Archive for April, 2013

On Vacation

PackedAfter many months of burning the candle at both ends, I am finally taking a vacation.  That doesn’t mean I’ll be out of touch but I will not as accessible as usual.  If all goes according to plan (basically if the Internet connectivity is decent) I’ll be checking email 2x a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

For emergency hardware issues a contact name and number will be on my vacation auto-reply.

I’ll be back in my office on May 6th.

Categories: vacation

XP Upgrade Checklist

XP retires on April 8, 2014. Yes, that is less than a year from today! Don’t be caught in January panicking because you need to migrate all your office systems. Here are 3 customizable checklists (hardware, software, and server hardware) to help keep you organized for the move from XP to a more current operating system:

For more information about moving from XP please see article XP…What’s the Rush.  To download the checklists for Word click XP Upgrade Checklist.

Do your current systems meet the Windows 7/8 minimum hardware requirements?

Download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to easily determine if your current system can support Windows 7/8; or if additional hardware is needed, or a replacement system is required.

Computer Name Meets Minimum Requirements Hardware Upgrade to meet requirements Replace Unit if hardware requirements cannot be met CostsLicensingHardware etc.

Please note: an upgrade from XP to Windows 7/8 will require a full backup of all data prior to upgrading.


Does your current software work on Windows 7/8? Check with your software vendors to confirm that your current software is compatible with Windows 7/8.

Software Name/Vendor Supported on Win7/8 Replacement Software if not supported CostsLicensing, configuration, replacement


Does your current server support Windows 7/8 client systems?

If you are still using Windows Server 2003, it is recommended that you upgrade to at least Windows Server 2008 R2 for Windows 7/8 clients.

Server Name Server Roles Current OS Can be upgraded to new Server Operating system Replacement CostsHardware, OS, backup etc.

Please note that these checklists do not include all options; please consult with your qualified IT professional about the best way to move your small business office to Windows 7/8.

Categories: Small Business IT, XP Tags:

Repair, Replace, or Reimage

This week, I did a favour for a friend, which I love to do, but I had a gut feeling that it wasn’t going to be as easy as anticipated. My friend desperately needed some technical support; her computer had been running slow for some time and it needed some TLC. Normally, I don’t deal with this type of call and would have handed it over to someone who enjoys and deals with operating system/program-type issues, but there were some underlying issues that she didn’t want to involve a 3rd party professional with.

When a computer is running “slow,” it could be for a number of reasons, including: viruses, malware, configuration, etc. The possibilities are endless, and trying to determine what the issue is can be the same as trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

Before asking your IT professional to fix this type of situation, ask yourself, “is it really worth it to spend the time and money to “fix” it? Or would a reload/reimage be the better option?”

Here are my top two things to consider before having somebody “fix” your slow-running system.


  • Does your IT professional charge you a flat rate, or is it hourly? Trying to fix system issues can take several hours, and if it came to it, would you be willing to pay the price?


  • As mentioned above, working through “issues” takes time. Removing programs, running antivirus scans, updating drivers, and all the reboots, quickly turns into several hours of downtime.

It may be faster and less expensive to restore the system to factory image, or re-install the operating system clean. Of course, this means you will need all your programs and license keys. But if you only have a few programs to load, and your data is backed up, you could be saving yourself hours of downtime and service fees, some of which may end up costing you more than buying a new system.

Before committing, talk to your qualified IT professional about the realistic cost of fixing a “slow system”.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

From Jammies to Bathing Suits: My First Step at the 4-Hour Work Week

ImageIf you are familiar with me or my blog, you know that I am a huge fan of my jammies (my blue flannel ones are my favorite). I am also a firm believer in working remotely, and I don’t believe going to an office is always necessary. I regularly help my clients develop solutions that enables them to take extended vacations, but still be productive and a part of the office. I show them that we have a variety of options to all them to work remotely and securely so they do not have to sacrifice their jammies or bathing suits in order to work when necessary.

When I setup my small business clients, I always try to incorporate a secure method of remote access for me to access their systems. For my clients with Small Business Server, I use Remote Web Access (included in the server); for others, Logmein (if I have to); and I am now trying Microsoft Intune with a handful of clients. I believe that if I do my job right, my clients should very rarely see me. I can usually resolve most issues from the comfort of my home office, or any other location, using my laptop and phone. The only time I really need to be on-site is for hardware issues, which rarely happens.

Last year, I became so comfortable with not being “physically available,” that I went with my daughter on a school trip for 3 days. The facility had Wi-Fi and I was able to work when necessary. This spring, I am going to take another step toward a work-life balance, and I’ll be taking my children to Cuba for a vacation. I think most of us have read (or at least heard of) Tim Ferris’ book, “The Four Hour Workweek” and dream of being able to work from wherever, whenever. In my last full-time position, I had the privilege to travel for business on a regular basis and kept in touch with the office very easily.  This will be the first time I will have worked for my own clients while enjoying a vacation.

This week-long trip will be my first step at becoming able to really balance work and family. In preparation for the trip, I ensured Wi-Fi would be available, as this is key to being productive without incurring additional costs; connecting via my phone provider will cost me a fortune. I’ll take a netbook (leaving my laptop at home), and access all required documents, and etc. via cloud storage. This means that if my netbook is lost, stolen, or damaged; all my personal and client files will not be compromised. My phone will be packed just in case I really need to get Internet or make a call to a client, but more importantly, I really hope to get 3 stars on each level of Star Wars Angry Birds while getting a nice healthy dose of Vitamin D.

It will be nice to be able to use my experience to assist my clients in achieving a work-life balance of their own.

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