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High impact tips for getting the most from your IT

Geek Guru Newsletter

Posted on December 13th, 2013 by Emily

 

At Geek Guru, we like to feel that we’re not only IT support and engineers but also providers of useful information on anything and everything IT related.

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Starting soon, we’ll be sending out a regular newsletter to all of our customers and followers. This will include links to our most interesting or useful blog posts, helpful reminders, and perhaps even some exclusive content, offers and competitions that may not be available on our regular blog! We’ll even add a sprinkling of our unique sense of humour in, too.

If you’d like to join our mailing list, you can email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk, tweet us, or facebook us. We’ll also have a sign-up page available shortly.

Whether you’re a regular reader of our blog already, visit us occasionally or have never visited us before; whether you’re a tech wiz or a technophobe (or anything in between), we think we’re sure to have something of interest to you!

If there’s something you’d love to see us cover in our newsletter or blog, please do get in contact with us and let us know, using the information below.

For the latest IT and tech related news, reviews and events straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter now! Email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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If you’d like more help, advice or information, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted in: It 4 business, Latest News, Tips n Tricks Tagged , , , , , , ,

What About Cabling?

Posted on October 02nd, 2013 by Emily

How much difference can the cabling you have make to your network? Read on, you may be surprised!

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We don’t often hear this come up as a point of discussion when people are installing or upgrading their networks, but it’s actually quite important.

If you’re getting a new network installed, you should always choose a specialist when it comes to cabling your workplace. For your network to work at full capacity, you’ll need good quality cabling, which is installed correctly, without cutting corners.

If your cabling is of poor quality, it can affect the quality of signal sent along it, which in turn can affect the speed and reliability of your network. Having the best hardware in the world won’t help if your cabling is subpar or incorrectly installed. Poorly shielded or badly situated cabling can mean the difference between a network that runs smoothly, and one that makes you feel like tearing your hair out!

Ideally, total cabling to each machine should equal no more than 100 metres. If it’s longer than this, general research says you’ll begin to see a drop in performance from your network. Cabling with low-quality impure copper cores can also cause signal degradation, which will show itself as errors, lost packets and slower speeds. Cabling should be as flat as possible, as bending it too much can affect its performance.

Each cable should also be of similar quality – it’s not really useful having your building cabled up with top-of-the-range, super quality cable if you then go and use a low quality patch cable to connect your computer to the network. Mixing different qualities of cable can also cause even more interference in the signal.

Your network cabling should ideally not be near any kind of power cabling or pass close to large devices, as this can result in electromagnetic interference and cause problems with data transmission across the network. It should also not be near any water sources or pipes, as this could cause condensation to form inside the cable which in turn causes the cable to fail.

Finally, one point to remember is that cabling doesn’t last forever! Cables can stretch, warp, break, twist or otherwise wear out just like other equipment. Your network will need re-cabling eventually, and while it may not seem like a top priority, if you’re experiencing problems or considering upgrading or replacing your network hardware, you may want to get your cabling professionally tested to make sure it meets the standards required for smooth performance!

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If you’d like any more information on cabling, cable testing, networking or anything else IT-related, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us, we’ll be happy to help!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted in: It 4 business, Tips n Tricks Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
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Geek Guru Software Support

Posted on September 30th, 2013 by Emily

 

If you’re interested in a new software package or suite, or are looking for some software to suit a specific task and don’t really know where to begin, we’re here to help!

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With our recent posts on Office 2013 and Office 365, we hope we’ve been able to provide some useful information on how to choose the best package for you,

At Geek Guru we pride ourselves on our friendly customer service. Anything that you’d like to know about any IT related subject, we’re here to help – including advice about software for different purposes.

Sometimes you may feel like it would be good if you had some software that could automate tasks, software that’s more suitable for your business or just something that can help you be more productive – in any such case, feel free to get in contact with us and we’ll do some looking around for you, and endeavour to find the most suitable software for your needs.

As part of our support packages, we can also help you to purchase and install your software if necessary. This means you’ll have nothing to worry about as we’ll do it all for you, and make sure it’s all set up and working correctly. If you purchase your software through us, we’ll make sure you have the correct amount or type of licenses required for your company or organisation, so you don’t waste some of your budget by purchasing more than you may need.

If you’ve recently purchased some software and need some advice about its functions, general usage, or how to get it to perform specific tasks, we may also be able to help. From assisting you ourselves with our wide range of experience and knowledge, to finding free online resources or paid training courses for you and your team, just let us know and we’ll do what we can to help out.

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If you’d like any further information on any kind of software, hardware or anything else IT-related at all, get in touch with us, the Geek Gurus are always on hand and happy to help!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted in: Tips n Tricks Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
sunshine

IT Tips - Avoiding Overheating Issues

Posted on July 17th, 2013 by Emily

 

At the moment we seem to be going through something of a heatwave, and while there’s many different opinions about how great or awful it is for us, excess heat always spells trouble for IT equipment.

