Windows 7 End of life 31st Jan 2019

I hope this isn’t news to you and that you are reading this to ascertain your next action, rather than thinking “what do you mean Windows7 end of life!”

However, regardless of your reaction you need to read on if you have any Windows 7 PC’s in your business.

Right now, you can upgrade Windows 7 PCs to the same version in Windows 10 for free. So if you have Windows 7 Ultimate, you can get Windows10 Ultimate etc. However, before you do you need to follow best practise. Easy option, ask my company to do it, but hey we charge for that. Request Our Help email sales@itauthority.co.uk

Why do we charge? – here is what we do, and why we do it for those of you who feel they can do it themselves. I believe most people can, as its not that difficult, but if you are running a business you shouldn’t. Instead you should spend the time you would waste on this selling your product/service and meeting with clients.

Microsoft said they would offer the software upgrade for for a short time, but they can revoke this offer at any time, so I believe now is the prudent time to act with only 5 months left

To complete this work, if you request that we do, our recommended method is as follows.

1. Identify the hardware and ensure it is Windows 10 ready (Completed Remotely)
2. Make any upgrade recommendations and seek approval from you.
3. Image the existing Hard Drive to ensure a safe roll back if the upgrade fails
4. Complete the upgrade to Windows10
5. Install all the updates to Windows10 to ensure no security issues
6. Test the PC to ensure it still works as it did with the new operating system.

We will retain the image of the PC for 30 days to ensure nothing has gone unnoticed.

The cost of us providing this upgrade, due to the amount of work, and safety measures involved is £200 per workstation without hardware requirements. Where step 2 above suggests hardware is necessary, we will obtain pricing and weigh up with you whether it is best to upgrade or replace the PC. Most of the PCs we are working on require no hardware upgrade as Windows10 system requirements are not that different to Windows 7.

In general, as I have told my clients every year, we should expect a PC/Laptop to last 5 years. 5 Years is a good return on investment. It is possible to make them last 8 years if they are maintained properly and upgraded when necessary, but 8 years is a stretch. Some clients recycle their machines every 3 years, meaning they pass them down from power users (staff whose role requires higher powered machines) to standard users. Eventually removing them to the scrap heap after they fail or at 5 years. (that’s the PCs not the staff)

I hope this helps, I would be delighted to hear from you, your thoughts, your experiences.

For those still keen to take this on, I recommend Acronis if you are imaging a small number of PCs, for larger deployments we use Veeam.

In addition, the Windows 10 upgrade software tool can be found here.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/software-download/windows10

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Two-Stage Authentication with LinkedIn – Step-by-step guide

Now that LinkedIn offers two-stage authentication, it is strongly recommended that you enable this feature on the LinkedIn Site

I’ve created this simple step-by-step guide to show you exactly how to do this in seconds.

Once enabled the end result is that a random 6 digit number is sent to your mobile by LinkedIn whenever you log in.

So as well as needing your username and password you must also have your mobile phone in order to gain access to your account.

Here we go. It really does only take seconds to do.

Step 1, click your picture in the top right corner and choose Account Settings / Privacy & Settings from the drop down list. (Fig 1)

LinkedIn 2-stage auth step 1

 Fig 1

Step 2, click account then Mangage Security Settings (Fig 2)

LinkedIn 2-stage auth step 2

Fig 2

Step 3, We are now at the security settings page. As well as enabling two-stage authentication, I also recommend ticking the box above to enable secure connection. This means that you will use https://www.linkedin.com rather than http: – Data will be sent securely between your browser and the LinkedIn site.

Just tick this box as shown and click  ‘Turn-On’ (Fig 3)

LinkedIn 2-stage auth step 3

Fig 3

Step 4, enter your mobile number in this box without the first 0.

So if your number is 079 xxxxxx Just enter 79 xxxxxx. Then click ‘Send Code’ (Fig 4)

LinkedIn 2-stage enter mobile

Fig 4

Step 5, you will now be sent a text message containing a random 6 digit number. You’ll get (Fig 5) screen where you just need to enter the 6 digit number sent to your mobile and click ‘Verify‘.

