How to Switch Off Unwanted Background Apps in Windows | Fraser Valley Tech Support

If you’ve ever had to open your Task Manager to close a program, you’ll notice that there a lot more programs & processes running than the ones you may be using on the screen. There is nothing unusual or bad about background apps running in Windows 10. After all, many of them are making Windows work for you the way it does. However, to get the best performance out of your machine, there may be a few that you can actually turn off. (Please note… be very carefully when picking which to close!)

Here is how you do it…

1.      Click on the Start button (Windows icon in bottom left-hand corner)

2.      Click the Settings icon (the cog)

3.      Click Privacy to open up the settings window

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4.      In left-hand list, find and click the Background apps option.

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5.      Now you should see a list of applications running in the background of Windows 10!

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Now, many of these you will want to keep on, depending on how you use your computer. E.G. If you use Skype, leave that on so people can call you! If not, turn it off.

On my PC, I was surprised to see some games running that I had no idea I even had on my computer – they had just been installed at the factory level and left there, or came as part of an update.

When you are done, you can just close the window. You may want to re-check it though, after any updates… just in case!

Improve Your Work-Flow by Using Virtual Desktops in Windows 10 | Chilliwack & Abbotsford Tech Support

Photo by   energepic.com   from   Pexels

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

Have you ever had a time when you are working on a project, that required multiple apps/windows to be open on your desktop at once, when you needed to do something else completely different… but this is going to make your desktop even more cluttered and confusing? You really don’t want to shut down all the windows you have open, but you need a clean work-space.

This is where the virtual desktop function, on Windows 10, comes to the rescue. For Mac users, this is not something new, but now PC users can take advantage of having multiple desktops to work on as well… and it’s not hard to use either.

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To start a new desktop, simply press the Windows, Ctrl + D keys, on your computer keyboard. (Control + Up on Macs) Voila! You now have a fresh, clean desktop to start your new project on!

To navigate back and forth between your desktops, simply press the Windows + Tab keys on your keyboard to open up your navigation options. (An alternative is Windows + Ctrl and then the left or right arrows to switch between screens).

You can also see a demo of how it works on our YouTube channel…



Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan | Fraser Valley Business IT Consultants

Running a business is already a lot of work on a day-to-day basis, so it’s not surprising when we come across businesses who have not had chance to put together a disaster plan. Most have probably thought about it at some point, but the hustle and bustle of getting things going, or keeping the money rolling in, has taken precious time from turning those thoughts into an actual plan.

So, how important is a disaster plan? The answer is VITAL! If your business does not have a plan for these top 5 scenarios, stop now and start getting one sorted before it is too late and very costly.

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1. Natural disaster

We may not be directly on an earthquake Fault-line, (we are kinda close, though) or in the shadow of an active Hawaiian volcano, but there are still plenty of potential natural disasters that could cripple a business either short or long term. It can range from temporary power failure from a wind/ice storm, all the way through to permanent loss from fire. (A particular concern, locally, with our summers yielding increasingly-worse forest fire seasons.) So, from an I.T. perspective, things to consider here definitely include off-site back-ups, as well as power and office-space alternatives.

2. Virus/Crypto-attacks

You hear about them all the time – and you probably see a heap of Spam attempts in your inbox everyday. The internet is a disease-infested stew of malicious pirates on a mission to plunder your ship of its spoils. Attacks are daily (in fact, businesses are targeted approximately every 14 seconds, resulting in a new ransomware victim every 40 seconds!) and is estimated to cost companies somewhere in the region of $11 billion, this year alone. If any of your technology is somehow connected to the world outside your office, you need protection AND data back-ups!

3. Malicious Employees

So, you may work hard to protect against those external attacks, but what about internal ones? It just takes one disgruntled (probably soon-to-be-ex) employee to do all sorts of damage. That damage can be anything, from simply downloading software for personal use (and compromising your legal license agreements) to a full-on data breach with intent to sell to a competitor. Do you have the steps in place to protect your company finances and data? It may be time to look at access policies and your exit procedures for leaving employees.

