remote-support

MYOB pain [Caution opinion ahead]

[Caution opinion ahead]

"Just hang on for 10 mins I'll do the wages after I install/upgrade my MYOB, shouldn't be too difficult right?"

...or perhaps not, for a fairly universal bit of software MYOB seems to be intent on making things as hard as possible and not playing by the established software rules, you really need to plan this out and talk to IT support if you're not confident to do it.

Things to consider:

MYOB Accountright or MYOB Accountright?

MYOB Accountright plus v19.10 is a completely different product to MYOB Accountright 2014.3

Whack-the-mole

MYOB seam be having a laugh at me, firstly they hide the data file is some obscure location on the "local" PC that doesn't follow the normal windows rules (not the server where all my other important data resides). Then they keep putting it back there after every upgrade and now they seem to be moving it around like a game of whack-the-mole, make sure your data is being backed up and will still be backed up after the upgrade.

How many versions of MYOB do I really need?

With the traditional install of MYOB each version upgrade just adds another on top I have customers that have 5 or 6 versions of MYOB installed, "No not those 5 MYOB icons this other special one here".

Sure we will let you install the upgrade even as a non admin [said with a straight face]

"Just enter the administrator credentials when prompted and everything will be fine!!". But the upgrade may not work properly and you have to manually uninstall two versions and reinstall one again. MYOB's solution make everyone an administrator. Welcome to 1999, what do you say malware, viruses ransomeware? don't worry you will be fine. [note that's humour you probably won't be fine]

No you don't need the server version, oh hang on you do:

With MYOB Accountright 2014 you could just install the software twice on 2 different machines and then share the data from one but since the Accountright 2014.1 or later upgrade you need the sever version on the computer that your sharing it from.

Now, I don't confess to be an MYOB expert so perhaps that's the problem but wow, really MYOB?

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Email newsletters starter

email newsletter NetRegistry have a good, simple article on their web site about email newsletters:

"Quick, easy and offering a good ROI, email newsletters are a great way to get in touch with customers. Follow some top design tips to make sure your newsletter hits the right inboxes, tempts readers and gets the clicks you're looking for...."

Go here to read the whole thing, if you need help or details let me know.

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Idle state antivirus scan (NOD32)

NOD32-Antivirus-Box-Shot

NOD32 antivirus version 7 can be set to do a virus scan when the PC is idle (and not on battery power), the previous versions were typically set to scan at a specific time such as 2am on Sunday night (or "on next start-up").

Inevitably "on next start-up" is when you need to use the PC, that's why your starting it up right? So this is why you may get the impression that its frustratingly slow "every time you come to use it" this is because its starting up, doing an antivirus update, windows update, app updates and also an antivirus scan all at the same time. No matter how powerful your PC that's a lot of hard drive activity all at once.

 

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Outlook 2013 "pop-out" replys

Outlook2013

When you reply to a message in Outlook 2010 or earlier, Outlook creates a new message in a free-floating window. When you hit Reply (or Reply to All) in Outlook 2013, your reply appears "inline," above the original message in the viewing pane on the right this works well on a touch screen tablet but on a normal desktop PC not so much.

Many of the message options available in Outlook 2010 aren't available in Outlook 2013, and it's easy to lose track of your reply when switching to other apps, unless you click Pop Out at the top. Pop Out makes Outlook revert to the 2010 behavior.

Solution: In Outlook 2013 Click File, Options, Mail. In the Replies and Forwards section, check the box marked "Open replies and forwards in a new window."

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Word 2013 reading view

Word 2013 reading view (or in most cases "prevent you from reading" view) isn't my favorite 2013 feature, turn it off using these steps:

In Word with a document open: click File, Options, and on the left make sure General is showing. Near the bottom, uncheck the box that says "Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in Reading View." Restart Word.

Word2013

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How to Guide - How to connect to Exchange/Office 365

See here:

How to Guide - How to connect to Exchange/Office 365

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MS Office (Outlook) 2013 issues

MS Office (Outlook) 2013 issues:

OK I have spent more than 10 hours of my evenings over the past few weeks trying to resolve issues with MS Office Outlook 2013 running under Windows 8 this was for the home and business version but I believe it's the same for all the new "click-to-run" versions. (Volume licence MSI install versions for business don't have this issue at all and I have been using Office 2013 since it was released without seeing this issue)

Basically the issue relates to accessing and modifying Outlook profiles (accessible via the "mail..." icon in the control panel). This is required in an instance where you have 2 x different mail accounts that you want to handle separately. Technically this issue manifests its self as rundll32.exe error.

