Wichita IT Support – Watch Out For Hitchhikers!

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For information about our Wichita IT Support Services, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Software That Comes Along for the Ride

I tend to call them software hitchhikers.  They tag along with software that you want to install, generally with the free applications we all use from the web.  We’re also all aware of the dangers of picking up hitchhikers in real life.  This is similar.  Did you ever wonder where you get those toolbars in Internet Explorer, or some different ‘security’ applications you might see.

As a Wichita IT support company, we see all of them, and this post is designed to help you avoid some of the pitfalls our customers encounter installing applications from the web.  With that in mind, I offer three suggestions that will go a long way towards leaving these hitchhikers on the road.

Suggestion 1:

The first thing you should be asking yourself is:  Do I really need this application?  Some may offer the same features that are already built into the operating system.  If it passes this test, move to suggestion 2!

Suggestion 2:

Read EVERY prompt carefully during the install.  I know, I’m yelling.  Just wanted to get your attention because this is really important!  As users, we tend to get into the ‘Next’ habit.  When we see the ‘next’ or ‘continue’ prompt, we press it, regardless of what the screen says.  So-called ‘free’ software vendors usually fall into the TANSTAAFL category (There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) and are trying to make their money somehow.  My favorites are the ones who offer additional features to the program if you pay a registration fee, though these are getting few and far in-between.  When reading the prompts, look for any check boxes or a list of what will be installed.

Suggestion 3:

Installing an application, you may be prompted to choose between an “Express” or “Custom” installation.  It’s tempting and faster to choose Express.  Unfortunately, this is the new way of hiding hitchhikers.  Express install will add additional applications, and the only way you’ll see them is to choose the custom installation.  Don’t be afraid of the custom install.  You’ll get a list of what is going to be installed and have the opportunity to uncheck items you don’t want.  If you are downloading a photo viewer and one of the options is a music player, uncheck it.  Some will even have markings next to the components similar to ‘required’, which will tell you what really needs to be installed to run the application.

Example

Here’s a pair of examples to show what we’re talking about and how these hitchhikers are getting into your system:

Java Updates

My IT support clients ask me this all the time.  “Do I need to install Java updates when it prompts?”  The short answer is ”Yes!”.  The long answer is, “Yes, but read the prompts!”

Here’s a graphic showing the second step of the Java install process for the most recent update my system prompted me to install:

Windows IT Support - Java Update Prompt

Windows IT Support - Java Update Prompt

Oh, that ‘Next’ button looks so tempting, doesn’t it.  I want to click it myself.  Hold up, what’s with the check box?  “Install the Ask Toolbar and make Ask my default search provider”

Not only will we get an unneeded toolbar, any time we search from the address bar, we’ll get Ask.com instead of Google or Bing.  When was the last time you used Ask?

Adobe Reader

Yes, Reader is a great tool.  Check the download page:

Wichita IT Support - Adobe Reader Download Page

Wichita IT Support - Adobe Reader Download Page

Check the check box.  Ah, now we see it.  Do you really want that?

If you’re looking for small business or residential IT support in Wichita and surrounding communities, give us a call at (316) 337-5628.  We can help you with all of your support needs.  One of our trained and certified network technicians can help you either remotely or at your location.

IT Support

Wichita IT Support – Expanding to Provide Better Service

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For information about our Wichita IT Support Services, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Expanding Our Wichita IT Support

Over the past two and a half years, Proper Technology Solutions has grown by leaps and bounds.  Almost unanimously, what our customers appreciate over their previous IT support providers is our speed in addressing their issues.  The number one complaint we hear is that IT support companies aren’t responsive enough to keep up with issues affecting business.

As most of our customers are small and medium businesses like our own, we know what downtown and outages can do to productivity, so we strive for the best response and resolution times possible.

With that in mind, as our customer base grows, we’re growing the support staff as well.  We’ve recently added a new technician and we’ll give some background information on his skills and qualifications as he comes on board.  Suffice it to say he has the technical skills and know-how that we have come to expect from our network engineers!

If you’re looking for solid Wichita IT Support, please give us a call at (316) 337-5628.  We can visit with you over the phone or onsite to evaluate your IT support needs and show you how we can make your IT more effective and efficient to add to your bottom line.

 

Business, IT Support

Wichita IT Support – Sometimes It’s the Little Things

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For information about our Wichita IT Support Services, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Big Network Issue – Little Tiny Problem

RJ-45 Network Plug

RJ-45 Network Plug

See that little clip on the top of the network jack?  It’s a big deal.  Really.  Let me elaborate.

I received notification from our Proper Monitoring System that a server at a client had gone offline.  I logged into our remote system and had serious trouble logging into any of their servers.  That’s when the calls started coming in.

