5 Ways to Make Your Laptop Last Longer

Extend the life of your laptop.Due to their portable nature laptops usually receive rough treatment but are one of the most fragile pieces of tech you’ll ever buy. Here are five easy tips to help extend the life of your laptop.

  1. Avoid sharp movements during use:
    While some new laptops have an SSD (with no moving parts) for storing data, many laptops still have a mechanical drive. The drive has a head and a constantly spinning data storage disk. The head hovers microns over the surface of the spinning disk and one knock can cause them to collide. Just like a deep scratch on a DVD the data on that section will be corrupted and lost or even worse all the data on your drive can become unreadable. We also see a lot of people putting their computer into sleep mode or not even powering them off before moving the device. Always make sure you power down or put into hibernate the laptop before moving it or packing it away.
  2. Keep it cool:
    Your laptop has a few ways of telling you when it’s too hot – the fan, auto-shut off and the heat of the case. Many component in your laptop are generating heat and the harder it’s working, the more heat it generates. The fan runs to blow that heat out the vents and keep the components cool enough to continue operating. Because there is no clear temperature indicator, your fan volume is the best guide to monitoring laptop heat. While the laptop is working hard (and getting hot), the fan will spin faster and louder – it is not uncommon for it to sound like a hair dryer. Help it out by keeping your fan vent clear of books, blankets, and other blockages. A regular internal clean out (performed by a professional) is also a must to help keep the laptop innards clear of dust.
  3. Respect the cords:
    Inside those power cords are a bunch of delicate wires begging you to be gentle with them. You would think they should be able to take a beating, get bent, twisted and run over with chair wheels, but unfortunately they are not. Keep cords clear of sharp or flat-edged items and when wrapping for transport try to remember how it came out of the box. When moving the laptop wrap the cord gently around itself or the power adapter and secure with Velcro or similar.
  4. Carry it in padded style:
    A laptop will endure many bumps and bangs as the bag is moved around, even with careful use. So look for a bag that not only fits your laptop but is also well padded. Ideally your bag will have front, back, bottom, top and side padding as well as a waterproof outer. If backpacks aren’t your style, look for padded or hard-shelled sleeves.
  5. Regularly back it up:
    Laptops provide fantastic mobility but are quite fragile. While a regular backup won’t make your laptop components last longer, it will make any issue you encounter easier to deal with as you won’t loose all your precious data. Consider a cloud based or off-site backup for additional protection, so no matter what happens with your laptop you still have all your important files.

Call us at 08 8326 4364 to give your laptop a life-extending service.

Should You Buy A Consumer Class or Business Class PC?

Consumer or Business Class Computer?You are thinking of buying a computer for work but don’t know whether to go for a “cheaper” consumer or home type of PC or go for one built specifically for business use.

You may have seen business computers with the same brand names that you have at home but that is where the similarities end. Investing in the right system now will definitely pay off in the long term – saving you time, money and a whole lot of heart ache in the future. Below are some tips on what you need to know to make the best choice for your budget and your business.

Durability and Reliability

Consumer PCs don’t have the same build quality as business ones, in fact consumer models have a far shorter expected lifespan and they just are not built to last. Business-class computers are built to last with higher quality components that undergo rigorous testing.

Usage Requirements

How will you be using the computer? If it is mainly for home use with a bit of business usage then a consumer PC with the appropriate work software and settings will be fine.

On the other hand if the machine is used in business then a computer business-class computer is a must. Especially if you will be loosing money and / or have staff sitting around doing nothing while the computer is getting fixed

Warranty and Service

When a consumer PC fails, the burden is on the owner to return it to the place of purchase for repairs. Repairs can take weeks and often involve a frustrating process of paperwork and follow up. With most business class machines the warranty is onsite and the repair technician will come to you, often within hours. Business users enjoy a professional experience with priority status and a dedicated support line, all designed to reduce your down-time and get you back up and running faster.

