• Posted on February 12, 2017 6:50 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    Well it always happens (short post), eventually automation gets comfortable with itself and BOOM!  An Update overwrote our custom theme. Across my SNX Consulting network, I accidently applied a theme update to my custom "Vanilla" theme which I'm using as a placeholder.  Welp, it just happens to be the same name of another theme that is publically available through WordPress.   So through my "left-clicky" of Apply Updates, I ended up overwriting my custom theme. Basically means, my homepage is now showing someone else's theme work, and a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. A Yummy Mistake!, So after I go get a bowl of Vanilla Ice Cream, I'll look for my backup. Maybe have it fixed by Monday

    Blog Entry, HAPPINESS
  • Posted on February 10, 2017 11:39 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Welcome to the exciting world of bittorrent downloading! While file sharing is controversial and often accused of being 'music piracy', millions of users continue to share their files, and thousands of new torrent users are added every day. To get you started, here are 5 quick tutorials for beginning torrent users. We recommend that you read the following articles in order. We also recommend that you install reliable antivirus software before you actually start downloading. Happy reading, and enjoy your new torrent download experience!   1 Torrents 101: Understand How Bittorrent File Sharing Works Paul Taylor/Stone/Getty ImagesIf you are new to torrent downloading, then you will definitely want to read about how the system works.  Torrents, aka 'bittorrents',  are pointer files that help you locate dozens of other users' computers.  You then connect to those private computers with your special torrent software, and copy their music and movie files to your own computer. Read more about how torrent downloading works... 2 Use a VPN Connection to Cloak Your File Sharing Signal Tunnelbear.com. Tunnelbear.comBy subscribing to a virtual private network service, you can mask your connection and identity as you share files.  Your VPN connection will cipher your connection so that eavesdroppers will only see illegible data when they try to view your downloads.  Simultaneously, a VPN will bounce your signal off multiple servers, making your physically very difficult to trace. Here are some very good choices for a VPN privacy service... 3 The Best Torrent Software Torrent downloading requires special software that can read .torrent files.  These torrent software products also need to provide management control over download and upload speeds, priorities, and cataloging. Here are several torrent software products that About.com readers recommend. 4 Best Torrent Download Sites: How to Find Torrent Movies and Music Once you understand torrent 'swarming' and have the torrent software installed, now it's time to find the .torrent pointer files that get you the music and movies you want.  Many torrent sites offer searching services for free (but with the annoyance of banner advertising).  Some torrent sites are private communities that closely guard their catalog of torrents. Read about the best torrent sites for beginners here... 5 Warning: How to Spot Fake Torrent Files Photodisc / Getty ImagesSadly, there are vandals, thieves, and scammers out there who will use phony torrent files to put malware on your computer.  By disguising their nasty software as attractive movies and music downloads, these scammers seek to deceive you into installing their stuff.  RAR files, WMV files, password-protected files: these are just some of the ways torrent files are faked. Read more about spotting fake torrent files here... 6 Protect Yourself from Bad Torrents with Antivirus There are many good antivirus products to choose from.  But when it comes to free antivirus tools, there is one product that really stands out: Avira.  In repeated tests by several computer professionals, Avira consistently caught more malware infections than its competition.

    Blog Entry
  • Posted on February 8, 2017 11:55 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Do you suspect your email account has been hacked? Can't login to your email account? Are you getting undeliverable and bounce messages for email you never sent? Are friends and family complaining of receiving email you never sent? Is it malware? A hacker? Here's how to tell. Undeliverable and Bounce Messages Spammers frequently spoof the From sender on the email they send. They just substitute their real email address with a random email address found on a mailing list or one just randomly made up. Some poorly configured email gateway products don't distinguish between the manually editable "From" address and the actual sender origin, so they simply send any undeliverable messages to the spoofed From address. To better understand how this works, and help you track down the real origin of an email, see: Reading Email Headers. Best defense: Simply delete the undeliverable/bounce messages. In other cases, email worms will send themselves disguised as an undeliverable/bounce message. The bogus email contains either a link or an attachment. Clicking the link or opening the attachment leads directly to a copy of the worm. Your best course is to learn to overcome curiosity. Best defense: If you receive an undeliverable or bounce message for an email you know you did not send, resist the temptation to open the attachment or click the link. Just delete the email. Unable to login to your email account If you are unable to login to your email account due to an invalid password, it's possible that someone has gained access and changed the password. It's also possible that the email service is experiencing a system outage of some sort. Before you panic, make sure your email provider is functioning normally. Best defense: Prevention is key. Most email providers offer a password recovery option. If you have even a hint of concern that your email password has been compromised, change your password immediately. If you specified an alternate email address as part of the password recovery, make sure that address is active and be sure to monitor the account regularly. In some cases, you may need to call your email provider and request a reset. If you go that route, be sure to change your password from the one provided during the phone call. Be sure to use a strong password. Email appearing in Sent Items folder If copies of the