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Get Back to Brand New with a Refreshed Computer

Get Back to Brand New with a Refreshed Computer

Remember how well your computer ran when you first brought it home? It was booting so fast, files were whizzing around at light speed, and no matter how many tabs you had open, nothing was slowing that baby down. It was spotless, inside and out. Then one day you turned it on and everything was so slooooow, taking forever to do anything – and that was only if you could even find your files in all the clutter. All that zip and speed you loved so much was gone

The good news is you probably DON’T need a new computer, you simply need what we call a “format and reload” to:

Clear the clutter: Over time as you install applications you collect icons, files and options everywhere. They’re not necessary, they’re not used, but they were installed automatically ‘just in case’. It’s a bit like when your overnight guest shows up with a massive suitcase and then claims a shelf in your bathroom. Those applications are making themselves at home in a big way! All that uninvited clutter is slowing your system down and making it hard for you to find the things you need. Simply put, it’s a mess. Our technicians can clean your system back to pristine in no time.

Beat viral overload: Is the virus really gone? Sometimes a virus has multiple layers and can bury itself so deep even your anti-virus doesn’t see it. Despite getting the all-clear from your anti-virus, you might also be seeing the damage from the infection. Perhaps the virus made a mess of your internal file structure, left pieces of code all over the place, or deleted files essential for smooth running. When an infection has been cleared but the system is still running slow, we recommend dropping it into our store asap for a check-up and refresh.

Assess incompatible software: Installing a new piece of software can sometimes produce unexpected results. While your system met the hardware and operating system requirements, maybe it’s simply not playing nice with your other applications. Maybe they’re fighting over the same resources, system files, or clashing with one of your hardware components. Clearly, something isn’t quite right, but you’re not sure what. Our team loves to play detective and get your system back to normal.

Archive older files: Some of your files are definite keepers, long term. Your photos, recipes, accounts etc, they’re all important to keep – but are they important to keep sitting on your desktop? They’re not just slowing your computer down, you’re at risk of losing them in a crash. It’s much safer to archive them to an external drive or cloud storage, simply let us know what you’d like to keep.

What exactly is a computer refresh? It’s like a car tune-up, but more flexible. Rather than tick the boxes saying we’ve changed the oil, cleaned the filters etc, we treat each computer as a unique case. Sometimes we can tune it up in a few minutes, and that’s all it needed. Sometimes it’s worth starting over like day 1.

We can reinstall Windows and migrate your data (photos, docs, emails, bookmarks, etc), putting back only what you WANT to keep. The rest of the clutter that built up over time or piggy-backed on a virus gets flushed away. We can also set up your email and install any devices you need, like printers. It’s doing whatever is necessary to give you a fresh start with your computer, but keeping the essentials.

Ready to get back up to speed? Give us a call at 604-885-2410

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HTTP vs. HTTPS for SEO: What You Need to Know to Stay in Google’s Good Graces

HTTP vs. HTTPS for SEO: What You Need to Know to Stay in Google’s Good Graces

Back in August of last year Google officially announced that switching your website over to HTTPS will give you a minor ranking boost.

So it’s that simple, right? If Google says do it, then let’s do it.

For most companies this is exactly the right mentality, but it’s still important to understand what the difference is between HTTP and HTTPS, how to make the switch, and if making the switch is right for your company in the first place.

Ultimately, it’s important to ask yourself several questions: Why does Google prefer HTTPS for SEO rankings? What are the SEO benefits of HTTPS?

And also a word of caution: There are some SEO concerns to consider when changing to HTTPS.

HTTP vs. HTTPS: Understanding the Basics

No matter what side you are on—being the user of a website or developing your own site—a good online experience tends to involve a trusted third party and good encryption.

In order to understand how to achieve this and better understand why Google favors these website elements (and why you should too), it’s important to first learn the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Below explains the basics of the two options:

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Mainstay Computing Ltd. recommends Siteground for small business owners and personal users. A free SSL certificate is included in every hosting package(value of $69) and their amazing in-house server solutions make them an obvious choice. Get started with Siteground today!

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3 Tech Tips to Make You a Better Business Owner

3 Tech Tips to Make You a Better Business Owner

There’s no doubt about it, business can be tough! You’re juggling employees, customers, suppliers, stakeholders…the list is endless. You’re also operating in a competitive, high-tech economy that keeps trying to speed ahead without you. It’s no wonder you’re craving ways to get ahead of the competition, cut costs, boost productivity and dreaming of a vacation. Here are 3 tech tips that will make your life easier – and maybe get you closer to that ‘World’s Best Boss’ mug.

Consider a commuting policy

With better technology and faster internet connections, remote working isn’t just a possibility now, it’s an expectation. Clearly, not for every job (virtual burgers anyone?), but there are a lot of computer tasks in your business that could be done from home. Even if you offer a split week with 1-2 days at home and the remainder in the office, this can be a huge boost to your productivity.

From your perspective, remote employees can be more efficient without the distractions of yet another birthday sing-along, they have fewer absences and stay in the job longer. From the employee perspective, they don’t need to waste time commuting, get their work done faster, and generally feel happier and healthier.

Don’t cheap out on technology

Unsurprisingly, a tech newsletter is advising you to invest in tech, but hear us out. Technology is rapidly becoming the backbone of most businesses, yet we still see people who try and get by with the bare minimum investment and maintenance. And by ‘see people’, we mean they’re our most frequent repair and data recovery clients.

When you take shortcuts with your tech you’ll always get higher failure rates, more downtime, and employees who can’t do their job even though you’re still paying them by the hour. When businesses keep old tech longer than they should, thinking of the immediate cost saving, they usually end up paying more in the long term.

