Monthly Archive February 2017

Virtual Desktop Environments vs Remote Desktop Access

Originally posted at www.triella.com in May 2015

This article explains the basic differences between a Virtual desktop environment and a Remote Desktop Environment.

 You’ve heard a lot about the Cloud, VDI’s and desktops as a service.   But what does it all mean?   Read on to learn more!

Virtual Desktop Environments

A virtual computer desktop environment is where the Operating System of the computer is virtualized onto a server and the user then accesses the virtual computer remotely via either Thin Client hardware, from a Web Browser, client software or other type of computing device. Popular providers of virtual desktops environments are VMWare and Citrix. They can either exist on a physical server in your own office or on a Cloud environment such as Amazon EC2. These environments are generally known as a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

One key advantage of a virtual environment is the backend control to manage the environment from the server side. Everything is looked after such as backups, logging off sessions, end user support and so on without having to access the local computing device, be it a desktop or tablet. As long as the back end servers are running the user can have access to their Desktop anytime.

 

Remote Desktop Access

Remote Desktop Access is where a user remotely connects to a physical computer directly via remote desktop protocol. In this case the user connects to a server and then from there uses Microsoft Remote Desktop to connect to the computer desired. This means that a computer must be powered on and connected to the network or the remote session will fail. For remote desktop access to work, the user needs to be running an agent or client tool installed on the Desktop they want to access and the remote access tool from the computer they want to access it from.

Some well-known Remote Desktop tools are “Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP”, “Virtual Network Computing or VNC”, LogMeIN, Join.me, Team Viewer, etc….

 

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A virtual private network allows a desktop computer at home to connect to a private network at the office and allows the home computer to access the office’s network resources as if it were actually in the office physically connected directly to the network. There are different protocols used for VPN implementations such as OpenVPN and IPSec. Some of the more popular commercial VPN tools are Cisco VPN, and CheckPoint VPN. This method does not require a physical computer to actually be on at the office.

A downside to VPN’s is that many places, such as hotels, block access to VPN’s which negates the ability for remote access to work correctly.

 

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

What is File System Fragmentation and why is keeping it optimized important?

This article explains file fragmentation, how it affects system performance and why keeping file system optimized is important.

Some operating systems are much better at keeping their data organized than others. Each hard disk is formatted with a specific file system based on the operating system used. The file system layer on the hard drive is not something permanent the hard drive can be reformatted many times and a new file system installed. Some of the more common file systems formats used today are Fat32, and NTFS developed and used by Microsoft, Ext2 and Ext3 used by Linux, and HFS used by Apple. We won’t get into the details of file system characteristics and limitations at this time to keep things simple.

How does fragmentation start?

When data is being written to a hard drive’s file system, the system looks for free space large enough to accommodate the total size of the data being written to the drive in containers called Blocks or Clusters. Ideally the data needs to be written together, one block or cluster after another otherwise known as contiguous. This sequential location of the data on the drive makes it much easier and faster for the data to be read back by the system when needed. It also reduces the likelihood of data corruption or read errors.

I have always liked using the analogy of book in representation a hard drive and a person in representation of the read and write system. When you go out and buy a book and open it up to read it, the pages are new, and everything is organized with a table of contents, numbered pages, and even sorted by chapters. It makes sense and is very easy to read. Now imagine taking that book, ripping out all the pages and then putting them back into the book in a random order. It would likely not be easy to read, because you would have to find the next page by looking for the page number wasting lots of time skipping over pages you don’t need now. That essentially defines file system fragmentation.

In order to fix the book you would resort and organize the pages and put them back into the book in order so you could quickly and easily read them again, assuming no pages are damaged or missing. This is exactly what defragmenting a hard drive is.

Some older operating systems did not do a very good job of keeping their file systems optimized and required the user to be vigilant by doing their own monitoring and manually running defragmentation tools when they noticed performance problems occurring. This constant state of corrective repair often meant that systems were neglected by users for years. Files systems could get so badly damaged that no amount of defragmentation could repair the damage. The preinstalled tools that came with the operating system are very limited in features and might only be able to optimize only a percentage of the drive before giving up all together, if problems were too difficult to repair. These problems lead to many commercial products on the market better built to deal with file system repair and optimization. No matter which tool is used it can take a significant amount of time to defragment a hard drive depending on how much data is on the drive and how badly it is fragmented.

