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What steps San Diego techs perform for virus removal support

May 19th, 2015No Comments

Virus removal support can be tricky at times but our locals have a secret sauce that tends to work more than half the time.   You can solve the situation yourself if you are able to follow along.  Two things before you start:

  1. Backup as a CYA measure to an external hard drive using something like Drive Image XML
  2. Place all hyperlinked files below on a flash key if possible. The compromised computer’s network connection may not work.
    Virus Support

    Virus Support

It should be smooth sailing from here on out.  Just follow the steps below that our tech’s follow.

  • Create a local (admin) account and set a password to it.
  • Run jrt.exe on the compromised profile
  • Reboot
  • Download Hitman Pro, set the email to your junk address, and quickscan. Recommend to user to purchase after removing malware.
  • Reboot
  • Download Malware Malbytes, run quickscan in local user account, disable realtime protection.
  • Reboot
  • Browse the web and seeing if any popups come up. Check their virus protection. Remove crappy/licensed expired virus protection products like McAffee or Norton.
  • Run Microsoft Security Essentials if on 7 and they don’t have protection. It’s built into 8. It works fine if you have hitman pro working with it.
  • Save the showmypc.com to the desktop and tell them what it does for future remote support
  • **when things are bad** Perform malware malbytes in safe mode full scan and bounce with a LMI agent on or take the computer with you. This will take a while.

***Read this article for getting into Safe Mode in Windows 7 and 8.1***

Understanding Basic Firewall Setup

Mar 2nd, 2015No Comments

WAN rules on even a basic firewall setup can become quite cumbersome but it is essential for enabling outside accessibility to devices on your network.  This post looks at enabling DVRs console interface as our stereotypical device from the firewall to the outside world known as the internet.

It is good to get familiar with various network ports and their typical rules; and what application (DVR, FTP, Web, and eMail) services actually use them.  By default, there should be an ANY outbound rule on the firewall in a very small business network.  Inbound on the other hand should be a lot more limited in scope.  Basically, by default you should block incoming traffic to any device.  You don’t want a lot of devices accessible from the outside.  Locking down by specific ports is a lot more secure but tedious.    Port forwarding within the local LAN segment introduce its own problems when hacked.  Placing computers in the DMZ with its own subnet ensures that traffic won’t easily move through the internal network because they are separated.  We created a custom port service table below that applies to popular ports for DVR accessibility.  However, this interface on a Netgear is profoundly different than something like a Sonicwall.  So mastery of this topic becomes a little convoluted jumping from one firewall to the next especially if the GUI is unintuitive or backwards in logic.  Look no further at the number of items that need to be configured on the Sonicwall or Netgear devices below.

 

Sonicwall Access RulesSonicwall Access RulesSonicwall NAT PolicySonicwall

services

 

 

 

More secure rules can be applied to specific devices on the DMZ but not used in very basic networks.  Typically, the basic home office network allows all ports of the device to be exposed when inserted into the DMZ and that device is not on a separate segment.  This exposes all other devices on the network to being hacked as well.

 

dmz

The take away….  Individuals configuring firewall should know what they are doing before poking holes in your firewall.  The risks and liability may be too big for a novice to be configuring.  It always helpful to back up the configuration of the firewall to proceeding and or having another proven firewall to avoid significant delays with a defective or poorly configured firewall.  Contact ComputerAntics today!

How to Recover a HP Desktop Computer from a Failed Hard Drive

Oct 22nd, 2014No Comments

HP Support

Step By Failed Hard Drive Directions

    • Go to the HP Support website
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter the machine’s model number
    • Select the best matching product
    • Confirm your OS.  This is typically Windows 7 64 bit OS and hit next,
    • Scroll down to “order recovery media” and select the appropriate kit
    • Finally, enter the serial number and payment information
    • The delivery usually takes 5 – 10 business days.
    • Select a replacement hard drive to have delivered as well from Amazon.  Below is the default basic choice.
    • Contact your favorite service technician to have it installed or do it yourself.  Replacing your failed hard drive is pretty straight forward if you have basic hardware experience.

Break down of Microsoft Office Suites

Sep 19th, 2014No Comments

This is a pretty complete view of Microsoft’s Office suite of offerings for the Mac, PC, and the cloud.  Please save your keys and note where you downloaded or stored your CD.

