Problems with Windows 7 SP1 Installation?

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Windows updates – don’t you just love them? If you own a PC they are a constant source of annoyance popping up at the most inconvenient times.

Mind you, having said that, more often than not they download without incident.

But Windows 7 SP1 has just been released this week (available for download now) and seems to be causing a few problems.

It doesn’t actually offer any new features but does include all the previous updates which were delivered through Windows update. And so the problems start. If you regularly update Windows 7 and there are no problems with you PC’s performance you don’t need to install Windows 7 SP1.

If you’ve never updated your PC (shame on you) there is a chance you may encounter a problem or two (actually there are 7 potential issues) – here goes:

Problem 1:

Installation error 0x800FOA12 (Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2) means the installer can’t access the system partition of your computer’s hard disk to update the files (click here for Microsoft’s solution).

Solution

This partition is usually accessible to Windows (but can’t be browsed in Windows Explorer). In some cases access to it may be blocked after Windows has started. For example:

  • The system partition isn’t automatically mounted, or made accessible to Windows, during start-up
  • A hard disk containing the system partition was removed prior to beginning SP1 installation
  • Windows is running on a storage area network (SAN) and access to the system partition has been disabled
  • A disk management tool from another software manufacturer was used to copy (or clone) the disk partition on which you’re trying to install SP1

Problem 2:

You may get an “Installation was not successful” error message due to your Antivirus, Anti-Spyware programs and inconsistency in the Windows Servicing Store.

Solution:

Try the System Update Readiness Tool which may be able to help fix problems that might prevent Windows updates and service packs from installing.

Problem 3:

If you try to install SP1 with Microsoft Security Essentials or Microsoft Forefront Client Security already installed on your computer, your security program might prevent the successful installation of the service pack.

Solution:

Uninstall both and re-install later.

Problem 4:

If you get the “Windows has detected unsupported languages files” error message, opt for the standard Languages in W7 and start the installation

Solution:

SP1 can only be installed on a computer that is running a German, Spanish, French, English, or Japanese version of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Problem 5:

Samsung Galaxy S phone drivers, Chrome 10 and 11, EVGA Precision Utility 2.0.2, and Third Party firewalls may cause the installation error in Windows 7 SP1.

Solution:

Uninstall these if they are present before you start SP1 installation

Problem 6:

If you get Windows 7 Update error code FFFFFFFE it may be caused by a virus infection.

Solution:

To solve this problem, reinstall Windows 7 using the Custom installation option and format the hard disk.

Problem 7:

If you see Windows 7 Update error is 84C40007 (for Windows Server 2008), it means an update to SQL Server 2008 can’t be installed because of a problem with a .NET Framework installation.

Solution:

To solve this problem, you need to install the full Microsoft .NET Framework 4 package.

Hopefully that should help you solve any problems you may be having with the Windows 7 SP1 download.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Argh! Paper Jam

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Why does your printer always get into muddle when you have a large document to print or you’re in a hurry?

You quickly open the document, hit print, turn round to go and do something else and then you hear it. That horrible, sickening, unmistakable sound of a paper jam.

It’s part of life – sooner or later you are going to encounter a paper jam. So what do you do when it happens?

Scream – shout at the printer – yank at the paper in the vain hope it will slide effortlessly out of the printer – walk away and hope someone else will deal with it?

How to fix a paper jam

When it happens, it’s not the end of the world. It might seem like it, but it isn’t. Keep a calm head and follow these simple instructions.

  • Turn off your printer.
  • Take a look at the tray into which your printed paper ejects. If the stuck paper is visible manually remove it by pulling it carefully with both hands (don’t tear it). If you can’t get to an edge to hold it, manually turn the gears that feed the paper through the printer.
  • Remove all paper trays and any paper that is stuck between the tray and the printer. If visible remove as above.
  • Open the printer door (the one that gives access to ink cartridges or toner) and look for stuck paper. If you can see it, remove it.
  • Switch the printer back on. If the paper error still shows repeat these steps. If it still persists but you can’t see any stuck paper there’s a fair chance your printer might be experiencing hardware problems so it’s best to contact your printer manufacturer for further help.