Today, current operating systems tools are far better at being proactive by keeping their file systems continuously monitored and optimized, so that minimal intervention from the user is required and system performance and stability is maintained regularly.

If you think your system is running much slower than it once did maybe it’s time to check your hard drive’s file system status. One way to do this in Windows, you can simply right click on the hard drive you want to check, choose “Properties” from the Menu, and then select “Tools” tab, on this screen you will a button for “Defragment now…”, from here it will give you information on the status of the drive, such as percent of fragmentation and if defragmentation is recommended. Most Operating systems will give a graphical representation of the File system fragmentation and will usually represent the fragmented data with the color red, which will make it easy to recognize and if you notice the graphical representation of your hard drive’s file system has a large amount of red on it and its scattered all over the drive, then its most likely time for you to defragment your file system to optimize your systems performance. (See the Provided sample photo for a very basic simple representation.)

defrag

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2014 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

When is a Computer Virus not a Virus?

Originally Posted at www.triella.com in October 2014

This article attempts to explain the Different Characteristics between what a Computer Virus is verses other terms such as Malware, Spyware, Adware, and more.

A computer virus, by definition, is a self-replicating software program that installs itself without the computer user’s knowledge or authorization. Computer viruses can spread through computer programs, data files, hard drive boot sectors, macros and other vectors. Not only can they spread across the file system within a local computer but they can also transport themselves over local networks to infect other computers – and they can spread through emails to infect computers worldwide.

Viruses can be programed to do be anything from being annoying to being very harmful to your computer operating system and its data. They can be programed to slow down your computer, and make it unusable, corrupt your data, steal private information, record keystrokes, generate spam email to your contacts, pop up misleading or fake error messages – well, it really is up to the imagination of the programmer. Viruses can be very sophisticated and difficult to detect. Some are impossible to clean from a computer. Some are able to morph themselves into random encrypted hidden files and elude scanners from detecting their known patterns as they move around trying to stay one step ahead of detection.

It’s important to understand that a virus is a computer program and like all computer programs it must be written in software code that is compatible with the operating system that it is intended to infect. Meaning, a virus written to infect Microsoft Windows, is extremely unlikely to be compatible with the Apple OS X or other Linux operating system variants. This is why you often hear Apple loyalist claim their systems don’t get viruses. Technically, any system can get a virus if the virus is coded to target that system. Unfortunately, popularity and a massive user base are too enticing for virus programmers to ignore. This is why most viruses target Windows – it is the most widely used operating system.

No antivirus software is perfect and with new viruses emerging every day, it’s impossible for protection software to catch everything. Virus Database updates are typically released after a virus is discovered and the antivirus software is updated to detect it. Not all antivirus software is created equally either, one may be better at detecting and cleaning certain viruses than another. In some circumstances, it may be too late for antivirus software to protect your system once the damage has been inflicted by the virus. Under these circumstances an experienced computer support technician may be required to manually remove the virus. If that fails it may mean restoring the system from a backup. If there is no backup then a full system re-installation may be the only option.

While having regular backups is critical, it is also important to know that viruses can be backed up as well, meaning you could be restoring a virus from what you think is a good backup.

Now that we have explored what a virus is, let’s explorer some related terms that are not viruses but tend to be confused with them. Malware, Spyware, Adware, and Worms are often confused for viruses, because in some cases they can be made to act like viruses.

Malware is a term used to describe Malicious Software, meaning any software that has been written with malicious intent, such as causing damage to data, or stealing personal information. Viruses can certainly be Malware, but not all Malware is a virus.

Spyware is software written with the intent to gather private and personal information from a computer without the consent of the user. Spyware can come in the form of System Monitoring software, Trojan Software, Adware, and/or Internet Cookies used for Tracking. Spyware can be malicious and it can also be used to track user’s patterns and locations in order to pop up localized advertising. Spyware can also contain viruses.

Adware is a term used for Advertising Software. This software is used to push pop up advertising to devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. Adware can also contain Malware. Fake Advertising can be installed onto a device without consent with the purpose of fooling the viewer paying for something they don’t need or even stealing credit card information. Some have been known to falsely suggest that the computer is infected with a virus and in order to protect your system and clean it, that the user needs to purchase the advertised software, when actually there is no virus on the computer at all.

