5 Warning Signs That It’s Time To Upgrade Your PC

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Category: IT Support, Latest.

You only bought it a couple of years ago, so it can’t be time to upgrade your PC just yet.

Can it?

Well, for a start, it was probably much longer ago than you think that you purchased your latest desktop, and even so, there are no cast-iron assurances that your hardware will stand the test of time year-after-year.

Unfortunately for your wallet, technology runs in cycles. What was considered “mod” and revolutionary five short years ago (you know, 2009) might just be well past its sell-by-date.

Like any diagnosis, discovering you have a problem early can help you when it comes to finding the cure and limiting the damage.

So, if you’re sensing a little sluggishness or noticing some nasty noises, it could be a warning sign that all is not well with your computer.

Here are five signs it’s time to upgrade.

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Windows 10 What You Need to Know

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Category: IT News, Latest.

At a rather low-key ceremony in San Francisco last week, Microsoft announced to the world the imminent release of its brand new and hotly-anticipated operating system.

Wait a minute, where’s Windows 9?” I hear you cry.

Okay, new software will be released in 2015, but Microsoft has decided to skip “Windows 9” and bizarrely shoot straight for Windows 10 instead (presumably because the number 10 sounds a lot more complete than 9 does – at least in theory).

So why the change of heart?

Well, the problem for Microsoft is that around 1.5 billion people use Windows in one form or another but very few use the platform on their phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

So, if anything, tweaking their already successful Windows OS could be more of an effort to move with the times than cornering a new fan base.

Some even see it as an attempt to win back the traditional PC user, who has been on the receiving end of some serious flirtation from the likes of Apple and Google in recent years.

On first impressions it would appear that, rather that adding a load of new and unnecessary features, the latest package has been designed with simplicity very much at the forefront in an attempt to seduce those lost to Microsoft’s previous incarnation.

So what else can we expect from a company that is so keen to move on from Windows 8?

Here’s what we can all look forward to when Windows 10 is released next year.

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Spam Detection in Emails

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Category: Business, IT Processes, IT Purchasing, IT Security, IT Training.

If you’re in the habit of checking the news online you will have noticed that almost daily now there are reports of data breaches by attackers. Cyber security headlines are all too frequent and alert us to the skill and persistence of hackers.

Many organisations still rely on traditional security controls in the form of technology such as anti-virus software and firewalls, etc. to protect their critical assets but it is now clear that this is not enough. The increasing importance of employee security awareness is often overlooked with companies providing little or no basic awareness training.

Personnel and processes are often disregarded when it comes to improving security, partly because the security risk they pose to an organisation is difficult to measure and track.

These days, this a crucial issue with cyber security, but businesses that (very sensibly) put in place IT software security often struggle to get senior management to address a risk that they haven’t been able to quantify, or even prove exists.

The problem is that as the technical, on-line security of organisations increases, attackers are looking instead to a much weaker area: employees.

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How to avoid stolen smartphone

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Category: IT News, Mobile Computing.

A new Mobile Phone Theft report compiled by the Home Office has indicated that over 740,000 people were victims of phone theft over the last two years – with Apple handsets more likely to be stolen than any other phone.

In London alone, almost 100,000 mobile phones were reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police during the 12 months of 2013.

The report states that the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and 4S were most targeted followed by the Blackberry 9790.

Apparently, 37% of mobile phone thefts took place on public transport or in another public place, with under a third taking place in bars, pubs and clubs. Surprisingly, nearly 20% of thefts occurred in places of work.

And as for those more likely to be the victim of mobile phone crime, the report suggests 4.7% of phone theft victims were women aged between 18-21, while 14-24 year olds are the targeted more than any other group – either stolen directly from their person, through pick-pocketing, or when the handset is briefly left unattended.

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Cabling Issues

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Category: Computer Maintenance, Computer Networks, IT Support.

Is this a familiar situation with the data cabling in your offices?  Is there just one of these or are there multiple situations throughout the building, hiding under desks, in cupboards and above ceilings?

The reason for the appearances of these “Mini Switches” is usually that as a company grows or invests in new equipment they find they don’t have enough IT cabling outlets to support what they need.

Additional staff will require extra data cabling outlets for PC’s and phones and as new equipment such a telephone systems are installed, new dedicated IT cabling outlets are required but not always available.

The quick fix approach shown in the photographs is to find 1 spare data cabling outlet and add on 5/8/16 way mini switches and plug all the new requirements into that.  These can number 1 per room if the equipment installed needs a lot of new IT cabling outlets.

