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Phishing Attack Prevention: How to Identify & Avoid Phishing Scams in Office 365 Email

If you rely heavily on e-mail you will have to know the basics of phishing attack prevention.  Even if a message appears to come from someone you know, spoofing a senders address in an email allows hackers to gain your trust.  If you treat that email as a request from a reputable source you are more likely to click on an embedded link that takes you to a fake website that requests things like your username and password or other sensitive information.  A file attached to an e-mail message phishing scam could contain a virus.  NEVER open these or allow them to run on your computer!

Here is a little video I put together so when in doubt you can use this test.


If you are unsure, be sure to contact the sender by some other means to gain added assurance that the attachment is valid.  Also, NEVER reveal usernames or password or any personal or financial information in a response to an e-mail request, no matter who appears to have sent it; your office may be the target of a phishing scam.


Office 365: Co-Authoring/Collaborating on Documents using Word, Excel or PowerPoint online

Small businesses owners and employees are experiencing a new reality such that collaboration doesn’t always occur face to face.  Sharing ideas and data in real time can be challenging, especially when different people in different physical locations needing to work together. Office 365 brings us real-time co-authoring, that allows for multiple people to make changes to the same document at the same time.  You will also see other’s changes as soon as they are made.  You can use this feature on Word, Excel, PowerPoint online, the desktop apps of Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2016 with Office 365 and even Word , Excel, PowerPoint for Android and iOS. Collaborators can now work together to amend and finalize documents in real time.  This revolutionary new feature is a hidden gem!

Setting up real-time co-authoring in Microsoft Word Online for Office 365

Here is a little how-to on using real-time co-authoring with the online version of Microsoft Word

  1. Go to, Sign in and open your document with Microsoft word online.  On the top right you will see a Share button, click on it.

    Office365 Co-Authoring documents in word


  2. The share screen will appear as seen in the image below.  Make sure you see “Recipients can edit” so that recipients have access and can edit the document.  Enter the Recipients Email Address in the text box and click Share.  You can also add extra notes that will also be sent to the recipients email.

    Office365 Co-Authoring feature sharing invitation


  3. Once you press the “Share” button, a link will be sent to the person you wish to collaborate with on this document, and once they click the link they can immediately start editing the document.  If you and your collaborators are editing the document at the same time you will see a marker representing each collaborator.

    Office 365 Co-Authoring with word online.


This level of collaboration saves you and your colleagues from relaying document changes back and forth.  You and your colleagues can also work together on Excel Spreadsheets with Excel Online and work together on PowerPoint Presentations with PowerPoint Online.

Why do I need Office 365 for my business?

What is Microsoft Office 365?  Is it just a subscription-based cloud software system developed by Microsoft in 2011 to make more money from consumers?  No, Microsoft Office 365 much more.  It is powerful software that over 60 million commercial customers depend on.  With 50,000 small business customers migrating to Office 365 each month this is a product you just can’t ignore!  It includes various apps like Word, Power point, Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, etc. There are so many apps for business purposes that I won’t be able to cover all of them here.  But I will say Office 365 enhances your businesses productivity by providing these cloud based services to a wide variety of platforms like the web (Internet Explorer, Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox etc.), Apple and Android devices, Windows desktops and lot more. Office365 offers great ways to edit and modify documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc locally or through an internet connection. These documents can be saved online by using OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud service which provides 1TB of Cloud Storage) and can be accessed from anywhere you have a supported device and an active internet connection. Office365 web-based email with a familiar Outlook web app also comes with your subscription and provides anywhere access to email, contacts, tasks, and calendaring services using a supported web browser and internet access.

Getting Office 365 for Your Business

As an Office 365 partner, we’re authorized to sell a variety of small and mid-sized business (SMB) Office 365 subscriptions. We can offer Kiosk and stand-alone services as well. Customers can combine plans, add stand-alone services, and move between plans and services.  There are three kinds of business subscription one is “Business Essential” plan ($60.00/user) per year, second is “Business” plan based on annual subscription ($99.00/user) and the third is “Business Premium” ($150.00/user).  These are the subscription packages we recommend for most small businesses with 1 – 300 users within their organization.

How to sign up for Office 365 Business

  1. First visit our Office 365 page on our website.  Further information on the products, including details and included apps are listed here.Office 365 Boot Networks website signup plans
  2. Now choose a plan, on the next page you will see the details of your plan and sub-total.  Also, there will be a “delegated administrator” and select yes.  Selecting “Yes” simply means that you want to allow Boot Networks to assist with the setup and configuration of your Office 365 products.  Click on “next” to continue.Office 365 web sign-up partner delegation
  3. Now, fill in the details of your organization in form given and then create a user account to sign in as an admin.  This account will be the delegated global administrator for the account.Office 365 web sign-up-partner page
  4. Then select how you want to pay, monthly or annually depending upon your needs, using a credit card.Office 365 web sign-up-payment page
  5. After your payment has processed, log into with the username and password you created.  You’ll probably want to install the Office 365 desktop app included in your subscription.  To do this click on “Install Office 365” which will allow you to install all the office products included in your subscription on your computer or laptop.Office 365 website home screen

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help!


Boost your productivity with 3 new Office 365 Small Business features

Microsoft Office 365 is the Microsoft Cloud based version of Microsoft Office products.  Small businesses are benefitting from the same powerful software that over 60 million commercial customers depend on.  Depending on your Office 365 Subscription plan, you get the Office Desktop apps your used to installed on your PC, and you can also use the online versions of Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. or the Office 365 apps available on your cell phone and other mobile devices, allowing you to work and collaborate from anywhere you have internet access.  One thing I must say is that Microsoft has been working hard adding great new features to their Office 365 products.  With 50,000 small business customers migrating to Office 365 each month this is a product you just can’t ignore!  Here are 3 NEW features, to add to Microsoft Office365’s already long list of great features.

Real-time co-authoring for Microsoft Office 365: Excel, Word and PowerPoint

Office 365: Microsoft Word Co-Authoring


Join forces with your co-workers online and author or edit your documents as it changes in real time.  No more emailing documents back and forth.  This would be a good time to remind you, emailing documents back and forth is NOT always a secure or efficient process, documents should be shared securely using the cloud.  Save your file to OneDrive or Sharepoint, so others can work with you. It can also be shared from the desktop apps using the integrated side-bar pictured above in the Office 365 Word desktop app.

Microsoft Office 365: Excel’s Power Map

Microsoft Office 365 Excel Power Map


Now you can turn rows of data into a 3D interactive maps with Power Map, which includes the ability to filter data using three different filters: List, Range, or Advanced.  It is enhanced with Power BI app (Power BI is another Office 365 app that provides solutions for analyzing, visualizing data within your organization).

Microsoft Office 365: Planner, to help organize your team’s workflow

Microsoft Office365 Planner app


Office 365 Planner will help your team to plan workflows and collaborations. Use this project tool to create plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, set due dates and provide status updates. All this work is done through email notifications and visual dashboards.

Do you have any more questions regarding Office 365 or The Cloud?  Contact us, we’d be glad to help!

Microsoft Outlook Tips and Tricks for Better Email Productivity

With many of us now receiving over 50-100+ emails per day a cluttered inbox can become a real problem real fast.  Relying only on the Search feature isn’t always the best way to being productive in email.

Flagging email messages For Follow Up

Flags make it easier to find and track email messages in Outlook. You can flag messages for yourself, as visual reminders to take action later. You can also flag messages that you send to other people, to direct their attention or track their responses.  Lets take a look at a simple way you can use this feature to your advantage and make you more focused on your most important clients and emails.

I find that many users are missing the For Follow Up search folder in OutlookThis little trick helps you easily locate items you have flagged for follow up.

  1. Open Outlook
  2. On the Folder tab, in the New group, click New Search Folder.Office365-Outlook-New-Search-Folder
  3. In the New Search Folder dialog box, under Reading Mail, select Mail flagged for follow up, select the account you want this to apply to and then click OK.Office365-Outlook-New-Search-Folder-Dialog-Box
  4. Now in the Folder Pane on the left find the new folder For Follow Up
  5. Right click on the For Follow Up folder and left click on Add to Favorites
  6. Now you can left click on the For Follow Up folder in the Folder Pane and see all your Followup Flagged Emails.


Installing a Secure FTP Server on IIS

Installing a Secure FTP Server on Windows using IIS

You may want to install a secure FTP server on Windows either as standalone file storage or to have means of editing your website hosted on IIS (Internet Information Services) web server. In both cases, you can use an optional FTP Server component of the IIS. It can be installed standalone or along with a Web Server.1)

Installing FTP Server

On Windows Server 2012

  • In Windows Server Manager go to Dashboard and run Manage > Add Roles and Features.
  • In Add Roles and Features wizard:
    • Proceed to Installation Type step and confirm Role-based or feature-based installation.
    • Proceed to Server Roles step and check Web Server (IIS) role. Note that it is checked already, if you had IIS installed as a Web Server previously. Confirm installing IIS Management Console tool.
    • Proceed to Role Services step and check FTP Server role service. Uncheck Web Server role service, if you do not need it.
    • Proceed to the end of the wizard and click Install.
    • Wait for the installation to complete.

On Windows Server 2008 R2

If you do not have IIS installed yet:

  • In Windows Server Manager go to Roles node and in Roles Summary panel click Add Roles.
  • In Add Roles wizard:
    • Proceed to Server Roles step and check Web Server (IIS) role.
    • Proceed to Role Services step and check FTP Server > FTP Service role service. Uncheck Web Server role service, if you do not need it. Make sure Management Service > IIS Management Console role service is checked.
    • Proceed to the end of the wizard and click Install.
    • Wait for the installation to complete.

If you have IIS installed already (i.e. as a Web Server):

  • In Windows Server Manager go to Roles node and in Web Server (IIS) > Role Services panel click Add Role Services.
  • In Add Role Services wizard:
    • Check FTP Server > FTP Service role service.
    • Make sure that Management Service > IIS Management Console is checked.
    • Confirm with Next button.
    • Proceed to the end of the wizard and click Install.
    • Wait for the installation to complete.