A computer worm is software written with the primary intent of replicating itself over a network. Replication is a characteristic of a virus, with the exception that worms do not usually attempt to change or cause direct damage to the systems they pass through. They can bog down network traffic and can act as transport carriers for other malicious software such as viruses or even contribute to massive spamming. They have the potential to bring down entire networks.

Each of these potential Malware threats can also be bundled together into a single package, meaning the there is a risk of being exposed to all of them at once, but this usually a rare occurrence.

Here are some tips on how to protect against these threats:

1) Use an antivirus software package that is a complete solution and that has an annual subscription. Free software has the value you paid for it.

2) Keep all of your software updated. Where possible turn on automatic updates to ensure you are protected as quickly as possible.

3) Renew your annual software subscriptions early, so that you are not left vulnerable because your protection has lapsed.

4) Stay alert! Don’t be fooled by Fake Ads, Emails and Web links. Watch for social engineering techniques designed to get you to click on a link which will take you to an infected site. One trick is to try those links on your mobile device first to see what it is as your mobile device usually does not run Windows and will not be susceptible.

5) Use either a hardware or a software firewall. Some Malware will exploit your network ports and other such means to infiltrate your network and your computer.

6) Use WPA2 encryption with a strong password on your Wi-Fi.

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2014 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

Star Shower Christmas Laser Lights

Originally posted at www.triella.com in December 2015

This article is part of our 12 days of Christmas Tech-themed blog series for 2015. This little Christmas gadget promises to make putting up Christmas lights easier and more exciting than ever before.

 

Shower your home with thousands of dazzling lights with Star Shower!

Star Shower projects thousands of dazzling red and green laser stars on your landscaping or home in seconds. No more hanging string lights. No more rickety, unsafe ladders to deal with. No more broken bulbs from tangled strands of lights. Use Star Shower year round. Bring the stars indoors to light up a foyer, or create a fantasy world in your child’s bedroom. Stop wasting hours hanging old-fashioned lights or spending hundreds of dollars buying new lights year after year.

Star Shower covers over 600 square feet and comes with an easy mount lawn stake. Star Shower allows you to display thousands of green stars, or a green and red star combination. It is weather resistant and includes an extra-long stake for mounting firmly in the ground.

 

 

Star Shower can be found at most retail stores in Canada and in the USA, including many major online stores as well. I have personally seen it selling in stores here in Canada for $79 CDN, and online in the USA for $39 USD. However, as it gets closer to Christmas many resellers are selling out, and unless you act fast, you may have to wait until next year to get one.

 

The official commercial video can be found here…

https://c3634203e8582ebc81ca-ff945b30902affd53f2e5f234f76874f.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/StarShower_J.m4v

Or visit the As seen on TV website at https://www.asseenontv.com/detail.php?p=919855&pa=sli

 

 

 

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

 

Tiny Computers that fit in your pocket are here today

Originally posted at www.triella.com in September 2015

This article introduces readers to the future of personal computing devices aimed at replacing at least some of the desktop market space.

The Micro Technology Paradigm shift…

Recent advancements in micro technology have introduced us to new devices over the past few years that have changed the way we perceive using cell phones and the concept of mobile computing. Technology hungry consumers have been introduced to Netbooks, Tablets and Smart phones, but it doesn’t stop there.

Media streaming devices such as Google’s Chrome Cast plugs into your HDTV’s HDMI port and allows you to send media from your cell phone to your computer. Third party devices the size of USB memory sticks also connect to your HD TV’s HDMI port and run Google Android on them.

The Intel Atom processor has been powering Windows Netbooks, Tablets and Smartphones for sometime now.  Intel has now developed a Windows 8.1 computer that literately fits in your pocket!

Introducing the Intel Compute Stick

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/compute-stick/intel-compute-stick.html

Intel has recently unveiled their next innovation in Windows Computing called the “Intel Compute Stick”. It allows you to transform any HDMI monitor or TV into a computer by simply plugging the tiny device into the HDMI port!

