Computer Maintenance

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Computer Maintenance

Your scanners not reading correctly?

POS SOFTWARE

 

The common problem is that a scanner is suddenly not reading the barcodes at all well and now requires a few attempts to work.

The first thing I would try is to clean the scanner' lens. Scanners today sometimes need cleaning The leading cause is generally people touching the lens so putting fingerprints and dirt on the glass. If so, this problem is easy to fix.

Step 1: Unplug the scanner from everything.

Step 2: Use a wipe sold for optical glasses to wipe the scanner's lens. I do not recommend any standard glass cleaning solution as these often contain chemicals that can damage the lens, e.g. acetone. 

Step 3: Now use a dry cloth for spectacles to dry the lens and remove any dirt.

Some scanners can be pulled apart to be cleaned. I do not recommend that you do this. You may damage the unit, which is the last thing you want to do.

If you feel the lens need more cleaning then this, then watch this video.

Now test your scanner.

 

 

 

 

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Latest microsoft update

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Ever since last month when Microsoft began pushing out its latest upgrade, things aren’t going so well. Our clients reported a variety of significant and obscure errors.

As always everyone is often afraid to fix the problem as who knows what other problems you can make when fixing it. Quite a few users of ours got the blue screen when someone attempted to fix it. 

I tell you what was annoying about this to us. Although Microsoft confirmed the problem was in the upgrade, Microsoft was getting people to upgrade even though it continued to cause problems. 

We would have pulled the plug on these updates until it was bedded it down.

Some problems remain, for example, some users are reporting a sudden freeze that lasts a couple of seconds, and then the computer restarts automatically. On a server, that it is pretty bad.

There also appears that once someone fixes up the immediate problem, other problems arise. We have had people after Microsoft fix it, report that they cannot use many of the functions they require.

As such, after this bad experience, we will soon be putting together an information sheet once Microsoft bed down their new feature specially designed to mitigate faulty updates like this. What it will allow is a user to postpone Windows updates so that other users can test them first. Then if it does go wrong, to enable a user to roll back faulty updates. This will help with this problem not totally but reduce it by about 80%.

This update has been a real mess, and Microsoft has done here little to inspire confidence with them.

If you want to know where we are at click here.

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Microsoft to fix current update problems

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UPDATE!  

The latest Microsoft update has been a nightmare. I estimate that over a thousand of our client's point of sale computers were affected.

Now finally, we have been advised that Microsoft Support are able to assist you if you have any problems with the update.

Microsoft can be contacted on 13 20 58

The options to get through to technical support are as follows:  

  • Press Option 1 Consumer
  • Press Option 1 Technical
  • Press Option 2 Windows

You will need to confirm first that your Windows is activated and that your license is valid to proceed with Microsoft support. Then the Microsoft operator will then be able to take you through the fixes.

 

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You need to be rebooted your computers at least weekly

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Many of you never switch off your main computer. If so this post is for you.

This is not good practice. What happens is that many of the updates and patches, the computer requires a reboot to complete. If this reboot does not occur weird things happen.

The other problem is memory leaks. What is happening here is that you are building up useless data, chunks, software, etc. in memory. This will slow down the computer and in the worse case can cause parts of the computer to fail e.g. one of your printers no-longer work.

As such it is recommended that all computers, get a restart once a week. 

 

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Urgent XP update

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Now what has happened that is interesting, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP five years ago when Tony Abbott was Prime Minister, but occasionally if it is super urgent they will release a patch. So this supercritical patch is available here for Windows XP. Anyone running something later than Windows 7 or later does not need to worry about it as 

This patch is considered very important by Microsoft. If you want to read the technical reasons for this patch, it is here.

What everyone wondering is what is going on as Microsoft like everyone else, including us, uses automatic updates. No-one runs updates manually for 20 years, yet this update is manual. 

Our advice to those who are running Windows XP on a computer is to run it without access to the internet and to be extremely careful what they put on it.  We think its best that they put nothing on it because it is incredibly vulnerable to viruses.

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Speed and antivirus software

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Anti virus software

Antivirus software does slow down your point of sale system, fortunately, there are a few things you can do.

The problem

Antivirus software are made to work all the time in the background where they do take up processing power, so slowing you down. Sometimes they slow down a system so much that the computer is unusable and there is no pattern to it, on some computers some software runs fast and on others it runs slow.

Firstly we do not recommend any antivirus software that is not reviewed on these two sites av-comparatives and av-test we would recommend that you only use these antivirus software packages. As there is a lot there, it is hardly much of a limitation.  

The first point to do is to test whether it is the antivirus software that is slowing you down as there are many other causes for slow speed. Try turning off the antivirus software for a while and see what speeds you are getting. Just be careful while the antivirus software is not running.

If you are sure its the antivirus software, you may want to try this 

) Try a different antivirus software, in my experience, this is the quickest and easiest, as a rule, Avast and Microsoft Defender are generally the fastest on slow machines. If you are running XP, please do not use Microsoft Defender. You will find large variations in speed on different computers so you will need to find the software you are comfortable with, that runs fast.