On Windows Desktop (Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista)

  • Go to Control Panel > Programs > Program and Features > Turn Windows features on or off.
  • On a Windows Features window:
    • Expand Internet Information Services > FTP Server and check FTP Service.
    • Expand Internet Information Services > Web Management Tools and check IIS Management Console, if it is not checked yet.
    • Confirm with OK button.
    • Wait for the installation to complete.

Opening IIS Manager

  • Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools and open Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
  • Navigate to your Windows server node.

Creating Certificate for the FTPS Server

You need a TLS/SSL certificate to secure your FTPS server. Ideally you should acquire the certificate from a certificate authority.

You may also create a self-signed certificate locally, but in such case users of your FTPS server will be warned, when connecting to the server.

To create the self-signed certificate:

  • In IIS Manager, open IIS > Server Certificates.
  • Click on Create Self-Signed Certificate action.
  • Specify a certificate name (e.g. “FTP Server”) and submit with OK.

Note that Microsoft Azure Windows servers come with self-signed certificate, so you do not need to create one.

Servers behind external Firewall/NAT

If your server is behind a external firewall/NAT, you need to tell the FTP server its external IP address, to allow passive mode connections.

  • In IIS Manager, open FTP > FTP Firewall Support.
  • Specify your server’s external IP address.
    For Microsoft Azure Windows servers, you will find the external IP address in Public virtual IP (VIP) address section on Quick glance sidebar of your instance dashboard on Azure Management Portal; or as a Public IP on the instance desktop.

When behind an external firewall, you need to open ports for data connections (obviously in addition to opening an FTP port 21 and possibly an implicit TLS/SSL FTP port 990). You won’t probably want to open whole default port range 1024-65535. In such case, you need to tell the FTP server to use only the range that is opened on the firewall. Use a Data Channel Port Range box for that. Any time you change this range, you will need to restart FTP service. Learn how to open ports on Microsoft Azure.

Click Apply action to submit your settings.

Some external firewalls are able to monitor FTP control connection and automatically open and close the data connection ports as needed. So you do not need to have whole port range opened all the time, even when not in use. This won’t work with the secure FTPS as the control connection is encrypted and the firewall cannot monitor it.

Windows Firewall Rules

An internal Windows firewall is automatically configured with rules for the ports 21, 990 and 1024-65535, when IIS FTP server is installed.

The rules are not enabled initially though. To enable or change the rules, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall > Advanced Settings > Inbound Rules and locate three “FTP server” rules. If the rules are not enabled, click on Actions > Enable Rule.

Restarting FTP Service

While the internal Windows firewall is automatically configured to open FTP ports when FTP server is installed, this change does not seem to apply, until FTP service is restarted. The same is true for changing data channel port range.

To restart FTP service go to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools and open Services. Locate Microsoft FTP Service and click Restart service.

Adding FTP Site

To a Web Site

If you want to add FTP server to manage your web site remotely, locate your web site node in IIS Manager and:

  • Click Add FTP Publishing action.
  • In Add FTP Site Publishing wizard:
    • On an initial Binding and SSL Settings step, select Require SSL to disallow non-encrypted connections and select your certificate.
    • On Authentication and Authorization Information step, select Basic authentication and make sure Anonymous authentication is not selected. Select which users (Windows accounts) you allow to connect to the server with what permissions. You can choose All users or select only some. Do not select Anonymous users.
    • Submit with Finish button.

Your secure FTPS server is now running and can be connected to.

Standalone FTP Site

If you want to add a standalone FTP server to store/exchange files, locate Sites node (folder) of your Windows server in IIS Manager and:

  • Click Add FTP Site action.
  • In Add FTP Site wizard:
    • On an initial Site Information step, give a name to your FTP site (if it’s the only site you are going to have, simple “FTP site” suffice) and specify a path to a folder on your server’s disk that is going to be accessible using FTP.
    • On a Binding and SSL Settings step, select Require SSL to disallow non-encrypted connections and select your certificate.
    • On Authentication and Authorization Information step, select Basic authentication and make sure Anonymous authentication is not selected. Select which users (Windows accounts) you allow to connect to the server with what permissions. You can choose All users or select only some. Do not select Anonymous users.
    • Submit with Finish button.

Your secure FTPS server is now running and can be connected to.

Connecting to Your FTPS Server

For connecting to a Microsoft Azure Windows instance, see a specific guide.

Start WinSCP. Login Dialog will appear. On the dialog:

  • Select FTP protocol and TLS/SSL Explicit encryption.
  • Enter your Windows server hostname to Host name field. Avoid using an IP address to allow WinSCP to verify that the host name matches with host the server’s certificate was issued to (not applicable to self-signed certificates).
  • Specify username and password of Windows account you want to connect with (when using domain accounts, you need to specify full username with format domain\username).
  • You may want to save your session details to a site so you do not need to type them in every time you want to connect. Press Save button and type site name.
  • Press Login to connect.
  • If you are using self-signed certificate, you will be prompted to accept it.

Uploading files to a secure FTP server (sFTP)

 Upload Files to Secure FTP Server (sFTP)

This guide contains a simplified description of uploading files to a sFTP server with WinSCP.
Before starting you should:

Have WinSCP or similar FTP client installed;

Connect to your account on FTP server.

Once you are connected to your account of FTP/SFTP server, you will see content of default remote directory (typically a home directory of your account) on remote file panel.

If you want to upload the files to different directory, navigate there first.

Now you can simply drag the local files and drop them on remote file panel. By default transfer settings dialog will appear. Typically you do not want to change any settings, so just press Copy.

Uploading will proceed. Once it finishes, you will see uploaded file in remote file panel.


Microsoft Word Tip: Five Reasons You Should Be Using Track Changes

Love Track Changes 2
As best practice, most businesses follow a document review process before internally or externally publishing documents.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen people edit Microsoft Word documents in multiple ways: some highlight their changes, others use only the comments box, some strike out text, some print the document and edit on paper, and others – gasp! – don’t show their changes at all. Expert Word users, however, use Track Changes.

Word’s Track Changes was designed for the document review process. As someone with a passion for editing, I adore Track Changes, but even those who aren’t fond of the editing process can appreciate how useful Track Changes is for collaborating on document revisions.

You or your business should be using Track Changes in its document review process for the following reasons:

Reason 1: It’s easy to use! If you’re editing a document, under the Review tab, simply click Track Changes to turn Track Changes on, and click it again to turn it off.

Reason 2: With clear markup, you and other contributors can quickly review changes that have been made to the document. Track Changes also inputs a vertical bar in the left margin so you can see at a glance where even the smallest of changes were made.

Edited Text Track Changes
Reason 3: It’s easy to accept or reject changes. As the author, when reviewing someone’s changes, simply right click the changed text and select Accept or Reject.

Accept or Reject Change
If you want an even easier alternative, in some cases (depending on the text, the editor, and how much time you have), in the Review Tab click Accept or Reject, and select Accept All Changes or Reject All Changes to make immediate changes throughout the entire document.

Accept or Reject All Changes
Reason 4: For comparison, you can toggle between the original version, the final version, and the markup version. Do you struggle trying to read with markup on the page? Or do you want to see if the edits read better than the original version?

In the Review tab, open the Display for Review drop-down menu and select No Markup to read the edited text without distracting additions and deletions, then select Original to read the unedited text.

Change Views
Reason 5: You can see which user made the edit and when. If you have a question about a change or want to yell at an editor about a change (just kidding, don’t do that), hover your cursor over the changed text to see who made the edit and when.

Who Edited
Boot Networks is a Microsoft Partner and offers Office 365 subscriptions that give you the latest version of all of Microsoft’s applications, including Word. If you want help with Microsoft Word or switching to Office 365, get in touch with Boot Networks. We’d be happy to help you get the most of your Office applications.

How to protect your small business from crypto ransomware

Crypto Ransomware

Crypto Ransomware

Crypto ransomware has come a long way over the past 2½ years and no single solution can stop it 100% of the time. But the right recovery and mitigation strategies can help. Boot Networks keep small businesses a step ahead of this virulent threat and ensure their clients are effectively protected.


How to protect your Small Business IT Systems from Crypto ransomware:

  • Up-to-date Antivirus protection
  • Windows Updates
  • Cloud Backup

Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday

Tuesdays may seem uneventful to some, but on the second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft sends software updates, known as patches, to your computer. In 2003, Microsoft introduced these scheduled patches as a way of consolidating and better managing the deployment of fixes to their various applications. There are several positive and negative effects of this event that they have named “Patch Tuesday.”


By moving all of the error solutions and security updates into one patch that is released routinely, Microsoft can be better prepared and organized, allowing for ample time to test patches before they are released. The use of routine patches also addresses all variations of the question, “when will my issue be fixed?” However, due to large amounts of data contained within some of these patches, you may notice computer slowness or even downtime every second Tuesday. Large influxes of users log in on these Tuesdays, which may cause network issues. More importantly, if a bug or issue is discovered shortly after Patch Tuesday, it will take four weeks before you receive a solution the following Patch Tuesday. Microsoft does employ emergency patches for critical issues if those issues affect a large enough base of their clients. So please keep these details in mind if you are experiencing slowness or have an issue with your Microsoft application, and be sure to update every Patch Tuesday to ensure your computer is secure and up to date.

Unannounced System Update to Windows 10

If you noticed that your operating system suddenly changed today, you’re not alone! Many users have been updated to Windows 10 without approval. Learning a new operating system without notice while you’re managing normal daily operations can be difficult, to say the least. If you’d like help reverting back to Windows 7 or 8, or need help navigating Windows 10 or any other issues this change has caused, call or email us today.



In today’s digital world, it’s imperative to constantly set unique, and complex passwords for every website that requires a login. Setting the password is the easy part, remembering them is the hard part!

Lucky for you there is an APP for that. The premium password manager, LastPass. Create a LastPass account where you can store all of your passwords, automatically retrieve them, and improve your security. See what we mean and try it out for 1 month FREE!

Passwords Manager Software Application LastPass


  • Store Your Password in a Secure Vault
    All of your passwords and notes are stored safely in a vault. Easy-to-use, searchable, and organized the way you like.
  • Auto Fill every Password
    Save passwords as you browse, and LastPass will autofill the login for you next time you sign into that account.
  • One Account or Many
    Have multiple email accounts? Save unlimited logins for websites, and easily switch between them.
  • Convenient Access
    Get started on any device, free. Your LastPass vault is backed up and synced automatically where you need it.


LastPass has the tools to help you follow best security practices, with a unique, strong password for every account.


LastPass does more than remember your passwords. Keep track of other important information & simplify your online life.

lastpass secure notes

  • Keep Digital Records with Secure Notes
    Store insurance cards, memberships, prescriptions, WiFi logins and more, so your information is backed up and encrypted.
  • Profiles for Online Shopping
    Create a profile for every credit card and address, so making a purchase is just a few clicks – no typing required.
  • Share Passwords, Securely
    Pay bills with a spouse? Send encrypted passwords to others, easily sync changes & remove access when they’re done.


Your passwords are always there, with extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE and Opera, on every major platform.



Click Here For Your Free Trial



What are the benefits of having two monitors?

This is a question I’m still surprised to be asked even by small business owners. If your employees use their computers for four or more hours per day, upgrading to dual monitor set ups is a huge increase in productivity. Most current computers are already able to handle two screens, but if your computer is four to five years old, a simple graphics card upgrade can give it that capability. If you or your employees are constantly switching between their work in Word, Excel, Chrome, QuickBooks or Outlook, it might be time to upgrade. Most people don’t know how much simpler and easier it is to have a primary program on one screen while using the other screen for your secondary programs.

20160517_120401To demonstrate this, imagine a scenario where emails are extremely important and so Outlook needs to be up and active constantly, but the company has a second program that needs to be worked on as well. For us at Boot Networks, this is our ticket management program as well as our Outlook. With two monitors, I’m able to monitor any urgent emails and even compare information from two programs simultaneously. Taking an email and directly putting it into a client ticket or an Excel spreadsheet saves so much time and effort. It becomes seamless. I almost can’t work effectively without two monitors because I’ve becomes so used to the speed and ease of use.

It’s very difficult to convey the precedent set by using two monitors because it’s so much of a game changer. I’d recommend simply taking a spare monitor from someone who isn’t using it and plugging it in to the other VGA or HDMI port on your computer. Try it for a day. If it exceeds your expectations keep in mind that it generally only costs about $350.00 per new computer to make this change, and $450.00 per older computer. Employees will be grateful and more productive. It also improves the look of workstations and give your office an air of high technology and preparedness to any clients present in your office. Let Boot Networks know if this in an office upgrade you’ve been putting off for a while and would like our help with. Monitors are more cost effective, environmentally friendly, and easy to maintain than ever before. Don’t take our word for it, as I said before, just try it.

How to Add Files to OneDrive

Cloud OneDrive

Adding files to OneDrive is simple. When logged into OneDrive, you’ll notice at the top left a button that reads “New” with a drop-down arrow and a button that reads “Upload”, also with a drop-down arrow.

OneDrive Buttons

The “New” button’s drop-down menu allows you to create a folder or a file, including letting you choose what kind of file you want to create.

OneDrive Add File or Folder

The “Upload” button’s drop-down menu allows you to choose whether you want to upload a file or a folder.

OneDrive Upload File or Folder

Now let’s say you want to upload a whole folder, you simply click the “Upload” button and from the drop-down menu, select Folder. When you select Folder, a folder directory pops up allowing you to select which folder you want to upload.

OneDrive Select Folder to Upload

Another option for uploading files and folders is rather than using the “Upload” button, you have your file directory open next to your OneDrive window and simply drag and drop the file or folder onto the OneDrive screen.

As you can see, using the “New” button, the “Upload” button, and dragging and dropping, are three different and simple ways you can add files or folders to OneDrive.

Breaking News: How Secure are Your Accounts?

Email Security

NBCNews announced this morning that the passwords for 272.3 million email accounts have been recovered from hackers in Russia.

Of the 272.3 million, 40 million were Yahoo Mail accounts, 33 million were Microsoft Hotmail accounts, and 24 million were Gmail accounts.

According to NBCNews, hackers give away, sell, and abuse the information obtained through these stolen accounts. They also use the accounts to hack contacts and their credentials, multiplying the threats of financial theft and fraud.

Companies like Microsoft do their best to safeguard against unauthorized logins to your accounts, but each user and business should take precautions with their passwords.

These precautions include using a unique password for each of your accounts rather than re-using the same passwords, and changing your passwords regularly.

Given today’s announcement, Boot Networks recommends that you change your passwords, taking into consideration any consequences of the change, and that you call your email provider for information or instructions regarding how this news could affect your applications.

Of course, if you’re concerned about your home or small business accounts and would like additional help, our technicians are only a phone call away. For a small fee, we can remotely walk you through safeguarding your accounts and applications.

Changing your passwords often and using unique passwords can sometimes seem like more trouble than they’re worth, but today’s news shows how crucial it is to take these small steps.

Leaked! Password Resets

Earlier today, 272 million email log in credentials were stolen. Russian hackers were able to get a hold of Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and Microsoft email passwords. It is imperative that these passwords be reset, but with guidance. Boot Networks urges you to take steps to reset each one and we have written a guide on how to reset each one.

Please note, before changing anything, make sure these changes will not adversely affect your applications. Email account passwords are often interconnected and shared with many other programs such as Office, Google Docs, Outlook, Skype, OneDrive and others. Contact us or your provider before making any changes to asses the programs that will be affected by a reset. Please keep a copy of all old and new passwords before making changes in case the old password is still required for certain applications. Boot Networks is also willing to walk you through the process remotely for a small fee. Once you know the consequences reset the passwords of any account that may be compromised.

In each section, the first method is for those that are still able to log into their account and change their password from within. Method 2 is for those locked out of their account fully.


Method 1:

Follow this LINK.

Log into your account.

Select Account Security.

Select Change Password.

Enter your old password (if asked).

Enter your new password.

Ensure that it is at least 8 characters, with a number, a capital letter and a symbol of some kind.

Example: BrCr137!


Method 2:

Follow this LINK.

Enter your yahoo email address or phone number associated with the account.

Fill out the captcha provided.

Answer your security questions correctly.

Enter your new password.

Ensure that it is at least 8 characters, with a number, a capital letter and a symbol of some kind.

Example: BrCr137!

Google (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Earth, Google Drive): Follow this LINK.

Method 1:

Follow this LINK.

Select your account. If no accounts are listed, select “add account”. Log into your account.

Follow this LINK.

Select ‘signing in to Google; under the Sign-in & security section.

Select the Password Tab under the ‘Password & sign-in method’ section.

GooglepassEnter your old password (if asked).

Enter your new password. Confirm your new password. Click Change password

Ensure that it is at least 8 characters, with a number, a capital letter and a symbol of some kind.

Example: BrCr137!





Method 2:

Follow this LINK.

Select your account. If no accounts are listed, select “add account”.

Select the blue ‘Need help?’ option below the password box.

Follow the prompts google provides.

Each prompt uses a different method to help you recover a password. Use the option ‘Try a different question’ down at the bottom to switch prompts.

First, is using old passwords. If you enter an old password correctly, it will prompt you to reset your password.

Second, uses a phone tied to the account that has your google account on it. Without leaving the webpage, simply click the message google sends to your phone and google will direct you to reset your password through your webpage.

Third, send a code to your cell phone. You can either receive a text or phone call. Enter the code into your webpage and google will direct you to reset your password.

Fourth, Google will provide your password reset to an alternative email. Log into your other email to reset your password.

Googlepass1Each method will eventually arrive at this screen.

Enter your new password. Confirm your new password. Click Change password

Ensure that it is at least 8 characters, with a number, a capital letter and a symbol of some kind.

Example: BrCr137!






Microsoft (Hotmail, MSN, This account is the most crucial because it affect many different applications, both on your computer and online.

Method 1:

Follow this LINK.

Log into your Microsoft account

MicrosoftReset1In the upper right select the gear icon.

Select the Password option from the drop down.

Enter your old password (if asked).

Enter your new password.

Ensure that it is at least 8 characters, with a number, a capital letter and a symbol of some kind.

Example: BrCr137!




Method 2:

Follow this LINK.

Select through the prompts provided by Microsoft.

You will be asked to enter your email account and a captcha.

It will then ask where you would like a security code to be sent. Select either your email, alternate email or cell phone, whichever option is available.

Without leaving the webpage you have open, check your email or cell phone for the security code sent to you by Microsoft.

Once you receive a code, return to the webpage and enter the code in the box provided.



Finally it will bring you to a password reset screen. Enter your new password into both boxes. Ensure that it is at least 8 characters, with a number, a capital letter and a symbol of some kind.

Example: BrCr137!






If this feels overwhelming, please don’t hesitate to call us and let us walk you through the process. Peace of mind is important, I hope this blog helped you feel more secure.

Quick Tip: Zipping Files

I had a few Clients asking me how to save a bit of space on their hard drives or flash drives without removing files.

The trick is to compress the files. Here’s and easy way to do that.


Open File Explorer in Windows and navigate to the file or folder you want to zip.

Highlight the file or folder you want to zip.

Right click the highlighted items. A menu will populate. Move your mouse pointer to the “Send To” option.

Now click “Compressed folder”. Your zip will now appear in the same folder and you can then rename and do as you like with it. All of the highlighted files are now copied and stored in this new compressed folder in a reduced size. Delete the remaining files that were just compressed.


Hope this quick tip helped.


Want to share what’s on your screen, or tired of Print Screen?

The Snipping Tool was first added to Windows Vista and is included on all newer versions of Windows. This feature is perfect for taking specific capture of something you want to share on your screen or also a quick and easy screen capture to give someone the bigger picture.

To open the Snipping Tool, just like any program, click Start and begin typing “snipping tool” and it will show up as the first program. Click on Snipping Tool to begin.

In Snipping Tool, to snip a portion of your screen, click New.  Move your cursor to a corner of the section of the screen you want to capture. Hold down your left mouse button and drag it until you have captured the desired portion of the screen. Once you release the mouse button, a new window will pop up allowing you to draw on or edit the captured image.

To save this image, simply select the floppy disk or File and then Save As. If you want to put this image into a Word document, just click the Copy button or Edit and then Copy. While in Word, right click on your mouse and select Paste.

There are several other features including a delay, full screen snip, and a freeform snip that allows you to capture in any shape or size you desire.