The Intel® Compute Stick has a quad-core Intel® Atom™ processor, Intel® HD Graphics, integrated Wi-Fi* and Bluetooth* technologies, 32 GB storage, 2 GB memory, a USB 2.0 port, and a Micro SD card reader all built-in, and it draws its power from the HDMI port so there is no external power supply needed.

It also sends sound across the HDMI port as with most HDMI devices, so there is not extra audio cabling required. It can connect to your home network wirelessly via the built Wi-Fi, and if your HDTV does not happen to have a touch screen, the built in Bluetooth or full sized USB port will allow for the connection of a keyboard and mouse, or other capable devices. The 32GB internal memory is more than enough to get anyone started right away, and the expandable Micro SD slots allow for added storage without having to carry around an external hard drive.

Intel is offering two models, one that comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing 32bit, that is currently upgradable to Windows 10 for Free, and a second model which ships with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64bit Linux which only has 1GB of system memory and 8GB of internal storage. (Linux does not require as much overhead to operate as Windows does.) and which may make this a lower cost alternative to the commercial licensed windows version.

The price point of this micro phenomenon is around $150, which is far less than a new entry level computer.  The built-in displays on Smartphones and Tablets are what cause the prices to be much higher.

In my opinion, it is basically like a Smartphone without the Touch screen display and the battery, with everything else intact, but has the potential to be so much more…and as Intel says “The Possibilities are Endless”.

With all new technologies, the challenges of securing your system against infiltration will be a challenge to be dealt with as these devices become more prevalent.  After all, who would notice a USB device plugged into the back of a receptionist’s computer or into a TV display connected to the internal network?  This could bring hacking to a whole new level!

What are your thoughts on the new Intel Compute Stick?

 

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

Upgrading to your Free Reserved Copy of Microsoft Windows 10

Originally posted at www.triella.com in August 2015

This article is a continuation of the previous article on reserving your free copy of Windows 10, and it explains the process of upgrading to Windows 10 using the Microsoft Media Creation Tool for those who have reserved their Free copy of Windows 10 but have not had the Windows Update arrive to their computers yet and they no longer wish to wait.

Ok. You have previously reserved your Free upgrade copy of Windows 10, and you were told that it would be available on July 29th, 2015. It’s now a month later and you still haven’t received your upgrade yet.

After July 29th, there were Windows updates that made some minor changes to the Windows 10 reservation notification and added a Windows 10 alert to your Windows updates.

So now you wait…and wait…and wait….well the wait is over. Microsoft has created a tool to allow those who cannot wait any longer, and are ambitious enough to jump to the front of the line and take the dive now. Microsoft has made the Windows 10 Media Creation tool available for Free download to anyone who wants it.

To download the 32bit or 64bit media creation tool go to the following link…

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Once you have downloaded the Tool, run it and follow these steps.

Step 1: Either Choose “Upgrade this PC now”, if you wish to force the upgrade process to download the 3GB installation and run the setup immediately on the current computer.

Or if you wish to create installation media for another computer or to use later then select “Create installation media for another PC”.

I will not get into the details of the actual Windows 10 installation process, as that would be too long for this article, and is best to be left for another topic later.

  • Important Note: during the upgrade process Windows 10 will check that your system meets the requirements for the Free upgrade, and if it does not, you will be required to provide or purchase a Windows 10 product key in order to proceed with the installation.

Step 2: Once you have selected the “Create Installation Media for another PC”. The next step will ask you to select the Language you want to be installed on the Windows 10 media, the Edition of the Windows 10 media (There are really only two flavors…”Home” & “Pro”, the N version strips out some additional software like Camera software, Media Player, and Skype, and then the remaining “Home” option for single Language only.)

  • Important Note: You MUST select the same Edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 that you are upgrading from (Home to Home Version, and Pro to Pro version), otherwise you will be required to provide or purchase the corresponding product key.

Step 3: Select the “Architecture” of the Windows 10 Edition you are upgrading too. It should be the same “Architecture” you are upgrading from as well otherwise you will be presented with an error when you try to upgrade later. You can find this information in Windows 7 by clicking on the start menu, and right clicking on “computer”, and choosing properties. You can find this information in Windows 8.1 by Right clicking on the Windows Icon and selecting “System”. Once you know the “Architecture” of your current Windows edition, select it from the Windows 10 “Architecture” menu in the media creation tool.

