How To Keep Your Computer Speedy As It Gets Older

Evan Schendel is a help desk specialist for Tech Experts.

As a computer ages, it inevitably becomes slower. Applications and files can slow down a PC as quickly as dated hardware or too much heat or dust can. Preventive maintenance is the first and most important step to keeping a computer running as swiftly as it did on day one.

Extraneous Files

A computer’s storage can only hold so much and leaving it to sit and rot – especially if you browse the Internet frequently – can slow the system down to a snail’s pace.

Simply by using the programs on a machine, a computer can amass files that, if not removed, can add up to multiple gigabytes of unused and unneeded data. These do, however, tend to clean themselves up in time.

Unused applications, however, can take up space and slow down a system. Keeping in mind what applications you do and don’t use, and deleting the latter, can really help a workstation run much faster.

Dated Hardware

Bar none, the hardware parts of a PC are the most important pieces of a system. After all, it’s the system itself.

So, what do you do when hard drives begin failing and other mechanical nightmares begin plaguing your workstation? Replacing a system is easier than upgrading pieces of it at a time, but what are the benefits of replacing over upgrading and vice versa?

A PC tends to last five to seven years if well-maintained, or three to four if left in disrepair. Replacing a computer every five years may be easier in the short term, but computers aren’t free and the costs can add up if you are replacing more than one system.

Upgrading pieces of the computer cost only the part, but you would end up having to replace it yourself or have another person do it for you.

Additionally, you may run into limitations on how much you can upgrade based on your other hardware’s or software’s compatibility.

Upkeep of these parts is also important, so keeping the hardware installed cool and free of dust will extend the lifespan of the workstation quite noticeably.


Malicious files are an obvious culprit when a computer is running slowly and, most of the time, it’s a fair assumption. There are any number of viruses that could slow a computer down drastically, but in turn, there are many programs that help defend against them too.

Suspicious links and files received in emails or from sites you should be dubious of can, and likely will, infect your computer. Steer clear of these sites and ensure all links you click on are trustworthy.

Certain applications also may contain trojans, which lurk in your system for an extended period of time, only to reveal themselves when a certain application or service runs. Other applications can help spot and remove these before they even have a chance to set in.

Many things can slow a computer down, but proper maintenance can keep it running like new for years. If you haven’t kept decent care of your computer and it’s running slowly, some of these causes, or even all, may be the reason, giving a starting base in fixing the issues at hand.

The Purpose Of Routine Maintenance On Your PC Or Server

Anthony Glover is Tech Expert’s network engineer.

Workstations and servers are valuable assets for any small business. This is why it’s very important that we take proper care of these vital attributes.

Computers can be great, long-lasting tools if taken care of correctly and routinely. This ensures that your PCs and servers will continue to run as they should, as long as possible. There are several steps to maintain your PC or server.

Monthly Hardware Cleaning
This will keep your fans running efficiently and keep your PC or server clear of dust and debris that can potentially cause a few issues (such as heating problems, fan malfunctions, or damage to devices like your power supply).

Heat also can cause computers to run slow or sluggish. This is extremely important and should be monitored and managed by an IT professional such as Tech Experts.

Monthly Software Management
This is to ensure you provide a safe operating environment for your business. It helps to keep the functionality of all your programs and keep your computer running smoothly. By clearing caches, you eliminate temp files that could potentially cause problems for some programs and will also free up space on your hard drive. This is another key process to keep your PCs and servers running at their full potential.

Registry Cleaning
Throughout use of your PC or server, you will accumulate registry errors from programs being installed, updates, etc.

This should be cleaned and corrected on a monthly basis to ensure proper operation of your PC. When it comes to speed when booting and operating your PC or server, this is an especially big factor.

Monthly Hardware Monitoring and Recording
When you are operating a business that needs your equipment to work efficiently (which is the case for most businesses), you’ll want to check your PC and servers on a monthly basis.

Having your vital components like hard drives scanned, checked, and recorded will let you know if anything needs replaced before it fails and leaves you in a bind.

Thermal Monitoring
Heat is a vital threat that should never be overlooked as it’s essential to speed and safe operation of your PC or server.

Heat can destroy components and cause Blue Screens Of Death due to heating issues, causing the PC or server to not function at all unless it’s corrected.

You want to make sure the environment of the equipment is clean, clear, and cool to avoid overheating.

Process Monitoring
This can catch potential threats like malicious software, of course, but it can also help you and your IT department find more subtle unwanted issues such as backdoors or even rootkits that allow onboarding of your PC or server without the end-user knowing at all.

Here at Tech Experts, we provide a preventative maintenance service that can be utilized on both PCs and servers at your business. So why hassle at all if you don’t have to?

You could have an IT professional manage your computers, saving your business money and saving you time. It could even save your computers or server.

Should You Leave Your PC On Or Power It Down?

Michael Menor is Vice President of Support Services for Tech Experts.

At the end of the workday, you’ve got an important decision to make: power down your desktop or log off? Each option has its own set of pros and cons, but are you confident that you’re making the right decision? Here’s how to find out for sure.

First off, the answer to this question is dependent upon how frequently the machine is used. For the sake of this article, let’s address the computing needs of the average office worker who uses their PC for the Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 grind.

Secondly, we feel the need to address a common perception about turning a computer on and off: it does NOT cause physical harm to the equipment.

This was the case in the early days of the PC, back when the power surge from powering it on was actually bad for the components, but this issue has been resolved since 1993.

Another factor to consider is power consumption. If you’re the kind of person that likes to make sure every light is turned off before going home and you pride yourself in finding ways to lower your electricity bill, then you may want to power down your machine for the night.

Although, if you’re looking to leave it on in order to get a jump start on your workday, then put your PC in sleep mode (a.k.a Standby or Hibernate) before leaving the office, instead of turning it off.

Sleep mode is designed to use as little energy as possible, which equates to less than what’s used by a traditional light bulb.

Your geographical location should also factor into this decision.

For example, if you live in a place that’s prone to natural disasters and the power grid sporadically has blackouts, then you’re going to want to power off your machine at the end of the workday.

Unless your IT infrastructure is equipped to handle power inconsistencies with tools like an Uninterrupted Power Supply, a powered-on computer can be damaged by a sudden loss of power.

Also, as explained by Computer Hope, while turning off a PC can protect from a sudden loss of power, turning it off does nothing to prevent damage from a power surge: “A power surge destroys electrical devices regardless if it is on or off. Therefore, turning the computer off does not prevent this from occurring. The only way to prevent power surges is to unplug all power cables, phone cables, and network cables.”

Another factor that you’ll want to consider is your computer’s maintenance schedule. For example, it’s best practice to run a daily virus scan at night so that the scan doesn’t interfere with your work during the day.

Also, if you’re taking advantage of managed IT services like the services that Tech Experts provides, then you’ll want to leave your desktop powered on so that we can remote into it (or all of them) and run scans, perform routine maintenance, apply patches and updates, and more. If the machine is powered down, then we won’t be able to access it and do our job.

After considering all of these different factors, only you can know if it’s best to turn off your PC at the end of the day or keep it on.

Replacement Equipment And Workstation Data Storage

Scott Blake is a Senior Network Engineer with Tech Experts.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a huge project or in the height of your busy season, then suddenly, a key piece of equipment breaks? You have orders that need processed. Deadlines to meet. Stress starts to roll in. You start to wonder how long the downtime is going to last or what this is going to cost your business.

One way to reduce the stress levels and temporarily resolve the situation is to maintain a stock of replacement workstations and essential equipment.

Being able to switch out a workstation or any other critical piece of equipment and be back up and running sooner not only reduces stress levels, but also saves your business countless dollars in lost revenue.

Example: your company designs and prints graphics for billboards. An employee says their workstation has crashed while they were working on a project for your largest client that’s due in two days. What do you do?

You try to contact the manufacturer of the workstation, only to find out your warranty does not cover on-site service and the soonest they could be on location is in two to four days. That’s not the answer you wanted to hear.

If you had a replacement workstation on hand, you could reduce your downtime dramatically. But let’s say you do have one. So you switch out the workstations and your employees is back to work…

Until they realize all of their work is stored on the crashed workstation. Stress levels start to climb once again.

One easy way to avoid losing data would be to migrate the user’s data to a storage device located on your network. Network attached storage is much more reliable than the storage within your workstation. They can also be configured for redundancy.

This entire migration will be transparent to the user as the workstations libraries will still remain intact, just relocated to a different device. As far as the user is concerned, all of their data is saved to the workstation.

The general rule of thumb is to maintain a 10% replacement stock level of workstations or essential pieces of equipment (and always have at least 1). Replacement switches, as well as firewalls, should always be on hand or able to be purchased locally. Being able to replace a switch or firewall to bring your VOIP phone system back online or restore network connectivity to your entire business in minutes is critical.

If your business is unable to maintain replacement inventory, make sure you have (and fully understand) support contracts either from equipment manufacturers or from a local network support company.

Depending on the manufacturer or support company, support contracts can range from 24×7 to 8×5 to “whenever we can get there.” That’s why it’s very important to understand your support agreements. Never get taken by surprise.

Manufactures, depending on the piece of equipment, will offer warranties or support contracts. Be warned the contract may not include next day equipment replacement, data recovery, or installation of the equipment.

They may be able to offer remote assistance, but in most cases, you end up in a long call that does nothing to resolve your issue.

The best option, if available to your business, is to have a managed service plan with a local network support company. Most local support companies will offer same day service including weekends.

Local service companies can act as your business IT support department and/or work with your existing IT department to maintain your business equipment and resolve any issues that arise.

Most local service companies will have replacement equipment and repair parts on hand, thus reducing downtime.

A local service company will also be able to assist your business in less stressful times by offering remote support services and preventive maintenance visits to spot any potential issues before they become larger problems.

They will also work to ensure your business’ network is safe and secure and offer suggestions for upgrades to your infrastructure.

While no one can predict when a workstation may go down or a firewall will fail, the best thing you can do is be prepared.

The Benefits Of Managed IT

Michael Menor is Vice President of Support Services for Tech Experts.

It can’t be denied that cost drives business. When the technology your business relies on fails, you have to get it repaired or replaced quickly in order to keep the resulting downtime from damaging your business.

The traditional method of computer repair is much like when your car is in disrepair: when your technology isn’t working properly, your organization reacts to the problem by calling your friendly, neighborhood computer repair guy.

The technician will come to your office and try to fix the technology that is broken. When they figure out they can’t fix the problem on the spot, they will give you a quote.

The time and materials of summoning these technicians to the office will cost you money, so will the replacement technology, and most notably, the downtime you accrue.

Add that to the variable cost of fixing the malfunctioning technology… and your business has a real problem.

At Tech Experts, we offer a proactive IT support platform that utilizes remote monitoring and management software to ensure that the technology that’s attached to your network – and your network itself – is up and working properly. Additionally, our whole IT services platform is billed in one monthly payment.

If you add it up, you are saving money in every aspect of your business.

You not only remove the variable costs of keeping your IT running smoothly, but you also get proactive support that, in many cases, gives you the time to replace hardware before it fails, saving you from the doldrums of companywide downtime.

The fact is that small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) need to cut their technology support costs if they want to compete with larger organizations.

There are a myriad of benefits that come from a managed services provider like Tech Experts handling the administration and support of your technology. Besides the obvious cost savings, four other huge benefits include:

Comprehensive Support
A major speedbump SMBs have when shopping for any service that claims to help their business is the quality of that service.

