End of Life for Microsoft Server 2003

As of July 14, 2015, Microsoft will no longer support Server 2003.

What does this mean to you as a Business Owner?

After the end of life date for Server 2003, Microsoft will no longer support the software.  It will not issue Security Updates.  There are always vulnerabilities in systems and Server 2003 is no exception.  Today if an exploit is discovered, Microsoft usually finds out about it, creates a fix for it and releases the fix in the form of an update.  Once support has ended, this will no longer happen.  Any existing exploits in the system can then be used by hackers.

If you have Microsoft Server 2003 in your network, please contact WilTech Services at (940) 320-9114 to discuss upgrade or replacement options before it is too late.

 

IT Outsourcing

In its simplest form, IT Outsourcing is the use of contractors (sub-contractors) in place of an in-house IT Department. Small Businesses often discover the requirements for an In-house IT Department to be outside their budget range. By outsourcing your technology needs, you save money.

Over the years, large companies have often outsourced to over-seas companies. This has given rise to a negative view of outsourcing for technical support services. The language barrier and cultural differences have proven to be too much of a distraction and actually increase the pressures involved in getting the problem solved and getting back to work.

One way to solve the cultural and language issues is to contract with a small business in the United States. Normally when you consider small business outsourcing, you find you get much better, personalized service than with large companies or cheap over-seas companies. Small Business owners often put customer relations far ahead of the money savings.

This is one of the primary strengths of WilTech Services IT Outsourcing option. We are a small business and we care about our customers ability to get back to work. That is our job: get you back to work so you can run your business.

Give us a call at 580-448-7714 to get more information about our outsourcing options.

Remove Programs in Safe Mode

There are some programs that once installed in Windows simply refuse to leave peacefully. Sort of like Uncle Dale last summer.  To remove these programs it may be necessary to uninstall then in Safe Mode.  But wait.  Safe Mode does not allow a lot of programs to run, especially programs that use the Windows Installer application.  That means you can not remove programs in Windows Safe Mode, normally.

To work around this problem, we need to add some entries to the registry that will allow the Windows Installer to be treated as a safe program that is allowed in Safe Mode.  The registry keys to add will depend on which Safe Mode option you selected at startup.

For Regular Safe Mode

REG ADD "HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSafeBootMinimalMSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D "Service"

For Safe Mode with Networking

REG ADD "HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSafeBootNetworkMSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D "Service"

Then you start the MSIServer and any program that require the Windows Installer will have access to it in Safe Mode.

net start msiserver

USPS E-mail Attachment is a virus.

If you get an email from what appears to be USPS with an attachment, it is most like a virus.

From: USPS client manager Terry Dunlap [mailto:reports@usps.com]
To: { your email address }
Subject: USPS delivery failure report
Attachment: USPS report id##########.zip
Notification
Our company’s courier couldn’t make the delivery of parcel.
REASON: Postal code contains an error.
LOCATION OF YOUR PARCEL: KnoxvilleFort
DELIVERY STATUS: sort order
SERVICE: One-day Shipping
NUMBER OF YOUR PARCEL: Z3UI3N0Y1Q
FEATURES: No
Label is enclosed to the letter.
Print a label and show it at your post office.
An additional information:
If the parcel isn’t received within 30 working days our company will have the right to claim compensation from you for it’s keeping in the amount of $8.26 for each day of keeping of it.
You can find the information about the procedure and conditions of parcels keeping in the nearest office.
Thank you for using our services.
USPS Global.

As far as I know USPS does not hold your package ransom either, if something is wrong they just send it back.

USPS does not send out emails like this.  If you think you have been infected, you can contact WilTech Services 940-320-9114 for assistance.

Cleaning Your LCD Monitor

When cleaning your LCD monitor, you may have some confusion about what is the best product to use. You will find a number of products ranging from a few dollars to over $40 for some cleaning products.  Don’t bother!

If you just “want” to spend money, buy some Distilled water, Isopropyl 99% Alcohol and a microfiber cloth.  You may want to just look around the house.  You probably already have what you need lying around somewhere.

Microfiber clothes are often included with eye glass repair or cleaning kits.  Or look in your automotive section for a microfiber cloth or two.  Just make sure it is as clean.  Any rough or rigid protrusion will scratch your LCD screen.

To clean your LCD, first use just the microfiber cloth to lightly remove all the dust and particles from the screen.  Normally the cloth alone will not remove the smudges and smears.  But you want to remove as much of the “large dust” from the screen as possible. Use a very light touch.

Next, combine equal parts of your distilled water and alcohol together to create a cleaning solution.  Use only a very small amount on your cloth.  Do NOT spray your LCD screen directly.  Your cloth should be slightly less than damp.

Clean with small circular motions and a light touch to the screen.  You can apply slightly more force to the difficult areas, but it is important to keep your touch as light as possible to complete the job.

You can finish by cleaning the outside casing.  You can apply extra force on the outside case along with more solutions than you used for the screen itself.  But you should not spray any liquid on any part of the monitor.

  • Monitor should be off and unplugged
  • Lay the monitor down on a hard flat surface
  • Apply a very small amount of cleaning solution (less than damp)
  • Use small circular motions during cleaning
  • Apply light pressure, only increasing slightly for difficult areas

NEVER SPRAY OR DOWSE LIQUID ON YOUR LCD

Managed Computer Services and Support

WilTech Services offers comprehensive managed computer services, network support, computer repair, consulting, and integration services for businesses in North Central Texas and Southern Oklahoma. WilTech Services can provide your small or mid-sized office both immediate Break-Fix Solutions and Managed Monthly Service Plans with Scheduled Proactive Management.

We at WilTech Services have a special respect for the challenges small business owners face in keeping their offices running. It is our duty to provide the best and most efficient service and support for our customers. Our goal is to form a long-term relationship with you that will help your company succeed and grow without constant worry of computer failure, data loss or network issues.

We pride ourselves on top of the line Customer Service! Our job is to make your job easier without all the Information Technology mumbo jumbo and complicated pricing. We fix your computers and make sure your network keeps running.

Your office data is a very important part of your business. If you, your employees or customers cannot access or cannot otherwise use your data for whatever reason, your company suffers. WilTech Services solves that problem for you. We protect your data assets!

William Helloms
WilTech Services
Technical Support Specialist

 

Keep Your Work Computer Usable

Your company computer is just about as important of a tool as anything in the office. If not more so. It is advantageous of you to keep it accessible and in good functioning order. About the most important thing to you do to your computer is to keep it clean. I do not mean to get out the scrub brush and get it immaculate. Not yet anyway, that comes later. What I mean is the software that runs your computer needs to be clean and in good working order.

Every process in your computer takes a fraction of time. The more processes it has to do, the more the time adds up. If your computer is not cleaned of all the extra junk and little demons that run around, it will soon start to slow down. There are many ways that extra software gets into your computer, but most of them are a result of your everyday use.

Let’s get some ideas on what to avoid.

1. Toolbars

Probably one of the primary uses on the computer is internet or internet based solutions. Whether it be a Google or Yahoo search, a cloud based documents share, or intranet portal. You face some of the same issues. Google has a toolbar, Yahoo has one, MSN, Dogpile, Ask, Ebay, MapQuest… I could list for days the toolbars out there. And if there is not one out there already, there are just as many ways to create your own custom toolbars. We will not even touch on the junkware toolbars lurking around to turn your day into a nightmare. If you have ever been on the internet, chances are you have been tempted to install a toolbar. The idea is simple: save time, save effort, quick and easy, save money.

Don’t do it! Or more yet, ask yourself a few questions before you actually install it. Do you really need that toolbar? Is it really going to save you time? You have been doing without it this long, why do you need it now. Do you have other toolbars already? If you are going to use another toolbar, will it replace one you already use?