*Important Note: The media creation tool gives you the option to choose either 32-bit, 64-bit or both, in case you have more than one system with more than one “Architecture”. If you choose 32-bit or 64-bit on their own you will require media large enough for the 3GB image data, but if you choose both 32-bit & 64-bit, you will require media large enough for the 6GB of image data.

Step 4: Once you have selected the correct media creation requirements, the next step is to select the type of media to create the installation image data on. You will be presented with two options, either a “USB flash drive”, or an ISO file, which you will need to burn to a DVD.

*Important Note: Remember if you have 3GB image, you will either require a 4GB USB flash drive, or a Single layer DVD (4.7GB), and if you chose the 6GB image, you will require an 8GB Flash Drive or a Dual layer DVD (8.5GB).

Step 5: If you select the USB flash drive, the tool will attempt to detect the flash drive and allow you to select it. It will also warn you that it will format and erase all the current data on the flash drive if you proceed. Once the download and creation process has completed you can use the USB flash drive to either start the upgrade from within Windows 7 or Windows 8.1’s desktop, or restart the computer and boot to the USB flash drive to run the update or a clean install.

If you select the ISO file option, you will be asked where you want to save the “Windows.iso file, then the Windows 10 download will start.

Step 6: Once the download has completed, the Media Creation Tool will prompt you to burn the ISO file to DVD using its own built in method using Windows Disc Image burner.

*Important Note: You MUST have a DVD drive capable of burning Writable DVD’s in order to use this feature.

Once you have created your Windows 10 DVD Media, then you can use it to either upgrade your current version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 directly from the desktop, or you can restart the computer and boot to the DVD and run either an upgrade or a clean install of your current Operating system. Now you’re ready to upgrade to Windows 10….Good Luck!

After you have upgraded to Windows 10, you will have 30 days to decide if you want to keep it or not. If not, then you will be able to revert back to the previous version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

 

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

Microsoft Windows 10: Limited Time Free Upgrade Offer

Originally posted at www.triella.com in June 2016

Microsoft has recently announced that they will be giving Windows 7 (SP1) and Windows 8.1 computer owners and mobile Windows phone owners a free upgrade to the full version of Windows 10 for a limited time once it is released as expected on July 29th, 2015. The upgrade is 3 Gigabytes and will take current “Home” users to the Windows 10 Home version and the “Pro” users to the Windows 10 Pro version. This free upgrade feature will NOT be made available to Enterprise and Volume License users, but only to OEM and Retail Windows owners with valid license keys. Enterprise and Volume License users automatically get all updates through their agreement.

Here are the basic steps to reserving your Free upgrade.

The Current Windows OS should be Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 installed, or Windows 8.1. What you will then find if you look down by the clock area on your desktop is a White “Windows” icon. If you move the mouse over it you will see a little popup dialog showing “Get Windows 10”.

 

If you click on this icon it will display a pop-up screen.

Click on the “Learn more” link, and it will open the “Get Windows 10” tool that will walk you through reserving your free upgrade.

Once you click on “Reserve your free upgrade”, it will simply ask for your email address to send you a notification when the upgrade is ready. Even providing your email address is optional. This is because the upgrade is associated to the device and not to the user. Once you confirm that you wish to receive the upgrade, you are done. You will then see a confirmation screen where, if desired, you can cancel the reservation.

After the reservation is complete, you can then click on the Windows icon by the clock and it will bring up a 5 slide summary marketing some of the Windows 10 features.

For more details on Windows 10 Features visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/features

If you wish to view the full set of menu items, simply click on the “three stacked bars” icon at the top left side of the slides. This will bring you to the “About Windows 10” contents, and “Getting the upgrade” contents which include “Check your PC” for Windows 10 Compatibility and “View Confirmation” of your Windows 10 reservation.

Check your PC for Windows 10 compatibility

From the side menu you can run the Windows 10 compatibility check. This tool will check your current computer for potential hardware and software issues that may be encountered if you choose to upgrade. It’s important to know that there is no guarantee that these incompatibility issues will have any future fixes.

Hardware device issues can become a major problem if even simple software driver updates cannot fix the incompatibly issues. Some hardware on desktops maybe need to be upgraded at the owner’s expense (if possible), such as video cards which can be removed. This becomes more of an issue with laptops where components are permanently built-in and cannot be removed and upgraded.