I have replicated this issue 100% of the time under multiple (at least 5) different windows 8.1 PC's in different environments including clean installs. I have tested this using multiple different install disks (3) from multiple different suppliers. I have applied all the available patches and fixes suggested by both Microsoft and the IT community have failed 100% of the time.

I have gone round and round and round and round in forums and Microsoft support and I believe that this is a bug in the product that is unfixable by IT support such as myself. Now, this presents a bit of a problem as there is no Office (Outlook) 2010 available any longer.

What to do?

  • Firstly be aware of the issue understand that this will be a pain point and as such will require extra support time to address and is not fully resolvable at all for now, proper planning is required.
  • Secondly there is one and one only work around that I have established and that involves an Office 2013 MSI install disk (serial number not required).

What have I not tested:

  • OEM, Office 365 version or key-card based click to run downloadable versions, the products that I have tested are only H&B retail, however my understanding is that this applies to all click to run versions.
  • Office 2013 on windows 7 not specifically tested but I have observed this working, not sure what delivery methods these were installed by.
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New desktop PC specs

I get asked about a recommendation for a new PC a lot (obviously). These days its a lot easier than it used to be so here you go in one sentence, for a standard business PC:

Intel i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, Windows 8.1 (normally) (always pro), Office 2013 home and business (always retail version), NOD32 antivirus (never security suite), Acronis drive image home 2014 (this is your insurance), Small UPS (APC brand), 22" - 24" screen. Seriously consider a warranty upgrade to onsite.

Brand/suppler... well you will have to call me for that and it is significant.

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Running Windows with ‘std' rather than ‘admin' rights removes over 90 percent of the risk

administratorRunning Windows with ‘standard' rather than ‘admin' rights removes over 90 percent of the risk" according to a recent study. See here for the full detail or below is an excerpt (yes I know I have been going on about this for years):

Running Windows users with ‘standard' rather than ‘administrator' rights would have removed over 90 percent of the risk posed by critical vulnerabilities reported in Microsoft products last year, an analysis by privilege management firm Avecto has found.

The firm first looked at 333 vulnerabilities reported by Microsoft in 2013 across all products in its monthly Security bulletins, finding that 60 percent would have been mitigated by removing admin rights. Studying only the 147 rated as the most serious, the mitigation level reached an astonishing 92 percent.

Check to see if you are an administrator on your PC by right clicking on "My Computer" or "Computer" or "This PC" (depending on your Windows version) and chose manage. If you are able to access the Windows computer management console (with or without a warning popup) then you ARE an administrator and you might want to consider changing that (will require thoughtful setup). If you are prompted for a username and password then you aren't an administrator and are a lot safer from malicious software.

However even as a standard user all the usual safe practices apply.

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Use Snipping Tool to capture screen shots

Sometimes the easiest way to make a copy of something is to take a snapshot of your screen - this is what the free Microsoft snipping tool does. If you have windows 7 or 8 then you should have the snipping tool already.
Use it to save and share news stories, movie reviews, or images.

You can capture part or all of your PC screen, add notes, save the snip, or email it right from the Snipping Tool window anything that displays on your screen can be snipped.

Bring up or view the "source" for example a PDF, webpage or other content that you wish to "snip" on your screen and start the windows snipping tool. Within the tool click "new" then select the area that you want to snip and finally save as a jpg or png file so that you can add to your word document, email or wherever else you need it.

snipme


Sometimes the simple solution is the best! Want more details? Click here....

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Tips to Help Kick Your Habit of Multitasking(?)

An article by Dr. Susan Weinschenk in Psychology Today suggests that people who frequently switch tasks could see their productivity reduced by up to 40%. She goes on to list several reasons for limiting how often you switch between tasks during your work...

http://www.techvibes.com/blog/multitasking-hurtings-your-productivity-2014-01-31

Multitasking

 

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5 Reasons To Get Over The windows 8 Hype

5 Reasons To Get Over The Hype And Start Loving Windows 8.1 - Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybradley/2014/01/21/5-reasons-to-get-over-the-hype-and-start-loving-windows-8-1/

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What is Windows XP end of support

WinxpEnding

"...so the take away message for organizations (and personal users) still running windows XP PC's is to upgrade now or fail to do so at your peril"

What is Windows XP end of support?
From http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows/end-support-help

Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.