Of course it’s better if you can avoid paper jams in the first place. They will happen now and again but if you experience this problem a lot here are a few things you can try to prevent them from happening in the future.

  1. Don’t fill your paper tray to its capacity.
  2. Make sure the paper in the tray is aligned properly and the slider (which holds the paper in place) is in the right position.
  3. Use standard paper as folded paper, labels and other speciality papers can cause jams.
  4. Don’t mix the paper you’re using. If you need to change paper of the size of paper, remove any other paper before starting.
  5. Check the printer thoroughly after a paper jam as torn paper and other foreign objects can cause recurring jams.

Next time you get a paper jam don’t panic, follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be up and running again.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Is Cloud Computing For You?

cloud

Cloud computing gives you a way of managing your data, hardware and software needs by using resources on the internet. all your documents, emails, business applications etc., are stored online ‘in the cloud’.

The major benefit of this is that everything is accessible from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection and web browser.

How cloud computing works

Cloud computing is made up of 3 elements:

  1. Large-scale data centres hosted on remote servers
  2. Services (e.g. software and hardware resources provided over the internet)
  3. Low-cost, web-enables devices (e.g. smart phones, laptops and netbooks)

Therefore businesses of all sizes can benefit from this method of data management. Plus with todays agile working practices, businesses can use smaller, lower-cost portable devices such as smart phones and netbooks that support more mobile and remote working practices.

There are 3 man cloud computing services available:

Software as a service (SaaS)

This is the most common form of cloud computing used by small businesses. It involves using software hosted on remote servers and allows you to run applications through your web browser and save, retrieve or share files stored ‘outside’ your business.

SaaS include office software, CRM systems, and tools for collaborative working which provide greater flexibility allowing you to scale your IT requirements quickly and easily depending on your business needs.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

This allows businesses to use virtual hardware resources to build their IT infrastructure. This includes server space, data storage facilities and networking hardware. By outsourcing your hardware requirements in this way you can reduce your IT costs as you no longer need to buy it or have the internal expertise to maintain it.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

This involves using online application development capabilities to build and adapt applications to suit your business needs using software development tools and hardware known as ‘cloudware’.

What are the benefits of cloud computing?

In comparison to more traditional approaches, cloud computing has a number of benefits:

  • Reduced IT costs – you don’t need to install and set up software, you can reduce your hardware/software needs, and you’ll reduce your operational costs as you no longer require in-house technical expertise.
  • Scalability of service.
  • Access to new technology – upgrades are managed by your service provider on your behalf.
  • Flexible working practices – documents etc., can be accessed anywhere.
  • Enterprise level back-up.
  • Environment factors – a more environmentally friendly approach to your IT requirements.

Data protection and cloud computing

With cloud computing the main data protection risks for your business are:

  • Loss of data by third-party service providers
  • Unauthorised access to your data
  • Malicious activities targeting your service provider (e.g. hacking or viruses)
  • Poor internal IT security compromising data protection

A risk assessment of these potential hazards and their impact on your business should be undertaken before introducing a cloud computing system.

Don’t forget, as a UK business you must comply with the Data Protection Act when holding personal data about third parties.

As cloud computing applications require high levels of data protection you should check your contract or service level agreement (SLA) to find out what security measures your provider takes to protect your data and the levels of responsibility the provider will take for security, functionality and continuity of service. You also need to know if there are any provisions for compensation in the event of a security breach.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Music?

music

With the growing number of music outlets on our High Streets and online, how can you really be sure you’re not being ripped off when you buy your music?

Whether you download your music fix or prefer to buy it on CD, there are so many retailers vying for your cash it’s tough to be sure you are getting the best deal.

Well, to help you make sure you’re not paying over the odds, I want to draw your attention to the wise words of Stuart Andrews who wrote a great article in PC Pro’s September 2010 edition which looked at the best music download sites.