Sometimes software can receive updates from the developers to make them compatible with new operating systems, or a completely new version may be required to replace the old version.

If you decide to upgrade, pay special attention to your external devices such as printers, because far too often printer software and drivers become end of life and incompatible with the next generation of Windows Operating systems. You may find out after you upgrade, when it’s too late, that your printer may end up a very large paper weight if it is too old to work with Windows 10.

In a perfect world, upgrades are great…when they work perfectly, but it’s not a perfect world, so when in doubt, before jumping all in make sure you have a recovery system in place for your system that works so you can revert back to your previous Windows version if needed. Once you are confident you have a recovery plan in place, you can upgrade with some peace of mind. If you feel you are ready when the time comes to upgrade, test drive it thoroughly until you are satisfied it will meet your needs, and will not result in a frustrating and time consuming amount of troubleshooting. Let’s continue to hope that Windows 10 will really be a perfect “10”.

To review the official Windows 10 Frequently asked Questions visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/windows-10-faq

For a more in-depth Windows 10 Frequently asked Questions perspective visit:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_install/frequently-asked-questions-windows-10/5c0b9368-a9e8-4238-b1e4-45f4b7ed2fb9

For the originally published source article please visit Triella Corp at http://www.triella.com/microsoft-windows-10-limited-time-free-upgrade-offer/

 

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

Business-in-a-box™: The World’s #1 Business Document Templates Software

Originally posted at www,triella.com in March 2015

Get a library of business documents which you can use as a starting point for your business.  http://www.biztree.com/

 

Biztree is a privately-owned corporation with offices in the United States, Canada, China, United Kingdom and France. Biztree was founded in 2001, and develops and markets productivity software for small and medium-sized businesses and home-office entrepreneurs. Business-in-a-Box™ is their flagship product which was designed to help business people get more done in less time. The do-it-yourself document template software has been created to increase productivity and efficiency. It is currently used by more than 6 Million people in 200 countries, and in Canada it has been used by thousands of companies since 2001.

 

 

Business-in-a-Box™ contains over 1,800 document templates created by Lawyers and other experts that you can use to start, run and grow your business, at a minimum all you really need to do is fill in the blanks and print. It will help you save time and money, while also boosting your productivity, and improving your communications and your professional image.

There are templates for a wide range of activities, from contract writing to daily communications, client acquisition, business management, HR management, accounting and more.

There are document templates for a wide range of Industries, and Job Titles. Some of the template groups involve Planning & Management, Legal, Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Sales & Marketing, Operations & Logistics, Internet & Technology, Consultants & Contractors, Credit & Collection, and Real Estate. The list goes on and on.

All the documents contain professional-looking formatting; they are 100% Customizable files that are compatible with All Office Suites. Quickly and easily find a document, Auto-fill repetitive data fields in on Click. Never lose your work with the Auto-Recovery feature. Regular updates are provided to keep your business current, and many more features are built in and ready to use.

 

Business-in-a-Box™ is available in 7 languages, and is available for both Windows and Apple Mac operating systems.

The Demo is available for download from the Biztree website, and can be instantly upgraded to the Pro version once the activation key is acquired. The Pro version (3-User License) is normally available for about $300 CDN, but Biztree does occasionally offer an instant rebate of $100 off for a limited time, so check their website often.

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

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ClearCenter’s ClearOS: Linux Cloud-Connected Server, Network, and Gateway Operating System

Originally posted in March 2015

Originally released under “Point Clark Network Limited”, and home grown in Toronto, Ontario Canada as the Linux Distribution “ClarkConnect”. Acquired by ClearCenter Corp and evolved into “ClearOS” and the “Clear Foundation” community.

http://www.clearcenter.com/

http://www.clearfoundation.com/

ClearCenter provides an open software platform uniquely tailored to fit the IT needs of almost any environment that is simple, secure & affordable. ClearOS comes in two flavours, the Free “Community”Edition & the annual subscription based “Professional” Edition. Each has the ClearCenter Marketplace included to allow for on-demand installation and management of your features and third party apps & services.

ClearCenter has also custom engineered ClearBOXs to ship pre-installed with ClearOS Professional so you can have a turn-key solution.

