Time-Saving Tricks for Microsoft Outlook 2016

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Microsoft Office 365 offers a number of useful tools for today’s busy professionals including some new shortcuts for Outlook 2016. With so many companies now using Outlook as their major email program, Microsoft works to improve its operation with each annual update.

A number of the great features in this program are also found in other MS Office programs. For instance, if you’re familiar with Word, then learning how to use Outlook will be much simpler.

New Changes for Outlook 2016
Using Outlook 2016, you can do a lot more than send and receive emails. You can also manage your calendar, set appointments, schedule meetings, and create/ manage groups.

In addition to being able to set up various types of groups, you can set up groups in Yammer. Yammer has become a central place where teams can exchange files, get updates and have conversations with others. [Read more…]

Easy And Common Steps To Resolve Internet Issues

Luke Gruden is a help desk technician for Tech Experts.

The Internet is key in almost all that we do on computers. A computer without Internet would have limited use — not only because of the browser, but because many programs require the connection to function.

That’s why when we are right in middle of working and we lose Internet, we can get very frustrated very quickly. Luckily, there are a few things you can try to potentially restore your Internet with minimal time and effort.

Calling your Internet service provider or your IT techs can result in an issue taking longer to resolve as someone may have to drive out to your business or you have to wait for the next available phone representative. Why wait when, most likely, you can fix your own Internet in about 15 minutes or less with minimal experience?

However, before we talk about how to bring back the Internet, we must talk about terminology and devices.

The first device that handles your Internet from the outside of your building is the Internet modem. Your modem usually has your Internet provider’s logo on it and is plugged in by a cord going outside (usually through a wall). You also need to know what a router is. A router plugs into all the computers with either wired or wireless connections. Sometimes, the modem is also a router when it’s a two-in-one device.

Finally, you should know what a firewall device is. Firewalls are usually a box that is plugged in between the router and modem, protecting your network. That said, not every business has a firewall.

Now that you have the basic terminology, we can potentially fix the Internet. First of all, if you lose your connection to the Internet, try a reboot of your workstation.

If the reboot does not work, see if anyone else has Internet. If it is just you that’s lost connection, try to see if you can push your Internet wire (Ethernet cable) into your computer. Sometimes, the connection can become loose and that’s all there is to the problem.

If you are using a wireless connection, turn off your Wi-Fi with a button on your computer and turn it back on. If your Internet is not back, you might have to contact your IT. If no one has Internet, take a look at the modem. The modem usually has lights showing the status of the Internet connection. If it shows that there is no Internet, try to unplug the power from it and wait 15 seconds and plug it back in.

The modem will take time, potentially 10 or 15 minutes, but you will see if the Internet connection comes back. If the modem does have Internet, try to unplug the firewall (if you have one), then plug it back in after 15 seconds. If the Internet still is out after 15 minutes, try to do the same thing with the router by unplugging and plugging the power back in. If the Internet is still out for everyone, you probably have to call your Internet service provider as there could be an outage in the area. Most of the time when the Internet goes out, following these steps can likely bring back the Internet connection. This is especially true if you are at home.

Hopefully, following these steps can resolve your lost Internet connection. Sometimes, your equipment essentially needs a restart to get things back into working order. Should you need further help, we at Tech Experts have you covered!

What Are The Signs Of A Failing Hard Drive?

Anthony Glover is Tech Expert’s network engineer.

As a network engineer by day, I can say that have seen a lot of hard drive problems and, if they’re not taken care of properly, they can cause a severe technical headache. It is important to notice the signs that are present to you and, fortunately, there’s several to note.

Sluggish performance of your workstation is one of the main issues. This can occur without warning and it can even seem like a virus or cause a blue screen of death (BSOD).

Another sign is your PC or workstation making clicking or grinding noises. This can cause a read failure to occur and cause the drive to be inaccessible, which in turn causes data loss. [Read more…]

5 Effective Lead Generation Strategies To Consider In 2017

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Looking to grab new leads? Forget the more traditional marketing approaches. The majority of them are no longer as effective as they once were. Instead, try something new.

Here are five extremely effective lead-generation strategies for 2017.

Blogs
Although the suggestion to start a blog is hardly groundbreaking, it remains one of the best methods of generating leads and one that is all too often overlooked, even today.

Publishing regular articles provides you with an opportunity to reach your audience and establish your expertise.

In addition, you can encourage readers to sign up for your newsletter or input their email address to access some high-value content. [Read more…]

Why Rebooting Your Computer Solves Many Issues

Luke Gruden is a help desk technician for Tech Experts.

If you have ever had IT help you with a computer issue, you may have noticed that one of the first things we usually recommend is rebooting the computer. That means shutting down the computer completely and turning it back on. This usually resolves most issues the computer could be having, but why is rebooting so effective?

In our day-to-day life, we are accustomed to our computers working all the time, consistently running programs with little to no faults. It comes as a big surprise when our computer does have an issue – especially when it seems like it should never have an issue in the first place. It may not seem like it, but computers are indeed machines and can have an occasional hiccup, like a car making a strange sound for a brief time. There are many hardware reasons why a computer may act up. Sometimes, the computer receives too much voltage for brief second.

Sometimes, the CPU – while operating under a heavy load – may mess up a bit or two, causing a program to not function normally. Or the hard-drive could have been directed to the wrong sector.

More common than a hardware hiccup is a software hiccup, where a program uses too many resources (or not enough resources) and can cause some processes to freeze or be unusable. The data with the program information is unreadable to the computer, but the program does not know this. When these sort of hiccups occur, it seems there is nothing that can be done to have the program run normally.

This is where a reboot can solve an issue. Turning off the computer forces all of the stuck and misread data to be flushed out. When the computer starts up again, the data that was being mismanaged has another chance to be read properly by the program and hardware.

Programs are usually very good at starting up and making sure that everything is running as it should after a fresh boot-up. If the reboot does not resolve the issue, then the issue is typically not a hiccup on the computer’s or software’s end, but another issue that needs to be investigated more closely, usually by a technician.

This is why IT techs are very likely to have you reboot your computer before continuing looking into the issue further: we want to make sure the computer didn’t just have a hiccup. This saves time on both ends, as well as prevents any unnecessary purchases or vendor calls.

In short, computers are prone to little glitches. While annoying, the plus side is that these minor bumps in the road are often pretty easy and quick to resolve.

When it doubt, reboot. You would be surprised by how many problems this can fix, such as a program not opening, and you can return to your work as soon as possible.

When a reboot doesn’t work, then it’s time to call your techs to investigate and get the problem under control.

Six Tips For Making 2017 Your Most Productive Year Yet

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Want to up your game in 2017? Ready to hit the ground running? Here are some great tips for making 2017 your most productive year yet.

Squeeze everything you can out of your day
Get to work on the tasks that are hanging over your head at every opportunity. Long commute? Catch up on the latest industry news, draft a few emails or start to plan your tasks for the day ahead. Work remotely? Use any downtime you have, like waiting on hold to speak to the doctor or standing in line at the bank, to tackle the tasks you haven’t yet found time to accomplish.

Become more efficient at completing routine activities
It’s highly likely that you spend a significant proportion of your time on unproductive tasks that do nothing to enhance your achievements. Take a look at your weekly tasks and identify which of them add no value, which can be better managed, and which you can delegate. Make sure you are spending your time on the tasks that really matter. [Read more…]

Five Simple Year-End Technology Tasks To Start 2017 Right

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

If you want to get 2017 off to the right start as far as your technology is concerned, do a little end-of-year cleaning with these five simple tasks.

Update all of your passwords
If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that security and data infringement threats are at an all-time high. Most people don’t bother to change their passwords until after they have been hacked, which beats the purpose.

Now is the right time to change your passwords. The longer your password is, the better. For added security, use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Clean up your hard drive
Get rid of any files you no longer need. Not only will this step reduce the number of files you store on your computer, but it will also make finding needed files much easier.

It will also free up your storage space. If you’re not sure whether you need a file or not, archive it so that you can access it at a later time, if the need arises.

