Happy New Year! – Need help from some of our vendors…

January 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!  Hope your 2013 is off to a great start.  Our year sure is.  So many improvements going on and things to look forward to.  We love helping people with their technology!

We also absolutely love and adore our vendors. They are great to work with and some of them are the reason we even have a business. However, sometimes they create new policies without taking their clients and consultants into consideration.

Microsoft decided to save some money by no longer mailing out DVD’s for subscriptions to their TechNet software program.  Sounds good as we are all about helping the enivronment and conserving resources, however, this has turned into a nightmare for consultants like us and our clients.  Case in point, SBS migration over the holidays.  6GB download and all we had were 4.7GB DVD’s.  And of course it was easy to obtain the next higher size at 2am. lol  So we obtained the double capacity DVD’s several days later.  After a 5 1/2 hour download, we burned the ISO to DVD.  We booted from the DVD and all appeared fine, until about half way through the install it blue screened.  Hours later we determined the downloaded file was corrupt.  So we had to re-download another 5 hour, burn again, and then it worked fine.  So let’s see, Microsoft saved 25 cents for a DVD and a few dollars in postage while costing me the consultant 20+ hours of my life I’ve never get back!!!  This is yet another case where the company is so big they forget all about the customers who made them that big.  We love Microsoft, however, sometimes they really do some stupid things.  Something to work on Microsoft.

More recently, HP laptop repair for a customer.  We love HP laptops as well as Dell laptops, but this item is something they both struggle with.  Windows error, will not boot.  New laptop only a month old, no restore points available, user has no data on it yet.  So utilize the recovery partition and attempt to restore to factory settings.  Multiple attempts fail!  So what it keeps wanting is a Windows 7 Home Premium disk.  But of course neither HP or Dell include these disks anymore.  So what is the user supposed to do?  Even techs are having trouble obtaining copies of the OEM disks.  Why?  Like you can somehow use them without a valid license.  This is yet another case where the vendors are not thinking about how their new policy impacts their customers.  So now the client has to wait while we attempt to get the vendor to mail us a DVD.  This is disappointing and something we hope they will resolve.  The recovery partition is great, when it works.  However, when the hard drive has to be replaced then you are stuck again and the average customer doesn’t understand why and of course they need it now.  They will lose more business to Apple if they don’t improve this process.

Ok, enough about that.  Things in technology have been good this month.  Looking forward to a great year.

Brad Howerter, The I.T. Guys



Strange characters…Windows activation?

November 7, 2012

Yesterday we worked on a desktop PC for a client who was experiencing some strange behavior from their PC. First of all, it showed strange characters in the login screen, and inside any dialog message. Then it stated Windows needed to be activated or it must be logged off. Our first thought was virus related, however, turns out it was caused by a hard drive failure. What??? How??? When the hard drive started experiencing CRC errors, it affected certain windows system files controlling the registry and such. These specific files happened to be the files which control windows activation and message notification font.  Have a good day.  Brad Howerter – The I.T. Guys – www.theitguysinc.com

Dell Drivers Missing…

August 31, 2012

So the other day we were reloading a Dell laptop for a client with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. Unfortunately the restore partition had been wiped out, so this reload would be from scratch. Inserted the Windows 7 Pro 64-bit CD, setup started ok and looked like it would complete.  However, after waiting several minutes it would error stating Windows 7 could not be configured on this hardware. Really? This laptop definitely had more than enough specs to run Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. Further research revealed Windows 7 required a SATA Raid driver!!! Raid on a laptop? lol Now that’s funny and I don’t care who you are! 🙂 Seriously though, Raid is reserved typically for servers and some desktops for techs who choose to set it up. (I did it in the past with my primary desktop and I do NOT recommend it unless you like your computer to be slow! Server hardware is designed for Raid, however, desktop hardware is not…even though it says it is)

So then I proceeded to install Dell drivers and of course had to copy over the network driver via flash drive using another PC. Then I searched Dell’s website for drivers based on the SN of the laptop. Even after selecting the correct operating system, not all of the drivers needed were there! Really Dell? I’ve never seen such a cluster. It used to be easy, you simply installed all the recommended drivers for your operating system and away you go. But now, it’s several different drivers with some that apply to your machine and some do NOT! And as usual they love to change components 5 different times forcing us to attempt to figure out which brand/model is installed. I’ve always been a fan of Dell products (Compaq was my first choice), however, this is becoming more difficult every year. Dell, please get it together! I even had to search the net to find certain drivers not listed on the Dell site. Come on Dell.

