Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Specifications to Look for With Back to School Sales

With August just around the corner, back to school deals, including some of the best pricing on laptops, ultrabooks and desktop computers will soon be available. There are two specific times of year to get great deals on these types of electronics. They are during back to school sales and the period beginning after Thanksgiving and lasting until just after Christmas. 

Unfortunately, sometimes it can be hard to know if you truly are getting a great deal and special pricing can often be misleading. The items below explain what specifications you should be looking for when shopping back to school sales. Knowing what these designations mean will help you get the best deal for your needs.

What Specifications to Look for With Back to School Sales

Back to School sales typically begin in August as classes begin anywhere between the middle of August and sometime after the Labor Day Holiday. These sales aim to catch parents and students alike who are preparing for another year of education with the right tools in hand.

Here are some ways to be sure you are truly getting a great deal rather than getting last year's deal:

Processor Generation

Thursday, July 20, 2017

3 Requirements to Configure Gmail in Outlook

Using a web browser to check email is easy and convenient because it does not require anything other than an Internet connection and credentials. Most webmail providers even offer to save credentials making the process even faster. However, there are benefits to using a local email application like Outlook including:
  • The ability to access items even when offline
    • This includes emails, sent items, calendar items, tasks etc.
  • Never losing an email due to an interrupted connection or web page glitch
  • The unlimited amount of storage for email archiving and tracking
Unfortunately, configuring Outlook for some email accounts is more difficult than others. For instance, connecting a Microsoft O365 or Comcast account is very simple. Gmail on the other hand requires modifying a few security settings before Outlook can properly authenticate with a Gmail account.

3 Requirements to Configure Gmail in Outlook

Configuring an email account within Outlook has become a fairly simple process. By entering the email address and credentials, Outlook can connect to the email account and automatically apply the correct settings in most cases. Gmail is one of the exceptions to this and the settings that need to be configured first are listed below. NOTE: It is best to configure these 3 settings before trying to configure Outlook for a Gmail address because if these settings are not correct the authentication will fail without giving a reason for the failure. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Controlling How Windows 10 Updates are Implemented

There are often vast differences in the settings between versions of Windows operating systems. One of the big changes in Windows 10 was the amount of control over Windows updates. For example, in Windows 7 users were able to control:
  • When updates were downloaded and installed
    • Updates could be downloaded and installed automatically OR
    • Downloaded but manually installed OR
    • Update checks are made but downloads and installs are manual
    • Updates were never checked for
  • If recommended updates were installed at the same time as Windows updates
  • If Microsoft product updates were downloaded and installed at the same time
When Windows 10 was first released, there were very few update settings and automatic updates could not be disabled. Now, after the release of the Anniversary Update, there are some settings you should be aware of so you can customize them to fit your needs.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

How to Set Up a VPN on Windows 10: The Basics

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a combination of software and hardware used to create an encrypted tunnel between two devices. The purpose of a VPN is to allow devices in different locations to communicate and share data that is protected while being transmitted over a public network, the Internet. Encryption is used to prevent the data from being accessed in a readable format if captured.

To use a VPN, a VPN appliance needs to be set up where the data exists and a VPN client configured on devices located elsewhere. This post covers the "how to set up a VPN client on a Windows 10 device" part of the process.

How to Set Up a VPN on Windows 10: The Basics

To set up a VPN client on a Windows 10 device:
  • Click on the wireless icon in the taskbar located in the bottom right corner.
  • Select the "Network Settings" link in the pop-up menu.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Ransomeware is, and Why it is So Effective

Ransomware has been big in the news again with new strains like WannaCry / WannaCrypt and Petya being released. Yet if you do not understand what Ransomware is, or how it is so effective, it can be hard to protect your devices, your business, and your data. This post explains what ransomware is, why it is so effective, and how it poses as a risk to nearly everyone.

What Ransomware is, and Why it is So Effective

What Ransomware is
In the simplest terms, Ransomware is a piece of malicious software. It is designed to infect devices and encrypt all the files on the device. Ransomware can be received by following a link in an email, from a USB drive, a website, or an attachment in an email.

Once Ransomware infects a device, it encrypts all the files on the device rendering them inaccessible by the victim.

Some facts:
  • Millions1 - the number of Ransomware attacks in 2016
  • 33 hours2 - the average number of hours spent recovering from a Ransomware infection
  • Increasing3 - nearly every statistic surrounding Ransomware including: distribution, families, infections, spread, business attacks, demand amounts and payments

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How to Write Effective Network Logon Scripts

Last week's post discussed 4 valuable reasons for using mapped network drives. The reasons included: file sharing, managing file versions, localizing storage needs and backups. This week we expand upon this idea by showing how mapped drives are created with examples on how to write an effective logon script.

How to Write Effective Network Logon Scripts

Logon scripts are most effective when they are planned out before being implemented. This is because thought needs to be put into what resources users should have access to, permissions need to be set up, and oftentimes a single logon script is not suitable for every user. It may make more sense to add additional mapped drives for specific groups. For instance, a school may map specific drives to folders for student and faculty use, while the administrators have no use for these folders and vice versa.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

4 Reasons Why you Should Utilize Mapped Network Drives

Mapped network drives have been a useful tool for businesses and groups for years. A mapped network drive is a pointer using a letter drive in Windows Explorer that points to a physical location other than the local computer. These drives can be found in Windows Explorer under the heading "Network Location" located below hard disk drives and devices with removable storage.