at by someone technical like ourselves (we wouldn’t ask BT)

George also asked:

“Is there any safety issue associated with 5G?”

Answer

As with previous cellular technologies, 5G networks rely on signals carried by radio waves – part of the electromagnetic spectrum – transmitted between an antenna or mast and your phone.

We’re surrounded by electromagnetic radiation all the time – from television and radio signals, as well as from a whole range of technologies, including mobile phones, and from natural sources such as sunlight.

5G uses higher frequency waves than earlier mobile networks, allowing more devices to have access to the internet at the same time and at faster speeds.

These waves travel shorter distances through urban spaces, so 5G networks require more transmitter masts than previous technologies, positioned closer to ground level.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) says it is very low risk . However, our opinion is that only time will tell and we would not like to commit one way or the other.

Please see the chart of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.

 

Question 6

David asked:

“I never know whether my computer is running at the best speed”

Answer

Disable all start up apps – these really slow down your machine and many may be completely unnecessary.

Get onto Windows 10 and Office 365 – this means you have the most up to date operating system and office software and you get regular updates. Delete all unnecessary programs. Delete all unnecessary browser add-ons and tool bars (very easy to get these added without you realising it).

Ideally your machine should be less than 3 years old and have 8Gb of RAM (or more depending on what software you use) and a Solid State Hard drive (old hard drives that physically whizz round are much slower – easy and cheap to replace and really make a difference).

Office 365 is packed full of clever little features that may not speed up the machine but will make you work faster (like attaching files and removing the need for a physical search as it suggests all your most recently used docs). You can also sync your docs with your laptop so you don’t have to wait until you are online (eg on the train).

Some Anti-Virus packages are very clunky and can slow machines down (like MacAfee) – use Bit Defender – costs just £2pm.

You can also use a registry cleaner that cleans up your registry entries (eg Ccleaner).

 

He also asked:

“Are they still working on improving speeds in Crowborough ?”

Answer

Crowborough has Fibre Broadband in many areas. 80/20 depending on location. Residential/TV.

There is FTTP (fibre to the premises) in some areas but not many. 4G may be a better option if speeds are slow. You can bond broadband connections together – up to 8 but your costs will increase.

The government is subsidising internet connections so in many cases the additional installation costs are covered. Speak to us.

Much faster Leased lines are now much more affordable than in the past – again speak to us about what is available for your premises – you may be very surprised how fast and affordable they are now.

 

Question 7

Roy asked:

“The security package that came with my computer, McAfee, lasted for three years. It has now expired and they want £90 for a further 2 years.

Is this a good call and is it necessary?”

Answer

Reference Bitdefender above – half the price. McAfee is very resource-hungry and over-priced. Have a look on the internet on the reviews to find out what may be best for you or speak to us.

Question 8

Carlos had a couple of questions.

For a small firm like mine (max. 3 persons) what is the best cost-effective internet security? And what is the best way of backing up/storage.?

Use a business class router like a Draytek Vigor 2862. Around £ 250. You can also do web filtering and set up secure VPN’s for remote access. Also use a good AV solution like Bifdefender. Use up to date software and email systems like Office 365 and Exchange which is all included.

With Office 365 you get Onedrive and Sharepoint with plenty of storage available – this should be fine for most 3-man businesses. It may take some setting up properly which is where we can help you.

Think of Onedrive as the cloud version of your ‘My Document’s and Sharepoint as the Cloud version of your Server folder and file architecture….on line virtual filing cabinet that all your staff can access (or not if some files need to be kept private).

Acronis Cloud storage is a back-up good option and very inexpensive.

Acronis Cloud Storage is an easy-to-use, offsite cloud backup storage subscription that turns Acronis Backup 12.5 into a powerful hybrid cloud backup solution! Enjoy safe, secure, and scalable offsite backup for any data or any system — anytime, anywhere.

 

  • Perform local and offsite cloud backup in one easy step in Acronis Backup 12.5
  • Back up everything — disks, partitions, servers, data, mobile devices — to the Acronis Cloud.
  • Recover anything quickly and easily — files, folders, applications, or an entire system.
  • Keep backups safe in 14+ Acronis’ ultra-secure, Tier-IV designed & SSAE-16 compliant local data centers.

 

That was all we had time for. We hope you found answers to these real life computer problems useful!

If anyone reading this has any similar questions, below is a list of things we can help with – feel free to get in touch at www.tecwork.co.uk or email helpme@tecwork.co.uk or call 01892 578666.

Thanks for reading!

Internet

 

Speeds

Performance issues

Government Grants

Faults

Suppliers

Routers and firewalls – security

Remote access

Lead times for orders

Networks and redundancy

Mobile Broadband

Fibre to the Premises

Copper and fibre broadband – the differences

The future/5G

Wi-fi

 

Computers

 

PC’s

Laptops

MACS

Faults and Performance issues

Upgrades

Manufacturers

Anti-virus and Security

Browsers and software

Microsoft Office 365

Cabling

Wi-fi

 

Telecoms

 

Normal Phone lines

Digital Phone Lines

VoIP (Voice over IP)

Call charges

Phone Systems

Suppliers and Networks

Call Recordings

Call Centres and Features

Remote working and mobility

Security and Fraud

Service, Support and Upgrade

Moving offices

Cabling

Mobiles