No comments

IT Consulting - Windows shortcutsGetting from one place to another – without wasting time – is incredibly satisfying. Whether you are driving a car, or working through a lengthy document on your computer, a shortcut not only makes the process easier, it lets you finish in less time.

There are plenty of shortcuts available to computer users, and because we are the IT consulting company who cares, we have listed some of the more useful ones below. Mastering these shortcuts may take practice, but once you have them memorized, your workday will speed up – and so will productivity.

Some Simple Timesavers

If you are using Windows 7, thank the programmers at Microsoft for including keyboard support for moving and arranging application windows. All you have to do is press the Win key and any arrow key to dock windows next to each other, minimize or maximize them, and move them to another monitor.

The combinations are below:

  • Win+Left arrow: Snap to the left half of the screen
  • Win+Right arrow: Snap to the right half of the screen
  • Win+Up arrow: Maximize the window
  • Win+Down arrow: Minimize/Restore if it’s maximized
  • Win+Shift+Left arrow: Move window to the monitor on the left
  • Win+Shift+Right arrow: Move window to the monitor on the right

Another handy trick for users of Windows 7 and 8 – you can open a new window for an application by middle clicking on its icon in the taskbar. No more having to search out the application on the Start menu!

This next tip is super secret – your internal IT support staff might not even know it existed! There is a secret Send To menu that is accessible in Windows 7 when you hold down the Shift key. Then, right click the folder and select Send To from the drop down menu. You can now access new file locations. This way, you can move a folder easily.

Here’s a quick shortcut if you want to view photos and other images on your desktop. If you depress the Alt button and the P button in Windows Explorer, a preview pane is activated of the selected file. This works for images, sounds, and videos. Alt+P saves you time if you are previewing images in a folder, photo directory, or on your desktop.

Make Your Computer Work For You

Shortcuts can make working on your computer a faster and easier experience, so can service and support from an IT company that is dedicated to its clients. Thinline Technologies can provide IT solutions for everything from your network to your server (and we will even show you some cool new shortcuts!)

Give us a call for more information at 410-453-9300.

No comments

Tips from your IT company for keeping your computer in shapeYour PC gets a great deal of use, and if you want to keep this workhorse in top shape, there are a variety of computer maintenance steps you can take, with or without the help of your friendly local IT company, on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis.

Most of these tasks are simple to complete and rely on programs and protocols that are already included on your PC. In some cases, you may have to download software from the internet, which may be available for free, or cost you a nominal fee.

It is also wise to remember that some of these tasks take up to two hours to complete, so schedule them to take place at the end of your workday or over the weekend.

While it might take some scheduling and additional planning, healthy computers are faster, less prone to crashing, and help you get your work done quickly.

Weekly Checkup

At the end of your week, perform a Disk Cleanup – if you are using a PC with a Windows-based operating system, the program is already installed. A disk cleanup reviews your hard drive and makes simple corrections that enable your computer to run quickly and can free up drive space.

Finding this program is easy – simply go to: All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. The next step you can take to ensure that everything is cleaned up is going to your web browser and going to Options. Once you are there you can clear your cache, which eliminates cookies, and other files that can slow your computer down.

Virus and spyware scans are another weekly maintenance task that keep your computer free of annoying programs like malware and viruses that can greatly hinder the performance. Each program has its own options that you can set in regard to when the scan is performed and if you want to do a quick or full scan.

It is vital that you keep your virus and spyware programs up to date. The publishers of these programs will send out notices, so be on the lookout and remember to only click on updates from known sources.

Monthly Maintenance

Your hard drive and disk space can be cluttered with bits of files and unnecessary leftover data, and running a disk defragmenter cleans up these annoying pieces of information. Perform this monthly task and your hard drive, and your IT company, will thank you.

Depending upon the virus or spyware program you use, a deep clean can be conducted at the push of a button. This performs an exhaustive check and, depending on your computer specs, can take up to two hours. You can set the operation so that the deep clean takes place during down time.

Quarterly

This type of maintenance only has to be performed a few times a year, but do not think that it is unimportant.

