The Importance Of Planning Your Computer Upgrades

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
When considering upgrades to your computer or network, planning is a very important part of the process. Planning can save you a lot of wasted time and money.

When planning your upgrades you will want to think about what all is involved and attempt to address any issues prior to installation to prevent down time as much as possible.

First you will need to understand what you need to upgrade. Can you upgrade your current setup or will you have to purchase entirely new equipment to upgrade? There are many components of an upgrade that may not work together with older technology.

You can find this a lot if you upgrade to a new workstation and some of your software is not compatible with the new operating system on the computer.

You will also find that older hardware sometimes cannot be upgraded with new hardware without replacing the motherboards or the whole computer.

Hardware and software both have limits on how much other software and hardware that they support.

A good example of this is: If you bought a good computer about 8 years ago the maximum amount of RAM you could use was about 4 gigabytes. It is now common to have 4 gigabytes to be the minimum amount of RAM installed.

Some software out there will not even run well unless it is over 4 gigabytes of RAM. The old computer cannot be upgraded with more RAM so you would need to purchase a new computer in order to get more RAM.

If you were to buy the RAM to upgrade the computer you may have just wasted time and money. This is why planning is so important.

If the upgrade is for an organization or business you may have purchased RAM for many workstations. A lot of time the RAM would be incompatible with a newer computer as well.

When planning for any type of computer or network upgrade you will want to look at how long you have already had your existing setup.

You can expect to get about 5 years out of any device whether it is a desktop, laptop, printer or other device. If your equipment is that old or older it is usually better to replace the equipment.

There are many reasons for upgrading versus updating. The biggest reason is that it is time to replace. Usually five years after you purchase your computer there is software and hardware that will make it very easy to upgrade.

If you wait much longer then your existing equipment will not be easily upgraded to the newer computers.

When you plan to upgrade your computers you can save money by getting deals or specials. This is because when you plan, you know what you will need and you can wait for sales or promotions.

If you do not plan then more than likely you will be upgrading when your computers start causing issues. This is not a good practice. You will end up having more down time due to low-performing computers and the time it will take to get the faulty computers fixed or replaced can easily end up costing more than the cost of replacing your workstations regularly.

We are always consulting clients and helping with upgrades and migrations, if you have any questions feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to help you with any sort of computer or network upgrades.

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend… Would A New Workstation Boost Your Productivity?

Many people find it hard to let go of that old workstation that seems to be “working just fine.” But, ask yourself: Is it really?

Most people recognize that, as their machine ages, it seems to get slower and slower.

A fresh install of Windows generally makes the computer speed back up to it’s “like new” speed.

But as we rely more and more on our computers, laptops, phones, and tablets to be productive in our work, does working at that original speed still make sense?

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it?
Why is it a bad idea to have the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to your computer?

For starters, you’re wasting your money doing so. If a computer is past its normal lifecycle then it really doesn’t make any sense spending the money to continuously bring it back to a like new state as far as the software goes because the hardware is still very outdated.

In general a desktop computer’s useful life span is roughly three to five years providing you purchased a mid-range computer and not the bottom of the line model.

For laptops you get slightly less useful life span out of them due to the fact that a mid-range laptop is generally not as good of hardware as a mid-range desktop.

The other reason a laptop doesn’t tend to last as long is the fact that it is constantly being moved around.

This constant movement, shaking, vibrating, dropping, etc. causes a lot more stress on the hardware in comparison to a desktop.

Due to the different factors involved in a laptop’s life cycle, a laptop’s useful life is roughly two to three years – perhaps slightly longer if it is well cared for.

Software updates may require PC upgrades
Another reason to think about workstation replacement has to do with the software you run on your machine.

Many different software companies offer updates to their software.

Some updates offer fixes to problems or security issues, but many updates also offer new features or updates to old features.

These updates sometimes include a better graphical interface that makes a program easier to use.

Generally, these types of updates have higher computing and speed requirements. Many industry specific software companies put out these types of updates, and they’re great!

Who wouldn’t want a more attractive user interface that functions better and offers more options?

The problem: Updating/upgrading software requires more system resources almost one hundred percent of the time.

If you’re the kind of person that likes to hold on to your workstation forever and never update it, but wants those nice software updates, you might see performance problems.

While your software is updating it needs more RAM, more CPU power, and in some cases, more graphical capacity to run to the new software properly. A lot of times, users don’t realize that with new features come new requirements.

In short, if your computer is over five years old, consider replacing it, particularly if it’s a laptop. A faster workstation will help you with updated software, and keep up with your busy workload.

Feature article written by: Tech Experts

Fall Is The Perfect Time For An IT And Network Checkup

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

To make the most of your IT investment,  you don’t need to be a technology whiz. However, you should have a plan in place for making the most of your company’s data. As fall approaches, now is an excellent time to examine your company’s technology to determine what’s working well and what could be improved.

Is It Time To Update?
Technology changes rapidly. While your systems may appear to be working well, you may be missing out on new ways to protect your business information, help your business run more efficiently, and better serve your customers.

For example, to run some of today’s most powerful programs, you need a fast and large hard drive with significant memory capacity.

You might consider adding newer technology – such as wireless capabilities – to older equipment; but the cost of upgrading a computer is often more than the cost of a new model.