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4. Accidental Employee Damage

As much as a person may really love their job, and really work hard, they are still human. Humans make mistakes. It could be a spilled coffee, a cleaner unplugging a server, or an innocent click on an emailed resume (coincidentally sent during a recruitment drive) that turned out to actually be a ransomware Trojan virus. The magic words here are back-up, back-up, back-up… oh and good education!

5. Equipment Failure

No matter how good your I.T. crew is, there will come a time when a piece of equipment dies. It can be a tiny little component that wasn’t quite fitted right during the manufacturing process, or something as common and simple as an old-age issue. Regular maintenance and monitoring will help, but back-ups are key, as well as understanding the expected lifespan of your equipment and budgeting for replacements before you reach those dates.

Hopefully, you will never need your disaster plan. But, like home insurance, it is very wise to have it, just in case. If you do not have a good (up-to-date!) IT Disaster Plan in place and would like help, you can give our team of tech experts a call at 778-771-0184 or email help@wildfrogsystems.com. We will happily send one of our knowledgeable tech support consultants to give your business a disaster health check-up, and advise you on the best options to have a water-tight plan in place.

Windows 7 End of Support Announced - What To Do Next! | Chilliwack & Abbotsford Tech Support Experts

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Windows 7 may be close to hitting it’s 10th birthday (that’s about 72 in tech years!), but it still remains a fairly popular operating system. Well, we have some sad news for you, if you own 1 of the almost 40% of PCs still running Windows 7, – its End-of-Life has been announced. January 14, 2020 is the day that Microsoft will cease to update or support Windows 7, and it is now on the “extended support” phase.

So, since the date has been announced and rapidly approaches, now is time to start thinking about upgrading to Windows 10. (And just in case you forget, Microsoft is releasing a Windows 7 update which will give notifications to tell users to upgrade before January!)

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What happens if I don’t upgrade?

Your Windows 7 will carry on working BUT you will no longer receive any security or feature updates, meaning you are VERY vulnerable to attack from new viruses or hacks.

What do I do to upgrade?

Upgrading is easy. If you want to stick with the comfort and ease of staying on a Microsoft platform and upgrading to Windows 10, you just need to buy a copy of Windows 10, download the installation file and run it. If you are an Office 365 Business subscriber, though, the news is even better – you can upgrade all of your licensed devices for free!

 A cheaper option is Windows 8, but that’s not really a smart option when you are going to just run into the same End-of-Life problem in a short while anyway… plus Windows 10 is simply better!

There are other options:

Photo by  Markus Spiske  on  Unsplash

Linux – Free but does work quite differently, so will come with a bit of a learning curve, plus it will not run your favourite Windows Office apps, like Word. There are Linux alternatives though.

Mac – Apple machines do typically age better than PCs but it is the most expensive way to go. Many of your favourite apps/programs are also available for Macs, but you will have to purchase them again too, thereby upping your budget again.

Whatever route you choose, we STRONGLY recommend backing up all of your files first… even though the Windows 10 upgrade asks if you want to keep your files.  

Will my old computer run Windows 10?

That depends on what is in your computer, of course… and there is a chance that it may not have the spec, in which you case you may need to look at upgrading your machine. According to Microsoft, the minimum requirements for Windows 10 are:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or System on a Chip (SoC)

  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit.

  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS. (And the upcoming new version - 1903 - actually requires this to go up to 32 GB)

  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.

  • Display: 800x600.

Realistically though, if your computer does need a hefty hardware upgrade, by the time you add up the parts and effort, you may want to just consider investing in a new PC.

This sounds scary… I have a whole office of computers that need to upgrade!

Don’t panic… that’s what we are here for! Our skilled IT Support Team can take a look at your current machines, and let you know what options are best for you, along with how much they will cost and how long it will take. Then you can just leave the rest to the pros! Give us a call on 778-771-0184 or email info@wildfrogsystems.com and we will be happy to help.

What are Password Managers and Why You Need One! | Fraser Valley Tech Consultants

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Passwords, passwords, passwords. They are everywhere! With more and more software and platforms transferring to the ease and expanse of the cloud, the number of passwords we need on a daily basis has increased exponentially in the last few years.