His review includes comprehensive tests of ten of the UK’s leading online music stores. The review looks at best value for money, compares prices, sound quality and availability of more than 80 albums both old and new from across different stores.

If you’re sitting there thinking “yeah, but I use iTunes so I have to buy my music from there”, think again. Apparently if you use Apple you can still use these files in your music library if placed in the music folder so there are no restrictions on which store you use.

The top two out of the ten tested were Amazon and Tesco with an average top 40 album price of £5.46 and £6.22 respectfully (tests carried out w/c 17 May 2010).

Of course, retailers constantly change their pricing so keeping up with where the cheapest place is can be quite a task. But thankfully there are websites out there that will do all the hard work for you, such as www.tunechecker.com which will tell you where you can retrieve the cheapest download.

So, no more music rip offs – YES!

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Can You Run Windows 7?

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Are you fed up with your OS?

Do you battle daily with Vista or an aged version of XP? Perhaps it’s time to give your computer an early Christmas present and treat it to a nice new shiny Windows 7 upgrade.

Before you leap up from your desk, grab your car keys and dash off to your nearest software outlet are you sure your computer’s up for the challenge?

Here is a quick run down of the system requirements you will need to run Windows 7 on your machine.

To run Windows 7 this is what it takes:

  • 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Additional requirements:

  • Internet access (fees may apply)
  • Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware
  • Some games and programmes might need a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
  • For some Windows Media Centre functionality a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required
  • Windows, Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware
  • HomeGroup requires a network and PCs running Windows 7
  • DVD/CD authoring requires a compatible optical drive
  • BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive
  • Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of RAM and an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space
  • Music and sound require output

If you run a PC with multi-core processors you’re in luck as Windows 7 was designed to work with today’s multi-core processors. All 32-bit versions of Windows 7 can support up to 32 processor cores, while 64-bit versions can support up to 256 processor cores.

If you run a PC with multiple processors (CPUs) such as a commercial server, workstation and other high-end PCs, Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate allow for 2 physical processors to provide the best performance on these computers. Windows & Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium will recognise only one physical processor.

If you are in doubt the best option is to contact your local IT Support company who will guide you through the upgrade process.

Does Your Computer Have a Virus?

computer virus Why people like to spend their lives devising nasty viruses they then spread around all computer users beats me, but as long as we have computers they’ll continue to do their worse.

If your computer has a virus (or a Trojan, worm, or other malware infection), all you need to do is contact a local IT Troubleshooting company  who can remove it and add software (such as Bullguard) to give your computer protection for the future.

You may think you are capable of doing that yourself, but the problem is the malware frequently embeds itself deep within your operating system making it a tricky operation best done by experts.

How do I know if my computer’s infected?

It isn’t always easy to spot a problem, but here are 6 signs that could mean your computer has an unwelcome visitor:

  1. Your PC or laptop is running slower than usual
  2. You are getting unexpected pop-up messages
  3. Your software application programs suddenly seem to have minds of their own
  4. Windows shuts down
  5. Lights on your computer suggest you are working when you’re not
  6. Your CPU is working overtime (with all applications closed it should be working at less than 10%)

If you can say yes to any of these, you may have a problem so it’s best to call in IT support – better to be safe than sorry.

Summer Data Disasters

IT Troubleshooting According to a recent article by Barry Collins in PC Pro, the summer months actually lead to a surge in data loss incidents. A sobering thought for when next lying on your sun bed without a care in the world.

Apparently the changes in temperature can induce failure – that is of course when we actually get an increase in temperature during the summer. It’ll happen one day – fingers crossed.

Most incidents are seen in equipment owned by individuals and small businesses. Larger corporations tend to have air conditioning so electrical equipment is kept at a fairly constant temperature all year round. A common cause of failure comes from laptops or disk drives being left in direct sunlight.

The extreme weather we encounter in the UK during the summer is also a culprit. Electrical storms can cause power surges which will damage unprotected equipment. Frequently this type of damage isn’t terminal and a good IT Maintenance and troubleshooting company should be able to recover your data for you.

But we can’t blame everything on the British weather. Sometimes it can be put down to staff. That’s not to say that your staff in the summer months are more prone to losing your data. Far from it. But the summer months are traditionally the time of year we take our main holiday in search of sun (let’s face it, we don’t often see any here do we?). Therefore companies tend to run on limited staff numbers.

Coincidentally, many companies also choose this time of year to do some IT maintenance. Invariable something will go wrong and when it does, the person who is normally capable of fixing it will be sunning themselves on some far flung beach.

So, the moral of this post is – regular IT maintenance is essential. But when you do schedule it, make sure you have the staff available to cope with things should they go wrong.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Your PC MOT – Part 3

PC maintenance

Welcome to the third and final part of the Computer Maintenance Checklist. So far in part 1 we’ve looked at keeping your disk clean and tidy, and in part 2 we covered backing-up and keeping your programs and emails under control.

This final section will take a look at three further ways you can help your PC work like clockwork.

Computer Maintenance Checklist – Part 3

Stay virus free

With any PC, always make sure you have good Anti Virus software installed. You can get free downloads but it’s always best to buy good protection through which you’ll also get backup support and regular updates. The virus world mutates quickly with new strains being devised almost daily so it pays to stay ahead of the game.

To help prevent your machine getting a virus in the first place:

  • Limit downloading from unknown sources. Do your research and make sure you are downloading programs from reputable sources. If in doubt, don’t do it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Sat away from dodgy websites. Things that are too good to be true or have XXX content should be avoided. The chances are they’ll pass on a virus of tracking cookie as soon as you land on them.
  • Suspicious emails. If you receive an email with an attachment but you don’t know who sent it, don’t open it – just delete it. Even if it comes from a bank or somewhere like that, ignore it. Institutions like that will very rarely contact you via email. If in doubt ring them.
  • Illegal software. If you don’t have the real thing, the chances are the software is bogus and likely to cause all sorts of damage to your computer. Only ever use software you have bought from a reputable retailer.

Check and clean your registry for errors

This is the one thing on the checklist you can’t do from your PC. To check and clean your registry you’ll need to buy a special program. If you are unsure what to get, having a chat with an IT Support company should point you in the right direction.

Keep your computer case clean

What?

It might sound daft but if your computer case is clean, it will prevent any dust and dirt from getting into your computer’s components. A build up of dust can cause over heating, a common cause of hardware failure. So, as they always say, prevention is better than cure.

So that’s it – your computer maintenance checklist is complete. By following these simple instructions your computer should continue to work happily for many years.

The Computer Maintenance Check List is brought to you by MPM Computer Consultancy

Your PC MOT – Part 2

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Welcome back.

Last week the Computer Maintenance Checklist looked at system restore points, disk clean-up, disk defrag and checking your hard disk for errors. This week we’ll extent that checklist with a further 4 items. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Computer Maintenance Checklist – Part 2

Clean out your email

Outlook is not a filing cabinet! Frequently people will simply add folders and store more and more emails until their whole system collapses under their weight. Clean your emails out regularly. And remember, deleting an email moves it to the deleted folder so that will also have to be emptied. Some programs will then move those files to the recycle bin so they’ll have to be cleared from there too.

Keep your programs under control

It is all too easy to keep loading new programs onto your computer. But just was you would clear your wardrobe out and remove all those clothes you no longer wear, remember to clear out the program files you no longer use.

Especially when you download a trial version. Once the trial period is over, if you don’t want to buy the full version remember to safely remove the file from your computer.

Don’t install programs like there’s no tomorrow. Why have 2 or 3 different photo editing programs when one will do? The less your computer has on it, the better. The only exception here are the Windows updates. These are there for a reason – they help keep your computer up to date, fix any bugs and help avoid security breaches.

Backup!

This is soooo important. It doesn’t matter whether you use an external hard drive, USB flash drive, RW-DVD, or online storage facility just remember to backup regularly.

If the worse happens and your PC crashes you’ll be glad that you backed-up. Mind you, you’d be surprised at the number of people who never backup their work. Can you imagine what would happen to you if you lost everything? Whether yours is a work computer or just for home use, if it crashes you can say goodbye to all  your business documents, contact details, photographs, music etc.

Sacred? You should be. If you don’t already do so – backup!

Be organised

Organisation may seem an odd thing to include in a maintenance list but it is very important. Knowing where your files are will make backing-up much easier and it will also help you identify the files you need and the ones you don’t need. Label your folders in a logical way. For example set up folder trees, so your head folder could be Stationery. This could then contain folders for Invoices, letter header, compliment slip. The invoices folder could then be subdivided further into UK invoice, and international invoice.

So long as the structure is logical and easy for you to follow, you should always be able to find the files you are looking for.

That’s all for now. Tune in next week for the third and final instalment of the Computer Maintenance Checklist.

Don’t forget if you can’t wait that long we’ll be glad to help you with your IT Troubleshooting issues – just get in touch.

The Computer Maintenance Check List is brought to you by MPM Computer Consultancy

Your PC MOT – Part 1

PC Maintenance Guide

It’s so exciting – you’ve just bought your new PC home and it’s running like clockwork. But gradually as the weeks go by you begin to notice it’s slowing down. Don’t worry, it’s not time to hit the panic button. It’s slowing down because of the data building up that is being stored unnecessarily.

This can easily be avoided by following a simple computer maintenance checklist. Regular maintenance will keep your computer sunning smoothly and, hopefully, avoid any nasty surprises.

The checklist will be broken down over 3 blog posts, so, without further ado – here’s part one.

Computer Maintenance Checklist – Part 1

System restore point

I know it’s exciting when you get a new computer, but when you get it, resist the urge to dive in and play or upload programmes. The first thing you should do is set a system restore point.

Why?

Quite simply because it means you’ll only ever be a click away from solving any problems that arise.

Check your hard disk for bad sectors and errors

This is so important – if there is a problem with your hard drive, you’re in BIG trouble. It is the place where all your valuable files and data are stored.

Always do this check before the defragment because the disk defragmenter won’t work if there are file errors or hard disk errors:

  • From the Start Menu choose My Computer
  • Right click on the drive you want to check
  • Choose Properties from the drop down menu
  • Click on the Tools Tab
  • Press Check now to scan your hard disc for errors
  • When a box appears, click Windows fix errors automatically
  • Press Start
  • When it has finished a report will appear

Defragment your computer

Defragmenting your computer organises your files and data into areas that help your computer run smoothly. Ideally you should defragment your computer every 10-15 days.

  • Go to the Start Menu and choose All Programs
  • Choose Accessories, then System Tools
  • Choose Disk Defragmenter from the menu

The time it takes to defragment will vary.

Remove unwanted and junk files

Windows provides a couple of systems tools to help you clear out unwanted files to maintain the smooth running of your PC.

The first is Disk Cleanup – this removes temporary files, the recycle bin, compressed old files, offline web pages and downloaded programme files:

  • From the Start Menu, choose all programs
  • Choose accessories, then system tools
  • Click on disk defragmenter

The second tool is Delete Browsing History – you’ll be amazed at how many files your PC collects just by browsing the internet. It picks up temporary internet files, cookies, history form data and passwords. If you want your PC to run smoothly you’ll have to regularly clear this junk out.

  • Open internet explorer
  • Go to Tools and choose internet options
  • On the general tab next to browsing history click delete which will display this menu:

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You can either opt to delete all by using the button at the bottom of the screen or delete them individually.

OK, that concludes part one of this three part guide. Check in again next week for the next instalment of the Computer Maintenance Check List. If you can’t wait that long we’ll be glad to help you with your IT troubleshooting issues – just get in touch.

The Computer Maintenance Check List is brought to you by MPM Computer Consultancy