Tech troubles

If you have a computer, it’s almost certain that you’ve had the odd technical glitch.  Before you call tech support, shut down your computer and reboot it.

Before you say ‘I knew that’, take a moment.

Rebooting is not closing the lid on your laptop.  It’s actually going to your power setting and clicking on either Restart or Shut Down (and then doing a manual restart).

Why is this some kind of magic solution for technical problems?

Every programme that you open, uses memory (RAM).  The documents you open load into temporary memory and creates a temporary copy of the original file.  When you save and close the document, part of the temporary copy is still retained.

Think of it like taking a tin of beans out of your store-cupboard, eating the beans and then putting the empty tin back in the cupboard.  Not only will your cupboard soon be full of empty tins and be hard to close (not to mention the bad smell), but putting away new tins, will become harder with all the empty tins clogging things up.

When you open a document you may see a version on your desktop with a tilda before the file name (a tilda looks like this ~).  This shows the version you’re editing. 

Shutting down your computer removes all temporary files and gives you lots of memory to make things work more efficiently.

While it’s good practice to shut down your computer when you finish work, we all know that’s probably not going to happen, but if you make a habit of rebooting at least once a week, you’ll find your computer runs faster and operates better.

What else is slowing things down?

Take a look at your browser window.  How many tabs are currently open?

While you may not be looking at a website, it doesn’t mean your computer isn’t using up memory.  Every open tab in your browser draws on your computer’s memory and there is a limit.  In addition, if you’ve got YouTube open or other sites with hi-res videos showing, it will be pushing your graphics card to its limits.

Close tabs you’re not using to relieve pressure.  In fact, it’s a good habit to get to close all your browser tabs at the end of your working day.

TIP: Your history keeps a local copy of the website you’re looking at, and if you go back to the same website you’re reloading the local copy.  This means that any updates won’t show up.  If you press Control F5 it downloads the actual up-to-date version.

Are you sending to SPAM?

There have been lots of changes in email services recently.  Big providers like Google, Sky, Yahoo, MSOutlook, etc.  are all trying to make it safer online, but clients don’t always realise that changes have taken place.

The biggest change is that if you own a business domain, you need to add an additional level of security to your domain or your email will automatically be marked as spam.

There are plenty of Phish in the sea!

There are thousands of scammers out there, trying to earn a dishonest buck. 

Email: Never click a link in an email unless you are 100% certain that you trust the email sender. Your bank will never ask you to click a link in an email, they will instruct you to go to the website and log into your online banking.  This is a good practice with all your suppliers and memberships, go to their website, don’t click links in emails.

If a supplier emails telling you they’ve changed their bank account or you’re paying a new supplier ALWAYS pick up the phone call the number you already have for them and double check.  One two-minute phone call can save you thousands of pounds as the bank doesn’t compensate you for transfers you’ve instigated – having the correct information is your responsibility.

Text: If you’ve received a text messages about outstanding fees on incoming packages, you might wonder how Royal Mail got your phone number.  That’s because it’s not from them!

Scam calls:  If someone says they’re from Microsoft and ringing about a computer virus – they’re not!  Usually if you direct them to contact your IT support company they hang up pretty quickly.

Never agree to provide your security details during a phone call or do anything in relation to transferring money.  And it’s good practice, if you’re going to call your bank to check anything to call on a different phone than the one the scammers called you on – there are some clever scams where you think you’ve disconnected with the caller and then call your bank and, in fact, you’re talking to the same people.

If in doubt, get expert advice before you follow any instructions.

Leigh Bennett owns EJJB IT providing IT support for businesses of all sizes.

You can contact him on or on 01474 878724

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