 

Office 2013 Student Edition (No Outlook)
***
One license, not three like the older edition.  Newer version is slow and clunky

Office 2010 Student Edition Family Pack (No Outlook)
*** Three licenses, better than office 2013

Office 2007 Student Edition (No Outlook)
***Three licenses, pretty old but good.  Includes tool for viewing patient docs in eCW easily

Office 2013 Home and Business (includes Outlook)
***One license, clunky and slow

Office 2010 Home and Business (Includes Outlook)
***Two licenses

Office 2011 Home and Business Mac Edition (includes Outlook)
***Yes, 2011 is the latest and last edition

 

Office 365 Personal Edition (includes Outlook)
***competitor to Google Docs, SaaS or cloud based app

The Mac Support quick guide to optimization, backups, and restores

Sep 4th, 2014No Comments

 

Here are some Mac support tips and tricks to save from total data loss and perhaps revive a machine that may be considered once dead.

Apple backup to Time Capsule

Apple backup to Time Capsule

 

Backup

Time Machine runs locally whether it’s on an external hard drive or Time Capsule.  To run locally you must have a compatible external hard drive or it the program will reformat accordingly.   To access this feature, select the Time Machine icon on the desktop to select the disk to backup to.

Time Machine is great for an easy backup of not only your data but all programs installed on the machine.  However, Time Machine may capture data that could be problematic to the Apple Operating System.  Consider backing up individual folders that are important to you.  These folders will most likely include the Desktop, Documents, iTunes, Pictures, and Movies.  The iTunes library, Pictures library, and Movies Library are the critical folders that require backing up unless tiff or jpg files are hanging outside the Pictures folder.

 

Startup Hot Key Combinations for Intel-based Macs

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1533

 You can boot your Mac from a disk in the CD / DVD drive by inserting the disk into the drive and on system boot holding down the C key. Remember that booting from a CD or DVD is significantly slower than booting from a hard disk, so don’t worry if things are taking longer than usual to startup, it’s simply just slower to read from a spinning disc than the hard d

If you want to reinstall Mac OS X from a DVD reinstall disc or run Disk Utility from a disc on your main boot drive, you’ll need to do use this boot disc method. Of course, the CD or DVD must be bootable to begin with, whether that’s because it shipped with the Mac as a restore disc, or because you made your own boot DVD, either will work.

Something to keep in mind is that newer Macs don’t have SuperDrives built-in at all, and instead rely on Recovery partitions or Internet Recovery. Anything that shipped with OS X 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, will use one of these newer recovery methods, though they can continue to boot from a DVD if they have a SuperDrive or a DVD is attached through an external reader. Additionally, newer Mac models can boot from USB devices too, including external hard drives or USB flash drives.

Maintenance and Optimization Tools

Reset NVRAM

Command Option P R (should hear two chimes before letting go keys)

http://guides.macrumors.com/Freeing_Up_Hard_Disk_Space#Useful_Cleaning_Applications

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/11582/onyx

http://www.macworld.com/article/2047747/take-control-of-startup-and-login-items.html

Other utilities such as Disk Doctor can be found through the “App Store”

How to run Disk Repair (Apple ID Required)

-Disk Repair should run from the Apple System CD for best results.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4471030?searchText=volume%20macintosh%20hd%20corrupt%20needs%20repaired

 

Outlook 2011

This was the last version of Outlook produced on the Mac for users clinging on to Outlook.  It tends to slow down.  Here’s a quick tip link for speeding the app up.
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/mac-outlook-help/manage-identities-HA102928332.aspx

Free Virus Protection

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/15850/clamxav

http://www.macworld.com/article/2152047/advice-from-an-apple-tech-clamxav-is-a-valuable-troubleshooting-tool.html

http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac-home-edition.aspx

Malware

Hold down “option” key when in “go” section.  Find user library to clear malware.  Go to preferences under Safari to hide extensions that may cause malware issues too.

Free Remote Support Tools

www.showmypc.com

http://join.me

 

Upgrades

RAM doesn’t vary that much if you find out what year and screen size through the about section of the Mac OS.   Once you discover the settings, you can Google query “macbook pro 15″ 2011 ram amazon” or whatever your specs are.  Make sure you reset the NVRAM once a RAM upgrade is complete.  I will try to build out the Amazon link below as I upgrade more Macs.  Here is the list so far.