sent email are appearing in your Sent Items folder, then it's likely that some type of email worm might be involved. Most modern-day malware won't leave such tell-tale signs behind, so it, fortunately, would be indicative of an older, more easily removed threat. Best defense: Update your existing antivirus software and run a full system scan. Email is sent to address book, does not appear in the Sent folder, and it's a webmail account The most likely cause is phishing. Chances are at some point in the past, you were tricked into divulging your email username and password. This enables the attacker to login to your webmail account and send spam and malicious email to everyone in your address book. Sometimes they also use the hijacked account to send to strangers. Generally, they remove any copies from the Sent folder to avoid easy detection. Best defense: Change your password. Make sure you've checked the validity of any alternate email addresses included in the password recovery settings first. Symptoms don't match the above Best defense: Make sure you do a thorough check for a malware infection. Fully scan your system with installed up-to-date antivirus software and then get a second opinion with one of these free online scanners. Receiving complaints from friends, family, or strangers One of the problems with spoofed, hijacked or hacked email is that it can also lead to responses from angry recipients. Stay calm - remember, the recipients are just as much a victim as you. Best defense: Explain what happened and use the experience as an educational opportunity to help others avoid the same plight.

    Blog Entry, Data Recovery, Hacking
  • Posted on February 4, 2017 12:36 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    My run-in with the dark side of automatic updates One of the advantages I've touted for Windows 10 is the fact that updates are installed automatically. In effect, you don't have a choice, or at least your choices are limited. Microsoft pushes updates through to your computer and that's more or less it. I've called this a good thing, and I stand by that statement. The biggest security problem with Windows systems, after all, is unpatched computers -- not malware, nor Trojans, or viruses. No, it's people who don't update their systems, allowing malicious software easy entry into the operating system (OS). However, it's not all sunny days when it comes to automatic updates in Windows 10. I experienced the downside of those updates during the early days of the OS and thought I'd share my experiences here. It's a tale of fear, loss, and, ultimately, relief. An experience that almost crashed my computer in a really, really horrible way. I Don't Think '100%' Means What You Think It Means It started when I checked my Dell Studio 1737 laptop and saw a gray screen that said "Installing updates 100%", with "Do not turn off your computer" underneath, and a little swirling circle that typically indicates your computer is installing updates. In other words, Windows 10 automatically downloaded and installed an update, and now it was just finishing up. I waited for my PC to reboot, as is typical. I figured that it would happen momentarily, since the message told me that the update was 100 percent installed. I waited for the reboot, and waited, and waited, and…well, you get the idea. If it was indeed 100 percent installed, it shouldn't have taken this long. Then, because nothing was happening, I did what Windows warns you never to do: I turned off my computer. Using the Force (Shut Down) When I turned the computer back on, I got nothing. I tried "waking it up" by hitting the Enter key, then slamming on some other keys, then (perhaps a little too energetically) clicking the mouse. Often, this will bring up the desktop. But this time, nothing -- again. I then tried the classic "force shutdown" key combination of pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys at the same time (sometimes known as the "three finger salute"). The combination usually triggers a hard reboot, in which the computer turns off then restarts. But this time, nothing happened yet again. My next step was to press and hold the power button for about five seconds. I wasn't sure this would work, but it's helped in the past with other computers. And… voila! The computer shut down. I waited a few seconds, then turned it back on. But I got another gray, blank screen, and no boot sequence. I started to worry that something bad had gone wrong with Windows due to the update. This laptop is still fairly new and expensive. I couldn't afford to have it go down. I tried pressing and holding the power key again for five seconds. The computer shut down, again. Once I started up again, I got another message that Windows was updating. Wait -- what? Updating again? Didn't it update before? Doesn't "100% Updated" mean 100 percent updated? This time, I got progress messages like "18% updated … 35% updated … 72% updated…" Once again, it hit "100% Updated", just like it did when I had the first problem. Success At Last I held my breath, waiting to see if I was about to start the evil cycle all over again. But this time, I got my startup screen, and was able to log in to my computer. Whew! There would be no need to reinstall Windows this day. I next went into my update settings at Start>Settings>Update & Security>Update history. Here's what I saw: Update for Windows 10 for x64-based Systems (KB3081441) Failed to install on 8/19/2015   Cumulative Update for Windows 10 for x64-based Systems (KB3081444) Successfully installed on 8/19/2015 One update tried to install and failed, while another one succeeded. It wasn't the same update, since they have different "KB" numbers (KB is a Microsoft designation that identifies update packages). Oh, the Pain On top of all those updates, there was also a "Cumulative Update" for Windows 10 three days prior. At the time this told me that Microsoft was finding and fixing a lot of bugs in the OS, which is par for the course with a new version of Windows. It's also why you may want to wait for a little longer before updating to a major new version of Windows 10. Update problems can plague a number of Windows 10 users whenever a new release rolls out. While your choices are limited there are actions you can take to delay Windows 10 updates. We'll take a look at that in an upcoming Windows 10 Updates survival guide. Ultimately, these forced updates are still a good thing despite my experiences. It can, however, be a pain for early adopters.

