The Pain Free IT Blog
With Dominic Jones

Ice Bucket Challenge

Now I’m sure you have heard of the ice bucket challenge? It’s is where someone nominates you to have a bucket of ice cold water thrown over you and then you donate money to the Macmillan cancer charity and the best part is that you can nominate who you would like to get soaked next! :)

Of course we got on the bandwagon with this! Last Friday the Barton Team took part in the ice bucket challenge! When I first mentioned it to the team there were some mixed responses but the rules state that if I nominate you for the challenge then you must take part! (or pay a fine)

We all filled up our buckets with ice and water and left it a while to get extra cold! (why not). It really was a great experience and was nice that we were able to support the Macmillan charity! – I haven’t seen an entire company do the challenge yet either!

I must admit it was freezing! Luckily we did it right at the end of the day so didn’t have to sit in our wet clothes for too long!

Have a look of the video below of us getting drenched….also see if we nominated you for the ice bucket challenge…!

We have donated over £200 to the Macmillan charity, if you would like to donate then click here.

Enjoy watching us get soaked!!


The End Is Near…Windows Server 2003

You may already be aware that Windows Server 2003 will be end of life as of 14th July 2015.

What does this mean? This means that as of July 2015 Windows Server 2003 will soon be vulnerable and out-of-date system.

Microsoft and third-party security software will no longer offer automatic security updates. This means no new security patches, virus definition updates, exploit reports, and security warnings. Servers running Windows 2003 will be defenseless against malware and other attacks. – The hackers will be having a field day with this!

You will need to consider a few points as Windows Server 2003 approaches end of life:

  1. How many machines in your operations are running Windows 2003?
  2. Do you have a plan to remediate the risk of WS2003 EOL?
  3. How are you going to upgrade or move to a more modern operating environment?

It may seem like a long time away for you but it’s an issue that does need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

If you need any support on this then please get in contact with us today on 020 3301 0003 10-things-to-consider-as-you-move-away-from-windows-server-2003

Excel Super Gems

Now don’t you hate it when you’re at work and your boss says you ‘can you put it in a spreadsheet’? You could be a Excel whizz and love doing spreadsheets but if you are anything like me then you will agree that excel just isn’t your friend!

One day while I was typing away I heard a loud grunting noise coming from downstairs…I wondered what it could be, turns out was our head of sales – Joe sitting there with his head in his hands practically banging his head against the screen!

He was getting in a right huff trying to use excel when all he really needed was a few helpful secrets to help him on his way…

Even though it’s not my favourite tool I hope you find these top 3 nuggets helpful…

 

1. How To Put Text On Several Lines

If you’re typing text or multiple lines of data into a cell and you want the text to appear on several lines, then instead of entering the text in another cell just simply press

ALT+ENTER

And you’ll start a new line while you’re typing or editing data.

 

2. What’s That Sum?

Excel is brilliant for calculating sums, I found a great little tool to help you calculate your numbers quicker! If you have a row of numbers you want adding together then highlight them and click the sum tool and it does it for you!

excel 1

 

3. Freeze Panes – Making It Easier On The Eye

If you have a heading you would like to view while you scroll down on the excel sheet all you need to do is hit the row under where you want to view and click window freeze panes

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These 3 little gems have been extremely useful for me so far and I hope they will be for you!

If you need any more advice then give us a call on 020 3301 0003.

Security Breakdown…

Like every good story it started out in the pub up in Norfolk…

I had the Friday off work to go and visit some family in Norfolk. It was a gloomy day and we all decided to go to the pub for a spot of lunch. While we were in the pub I saw a guy frantically hitting his laptop pad – he looked like he was going to break the thing!

As always I was the good citizen and helped him out by fixing his issue which resulted in him saying I was his hero!! We got on the subject of Internet security and I mentioned to him about the 3 main types of protection. I said to him that if he didn’t have security software on his machine then there is a high chance that his laptop will catch a nasty infection!

This is when I explained about the different types of security. Here’s what I told him…

The best way to protect your computer from malware, spyware and viruses is to have three types of security software installed on your computer. Now if you don’t know what any of that means then don’t fear, I will tell you….

  • A Firewall – This acts as a gatekeeper to protect your computer from incoming attacks from the internet, by monitoring and filtering data traffic leaving and arriving on your computer.
  • Antivirus Software – This helps to protect against viruses, trojans and other security threats by scanning and stopping viruses being installed on your computer. If you do get a virus installed on your PC, anti-virus software will be able to remove it.
  • Antispyware Software – Spyware is malicious software that secretly downloads to your computer. Once installed, it can monitor your activity, collect information about you and send it out onto the internet, and even take over your web browser (called ‘hijacking’). Anti-spyware software scans your computer to cyber-defences-security-370x229detect this, and removes any spyware it finds. By keeping anti-spyware software running, it can prevent spyware from being installed in the first place.