The image is stored in three different file types depending on your needs: .png, .gif, and .jpeg (

Snipping Tool

(Image source:

Computer Upgrades

Without upgrades, maintenance and regular cleanings, computers have a life of about 4 to 5 years. Of course you’ll notice it slowing down long before then, but ultimately it should be upgraded or replaced if its reached half a decade.

Computers are constantly under stress. That is to say they are always hot, and just like a car engine, parts break down. More than anything computers need proper ventilation, which is why i recommend to never place them on carpet if it can be avoided. Some computers have fans located on the bottom of the case and will simply suck up more dust and particles from the carpet than it normally would. Not to mention, a computer on the group is more likely to be knocked over, bumped into or simply become dirty. if your desk has room or you own a side table, we recommend putting the computer is an area where it is easy to reach and properly ventilated.

To further avoid dust build up, simply clean it. Most people of scared of the idea of cleaning a computer, but it is rather simple and many guides can be found online that go into serious detail. Simply put, go buy a can of condensed air, turn off your PC and disconnect all cables. Once you’ve made sure to discharge all static on your body, open the case and it will be immediately clear how long your computer has gone without a cleaning. For newbies, simply stick to cleaning the fans and do not try to clean anything else. While holding the can steady and upright, use short bursts to discharge the dust away from the internals of the computer (face the nozzle out, or away). Once the fans and ventilation slits/holes are clear, close your case.

Be sure to take care of this about every 6 months to avoid overheating and to keep your parts in good condition.

Now let’s say you forgot to clean it for sometime and the parts are simply old and out of date. You may even be experiencing sporadic blue screens and inconsistent error messages. This is your computer telling you that your parts are going bad. An expert will need to be called out to look at the computer and let you know what parts need to be replaced.

There is also a simple way to check on your computer and give yourself some notice that parts may need to be upgraded.

With your mouse, hover over the start menu and right click it. You should be given a list of options including “system”. If not, simply browse to “my computer” in file explorer and right click it to find “system”.

computer information

This screen will give you all the information you need about 3 key pieces of your computer. It will give you information regarding your processor, RAM and operating system.

If one of the parts resembles the following, it will need to be upgraded or the computer will need to be replaced.


Processor – Intel core i3 at speeds < 2.5GHz

RAM – 4.0 GB

Operating system – XP or Vista


These are all indicators that the PC is old. Use this as an advanced notice to start planning to have it replaced. After looking into what you need out of your computer, do some shopping. If you need expert advice give us a call and we would be happy to upgrade or replace your computer for you, while walking you through every step of the process.

SEO: Blogging

Many of you have slowly been upgrading your websites to sleek modern wordpress sites, or something similar, but are not seeing increases in traffic. I wanted to chime in and help you with a small tip that can either slightly improve your website or greatly improve it by making it easier for Google to find you. I won’t go into deep detail on how Google’s algorithms find your site in particular because even the experts are very vague about it, but this simple trick will help.


Blogging is a small task that can have a big impact on your SEO (how easily Google find your site).

If your site allows for a blog, please make a menu item for it and start blogging immediately. I recommend twice a month. Blogging can be daunting, but these tips will help you start writting.

  1. Simple, but not boring. You want your clients to understand you and not get bored and leave the website. Blogging is all about attracting attention and holding it
  2. Knowledgeable, but relevant. Remember you can blog about anything but for purposes of SEO you need it to pertain to our business (technology, IT consulting, Services we provide, small business tips, ect).
  3. Focused. Keep it to the point and on point. 100 to 300 words is fine.
  4. Pictures. Include them. They help grab the attention of clients.
  5. Personalize it. Make sure to be exciting and fun and unique. Blogs are semi-professional. This means that they can be a little more energetic and juicy. Dry formal content will kill their attention spans.

These 5 tips have gotten me through a year of blogging on this site and they can also help you. However if you don’t want to blog, and SEO scares you, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can set up google analytics, blog and give your site the SEO it deserves. Remember each day your website sits and stagnates, is a day of lost money. Invest in blogging and SEO to ensure your website is not a waste.

Gadget of the Week: E-sports peripherals

Most offices use webcams to some extent and microphones to a lesser extent. Usually for meetings. Have you noticed something from sitting through all of those meetings, presentations and conference calls? The quality is terrible. Even at home when talking to loved ones, do they often ask you to speak up or move the microphone closer? Is the webcam unfocused and blurry? I’ve been using the same microphone and webcam for 3 years without a problem so it’s finally time to recommend it to everyone else in need of a solid, reliable, dependable set of peripherals to ensure meetings run smoothly.

About 3 years ago I was very passionate about an online video streaming centered around “e-sports” which is essentially competitive video games. The community was very young, but it had a lot of money and a lot of potential. Streamers were making decent salaries from literally just playing video games all day and interacting with the viewers online. I became very competitive at the most popular game at the time known as Starcraft 2. I bought all the peripherals, practiced daily and won several large tournaments. I would average 300 viewers daily. School picked up however and I chose a career in communications over e-sports. Since I left the community, e-sports has exploded. Players make 6 figure salaries and become quite popular on the internet. Two things this brief stint of e-sports taught me was how to properly set up my computer to ensure it communicates properly with others. That means a great webcam and a great microphone. If viewers couldn’t watch you excel at your game, you weren’t paid, so essentially they were almost as important as the game you played.

Let’s start with the webcam.


The Logitech c920. A plug and play webcam in HD. This 1080p beauty will deliver crisp clear images through skype, gotomeeting, or even if you were to create a youtube video. It is small, easy to contour to any screen and comes with very easy to use software. It will cost you 100$, but after 3 years I’d say mine has more than paid for itself. Its very much the ideal professional web camera for any need.


Now on to the microphone.



Blue has been making microphones for a while now. When they started off they were considered “over-priced and niche”. Now they are the go to microphone for anyone looking to be heard and heard well. This microphone can pick up sounds from the next room if you need it to. It is highly adjustable and of the highest recording quality without breaking into the thousands for professional studio recording equipment. It will cost about 100$ as well, but it is more than worth it.

With both of these devices in your conference room, or in your home office, you will come off as professional and organized during any meeting. After enjoying them for several years I can testify that once you upgrade your video and audio equipment you’ll question why you didn’t invest sooner. It feels like a whole level above all other equipment once installed. Never again will you have to struggle to be seen or heard. Be at the forefront of recording and never struggle with quality or Skype ever again.





Drive Size vs. Memory Size

You might be surprised to learn that drive size is different than memory size. So a 32 gigabyte drive is really closer to 28.88 gibibytes in memory.

Why the loss in size?

To make more money per byte, hard drive and thumb drive manufacturers don’t use the standard 1,024 megabytes in a gigabyte. Instead, they use 1,000.

This difference has created two size standards. For example: gibibyte and gigabyte, and mebibyte and megabyte. The “mega” and “giga”, regarding storage devices, refer to the advertised size at 1 gigabyte per 1,000 megabytes. The “mebi” and “gibi” refer to the actual size divided into one gibibyte per 1,024 mebibytes.

Wi-Fi and wireless internet

Do you own a laptop or computer with a Wi-Fi connection? Chances are you’ve had it act up, lose connection, or altogether stop working. Hopefully its not the latter because you’d be unable to read this blog. Unsure of what kind of connection your computer has and just want to learn more about it? Let’s start there.

In the bottom right of your desktop you’ll see something a tiny computer icon similar to this:     blogpic which means you have a wired connection

Or waves coming from a dot similar to this: windows-10-netsh-wlan which means you have a wi-fi connection.

If you see these exact images plus a red X or a yellow !, that means your internet is either disconnected or experiencing issues.

So there are several issues that stem from having wireless internet and the main one I hear often is connectivity. The most common factors for a loss of connectivity are generally caused by the wireless router, the internet modem, or the computer itself.

Wireless Router: header-wnr1000-hero-photo-large

Your wireless router is responsible for creating a wireless signal for your computer to communicate with. It converts the internet into a wireless signal. It is also responsible for how far reaching that signal is and how strong it is. If you walk into another room and lose connection it is because your router lacks range. We recommend reading the back of the box carefully before buying these to ensure they reach all rooms of your house/business. These are very simple devices that require little to no maintenance and should often be left alone after installing unless otherwise instructed.


Internet Modem:Motorola_570763_006_00_SBG6580_DOCSIS_3_0_WIRELESSS_845334

Internet Modems are responsible for taking the coaxial cable from your wall and converting it into an Ethernet cable, among other things. Essentially it is responsible for your internet, much like a cable box is responsible for your Cable. Often these devices will come paired with a router as a “2 in 1” for home usage. We recommend buying them separate if given that option because 2 in 1’s tend to be cheaper and break easier. These devices are supplied to you by either your IT department/company or your internet provider. They are often overlooked when addressing an internet problem. If all other options have failed, simply resetting these devices can often fix your internet. We only recommend resetting them if everyone is having internet issues rather than one computer.


Personal Computer:Networks

The root of most internet connection issues stems from the computer itself. A common issue is simply connecting to the wrong network. By clicking the wi-fi icon (as seen above) you will be greeted with a list of available networks. Ensure you have the proper password and connect to the one you desire. If you are lacking the signal you desire, ensure you are in range, that the router is turned on, and that your wi-fi is turned on. To enable wi-fi for a laptop simply press the FN key followed by the corresponding F key with a wi-fi symbol on it. Some older laptops and desktops have a wi-fi switch instead of buttons on the keyboard. If your wi-fi still isn’t turning on or giving you error messages follow these steps to update and reset your wi-fi adapter.

Start menu/search > Control Panel >hardware and sound > Device manager – Once in the device manager window, select the Network adapters option.


This is showing you all of your computer’s adapters that allow you to connect to the internet. If you are experiencing issues with your wi-fi it is most likely this adapter acting up.

Right click on the adapter itself to display all options available. First step we recommend is to update the drivers. If the wi-fi is still turned off after the update, select the disable option. After a full restart of your laptop/computer, go back into the same window and re-enable the adapter. If this hasn’t corrected the problem, there may be an issue with the hardware itself and we recommend consulting your IT department or giving us a call.

Of course there are many other causes of connection issues such as your internet provider, poor internet speeds, DNS issues or IP issues, but they are extensive and will be covered at a later date. I hope this small piece of information helped to inform and enlighten when it comes to Wi-Fi.