At this stage if you didn’t get a text message then just check the number you entered. It will appear where the xxxxxx as shown below. You can click change number if you have typed it wrong. If the number is correct just click ‘Resend’

You should get the text.

LinkedIn 2-step enter code

Fig 5

Step 6, verifcation (fig 6) shows the confirmation that you have successfully turned on two-stage authentication. Just click ‘Done’ and you are done!

LinkedIn 2-stage confirmation

Fig 6

It looks longer here that it really is. It took me less than a minute. Just make sure you have a good mobile signal before you start or you might not get the text and have to abandon.

Two stage authentication is also available for WordPress.com and Google account and a few others. Its catching on and you really should use it wherever you can.

Posted in 2013 June Issue 6, Handy Tip, Security (Keeping IT Safe), Social Media Tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

4G may solve your office internet speed issue, in part.

Our office is just outside the village of Ingatestone, Essex. In broadband terms we are at the back of beyond.Rural Business 4G Broadband

Like many of you, we are waiting for BT to upgrade our local exchange. At time of writing BT have NO PLANS to upgrade our exchange.

Option are limited in rural locations but we recently took delivery of a 4G dongle. As EE resellers of 4G we thought we should try it ourselves first.

We have 3 landlines with ADSL2+ giving us 3 meg each so we get 9 meg in total. We installed a 4G dongle and that is now getting us 15.3 meg on its own. This is the speed we are seeing in outer Ingatestone, other areas can see speeds of up to 40 meg or more.

Whilst this still isn’t blisteringly fast it is a step up by 5 times over a single line.

So why do I say this could solve your problem in part?

Well it depends on how you use your current broadband. If all you do is look at websites and pick up your email from a hosted provider then actually I think this should serve your needs fine, unless you have a larger office. It gets expensive if you download more than 8GB of data per month. If you work with images, stay clear for now until the prices become more reasonable.

You run into problems if you have your own Exchange Server in your office. EE won’t allow port mapping to services so you can’t publish a web server in your office or an Exchange server as many Small Business Server users do. Nor remote access through Remote Web Workspace.

So the answer to this would be to have both a landline and 4G coming into your office. Then you can leave all your published services going via the landline and just move web surfing to the 4G faster connection where you will notice it most.

Alternatively you could virtualise your server and host that with a hosting provider because you can now access it quicker from your office.

When looking to upgrade your broadband you might want to look at other options too. I would suggest getting the connection first to see what speeds you can get then discuss these options with your IT provider.

commentRight now it is a bit hit and miss as to whether you can get 4G so fill out the form below and we’ll find out and let you know.

Posted in 2013 June Issue 6, Hardware Advice, Internet, Kit (Hardware), New Tech, The Cloud, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why you shouldn’t know staff’s passwords

PrivacyThis is a controversial point for some I know but I believe you should not know your staff’s logon passwords and they shouldn’t know yours either.

Supporting businesses over the years I have seen some businesses, especially smaller ones, have some pretty dubious password policies.

The worst is “Everyone has the same password here”.  Actually, worse still would be no passwords at all.

I’ve seen “let’s use our company name and our initials” – almost as bad. What about, “we all write our passwords down and stick them in our draw, or on the monitors.”

If these seem like ridiculous scenarios I’m explaining then you are doing well so far, read on. If these seem either strangely familiar or great ideas then you really do need this article. I URGE you to read it all.

So let’s discuss the reasons or, as I believe, excuses given for adopting these policies. If commentyou have any thoughts, questions or suggestions please DO comment.

People go on holiday and I need to check their email

Well if you don’t have a policy in place that states you are authorised to do that then you are breaching human rights to privacy. The policy makes it OK in principal but there really isn’t a need to have someone’s password to achieve this. Members of your team should share their mailboxes to managers or colleagues in the same team, not their passwords.

If others know a member of staff’s password then that person can pretty much do whatGavel and block they want because you can’t prove they did anything wrong. “It could have been anyone because they all know my password your honour” I can hear it now.

If you know your staff’s passwords then they can claim “He/she was trying to frame me, they know my password, this is constructive dismissal” Sounds like it to me.