So not only was he clued up on what security software is, you are too! The next step is finding a really good one!

If you need some help choosing then we have some great managed security software available on our website, click here if you would like to find out more.

I also recommend you don’t download any free security software from the internet…it wont be any good or even worse it could be a virus in disguise…

Boost Your Mobile Energy

Do you need a bit more energy? Feel a bit sluggish? Well your smartphone needs a bit of a boost because it’s a bit run down, then we have the answer for you!

Here’s some helpful nuggets to get your phone back to life!

Too bright!

Most phones have a useful battery life saving tool that will be found in your settings or display settings. Have a look for it and switch it on!

Snap them apps

When you lock your phone make sure that you close down all them apps. You can download a free app called battery doctor, which tells you which app is guzzling the most juice!

Don’t push that button!

In your phone settings you can choose whether you want your emails to be updated automatically, this is called the push button! In this case don’t push that button and set it so it updates your emails every hour or even day!

Be invisible mobiles

Turn off your location settings and leave a bit of mystery to where you are! You can find this in your privacy settings. This will also help on saving the fuel!

Don’t hog it! 

When you are out of range for Wi-Fi, you have the option to connect to 3G or 4G but if you already have limited battery life and you need your phone, then best not to connect as choosing these options will drain that battery!

Bluetooth turnoff! 

This is great when you’re in the car and using your Bluetooth for hands free but make sure when you get out the car you switch it off.

On the go

Might be worth getting a travel charger for when you are on the run! These come in handy for them times when you need that juice!

With these helpful treats your phone should never go hungry again!

Let us know how you get on with this! We would love to hear your feedback… info@barttech.co.uk

Is Your Outlook Bright?

Like many of us do you use Windows Outlook? It is mind blowing some of the stuff it is capable of! There is a lot to learn about Outlook! I wanted to give you some of my top nuggets when using outlook that you might find help you in your day to day using of outlook.

Here it goes…

1. Get a signature set up

If you regularly have to send out the same generic responses, which may be in customer enquiries, you can save a lot of time by setting up signatures that contain all of your regularly used passages of text. You want to make your signature look as though it is meant to be there so it flows with the other text around it. When you receive one of these emails that requires a generic reply, just hit reply and select your pre-set signature to reply in seconds. This could save you a lot of time over the long term.

Untitled2. Use Quick Parts

Quick Parts are blocks of content you can include in messages, I found this saved me a lot of time! They’re a lot like Auto Text, but can include links and pictures, as well as text messages. To create a new Quick Part, start an email message and enter the content you want to include.

Select it and choose ‘Insert | Quick Parts | Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery’. Now provide a name, category and description, and click ‘OK’. Whenever you want to use this block of content, choose ‘Insert | Quick Parts’ and select it from the list. You’ll see a small preview window for each Quick Part you have stored.

3. Shortcuts

We all need a few tips now and then to save us some precious time in the day. Outlook have some great time saving keyboard shortcuts, here are my favourite:

  • Ctrl+R: reply to email
  • Alt+R: reply to all in email or switch to the work week calendar view
  • Alt+W: forward email or switch to the weekly calendar view
  • Ctrl+M: F9 to Send/Receive all
  • Alt+S: Send email
  • Ctrl+G: open the “Go to date” dialog to jump to any date in the calendar

4. Group your messages

If you receive a high volume of email, tracking down relevant messages can be such a hassle. Outlook can group emails into conversations, so that a single click shows all related messages together yay!

You can set this on a global or per-mailbox basis by going to the View tab and ticking “Show as Conversations”. Click the “Arrange By:” bar at the top of the message list and select “View Settings…” from the dropdown menu to configure additional grouping options.

5. Organising your inbox

There is a very handy tool in outlook where you can set up rules for Outlook to do things with emails as they arrive. You can move emails from a specific person or domain and containing a certain keyword, to a specific folder. You can even choose to have different sounds played depending on the email’s sender or content, or do something different when you are not the main recipient of the email, but are cc’d into it.

To do this you will need to create a rule in outlook which is really simple. Just click on tools and then click rules and from there you can customise your inbox.

6. Creating folders

I have lots of folders set up in my inbox as I like to stay organised and have access to my emails quickly. Not only will you be able to find things easier, but any potential data loss or corruption is likely to be more limited.

  1. Make a rough sketch of your folder structure. A nested structure tends to work better than lots of “flat” folders.
  2. Start creating your subfolders in Outlook. Right-click on the folder that you want to create the sub-folder in and select “New Folder…”
  3. You can then rename the new folder to your requirements by typing and pressing the enter key when finished.

There is so much I could tell you about outlook that has saved me time but I don’t want to overload you just yet! See how you get on with my advice for outlook and if you found it helped you then I would love to know!