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The symptoms of overheating IT are many, and sometimes confused with other problems. It can happen if there’s poor ventilation around the unit, or if the vents become clogged, or even if a device is left in direct sunlight.

Even one of our engineers had problems recently when his iPhone popped up an error message telling him he could not operate the unit until it’d cooled down. Needless to say, he switched it off and put it in a cool place and it was soon working again, but in a world where technology is ever decreasing in size, heat becomes more of a problem. It’s also something that very few people will consider when they’re experiencing problems with IT. Overheating can cause machines to slow to a crawl, cause problems with monitors, or even cause equipment to break completely or temporarily stop functioning. Most IT equipment available has inbuilt safety mechanisms to turn off the device or machine if it becomes too hot, and will most often not turn on again until it reaches a safe temperature or until a certain amount of time has passed.

If you want to prevent your IT equipment from being damaged by heat, here’s a few important things to remember:

  •  Leave space around any IT equipment. This allows air to circulate more freely.
  • Clean off any dust or dirt that accumulates around the outside. This is best done with a dry cloth, or with specially designed computer-friendly wipes. DO NOT blow directly into the equipment, or do anything to allow moisture to enter the unit.
  • Keep IT equipment out of direct sunlight. This is especially important for smartphones, tablets and laptops.
  • Have your equipment serviced regularly. Just like other machinery, it gathers dust and dirt and needs to be cleaned to function correctly.
  • Don’t put IT in an area where there’s lots of dust or debris generated. Special equipment is required for working under these conditions.
  • Don’t put IT equipment near to heat sources (eg. heaters or radiators).
  • Don’t block any ventilation holes on your devices or equipment.
  • Get a special server cabinet for your servers. These also help to keep things organised, secure and reduce noise levels.
  • Ensure equipment is turned off when it is not needed.
  • Use any provided software tools to monitor temperatures.

 

If you suspect a device is overheating, the best thing to do (unless it’s a server!) is to turn it off and leave it to cool down. If you’re in any doubt, get in contact with an IT professional.

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Geek Guru provide all-round IT advice and support. If you’re worried about heat problems, have questions or need anything else IT – related, be sure to get in contact with us and we’ll do what we can to help you. Our support is second to none!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk and one of our engineers will be happy to help.

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Posted in: It 4 business, Tips n Tricks Tagged , , , , , , , ,
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IT Tips & Tricks - Shortcuts for Success!

Posted on July 15th, 2013 by Emily

 

After our previous post on some of the new Windows 8 shortcuts, we discovered that not as many people as we thought were aware of shortcut keys. They can speed up your workflow tremendously! If you want to learn more, read on…

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The use of shortcut keys isn’t a new thing – it’s been around for decades, and it was the way commands were given to software before the advent of the mouse. However, fewer people than you may think actually know and use them. So here’s a small list of the shortcuts we often find ourselves using in day to day tasks, and a small description of what they do.

Most operating systems have a temporary storage area called the clipboard. Copied and cut things go to this temporary storage area when you use these kinds of commands. This allows you to cut or copy from one document or program and paste into another, if the file type is supported.

  • Ctrl + C – Copy – Copies whatever you have selected into the clipboard area.
  • Ctrl + X – Cut – This takes whatever you have selected and cuts it out, storing it in the clipboard area.
  • Ctrl + V – Paste – This pastes whatever you have copied or cut.
  • Ctrl + Z – Undo – This handy little command takes you back a step, undeleting or undoing the last change you made. Many software packages support multiple undo steps, so you can undo several changes made.
  • Ctrl + S – Save – This saves the current document. If you haven’t yet named your document, it will bring up the “Save As…” dialog for you to save your file.
  • Ctrl + P – Print – This prints directly using the default settings. In some software, it will bring up the “Print” dialog.
  • Alt + Tab – Cycle through the windows you have open. Hold down alt and press it several times to keep going through the list. Once you see what you want, just release the buttons. Useful if you have many windows open at once.
  • Alt + F4 – Closes the current program.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Delete – This interrupts whatever the system is doing and brings up a menu. Useful if some of your software has crashed and your computer has stopped responding.
  • Windows Key + D – Shows the desktop. Useful if you have a lot of programs open and quickly need access to the desktop.
  • Windows Key + L – Lock the computer (for example if you need to go away from your desk).

So that’s our little list, feel free to print it out and keep it handy. Keep a lookout for future posts where we’ll include some of the lesser known shortcuts to help increase your productivity even more.

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At Geek Guru we offer worry-free, efficient IT services, and we like to help people get the most out of their IT. If you want to find out more, call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted in: Tips n Tricks Tagged , , , , ,
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Windows 8 - Keyboard Shortcuts

Posted on July 05th, 2013 by Emily

 

Many people know there’s a few standard keyboard shortcuts for most applications out there. Ctrl+Z is Undo, Ctrl+C is Copy, Ctrl+V is Paste, Ctrl+P is Print, and so on. These are not a new invention, and have been around since Windows 95, and some since Windows 3.1. But did you know those kinds of shortcuts also exist inside Windows itself and not just in software like Word and Outlook?