I didn’t send that email giving our cost prices away, I don’t know who did but it could have been anyone

Let’s move away from email, what about deletion of files or sharing of personal data – oops did someone mention something about there being a data protection act?

Here is a really good one for you. Managing Director – Mr Jones- Instructs IT thus: “Let’s create a directors’ folder on our server, then share it only amongst directors of the company. We can place sensitive competitor analysis data there or discuss personnel issues and salary reviews and since only directors have access we can place any confidential information in there with confidence

Now, this is normal practice. So IT agrees and action accordingly. Nothing wrong with this until…….

…..”Mr Jones is on holiday and he wants me to answer an important client email so calls me up and gives me his password. Doh!  better yet,Everyone knows Mr Jones’ password because it is his son’s name and he told us that in case of emergency”.

These may seem like ridiculous situations but I have personally seen every one of these in my 20 years in IT and who can forget the interview on TV with Gary McKinnon. He is the guy who ‘hacked’ into the NASA looking for evidence of UFOs

I remember watching him being interviewed on TV shortly after his arrest when he told the interviewer that when he was arrested and taken into custody, he was left alone for a few minutes and noticed that the custody PC had the password stuck on the side. The sticker read “The custody PC password is custody” – he said “I could have dropped all charges and walked out, but I thought best not to annoy them any more.”

He also describes, in a different interview, how the PCs he was hacking into had “blank administrator passwords” by his own remarks he was not so much hacking as opening unlocked doors.

The interview below makes interesting viewing.

So blank passwords is a definite NO re-naming the administrator account is a good measure.

Most people blame their poor memory for using easy to remember passwords. I do understand this can be a challenge but I wrote an earlier article about ‘Never forget a password again’, that gives good advice on passwords in general.

In order to protect yourself, it is vital that you don’t know any staff’s passwords. No staff should know each other’s passwords either. The system administrator account can be used to reset user passwords, without ever knowing what they were. Whenever the system administrator account is used in this way, a record of the password reset is automatically recorded in the system security log. This means that all parties are protected.

Not only should you have these measures in place but there must also be a written Network Security Policy.

ACTION STEP – Fill in the form at the end of this article and I’ll email it to you in Microsoft Word format so you can edit it and make it your own.

All staff should be asked to sign it, to show they have read it, and agree to abide by it. This policy can then form part of your Employee Handbook

Password complexity- !ӣ$%^&*()~#@;?

FrustrationYou don’t have to go mad and generate random passwords. We often find that if you take it too far people just end up writing them down. So the key is to have a system that can be easily tough, be easy to remember, and be secure. The net result needs to be a password that is at least 8 characters long, include upper and lower case, have some numbers and a special character such as – !”£$%^&*()~#@;?. It’s also best to avoid whole words.

Some will often replace letters with symbols but hackers are aware of this and dictionary type hacks include such variations these days. So ‘password’ becoming ‘p4ssw0rd’ isn’t good enough.

You should also change passwords regularly and this should be easy so as not to be a chore. Regularly means once every 30-40 days.

My earlier article on “Never forget a password again” looks at how you can do this quickly and easily. It also explains how you can have different passwords for every web site you use and still remember them all. This sounds impossible but it really is easy to do.

Get a free Network Security Policy Microsoft Word template now.

Complete this form an I’ll send you the template.

Please also feel free to comment on this article.

Posted in 2013 June Issue 6, Security (Keeping IT Safe) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cloud services online – the pros and cons

If you are reading this then you are probably considering whether your business should be using online services or buying a server? You may just be curious about online services and what they are or if they are right for you.

There certainly is a buzz within the IT industry around cloud services and many willing providers jostling for position.Cloud Services

So this article is designed to help you understand the role that cloud services play and what they can do for you but it also discusses why this isn’t right for many UK firms.

You are all trying to do what’s right for your businesses. We self-employed folk need each other and I give this advice so that you can make an informed decision for yourself. Ultimately you are the boss and you want to get it right. I hope this article helps.

commentPlease comment if you find any of it useful. It’s always nice to get feedback, good or bad.