Small Busines Backup and offsite Redundancy

Sep 2nd, 2014No Comments
Small Business Backup

Small Business Backup

Plenty of small businesses do not need significant investment in file storage technology to achieve their goals.  They have data in the form of word, excel, PSTs, PDF, QDF, and maybe some multimedia.   The alternative is backing up to another PC.  This is fine but there’s typically no redundancy and it’s not exactly Mac friendly.

A completely agnostic device that is easy to use and highly recommended by many is made by Synology.  They come in various flavors but the two to be focused on for most individuals needs are the the DS214 and DS213J

 


Live Demo

https://www.synology.com/en-us/dsm/live_demo

How to Backup

https://www.synology.com/en-us/knowledgebase/tutorials/461

Fun Extras

http://setaoffice.com/2011/06/25/share-videos-from-your-synology-diskstation-and-watch-them-on-your-android-phone/

External Hard Drives Support that work for both Mac and PC

May 13th, 2014No Comments

File systems from both Apple and Microsoft are pretty incompatible with each other.  Typically, the two Operating External Hard for Mac and PCSystems only jive when a thumb drive is involved.   The reason for this is the file system format of the thumb drive is FAT32.   This file format does not have any read and write compatibility issues with both OS and therefore files can be read, modified, and deleted from either computer.

Cloud computing software like DropBox makes this less of an issue.  DropBox is completely agnostic and therefore could care less what device is doing the reading and writing.  However, there are times when the cloud is not an option and you need gull control of your files.  Thumb drives are typically fine but have drive size limitations.

Perhaps, a common scenario that plays out is when you want to copy your data off an old mac or PC and you like to purchase an external drive that plays nice with both Operating Systems.  A standard external hard drive either comes with Microsoft’s NTFS or  Apple’s HFS.  You will need to reformat these drives for either Tuxera NTFS or FAT32 extended.

It is preferred you go Tuxera NTFS for the reliability but it costs $30.  FAT32 extended can be setup on a windows by default and will get the job done but long term reliability is the chief complaint.  Regardless what path you choose, old windows or mac data can now accessible from whatever device you are currently using with Tuxera NTFS.

For large amounts of data that need to be backed up and or cloned it is extremely advisable to use Bombich Carbon Copy Cloner when Apple’s Time Machine does not meet your needs.  The best situation I’ve used it in was when a drive is on the verge of completely failing, contains I/O errors, and needs its data copied off the old drive.  It is capable of skipping over the errors and their messages.   This will give you a pretty solid copy on your backup external hard drive.

 

*PLEASE NOTE – Use an Aluratek docking Drive for your old hard and you can read the data on a PC with HFS Explorer

Apple Airport Express support and functionality in PC environment

May 13th, 2014No Comments

We all know the Apple ecosystem is a beautiful thing to watch in action in an all Apple environment but here is what we learned when playing with an Airport Express in everything but an Apple environment.   Airport Express

First, we struggled to understand that certain routers and access point do not play nice with Apple products.  Specifically, we wanted Apple Airplay to work throughout the network and found the following router and access point is completely compatible vs the hooptie ATT router or some cheap AP.

http://www.computerantics.com/required-network-items-setup-guide

Second, it was necessary to configure the airport express once we had the right network products in place.  This task required a download of the application to your computer or use of your iPhone.

http://support.apple.com/downloads/#airport

Third, plugging in the Ethernet cable from your router or switch to the Airport Express requires the cable to be inserted into the port furthest from the power.   Typically, this would be known as the LAN port but Apple labeled with a symbol that makes no sense to the layman.

Fourth, find bridge mode once you have the airport utility up and running under Internet Connection, Connection Sharing and manually assign an IP.   This allows you to plug in:

  • Head jack to stereo.  Thus creating music from your iPhone, PC, and Mac. AKA Airplay.
  • USB to Printer.  Hookup an old school printer and print from anywhere in the network environment.

Alternatively, you can tweak this base configuration to extend your existing WiFi wirelessly to a location where you need to extend your local area network for more Airplay locations.

Airport Express can also be used as a very basic router.  It’s advisable you choose the best device for the role of router in your network.  You can use any one of the routers to be the DHCP/NAT server as long as the other devices are setup in bridge mode.  You will usually want to choose the router with the greatest serving capacity to be your DHCP/NAT server. An AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule’s network is limited to serving up to 50 users, while an AirPort Express is limited to serving up to 10.  As mentioned before, we prefer Netgear for their “Readyshare” capability as my home office router of choice.