However, the more of these mini switches are installed, the greater the bottlenecks down the IT system.  In a lot of cases these mini switches will then link from one to another.  In some businesses we’ve seen (for example) a main switch linking to a floor serving switch to 4 mini switches in a row in each office.  Several of them also had 2 connections between switches creating a loop on the network almost shutting it down completely.

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Six Things You Can Expect from the iPhone 6

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Category: Mobile Computing.

There are a few things you can be sure of at this time of year.

The nights start to draw in, the weather takes a distinctively autumnal turn and Apple produce their latest iPhone handset.

If rumours are to be believed, Apple’s latest offering – the iPhone 6 – is expected to be just around the corner with a September 9 announcement date mooted.

Despite what seems to be an annual event at the end of every summer, there appears to be no let-up in the frenzy of excitement that surrounds this well rehearsed event and there’s little doubt that the world will be watching as CEO Tim Cook unveils another piece of “must-have” technology.

However, with many questioning the advances in innovation that Apple’s recent iPhone models have made – the pressure is somewhat on Cook to deliver.

The rumour mill has been in overdrive in the lead up to the widely anticipated launch, with many experts predicting a larger, faster, “all singing, all dancing” version of a handset which was first released over seven years ago.

So, as we all wait for the official announcement, here are six things that you should probably expect from the iPhone 6:

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Category: IT Support, Microsoft Office.

With their latest Office 365 suite, Microsoft has certainly made a bold statement when it comes to the future of home and business computing, while also throwing down a challenge to competitor products.

Their innovative office suite differs greatly from previous versions of Microsoft Office – from how you use it, what you can do with it and even how you pay for it.

And though change for change’s sake isn’t always a good thing, it certainly seems like this latest software has real potential.

But before you decide to install the suite to your own machines, here’s a look at just what Office 365 can offer you and your business, as well as how we at The PC Support Group might be able to support you in this process – we call this infographic Office 365: What it means for your business.

Want to demonstrate how Office 365 can benefit a business you know? Feel free to share our infographic using the HTML code below. You can also click to enlarge the image.

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Extend iPhone Battery Life

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Category: IT News, IT Support, Mobile Computing.

Unless you’re still using that faithful old Nokia 3210 you’ve had since the turn of the millennium, you probably find yourself constantly checking the battery life of your iPhone to make sure you’re not stuck on a desolate hillside in the middle of nowhere without being able call for help or (more importantly) left out of social plans, unable to see what your friends are up to or play Candy Crush Saga.

Battery drain for smartphone users isn’t a new phenomenon but since the launch of Apple’s iOS 7.1 mobile operating system iPhone users in particular have complained about dwindling battery life.

But according to former Apple Genius Bar worker Scotty Loveless, it’s not necessarily iOS itself that is causing batteries to drain quickly – but all the Apps that are running on it.

So does this mean we need to change the way we all use our phones and access the Apps we value so dearly or simply change our phones full-stop?

Here are nine tips you can try that might just increase the battery life of your smartphone:

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SEO DIY or Outsource

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Category: IT Support, Online Marketing.

Search engine optimisation (or SEO) is one of the key aspects in driving traffic to your website.  As a business, generally speaking, you have two options; learn and perform SEO in-house or choose to outsource to a suitable SEO company.

Here are some tips to help you make the right decision for your business.

DIY IN-HOUSE:-

Use your writing skills

Keeping your website content updated and relevant should be a priority.  Inactive content (if your blog hasn’t been updated in months or years, for instance) can be an indication that your information might be outdated – or simply that the website is no longer in use.  Writing news or blog posts on a regular basis is a good way to stay updated. Not only is this an advantageous SEO strategy but it also sends out the right signals to your audience.

Submit your website to the main local search directories

It can be relatively straight-forward to submit your site to Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local.  Sign up and choose categories that are relevant to your business. Upload a few photos and videos if you can. Once you’re listed, ask satisfied clients to leave positive reviews. By doing so, you are adding credibility to your business online and enhancing your reputation.

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Spam Emails

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Category: Data Backup, IT News, IT Security.

New research suggests that cyber-crime costs small businesses around £800 million a year.

Not only that, but you have a responsibility to put adequate measures in place – if not, you could face fines of as much as £500,000 for cyber breach and data loss under current legislation. Other threats include: social media misuse, hacking, and loss of company devices.

As many as 60 per cent of small firms reported security issues last year, with major breaches costing a small firm on average between £65,000 and £115,000.

Here, we’ve created a useful checklist to help you assess whether you are helping reduce the chances of the worst happening to your business.

How many of the following questions can you answer “YES” to?

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