So I don’t mean to complain, however, that reload was more frustrating than most. It doesn’t have to be that difficult. On a more positive note, I reloaded an Intel based desktop in under 2 hrs, including software installs. Why? Because all their drivers which applied to the unit were listed and it was a breeze! Dell, why don’t you start watching Intel and follow suit. My two cents this week.

Have a great holiday weekend! – Brad Howerter – The I.T. Guys – www.theitguysinc.com

Slow file access on new Windows 7 computers?

August 17, 2012

So recently we installed several new Windows 7 Pro computers for one of our clients. Shortly after the users began using them, they reported extremely slow access to their network files while working in MS Word. Upon further review, we found offline files setup, and the computers were trying to constantly keep their files synchronized between the server and their computer. Multiply this by a hundred users and you have a serious problem. The solution? We disabled offline files (typically best used for laptops anyway) and the problem stopped. Have a great weekend.  Brad Howerter – The I.T. Guys – www.theitguysinc.com

IT Guys joins referal program at SMI

July 25, 2012

I am happy to report we have started a referal program with Sound Mind Investing!!!  They provide a monthly newsletter and tons of financial related information on their website for customers from all levels of knowledge.  Their principles are biblical based and extremely helpful in managing your family finances.  Thank you to SMI for their outstanding leadership and website.  Please visit them today:  Sound Mind Investing

BDR’s are selling like crazy…

June 28, 2012

this month with the recent tropical storm.  What exactly is a BDR?  It stands for Backup Disaster Recovery.  It’s a unit which backs up all the data on your network locally, and then sends the data to a protected US data center.  The BDR is excellent for businesses which cannot afford to be down.  For example, if one of their servers should crash, the BDR can virtualize their crashed server while it is being repaired.  So the end users are able to work as normal.  What a huge difference versus the old method of being down 2-3 days while we reloaded the server.  Something to definitely consider for your business.  Brad Howerter – The I.T. Guys – www.theitguysonline.com

Battery backup flashing light…

June 20, 2012

stating replace battery?  We were at a client site the other day and noticed an APC battery backup with a flashing red light stating replace battery.  So we ordered a new battery and replaced it.  However, upon doing so it still flashes replace battery.  Really?  Confusing huh.  Well after further testing it turns out the APC unit electronics had gone bad and of course it was out of warranty.  So now they have a spare battery but will need another APC.  Why not order a new APC in the first place?  Because we had a 50/50 shot of the replacement battery working at a cost difference of $25 for the battery versus $100 for a new APC.  You see, we are all about what is best for our customers.  Have a wonderful week!  Brad Howerter – The I.T. Guys – www.theitguysonline.com

Windows updates stop working…

June 15, 2012

on XP?  Yep, we have started to notice for some unknown reason windows updates will not start on some older Windows XP machines.  Microsoft has jumped back and forth for awhile now on an actual date to stop support of XP.  I guess this time it’s for good.  Only way to get around it on older machines is to do a complete reload.  Ouch!  Well, I guess it’s time to start looking at moving to Windows 7 for all of you who have been waiting.  Probably best too considering Windows 8 is scheduled to arrive this fall.  Have a great weekend!  Brad Howerter – The I.T. Guys – http://www.theitguysinc.com

It’s that time of year again…

June 8, 2012

when storms cause IT issues.  When the thunder starts to roll, you can plan on there being power outages.  Are you properly prepared?  Even those who have existing battery backups are sometimes surprised how they begin to experience issues during the storm season.

So the other day we were at a client site who had a building which lost their connection to the internet.  Further diagnosis revealed a battery backup in one of their closets had shut off.  How can this happen?  Once the battery starts going back, a power outage can knock out the battery backup unit so it shuts the devices connected to it off.  When power is restored, it still doesn’t come back up.  A simple reboot of the battery backup fixed it termpoarily, but ulimately the battery had to be replaced.  Have a great weekend!  Brad – The IT Guys http://www.theitguysinc.com

If you always jump around…

June 8, 2012

If you always jump around to various IT providers, you will fail to experience the relationship benefits of a provider focused on you and the greater good. Brad – http://www.theitguysonline.com