Blue Screen of Death

It’s the time of year everyone is getting sick and I am no exception. So during my time of illness I thought I’d write about a very common “illness” your computer may come down with. Everyone has heard of it, but not everyone has experienced it first hand. I am referring to the Blue screen of death that windows machines can encounter. It seems scarier than it should be for a number of reasons. When encountering this error, your work will be interrupted, your desktop will disappear and you will be greeted by a screen that is entirely blue with white writing across its face. It will let you know that windows has encountered an error and the computer will need to be restarted.

Once restarted your computer will likely greet you with a message in your action center letting you know that an error occurred and it need to be analysed. Let windows analyse the error. Sometimes Blue screens are very intermittent and are not a major issue, but other times it can cause the computer to be completely unusable. So what are some common ways to fight this “illness”? Well most Blue screens are caused by hardware issues, driver issues or viruses.

Here are the best ways to keep it from happening again:


Use a system restore: Located in the control panel. This can only be done if a previous back up is in place. To create a back up simply let windows run a back up (also located in control panel).


Scan for Viruses or Malware: The program we recommend is Malware Bytes. Also ensure Windows Defender is turned on.


Update Drivers for Software/ Keep them up to date: Be sure to monitor your action center and keep drivers up to date as you work. Open your Device manager and right click each device. Look for the “Update driver” option in the list of device options.


Check for hardware problems: Run the memory diagnostics tool from your search bar. Be sure to clean your computer quarterly with compressed air while it is off, unplugged and outside to avoid overheating.


Reinstall/ Upgrade Windows: Locate your windows disk after you have backed up all data to an external location and reinstall windows.



If none of these tips seemed to work then its time to replace on of the following hardware pieces: Video Card, RAM, Power Supply.

These can be costly to replace and can often be difficult without computer knowledge. Replacing the entire computer may be the worst case scenario if all other efforts have failed.

Blue screens are difficult to diagnose and are frustrating so don’t feel as though you are at fault. Before giving up all hope be sure to give us a call so we can take a look at your ill computer and recommend the most cost efficient way to move forward.

Gadget of the week: Chromecast

More and more people are dropping off their cable boxes and switching to online streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix.

I haven’t had to pay for cable in over 3 years thanks to Netflix. Mostly I watch my shows on my computer or tablet, but recently I bought a smart TV. The beauty of a smart TV is that once connected to Wi-Fi, it handles all of my streaming needs. Most of us however do not need a new TV or do not have the money to invest in a smart TV. I know of a device that can save you the hassle and the money. For Christmas I rediscovered this device that I never had a chance to play with until last week. Its called a Google Chromecast. Its a small device, no larger than a credit card and it plugs into any TV equipped with an HDMI plug.

This device costs as little as 30$ and instantly transforms your TV into a smart TV as long as you have the following:

Good wireless internet


a Smart phone/Tablet

That’s it.


Plug in the device. Switch the input on your TV to HDMI and the Chromecast walks you through the whole process itself. There’s a simple app to download on your Phone and then all of your other apps becomes capable of streaming to your TV. Here’s a short list I’ve come up with after playing with it for a week.






Pandora Radio

Amazon Instant Video



There is also an option to stream your live phone to your TV, creating an instant presentation right from your phone. The possibilities on this little device are limitless. For 30$ this is the perfect gift to pick up during the Post-Holiday sales. Let us know if you have any other questions about your TV’s, streaming or Chromecasts.

Holiday System Shutdowns: Protect Your Data


Do you plan to shut down your company’s data storage system during the holidays? If so, to avoid potential service interruption and a headache in the New Year from data loss, read on.

You might be wondering why we’re warning you about a standard shutdown, and how a shutdown could lead to data loss. Well, there are a few ways!

First, electronics could suffer damage from sudden changes in energy flow. Second, if you run your systems year-round, all of its moving parts, heated by constant operation, will cool and contract when stopped. This contraction could cause complications or failure for a hard drive. Finally, latent defects could pop up for solid state devices when you reboot.

So what can you do to avoid data loss from a shutdown? Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about electronic malfunctions, but there’s one way you can make sure you don’t suffer unnecessarily in the New Year: backup, backup, backup. Yes, make at least three data backups, and save at least one of them in an offsite location. The more backups the merrier this holiday season! Be sure, as well, to shut down your systems properly.

If you need any help preparing to properly shut down your systems for the holidays, or if you experience any data loss or difficulties rebooting in the New Year, please get in touch with us. If you do have a headache after New Year’s, we’d like to help make sure it’s not because of your IT systems!

Get the Most out of Your Flash Drive: Creating a Two Partition Hidden Bootable and Storage Flash Drive

Most people use flash drives for storage, but did you know that you can use it to boot a different operating system on your computer? Or to perform actions that Windows would otherwise block you from performing, like drive scans or disk checks while the operating system isn’t initialized?

This tutorial walks you through how to create a hidden bootable drive on your flash drive. With this hidden drive, you’ll have endless possibilities with the types of tools you could use on your computer. IT professionals and savvy tech users alike will have a new appreciation for their flash drives!

To transform your flash drive, you’ll need the following:

  • Basic Knowledge of navigating Windows directories.
  • Basic knowledge of removable storage media.
  • Hardware: Computer and Flash Drive.

Note: For this tutorial, I used a Silicon Power Jewl J80 – 32 GB Flash Drive.

Step 1: Partitioning the Flash Drive

To partition the flash drive into a storage drive and bootable drive, use EaseUS. With EaseUS, you’ll format the flash drive before creating and activating the partitions. To begin, insert the USB Flash Drive, open EaseUS, and follow the steps below.

Step 1.1: Format the Flash Drive to FAT32

  1. In EaseUS, click EaseUS Partition Master Free.
  2. Locate the flash drive and select it.
  3. In the toolbar, click Format.
  4. In the File System field, ensure FAT32 is selected. Leave defaults for the Partition Label and Cluster Size fields.


  1. Click OK.
  2. In the upper left toolbar, click Apply.

Note: Alternatively, among several other ways, formatting the flash drive can be done through the Windows format utility as a quick format.

Step 1.2: Split the Flash Drive into Two Partitions

  1. With the flash drive selected, click Resize/Move.
  2. Under “Decide size and position”, adjust the bar and partition size as desired to create two partitions: one storage partition, and one boot partition with unallocated space. 

Figure 1

Note: For this tutorial, I’m using a flash drive with an advertised drive size of 32GB and breaking it up into a boot partition that’s approximately 8GB and a storage partition that’s approximately 20GB.

  1. Click OK.
  2. In the upper left toolbar, click Apply.

Step 1.3: Create the New Bootable Partition

  1. Select the boot drive with the unallocated space that you created in the previous step.
  2. In the upper center toolbar, click Create.
  3. In the warning that appears, click Yes.
  4. In the Partition Label field, name the partition as per your preference. For example, I labeled the partition, “Boot” for easy identification.
  5. For the Create As field, choose Primary.
  6. For the File System field, choose FAT32.
  7. Click OK.
  8. In the upper left toolbar, click Apply.

Step 1.4: Mark the Boot Partition Active

  1. Select the boot partition that you just created
  2. Click Set Active.
  3. Click OK.
  4. In the upper left toolbar, click Apply.

Step 2: Making the Boot Partition Accessible

To make the boot partition accessible so you can write boot files to it, you’ll use Bootice. Open Bootice to mark the partition as active and accessible by following the steps below.

Step 2.1: Mark the Bootable Partition Active

  1. In the destination disk drop down menu, select the flash drive, most likely labeled RM#.
  2. Click Parts Manage.

figure 2

Step 2.2: Set the Bootable Partition as Accessible

  1. Select the Boot volume label or the partition you want to boot from. For me, it’s the 8GB partition labeled, Boot.
  2. Click Set Accessible.
  3. Click OK.

Step 3: Making the Partition Bootable

To make the partition bootable, you’ll write the utilities and distributions to the boot partition using Sardu. Open Sardu, click through the prompts, skip registration, and follow the steps below.

Note: There are several things you can do with Sardu. I’m only going to go over the Sardu functions that are necessary right now. 

Step 3.1: Select the Bootable Linux Distributions or Utilities You Want to Install

  1. Click the download button to begin the download for your desired Linux distributions or utilities. Clicking download may not automatically select the file to be written to the drive.
  2. On the Downloads Page, click the Start button (the big arrow) to start the downloads manually.

Note: For ISO files, you can get them from a third party rather than downloading them through Sardu.

Step 3.2: Select the Utilities You Want to Install

Step 3.3: Make the Boot Partition Bootable

  1. Click the Search USB button
  2. Click the drop down to select your flash drive.
  3. Click the Create USB button

Step 4: Hide the Boot Partition by Marking the Storage Partition as Active

Re-open Bootice and make the storage partition active and accessible by following the steps below.

  1. From the drop-down menu, select the flash drive.
  2. Click Parts Manage.
  3. Set the storage partition as active.

Step 5: Use the Bootable Partition You Created

You’re ready to use the flash drive as a bootable drive! Before beginning, ensure “booting from USB” is enabled through your BIOS.

  1. With the flash drive in a USB port, restart your computer.
  2. As your computer boots up, press the F8 key once every second until the boot menu shows up, or press a computer specific key for boot options.
  3. Choose the bootable partition (being careful not to choose UEFI) you just created.

Step 6: Enjoy!



Outlook 2010 Safe Mode Error

With the latest patch released by Microsoft (12/08/15) we are met with a set of errors and issues.  The largest issue causes outlook 2010 users to be stuck in safe mode. They have since recalled their patch and apologized. It is a simple fix, but a very important one. We wrote out some very basic instructions to remove it from Windows 7.


  1. Close Outlook
  2. Go to Start, navigate to your control panel using your search.
  3. Search for programs and features in control panel.
  4. In the programs and features window, to the left look for the view installed updates text in blue.
    1. Select View installed updates
    2. In the list of updates, locate and select update ‘outlook 2010 (KB3114409)’
    3. then select Uninstall
  5. Restart your computer

This will fix the issue. Microsoft will be releasing a new patch as soon as possible, but in the meantime let us know if you are still experiencing issue since Tuesday’s update.

Simple tip: Default save location in Word

Most people get frustrated when Microsoft Word keeps pointing them to the wrong directory when saving files. This is an easy fix however and we will walk you through changing the default save location in only a few steps.


  1. Open word
  2. Select file > Options
  3. Save tab option
  4. Select the browse button next to “default local file location”
  5. Browse to the folder you wish to save files to by default



Its as simple as that. For any other word questions, send us an email to and we’d be happy to help you out.

Simple Tip – Startup Programs

Most brand new computers seem to be slow when first booted up and this is usually due to a very simple and easily fixable problem. When buying a new computer from a store it is often reinstalled with a lot of programs that are unnecessary. In the industry we call these programs “bloatware” and they can be found in almost all technology including you phone. We have talked about Adware in the past, but bloatware is slightly different. Unlike adware this is not specifically targeting your wallet with ads. Instead this software is what companies like Dell and Sony are paid to put on their machines for you to use. To spot these programs simply look for large memory eating programs that always run as soon as your computer starts and generally perform a function windows does naturally. Examples include media programs, ‘performance’ monitoring programs, graphics programs and software for peripherals (not drivers). Unfortunately some of these aren’t bloatware and are important for your computer to run effectively, so instead of deleting them all there is a much simpler way to avoid them from affecting your performance.

When a computer boots up it is told to first run your operating system and then a group of programs it has been programmed to run. Bloatware is always among these startup programs if you bought your computer from the store. The first step after buying a new computer is to disable these programs so your computer isn’t weighed down as it tries to boot up. Don’t worry if you disable a program that’s important, it will start up when needed.


  1. Use the search bar in the lower left of your computer
  2. Enter ‘system configuration’ – select the option to match the search
  3. Once the system configuration window is open, select the tab labelled ‘Startup’
    1. In windows 10 this will redirect you to the task manager
  4. In the startup tab, a list of programs will appear statuses
  5. simply right-click on the program to disable/enable it
  6. disable all programs you don’t immediately use upon startup



There should only be a select few programs you want on start up such as Outlook or Skype, but even they can be loaded the normal way after your computer is turned on. Once you’ve disabled all but a select few programs you will notice a dramatic increase in boot time the next time the computer is restarted. Remember if any program is necessary, it will boot when it is needed. Just because it doesn’t boot when the computer does, doesn’t mean it never will. Most programs simply load when a file or action you make calls upon them. Keep in mind the bloatware will still be taking up hardware space because it is not removed. This will however free a lot of RAM and your performance will be able to handle a lot more programs before diminishing.

If you have identified unwanted programs or bloatware and are certain you want them removed follow this process.


  1. Use the search bar in the lower left of your computer
  2. Enter ‘programs’ – select the control panel option ‘programs and features’
  3. In the programs and features window, a list of programs will appear
  4. Select the program you wish to uninstall and right-click it and select the uninstall/delete option



Please be careful with the uninstallation of programs. Only uninstall or delete files/programs from your computer if you are absolutely sure it is unneeded.

If you have any questions about the steps or processes above, do not hesitate to email or call us. We can also take care of all bloatware remotely ourselves if you are uncomfortable with the procedure yourself. Bloatware is a performance killer, but it is easy to remove if you follow our steps and take your time with the clean up process.

Gadget of the Week: Surface Book

Microsoft has been experimenting with their Surface tablets for a few years and I was the first to buy one. I always found the surface to be an easy and fast tool to do little jobs or emergency tasks. It however was never a great substitute for a real honest laptop. Well Microsoft finally answered that dilemma with their newest release. The Surface book is comparable to a Macbook pro in many ways. They are a similar price, a similar design and with similar components. They do differ in two ways however, the Surface has a touch screen and a major speed advantage. This little machine runs full windows 10 and all of it’s office partners. With a fully working touch screen and stylus, it is easy to use and very handy. After reading extensive articles on the device and having held one first hand in store, this machine is light weight and perfect for anyone looking for a portable workstation that can handle all work and school challenges.


It has many models that scale up from its base specifications, but even at bare minimum this is a great device for $1500.


Here are its base specifications:


3.48 pounds (1576 grams)


Solid state drive: 128GB

Can be upgraded to 1 TB

512GB recommended


Screen: 13.5”

Touch enabled, with stylus


6th Gen Intel Core i5

Can be upgraded to an i7

Please note this full processor in such a small device


i5: Intel HD graphics (non-GPU)

Can be upgraded to i7: NVIDIA GeForce graphics (GPU)

This upgrade can allow it to play most games on high settings – The base model is capable of lower resolutions



Can be upgraded to 16GB – recommended


This is a highly efficient, budget friendly laptop capable of doing almost anything and is able to compete with other top brands. Microsoft is pushing what powerful hardware can fit into these laptops and we are excited to see them continue to push the limits of technology. Please let us know if you are looking for a laptop or have any questions on this particular device.





The Icons of the Taskbar

The most common questions we get are generally regarding the messages that pop up in the bottom right corner with the icons of the taskbar.

Windows 10 Upgrade icon

These icons exist on all current versions of windows from 7 to 10. They can be confusing and almost all of the notifications that pop up look urgent even if they are benign. In this blog we will give you a wick rundown of the main icons, their meaning, their messages and their urgency.


Here’s the latest one that everyone asks about.


This is the windows 10 upgrade. By clicking on this icon windows will walk you through an upgrade to it’s latest operating system. For more information on windows 10 please see our windows 10 blog. Any messages from this icon can be ignored unless you wish to upgrade. If you want to hide the icon simply right click on it and there should be an option to remove it.


Here is another common icon.



This is the Java icon. It is usually associated with an update java is asking for. Most of the time it is perfectly safe to upgrade your java version. Java allows for certain websites and programs to run properly on your computer. Simply click on its notifications when it asks for an upgrade to open the upgrade wizard which will walk you through the process. Be sure to read the instructions and uncheck any box that may set a new homepage or change your default browser.


Not as common as the first two but equally important.



This is the icon used for adobe. If this is sending you messages its most likely because you need to upgrade a piece of their software. The two most common pieces of adobe software include Flash and Reader. Flash is a media player that allows you to view certain websites and is highly important to keep up to date. Reader is the main piece of software most computers use to read PDFs. Both of these adobe products are important and necessary for everyday productivity.


Let’s also cover some scary looking windows based icons. These are icons windows has that show you something is wrong with your computer.



This familiar one means you have no internet connection. This is generally associated with computers using a hardline rather than wifi. Generally you can click on the icon to view details and even troubleshoot it with windows. Ensure your ethernet is properly connected and your router is not turned off or disconnected.

yellow-signal-on-taskbar D-Link-DIR-506L-windows7


These icons are similar to the lack of internet, but they are warning you about your wifi. The first is showing a connection, but no internet. The second one is showing a lack of a connection to a wifi network. Simply click on the icons to view more information. Windows often offers help with how to fix it or a troubleshoot option.


Here’s the big one. This will most likely prompt you the most and is the most important to never ignore.








This little flag is known as your action center. Microsoft put together a location where your computer could put all of its non-third party messages in one place for you to easily access them. The flag will generally be white but sometimes with will appear with a red X. Do not be alarmed, it is simply asking you to check in a view its notifications.


These notifications can range from a windows update to a back up not being set up. Most of these messages are not urgent, but we recommend you set up a back up immediately if it is asking you to. Windows will walk you through the back up process if you click on the action center notification. As for windows updates, these should always be a top priority. If your computer is asking for one, don’t delay. Update your windows when you have a period to do so.


There are many other icons and many of them are specific to the software you downloaded. The important ones include any cloud back ups you may have set up such as onedrive or carbonite. These should always be inspected and never ignored. If you have an third party anti-virus installed, most of the notifications you receive from them are to either run a scan or run an update. Do both often or whenever you’re prompted. Please always keep in mind all messages and icons can be hidden simply by clicking on the upwards pointing arrow next to the icons and selecting Customize. In this menu you may select what icons are displayed and what are hidden. If you have an icon giving you intimidating messages or a notification you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will walk you through it and explain everything.

Alert: Windows 10

Many of you are probably excited about windows 10. While it is streamlined and wonderful technology it has some initial problems. It is most certainly a bleeding edge piece of software and you should steer clear of upgrading for a few months. Yes we know it is free, but that isn’t justification enough to download it just yet. After some initial tests we have noticed specific drivers and software do not work on windows 10 and many old programs do not have a compatibility packs for 10 yet. In simple terms this means that printers and other peripherals may not work after upgrading and company specific software will not function as designed. This would most certainly cause a delay in company productivity.

To clarify, we still think windows 10 is great and has major potential, just wait until the bugs are cleaned out and other companies have a chance to catch up and ensure their own software is compatible.

We will keep you up to date in the coming months and let you know when we feel it is safe to upgrade your systems.

For now don’t worry if your an operating system behind the rest, productivity is much more important than being on the most current trend in technology.

Let’s cover the basics: simple fixes

Many people often ask about certain common items that appear on their PC. These Include:



Your computer will often prompt you when it needs to install an update. Most of the time it is perfectly safe to accept and run these updates. After they are installed be sure to save your work and restart your PC for it to take affect. Updates will cover security issues and fix problems the software may be facing and therefore its is generally a good idea to update programs when they ask.

Here are all the main programs that are safe to run updates on every-time:



Internet Explorer






For all others please contact us for advice.



Warnings come up every once in a while when your web-browser, anti-virus or windows thinks it has found something important to alert you of. These can range from an unknown USB stick being installed, to a new website it has never seen before. Often by reading the warning you can judge the importance and urgency. If you were the one to navigate to the website or install the new peripheral, its OK to disregard the warning. However if its warning you for something you don’t believe you caused, take the warning seriously and back out of the action. If you are unsure, calling us is always an option. We can give you a quick response and solution to the warning.


Internet connectivity problems-

Sometimes an update may disrupt your internet connection or your email connectivity. To remedy this often times simply restarting your computer will fix this issue. Often times it can also be your modem or even your internet provider themselves. Please check your modem and make sure there are no flashing red lights. If there are, be sure to either contact us or your internet provider.


Scary Websites-

Ever navigated to a website you are unsure of? Most times websites are safe to browse to especially if you have an anti-virus installed. However be careful and navigate away from the site if you don’t believe you should be on the site. To protect against spam (not viruses) please download Ad-block plus. This nifty plug-in will protect Chrome and Firefox users from adware, spam, and adds.