Now, if you are following the golden rules of passwords (as you should be!), you should..

  • Never use the same password twice.

  • Use a password at least 8-12 characters long.

  • Use a mix of letters, numbers, uppercase/lowercase and symbols.

  • Do not store the password in your browsers or somewhere obvious like a sticky note.

This is where the average (busy!) human brain can run into some trouble. Bearing in mind that virtually everything we do requires a password – banking, office suite, social media, email, online shopping and so on - AND with the need for every single password to be unique, unpredictable and complicated, keeping track of them can be a bind for even the best memorising geniuses.

This is where having a password manager can be a lifesaver. Then you only need to remember 1 complicated password!

1 password to keep them all? That doesn’t sound safe!

Well, these programs are all about security, so they have to be! They employ techniques like multifactor authentication (meaning you need a password and a random code that it sends to a device of yours when logging in), and all data is encrypted at a local level.

So, what are your options?

There are a number of password managers out there, and you need to pick the one that best suits your needs and budget, but here are a few to get you going…

LASTPASS

LastPass is a great manager and has a number of package options for both business and personal clients, starting with a free version. It works on multiple devices, multiple browsers and has a variety of features such as strong password generators, digital file storage and auto form completing for online shopping.

KEEPER

Keeper is another leading password storage solution. Offers a wide variety of tailored package & feature options for personal (starting at $2.50/mo), family, business (starting at $2.50 per user/mo) or enterprise use. Again, works on multiple browsers and platforms.

DASHLANE

Dashlane also offers a free (but limited) version, as well as more feature-laden packages for business or personal use. This manager also comes with VPN protection and alerts you when a site’s security has been reported as compromised.

1PASSWORD

Popular manager, 1Password, has been protecting passwords for 13 years. No free version, but multiple options again, starting at $2.99/mo for personal or $3.99/mo for teams. Offers applications and extensions across a broad range of platforms and devices, with the usual menu of features on offer, plus a “watchtower” which keeps track of breaches and security issues.

Photo by  bruce mars  from  Pexels

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

There are more password managers out there, but this is a list of the most popular to start you shopping around. With companies and websites reporting data breaches every single day, the important thing is to get your passwords protected as soon as you can, as best you can… and this step will take you a long way towards a better night’s sleep!

How to Change the Name of your Facebook Business Page! | Chilliwack IT Support & Services

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So, as you may (or may not) have heard, we recently had a little makeover and got ourselves a shiny new logo and name. It sounds like a simple thing to do (and it WAS very exciting!), but the reality is that changing a business name can take a lot of work.

So, when our grand launch day finally arrived, we were more than ready to share our hard work with the world. All our ducks were in a row, paperwork finished, and the new artwork prepped and ready to go. First job of the day (for me!) was to head to our social media channels to do the announcement and the “big switch”. This was where I found things to get a bit interesting…

Changing things on most of our social media went very easily and smoothly. Instagram was a breeze, as were Twitter and Google. However, (surprisingly) Facebook was more of a challenge than we had anticipated.

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Facebook Procedures

On the surface, it looks easy. You just go to the About section of your business page and click “edit” next to your page name. However, this is where you must stop and think.

Facebook’s algorithms will not approve your name change if it looks too different to the previous one. We ran into this problem because our new name looks nothing like our old name… and Facebook refused to approve the change! (Even more surprisingly, though, they had no issue with us changing the username, which gives you your vanity URL!)

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In the Page Support Inbox, next to the message telling us of our new name failure, there is an option to appeal their decision. However, our experience (and further research!) showed us that this will do absolutely nothing to help your plight.

So, we found a work around… and it was a success! Being the helpful folks we are, we thought we would share our process…

2-Tier Process

For the easiest success, it is best to do the change in 2 phases.

PHASE 1: First, you change it to a temporary name that incorporates both your new name AND old name. (So, for example, if you are changing your business from something like “Joe Bloggs Plumbing” to “Easy Run Waterworks”, you would make the new FB page name something like “Easy Run Waterworks – Joe Bloggs Plumbing”.) You need to leave it like that for at least 7 days (as per Facebook rules).