For those that worry that our managed services are too good to be true, we employ certified and trustworthy technicians that are proficient in finding solutions for today’s most challenging business technology problems.

Single Point of Contact
As an alternative from having to manage several vendors, our IT service provides you with a single point of contact for all of your technology needs. Since we understand the intricacies of your network, we can get issues resolved faster.

Faster Support
Through the use of remote support that we offer to all managed clients, we can more quickly address issues you might be having.

Many problems can be solved without an on-site visit. Additionally, annoying obstacles like forgotten passwords and account lock-outs can be resolved in a few minutes when we already have account configurations on file.

HIPAA Compliance
While it may not apply to all businesses, doctors’ offices and other related medical facilities can maintain HIPAA compliance when using our services. By collaborating with us on your organization’s policies, you can avoid costly government fines in the event of a medical breach or network inspection.

Managed IT services can provide you with many other benefits. For more information about how our managed IT services can benefit your organization, call us at (734) 457-5000 today.

Don’t Forget Your End-of-Year Data Backup

In a ritual akin to spring cleaning, computer users far and wide are backing up their data en masse. Although backing up your vital data is a wise idea to prevent the loss of important documents during crashes or even computer theft, it often goes undone.

By the end of the year, however, an amazing amount of data would have been stored which may slow computers’ performance. This is a silent reminder to clean out the cobwebs and back up the files you want to keep.

There are various ways to back up your data, and one is readily available right on your PC. Windows users can access backup tools by pressing the Start button, typing “backup” in the search area, then clicking “Backup and Restore.”

This allows users to back up files instantly. Similarly, Mac users can open the System Preferences menu and select Time Machine. It will promptly perform backup tasks with the selection of the appropriate disk to store the files.

However, the aforementioned tools on your PC or Mac, don’t address more complex situations where your computer may be completely damaged or lost.

Therefore, it is also advisable to back up important documents, such as financial records or critical documents or emails, on a separate device.

If you depend solely on your computer’s backup system, your backed up data is vulnerable to the same threats that can damage the whole computer.

There are various data storage solutions on the market. The more expensive ones offer extra features, but the main factor to consider is the data storage size that you will need to have on the device.

Alternatively, simply upload your most important data to cloud storage, which can also be automated for future backups.

Other computer users prefer to back up data on an external USB device and keep it in a safe place.

It would also be best to automate your backups based on a recurring schedule that takes into consideration the particular files/folders that change often and/or are the most critical and include them in the backup set.

If you require assistance in figuring out the most appropriate automated backup solution for your home or business, give us a call at (734) 457-5000 and one of our technicians will be glad to help.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Home and Office Computers

ПечатьSpring is a good time to get some cleaning done in your home as well as your office. Here are few tasks and tips you should check off your list, if you own a small business or if you simply are a computer user:

Back up your files
You should make it a routine and regularly back up your important files to the cloud or into an external hard drive. Delete old unnecessary emails and archive important ones. This will make it easier to locate specific email chains and will open up the storage space in your computer.

Update your security settings
You may assume that your home or small business or PC is too small a target for hackers, but that is simply not the case.
Internet security statistics show that hackers are targeting businesses with fewer than 250 employees due to the fact that it’s generally easier to hack into small businesses and home users.

As a rule, assume that any valuable information you have is at risk, and ensure you install the latest security patches and updates whenever they become available.

Take advantage of mobile technology
Research indicates that small businesses that do not accept mobile payments could be losing up to 1 trillion dollars annually. Many small business owners realize the potential of mobile technology, but 91% of them still don’t have mobile-optimized websites. If your business is not yet mobile friendly, it is important to start thinking about upgrading your services.

Go paperless
Going paperless will significantly reduce paper clutter and will minimize the time needed for spring cleaning. There are many affordable solutions you could adopt which allow you to maintain and organize critical business documents.

Manual clean-up
Your hardware and peripherals also need to be cleaned, so take some time to clean your keyboards, screen monitors and to check the batteries in your mouse or wireless keyboards. Also, remember to clean your printer and check whether or not you have installed all the required updates from the manufacturer and that all its parts work seamlessly.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)

How To Prolong The Life Of Your Computer

Печатьby Jeremy Miller, Technician
One of the questions we get asked most often is, “What can I do to prolong the life of my computer?” We have been working on computers for years and have found that hardware protection and regular maintenance is the best answer.

What is regular maintenance?
Regular maintenance is the general up keep of your computer over time. There is a number of free software out there that offer this service with a stipulation.

They will partially clean up your system or some malicious software will state it will speed up your computer if you upgrade to the paid-for version. You should not trust this free software because it can damage some applications or even your operating system.

What can I do?
There are many things you can implement to prolong the life of your computer. You first want to think about your hardware because all software can be reloaded, but once your hardware fails your computer can crash like a house of cards.

Cooling is Key
The first thing I recommend is to regularly clean out your computer with compressed air. Nothing kills a computer better or faster than high internal temperatures. On average your computer is about 30 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the room it is in.

You can also increase your cooling by adding more fans. Many desktop cases have space for additional fans.
The better the air flow the longer your computer will last. For laptops, you must always ensure the fan vents are not being blocked, and you can increase cooling by using a cooling pad that has additional fans to increase the air flow around your laptop.

Make sure you have reliable power
You should always have your computer powered by a surge protector. If you live in a dwelling that has power fluctuations, you should consider an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) which are also known as a battery backup. Many also protect against brownouts.

Most UPS come with multiple outlets, some are protected by the battery as well as surge protection and some are just surge protected.

UPS will provide regular power to your computer even if your power fluctuates, and it can shut your computer down properly if you lose power.

Without reliable power you can short out just about any component in your computer.

If you shut your computer down incorrectly or if you just lose power you can damage your data and can cause your operating system to stop functioning.

Regular software maintenance
Your computer will accumulate a lot of temporary files from software that does not clean up after itself.

Your hard disk will become cluttered from constantly moving files around, and most computers have old unused software still running in the background.
All of this takes a toll on your computer hardware over time. The idea is to keep the software foot print as small as needed.

The less items you have launch at startup will lead to a much longer computer life. This is because most software needs your processor, Random Access Memory (RAM), and hard drive to run.

The more you have running at one time the higher the stress level on your hardware.

Virus infections may not cause noticeable issues right away but over time you will start to notice things not running properly.

Virus infections and other malicious software can take most of your hardware resources which makes your computer perform poorly. You can attempt to clean these infections out yourself, but without knowing how your computer works, you may end up doing more damage than good.

Is there an easy way to regularly maintain my computer?
We are constantly cleaning out computers and are very familiar with issues that arise in these processes.

We offer a solution to clean out your computer on a daily basis, so that you can continually use your computer without interruption. Our service runs in the background and will take care of most issues that arise.

We can help increase the longevity while you get the most out of your computer. If you are interested in learning more or have questions please feel free to call us.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)

Server Maintenance: Why We Do What We Do

By Tech Experts Staff
Most small businesses have onsite servers, which is a change from years past when small businesses didn’t see the benefit of having a server in place and instead depended on sharing within a workgroup.

With the great benefits of having a server in-place comes some additional costs to make sure your investment continues to be beneficial.

Many businesses that put a server in place are always defensive about having server maintenances done within a month after putting a server in place.

The number one phrase we hear after putting a new server in is “Are you sure that needs done, we just put that server in?”

The problem with taking this approach with your new server is that you already put a substantial investment in your new hardware and want it to run great for a long time.

Neglecting the server, even if it is for a short period of time, or even if it was “just put in,” is dangerous.There are items that can go bad or cause problems if not addressed, even on a new server.

The first item and most arguably one of the most important are the server updates. Servers have to be kept up to date especially since they physically host your important data.

