Technology Advisor Blog

3 Things to Do BEFORE your Hard Drive Crashes!

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 4/1/11 2:43 PM

Hard DriveUnless you're already using one of the new solid state hard drives, all of your critical business data is spinning around at 5400rpm or faster on a magnetic disk inside your computer.  Think about it - it's a miracle any hard drive can actually work, and all your data is in a perilous situation!  One of the most common system failures in a computer is a hard drive failure, but it doesn't have to be a disaster for you if you plan in advance.

Here are three things to do before your hard drive crashes:

  1. Check that you're backing up EVERYTHING you need to backup.  A common "gotcha" is using a specialized program that writes files to another location other than "My Documents".  Make sure your QuickBook files and any other critical business files are included in your backup.  One of the great things about Outlook 2010 is that finally your e-mail file is stored with "My Documents", so you won't have to go looking for it in hidden files.
  2. Make sure you have a list of all the software on your system and corresponding license keys.  Keep any disks you may have in a safe place too, including all the disks that came with your computer.
  3. If you're using an online backup, make sure you know the password!  Your backup may run automatically every day, but you also need to make sure you can retrieve files from the web if your system completely dies.  "Set it and forget it" is great for making sure your backup runs all the time, but just be sure NOT to forget the password!

With a little advance preparation, you can turn a complete catastrophe (lost data, expensive software replacement, lots of down time), into a minor inconvenience of buying a new hard drive for under $100.

Tags: computer, backup, hard drive, data

"Deep Freeze" to Protect Your Shared Computers

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 1/18/11 9:54 AM

In this day and age of all sorts of computer viruses and threats, a big problem for businesses is what to do with systems used by multiple people.

In your small business, you may have laptops that are loaned out to employees temporarily, or you may have a training room or a kiosk set up for customers to use.  With different users on the systems and little control over what the users may do, Deep Freeze is a great product which removes any changes to a computer upon reboot.  Therefore whatever happens to the system will be GONE when it reboots, so its a clean slate again for the next user. You won't waste time and money cleaning up the system or lose productivity.

This is a great solution for libraries, schools, training rooms, sales kiosks, hotels, and basically anywhere where people will need a computer for a short period of time, but don't need any customization, or their own data.  If you've ever thought it would be helpful to let customers have access to a computer, but you didn't want the hassle or risk of constant support to clean things up, this is a great solutions for your small business. 

Tags: small business, computer, laptop, security protection

Sign of the times - Where are the desktop computers?

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 12/13/10 8:49 AM

Its been a few years since notebook sales surpassed desktop sales, but a weekend visit to the local Staples store shows how far this trend has gone:  On display were 15 laptops, 3 netbooks, 1 tablet, and off to the side, on a lower shelf, were 3 desktop PCs. 

Two years ago, eweek asked "Is the desktop dead for SMBs?"  We're still seeing a lot of new desktop requests from our small business clients (probably around half of new systems), but it looks like retailers for small business like Stables are shifting more quickly.

Tags: computer, laptop, PC sales

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