Is your anti-virus prompting you? Does it say you are overdue for a scan? Your anti-virus is generally looking out for you best interest. Run the scan or the optimization it is asking for. Save your work and restart your computer after the scan is finished running. If it is telling you you have unwanted files or viruses on your computer be sure to contact us and we will remove all unwanted spyware/viruses from your PC. If you are noticing slowness or viruses but your anti-virus isn’t catching them, we can root them out and clear them for you.


I hope these simple fixes can help you get through the common problems you face. Contact us if these simple fixes didn’t quite resolve your issues.

Internet Reputation – WordPress websites

Many businesses have taken the progressive step in building an online reputation. This means that anyone, current client or potential client, searching for businesses online will find online resources that reflect your business. The key is molding this online reputation to suit your liking so clients know exactly what your business can do for them while giving them a positive impression of your goals and the services you can provide for them.


This can be achieved through three simple steps.

Social media – Facebook and LinkedIn

Websites – An official website to represent your company

Review sites – Yelp and Google Plus


In this blog we will not touch on Social media and review sites, as they are easily researched and set up. Websites however are a tricky subject. A business cannot simply set up a website and expect it to generate business. Google is the main tool people use to search through websites and Google usually disregards stagnate websites. Google likes fresh websites with frequent updates. If your company has no website or an old website, people online simply aren’t finding you or are finding incomplete information about you.

Here’s where WordPress websites comes into play. WordPress is a software that can be used to build and manage your website. Most WordPress templates (themes used to build the website) are free and easy to use. It focuses on user friendly interface and open source customization. Each WordPress website can look and feel unique to your business. There are tons of tutorials online that show you how to use WordPress and manage your website.

Most importantly however, is the focus WordPress has on SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization; simply put its what helps Google find your website among the thousands of websites out there. This SEO is what helps build reputation the most and is the main factor responsible for attracting new clients. Most websites make SEO a pain and difficult to implement, but WordPress however makes it your main focus.

They do this in two ways:

Blogging – Weekly content, articles or news added to your site that boost SEO

Keyword focus – Word that inform Google your website represents certain topics people search for


Best of all, a very busy business can manage and use their website with very minimal frustration and wasted time. Once built WordPress will require updates and more content as your business progresses, but they can become a scheduled routine rather than a difficult burden. If Websites still seems to frustrate and confuse you Boot Networks offers a consultation and presentation explaining in detail the logistics and process of building and managing a WordPress website.

More Information


Software issues and Computer performance

So what happens if your computer isn’t working correctly, but you just bought it? All of your hardware is up to date and yet less than a week out you are finding performance issues with your machine. This is most likely due to software issues.

Hardware – physical components that make up your computer. Example: Hard Drive

Software – virtual components that run on your computer. Example: Microsoft Office

If your computer was not custom built than its going to come loaded with a ton of programs you don’t need. Also it will come with sponsored software that may not be the fastest or most efficient.

Three initial steps to take care of.


1. Ensure you have proper protection from viruses.

Viruses are the main cause of slowness. Take preventative measures to ensure you never get them in the first place. This can come in the form of paid anti-virus like Norton or Mcafee. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t have them because windows has a pre installed “Defender” that protects well against threats on the internet.


2. Switch browsers. Run updates.

We recommend you download Google chrome. It is much faster than Internet Explorer and easier to use. Keep Internet explorer installed because it can sometimes run older sites much better than current browsers (use I.E. when work refers to an old site that doesn’t appear to be running in chrome). Also be sure to run any software, OS, or program updates when prompted. This will allow them to run optimally. Slowness is sometimes a simple error by the developers of the software and updates are pushed out to clients to fix these issues.


3. Uninstall pre-installed programs

Go into the search bar of the operating system and find the option ‘remove programs and features’. This tool in windows will allow you to search through all of your programs in a giant list and see which you don’t need. Unfortunately determining which is which often takes a keen eye or a good Google search. Once you’ve found which programs you don’t use, uninstall them and you will notice an immediate difference in performance upon rebooting.


Particularly in step three we recommend consulting us if you are unsure or have any questions. Boot Networks will also come on-site and fix any software issues you may be facing with even older machines. Viruses are a common occurrence for even new machines. We can remove those as well to ensure your productivity isn’t limited by computer slowness.

A full disgnosis will allow for a direct answer as to why your computer is acting strange. At times it’s a mix of software and hardware. Let an IT professional fun a few tests on your computer to tell you exactly what’s going on before spending a lot of money troubleshooting a potentially difficult set of software issues.

Computer improvements

Let’s talk about components, bottlenecks, computer limitations, and what you actually NEED when it comes to computer improvements and specifications. Many clients ask me how to speed up or improve the performance of their computer. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, this is best achieved by upgrading your hard drive to a solid state drive. However, I want to stress how important it is to know how much is too much and to keep your components in balance. If you spend way too much money improving your hard drive, you will lack funds to improve other parts of the computer that might be slowing you down as well.

*Before I dive into this fully, if your company has computers older than 3-5 years, replacing them entirely may be cheaper than replacing parts.  If your processor does not meet the recommended specifications below I would suggest a new machine entirely because a processor and its installation are costly.

RAM – Random access memory

Think of RAM as your computer’s conscious mind. This is generally what your computer is using every-time you have a program running. Ever noticed a slowness in your computer while you have 4 or more programs running? This is most likely due to a low amount of RAM. Your computer can only juggle a certain amount of programs based on your RAM. RAM tends to be an inexpensive component to upgrade for most computers and you will most likely notice a performance increase almost immediately.


Think of your processor as your computer’s intelligence. This is how fast your computer can run programs. Keep in mind programs can only run at their maximum speed, therefore an infinitely smart computer can still only run a program so fast. Most household computers and small business computers using the basic suite of programs (word, excel, outlook, browsers) don’t need a lot of processing power.  These programs are not complex enough to strain most average processors. If you notice any slowness in processing power we recommend turning off active scanning by your anti-virus because this takes up a lot of processing power.

Hard Drive

Think of your hard drive as your computer’s memory; its sub-conscious. This is literally how much stuff you can store on your computer. If you have a lot of pictures and videos this is the space in which you store them, therefore the more space you have the more videos and pictures. Remember you also store programs on the hard drive as well. When you close your program and it’s no longer being actively used by your computer, your hard drive already has it saved it so it can be used later. If you want to use that program again you computer has to find it on your hard drive and “remember” it so your RAM and processor can take over. There are two different kinds of hard drives Solid state and Hard disk drive. A solid state drive is similar to a Flash Stick. It has no moving parts, it is much faster but also much more expensive. A Hard Disk Drive uses a spinning disk and therefore has moving parts which makes it slower, but is able to store more information quite inexpensively. The faster the hard drive, the quicker your computer can find and boot programs (including your operating system). Installing an operating system and all programs on a Solid State Drive while keeping your pictures and documents on a Hard Disk Drive will allows for fast boot times and maximum space.


As I said these three components need to be in balance. If you have too much RAM but a slow hard drive, the program will still boot slowly. If you have a good processor but no RAM your computer will only handle so many programs at once before slowing down. Keeping them all up to standard is what’s most important. On a limited budget I recommend spending anywhere from 100-300$ to improve the RAM and Hard drive. If you are looking to spend more than that amount I recommend replacing your system entirely.

Here’s what we recommend for the average small business computer or in home user:

RAM: 8 GB (up to 16 if you can afford it)

Hard Drive: 250GB of Solid state + 500GB-1TB traditional hard drive (most computer can hold multiple hard drives and different types)

Processor: i5 at 2.00GHz or better (Not usually upgraded)


I hope this cleared up any misconception you may have had with the various parts that comprise the inside of your computer. Other parts such as your Video card and motherboard are essential to your computer running smoothly, but they are not covered here simply because the information isn’t relevant in performance discussions when it comes to small business computers. Contact us if you want Boot Networks to make the necessary improvements or built you a computer from the ground up.

Adobe Kuler

When working on a digital project such as a website design or a logo for a business, a key issue everyone faces is deciding on a color scheme. Looking for complimentary colors, new color shades or just getting ideas for a theme? Adobe, the creators of Photoshop, have the perfect tool for you. Their color wheel tool is great for playing with colors and it encourages experimentation. Once you’ve decided on a color it will show you a color scheme, colors to pair it with and even give you the digital color numbers so you can put them right into the program you’re using.

To use the tool, simply drag the circle with the arrow inside to the color you like. Then use the color rule tab on the left hand side to determine what the other four color circles will show. Then simply look to the bottom of the page to find all of the digital color numbers.

The website for Adobe Kuler can be found here

Gadget of the Week: Samsung SD590C Curved Monitor

Curved monitors and TVs have been flooding the market lately and many people have been buying them but are they worth it? A curve offers something one can only understand once they’ve used the product for a period of time and that’s immersion.  What I mean by immersion is that once you have the screen in front of you it appears to wrap around you and fill your field of vision much better than a normal flat screen. This gives a better experience when watching a movie or playing a Video game because you feel less distracted and more “inside the scene”. Productivity at work increases as well, it becomes so much easier to see all of your documents rather than losing track of minor details. Samsung has released a line of curved monitors ranging from moderately priced to expensively opulent. Unfortunately as discussed in my previous blog, this technology is very much on the bleeding edge. Its new its semi-gimmicky and its very much an attention grabber. Has the price reached a point of making it a worthy investment? Fortunately the SD590C from Samsung is a pretty decent monitor for $359. At only about $100/150 more than a normal 27 inch monitor this curved beast features some of the best specs a monitor can offer.

27 inch LED monitor

1920 x 1080p resolution

99% RGB

60 Hz refresh rate

No backlight bleed

Built in speakers

All cabling included

AND don’t forget… its CURVED


I recommend going into a store and looking at them. This is not the type of product you simply buy online. Go look at it in person and open up a video and a few documents. Like the 4k monitors, Curved Monitors may be the future of displays. Question is… do you buy now?