Clark Connect History

Point Clark Networks started as a concept on the back of a napkin on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. In May 2000, the company moved from concept to reality and started developing solutions for the broadband Server/Gateway market. The core team was formed with engineering and technologists from Queen’s University.

The first version of ClarkConnect Service Delivery Network (now known as ClearSDN) was launched delivering services to the public in November 2000. This initial release included a basic software update service along with a dynamic DNS service. Today, ClearSDN includes dozens of unique services available in the ClearCenter Marketplace to help its partners, consumers and businesses get the most out of their Server, Network & Gateway technology.

Point Clark Networks Limited (PCNL) believed that broadband means more than just a fast connection. Broadband is sparking the growth of new and innovative services that can take advantage of an always-on Internet. To help organizations build these services, PCNL developed the ClarkConnect Linux distribution software in conjunction with the Service Delivery Network (SDN) infrastructure for building and delivering services to Internet devices. The Gateway Services that supports ClarkConnect is a direct application of the SDN technology.

ClearCenter Roots

ClearCenter was born with a single purpose, to deliver a stable solution based on the Server, Network, & Gateway; that makes delivering IT highly scalable and easy to manage. This effort combined with a global partner community and expert staff has allowed ClearCenter to build award winning products such as ClearBOX, offer top-tiered support via ClearCARE and continue with industry changing features in ClearOS.

ClearOS and ClearSDN technology were initially developed in the labs of Point Clark Networks. Starting at Day-One, the software solution was designed to combine an easy-to-use Linux based Server/Gateway software distribution (historically known as ClarkConnect) with innovative value-added services.

ClearCenter acquired both Point Clark Networks and its ClarkConnect Linux distribution in 2009. This combined the original vision of remote services delivery by Peter Baldwin and Ben Chambers with Michael Proper’s vision around a simple, highly scalable platform stemmed from his experience starting and growing DirectPointe, Inc. (a US based Managed Service Provider) from its inception in 2000 to the top of its industry and its acknowledgment as the world’s Number 1 MSP in 2007-2008 by MSPMentor.

ClearOS & Marketplace

ClearOS is a stable, secure and simple software platform that allows you to tailor your system easily to the needs of your environment. With features spanning the Server, Network, & Gateway you have the ability to simply consolidate your systems into one manageable appliance or easily set up multiple ClearOS systems to share the load. Whether you choose the fully supported and business ready ClearOS Professional or the self-supported but business tested ClearOS Community Edition you receive the stability and simplicity of ClearOS matched by ClearCenter’s Marketplace which allows for easy extensibility on demand. With over 250,000 installations of ClearOS running in over 140 countries you also can be sure that this operating system has likely been well tested in an environment like yours.

One great feature of ClearOS is that the Management interface is Web based, so the administration can all be done anywhere from a Web browser. The interface is extremely easy to understand, navigate and use. It comes packed with features that would excite any system administrator. Everything a business could want is available in ClearOS, it has the potential to make any small business have an enterprise infrastructure feeling to it on the IT back-end. The other great thing about ClearOS is that you can scale it up or down, meaning you can install the full server set on 1 server, or separate the functions onto multiple servers. You can even setup server clusters to have multiple servers working together sharing their resources across the network.


ClearBOX Hybrid Appliances

ClearBOX Hybrid Appliances were engineered specifically for ClearOS. Their designers understand that it doesn’t always take bloated hardware running bloated software to make your infrastructure reliable, secure and affordable. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They believe the more [Open] you are with your software the more secure you are and transparency is the key to this methodology. When it comes to ClearOS, systems don’t have the same requirements and you are able to manage larger environments with lower spec’d equipment. This allows you to consolidate your equipment by using smaller equipment but also reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint by selecting an appliance averaging 40watts of electricity to run.

ClearBOXs are designed to fit almost any situation whether you need a simple security appliance or more of an All-In-One type solution. With a ClearBOX deploying the solution is painless and easy. You have a choice of configuration options and specification options to suite your needs.

Clear Center’s Partnership Program

ClearCenter is dedicated to serving over 250,000 deployments of ClearOS in over 140 countries. ClearCenter Partners are a crucial part of the customer’s success stories and deliver a needed service while deploying hybrid solutions. ClearCenter provides robust, simple to use and incredibly stable products. This allows partners to simplify their deployments by consolidating their customer’s infrastructure with new hybrid technologies.