Embrace the cloud

Many of your existing software packages have a cloud version, which would allow multiple people to access it at once and give added backup or synchronization benefits. Your remote workers, mobile staff, accountant or CFO can all view the same reports without anyone having the trouble of sending out separate copies.

Cloud technology is also perfect for notetaking and collaboration using software like Evernote or OneDrive. You and your employees can think of ideas while out and about, make a few notes on a mobile device, and have it all synced perfectly to your desktop when you need it. You can even scan in paperwork and have your entire filing cabinet in your pocket.

Your business tech can unlock multiple possibilities that will make your days run smoother, more profitable and put you miles ahead of the competition. Ready?

Give us a call at 604-885-2410 to make your tech work harder for you.

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Why Do People Create Viruses?

You’d be right in thinking it’s hard to program a computer virus that can spread across the world in a flash – we’re talking days of constant desk-jockey nerd-work. So why do they bother? Well, it generally comes down to 3 reasons: Money, showing off their skill, or to simply being a jerk. While showing off or being a jerk is pretty self-explanatory, the money side is fascinating.

Here’s how people are making money with computer viruses:

Bank account theft: Virus creators are more than happy to help themselves to your bank details, sneaking in to grab your login details or credit card info. They can either transfer your funds away or use your credit card details to go on a shopping spree. Sometimes they’ll leave the fun to another person though, and simply sell your details to the highest bidder.

Ransomware: Rather than a financial snatch and grab, sometimes a virus will encrypt your files and demand money for the unlock code. Without a true backup plan in place beforehand, you’re at their mercy. You’ll be given very helpful information on how to pay, plus a firm deadline before your files are destroyed permanently.

Ad swappers: A cheeky technique, this is when they create a virus that either puts annoying ads on websites you visit, or places affiliate codes on pages so that when you buy something legitimately – eg, from Amazon – they get a percentage as a ‘referral fee’. Their kickback doesn’t make your purchase cost more and you may not even know you’re supporting their activities.

Bitcoin mining: You might have heard of digital currencies being used for payment, but did you know you can also earn them with your computer processing power? Unfortunately, ‘renting’ out your computer’s processing power means paying more in running costs than you’d make – unless you were very clever and sneaky, and used a virus to rent out other people’s computers.

Botnets: Certain infected computers can be remotely controlled to do whatever the virus creator wants. In this case, they’ll usually set the infected bot computers to overwhelm a target web server, like an e-commerce store. Sometimes it’s done as revenge, but more often it’s blackmail. The ‘Botmaster’ says “pay me thousands of dollars or I’ll crash your site during the biggest shopping day of the year.”

Account stealing: Subscription accounts like Netflix and Hulu are often hijacked, leaving you to pay the bill for someone else’s entertainment. But sometimes, virus creators go one step further with online gaming accounts. All those digital items that you fought so hard for (special clothing, weapons etc.) can carry real world value and be stolen from your account and sold on a black market. Yes, that’s cheating!

Give us a call at 604-885-2410 to make sure your computer is secure and protected.

ESET releases “EternalBlue Vulnerability Checker” to help combat WannaCry ransomware

ESET releases “EternalBlue Vulnerability Checker” to help combat WannaCry ransomware

Today, IT security firm ESET® released a useful free tool to help combat the recent ransomware, WannaCry.

 

ESET’s EternalBlue Vulnerability Checker can be used to determine whether your Windows machine is patched against EternalBlue. This is the exploit behind the WannaCry ransomware epidemic that is still being used to spread cryptocurrency mining software and other malware.

Protecting from EternalBlue is critical. The danger is not in the WannaCry ransomware itself, but in the EternalBlue exploit. This has been using the vulnerability in unpatched Microsoft systems to spread the infection to other unpatched computers. (ESET’s network detection of the EternalBlue exploit, CVE-2017-0144, was added on April 25, prior to the outbreak of the WannaCry threat. To learn more about how ESET solutions proactively protect against WannaCry and EternalBlue, click here.)

While the WannaCry ransomware remains the most visible, the exploit can still be used in the wild by any other malware – not only ransomware.

Read the full article here!

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How to Backup Your Computer

How to Backup Your Computer

Why You Should Backup Your Files

 

In today’s fast-paced world, backing up your files is of the utmost importance. Typically music, movies, films, data files, projects, and photos are all stored in one place – your computer. Laptops and desktops have decreased in cost, and the amount of storage inside them has increased greatly over the last few years. Unfortunately having all of your data in only one place is dangerous.

Computer loss, theft, natural disaster, and accidental deletion, are just some of the ways that you can lose the data you’ve spent so long creating and accumulating. The only way to prepare for the unexpected is to have a good backup strategy in place. There are many different ways to backup your computers, and using multiple forms of backup will minimize the risk of ever losing your valuable files.

Can I Use Thumb Drives for Backup?

 

Technically, yes. In most cases, a simple thumb drive (or flash drive) is the first way most people save their data. Thumb drives are easy to transport, work with most computers, and are relatively small. That makes them a great way to save small amounts of data like presentations or working documents. It’s also easy to give them to others, making them great for collaborative projects.

The downside to thumb drives is that they are usually very small and often are not very dense (meaning, they cannot store a lot of data). This makes them problematic for a few reasons. If your thumb drive is small it’s easy to lose. If you lose your thumb drive then you’re no longer backed up! Not having a lot of storage density is also problematic, as typically a thumb drive will not be able to hold all of the data that is on your computer. For all of those reasons thumb drives are not an ideal solution for backing up your computer.

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