  • Email is down
  • Can’t access network drives
  • Citrix isn’t working
  • VPN is down

These calls came in from across the U.S., as this was a nationwide customer.  Suddenly, my one down server was a major issue.

I went onsite to look at the system in person.  For a little background, this network runs on two giant servers that host five virtual servers apiece, with all the storage located on an external NAS device.  After rebooting the servers, which had fixed similar issues in the past, I was given a message that the storage required was unavailable.  I traced numerous cables from the NAS boxes to the switch at the top of the rack.

 

Wichita IT Support - Cables in Switch

Wichita IT Support - Cables in Switch

The light corresponding to the top-left cable was off.  Everything else was normal.  A little jiggling of the cable and the light came back on.  Servers started coming up.

Turns out the phone service had been in, and needed to unplug their cable from the switch.  Apparently, during tracing the cables, this one wiggled out just enough to go offline.  Why?  The orange boot on the network cable was depressing the locking clip on the RJ-45 jack and it could be freely removed and reinserted just with a light tug.

When plugging network cables in, make sure the locking mechanism is working!  Just give it a light tug once it snaps in.  If the locking mechanism is broken off (common), throw the cable away.

So the moral of the case study is:  One tiny piece of plastic can take down a nationwide network.  Details count!

If you’re looking for top-notch business or residential IT support in Wichita and surrounding areas, give us a call at (316) 337-5628.  We’ll be happy to discuss your IT needs and how we can help make your systems more efficient and lower your technology costs.

 

 

 

IT Support

Computer Repair Wichita – Where Does IT Hurt?

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For information about our Wichita IT Support Services, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Where Does IT Hurt?

Why is it we only visit the Doctor when something is wrong?  Wouldn’t it be nice to go into the doctor when you feel good and have him/her say ‘Hey, if you do this, you’ll feel even better?’

So where does your IT hurt?  If things are running smoothly, don’t get complacent.  Dream a dream, build a wish-list.  Wouldn’t it be great if our system would let us (insert your own words here)?

Most likely, it can.  We love to help individuals and small businesses make the most of their computer systems and services.  In a lot of cases, after working in a business for a couple of months, we reach out to them:  ‘Hey, did you know you could…’.  These comments usually result in our implementing the project.  Though we can never say we’ve seen it all, we’ve seen a lot!

Here’s some thoughts:

  • Exchange Mail – Even small businesses can leverage the great features and collaboration with Exchange accounts.  Shared calendars, public folders, full pain-free phone/PC email, calendar and contacts synchronization.  Just two users?  No problem.
  • Online Backup - Hassle-free online backup.  Small to large, we can not only keep your data safe, we can have it ALL back to you within a day (probably same day if it’s early enough).
  • Training – Forget the classroom environment.  If you just have yourself or another co-worker needing to learn some ways to be more productive, call us.

Just the tip of the iceberg.  For business or residential Wichita IT Support, give us a call at (316) 337-5628.  Computer repair, service, maintenance and everything in-between.

Business, Computer Repair, IT Support, online backup

Wichita IT Support – Always Ready to Help

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For information about our Wichita IT Support Services, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Always Ready to Help

At Proper Technology Solutions,  we’re always ready to help.  Kind of an informal motto.  It’s what we do, and what we love.  Here are some ideas of how we can help you or your business succeed through technology:

Wichita Computer Repair

We are your Wichita computer repair specialists.  If you live in Wichita or surrounding communities, we can come onsite to your home or business to service your computer equipment, either PC or Mac.  Whether you just need your machine cleaned and optimized, virus removal, software or hardware installation, our responsive and well-trained techs will get your issues resolved quickly.

Wichita IT Support

We’re always ready to help businesses as well.  We have experience ranging from large multi-state companies with VPN connectivity and Citrix to small one to two computer companies that just need a little guidance here and there.  Our founding goal as an IT consulting firm was to provide an option allowing even the smallest businesses to have true enterprise-level IT services and support.

Wichita Computer Training

We offer one-on-one and small group training.  Just need to learn how to do a mail-merge?  We’ve got you covered.  Most of our one-on-one customers simply create what we like to call a ‘laundry list’ of what they want to learn during their next session.  Our key instructor has years of experience teaching networking and IT students of all skill ranges in pursuit of a four-year IT degree.

Wichita Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You’ve heard the buzzword.  We can either take over the optimization of your site, or simply present a training session that will help you take your page to the next level, ideally the front page of Google.  Once you hit the front page, we’ll give you the tools you need to make it first to ‘above the fold’, then straight to the top.  Unlike other services you may have seen, we can’t guarantee that we can get you to number one.  The fastest way to the top is through dishonest SEO, and sooner or later, it comes back to haunt you.  We will teach (or practice) natural optimization, making sure Google knows what your site is really about (that’s what rankings are really about, anyway!)

