Computer Maintenance

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Computer Maintenance

A Point of sale system or Point of Failure system

POS SOFTWARE

What are you going to have this year "A Point of sale system" or a "Point of Failure system". 

 

Remember something like this.

 

It would have cost a lot in goodwill as well as money.

Now, it is essential to check that all the equipment you propose to use over the Christmas period is working? This is particularly true of some of the old POS machines that people bring out of the cupboard at present. Please check them to make sure it all works? Furthermore, check the cables. Equally important that your Internet connections are where you need it? I suggest you try it all out now.

Have you tested all your system, now before Christmas day hits? 

How much does someone want to bet with me that several of our clients, on the busiest days of the years, when computer engineers, if you can get them even on double and triple time, will be called out to fix problems that should have been checked and fixed now!

You want anything working over the coming season. 

 

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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

POS SOFTWARE

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

POS SOFTWARE

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

POS SOFTWARE

 

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

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

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

POS SOFTWARE

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"

POS SOFTWARE

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

POS SOFTWARE

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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Ransonware again

POS SOFTWARE

Ransomware is back again.

Here’s the scary part

In a minute, this is what you can get it if you are not careful. 

 

In theory.

What happens is once you accidentally run Ransomware software, it locks you at of your information and will not let you access your information unless you pay the Ransomware people. I say in theory as often in our experience, all of your information has been deleted and is unrecoverable by the ransomware. It is a scam that they are selling that your files can be recovered so that you will pay the ransom. There is no longer honour amongst thieves. 

So what’s the answer?

There is only one solution and that is to back up all your information to a secure, offsite location. If you have a backup, we can often within hours send you at a computer with our point of sale software on it and if your backup is available to have you up and running. This we have done many times. 

What else can I do?

Anything your computer has access too, the ransomware also has. These backups should be tested regularly to ensure that they are useful.

You may consider putting on your computer either one of these two free ransomware detectors:

1. Bit Defender anti-Ransomware
2. Malwarebytes anti-ransomware

They may help.

An updated antivirus program may help too.

If you get an attack

If you do not have a backup or you want to try and fix it first, then the site we recommend is here.

If so, I would recommend using their Crypto Sheriff to define the type of ransomware affecting your device. This program may tell you how you stand. 

After you are finished, I would suggest reporting it, it will probably do nothing, but it may help.

We as a matter of course, we never recommend paying both because most of the time it does not help and also because by paying people are encouraging these thieves to keep doing it and we do report all the attacks that we are involved in. Again it may help.

The moral of this story?

Please have backups.

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