In my day to day work as an IT consultant, I’m asked ever increasingly about online services such as Hosted Exchange or online applications such as MS Office.

Those of you who are looking to replace old servers may see using hosted solutions as a cheaper solution, they often are not.

This is because you will never own your Exchange server if you use a cloud or online Hosted Exchange provider. Whilst there are some cheap deals to be had, you should be very careful of jumping into bed (metaphorically speaking) with those providers.

Cheap is often anything but cheerful in the long run. As a guide, at time of writing, the average trusted providers out there are charging around £9.00 per month per mailbox. This usually gets you a free copy of Outlook 2010 or 2013 for your PC and 25GB of mailbox storage as well as full functionality of Exchange such as mobile synchronisation shared calendars, contacts and public folders.

I have seen offers as low as £2.00 per month but in contrast they give 500MB limit on mailboxes and offer no free software or shared anything. You will quickly discover this is not enough even for those of you that “don’t get a lot of email” or just starting out. The business model for these providers is sell lots of small cheap accounts. You will usually find that support provided is therefore online ONLY such as email or forum based which is fine if you have lots of time on your hands.

If you are building a successful business then time is money and you need to know you can pick up the phone and get any issues resolved quickly. That support comes at a price so my advice is don’t go for cheapest.

So let’s just do some quick maths.

Assuming you go for online Exchange at £9.00 per user per month and lets have an office with 10 users to keep the sums simple.little financial advisor

£90.00 per month (£9.00 x 10 mailboxes) for five years = £90.00 x 60 months = £5,400.

A Server that can run Exchange is going to cost somewhere close to that figure with Hardware, Software & Setup labour costs, however you would own that kit and the payments stopped long ago even if you bought it on finance.

Add to this that you also have file storage, maybe SharePoint too.

SharePoint pricing currently is £25.00 per user per month and online shared storage of say 1TB is going to cost hundreds per month. You will have to pay for it forever.

Today it is cheaper in the long run to own your server. I suspect this will be the case for a good time to come.

Now we may see hosted service prices come down gradually over time but you will still continue to pay whatever price the provider asks because your business will be fully dependant on these systems.

If you only have 1-5 users then hosted is much more attractive. I believe those early days in business you need to keep your start-up costs as low as possible but read on.

Let’s also consider that if the internet access goes down today and you can’t send any email as a result it is a major hassle. BUT if your files are online you can’t even work on anything while you wait for your internet access to be restored.

You had better be sure to have a bullet proof internet connection.

Let’s look at the Pros for moving to the cloud

1)      There is little setup so you may be able to manage this yourself

2)      Provision of the service is someone else’s problem (No support costs)

3)      Available from anywhere with a good internet connection.

4)      Real-time collaboration with colleagues in the field is made simpler

5)      Backups usually included.

6)      Scalable, as you grow your business you can pay for more storage and/or services

7)      No upfront costs but if you need help migrating your data there is often a charge.

8)      Budgets – you should know month to month what your IT costs are going to be. No surprises.

Here are the cons.

1)      You really do need a good connection to the internet to access services and data. Many areas of the UK are currently unsuitable, especially rural locations. No internet = no services or data. Put the kettle on, send your staff home,  put your feet up.

2)      Managing it yourself might not be a good thing, shouldn’t you be running your business?

3)      Whilst the provisioning of the service is not your problem, what happens when it goes down? Notice I say when not if. Often any outage will be very short term, say a few minutes but when it happens you will realise just how much you have come to rely on your provider. If you haven’t got a person’s name, someone in authority who can sort it for you, you may struggle to get your issue resolved in a timely manner. If you do go hosted, get a name and their supervisors name from the off.

4)      Who owns your data? Make sure you keep a local copy of everything or BACKUP to an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PROVIDER.

5)      You might be thinking, “If I stick with a main stream provider I can be sure that it’s all OK.” It is better but banks go bust, countries go bust and large firms are not immune. I’m not trying to be negative or anti-hosting. You must be aware of the risks and take appropriate measures to protect your business. The best way to insure yourself against loss of critical data is to have a copy/backup. Own your data, don’t leave it to chance.