The ClearCenter Partner Program is designed to offer all the resources required to help a ClearCenter Partner find success and build a profitable business.

Conclusion

ClearCenter has an outstanding Management Leadership team, and a Winning Product strategy. ClearOS is clearly worth considering as a solution option in Education, Business, Not for Profit, and Government based IT infrastructures.

***The original content referenced throughout this article are the copyright of Clear Center Corp and Clear Foundation, and are used under fair use.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

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Turnkey Linux: 100+ Free ready-to-use software appliance solutions

Originally posted in March 2015

Turnkey GNU/Linux is a free Debian based library of system images that pre-integrates and polishes the best free software components into secure, easy to use solutions. http://www.turnkeylinux.org/ . ***The original content referenced throughout this article are the copyright of Untangle, and are used under fair use.

About Turnkey GNU/Linux

TurnKey was started in 2008 by Alon Swartz and Liraz Siri who were inspired by a belief in the democratizing power of free software, like science, to promote the progress of a free & humane society. Without the freedom to freely distribute, tinker and learn from free software the Internet as we know it would not exist. Free software is the silent, often invisible power behind the greatest technological marvel of our era.

Debian, the largest GNU/Linux distribution has over 37,500 packages in its software repositories. The free software movement has collectively created a treasure trove of software that anyone is free to use, distribute, modify and learn from. In essence, it is the original app store!

Unfortunately, much of this treasure is locked away because too few know about it and even fewer have the skills to take full advantage of it. Imagine how much good we could do if changed that.

Discovering, configuring and testing combinations of components can be notoriously challenging, time consuming and inefficient, especially if everyone keeps reinventing the wheel by rolling their own solutions.

To maximize the amount of good we can do with the resources we have we’ve created a simple yet powerful Linux distribution development toolkit that makes it easy to create pre-assembled solutions that can be deployed in just a few minutes from a CD image running on bare metal, a virtual appliance running on a virtual appliance, or a cloud instance controlled from your browser.

Turnkey Linux has been featured in Magazines such as Linux Journal, Information Week and InfoWorld.

Benefits of Turnkey Linux Solutions

  • 100+ ready-to-use solutions: discover and leverage the best free software. Deploy solutions quickly on bare metal, virtual machines, or in the cloud.
  • Free for long term use: free software with full source code and a powerful build system. Free of hidden backdoors, free from restrictive licensing and free to learn from, modify and distribute.
  • Secure and easy to maintain: auto-updated daily with latest security patches.
  • It just works: designed for ease of use, built and tested collaboratively by the community.
  • Backup and migration: built-in backup software saves changes to files, databases. Encrypted storage to protect server data and the ability to automatically restore servers from backup.
  • Based on Debian 7.2 (“Wheezy”): with automatic security updates for over 37,500 packages.
  • TurnKey GNU/Linux is licensed under the same terms as Debian. In other words, you are free to download, use, distribute and modify any solution or component for any purpose.
  • Easy to use: includes a web management interface, web shell, and simple configuration console (screenshots).
  • Lightweight (starting from 150MB): each solution is carefully built from the ground up with the minimum components needed to serve its role with maximum efficiency and security.
  • Assured integrity: solutions are built from verifiably unmodified Debian binaries, except for a few custom components for which full source code is available. Releases are cryptographically signed.
  • Turkey Linux pre-assembled software appliances work successfully in multiple Virtual environments such as VMWare, VirtualBox, SWSoft Parallels and Xen.

The 100+ Turnkey pre-assembled software appliances feature products which can be used for many of the services such as…

  1. Network Infrastructure Management (Domain Controller, OpenLDAP, File Server, OpenVPN)
  2. Website Content Management (Joomla 2.5, Drupal 7, WordPress)
  3. Website Shopping Management (Zen Cart, OsCommerce, Tomato cart)
  4. Support Ticketing Systems (OTRS, Sit!)
  5. Project Management
  6. CRM
  7. ERP and much more.

Linux provides the option to obtain and use free software for the purposes of supplementing or replacing specific business functions. An internal Linux expert is recommended to manage those systems.

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm