Technology Advisor Blog

Rev up your laptop - Get a Solid State Drive!

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 7/23/12 10:01 AM

Fast Hard Drive MotorcycleMy laptop was running slow and I was starting to think about replacing it, and decided to upgrade to a solid state hard drive instead.  Wow!  What a difference!

I found a Samsung 256GB drive for a great price, and decided to follow the advice we give to customers.   Performance is snappy and my system feels like brand new.

The process to physically install the new drive is simple and only takes a few minutes, but the data transfer is a bit tricky.  Typically, we image old drive to the new drive, and this can take a while depending on the amount of data.  In fact, the longest step in the process (around 7 hours), was decrypting the old drive (for security of mobile devices, we recommend full-disk encryption).  This isn't active engineering time, but you do need to budget a time when you can just let the process run.

For my system, the straightforward image process didn't work, and we ended up re-installing the operating system, and I had to reinstall applications.  We have done many hard drive replacements for Dells and HPs, so we don't know if this was specific to the Lenovo system, but in the end everything worked, so all was well (it just took a bit longer).  Fortunately, many of my applications were downloaded, so I had a copy and just needed to re-install them.  There was a lot of waiting for things to run, but the end result was great.

If you're getting frustrated with your old system, and you've already increased your RAM, then consider getting a solid state drive.  Just find a time when you can be without your sytsem for a while, and next time you log in it will be like brand new.

Tags: laptop, solid state hard drive, performance

"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

Laptop Encryption - Part 2 - Know the Difference Between "Sleep" and "Hibernation"

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 1/11/11 9:28 AM

Good news, you've protected your laptop (and your business and your customers) by encrypting it.  Now, now an encryption key will be needed to access confidential or protected information.

One very important thing to remember is that when you open your encrypted volume with the key, it stays open if your computer goes to sleep.  This is a time to understand the  between "sleep" and "hibernation".  These are similar, but different power settings on your system.  If you've relied on "sleep" before when you transport your laptop, this will NOT protect your system because the encryption key won't be needed to resume work.  "Hibernation" or a full shut down is required.  Test this for yourself to ensure that your information is truly protected!

Tags: laptop, Encryption

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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