How to clean your PC using Disk Cleanup

Over time, your Windows PC accumulates files you no longer need, which can slow down its performance. That’s just how the Windows operating system works. But don’t fret — you can use Windows’ Disk Cleanup tool to get rid of your unnecessary files on your computer, free up your hard drive, and make it run fast again. Here’s how the Disk Cleanup tool does that.

How to run the Disk Cleanup tool

Disk Cleanup can easily be accessed through the Start menu or by searching Disk Cleanup. The tool selects Drive C by default, so make sure to choose the correct drive you want to clean out. Next to each file location is information about how much space it is taking up in your hard disk.

To access this tool on Windows 10, go to the Start menu, scroll to Windows Administrative Tools, then click Disk Cleanup.

Each file location has a corresponding checkbox that needs to be selected in order to delete the unnecessary files it contains. Upon clicking a file location, a description of the files it contains will appear at the bottom of the window so you will see the types of files you’ll be removing.

When Disk Cleanup is finished, you’ll need to restart your system to remove unnecessary Windows Update files. Remember, the Disk Cleanup tool only removes those Update files that are no longer needed, hence usually very few are deleted.

The benefits of Disk Cleanup

Why use Disk Cleanup when you can simply upgrade or replace your hard drive? That’s because doing so offers the following advantages:

  • Maximizes your drive’s memory – The ultimate benefits of cleaning up your disk are maximized computer storage space, increased speed, and improved functionality. These enable you to use your device at peak performance levels.
  • Makes your computer more reliable and secure – Some programs that are downloaded through the internet are often infected with viruses that can decrease your computer’s reliability. The Disk Cleanup tool can clean your computer and rid it of unwanted programs as well.
  • Saves time and increases efficiency – The traditional way of opening folders to find old files to delete may be enough for some, but not for those who prioritize productivity. Although files can be deleted manually, Disk Cleanup is simply much faster.
  • Saves money – Instead of buying and configuring a new drive, you can maximize the useful life of your current one.

The Disk Cleanup tool is as handy to launch and operate as any basic program. If you are looking to further improve the speed of your systems, contact us today to learn more about our IT services.

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Here’s how to get the right EMR system

Electronic medical record (EMR) systems enable healthcare providers to store patients’ medical and treatment histories in digital formats. These solutions eliminate the need for several complex paper charts and allow medical professionals to provide patients with efficient and precise care. When selecting an EMR system for your healthcare organization, consider these factors.

Determine your requirements

EMR systems come with a vast array of features for different types of users, and you should pay only for those functionalities that will bring value to your practice. Before you even consider your options, list down all of your practice’s requirements. Be process-oriented — start from patient admission, then move on to patient scheduling, medication lists, visual reports, and so on. This list will help you identify which EMR solution addresses your needs and is the best fit for your organization.

Get one that matches your specialization

EMR systems with broad functions may not offer the specific features you need. Choose an EMR system with features that can be customized according to your specialization. For instance, practices that specialize in midwifery will need a unique EMR platform that offers a way to record a newborn’s medical details.

Prioritize ease of use

EMRs should help healthcare professionals effectively treat patients and manage their needs. However, an EMR system that’s too clunky or complex can make achieving this basic goal challenging. When considering your options, look for solutions that are easy to use. This ensures that even non-tech-savvy members of your staff will be able to quickly master the tool.

Additionally, ask the EMR vendor for a demo version of their products and try using this in your everyday operations. This will not only help your staff become familiar with the solution sooner, but will also let you uncover potentially disruptive usability issues early on. This enables you to find a resolution for such issues or move to less buggy alternatives.

Support and upgrades

Reputable sellers usually provide 24/7 support, which is very helpful in case you encounter technical problems while using the EMR system at any hour of the day. After all, technical issues can happen even during off-hours and cause problems for your practice. Furthermore, the software’s manufacturer must offer various upgrades and updates to their product, including new features and bug fixes.

Vendor viability

Consider your vendor’s plans for the future before purchasing their EMR product. You’re not just buying from your vendor, but you’re also creating a long-term relationship with them. Remember that technology is always changing, as are medical regulatory standards. Make sure that your vendor has good customer relations and that they have the ability to invest in future development. After all, EMR implementation can be costly and you don’t want to make major changes to your EMR system every few months.

An EMR system is a crucial tool for any healthcare organization looking to provide the best care to their patients. If you need help finding the right one for your practice and integrating it into your operations, contact us today.