With Windows 8, Microsoft added in some new functionality to the Windows key on the keyboard. Now you can use it in combination with letters or numbers in order to speed up regular tasks.

Here’s a few shortcuts added in Windows 8 we think are most useful:

(The “Charm” system is the term Microsoft uses for its inbuilt menus for Windows 8, that slide in from the sides of the screen and give you access to settings and controls.)

  • Windows + C – Brings up the basic Charms menu, as you would get if you moved your mouse to the top right corner of the screen.
  • Windows + I – This brings up the Charm for Settings to save you going through the Start Screen.
  • Windows + D – Shows the desktop. Pressing it again takes you back to whatever you were doing before.
  • Windows + X – Brings up an advanced menu, providing quick access to things like Task Manager and Control Panel.
  • Windows + Start typing – This will search for apps installed on your computer that match your input. The results will appear on the left. Quick way to find a program without searching through menus, if you know its name. This isn’t actually new to Windows 8 either!
  • Windows + R – Brings up the Run dialog.
  • Windows + P – User-friendly display controls for multiple monitors.
  • Windows + F – Search your Files.
  • Windows + Q – Brings up the Apps screen.
  • Windows + 1-0 – Shortcut to open whatever apps you have pinned to the taskbar. For example, if Internet Explorer is the first pinned app on your taskbar, Windows + 1 will open it.

 

That’s just a small amount of the available shortcuts, but they’re the new ones we find ourselves using the most.  Why use these instead of just using the mouse? Well, while they often take a while to get used to, once you do, you’ll find yourself using them without even noticing, and they make tasks faster.

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We’re in the business of making people’s IT work for them faster and more efficiently, to produce better results!
 

If you’re interested in what could offer your business, give us a call on 0845 234 0580 or send us an email at info@geek-guru.co.uk and one of our friendly team will be happy to help.

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Tip - Windows 8 - Outlook vs Mail App

Posted on November 07th, 2012 by Emily

Something built-in to Windows 8 that we haven’t seen in quite this way before is the Mail app. Aimed at home and personal users , it seems so much more useful than previous similar apps such as Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail . If you’re like us, you’ve probably got a number of different email accounts that you use for various different things – perhaps one for personal emails, one for your work email, maybe even a separate email for hobbies and clubs. Now, you can get them all in one place, and rather easily, with the Windows 8 Mail app. Just add each of your accounts, and you’re set up to get all of your mail right on your start screen.
For businesses or just for those who like a little more freedom to configure and troubleshoot their email client, a new version of Outlook is being released with Office 2013. For office / business use, Outlook continues to be the best option, as it’s far more configurable, integrates perfectly with other Office applications, and allows access to many advanced settings that the Mail App does not.
But if you’re looking for something to save you a little time when you’re at home, the Windows 8 Mail App is easy to set up and does the job very well.

Posted in: Tips n Tricks

Tip - Windows 8 - Lock Screen

Posted on November 05th, 2012 by Emily

Unlike other Windows lock screens, the Windows 8 one doesn’t give you any hints or info about what you should do. And when you first launch into Windows 8, the lock screen is all you’re confronted with.
Just press the spacebar or scroll the mouse wheel, or swipe the screen upward as you would to unlock a smartphone if you’re using a tablet pc or touchscreen. This will prompt you to enter the details you chose during installation, and allow you to log in to Windows.

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Tip - Windows 8 - Charm Bar

Posted on November 02nd, 2012 by Tim

Another feature new to Windows 8 is the bar that appears if you hover over the right hand side of the screen while running Windows 8 Apps. Microsoft has affectionately named this bar the “Charm Bar”, and it has a range of functions, which do not change between apps. This means, if you want to change a setting, or share something via social media, perform a search or even jump back to the start screen, you’ll always know where this option is, no matter what app you’re using. This feature does not function for apps run in Desktop mode – instead, opening the Charm bar there will allow you change pc settings, personalise your desktop, search your computer, and other functions that were previously accessible through the start menu.

Posted in: Tips n Tricks

Tip - Windows 8 - Where’s my start menu?

Posted on October 30th, 2012 by Tim

One of the most talked-about changes in Windows 8 is the removal of the Start Menu and its button on the taskbar. It’s been replaced with a tiled start screen – making it more touchscreen friendly and making the design more uniform. You can run Windows 8 Native apps on the start screen in fullscreen mode, using all of W8’s new features, or switch back to the desktop mode and its old taskbar-like pinned apps menu for non-native apps. It’s also possible to get your old start menu back if you’re really missing it that badly, through apps such as StarDock’s Start8 or Lee-Soft’s ViStart.

Posted in: Tips n Tricks