Included in Windows is Scandisk, which can be found in the System Tools folder. Scandisk checks the hard drives for any potential issues and can correct data corruption if it is detected.  Before you start Scandisk, you are allowed to select different options that determine when it runs, and what it should fix. Run this program once every quarter to make sure your hard drive is in top shape.

Wrapping Up

Keeping your computer running smoothly does not take a great deal of work. Many of the programs are already included in Windows, and the virus scan programs can be downloaded, many times for free.

Keeping computers and networks healthy requires a commitment of your time – if you would rather have a professional IT company take care of this task give Thinline Technologies a call at 410-453-9300. We are also available via email.

No comments

SealMasterLogoSealMaster is a Thinline Technologies client who provides asphalt and blacktop services to companies and businesses throughout the Delmarva area.

Owned by Tom Decker Sr., and his son Tom, the company’s main offices were located in an area notorious for spotty internet service and power failures. When the main server lost power, the other SealMaster locations around the state were unable to receive vital information from the home office.

The Deckers needed to be more mobile, and whether they were on the road, or creating one with their business, access to documents, appointment information, and other critical business data was crucial.

A better business solution was in the cloud.

Thinline moved the entire SealMaster operation over to a cloud based solution, which eliminated the problems caused by the physical server’s geographic location. In addition, the owners and their employees could access email and other information through any internet browser. There was no need for each laptop, desktop, or mobile device to be set up by a technician.

Another benefit of this system is the ease of use, if an employee knew how to get onto the internet and open a webpage, he or she could easily access the new system.

Employers and employees could log onto the system, retrieve crucial information, complete forms, and take care of other duties. Of course, questions and concerns were taken care of by Thinline’s team of customer service representatives.

Entire system redundancy and boosted security.

The owners could monitor who was logging into, and out, of the system and when. The added layer of protection afforded by the cloud helped ease concerns about company information being compromised, while making the data available to all the users.

Pay as you grow.

The asphalt business is seasonal, and in the cold winter months when pavements and roads are buried under snow and ice, the company staff would be reduced. The Deckers’ business is a “pay as you go” model, so they only paid for the users that were employed. When the operation scales up for the warmer months, new employees could be added easily.

There’s room in the cloud for everyone.

Small businesses and companies can benefit from technology and the cloud as easily as Fortune 500 concerns. The problems experienced by SealMaster needed quick, innovative solutions that were affordable. Thinline Technologies created an IT solution that was simple to execute, easy to learn, and affordable.

Keeping your company on the road is not hard when your network is in the cloud. Give us a call; we would be happy to help: 410-453-9300

No comments

Computer Virus FixesEverybody has one friend who bombards them with emails containing hilarious pictures, jokes, and videos.

Most of them are relatively funny – if you have not already seen them six or seven times – but sometimes these emails can contain viruses and other harmful programs called malware and adware.

Viruses, malware, adware – no matter what they are called, these programs are designed to cause damage – from corrupting files on your hard drive to stealing sensitive information to degrading the performance of your computer.

How Do They Work?

Once an infected file gains access to your computer, it replicates itself and follows its pre-programmed script.

A virus classified as malware is intrusive software that invades your computer and, in many cases, sends back sensitive information to the creators of the program or uses your computer to send out additional spam looking like its from you. This could include passwords and financial data.

Another type of malware is called adware. After installing itself on your computer, you will receive constant pop up ads from the program. In addition to being incredibly annoying, adware programs can relay sensitive information to its designers.

What Can You Do?

So how do you keep your computer virus free? Here are several basic steps.

    1. Update your browser and computer’s operating systems. These updates contain vital patches designed to foil the latest viruses, malware, and adware.
    2. If you are using Windows, you should already be running Windows Defender. This robust program is not only a virus scanner; it does double duty by preventing spyware from invading your computer.
    3. Create a standard profile for your everyday computer use. With Windows, access the Control Panel and select User Accounts. This will allow you to create an everyday profile that reduces the chances of your entire hard drive becoming infected.
    4. If you receive an email that looks suspicious, even if it is from a friend, do not open it. Delete the email and then alert your IT department so they have a record of the email.
    5. Download one of the many free virus scan programs onto your computer. These include MS AV Scanner, SuperAntispyware, MalwareBytes, BitDefender Online Scanner, and Kaspersky Online Scanner to name a few.

 

These steps should provide your computer with a basic defense against viruses, malware, and adware. While these are good habits to have, and encourage amongst your coworkers, there are companies who can install anti-virus software solutions that are highly reliable and effective.

If you are interested in having someone review your current network, and workstations, call us. As a full-service IT company, we can conduct a full system scan, remove viruses and other unwanted programs, and then install the right software solution to keep your computers running at their full potential.

For more information, contact us today at 410-453-9300.

No comments

Thinline’s IT Support Delivers

IT consulting for busy small business ownersAt Thinline, our client base ranges from retail operations to businesses that provide professional services. As an IT company, our goal is to deliver IT support and service that enables clients to grow and succeed.

Recently, one of our IT consulting clients came to us with a project: their law firm had rapidly expanded from one location to three.

Users were spread throughout the state, and everyone needed to have access to vital files, documents, and other data.

After an initial consult and weighing different options, Thinline realized that a virtual private network (VPN) was the best solution.

What’s a VPN?

A VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection between different locations to create one network.

Users can seamlessly access all of the network’s resources, including files and printers, wherever they have an internet connection – in the car, in a coffee shop, a hotel, or in the office.

The distance between locations shrank to nothing – and employees could work on cases and projects whenever – and wherever – it was convenient.

Next Steps

Thinline’s IT services team installed a business class router to enable the network to run smoothly and handle increased traffic generated by multiple user log-ins, file transfers and downloads.

The business class router this solution required isn’t available at retail outlets, we needed hardware that could provide VPN capability. Other pluses include port blocking capabilities and an upgraded firewall to keep data safe and secure.

As part of our IT services, Thinline moved the practice’s main server from the office to a secure location. This allowed immediate access in the event that repairs or upgrades needed to be performed after hours, along with an extra level of security.

Once the install and setup were complete, the attorney’s offices and employees saw a boost in performance and the amount of work that could be completed.

Finally, our IT services team designed this network to be easily expandable as the practice grew – a definite possibility thanks to Thinline.

If your business requires remote connectivity or operates out of multiple locations, contact Thinline today. We’ll meet with you and prepare a solution that’s affordable and the best fit for your needs.

No comments

Clouds used to get a bad rap.

What is cloud computingThey were blamed for bringing snow and rain, or blocking the sun at the beach.

Their reputation changed when the term “cloud computing” became popular among businesses. Now, clouds are admired, they’re getting invited to Hollywood premieres and their social media accounts are blowing up.

In all seriousness, cloud computing has jumped to the forefront of the technology sector, and businesses of every size are faced with the decision to take advantage of cloud computing.

But what is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is basically defined as computing resources that are delivered to a user over a network. We’ve all been using cloud computing since the first IT company installed a network and then someone crashed it playing YouTube videos when they were supposed to be working.

Even if you’re not aware of the term, you’re using “the cloud” whenever you access online email services like Gmail or Hotmail.

The cloud’s accessibility and convenience is on display whenever you use web-based email, such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail. Just connect to the internet, log in to your mail service, and enjoy the benefits of the cloud!

Do you backup or store files to services such as Carbonite, Mozy or iCloud? Again, you’re in the cloud, using it every day.

So what’s special about cloud computing?

First off, it’s convenient – you can access the cloud with a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. As long as there’s a cell phone or Wi-Fi signal, you’re good to go.

These networks were created with simplicity in mind because the creators knew that access was crucial, and moving files had to be easy.

Finally, these services are backed up by servers that are maintained by experts. You don’t have to worry about upgrading a system, or keeping those machines cool and comfortable.

Cloud computing has come a long way in a short time, and as this technology continues to improve these disadvantages will be lessened.

Contact Thinline today for more information and to get your business on the right path to the cloud!

Thinline Technologies is a full service IT company based in Towson, Maryland and serving the greater Baltimore metro area.