Give us a call at (316) 337-5628.  We’ll be happy to show you how we can help you grow and evolve; it’s a lot easier to do if the computers are running smoothly.

 

Business, Cloud Computing, Computer Repair, IT Support, Mac, Search Engine Optimization, SEO

Wichita IT Support – Computer Repair Wichita

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For information about our computer repair and support in Wichita KS, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Computer Repair Wichita

Did you know we’re not just a business IT support company?  Not everyone knows, but we’re more than happy to do residential computer repair.  Our degreed and certified computer repair technicians and network engineers are perfect for your home computing needs, from removing virus and malware infections to setting up home networking and wireless solutions.

If your computer is running dreadfully slow and it is only two to three years old, we can probably help.  Our average home job usually lasts about an hour, even with multiple systems involved.

Give us a call today at Proper Technology Solutions, (316) 337-5628 to schedule an appointment or just have a no-obligation chat about your issues and how we can help to resolve them.

We have experience with PC, MAC, Android, iOS… just about any device you might have in your home or office.

Looking for business IT support?

Whether your needs involve a simple small office wireless network or sharing files between computers with or without a server, we have solutions for you as well.

Our combined experience spans complex Citrix implementations to multi-state VPN connectivity and everything in-between.  If you’re looking for affordable IT support for your business, look no further.  Our low rates combined with our no minimum policy helps you maintain your computer systems while still watching the bottom line.

Call today and ask about our services, including Proper Maintenance, 24/7 monitoring and maintenance for your critical systems.

 

IT Support

Wichita IT Support – Managed IT Support

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For information about our computer repair and support in Wichita KS, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Wichita IT Support Gets Easier

Have you ever thought it would be nice to have a tech visit every so often and clean/optimize your desktop or laptop?  How about every day?

We are starting to roll out a new product line, Proper Maintenance, for small businesses and even home users.  Let’s talk a little about what it does and how it benefits our customers.

Proper Maintenance

The center of Proper Maintenance is a small application installed on your PC.  We normally refer to this as ‘client’ software, as it connects to our maintenance server on the backend.  This client software allows us to be in constant contact with the operating system on your machine to recognize small issues that will become big issues if not addressed.  We don’t have access to your files or data, just diagnostic information coming from Windows.  Below are some of the features available:

  • Updates – Proper Maintenance keeps your system up to date with the latest patches for Windows and popular applications such as Adobe Reader and Flash.  If updates fail to process, we’ll be notified and in turn notify you that there is an issue.  You are free to resolve on your own or call us to resolve remotely or on site.
  • Anti-Spyware/Malware – The paid version of the popular Malwarebytes anti-malware application will be installed and scheduled to scan your machine at regular intervals, helping to keep you free from popups and malicious software.
  • Anti-Virus – We install and monitor the powerful Vipre Enterprise anti-virus solution, ensuring that your protection is always up to date and a technician is notified if there are any issues.
  • Temp File Cleanup – Proper Maintenance software proactively cleans temporary files daily, keeping your machine running in optimal condition.
  • Error Notification – You will be notified of any errors listed in your Windows Error Logs that need to be remedied.  In most cases of hard drive failure, there are warning signs in these logs that can help identify a potential crash, in time for you to replace or backup your data.

Proper Maintenance is available for your desktop or laptop for only $20/month with discounts available for multiple machines. Combined with one of our online backup solutions, you can avoid potential downtime issues and ensure that your business/personal data is safe and secure.

If you want more information on Proper Maintenance, give us a call at (316) 337-5628.  We can tailor a solution to fit all of your Wichita IT support needs.

 

Applications, Business, Cloud Computing, Computer Repair, IT Support, online backup

Wichita IT Support – Computer Repair 2012

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For information about our computer repair and support in Wichita KS, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

The Year in Review

To say that 2012 was a great year for Proper Technology Solutions would be an understatement.  We have experienced phenomenal growth in both our residential and commercial businesses, added new and exciting (for a tech) services and expanded our tech base.

Though we are far from being a household name as a Wichita IT support company, we’ve expanded our client base through several marketing initiatives and referrals from some of our satisfied customers.  Our team of certified computer repair and network technicians monitor and troubleshoot computers not only here in Wichita, but as far away as Missouri, Maryland, Connecticut and California.

Our goal for 2013 is simple and the same as always:  Provide Professional IT support with Personal service.  That’s the Proper mission!

We deliver by providing the solutions our customers truly need, not what is simply trending or what garners the most commissions from vendors.  A customer recently asked us to set their business up with a server solution.  After discussing their needs, we provided a different solution at a fraction of the cost, one with which they are completely pleased.  The solution offered will also scale into their network as they grow.

If you are looking for network and computer support for your business or home, you can feel confident that we will provide outstanding service while keeping your IT budget in mind.  Feel free to call us at (316) 337-5628.  One of our technicians can discuss your needs or visit your business for a no-cost evaluation.

 

 

Business, Computer Repair, IT Support

Computer Repair Wichita – How Long Since the Last Update

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For information about our computer repair and support in Wichita KS, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

Keep Up the Blogging

A quick look back at the blog shows me that I haven’t been practicing what I preach.  I tell my search engine optimization clients that they should blog once a week at the very least.  It’s been almost a month, but what a hectic month it has been!

We have been experiencing enormous growth in both our residential and commercial computer repair and support business.  Wichita IT support has never been better!   Now that I’ve scolded myself and tooted the Proper Tech horn a little bit, let’s get to the meat of today’s update.

Recommendations and Endorsements

If you are small-business supporter and want to do something to help out local businesses, the best thing you can do is pick up the virtual pen and dash out a recommendation online.  Google the business name.  I’m sure you’ll see at least one place to write a review for that business owner.  Here’s some ideas:

  • Angie’s List – If you have an account, this will do wonders!
  • Google Places – When you search and see a list of locations on a map, click through to find a review link.
  • Facebook – Visit the company’s page.  Don’t just ‘Like’ them, write a recommendation
  • Yelp – Another quick place to not only find a business, but to write that business a review.

There are dozens of places you can show your local businesses that you appreciate their work and share your opinion with the community.  One thing I did listen to my mother about…If you don’t have anything nice to say…but what does that mean here?

If you feel like writing anything other than a resounding recommendation, ask yourself if you’ve talked to that business about it.  Have you given them an opportunity to set things right?  By all means, if you can answer yes, give a negative review.  Otherwise, most small businesses work hard at customer service.  It’s our bread and butter.  If you’re unhappy, let them know and see what happens!

If you’re looking for IT support in Wichita and surrounding areas, either for your business or home, give us a call at Proper Technology Solutions.  We strive to live up to our motto – Professional Support – Personal Service.  We’ll work hard to make you want to jump online and sing our praises!

 

Business, IT Support, Search Engine Optimization, SEO

Computer Repair Wichita – Patience is a Virtue for SEO

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For information about our computer repair and support in Wichita KS, visit the homepage at Proper Technology Solutions.

IT Support Wichita – Right Where We Want to Be!

A Little Bit About SEO

At the end of January, 2011 we launched the Proper Technology Solutions website.  While designing the site, we kept optimization in mind.  Not only did we want to provide valuable information to our visitors, we wanted to provide valuable information to the search engines as well.

What does that mean?  The quick answer is that the search engines ‘read’ your site just like your visitors, but unlike normal visitors, they are more like scouts.  When the search engines visit, they are trying to provide their visitors with relevant results.  The purpose of visiting your site is to determine what your site is about.  Though this sounds obvious, we see far too many sites that make the reader infer what the site is about.  Problem is, search engine spiders are smart, but they don’t make inferences!

Look at this text:

I create bold looks for your rooms through different techniques I use to apply interior paint.  Specialized brush strokes and styles create unique finishes to highlight your living space.

As a person, you inferred that this person is a painter.  Search engines don’t do the best job at that simple task.  If people were searching for ‘specialized brush strokes’ or ‘interior paint’, they may find this person.  If they are searching for ‘interior painters in Wichita’, they probably won’t appear anywhere near the top.

Let’s reword:

As an interior painter in Wichita, I create bold looks for your rooms through different interior painting techniques.  Specialized brush strokes and styles create unique finishes to highlight your interior living spaces.

A lot more food for the spider, without sounding too goofy!

Leading by Example

I digressed a little bit there!  The purpose of this post is to toot our own horn a little bit about our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services.  No gimmicks, no tricks…no guarantees.  Our goal is to simply teach our customers how to feed the spiders without ongoing commitments.

When we first launched the site, we picked the phrase we thought would bring us the most qualified traffic or the most customers that could really use our services.  We settled on ‘IT support Wichita’.  Within six months, we held the number 2 spot in Google (the only engine we really care about).  Don’t knock it, the number 2 spot brought us several big customers.  I can even honestly say that the ranking for that keyword was the bedrock of our surviving our first year in business!

Within the last month or so we broke that last barrier and are showing up as number one for that search phrase.  Go look, we’ll wait….

If you’re looking to bring your business to the top of the rankings, we can help.  We can’t guarantee you a number one spot, but we can help you move.  Our first goal is always front page, above the fold (visible without scrolling down!)  We can do regular maintenance, but our most common scenario is just teaching the customer how to speak ‘search engine’.  In most cases, once we give you the push, the snowball just keeps rolling!

Call us or drop us a line.  One of our computer repair or IT support specialists can assist you with your business or residential computer needs.

 

Business, Computer Repair, IT Support, Search Engine Optimization, SEO