As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC...

...If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might [WILL] become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP.

Computer weekly says the following:
Here http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Windows-XP-support-will-end-this-year-are-you-prepared

Techies understand XP well, but then those writing malicious code understand it well too. With an ageing security architecture and a lack of full support, Windows XP will be a major platform for hackers to attack...

...For organizations, it should be the wake-up call to move to a more modern operating system that will be less open to such attacks.

So the take away message for organizations (and personal users) still running windows XP PC's is to upgrade now or fail to do so at your peril.

This will be a challenge world wide as XP is still installed on around 30% of the worlds PC's, testament to how good an operating system XP panned out to be. Because this is such a large number some security consultants are predicting that the hackers are probably sitting on an number of exploits and will wait until the product goes end of support before they release them. We are likely to see an increase in "drive-by attacks" where just by visiting a web site means you are infected let along downloading and running a file.

Having said all that I have been strongly recommending people move to windows 8 (or at least 7) for some time due to the significantly more secure nature of these products by design. As the sophistication of hacking technologies increased over time so has the sophistication of Windows to withstand these attacks.

If you have some legacy software or hardware that absolutely must run on XP and you have no choice but to continue, some things to consider:

  1. Don't connect this PC to the internet if possible
  2. DON'T Browse the internet on this PC
  3. Don't receive any email on this PC
  4. Don't use this PC at all except for the specific requirement.
  5. Its still absolutely not recommended so more conversation needs to be had if your planning to do this.

So what about windows server 2003 (which is the server version of windows XP)? Support for this product ends on 14/07/15 but you should really be looking at this NOW and scheduling a replacement date for any systems running 2003 this includes small business server 2003. 

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SkyDrive/OneDrive on Windows 10 (and 8/8.1)

When you install Windows 10 (even with Windows 8 or later) or setup a new Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 PC, as one final part of the setup you will see the a similar image to the one below prompting you to store your documents on OneDrive by default.

I strongly suggest that you don't use this preference. This setting synchronizes all your files up to Onedrive "cloud" storage. which creates unnecessary congestion especially on devices that are used on a cellular (mobile network) connection. Additionally depending on how many files you have you will probably get the Onedrive is full error message and "do you want to buy more space?"

If you would like to use Onedrive for online storage/backup this can be a good idea but to do that you probably want to selectively sync some folders only.

 

 

 

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Upgrade to windows 8.1

How to upgrade to windows 8.1 (the free upgrade to windows 8):

Steps:

  1. Consider the implications, this in a major operating system upgrade and shouldn't be taken lightly for existing PC's. Installed apps, personal customizations, device driver compatibility among other things can all be protected by taking a simple imaged based backup with a product like Acronis drive image before continuing, continue without backups at your peril. For a new PC that was shipped without the 8.1 update do the update before you install too much software or customize.
  2. Go to the store and see if the update is available (see Images below for the store icon and the "update to windows 8.1" item

Store icon:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Win8_Store_Icon.JPG

 

Update to windows 8.1:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Win8_1_UpgradeNoteInStore.jpg

  1. If the update is not available in the store then install all the available updates for windows restart as prompted and check back in the store. If it's still not there give it a day or so and check back again.
  2. Once the update is available and once you have 3 or 4 hours available when you wont need your PC to install the update form the windows store. Bear in mind that this up to a 4GB download so make sure you have the internet data available to be able to do this without incurring excess fees, plug into mains power and let it go. I suggest you do this at 6pm one evening so that it can download and then you can press install later in the evening and allow it to do the actual upgrade overnight.

One final consideration is that it may prompt you to store your data on Microsoft SkyDrive by default as part of the initialization process, unless you have a particular desire to do this make sure you click no.

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Windows 8 KB shortcuts I

Windows8KBShortcuts1

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Passwords should be unique

The recent Adobe hacker-fest has again brought up the subject of passwords so here is my recommendation...