    Blog Entry
  • Posted on February 3, 2017 11:33 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Using keyboard shortcuts help you use your laptop without a mouse Keyboard shortcuts greatly enhance your productivity and save you a whole lot of time. Instead of pointing and clicking with the touchpad or external mouse, you can keep your hands on the keyboard and simply press combinations of keys on to get things done. Besides making you more efficient, using keyboard shortcuts also can reduce wrist strain. Here are the best Windows shortcuts you should know or print for quick reference. 16 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts Copy, cut and paste: Use these basic key combinations when you want to duplicate (copy) or move (cut) a photo, snippet of text, web link, file, or anything else into another location or document by pasting it. These shortcuts work in Windows Explorer, Word, email, and pretty much everywhere else. CTRL+C: Copy the selected item CTRL+X: Cut the selected item CTRL+V: Paste the selected item Selecting items: Highlight an item so you can copy and paste it or do some other action CTRL+A: Select all items in a window, on the desktop, or all text in a document Shift+Any Arrow Key: Select text within a document (e.g., one letter at a time) or one item at a time in a window CTRL+Shift+Any Arrow Key: Select a block of text (e.g., a whole word at a time) Find text or files: Quickly search a document, web page,  or Windows Explorer for a phrase or block of characters CTRL+F or F3: Opens a "find" dialog box Format text: Hit these combinations before typing to bold, italicize, or underline CTRL+B: Bold text CTRL+I: Italicize text CTRL+U: Underline text Create, Open, Save, and Print: Basics for working with files. These shortcuts are the equivalent of going to the File menu and selecting: New..., Open..., Save..., or Print CTRL+N: Create a new file or document or open a new browser window CTRL+O: Open a file or document CTRL+S: Save CTRL+P: Print Work with tabs and windows: CTRL+T: Open a new tab in your web browser CTRL+Shift+T: Reopen a tab you just closed (e.g., by accident) CTRL+H: View your browsing history CTRL+W: Close a window Undo and redo: Made a mistake? Go back or forward in history. CTRL+Z: Undo an action CTRL+Y: Redo an action Once you've got the basic keyboard shortcuts down, learn these to save even more time. Move the cursors: Quickly jump the cursor to the beginning or end of your word, paragraph, or document. CTRL+Right Arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word CTRL+Left Arrow: Move the cursor back to the beginning of the previous word CTRL+Down Arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph CTRL+Up Arrow: Move the cursor back to the beginning of the previous paragraph CTRL+Home: Go to the start of a document CTRL+End: Go to the end of a document Move windows: One of Windows 7's best features, you can snap a window to the left or right of the screen and fit half of the screen exactly, or quickly maximize the window to full screen. Hit the Windows button and arrows to activate. WIN+Right Arrow: Resize the window to half of the display and dock it to the right. WIN+Left Arrow: Resize the window to half of the display and dock it to the left. WIN+Up Arrow: Maximize the window to full screen. WIN+Down Arrow: Minimize the window or restore it if it is maximized. WIN+Shift+Right/Left Arrow: Move the window to an external monitor on the left or right. Function keys: Press one of these keys at the top of your keyboard to quickly perform an action F1: Open the Help page or window F2: Rename an object (e.g., file in Windows Explorer) F3: Find F4: Shows the address bar in Windows Explorer F5: Refreshes the page F6: Moves to a different panel or screen element in a window or the desktop Take a screenshot: Useful for pasting an image of your desktop or a certain program and sending to tech support ALT+Print Screen: Capture a screenshot of a window CTRL+Print Screen: Capture the entire screen/desktop Working with Windows: Windows system shortcuts CTRL+ALT+Delete: Bring up the Windows Task Manager ALT+Tab: Show open applications so you can quickly jump to a different one WIN+D: Show your desktop WIN+L: Lock your computer CTRL+Shift+N: Create a new folder Shift+Delete: Delete an item immediately, without placing it in the recycle bin ALT+Enter or ALT+Double-click: Go to the properties screen for files or folders (much faster than right-clicking and selecting "Properties")

    Blog Entry
  • Posted on February 2, 2017 11:32 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Are you satisfied with how your home network works today? Even if the answer is 'yes,' the time for upgrading it will eventually come, probably sooner than you think. Network technology improves with each generation of technology, making older products obsolete, so the benefits of upgrading can be significant. Consider these reasons why you may need to start planning for a home network upgrade. 1 Improve the Reliability of a Home Network Home broadband routers are prone to malfunction due to their central role on the network. Common causes of home router failures include overheating, firmware bugs, and other technical glitches that a homeowner cannot easily fix themselves. It can be much cheaper in the long run to buy a new router than to spend hours troubleshooting these failures or dealing with the inconvenience of having to reset the device periodically. 2 Add Wireless Capability to Home Networks Earlier generations of home routers only supported wired Ethernet but nowadays most also support Wi-Fi wireless connections. Homeowners who haven’t yet adopted wireless are missing out on the features and convenience that a wide range of Wi-Fi enabled consumer devices now offer, such as easy sharing of printers. Some Wi-Fi networks suffer from connectivity and performance issues due to a lack of wireless radio signal strength. A home Wi-Fi network’s signal range can be expanded by adding a second router, replacing the router with a more powerful one, or (in some cases) upgrading the router’s external antennas. 3 Increase Home Network Security Old Wi-Fi devices lacked support for a basic network security technology called WPA (Wireless Protected Access). Some homeowners chose to keep their networks running with the older WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) in order to accommodate these devices. Because WPA networks offer significantly better security protection than WEP due to technical advances, upgrading is strongly advised. Some WEP devices can be enabled for WPA with a firmware upgrade; others must be replaced. 4 Improve the Performance of a Home Network If a household heavily uses their Internet connection to watch video, play games or run other online apps, upgrading their Internet service to a higher tier plan can greatly improve the overall home network experience. In some cases, though, it is the performance of local network connections within the home that become a bottleneck. For example, an 802.11g based network rated at 54 Mbps will often operate at rates of 10 Mbps or less in practice, limiting the throughput of otherwise fast Internet links. Streaming of video within a home also usually requires higher levels of performance than an 802.11g router can support, particularly when multiple devices are sharing the network. Upgrading the router to an 802.11n (Wireless N) or newer model can avoid many such performance issues. 5 Expanding the Size of a Home Network As a person adds more devices to their home network, its available capacity gets stretched. Most home routers support only about four Ethernet ports, for example. Adding additional Ethernet devices requires installing either a second router or a separate network switch that fans out one of these ports to at least four additional ones. Most wireless routers theoretically can theoretically support more than 200 connected devices, but in practice, the network becomes unusable when too many devices attempt to communicate at the same time. Adding a second router (access point) helps mitigate this issue, and it can also address situations where devices in far corners of the home (or outdoors) can’t get a strong enough signal to join. 6 Adding More Features to a Home Network Few homeowners take advantage of all cool features a home network offers. Some upgrades cost substantial amounts of money in new equipment and/or service fees, while others can be set up for free or reasonably low cost. Examples of these more advanced home network features include network backup servers, home automation systems, and networked entertainment systems.

    Blog Entry
  • Posted on February 1, 2017 11:26 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    While most home computer networks only use one router, adding a second router makes sense in a few situations: Upgrading a wired network to also support wireless devices Extending the wireless range of a home network to reach dead spots Networking a wired device that's too far away from the original router Creating a separate subnetwork within the home to stream video among some devices without bogging down connections to others Making it all work requires just a few steps. Positioning a Second Router When setting up a new router, place it near a Windows PC or other computer that can be used for the initial configuration. Both wired and wireless routers are best configured from a computer connected via Ethernet network cable. The router can be moved to its permanent location later. Connecting a Second Wired Router A second (new) router that doesn't have wireless capability must be connected to the first (existing) router via an Ethernet cable. Plug one end of the cable into the new router's uplink port (sometimes labeled "WAN" or "Internet"). Plug the other end into any free port on the first router other than its uplink port. Connecting a Second Wireless Router Home wireless routers can be connected to each other via Ethernet cable the same as wired routers. Connecting two home routers via wireless is also possible, but in most configurations the second one will only be able to function as a wireless access point instead of a router. The second router must be set up in client mode to utilize its full routing functionality, a mode that many home router's don’t support. Consult a specific router model's documentation to determine whether it supports client mode and how to configure it. Wi-Fi Channel Settings for Wireless Home Routers If both the existing and second new routers are wireless, their Wi-Fi signals can easily interfere with each other, causing dropped connections and unpredictable network slowdowns. Each wireless router utilizes certain Wi-Fi frequency ranges called channels, and signal interference occurs whenever two wireless routers in the same house uses the same or overlapping channels. Wireless routers use different Wi-Fi channels by default depending on the model, but these settings can be changed via the router's console. To avoid signal interference between two routers in a home, try setting the first router to use channel 1 or 6 and the second to use channel 11.   IP Address Configuration of a Second Router Home network routers also have default IP address settings depending on their model. The default IP settings of a second router do not require any change unless it is to be configured as a network switch or access point. Using the Second Router as a Switch or Access Point The above procedures enable an additional router to support a subnetwork within a home network. This is useful when wanting to maintain an extra level of control over certain devices, such as placing extra restrictions on their Internet access. Alternatively, a second router can be configured as an Ethernet network switch or (if wireless) an access point. This lets devices connect to the second router as normal but does not create a subnetwork. For households simply looking to extend basic Internet access plus file and printer sharing to additional computers, a no-subnetwork set up is sufficient, but it does require a different configuration procedure than above. Configuring a Second Router Without Subnetwork Support To set up a new router as a network switch, plug an Ethernet cable into any free port of the second router other than the uplink port and connect it to any port of the first router other than the uplink port. To set up a new wireless router as an access point, configure the device for either bridge or repeater mode linked to the first router. Consult the second router's documentation for the specific settings to use. For both wired and wireless routers, update the IP configuration: Check the second router's local IP address and change it if necessary to ensure it is within the address range of the network as configured on the first router and not conflicting with any other device on the local network. Set the DHCP address range of the second router to fit inside the address range of the first router. (Alternatively, disable DHCP and manually set the IP address of each device connected to the second router to fall within the first router's range.)

    Blog Entry
  • Posted on January 31, 2017 11:22 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    The Advanced Startup Options menu, available in Windows 10 and Windows 8, is the central fix-it location for the entire operating system. From here you can access Windows diagnostic and repair tools like Reset This PC, System Restore, Command Prompt, Startup Repair, and much more. Advanced Startup Options is also where you access Startup Settings, the menu that includes Safe Mode, among other startup methods that could help you access Windows 10 or Windows 8 if it is having problems starting. The Advanced Startup Options menu should appear automatically after two consecutive startup errors. However, if you need to open it manually, there are six different ways to do so. The best way to decide which method to use to open Advanced Startup Options is to base your decision on what level of access you have to Windows right now: If Windows 10/8 starts normally: Use any method, but 1, 2, or 3 will be easiest. If Windows 10/8 does not start: Use method 4, 5, or 6. Method 1 will also work if you can at least get to the Windows 10 or Windows 8 logon screen. Time Required: Accessing Advanced Startup Options is easy and can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on which method you use. Applies To: All of these means of getting to the Advanced Startup Options menu work equally well in any edition of Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 unless I note otherwise. Method 1: SHIFT + Restart Hold down either SHIFT key while tapping or clicking on Restart, available from any Power icon.​ Tip: Power icons are available throughout Windows 10 and Windows 8 as well as from the sign-in/lock screen. Note: This method does not seem to work with the on-screen keyboard. You'll need to have a physical keyboard connected to your computer or device to open the Advanced Startup Options menu this way. Wait while the Advanced Startup Options menu opens. Method 2: Settings Menu Tap or click on the Start button.Note: In Windows 8, Swipe from the right to open the charms bar. Tap or click Change PC settings. Choose Update and recovery from the list on the left (or General prior to Windows 8.1), then choose Recovery. Skip down to Step 5. Tap or click on Settings. Tap or click on the Update & security icon, near the bottom of the window. Choose Recovery from the list of options on the left of the UPDATE & SECURITY window. Locate Advanced startup, at the bottom of the list of options on your right. Tap or click on Restart now. Wait through the Please wait message until Advanced Startup Options opens. Method 3: Shutdown Command Open Command Prompt in Windows 10 or Windows 8.Tip: Another option is to open Run if you can't get Command Prompt started for some reason, probably related to the issue you're having that has you here in the first place! Execute the shutdown command in the following way: shutdown /r /o Note: Save any open files before executing this command or you'll lose any changes you've made since your last save. To the You're about to be signed off message that appears a few seconds later, tap or click on the Close button. After several seconds, during which nothing seems to be happening, Windows 10/8 will then close and you'll see a Please wait message. Wait just a few seconds more until the Advanced Startup Options menu opens. Method 4: Boot From Your Windows 10/8 Installation Media Insert a Windows 10 or Windows 8 DVD or a flash drive with the Windows installation files on it into your computer.Tip: You can borrow someone else's Windows 10 or Windows 8 disc (or other media) if you need to. You're not installing or reinstalling Windows, you're just accessing Advanced Startup Options - no product key or license breaking required. Boot from the disc or boot from the USB device, whatever your situation calls for. From the Windows Setup screen, tap or click Next. Tap or click on the Repair your computer link at the bottom of the window. Advanced Startup Options will start, almost immediately. Method 5: Boot From a Windows 10/8 Recovery Drive Insert your Windows 10 or Windows 8 Recovery Drive into a free USB port.Tip: Don't worry if you weren't proactive and never got around to creating a Recovery Drive. If you have another computer with the same version of Windows or a friend's computer with Windows 10/8, see How To Create a Windows 10 or Windows 8 Recovery Drive for instructions. Boot your computer from the flash drive. On the Choose your keyboard layout screen, tap or click on U.S. or whatever keyboard layout you'd like to use. Advanced Startup Options will begin instantly. Method 6: Boot Directly to Advanced Startup Options Start or restart your computer or device. Choose the boot option for System Recovery, Advanced Startup, Recovery, etc.On some Windows 10 and Windows 8 computers, for example, pressing F11 starts System Recovery. Note: What this boot option is called is configurable by your hardware maker so the options I mentioned are just some that I've seen or heard. Whatever the name, it should be clear that what you're about to do is a boot to Windows's advanced recovery features. Important: The ability to boot directly to Advanced Startup Options isn't one that's available with a traditional BIOS. Your computer will need to support UEFI and then also be configured properly to boot directly to the ASO menu. Wait for Advanced Startup Options to begin. What About F8 and SHIFT+F8? Neither F8 nor SHIFT+F8 is a reliable option for booting to the Advanced Startup Options menu. If you need to access Advanced Startup Options, you can do so with any of the several methods listed above. How To Exit Advanced Startup Options Whenever you're finished using the Advanced Startup Options menu, you can choose Continue to restart your computer. Assuming it's working properly now, this will boot you back into Windows 10/8. Your other option is to choose Turn off your PC, which will do just that.

    Blog Entry, Security, Technical Support
  • Posted on January 30, 2017 12:00 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    Question: What is the Range of a Typical WiFi Network? Answer: The range of a WiFi computer network depends primarily on the number and type of wireless access points (including wireless routers) used to build it. A traditional home network having one wireless router can cover a single-family dwelling but often not much more. Business networks with grids of access points can cover large office buildings. And wireless hotspots spanning several square miles (kilometers) have been built in some cities. The cost to build and maintain these networks increases significantly as the range increases, of course. The WiFi signal range of any given access point also varies significantly from device to devices. Factors that determine the range of one access point include: the specific 802.11 protocol it runs the strength of its device transmitter the nature of physical obstructions and/or radio interference in the surrounding area A general rule of thumb in home networking says that WiFi routers operating on the traditional 2.4 GHz band reach up to 150 feet (46 m) indoors and 300 feet (92 m) outdoors. Older 802.11a routers that ran on 5 GHz bands reached approximately one-third of these distances. Newer 802.11n and 802.11ac routers that operate on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands vary in the reach similarly. Physical obstructions in homes such as brick walls and metal frames or siding reduce the range of a WiFi network by 25% or more. Due to laws of physics, 5 GHz WiFi connections are more susceptible to obstructions than are 2.4 GHz. Radio signal interference from microwave ovens and other equipment also negatively affects WiFi network range. Because 2.4 GHz radios are commonly used in consumer gadgets, those WiFi connections protocols are more susceptible to interference inside residential buildings. Finally, the distance at which someone can connect to an access point varies depending on antenna orientation. Smartphone users in particular may see their connection strength increase or decrease simply by turning the device at different angles. Furthermore, some access points utilize directional antennas that enable longer reach in areas the antenna is pointing but shorter reach in other areas. There are a variety of routers available on the market. Below are my picks for some of the best sellers, and they all can be purchased on Amazon.com: 802.11ac Routers The TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router includes 450Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps at 5GHz. It features guest network access for extra privacy when sharing your home, and comes with an easy setup assistant with multi-language support to make for a simple installation process. Buy the TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router 802.11n Routers The Netgear WNR2500-100NAS IEEE 802.11n 450 Mbps Wireless Router will make downloading movies, songs, playing games and streaming much faster. The power boost antennas also ensure a stronger connection and broader range. Buy the Netgear WNR2500-100NAS IEEE 802.11n 450 Mbps Wireless Router 802.11g Routers The Linksys WRT54GL Wi-Fi Wireless-G Broadband Router features four fast ethernet ports and the WPA2 encryption allows you to surf the Internet securely. Buy the Linksys WRT54GL Wi-Fi Wireless-G Broadband Router

    Blog Entry
  • Posted on January 29, 2017 11:30 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    In wireless networking, dual band equipment is capable of transmitting in either of two different standard frequency ranges.  Modern Wi-Fi home networks feature dual band broadband routers that support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels. The History of Dual Band Wireless Routers First generation home network routers produced during the late 1990s and early 2000s contained a single 802.11b Wi-Fi radio operating on the 2.4 GHz band. At the same time, a significant number of business networks supported 802.11a (5 GHz) devices. The first dual band Wi-Fi routers were built to support mixed networks having both 802.11a and 802.11b clients. Starting with 802.11n, Wi-Fi standards began including simultaneous dual band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support as a standard feature. Two Examples of Dual Band Wireless Routers The TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router (buy on Amazon.com) has 450Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps at 5GHz, as well as IP-based bandwidth control so you can monitor the bandwidth of all the devices connected to your router. The NETGEAR N750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (buy on Amazon.com) is for medium to large-sized homes and also comes with a genie app, so you can keep tabs on your network and get help troubleshooting if any repairs are needed. Dual Band Wi-Fi Adapters Dual-band Wi-Fi network adapters contain both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless radios similar to dual-band routers. In the early days of Wi-Fi, some laptop Wi-Fi adapters supported both 802.11a and 802.11b/g radios so that a person could connect their computer to business networks during the workday and home networks on nights and weekends. Newer 802.11n and 802.11ac adapters can also be configured to use either band (but not both at the same time). Dual Band Phones Similar to dual band wireless network equipment, some cell phones also use two (or more) bands for cellular communications separate from Wi-Fi. Dual band phones were originally created to support 3G GPRS or EDGE data services on 0.85 GHz, 0.9 GHz or 1.9 GHz radio frequencies. Phones sometimes support tri band (three) or quad band (four) different cellular transmission frequency ranges in order to maximize compatibility with different kinds of phone network, helpful while roaming or traveling. Cell modems switch between different bands but do not support simultaneous dual band connections. Benefits of Dual Band Wireless Networking By supplying separate wireless interfaces for each band, dual band 802.11n and 802.11ac routers provide maximum flexibility in setting up a home network. Some home devices require the legacy compatibility and greater signal reach that 2.4 GHz offers while others may require the additional network bandwidth that 5 GHz offers: Dual-band routers provide connections designed for the needs of each. Many Wi-Fi home networks suffer from wireless interference due to the prevalence of 2.4 GHz consumer gadgets. The ability to utilize 5 GHz on a dual band router helps avoid these issues. Dual band routers also incorporate Multiple-In Multiple-Out (MIMO) radio configurations. The combination of multiple radios on one band together with dual-band support together provide much higher performance home networking than what single band routers can offer.