Bleeding Edge – Vizio’s M and P-series UHD TVs

Many people are jumping at the idea of owning a 4K Ultra HD TV but is it worth it? As an IT specialist and someone who keeps up to date with all trends of technology I am always weary of the ‘bleeding-edge‘. This is a term that refers to all brand new technology that has a lot of people clamoring for it before its had time to be tested and understood. For this article I won’t go into the testing portion. All new technology will have some risk associated with poor quality or testing. What I want to focus on is a “Lack of consensus or the public’s unwillingness to adopt new technology causing it to be a waste of money or a fad that dies quickly. Two classic examples of this were Blu-ray and 3D TVs. One was a huge success story and became the industry standard while the other became an expensive dead technology that a lot of people wasted money on.

For a piece of bleeding edge technology to be successful it needs three things.

Affordability: If you invest in technology that isn’t going to be successful did you waste a ton of money?

Accessibility: Can the manufacturer deliver it to enough people fast enough?

Innovation: Is it better than what’s out there in a BIG way?

The 3D TV failed because it met none of these criteria. It was costly, it was not being spread to enough people and it wasn’t viewed as a revolutionary idea.

Blue-ray did the opposite. It showed up in the Sony Play Station 3. It was affordable and because it was in a gaming device it spread like wildfire. Also it was much better than DVDs and people could be easily convinced it was revolutionary. Even if the technology failed at least you invested money in a PS3 plus the blu-ray could play the DVDs it was replacing. Brilliant piece of technology.


Back to 4K TVs. These ultra high definition TVs are a beautiful thing but do they meet the criteria? Should you buy one or is it a fad?

Affordability: Expensive. So expensive.

Or at least they used to be. Visio is changing that with the M and P-series. The M and P-series start at a lower price point than its competitors, under $1K. An amazing price point for a normal Smart TV let alone a 4K.

Accessibility: If enough people upgrade to Smart TVs they may invest the extra money into a 4K.  When a 4K TV is being paired with the aspect of it being a Smart TV (a successful piece of technology) it can be better marketed and easier to get out to the public.

Innovation: Have you seen one in a store? They are gorgeous. They stand out next to their competitors. Its reminiscent of Blu-ray vs DVD comparisons.


I would say this is a safe investment ONLY if the price decreases. Be on the look out for the New M and P-series from Visio. If you need a new TV or a Smart TV this may be the time to buy a P-series. Even if the technology dies it is still capable of being a normal TV that looks amazingly pretty with Smart TV capabilities.

More Information on the 50″ P-Series

More Information on the 50″ M-Series


Contact Boot Networks for help ordering or installing.

Word Quick Tip: Format Painter

I’m sure many of you often consolidate documents into a single document using the copy paste feature but do you often find the formatting to be completely different between all the documents?

Use the Format Painter in Word and you can make the formatting uniform. Simply highlight the text that has the formatting you prefer then select the tiny paint brush in the upper left hand corner. From there highlight any text you’d like to have the same formatting and the painter will do the work for you.

Gadget of the Week – Kraftwerk

Smart phones are an innovation that, in the last decade, have become as necessary to maintaining personal and business routines as a computer. Smart phones have always had a large disadvantage however; they lose battery quickly. Every new phone has battery life as one of their main selling points. Kraftwerk as a revolutionary idea to keep your phone charged even when away from an outlet or your car charger. Their mobile power plant charges your phone using natural lighter gas. Just like a cigarette lighter, it is portable and refillable. Using a standard USB cable any device can be charged on the go, quickly and efficiently.

The mobile power plant is set to be released at the end of 2015. Keep an eye out for this innovative product.

Here is their Kickstarter

Adware on your devices

Adware is software that once installed, creates advertisements based on user data and search patterns. The problems with adware are that it is often unwanted, a high security risk and is frustrating when it makes the user interface cluttered. Even though it requires consent from the user before installing, often times users unknowingly consent to its installation. Once on the device, it is rather difficult to remove and will greatly affect performance. The main concern is that adware issues its own security certificates, resigning all SSL certificates presented by HTTPS sites with its own, this is known as a man-in-the-middle attack and can be a major security risk. Whether personal or professional, no device directly benefits from this software being installed. Recently the computer company Lenovo has admitted they installed Silverfish, a form of adware, on many of their devices without customer consent. Below is a list of devices that may have preinstalled Silverfish on them.

  • G Series: G410, G510, G710, G40-70, G50-70, G40-30, G50-30, G40-45, G50-45
  • U Series: U330P, U430P, U330Touch, U430Touch, U530Touch
  • Y Series: Y430P, Y40-70, Y50-70
  • Z Series: Z40-75, Z50-75, Z40-70, Z50-70
  • S Series: S310, S410, S40-70, S415, S415Touch, S20-30, S20-30Touch
  • Flex Series: Flex2 14D, Flex2 15D, Flex2 14, Flex2 15, Flex2 14(BTM), Flex2 15(BTM), Flex 10
  • MIIX Series: MIIX2-8, MIIX2-10, MIIX2-11
  • YOGA Series: YOGA2Pro-13, YOGA2-13, YOGA2-11BTM, YOGA2-11HSW E Series: E10-30

If you or your business owns one of these devices, Lenovo has released a tool to remove this adware. It is recommended to use this tool to remove silverfish from any device if you suspect they might be installed on your device. Lenovo’s CTO said this accidental installation of Silverfish was a major mistake by the company and they have severed ties will all adware companies for the foreseeable future.

remove-superfish-instructions (instructions from Lenovo themselves on how to go about uninstalling Silverfish adware)


Next time you download something or install a piece of software from the internet be sure to read through the installation wizard carefully to ensure you do not accidentally consent to adware installation.


Why backups for your computer important

Data is often taken for granted. Once the save button is clicked we often find assurance in the idea that it’s saved to a hard drive on your computer and not on a piece of paper so it’s not going anywhere. This is a false sense of security. Hard drives are safer than a physical notepad or folder of documents but it’s still susceptible to disaster and theft. Computers have lifespans and holes in their security. This means your locally saved data will always have an expiration data. Some of that data is critical to your daily life or your business’s livelihood so don’t leave it vulnerable. One method is to use an onside back up to keep your data safe from computer failure, but this doesn’t protect from theft or a disaster like an office fire. With a backup service, companies can give you a secure server offsite. They often come with encryption and easy cloud access meaning your data maybe miles away and safe but it’s still at your fingertips. Affordable and easy to use these services are a must for any business with sensitive information. Take advantage of these services now and keep your data protected, invest in computer backups.


Account security

Every small business using technology will always have concerns regarding security. Many steps can be taken to ensure the accounts of your employees are secure. Boot Networks and Microsoft offer some quick tips to making sure your business accounts stays safeguarded.


Ensure passwords for all accounts used by employees are strong. What does a strong password look like? A strong password is generally 7-10 characters that include both numbers, letters and symbols of some kind like an exclamation mark. Make sure two accounts don’t have the same password; diversity between passwords make them more secure. Also, be sure to change passwords every so often to keep them from being discovered.


Ensure all of your account information is up to date at all times. Updated information will allow you to verify your identity as well as help you recover lost passwords.


Like a bank account, monitor all activity on your account. Microsoft and other companies offer activity reports that allow for very close inspection of all changes and usage of your account. Be sure to pay attention and stay vigilant; an account may be compromised without your knowledge.


Anti-Virus software is always a good step to take in ensuring the protection of your accounts. We recommend the free program offered by Windows called Windows Security Essentials. Avoiding viruses and spyware will keep passwords protected and desktop computers working at optimal capacity. You can download the software HERE if you do not already have an anti-virus installed.


Most software and operating systems will tell its user when updates are available. Take advantage of this by updating all software frequently. Software developers push through updates and patches to not only fix bugs, but also to fill security holes. By updating often, your software will always be equipped with the most current patches for protection.


If an email looks suspicious it most likely is dangerous. Spam and malicious emails hit inboxes every day. Make sure to avoid emails from addresses you do not recognize. Viruses often come in the form of attachments in emails so when in doubt it’s better to just delete them.


Almost all internet browsers have a pop up blocker installed. This is to ensure that malicious pop ups containing viruses don’t infect your computer. If the blocker is not turned on, do so by using the internet settings icon in the upper right hand corner of your web browser and selecting internet options. In the options menu use the privacy tab to turn on the pop up blocker. This will also lower spam and increase productivity.


Passwords can be stolen, but with two layers of security it is much less likely the account will be compromised. In most accounts this can be found in the security settings. The second layer of security comes in the form of either a second password or a PIN code. Set the PIN code or second password and make sure it has nothing in common with the first password.


No matter what you do, security can never be perfect, but if these steps were followed correctly, your accounts are much less likely to be compromised.

Why you shouldn’t have more than one anti-virus software installed

Anti-virus software is a good thing but having two of them can be detrimental. Anti-virus software keeps your computer safe. One way it does this is by looking for other software monitoring and spying on your activity. Since by nature that is what anti-virus and virus software both do, anti-virus software will always clash with other forms of itself mistaking it for a virus. When two anti-virus software both find a virus, they will each have their own objective and protocols to get rid of the threat. Most times this involves isolation, quarantine and deletion but with clashing methods the virus may be stuck in a weird limbo between both programs and never be dealt with. If your software makes it past both of the first two problems, the final issue that may occur is in computer performance. Anti-virus software can be taxing on your computer’s performance. Therefore with two redundant programs running, your computer can be strained and under so much stress it starts performing its other unrelated functions with difficulty. In the future be sure to only install what is necessary on your computer and in this case that means one anti-virus software.


End of Life for Windows 2003 Server

On July 14th 2015, Microsoft 2003 servers will be reaching their end of life. This means a number of things including an end to support, compliance, patches and security updates. Microsoft will no longer provide the things necessary for maintaining your server and protecting it after the end of life date. Businesses will no longer meet compliance and will have their data at risk of theft. For most businesses making the necessary transition early will save money and keep your information secure. Do not fret however, because there are many options available.

As a small business it is imperative that the migration occur as soon as possible. Any wait may cause sensitive company data to be at risk since security will no longer be up to date. This may seem overwhelming and like a lot to take on, but Boot Networks offers its services to help businesses to make the transition. Our company will provide specialized experienced service and show you which options work best for your business. Also any question or concern will be answered and taken into consideration as you make the migration. The end of life for Windows 2003 server may be just around the corner, but options are available and there is still plenty of time to make the switch.

To find out more about the various options Microsoft offers refer to this SITE