 

 

*Refer to the link below for the recommended router and access point.

http://www.computerantics.com/required-network-items-setup-guide

 

Main BaseStation with additional Access Points

You have the ability to manage multiple Access Point under one SSID if they are set to bridge mode.   Please review the link for further detail

 

Things you should know when wiping, replacing, and or upgrading your hard drive on a Mac.

Apr 28th, 2014No Comments

Mac OS 10.6.3Upgrading your hard drive can be fun or a complete disaster.  Here are some tips if you decide to be adventurous.

 

1)   Why are you wiping?  Is your computer slow?  Try emptying your trash can or installing free virus protection to optimize your computer.

 

2)  You can’t do the upgrade with the CDs that came with the computer.  The last DVD version Apple issue tothe public was Mac OS X Snow Leopard – 10.6.3.  That CD comes in handy for all sorts of troubleshooting and repairing situations.  Go to the Apple Store Genius Bar for a network reformat if you are unable to obtain the Snow Leopard media.

2)      You need enough disk space (10%) on the current hard drive (startup disk) to perform an “export” of data from say something like Outlook or other methods of backup.  When exporting that data, make sure it’s in a file format like FAT32 that Apple can place data on.  Other alternate data backup include network shares.

3)      Use https://getsupport.apple.com to figure out what model computer you have so utilize a resource like www.ifix.com to replace the hard drive.

4)      Finally, use the migration assistant http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4413 depending if your old hard drive is still useable to migrate your old hard drive’s data back over.  This cannot be done unless you have an external dock disk enclosure case.  I recommend purchasing the enclosure case for the old hard drive and a new Solid State Drive before proceeding.  *WARNING – Migration takes 3 hours.  Make sure you have power.  Disruption will cause corruption

 

Recommended larger SSD HD (Parts sold separately for desktop use)

Recommended smaller hard drive  (Parts sold with for desktop use)

Regular old 7200 RPM Hard Drive

External Disk Enclosure for old hard drive

 

 

The Perfect Small Office Network Setup

Mar 20th, 2014No Comments

 

The Perfect Office

A perfect office environment is always a work progress.  With that said, here are some items that may make your day a little more productive

 

Dual KVM

This may not garner much interest but if you’re like me and like to partition work from play then this may be the device for you.   This is highly rated (I stress that because there’s a lot of poor ones out there) device will take your dual monitor environment and incorporate two computers.  You will maintain one keyboard, mouse, and will be able to view extended or 2 displays for both computers by simply tapping the “ctrl” key.  Please Note:  Recommended Apple product discussed later.

 

Connectors

Compatibility will be a concern for a laptop docking station that contains VGA connector.  This inexpensive little cable will spare you in advance the inconvenience of having to track down the right cable for your situation.

 

 

Extra DVI cables for extra length

Sometimes the manufacturer short changes you on length of the cable.  Be aware of the length how far your PC is from your dual display KVM and adjust accordingly.

 

 

Dell laptop and docking station with dual DVI and display ports

This definitely doesn’t apply to the Mac users out there.  Heck, it doesn’t apply to most but this item is the way to go if you have a Dell Latitude and would like save time by “docking” your computer.

 

Monitors

Buy one.  Buy two.   Purchase two to get the complete effect of an extended monitor environment.  You will be amazed at the results, especially with this flat panel monitor.

Daisy Chain Capable Monitor

Not Daisy Chain Capable

24″


Additional Accessories




 

Cheap MFP

You get what you pay for but this is the best MFP of low end bunch.

 

Mac Stand and Docking Station

Yes, I haven’t forgotten about all those former Windows users.   The Mac has some cool options for ergonomic, docking, and display features.   Check out the Thunderbolt Display and its cable that allows for all sorts of intuitive connectivity.  It’s pretty cool.

Router  – Cable Modem – Access Point

For whatever reason this AP works way better than most access points on the market.  I can’t explain it.  Just go with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Switches – Managed and Unmanaged

Most small offices don’t a managed switch that segments traffic and provides QOS but with VoIP or SIP Phones becoming ever more popular, it may be advised to purchased a managed switch.

Managed

Un-Managed

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