) Do not run more than one antivirus software at any time.  

) Try and limit as much as possible running your antivirus software at night when you are not using it.

) Most antivirus software have settings that are worth going through, you may need to go through these settings.  Okay, you may reduce your security a little but at least you can work on your computer. Unfortunately, they are all different so we cannot go through them here in detail.

) If all fails, ask the antivirus company, most have forums where the public can ask questions and they all have a support team.

 

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Today is "Clean Out Your Computer Day"

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It is a fun holiday but it has a real and necessary purpose.

Like much else mechanical, dirt, smoke, dust and pet hair can damage your computer. In a computer generally, the problem is two-fold

1) These products settle on your computer components and as they are an insulator act as a blanket and making the computer run hotter then it is designed to run. What this does is reduce its life expectancy and cause parts of your computer like the memory, the processor and the power supply to misbehaviour or stop working. I have seen several short circuits of delicate electrical components caused by dust too generally in the CD and DVDs. 

As a rule, try to put a computer in a clean location, near a fireplace, where your dog sits on, dusty place, etc is not suggested.

In an effort to overcome the heat what the computer does is push the fan to run faster which can cause the fan to break from overuse which brings us to the second problem

2) The computer has several moving parts and vents mainly in the ventilation system. The dust, hair etc can reduce the ventilation system efficiency. If enough cold air cannot come in then the computer is going to run hot. If they jam the fan they can break it too.

As a rule, try to put a computer in a spot where its air vent has access to cold airflow. Next to heating vent is not suggested.

Now, what can you do about the dust already in the computer?

If you have seen the movie Zoolander and this is you on the computer mechanics, now stop reading and ask someone else to help out.

Here is a video that I do suggest the person cleaning your computer views first and remember there is a good reason why this holiday was set up on a Monday if something goes wrong on a weekday you can get professional help if something goes really wrong.

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Importance of cleaning your keyboard

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Cleaning a keyboard

The keyboard of a point of sale system in a shop is generally in a dirty environment and shared with many people. People will often work the keyboard while eating and some may have used it after blowing their noses. As food build up inside the keyboard, it makes an excellent environment for germs to spread.  So the odds are that it is incredibly dirty and full of bugs. So regularly I suggest that you give it a clean.

This is how I do it.

Before I start to clean the keyboard, I turn off the computer. I find this quicker then disconnecting the keyboard. 

On the keyboard, I find a sticky note is great for running down the tracks to pick up the loose debris that collects there as it sticks to the glue. So keyboards need a few sticky notes. Sometimes a toothpick is handy here for bigger stuff. Then I use a cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol to get into these tracks too. Now I may need another sticky note to run through again.

Now I use a cloth with only a touch of the rubbing alcohol and wipe the surface. If a spot does not go away, the toothpick is useful to remove the spot too.

Now wipe with a dry cloth. Do not leave the keyboard moist. 

Cleaning a computer keyboard is not just about looking good but also about good personal hygiene 

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Have hackers stolen your email details?

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Very soon a search engine of hacks will pass 4 billion emails mark of addresses that are hacked email. If you think that the world wide web has about 3.2 users that means about one and a bit email addresses per user. As you can see the hacked emails listed is now 3.9 billion.

 

 

With the recent hack of the Swedish goverment will certainly add another few million to the list as it looks like almost everyone in Sweden accounts were hacked.

To test to see if you are hacked go to Haveibeenpwned.com, enter your and some of your closest friends and relatives e-mail address. Then click the “pwned?” button to the right. Your email will be checked to see if it is on the list. Check as many as you want, then notify them if they have been hacked. As a tip make sure that they do something,

If it says an email account has been hacked, change the password of the site immediately. Here are some passwords to avoid.

Warning a data breach

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Warning its just been announced that a website linked to Tower systems has been hacked again. Although its annouced the problem has been fixed on the website, if you have or had an account on their website, I strongly suggest that you review your passwords there. The question you need to ask yourself now is have you used these details on other sites? If so, it is possible that a hacker now has your account name and password on these websites. This information is the main reason for such website hacks as the average person, has about five passwords to make it easy for them to remember. A skilled hacker knows this sh they will immediately test this information on such sites as paypal, Amazon, Coles, common web based email and others. If they get in; it can be a big problem.

Although I doubt that this site will register the data breach formally, as many don't, still one site, I do recommend you go to, to test your email, and your common account login is here.

Enter in your common usernames and email accounts and see if anything has come up. Now register yourself to get warning if something comes up.


Now if you want to see for yourself hacking being done in real-time, a large computer company Norse which owns throughout the world thousands of data centres monitors many of the hacking attacks that come into its system, by location, severity and types. As numbers, it is not particularly interesting but what they have done is turned it into a memorising animated coloured shooting arrows that cross a map of the world. You can get a feel of just how big this hacking is right now. It's a war and its simply amazing to watch. Just remember this is only the information from one company; you can multiplied it by a million times more. Hacking is a multi billion dollar industry today. You can see attacks from one country to another.
 


Check it out at this site

http://map.norsecorp.com/#/

To see it for yourself, you will be amazed.