Reorganize your file structure
Once you have ditched the stuff you don’t need, invest some time creating a robust and intuitive file structure so that you’ll spend less time in 2017 searching for documents you know are there somewhere but just can’t seem to find.

Ditch the applications you no longer use
No doubt you have downloaded a whole host of applications that you never use or that have since been replaced by better versions.

Uninstall any programs you are not using to free up space and declutter your computer or mobile device.

Check that your software is up to date
The start of the year is a great time to make sure all the applications and software programs that you use are fully up to date.

In addition to protecting your security by ensuring you have the latest secure versions of an app, keeping your software up to date will also help you to make sure you are not missing out on any great new features.

Four Ways To Avoid Prolonged Sitting At Work

Prolonged sitting at work is a global problem that is unlikely to improve any time soon. So what can you do to incorporate movement into a sedentary job to reduce the damaging effects prolonged periods of sitting will have on your health?

Use a standing workstation. It may not sound particularly comfortable, but standing at your desk for some periods during the day will reduce the negative consequences of desk work. Invest in a decent stand-sit work desk solution so that you can switch between standing and sitting in accordance with your comfort needs.

Stand while talking. If you don’t want to go all in and work in a standing position, make sure you take regular breaks from sitting. One way of achieving this could be to stand every time you are talking on the phone. You may also wish to stand while working on brainstorming activities or while engaged in group workshops.

Stretch regularly. According to the experts, it can be unhealthy to remain in a single posture for more than 30 minutes. If you feel your muscles tightening, stand up and give your body a stretch. The Mayo Clinic has published a handy guide to office stretches that workers can complete while engaged in other tasks.

Get your posture right. Complete a workplace assessment to test the extent to which your seating and working position are ergonomic. Identify any areas of weakness and make the appropriate changes, such as repositioning your monitor, immediately.

What Can I Do To Strengthen My Wifi Signal?

A weak WiFi signal in certain areas of your house could limit where you do your work and enjoy your entertainment activities, such as streaming films music or playing online games. This is actually a common issue with a couple of relatively easy fixes that will improve your wireless Internet connection throughout your house.

The first option is to replace the antenna on your router with a taller one. If your router has a built-in antenna, you can likely add an external one and see a marked increase in signal quality. There are two main types of antennae: omnidirectional and directional. An omnidirectional antenna transmits in all directions, while you can point a directional antenna where you need to strengthen the signal without making it easier for others to latch onto your WiFi. The other alternative to improve your wireless signal is to install a range extender, particularly if the area that requires the strongest signal is behind thick walls or is relatively small.

Easy Spring Cleaning Steps For Your Computer

Just as it’s a good idea to periodically clean out closets and other areas of your home as part of spring cleaning, your computer needs decluttering attention as well.

This not only makes it easier for you to find files when you need them, but can also speed up the computer performance.

Check for viruses
If you do not have an antivirus installed and set to regularly check your system, make it your first priority to install an antivirus.

Not all viruses put out obvious signals like the blue screen of death; some can lurk in the background, slowing down your computer’s operations or running malware without your knowledge.

Use a disk cleaner
Disk cleaners scour your system looking for files you don’t use, particularly useless temporary ones. Such files won’t impact how your programs work, and they just take up valuable space and can even make your computer run slower than it should.

Organize your files
If you have long lists of files, try grouping them into folders. This will save you a lot of time when looking for something in particular and also makes your storage more aesthetically pleasing.

Toss unnecessary programs
You’ve likely tested out programs and decided they weren’t for you or even grown tired of them. There’s no reason to keep them. Go into your Control Panel and select Programs to see everything that’s on your computer.

Uninstall the ones you can readily identify as ones you no longer want or need, and leave the ones you don’t recognize alone in case they are important. Check and uninstall any web toolbars, too.

Delete your web history and cookies
Over time, all the little data records of where you’ve been while surfing the web accrue, and can greatly slow the functioning of your computer.

Deleting your web history, including cookies, is something you should not be doing just during spring cleaning, but on a regular basis to keep your computer operating at optimum speed.