Business-class Features

Businesses need certain features built-in to the computer and ready to go from day one. These features make your network more secure and you and your staff more productive. For example, fingerprint readers, remote desktop software and in built data encryption tools. The operating system that comes preinstalled on a business-class computer will also have business features while the consumer options don’t. Computers designed for home use come with Windows Home or Starter editions don’t have the ability to join corporate networks. This then requires extra money to upgrade the software and configure the computer.

 

Still confused then save money and heartache now and talk to us today on 08 8326 4364 about choosing the right computer for your needs.

Why Do Computers Slow Down Over Time?

Is your computer slowing down?Remember the way you felt when you turned on your new computer and up it came in a flash? Your computer was the envy of your business colleagues and you loved all that glory. Turn on your system and you were ready to go – those were the days!

After a few years the computer now doesn’t seem to be quite as fast. No, you’re not imagining it, it really has slowed down. There is a measurable drop in speed and power but the good news is that with a little maintenance your computer can be faster.

Let’s look at what items can slow computers down:

Start-up applications: A lot of applications automatically add themselves to start-up when the computer starts. It may be convenient to have programs start automatically but others may be a hindrance. In fact many of the applications starting themselves with the computer are of little usage and are the main reason your computer is running slow.

For example, the iTunes helper loads in the background to speed things up when you connect your device – but if you can’t even remember the last time you ran iTunes on your computer then it is probably unnecessary and can be deleted from start-up. Programs like this are using your computer resources and adding to your speed issues. Some computers automatically load all sorts of programs which can be safely stopped from automatically loading.

Temporary junk: Computers programs leave temporary files and snippets of information all over your hard drive, each action leaving a trail rather like a roaming toddler with sticky fingers. Every webpage you visit, every program you run and every game you play leaves something behind.

It may be the tidbits of information called temporary internet file, cookies, saved game files, auto-restore files or even log files that are clogging your system.The more junk your computer builds up, the slower it gets.

Viruses and malware: These infections sit in the background consuming computer resources while doing various dangerous and unwanted things. They may be spying on your actions, stealing your information or reaching out through your network to infect others. Sometimes the impact is limited to seeing your computer slow to a crawl but other infections can easily reach into the thousands of dollars with lost data and productivity.

Bloating: With every new version of software comes a new set of features and other “improvements” – some are beneficial to you while others are not. The problem with this is that the applications becomes larger and larger with each new version and require more system resources to run – and slowing your computer down.

Hardware Issues: As with anything the older things get the more chances of failure or other issues occuring. Hard drives can have trouble reading data and fans get clogged with dust and cause over heating issues. A simple internal cleanout of the computer or a replacement hard drive (or even better an upgrade to a SSD) can bring the speed back to your computer.

Just like a car, computers need regular maintenance – check out our blog on computer maintenance for some hints and tips. We also offer a Tune-Up service to bring your computer back to its original speed and extend its life. If you are in Adelaide South Australia then email us now at support@dpcomputing.com.au to book your computer in for a tune up.

Why You Should Not Use A Free Email Address For Business

Free email accounts indicated a lack of experience

Many businesses, clients and customers communicate primarily by email and as you know it provides a fantastic ROI – unless you’re using a free email address (like Hotmail, Gmail or one provided by your ISP (internet provider)). If you are still using a free email address you are most likely losing business each and every day.

The downsides of using a free email address are:

An unprofessional look: Imagine if your bank used a free email account – you’d never feel comfortable giving them your personal details let alone your money. How people perceive your business is what can make or break a business. Without a professional touch you will appear as a fly-by-night enterprise. It puts your credibility into question and sends the message that you’re not serious about doing business – or worse – that you are prepared to cut corners and take the cheap option.

It erases your experience: A new or fledgling business often starts out with a free email account. This clearly communicates that they are new, have little experience and are perhaps testing the waters in a new direction. They’re not even remotely proven yet and are firmly within the hobby-zone. Continuing to use the free address once your business moves into the professional arena means you will struggle to build momentum and any experience you have earned will be negated.

It’s forgettable or inappropriate: Your business success hinges on being memorable enough to gain repeat custom and referrals from advertising. Unfortunately free email addresses are filled with hard to remember clutter, for example – franksplumbing_1975@hotmail.com or bookkeeper1198@gmail.com.

Neither of these roll off the tongue, are appropriate for business, or can be remembered without a high likelihood of typos and bounce backs. Branded email addresses such as frank@franksplumbing.com make running a profitable and scalable business much easier.

The email address Is not permanent or safe: When you have a free email address you are at the mercy of the provider. They may cancel your account for any reason or even cease operations. These free accounts are also often hacked and their passwords leaked on a global scale. You get stuck using the same provider (and can’t take advantage of any better deals) as you need to use the old email address because it is on your marketing materials (printed on your business cards, car lettering, flyers etc).

With your own domain name and subsequently your own email address you own it and can move it to a new business-grade email service easily. You also have complete control over the domain and can reset passwords and create and close accounts at will.

Give us a call at 08 8326 4364 to set up your branded business email.

Will Clicking That Link Cost You Thousands?

Ransomware has been a huge security threat in 2016. No-one was safe. Hackers targeted everyone and everything – including office networks and home PCs. In fact anything connected to the Internet (including smart TV’s and surveillance cameras) was fair game for them. They were very successful, with reports of upwards of $US846million reported just from incidents in the US. With this sort of monetary gain business is booming for hackers, with thousands of attacks each day bringing in an average of $US640 per target. Even more alarmingly is that the cost to the end user is on the rise with hackers demanding more and more money each time.

Some hackers even offer to help and rescue you from the issue that they caused – for a fee of course! One method is to trick you into thinking you have a virus or malware issue that will spread rapidly if you don’t pay them money to remove it. Another scarier method is that they pretend to be from a law enforcement agency (ie the Federal Police, FBI or a similar type of organisation) and say your computer was involved in a crime (anything from money laundering to child pornography). If you pay them a certain amount of money quickly you can avoid going to prison.

The real bad malware that is spreading rapidly at the moment are the crypto range of viruses. These viruses cause users to be locked out of their own data by encrypting files on users computers and servers. Folders of business documents, pictures, photos, music and even financial records are all held hostage until a ransom is paid. The encryption is such that it is unbreakable and unless you have a good backup paying the ransom is often seen to be the only solution.

The way these evil hackers get into your computer is deviously simple. They convince users to click on an email attachment/link or pop-up. For example you receive an email or pop up that:

  • supposedly tracks an undeliverable package.
  • is a bill or credit from a utility company.
  • alerts you to a virus that was found and needs to be removed.
  • an invoice from a company you have never heard of and / or for goods you never ordered.
  • advises you of a recent traffic or some other type of fine.

They make the message so tempting to click through for more details (this is what the hackers count on). Their messages and pop-ups aren’t obvious threats and so can easily slip under our radar and through various spam and virus filters.

Paying the hackers to solve or unencrypt your files is not recommended as they are not the most trustworthy bunch. That one payment may lead to demands of more and more money with no solution in sight.

To make things worse, the malware can encrypt your backups too. Having a backup is very important in any situation, but in cases like this, the right backup is needed – with several other backup copies not connected to your network and stored safely offsite. An online backup is also recommended. Before restoring your backup remember to check that the malware isn’t lurking in the background, ready to not just re-infect your restored files but also the backup drive itself.

To avoid finding yourself dealing with ransom demands we recommend being wary of all email attachments. Even if they are from business associates, friends and family – if you are not sure what the file is don’t click it. The sender may not have sent that email intentionally and their compromised system may be automatically emailing everyone in their address book.

You should also be wary with any popups that appear out of place, especially ones that try to make you panic or do something you are wary of doing. If the message doesn’t sound or look right then don’t click it. Ransomware is just too dangerous to risk.

Also make sure your backups are working correctly and regularly test your backups.

Call us on 08 8326 4364 to set your computer up with protections against ransomware / malware / viruses, and put backups in place that will keep your important files safe.