6)      You will always have to pay your subscription and the provider has the ability to withhold services for late payments.

7)      Data protection – make sure your data is hosted within the EU at the very least. You are responsible for any sensitive data your business holds on clients, suppliers and staff. If you don’t know where your data is, often spread geographically for redundancy, then you could be in breach of data protection laws. This just means you need to ask the question of your provider and while you are at it ask them for the name of their data controller. Every business must have one by law that holds personal information. It’s another name of someone in authority at the provider at the very least. The definition of personal data is “any data from which an individual can be identified” please see the Information Commissioners Office web site for more details if you need help. Their FAQ page is very good with clear information for business owners.

8)      Hard to move or change providers. Migrating your data from one provider to another is never an easy process.

Cloud-yes-noSummary – Cloud services can be great for start-ups but they need good internet access. Any business with poor broadband services should avoid moving their data and services out of reach.

Take advice before you commit. Remember you don’t have to use just one or the other. Many businesses use both. The most common I’ve seen is using hosted Phone Systems & Email but keeping data local in your own office as an example.

I hope this article has made you think about hosted/cloud based services. Please let me know your thoughts on the subject. Ask any questions here relating to this and I’ll answer them within 24 hours usually.

Thanks for reading. I wish you every success in your venture.

Posted in 2013 June Issue 6, Security (Keeping IT Safe), The Cloud | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

PC price set to rise over this fiscal year

Everyone running Windows XP operating systems have to change their PCs before 8th April 2014.

Support for Windows XP is being withdrawn by Microsoft, meaning no further updates or patches. That means vulnerable systems which means replace them quick.

High and low pricesThe cost of buying replacement machines is going to become more expensive the longer you wait. Just think about this for a second.

Many companies in the UK didn’t upgrade to Windows Vista, let alone Windows 7. Now Windows 8 is out there too.

Why didn’t they upgrade?

Microsoft didn’t give them a good enough reason, until now. The move to much faster 64 bit technology hasn’t made as big a difference as anticipated up to now. This is because of the lack of 64 bit programs. At time of writing many of the major players have now gotten around to producing 64 bit programs some 8 years after 64 bit operating systems for PC (WindowsXP 64bit edition) became available.

Very few bought XP 64 bit. Not many bought Vista either. I found an interesting site MarketShare.com which shows that August 2012 was the point when Windows 7 took over Windows XP in terms of numbers deployed. Whilst Windows 7 is gaining ground many businesses have not yet upgraded from XP (38% + still remaining market share)

Now is the time.

Last year I posted an article to my blog regarding this subject and this is just a timely reminder.

1 YEAR FROM TODAY

Windows XP will stop receiving patches on 8th April 2014.

This is a world wide issue. Affecting millions of users. Most are now (having read this post – ha!) thinking about replacing before that date. The demand for new PCs will outstrip supply and, in my opinion, this will inevitably drive the price of PCs to 40-50% higher than they are now. Maybe more.

The later you leave it the more expensive it will be. I believe prices will steadily increase until Mid October then we’ll see a hike in time for Christmas (as per usual) but then instead of a small decrease we’ll see another hike leading to end of June 2014. Only then will prices start coming down again.

Simple – demand drives price as always.

Remember this isn’t just affecting PCs in UK but world wide and we may see supply issues after November 2013.

Your options are limited but you should read my earlier post for more details.

Posted in 2013 June Issue 6, Hardware Advice, Kit (Hardware), Security (Keeping IT Safe), Windows 7, Windows XP | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New site video

It’s good fun making video’s but getting them right is difficult.

I’ve just made an introduction video for our new web site promoting business broadband connections. The site is www.broadbandupgrade.co.uk and its doing rather well in the search engines at time of writing for the phrase broadband upgrade.

So as part of the site I needed to make a video intro.

I would love to hear any feedback on this. our site isn’t finnished yet so any feedback on that is also welcome. – By the way the video is currently only on our YouTube Channel www.itauthority.tv It will be uploaded to the site over the weekend at some point.

Thanks.