Most people that I deal with, never use their toolbars. They don’t need them. They only take up space on the browser and add just one more round of ticks on the clock during processing time. There are good uses for specific toolbars, but that is an entirely different topic. Unless you really see a true benefit, avoid the toolbars.

2. Registry Cleaners

It has to be going through your mind right now. Hey, to keep my computer clean I need to clean the registry. Everyone tells me that.

And that is true. Everyone does tell you that. But it is not necessarily the best solution to have multiple registry cleaners. Some may even argue that is not a good idea to have any. My question to you is this. Do you really need a registry cleaner running all day, every day, taking up process time? For what? If you are going to use a registry cleaner, it certainly does not have to run all the time. Pick one, run it occasionally. Avoid the blot of multiple cleaners and full time registry scanners.

3. Messengers

Do you really have that many people that use messaging services that you just have to have every service out there? IMs are almost as abundant as toolbars. Yahoo, AOL, MSN, whoever, all have messengers and all want to run in your tray, even when you do not have them on. (Thanks Microsoft) I don’t need your chat software running non stop. Just another piece of junkware most of the time. If you use IM, pick one. Stick to it. Many allow you to chat with other users on other services. So you don’t have to have multiple IM programs running all the time, even if you chat on them all.

Also check the preferences, options and tools sections in the IM software. See if you can remove them from starting up automatically. Have a shortcut on your desktop. Run it when you need it. If you must have one, only use one messenger and avoid running it in the system tray when it is not in use.

4. Streaming Audio/Video

Okay. If you are the only person in your office, or your house, you pay the bills–use it all you want. If not, if you are in an office environment with several users. Use your MP3 player of choice. Connect to a power source (not your office computer.) You can get MP3 docking stations for cheap. They allow you to listen to your music without streaming it over the company internet. Remember, every process takes a little time. Many processes take much more time. Avoid streaming non work related media to your company workstation.

Now that you have an idea of what to avoid, why not check out for instructions on how to clean and maintain your computer.

Uninstall Unwanted Antivirus

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There are so many antivirus and other malware software applications out there it is near to impossible to keep up with them all. Many if not all have removal tools to use in case their normal uninstall process fails.

Here are a couple of links with some instructions to get started on uninstalling your antivirus.

Comprehensive List of Uninstallers or Removal Tools for Antivirus Software

and


http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/protect_start/list-of-anti-malware-program-cleanupuninstall

both links are getting a little aged, so take a look. If you have trouble getting specific uninstalls to function, let me know and I will try to do a write up specifically for it.

How Important is your Data?

Recently I had a conversation that started something like this, “Good Morning.”

“Ever get that feeling of impending doom?”, the caller said immediately.

“Not usually the first thing your IT person wants to hear before morning coffee, but okay, I will bite”, as we started in to address the issue at hand.

It turned out there was no real technical problem involved other than the absolute fact that the customer did not feel her data was safe on her computer. No reason other than a feeling she had when she got up that morning.  Is her important data safe?

Obviously the feeling had escalated to the point she was to near panic when she called me. She was sure something terrible was going to happen that would cause all her data to disappear into oblivion, never to be seen again.

Luckily she was using one of the on-line backup services that I recommend from Idrive. I eased her fears fairly quickly by setting Idrive to send her an email each time her backup completed. I am sure similar services such as Mozy or Carbonite have similar features as well. I am just not familiar with those setups. Fortunately she had no high magnitude disaster or fatal meltdown. Her important data was safe and sound.  If you start to get that feeling of disaster (if you are using Idrive) following these steps:

Open IDrive
Click on Schedule Backup (at the bottom)
On Scheduler, Email notification is in the lower right corner. Click Notify Always
Enter your email address where is says Mail To:
Press the Plus sign to the right to add it to the list.
Select the check box to Send log extract if you want it all

You will get an email each time there is a scheduled backup. With the ”Send log extract” selected you will get the full log in your Inbox. If your Inbox is already overflowing, you may want to select the option to ”Notify on failure.” This will skip the emails when everything is working fine and email you when there is a problem.

Now go have your coffee and read a book.