Are You Backing Up Your Data?

Posted September 3rd, 2012 by Mark with No Comments

Backup Q&A

Backup Q&A

Q:  Do you have data on your computer that you wouldn’t want to lose?

A:  Ok, that was a trick question – the answer, is of course, “Yes.”

So let’s move on.

Q:  What sort of things can happen that would cause you to lose your data?

A:  The hard disk on which your data lives can fail…sometimes without warning.  It’s a mechanical device that is very sensitive, and it can be damaged by heat, vibration, electrical surges, or it can just plain wear out.

A: Power outages common at this time of year, can damage your computer – especially if it is getting old.

A: A lightning strike on your house or close to you can cause a power surge that can take out your computer (and lots of other devices) in the blink of an eye.

A:  If you have a laptop, you might drop your computer.  A good hit in the right orientation can destroy a hard drive.

A:  You could get a virus that erases your data or encrypts all your files and then offers to sell you the decryption key at an exorbitant price.

A:  You can delete something important accidentally – I see this all the time.

A:  Someone you know and love can delete something important accidentally.

A:  Someone you used to know and love can delete something important not-so-accidentally.

You get the picture.  There are many, many ways to lose important data, but only one to save it.  BACKUP.  Then, BACKUP AGAIN.  Then, KEEP BACKING UP.

Q:  Why don’t most people backup their data?

A:  This is an easy one.  It’s too hard, and it takes too much time.

It’s human nature – even if you know a task is important, if it takes too much effort or is too time consuming, then you just never manage to find time for it.  Life intervenes and the task never seems to rise to the top of the priority list.

Q:  So – how do we fix that?

A:  Another easy one.  You make it EASY.   Even better, you AUTOMATE it so that you don’t have to do anything at all except check to make sure it’s working once in a while.

There are two main schools of backup – Online and Local.  Both have pros and cons but it is better to backup using any method than hold off because you are debating the relative merits of the available choices.

We can help you decide which method is best for you, based on your particular circumstance, then we can help you get set up so that your data is safeguarded.  The end result is that your data will be safe and you can sleep better at night.  Call us today to make an appointment!

How To Make Your Internet Connection Faster

Posted April 28th, 2012 by Mark with 2 Comments


Make your internet connection faster

Does your internet connection seem slower than it used to be?  This is a common problem, but it can sometimes be fixed with just a few simple steps.  To tackle this project, we need to be a little methodical – - ready?  Let’s go!

Steps to Make Your Internet Connection Faster

  1. To start with, let’s find out how fast your internet is.  Go to This Site and click on a couple of locations to independently measure your speed.  Take the average of at least two destinations for your download and upload speed, and write it down.
  2. It’s also helpful to know how fast your internet is supposed to be.  To find out, you’ll need to call your internet provider (e.g. Verizon, Comcast, etc.)  They will often be a little hesitant to give you a number, but if you press, you should be able to find out that the service in your area, for example, is 10 megabit down and 3 megabit up.  Now, move on to the next step.
  3. If the speed you got in Step 1 is within 10% of the speed of your service (Step 2), then stop.  You are getting what you are paying for.  If you want or need faster internet, you’ll have to upgrade your service.  A quick call to your provider will let you know what your options are.
  4. Still with us?  Ok.  That means we can likely help.  Let’s start by unplugging the modem and router (if you have one).  If your modem has a battery backup, you’ll need to make sure you take the battery out to get a complete restart.  Leave the devices unplugged for a minute or two, then put that battery back in if you removed one and plug the devices in again.  After a couple of minutes, reboot your computer and check your speed again (Step 1).  If your speed is now within 10% of your rated speed, stop.  You’ve fixed the problem!  Remember this trick and do it a couple of times each year.
  5. If your speed still isn’t what it should be, then it’s time to do some maintenance on your computer.  This is something we can do easily in a remote support session, so call us at 412.480.9969  if you’d like to arrange one.
  6. If your computer is all cleaned up and your speed still isn’t what it should be, then it’s possible there is a problem with your service.  Call your provider again and give them the results of your speed test.  Ask them to test your connection from their end.  Sometimes they can fix the problem easily, or send a technician out to check your cables, etc.
  7. Lastly, if the provider says everything is working ok from their end and your service is good, then there is a deeper problem that should be addressed.  Call us for help.


Data Recovery

Posted April 18th, 2012 by Mark with No Comments

Data Recovery

Woot!!  We just successfully recovered a customer’s data from a iMac’s failing hard drive that the Geniuses at the Apple store said was unretrievable.   The computer dual-booted Windows & OSX and i guess they were scared off – or something…   :-)

They replaced the hard drive, but just handed back the bare drive that was failing and suggested the customer send it out to a data recovery company.   Sometimes the simplest tasks are the most satisfying!