PHASE 2: Once your 7 days is up, go back to the name edit option, and repeat the process, but this time change it the name you ultimately want. (i.e. dropping the old name part). Done!

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I totally understand the logic behind it. Facebook works on a lot of automation but still wants to protect the everyday user from scams and confusion. You also want your customers/audience to understand that you are the same company with just a new name, and this 2 step process does reinforce that. It is just a tiny bit annoying when you just want to get things done and move on!

Office Tips - Out Of Office Email Reply | Chilliwack & Fraser Valley Tech Support

Spring has sprung, and, as the long winter finally releases its choke-hold, everyone’s attentions start to wander towards vacation-time! We know this to be true, since the most popular question our clients have asked us, this month, is “how do I set up my email to do that Out Of Office reply?”.

So, here are some answers for you. (I say “some” because it completely depends on what version of Outlook you are running)…

Outlook on Microsoft Exchange

If you are part of a bigger organization, chances are that you are on Microsoft Exchange. This means your Out of Office Reply is pretty easy to find!

For Microsoft Office Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010 and Outlook for Office 365

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  1. Click the File tab, and then click the Info tab in the menu.

  2. You will see an option saying “Automatic Replies (Out of Office)”

  3. Click that option, and then just pick the appropriate dates/message etc, followed by OK.

  4. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your time off!

For Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

  1. On the Tools menu, click Out of Office Assistant.

  2. In the Out of Office Assistant dialog box, select the Send Out of Office auto-replies check box.

  3. Fill out the options you want

  4. Click OK.

  5. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your time off!

For Microsoft Office Outlook 2003

  1. On the Tools menu, click Out of Office Assistant.

  2. In the Out of Office Assistant dialog box, click I am currently Out of the Office.

  3. In the AutoReply only once to each sender with the following text box, type the message that you want to send while you are out of the office, and then click OK.

  4. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your time off!

  5. When you get back, repeat step 1 and select the “I am currently In the Office” option.

 

Outlook NOT on Microsoft Exchange

Now, that sounds fun and easy… BUT what if you are not on Exchange? Unfortunately, this feature is not available on non-Exchange accounts, such as Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), POP3, IMAP etc.

There is, however, a work around! You can combine an Outlook email template with Outlook rules to give the same kind-of result as this Out of Office feature. (It does mean that you must leave Outlook running while you are away though.)

 

First… you need to create your message template.

  1. In Outlook, create a new email message.

  2. Enter a subject and message body for your out-of-office template.

  3. Create a template for your out of office replies.

  4. Select File > Save As.

  5. Give your template a name and in the Save as type drop-down, select Outlook Template (*.oft).

  6. You can change the location for your template, but you can also pick the default location, which is usually c:\users\username\appdata\roaming\microsoft\templates. Click Save.

  7. You can create a new template every time you're out of the office or reuse an existing template. Now you're ready to use that template to create your Out of Office rule.

 

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Next, you create an out-of-office rule

  1. Go to File > Click Manage Rules & Alerts.

  2. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, on the E-mail Rules tab, click New Rule.

  3. Create a new rule.

  4. Under Start from a blank rule, click Apply rule on messages I receive and click Next.

  5. To reply to every email message you receive, leave the Step 1 and Step 2 boxes unchanged and click Next again. Select Yes when Outlook asks you if you want to apply this rule to all messages.

  6. Under What do you want to do with the message, in Step 1: Select action(s), select reply using a specific template.

  7. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description, click the underlined text for a specific template.

  8. In the Look In box at the top of the Select a Reply Template box, select User Templates in File System.

  9. Select the template you created above, and then select Open and Next.

  10. You can add any necessary exceptions, then select Next.

  11. Give your rule a name, e.g. Out of Office.

  12. By default, Turn on this rule is checked. If you're ready to turn on your out of office reply now, select Finish. Otherwise, uncheck this box. (You can turn the rule on at a later date… but don’t forget!)

  13. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your time off


So… that should cover you. Enjoy your vacation, and send us a postcard!

Photo by  Simon Migaj  on  Unsplash

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash