Check out our blogs below;

Do you have a tower PC? Is it currently sitting on the floor in your office/home office collecting dust? It’s all well and good dusting the top of it when you see the build-up, but have you thought about what’s on the inside?
Think about that 2-year-old PC that is just sitting there only being touched to power it on. Show it a bit of love. I know it can be scary taking a PC apart but all you need is an air duster. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, then seek professional assistance. IT Technicians like me love taking PC’s apart and putting them back together.
Recently, I have had a machine brought in to the office as it wasn’t turning on. I opened it up and WOW! The computer had cobwebs and dust as thick as a mobile phone on every component! No wonder it wouldn’t turn on. The poor thing couldn’t breathe! I even found the spider that spun webs. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, but he probably got too hot like everything else in the case.
After a solid thirty minutes of cleaning, it could finally breathe again and guess what – it turned back on!

Do you really have time for an upgrade? Is it worth the cost over buying a new pc or laptop?

OK, you can easily source some RAM and a fancy SSD at a good price but what about your time to do the upgrade?

I guess it boils down to is what is right for your budget, and also what you are going to use the device for once it has been upgraded.

If it’s going to be CPU intensive like CAD and large Excel spreadsheets then stop now and just buy a new machine in my opinion.

However, if you have recently found a device that meets your needs knocking around the house, then I would say go for it! After all, landfill is filling up with so much junk these days and if you cannot personally re- use your device there are a lot of charity’s that will.

Don’t want to do fancy spreadsheets and don’t know what CAD is, but would like to upgrade?

The following things are worth considering:

Will you be moving a lot of data around?

Will you be streaming video content?

Do you want to install Windows 10?

Specification wise, I would recommend i5 512Gb SSD 8Gb RAM (16Gb if budget will stretch).

Reason being is that anything less than… you’re just going to struggle with some of the basics. With Windows 10 alone it takes a good chuck of resource (almost uses 4gb with all the updates).

However, before you rush off and buy the required RAM and SSD, consider what type of RAM you are buying. For example, if you have DDR3 PCL 12800 RAM in your system at the moment you are not going to be able to install DDR3 PCL’S. Reason being is voltage! You will end up starting a small fire if you miss read the type of RAM requirement or just blow up the motherboard. Whilst I am talking about RAM it’s important to replace it in pairs don’t mix and match the type of RAM, as this is not best practise and can sometimes cause issues.

There are some gotcha points with SSD drives also. For example, I wouldn’t waste time getting a 256Gb drive – go with 512 or 1tb if budget permits. This allows for windows to have that bit extra space to play with in terms of setting up updates and also storage for yourself. You’ll be amazed how quick 256Gb can fill up!

One last top tip- Have a good look at your system before you upgrade it. Is the memory just plug and play? Can you get to the area’s you need without taking too much apart etc?

No more need to shift around windows…

Tired of remembering passwords for several applications and services?

Want to manage your workload better and work faster when checking emails, social media etc?

Tryshift.com has all the answers.

Shift is a one stop application for most users’ needs. It will store your details and allow switching between emails, links, apps and services at a click of a button.

Most browsers are built for speed and security but shift has a built-in solution for productivity, business and workforces. Calibration tools as standard, you can fully customise how you want to use it. This makes shift unique to every user and keeps you in the know of where everything is

After 2 years of holding the cnpilot Certified title it was time to sit down and redo the test to make sure I still have what it takes. This certification is for WiFi installation and Administration and the test consisted of questions in regards to frequency bands, band steering and node types.

I had been putting this test off for a while as I knew it would take up a lot of time and with a busy workload right now, I was putting it to one side. Still, it needed to be done!

1st Attempt – Failed by 1 mark. It reminded me of my first driving theory test. So close but yet so far…but it was ok, as I knew I would smash the 2nd attempt. How wrong I was!

I went in to this one with a little too much confidence and failed even more than I did the first time. This had really put me off. I only had one attempt left. If I failed, I would have lost the certification. However, it had to be done.

The final attempt took me nearly 60 minutes longer than the previous attempt, as I didn’t just double check, but triple checked my answers. Thankfully this paid off and I had passed.  I could finally relax, get the certificate printed and hang it up on the wall!

We all know you can do a basic search on Google when getting that last minute gift for someone – but did you know that Google has many life hacks and special commands that just might enhance that search result.

If you want to search for two things or something containing a key word you can use the + sign for example if you search fish it will give you a bunch of results. But if you search fish + chips it will give you an even more accurate result.

Another example with the + element is if you have a random error with a program you can copy and paste the error and then put + software name and it will home in on the search result.

Google also works with the minus sign, for example, if you did want to search just fish but was not interested in chips you can key in “fish -chip” (minus quotes) this will exclude chip(s) from the search result and will only display content about fish.

Have you recently heard an interesting phrase or word? “Define: the phrase or word” will give you a clear result of what you need.

Calculator ran out of batteries? No problem, key in your sum straight into Google and it will give you a result. Note: you have to use the plus (+), minus (-), times (*), divide (/) keys for the search to be most effective.

Do you often find your search results looking a little bit disjoined and not really what you keyed in? Top tip – try putting quotes “around the google search” – This is because google searches by default every separate word rather than an exact phrase.

Some other random, yet fun facts about google are:

Key in Do a barrel roll – this will make Google do a barrel roll.

Key in Askew and press enter – lean to the right anyone?

Key in Google Gravity and click I’m feeling lucky – Good luck trying to use google from the floor.

Key in Google sphere and click I’m feeling lucky – Just move your mouse to experience this.

Bored of searching or just bored of being in lockdown and want some timeout? Google has five hidden games built within its search engine:

  1. Atrai Breakout

Search for ‘Atari Breakout’ then click Images, then click the image Play Atari Breakout. The screen will then turn into a game of Breakout.

  1. Snake

Type ‘Google Snake Game’, hit enter, then click the top result. Press play, then use the arrows to move the snake.

  1. Zerg Rush

Type in ‘Zerg Rush’ then hit Enter, and click the first link. Then try to click on the small red ‘o’s before they eat all of the text

  1. Pacman

Type ‘Google Pacman’ then click I’m Feeling Lucky. Click insert coin and you’ll be playing Pacman!

  1. T Rex Dash

Turn off your WiFi, Open up Google Chrome. When you get the ‘no internet connection’ page with an image of a dinosaur, hit space bar and start the T Rex Dash.

When are tired of playing games on Google and it’s back down to Business, CTS Group can help with any IT requirements. Give them a call on 01235 432000.

Is your laptop reliable?

A question I often here is ‘what makes a good laptop?’.

What are the good brands? When should I replace my device?

A lot has to depend on the person, how frequent you use it and what you do with it.

The person:
If you are lugging it around the centre of London every day and banging it on the side of a train when you get on and off, it isn’t going to last you very long.

To help with this I would recommend getting a reliable bag with extra padding, to help you carry additional equipment if required.

How frequent and how you use it:
If you use the laptop everyday with no sufficient cooling and you never power it down (I know so many that just put their device to sleep), I suspect it’s not going to last very long or eventually just get slower and slower as the demand for a restart is more apparent.

To help with this I would recommend keeping the device in a place with airflow, if the laptop gets hot let the fans do its job and assist with cooling it down. If using the device away from a heat source, and not doing very much on the device it should take a while for the fans to kick in.

If you find fans are always on or come on within a few seconds I would recommend checking the airflow, a quick blast of compressed air can help with that.

Replacement:

Why do you want to replace it? Is it business critical? Damaged?

Most laptops will last at least 3 years if you choose a decent manufacturer. I have worked in many companies who replace theirs around a 5-year period. Laptops in particular are costly to repair out of warranty so it is well worth replacing if damaged or has seen better days. To speak to us about your hardware call CTS group on 01235 43200, where we would be happy to help with any requirement

Some people like to have the latest gadgets or what the cool kids call the “in thing”.

However, studies show that the older, less cool, simple tech is actually on the rise. Between 2018-2021 there has been an increase of 89% in dumb, brick, non-smart mobile phone searches.

There is so much stigma in today’s world to be online, be on the latest social media platforms but more users are actually taking a U turn with mobile technology. Why? Because it gives back their free time or the social interaction.

I can see why it’s easy to be attached to a phone these days or mobile device. Introduce a dumb phone and this is instantly taken back to basics. All of a sudden when you need people you are calling them rather than using WhatsApp or Facebook – or sending them good old faithful classic SMS.

More users are taking away their smartphones to live a more physical interactive lifestyle rather than a virtual one. When you think about the benefits such as longer battery life, more physical engagement in meetings, friends and family the benefits speak for themselves and this is what is encouraging people to choose the simple tech. To read more in-depth about this an article can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60763168

Want advice on what’s the right device for your needs? Thinking of starting a project but unsure of your needs? Visit our website www.cts-group.co.uk for more info or call us on 01235 432000 to talk through your options.

Slow computers can make even the simplest of tasks feel like a real hassle. There are a couple of things that may be reducing your PC’s performance.

Here are a few basic steps to try and improve speed and performance.

  1. Reboot your PC

Rebooting your computer can fix many problems and is an easy first step.

  1. Scan for Malware

Spyware and other malware can create issues including slower performance.

Use the free version of Malwarebytes to scan your computer for malware.

  1. Update the Operating System

To update you PC simply type ‘update’ in the Windows search bar.

  • Then click ‘Check for updates’
  1. Free hard drive space

Make sure you have at least 200-500Mb of free hard drive space.

  • How to check how much hard drive space is available
    • Open File Explorer
    • In left navigation pane – Click This PC
    • There should be a section called Devices and Drives
    • Here one can see the amount of storage available.
  • Another way of clearing up some space is Disk Cleanup.
    • In the search box on the taskbar, type disk cleanup, and select Disk Cleanup from the list of results.
    • Select the drive you want to clean up, and then select OK.
    • Under Files to delete, select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.

If all these steps fail to improve your performance, it might be time to upgrade your PC by adding more RAM or changing to an SSD drive. Older PC’s still use traditional storage devices called HDD drives. SSD drives are newer, faster drives that store data instantly.

If you are unsure what your system uses and would like to look at getting an upgrade contact CTS-Group for a review of your current PC hardware and we can make recommendations on improving your performance.