    Blog Entry, Hardware, Internet
  • Posted on January 28, 2017 11:46 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Private Branch Exchange Explained A PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is a system that allows an organization to manage incoming and outgoing phone calls and also allows communication internally within the organization. A PBX is made up of both hardware and software and connects to communication devices like telephone adapters, hubs, switches, routers and of course, telephone sets. The most recent PBXs have a wealth of very interesting features that make communication easy and more powerful within for organizations, and contributes in making them more efficient and in boosting productivity. Their sizes and complexity vary, ranging from very expensive and complex corporate communication systems to basic plans that are hosted on the cloud for a two-digit monthly fee. You can also have simple PBX systems at home with basic features as an upgrade to your existing traditional phone line. What Does a PBX Do?  As mentioned above, the functions of a PBX can be very complex, but basically, when you talk about PBX, you talk about stuff that does these things: Use of more than one telephone line in an organization, and management of outgoing and incoming calls. Splitting of one single phone line into several internal lines, which are identified through three or four-digit numbers called extensions, and switching calls to the appropriate internal line. This saves the organization from having to pay for several lines, and allows all departments to be reached through one single phone number. Allow free phone communication within the organization. Empower the whole communication with VoIP (Voice over IP), which has a tremendous amount of features and enhancements over traditional telephony, the most prominent being the cutting down of call costs. Ensure good interface with customers through features like call recording, voicemail, IVR etc. Automation of response to calling customers with IVR (interactive voice response) whereby the system can automatically direct users to the most appropriate line through voice menus. It is the kind of feature where, as a caller, you hear things like "Press 1 for the Finance Depart, Press 2 for complaints..." The IP-PBX PBXes changed a lot with the advent of IP telephony or VoIP. After the analog PBXes that worked only on the telephone line and switches, we now have IP-PBXes, which use VoIP technology and IP networks like the Internet to channel calls. IP PBxes are normally preferred due to wealth of features that they come with. With the exception of old already-existing but still-working-fine PBXes, and those chosen because cheap, most PBX systems used nowadays tend to be IP PBXes. The Hosted PBX You do not always have to invest on the hardware, software, installation and maintenance of your in-house PBX, especially if you are running a small business and the cost of ownership prohibits you from benefiting from those important features. There are numerous companies online that offer you the PBX service against a monthly fee without you having anything but your telephone sets and router. These are called hosted PBX services and work on the cloud. The service is dispensed through the Internet. Hosted PBXes have the disadvantage of being generic such that they cannot be tailored to your needs, but they are quite cheap and do not require any upfront investment.

    Blog Entry, Hardware, KnowledgeBase (KB)
  • Posted on January 26, 2017 11:55 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Keeping track of passwords can seem like a hassle. Most of us have multiple sites we visit which require password logins. So many, in fact, that it's tempting to use the same username/password combo for all of them. Don't. Otherwise, it takes only the compromise of a single site's credentials to have a toppling domino affect on the security of all your online assets. Fortunately, there is a fairly straightforward way to have different passwords for each site you use but still make the passwords easy enough to remember. Creating Unique Passwords Before you begin creating strong passwords, you need to consider the use of those passwords. The intent is to create strong passwords unique to each account, but easy enough to memorize. To do this, first begin by splitting the sites you frequently login to into categories. For example, your category list might read as follows: social networking sites auction sites ecommerce sites email accounts banking sites forums A word of note here about forums. Never use the same password for a site's forum as you would for logging into the site itself. Generally speaking, the security on forums is not as strong as it is (or should be) for the regular site and thus the forum becomes the weakest link in your security. This is why, in the example above, forums are split into a separate category. Now that you have your categories, under each appropriate category, list the sites to which you must log in. For example, if you have a Hotmail, gmail, and Yahoo account, list these under the category 'email accounts'. After you've completed the list, you're ready to begin creating the strong, unique, and easy-to-remember passwords for each. Creating Strong Passwords A strong password should be 14 characters. Each character less than that makes it a little easier to compromise. If a site absolutely won't allow a password that long, then adapt these instructions accordingly. Using the 14 character password rule, use the first 8 characters as the common portion to all passwords, the next 3 to customize by category, and the last 3 to customize by site. So the end result ends up like this: common(8)|category(3)|site(3) Following this simple rule, when you change your passwords in the future - which, remember, you should do often - you'll only need to change the first common 8 characters of each. One of the commonly recommended means of remembering a password is to first create a passphrase, modify it to the character limit, then begin swapping characters for symbols. So to do that: Come up with an 8 letter passphrase that is easy to remember. Take the first letter of each word to form the password. Substitute some of the letters in the word with keyboard symbols and caps (symbols are better than caps). Tack on a three letter abbreviation for the category, also replacing one of the letters with a symbol. Tack on a site specific three letter abbreviation, again replacing a single letter with a symbol. As an example: In step 1 we might use the pass phrase: my favorite uncle was an air force pilot Using the first letters of each word, we end up with: mfuwaafp Then we swap some of those characters with symbols and caps: Mf{w&A5p Then we tack on the category, (i.e. ema for email, and swap out one character of ema: e#a Finally, we add the site abbreviation (i.e. gma for gmail) and swap out one character: gm% We now have a password for our gmail account of Mf{w&A5pe#agm% Repeat for each email site, so perhaps you end up with: Mf{w&A5pe#agm% Mf{w&A5pe#aY%h Mf{w&A5pe#aH0t Now repeat these steps for the additional categories and sites within those categories. While this may look hard to remember, here's a tip to simplify - decide in advance what symbol you will equate with each letter. Be sure to check out these other tips for remembering passwords. You may be surprised to learn that some of the oldest advice may just be the wrong advice.

    Blog Entry, DATA, Internet