There are a full set of password rules and suggestions that are already widely recognised as being crucial for online security, see here for a great article: http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2008/06/the-ultimate-guide-for-creating-strong-passwords that pretty much says it all.

However, particularly relevant for now, you need to ensure that your passwords are always different from each other, if your Adobe password has been compromised you don’t want that same password to have been used for your banking. 

Take some time to think about the quality and diversity of your online passwords would all your online accounts fall domino fashion if one was breached?

If you're having difficulty in tracking all those passwords consider a password manager, there are a number of different product options. I use https://lastpass.com/ which is available in a free version or paid if you want the smartphone apps as well ($12 per year).

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_password.jpg

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Moving your Windows programs round the screen...

Moving your Windows programs round the screen using the Windows key and the arrow keys:

Pressing the Windows key and Left or Right arrow keys will dock the active window to the left or right-hand side of the screen. Pressing the Windows key and the Up arrow will maximize a window and pressing the Windows key and the Down arrow will "restore" and then minimize the window.

If you have multiple monitors use the Windows key + Shift + the Left or Right arrow keys to move the window to another monitor.

b2ap3_thumbnail_WinStartKey.gif

Recent comment in this post
digitalwelcomemat
Should have mentioned... this is Windows 7 (or Server 2008 R2) or later only
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 14:18
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Domain registrar, hosting, web site, email and cloud?

I get asked the same questions over and over again by new customers looking to setup a web site and also when the inevitable bills come in for your existing setup. Why do I have 4 or 5 separate bills for internet? Is a common one.

I have created the following diagram which hopefully illustrates the purposes of all the various “services” and approximate costs. Note that not all organisations will have all services but these are some common ones.

If you want the high quality printable PDF drop me an email. I hope this helps, if not let me know and I’ll bring my big black “Texta” pen and draw all over yours next time I see you :-).

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A Microsoft account?

[Updated 15/01/15] If you have Windows 8 (or a Windows phone) and you want to use Windows to its full capacity including getting apps from the Windows Store you’re going to need a free “Microsoft account”, basically this just equates to a hotmail.com or outlook.com email address, note that you don’t need to use this as your primary email (or use it at all beyond just getting access to the store and logging on to your PC).

Logging on to Windows in versions 8 and later now utilizes a "cloud" based logon name for example This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to tie all the accounts and services to you as the user and also gives you the ability to log on to multiple computers or devices. You can, if you chose, still use a traditional "local account" and in fact I always recommend another local administrator account so that your always covered if you can't logon via your normal account. However if for some reason you chose to set yourself up to use a "local" account initially it will pretty soon convert to a Microsoft account anyway (or at least try) as soon as you connect to various services. That can be pretty confusing so its best to start out the right way from the beginning, so setup your Microsoft account first before you even turn-on your new PC, tablet or phone.

Just a note if you logon in a business setting either via a domain or even peer to peer things are little different. In a domain you logon as the domain user and can then optionally "connect" the Microsoft account to the domain logon, peer to peer needs a bit more planning.

A Microsoft account is basically an email address and password. The good news is you probably already have one. If you use Microsoft services like hotmail.com outlook.com, Xbox, or SkyDrive/OneDrive, the email address and password you already use is your Microsoft account. You don't have to do anything else to get one. Just use that Microsoft account to sign in to your Windows 8 PC, tablet or phone, and you'll get free online storage, apps in the Windows Store, access to Xbox music* (on windows 8). You can also use your Microsoft account to synchronize your photos, documents and files to and from One drive to whatever devices you sign in from, on your phone, laptop, and tablet.

Here is the link to signup if you don't have one already:

https://signup.live.com/signup.aspx

Tips

  • Setting you the account is free however once you have the account setup and if you want to purchase apps for your shiny new PC or tablet then you will also need to add your credit card details (only required if you want apps that cost money).
  • If you do logon with a domain account you can "connect" your Microsoft account to the domain account as well.
  • I suggest you do NOT chose to save all your files to one drive by default, firstly its a bad idea and secondly Microsoft has realized its a bad idea and that concept has been depreciated in windows 10 which is in public beta as of the date this was written. See a screen shot here about where you get asked that question.

 

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Digitalwelcomemat provides IT consultancy and services for business customers on the NSW Central Coast in Australia.

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