Happy Computing!

Great News!

We all love a bit of good news and you’re in for a treat! Recently we have upgraded our helpdesk system to Autotask – The world’s leading IT business management solution. Only the best for you…and most beneficial!Autotask+Logo+(Registered)+Squar

This means it will give you even better service then what you are already getting.

This is fantastic news for you. The new updated system will mean that nothing will slip through the cracks when it comes to dealing with your IT issues.

Not only this we will be working even harder to get all your IT calls dealt with faster and more efficiently!

When logging an IT issue this will be exactly the same. Don’t worry, you wont have you do anything different! You still will use the same process you always have! (Told you it was great news). The only difference is the correspondence you receive back from the technical team will look slightly different. It will still include all the same information it will just look even better!

What does this mean for you? You will be able to have access to a detailed reports that will give you a clearer view of the service you are receiving. This will also result in a quickerresponse time and more detailed information available to you.

The technical team here has done their very best as always to make sure this will not cause any disruption to you! The change should be seamless.

The most beneficial thing for you is the update with invoicing, rather than receiving thousands of different invoices that are difficult to keep track of, you will now get grouped invoices over a weekly period so it will reduce your administration which will give you more time!

Our new helpdesk upgrade has already been rolled out to a number of customers and the feedback we have had already has been brilliant!

We are due to release this from Monday 14th July (The grouped invoices may take a few more weeks to be rolled out) but if you do have any questions give us a call or drop us a line and we are more than happy to help you!

Also don’t forget to sign up for the free CryptoLocker webinar! Register Here

Embrace your geek!

Geeks of the world unite and celebrate! July 13th is national geek day! This means that on this day you have the chance to let your inner geek out…if you want to!

You may think that IT is a bit geeky and nerdy and you maybe right but when you have an IT issue or need some support then we are always the ones being called upon. You may call us IT geeks but really we are superheroes masked as geeks…there is no IT tragedy too difficult for us!

As national geek day is coming up I thought it would be a good idea to give you some helpful tips on backup as this is a problem many of our customers face:

  1. Backup regularly – Make sure you are backing up your data every day or week!
  1. Use dedicated software to do your backup – It takes a lot of time to do backups manually, so use dedicated software that schedules and backs up your system automatically.
  1. Password protect back-ups – Use a strong password to secure your back-up. This will make it much more difficult, if not impossible, for someone to view it or misuse it.
  1. Offsite or online storage of back-ups – You should ensure that you create additional copies of your data so that they can be stored offsite. Having an offsite copy ensures that in the event of a break in or fire that you have a copy of your data away from the danger.
  1. Make sure you are backing up your phone too – It really is important to backup your phone data incase it gets lost of stolen. A lot of phones have basic backup installed in them but sometimes that’s not enough. Make sure you are backing up your data regularly on your mobile.

If this is a bit too technical for you then why not contact us? We offer secure and reliable backup services that will help your business!

Why not have a look at the fantastic backup solutions we have? Click here to find out more

P.S Have you registered for our security webinar on CryptoLocker? If you don’t backup or don’t have a great system in place I strongly recommend you get on this quick! Make sure you do as spaces are going fast!! Register now by clicking here

 

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Our Barton Superheroes

Do you like a Pizza?

What’s your favourite topping on a pizUntitledza? Spicy hot? Or are you more for a margarita?

All this information could soon be released if you are a customer of a leading pizza franchise (their legal team have told us we can’t say who it is but if you google ‘pizza hacking ransom’ you can find out) . If like myself you have ever ordered one of their pizza’s then your details will be saved on their databases. This means that they have hold of full names, addresses and phone numbers even your favorite pizza topping!

Recently hackers managed to break in to their systems and have stolen well over 600,000 customers’ records. They are now demanding £24,000; if they don’t receive this money then they are claiming that they will release all this data.

The hacker posted a tweet stating, “If <the pizza company> doesn’t pay us (on Monday) and we publish your data, you have the right to sue them. Speak to your lawyer.”

Lately there have been a lot of data breaches within companies. Are you sure that your files are safe?

If this is something you are worried about in your business then we will be offering a free security webinar in the next few weeks. We will be giving an in-depth look at what the CryptoLocker virus is and how to prevent your business from being attacked by it!

Sign up for our free security webinar now! Click here to register

John Browne…The Master of Backup at Barton

Please put your hands together and congratulate John Browne who is now the Master of GFI MAX Backup.

GFI MAX Backup offers military-grade protection for our customer’s data. This basically means that if you ever have an issue with backup then all you need to do is call John! Meaning fewer headaches all round! – Maybe not for John though!

The Master is now fully trained on how to operate and manage GFI MAX Backup this means we can provide our clients with a reliable and secure offsite backup solution!

Well done John..or should I say Master Johnphoto