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Fibre Broadband for Business

When looking into buying fibre broadband for your business, you need to consider more the just the speed of the connection suggested.

Suggested? yes that’s right, there are no guarantees of speed when ordering. Distance from the exchange and type of kit at the exchange remain factors just as the are with ADSL (copper wire) connections.

Image of cableMost locations with fibre broadband offered are using FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) That means the fibre goes from the exchange to the street cabinet. From there it still uses copper wire to your office. The next phase of deployment will be FTTP (Fibre to the premises) This will improve speeds further. Some areas already have FTTP

If not speed then what?

Reliability and care level in my opinion are often overlooked. Fast connections at low prices are one thing but it is fast becoming an essential part of doing business to have a broadband connection. I remember it took about three years to convince people to use email rather than letters. Some are still not convinced and rely on faxes instead (mostly in the legal profession) Try taking email away from a company today for more than 10 minutes and our support desk starts getting calls.

This is the world of NOW, instant gratification is driving everything at a phenomenal rate.

So having a connection is a must, but when it breaks, and it does break, you need to know someone will fix it quickly.

Faults can be down to the equipment (router) in you office, or a “line fault” indeed the very worst kind of outage has “major incident reported” in the tittle. These are the ones that affect large numbers of businesses and often make at least the local news bulletin if not News at 10!

These outages, whilst costly to fix, are usually fixed very quickly and you will often see a slower connection during this time rather than no connection at all. There is much resilience in the network. It was simply how it was designed.

My company sells broadband connections but when speaking with the business owns we always recommend you take the priority response packages.

By default, the broadband fault response promise is five working days. Can you imagine being without broadband at your business premises for that long?

If you take my advice, you would opt for care level 14 (6 hours on-site guaranteed by BT OpenReach guys) We buy a lot of broadband and that gives us the ability to escalate issues ahead of others.

We also have direct access to the BT engineering provisioning team system which means we don’t have to call BT and speak to a call centre to raise a fault. We simply log in and do the line test ourselves. If the line test reports a fault we request a priority engineer from BT. Within 2 minutes we have a confirmed appointment time and we call you to advise.

We hold spare routers too and will dispatch a router via motorcycle couriered anywhere in the UK mainland. A pre-configured router ready to go with your settings.This is vital response because time is money.

Another tip is to use business class routers in the first place £200 rather than £50 is about right. These perform essential firewalls and other technical goodies to numerous to go into in this article. More importantly they offer broadband fail-over to 3G or 4G type connections. They automatically connect to the internet using mobile broadband technology when the fibre goes off for more than 10 seconds.

This level of package cost (from my company £68.00 per month + VAT) but it is stable, fast, and in a crisis quickly fixed.

Isn’t that what businesses need today. Not wait 15 minutes to speak to a call centre that ties you up in scripted diagnostics. You need engineers that understand, and can diagnose faults then just get on with fixing it.

This isn’t supposed to be an ad for my company but I do despair when I hear the horror stories of days without broadband and it turns out to be something stupid.

Before we became major resellers to BT, we dealt with other resellers. One day a tractor drove through the main BT line to our business and 6 other businesses in the same block as us.

We called the reseller and they listened to my explanation. The conversation went something like this.

“I need to report a broadband fault” – me

“OK, no problem. What is the line number?” – reseller

“its 01277 xxxxxx” –me

“OK is that IT Authority?” – reseller

“yes” –me

“OK what is the problem?” – reseller

“A tractor has driven through the main BT cable disconnecting all our phones and the lines of six other businesses. We need a BT engineer right away” – me

“Oh dear, that does sound bad. Before I can send an engineer I need to ask a few questions OK?” – reseller

“OK, fine” – me

“Since the broadband has gone off have you tried rebooting the router?” – reseller

“What? – no, there is no cable to the building” – me

“Oh yes, I see. Well I need you to try that first and if that doesn’t work please replace the micro filter and try again. It’s the little white box next to the main phone socket” – reseller

I won’t go on, but you see my point. It took 48 hours of calling every two hours. Going over the same old crap, before they agreed to send BT to site. Very frustrating.