Allowing a server to become outdated is highly risky and potentially allows hackers access to your server via security exploits in the operating system, Internet Explorer, Adobe, etc. If these items go without their security updates you run risk of data breach.

The second item that is one of the most important items that we check is the health of your RAID disks.

Most servers (at least the ones we install) have a RAID configuration of some sort configured to help protect your server in the event of a hard disk failure.

Hard disk failure is not a matter of if it will happen but rather when it will happen.

Since this is the case we generally set our clients up on a RAID 5 configuration which allows up to two RAID disks to fail at different times.

The redundancy provided by RAID 5 configurations allows for a large amount of protection from data loss but does not guarantee it. If a business’s server was not having regular maintenances done it is very possible to have the RAID disks fail and lose all the data because it was not caught.

We have had clients bring in computers that are brand new with failed hard drives so it can and does happen at any time, even when they are brand new.

During our maintenance we also go through the logs on the system carefully combing over the entries looking for any instances that could potentially indicate a problem or an upcoming problem if let go.

If this is not done your server could be showing that it is starting to have problems but you would never know it until it is too late.

One of the logs, the Security Log, allows us the ability to see whether or not your server has had unauthorized attempts to login to it. Yes, we mean hackers trying to get in your sever and to your private data.

These are just three of the numerous areas we check with the server maintenances to ensure that your server, whether new or old, is running properly and continues to do so for years to come.

If a server is not properly maintained, it can degrade quickly into an almost useless piece of equipment and the investment you put into becomes a waste as well – not to mention the potential data loss.

Don’t waste your company’s hard earned money! Invest in systems maintenances, every month. This is the only way to prevent major issues with your server and avoid data loss or compromise.

How To Fall In Love With Your Computer All Over Again!

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

Have you ever shouted at your computer because it froze up, crashed, and caused you to lose work? Have you ever whacked it with your hand, kicked it, or smashed the keyboard out of frustration?

If so, you’re not alone. Problems with a computer, cell phone or other gadget can be so frustrating that it has been called “computer rage” by some psychologists, and it’s on the rise.

According to a recent poll, three quarters of computer users have admitted to shouting, swearing, or committing acts of violence towards their computer (for the record, I think the number is much higher!).

While some simply curse the darn thing, others have admitted to hitting it until their hand bled or throwing it across the room.

One computer user was quoted as saying, “You feel so helpless. All you can do is sit there and watch the stupid thing freeze up and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it. The error may only cause a few minutes delay, but it feels like a lifetime when you’re in a hurry to get things done.”

Deadlines are missed, work is lost, customers angered – all because of computer trouble. And the vast majority claim that problems like this happen on a consistent basis.

Apparently, technical problems are only the start of most peoples’ anxiety.

Many report that they are further angered by the time and process it takes to get the problem fixed, and some employees claim computer problems are their number one source of work anxiety and stress.

IT related problems further compound employee dissatisfaction since it often forces them to work late or take work home. If you are an employer, take note: your unstable computer network could be elevating your employees’ anxiety and job dissatisfaction levels, not to mention interfering with their productivity.

Our Experts Total Support Plans have helped dozens of clients end “computer rage” at their company. There are two ways we accomplish this: First, our 24/7 monitoring helps us detect and prevent problems before they show up. Your system runs faster, has fewer problems, and users aren’t constantly having to deal with system errors.

We also keep your security patches up-to-date, we prevent spyware, viruses, and hackers from invading your network, and we make sure you have a reliable backup of your system and data.

This basic maintenance is critical to the speed and performance of your computer network.Second, getting help is MUCH easier and faster with Experts Total Support.

Our secure software allows us to remotely log in to your network to diagnose and resolve most problems on the spot. No more waiting around for a technician to show up!

Sign Up Today And Get Your First Month FREE 

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we want to “show you the love” by giving you the first month of service FREE. 

You’ll discover how Experts Total Support will make you fall back in love with your computer network. Give the office a call at (734) 457-5001.