Check Your Power Protection
Loss of electrical power and power surges are the most common causes of data loss and weaken computer components. If your business depends on computers, protecting the power source is critical.

This is especially important if your area is prone to power fluctuations or electrical storms.

An Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) unit offers both superior surge protection and, depending on the model, anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes of backup power-enough time to save and copy critical files.

The idea of a UPS isn’t to continue your business dealings while the lights are out. Rather, it is to ensure that your data is available when the lights come back on.

Have You Patched Windows?
Have you installed the latest version of Windows on your computer, and do you keep it updated? Do you do this automatically?

It is incredibly important that you keep Windows and your software applications current. Updates improve performance, fix bugs, and many add new features. You should also regularly update and run anti-virus software.

How’s Your Backup?
Consider storage needs in terms of both capacity and physical location. Depending on the amount of data, you can back up to USB flash drives, CDs, DVDs, tapes, or an external drive.

You might also want to look into off-site backup. Our Experts Total Backup System is an excellent backup, disaster recovery, and offsite storage service.

Integrate Your Data
Over the years, businesses tend to produce multiple silos of data. Your inventory, sales data, and marketing information need to be linked together to better serve your customers and increase your company’s productivity and profitability.

Without this integration, you may not know who your best customers are or you could end up agreeing to provide a top customer with an item you don’t have in your inventory.

5 Ways To Make Your Old Computer Faster & More Reliable

If your computer is a few years old, but your budget just doesn’t allow for a new computer, some simple upgrades and maintenance tasks can help get another year or two out of your machine.

#1. Add Memory. One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to improve a computer’s performance is to install more RAM (random access memory). This will speed up the applications installed on your computer and allow you to open and run more programs simultaneously.

#2. Upgrade The Processor Or Add A Graphics Accelerator. If you are just looking for a little more “zoom,” upgrading the processor or installing a graphics accelerator will give your computer the ability to process information faster and improve its overall speed.

#3. Perform Regular Maintenance On Your Servers and Desktops. Computers, like cars, need regular maintenance to perform at top speed and reliability. At a minimum, you should run ScanDisk and the Disk Defrag Utility on your machines once a month. This will make your applications and files load and run faster.

#4. Run A Spyware Scan Once A Week. One telltale sign that your computer is infected with spyware is slow, unstable performance. Spyware sucks up your system’s resources to carry out its evil intent, slowing down your computer and even causing it to freeze and crash.

#5. Disable Or Remove Unnecessary Programs Running In The Background. Many computers have pre-installed software programs that use up system resources and slow down your computer.

While these recommendations will certainly speed up your system, they isn’t a miracle cure for a seriously out-of-date computer network. If your computer or network constantly crashes, freezes up, or runs painfully slow, then it’s time to give us a call at (734) 457-5000 for an upgrade.

Five Steps To Integrating Your Small Business’ Computer Systems

Your small business is growing fast. Your technology needs are changing just as rapidly. But starting over with a totally new system isn’t an option – who can afford the downtime? Sometimes it can feel like needing to change a tire, but not being able to afford to stop your car.

A better solution is to replace components you’ve outgrown – such as software or a lower-end printer – and add them to the existing computer system.

Tech Experts relies on a methodical approach to integrating new technology for our clients – a five-step process that any small business can follow when adding PCs or software:

1: Identify the problem 
When your business sees its customer satisfaction, efficiency and employee satisfaction levels plummeting, you know it is time to make a change.

But even if your company isn’t experiencing bottlenecks, there may still be opportunities to improve overall efficiency.

We suggest companies start by looking at whatever they do repeatedly for customers. Then, seek out technology that can help the business do that work faster or better. Remember, inefficiency is expensive!

2: Determine What You Need
Once you’ve zeroed in on things needing improvement, the next step is finding the best technology for the situation. In most cases, small business owners shouldn’t be making such choices themselves, but many still try to “cobble it together.”

Whether you hire our firm, or another technology expert, we strongly advocate hiring an tech consultant to recommend equipment and a plan for the future.

We also advise sticking with name-brand hardware and software to avoid most major problems. Ninety percent of a small business’s needs can be handled by off-the-shelf products, many of which are already seamlessly integrated. Basically, this means that they’ll “play nice with other equipment.”

3: Develop a plan 
After selecting (us) as your computer experts, the next step is creating a plan for getting from where you are to where you need to be tech-wise. A timeline, equipment list and critical steps should be part of that plan, including how employees will be brought into the loop.

One of the key things business owners overlook is their personnel. While many employees may be ahead of the curve in their familiarity with different technologies, don’t assume everyone is. Some may actually be tech-averse. Don’t jump too far ahead with the technology. Take incremental steps and everyone can use the new features and benefit from them, rather than being frustrated.

4: Install the Equipment
Likewise, the fewer systems the better. Sixty percent of enterprise software sits on a shelf unused. Only invest in computers and software that will improve your company’s performance. Don’t implement technology for technology’s sake – do it to make more money.

Training should also be a part of your roll-out plan, as well as access to consultants for post support and maintenance.

5: Keep It Maintained 
Contracting with a professional computer company like Tech Experts and keeping software and hardware up-to-date will assure that your technology and your business run smoothly – and continue to grow together.
Give us a call today at (734) 457-5000, or send us an email at:

Thank you!