I, like you, have a business to run. I don’t need to waste time speaking to non-qualified script readers when there is a fault like this.

We are not the only company that offer high priority business broadband packages. You should shop around by all means. Don’t just take my word for it. Key points to ask are:

Because this is my article, I’ve been cheeky and given you our answers. This is the list that makes most providers cringe.

  • What is the service level agreement from fault report to visit? – 6 hours from fault report to BT engineer on-site
  • Do you have a qualified support team and is it a call centre? If it is, where is it? – We give you a dedicated team of qualified engineers for your company. They work in Brentwood in Essex.
  • What speeds am I promised and what might I get? Ask for download & upload speeds. – Depends on where you are, and if it’s FTTC or FTTP in your area. Download will be between 20-100 Meg, upload between 10-20 meg and we will give you a more accurate estimate when you give us your post code or line number.
  • Do you pre configure my router? Is this configuration customised for my business network or is it a standard setup? – Yes we pre configure it but will ask you how your network is configured. If you don’t know, we will offer to have a one-one remote session with your PC securely so we can check the settings for ourselves.
  • Do you include free support for my connection? – Yes
  • Do I phone a local rate number for support? – Yes
  • Do I get a static IP address? – Yes
  • Are there any limits of use? – Monthly download limits? 50GB download per month, but you can pay extra from more if you really need it. You probably won’t
  • What are you business support hours? – What support can I get outside of that? – 9am to 6.00pm Mon-Fri with out of hours emergency support available from our duty engineering team.
  • Do you have the ability to troubleshoot faults in-house? or do they have to speak to BT? – Yes, we do not need to speak to BT
  • How long would it take you to replace my router if it failed? – Same Day
  • How long will it take you to supply my fibre connection? – Usually within 10 working days but subject to local BT engineering availability and workload.
  • What is the minimum term of the contract? 12 months 36 months? – 2 Months
  • What is the install cost? – £209 for the router and £125.00 for the BT install/upgrade subject to availability in your area. (Prices exclude VAT)
  • Do you offer elevated connections? – priority traffic – Yes, all our connection have elevated service
  • How much is it? (£70 per month is about right for these service levels) – at time of writing £68.00 per month + VAT
  • Does the router you supply allow for redundant routing? (3G) Yes, but you would need to take out a separate SIM only contract to use this feature. You would also need to check your local mobile service availability
  • Will an engineer install my router or do you just post it to me? – We will dispatch your router via our engineer who will install it, test it and confirm its working for you before they leave.
  • Do you update status of fault repair via SMS Text message during a fault? – Given that if you have no internet they can’t email you with updates. – Yes. if you give us your mobile number. we will NEVER use it for marketing or pass it on to anyone.

I put this list here so you would consider asking these question. I hope it makes you think too about the service level you need from your broadband provider.

Finally if you are not sure if you can get fibre broadband the register your broadband line number or postcode with us and we will notify you 30 days before it becomes available to you. if it already is, we will tell you that and give you a very good indication of the speed you should get from any BT based provider.

I’ve launched a new web site to help you with your broadband upgrade. There is even more information there. Feel free to visit it.

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Missing March 2013 on iPad

A quick tip, I found today that some iPads are missing March 2013 from the calendar. If you are, then check appointments for 1st April 2013 and if there are any all-day events booked, then remove them.

This issue is caused by a software glitch that has a problem with 1st April 2013 daylight saving change.

Removing any all-day events from your calendar , brings back March 2013.

Hop you find this tip helpful.

Posted in Handy Tip, Hardware Advice, Software Advice | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Windows 7 won’t update

This is a nice short and to the point post regarding Windows 7 updates.

When Windows 7 won’t run Windows updates here is what you should do.

I’ve encountered this problem a few times and this link on the Microsoft site fixes the issue in most cases.

Here is the link to FIX IT

Once you have installed and run you should reboot, then try windows update again.

Sometimes it still fails but if you then click the left pane ‘Check for Updates’ NOT the Cleck for updates button, then it works. (See Fig 1)

Window 7 won't update Fix Updates

From then on, you should be fine to just update as normal again next time.

I hope you find this useful.

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