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Keep cybercriminals from attacking your business printers with these tips

It’s easy to overlook printers when implementing a cybersecurity strategy, as they may seem safe from cyberattacks. But in reality, many hackers these days exploit certain printer vulnerabilities to gather information about businesses or even infiltrate their systems without anyone noticing. Protect your business printers by following these tips.

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

When assessing network security threats, companies primarily focus on servers and computers not only because these are the most exposed to external threats, but also because they get the bulk of cyberattacks. Printers are often at the bottom of the list since they are not prime targets. What’s more, their functions seem to be internal at first glance, as they don’t interact with external systems.

But it’s exactly because of their primary functions, namely printing and scanning, that make print devices perfect cybercriminal targets. Businesses run important documents such as tax forms, employee information, medical records, and financial statements through print devices — information that hackers would definitely love to get their hands on.

And they can, easily.

Network printers store previous print jobs in their hard drive, sometimes including those that have been canceled. If anyone accesses the printer — even remotely — they may be able to see those documents by hacking into the printer using a specialized tool.

Files can also be intercepted during wireless transmission, as modern printers can now be connected to the web. Not only can hackers exploit printers’ open network ports to view data, but they can also take over vulnerable printers and transmit their own data through these machines.

Lastly, hackers can exploit vulnerable printers to bypass your cybersecurity system. Once they find a way in through your printers, crooks can then launch broader cyberattacks from within your network, which can be difficult to contain.

What can you do to protect your business printers?

Business printers should not be disregarded when planning a cybersecurity strategy. Keep your print devices secure by following these best practices:

  1. Monitor your network surreptitiously and always promptly install printer software updates and patches. Printer manufacturers often release software support or updates, so always be on the lookout for those.
  2. Change the default password and administrator login credentials of printers with web management capabilities.
  3. Allow only company-owned devices to connect to your printers.
  4. Always connect to your printers using secure connections. Conversely, avoid accessing your printers through a public internet connection.
  5. Restrict printer access by using a firewall.
  6. If your wireless printer has a feature that requires users to enter a PIN before they can print documents, enable it to prevent unauthorized access.
  7. If you don’t use your printer for fax and email, isolate your printer from your main company network and disable out-of-network printing.
  8. If you handle classified data, do not connect your printer to any network. Instead, connect it directly to your computer using data cables or print from a thumb drive.
  9. Secure your printouts by enabling manual feed. This setting requires a user to manually input paper (or any material to be printed on), reducing the risks of the printed document getting stolen or being left in the printing area.

Another way to secure your printers is by partnering with an IT company that can take care of your printer-related worries. From thwarting attacks to reducing management costs to keeping your printer at optimal functionality, our experts can help.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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Easy steps to reduce data usage on your Android device

If you don’t have an unlimited data plan for your Android device, uncontrolled downloading can result in slower connections, poor battery life, and high overage charges. But do you know that you can reduce your data consumption without affecting your mobile experience? Follow these handy tips.

Delete data-draining apps

Apps that constantly consume your mobile data, such as Facebook, Google Maps, and YouTube, can accelerate hardware and battery life deterioration as well as lower the device’s efficiency. If you have data-draining apps, consider removing them from your device to lower your monthly data usage.

To identify such apps, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > App data usage. From there, you can see which apps are consuming the most data, and you can delete the worst offenders.

Restrict background data

Background data is a feature that allows apps to provide real-time updates by using data connection even when the app isn’t actively in use or the phone is locked. It is also one surefire way to burn through a significant chunk of your monthly data plan.

To prevent background data from constantly updating, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet. Then, select App data usage to see your top data-draining apps. Tap on an app to show its settings, and toggle the button under “Background data” to Off.

Use data saver mode

To ensure that you’re not using too much data on your data plan, check and change your data usage setting. All you have to do is go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > Data Saver.

When you turn Data Saver on, some apps are prevented from sending or receiving data in the background. While any app you currently use can still download data, it will do so less frequently. For instance, images on a web page won’t display until you tap them.

Beware of auto-updates

Software updates can require hundreds of megabytes of data, so it’s better to update your apps over Wi-Fi than through your data connection. You may not even realize updates are happening if you have the auto-update setting enabled. Turn it off by opening the Google Play Store and tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner. Go to Settings > Auto-update apps > Over Wi-Fi only.

Take your apps offline

Some apps include an offline access option. For example, Google Docs lets you choose the documents you’d like to access while disconnected from the internet. This allows you to save your work offline and only update its online version once you are connected to the internet. Check regularly for offline access options and enable them whenever possible.

These are some quick and easy tips for IT novices, but if you’re on the hunt for expert solutions and support for Android devices, get in touch with our team today.

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Are Macs immune to malware?

Windows computers tend to deal with an assortment of malware, but many people fail to realize that even Apple computers face similar threats. As cybercriminals have become more adept at finding exploits and other vulnerabilities, more and more Macs have also fallen prey to malware. Here are some threats you need to look out for to keep your Mac safe.

What are the threats that can affect your Mac?

There are several forms of malware that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from ones that are merely annoying to downright destructive.

  1. Adware – These are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware like keyloggers and keyboard sniffers onto their deployment protocols, allowing them to record your typing habits and monitor your browsing behavior.
  2. Sniffers – These are usually designed to detect certain words on a web page and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.
  3. Trojan horses – These can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contain a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in iCloud Keychain.
  4. Macro viruses – These attack computers by running a code that can take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and microphones. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macros-enabled file, hence the name.
  5. Ransomware – Macs managed to hold off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks in Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.

Telltale signs your Mac is infected

Now that you know what kinds of malware your Mac could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your computer is infected with one:

  1. Pop-up ads – If you’re seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer is probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.
  2. Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.
  3. Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Google Chrome such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.

Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.

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Rectify these 5 Wi-Fi issues with ease

Your business has spent a lot on Wi-Fi routers so your employees can collaborate instantaneously and access files seamlessly without your connection faltering. But when your Wi-Fi starts acting up, resist the temptation to smash your router. Instead, try these simple troubleshooting techniques.

Range constraints

Wi-Fi works via radio waves that are typically broadcast from a device known as a router. To avoid a weak signal in your office, make sure that your router is placed in a centralized location and not hidden in the farthest corner of your facility. The Wi-Fi antennas must also be either in a fully horizontal or vertical position for optimal signal distribution.

Note that Wi-Fi range constraints can also be due to interference, so if your office is situated in a highly populated area, try changing your router’s channel.

Slow internet speed

Despite having high-speed or fiber optic internet, slow load times can still occur from time to time. To eliminate this, try the following:

  • Place your router in the same room as your computers.
  • Add more routers to better accommodate a high number of connected devices.
  • Limit the use of bandwidth-intensive applications and websites such as Skype, Dropbox, YouTube, and Facebook.
  • Disable your router’s power-saving mode.
  • Create a new router channel to avoid network bottlenecks.

Connection issues

It can be frustrating when the Wi-Fi network shows up on your device but you just can’t seem to connect to it. To solve this issue, try these fixes:

  • Determine whether your Wi-Fi connection or internet service is the problem. To do this, plug in an Ethernet cable directly to your laptop. If you get a connection, then the issue is on your end.
  • Reset your router. Use a paperclip or a pen to hold down the reset button for about 30 seconds.
  • Reboot your device.
  • Call your internet service provider if none of these fixes work.

Unstable connection

Random Wi-Fi connection drops can happen occasionally. If this is a constant nuisance in your office, try moving your router to a different spot or room. Avoid having multiple routers in the same location as well, as this can confuse your device.

Network not found

Your Wi-Fi network may not appear on your devices if your router is glitching. To fix this issue, try disconnecting the router from the power source and waiting at least 30 seconds before reconnecting it. You may also need to check how old your router is. If it’s more than three years old, then that may be what’s causing the connectivity problems. Replacing your router with a newer model should solve the issue.

Implementing these tips will help you avoid serious downtime caused by Wi-Fi issues. However, if you prefer to have a dedicated technology provider handle these for you, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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How to know if your VoIP system is in danger

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems are known for enabling mobile workforces, reducing costs, and offering advanced call features. However, what many people may not know is that VoIP systems are not immune to hackers and cyberattacks. Here are the signs that might indicate that your VoIP system is being hacked.

1. Irregularities in your call history

If you notice multiple calls being made or coming from unfamiliar locations or numbers, it’s usually an indication that your VoIP system may be under attack. Ask for a detailed copy of your call logs from your service provider so you can identify calling patterns that will allow you to pinpoint any irregularities.

2. Redirection to malicious sites

Being redirected to other — often potentially malicious — sites while browsing the internet is a telltale sign that your VoIP system is being hacked. Hackers may also install browser extensions and toolbars without your knowledge. To keep your VoIP system safe, run regular anti-malware scans and always log out of your VoIP account when you’re done using it.

3. Webcams and microphones starting on their own

Webcams and microphones make VoIP phones better than traditional landlines, but cybercriminals can use these features to infiltrate your network. Hackers can use your VoIP’s webcams and microphones to spy on your business, record conversations, and collect private information. If you notice your VoIP phone’s webcam and microphone behaving strangely, report it immediately to an IT specialist or your managed IT services provider (MSP) to see if your VoIP system is being breached by a cybercriminal.

4. Fake antivirus messages pop-ups

When you or your employees see pop-up messages that say your system is infected and needs to be scanned while your VoIP system is on, do not click on those messages. They may be a sign that a hacker has already infiltrated your system. It’s best to have your system administrator or MSP shut down the network so they can identify the source of the pop-ups and scan your system for any malware.

5. Sudden increase in VoIP bills

One benefit of having a VoIP system is a lower monthly bill compared to a landline service. So if you see a sudden spike in your monthly bill, it’s probably a sign that your VoIP system has been hacked. When cybercriminals infiltrate your VoIP network, they can make unauthorized calls to premium numbers without your knowledge.

Safeguarding your VoIP network from cybercriminals requires best-in-class security solutions and security awareness training. For more ways on how you can protect your VoIP system, contact us today.

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Make the most out of Outlook with these tips

Millions of businesses worldwide use Microsoft Outlook, preferring the free web-based email and calendar service over its many competitors. Outlook also offers tasks and contacts management capabilities, among other nifty features that will help you work smarter and boost your efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at some tips to help you make the most of Outlook.

Organize your inbox

Is your Outlook inbox getting a little too cluttered for your liking? Use the Clean Up feature to tidy up your inbox.

From your inbox, click the Home tab and choose from one of three Clean Up options:

  • Clean Up Conversation – reviews an email thread or a conversation and deletes redundant messages
  • Clean Up Folder – reviews conversations in a selected folder and deletes redundant messages
  • Clean Up Folder & Subfolders – reviews all messages in a selected folder and any subfolders, and deletes redundant messages in all of them

Ignore conversations

Besides redundant messages, group conversations that aren’t relevant to you can clutter up your inbox. The Ignore button helps you organize your inbox and focus on relevant emails.

To activate this feature, select a message, then click Home > Ignore > Ignore Conversation. Alternatively, you can open a message in a new window and click Ignore under the Delete function. You can easily revert this action by going to the Deleted Items folder and clicking Ignore > Stop Ignoring Conversation.

Send links to files

This function is especially useful when you need to send large files to your coworkers or clients. You can send a link to the file instead of the file itself as well as set permissions to allow recipients to edit and collaborate on linked files in real time.

To do this, upload the file you wish to send to OneDrive. Then from the message box, click Attach File > Browse web locations > OneDrive.

Tag contacts

To get the attention of a specific person in a group email or meeting invite, use the @Mention function. This works particularly well for emails sent to multiple recipients or if you want to convey the urgency of your message.

In the body of your email or invite message, type the @ symbol followed by the name of the person you want to tag (e.g., @johndoe). Doing so will highlight the name in the message and automatically add it to the To line of your message.

You can also search for messages you’re tagged in by selecting Filter Email from the Home tab, and then clicking Mentioned.

Add notes to emails

With Outlook, you can add sticky notes to specific parts of an email. To add a sticky note, simply drag your cursor to highlight your chosen text in the email, and then release the mouse button to trigger a pop-up object menu. On that object menu, select Add Note. This will open a OneNote feed within Outlook, where you can add text or images to your sticky note.

Schedule a Teams meeting

Teams is Microsoft’s unified communication and collaboration platform, and it includes the Outlook add-in. This feature allows you to set up Teams meetings directly from Outlook. It also lets you view, accept, or join meetings while in either app.

To schedule a Teams meeting on Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. Switch to the calendar view on Outlook. Click the New Teams Meeting tab.
  2. Add individual participants or entire contact groups to the Required or Optional fields.
  3. Type in the topic, start time, and end time of the meeting. There’s no need to add the dial-in phone numbers and conferencing IDs to the invite, as Outlook does this automatically for you.
  4. Create a message inviting the recipients to the meeting, then click Send.

Share emails to Teams

With Outlook, you can easily share an email from your inbox directly to a specific Teams channel. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Select the email you want to share.
  2. Click the Share to Teams button.
  3. On the Share to Microsoft Teams pop-up menu, type the name of the person or channel you want to share to. Check the “Include attachments” tickbox if you want to include the email’s attachments.

These are just some of the things you can do to improve your Outlook experience. For more on how to get the most out of Outlook and other Microsoft products, drop us a line today.

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Web hosting: A brief overview

Creating an online presence usually starts with building a website, but to access your website on the internet, you need to partner with a web host. This blog post breaks down the basics of what business owners need to know about web hosting.

What is a web host?

A web host sells or leases memory space on its servers so your website can have a virtual location on the internet. Their services include online storage for all of your site’s files and web pages.

Many web hosts also offer domain name hosting, which creates a web address that users can type into a web browser to access your website (e.g., google.com, inc.com, etc.). Combine these two hosting services and you have the main foundations for your website.

You can also get domain-based email addresses (e.g., robert@acmeenterprise.com) and website databases from web hosts. Essentially, your web host can store everything your website needs.

When you sign up with a web host, you will usually pay a monthly fee, which the company uses to maintain and invest in new servers for hosting, increase access speeds, and provide better services.

What are the two most common types of web hosting?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of web hosts around the world, but they usually fall into one of two categories:

  • Shared hosting – Multiple, different websites are stored on one physical hosting server. Sites have their own partition (section of storage) that is kept separate from other sites on the same server.
  • Dedicated hosting – One website is hosted per server. This means you have all of the server’s capacity to yourself.

Which hosting type is best for my business website?

Most websites use shared hosting because it’s more affordable while still offering generally stable access and access speeds. This is the ideal hosting type for most small- and medium-sized businesses with fairly simple websites.

If your website is going to be large (e.g., thousands of pages) and you are going to host complex features like advanced eCommerce, streaming, communication portals, and other web applications, then it would be best to opt for a dedicated hosting service. Examples of large sites include Google, Amazon, and government sites, among others.

With numerous web hosts out there, selecting the right fit can be quite challenging. But with our IT expertise and solutions, we can help you find the web host that will work best for your business needs. Contact us today to get started with your online presence.

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What are the business benefits of adopting new IT?

Keeping up with changes in business technology can be difficult for small- and mid-sized businesses like yours. However, upgrading your company’s technology is something you can’t afford to put off or ignore completely — not if you want to stay relevant and competitive. Here’s what you’ll miss out on if you don’t adopt new tech.

Better efficiency

Implementing new technologies introduces more efficient, flexible ways to carry out tasks, thus streamlining business processes. For instance, Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems and instant messaging apps enable your team to get in touch with one another, as well as with clients and business partners, whenever, wherever, on any internet-connected device. This makes relaying critical information much quicker and easier.

Similarly, business process management solutions automate repetitive tasks, like those involved in accounts payable processes. With automation, your staff saves time and effort and can focus on other, more important tasks.

Ability to address remote and hybrid work challenges

Many businesses are still struggling to cope with the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to manage remote and hybrid workforces. These issues can be addressed by implementing modern communications and collaboration solutions. Such tools allow entire organizations to stay connected and on the same page. Managers can check in on employees, and coworkers can call or message one another regarding projects they’re working on together. Teams can also share documents and edit these at the same time, if needed. Additionally, they can use collaboration tools to set and track task progress so everyone’s always kept in the loop.

Increased employee engagement and retention

Issues with technology, especially if these happen frequently, hamper employee productivity. They also lead to poor employee engagement and experience. Over time, minor inconveniences like computers that constantly freeze or web browsers that take ages to load can add up and create discontent among your staff.

Equipping your team with the latest hardware and software enables them to perform tasks smoothly and efficiently, without having to worry about the headaches associated with outdated technology. This also shows that you are invested in their comfort and employee experience, which increases their morale as well as their loyalty to your company.

Reduced costs

New technology pays off in the long run. The savings you will make from not having to constantly have your tech fixed or suffer productivity-draining downtime will far outweigh the costs associated with implementing new equipment and solutions.

If you invest in the cloud, you can enjoy even more savings, as doing so eliminates costs related to managing your own hardware such as maintenance and utilities. Such expenses will all be shouldered by your cloud service provider, so you no longer have to worry about budgeting for them.

Regardless of your business’s size and industry, there’s no doubt that new technology is critical for its growth. However, you need to ensure that any new hardware or software you decide to adopt is aligned with your company’s needs and goals. You must also make sure that it’s properly implemented so that you can make the most out of it. Our experts can help you do just that — drop us a line today to find out how.

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