CT North Staffs - Blog

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How to Solve 5 Common PC Problems Yourself

Posted on: 17/09/2018 | by: CT North Staffs

If you have a computer, you’ve probably had a computer dilemma. The severity of each problem can vary from just having a slow computer to a locked up PC. No matter what the problem is, these issues can be very irritating and get in the way of your work. That’s why I have compiled this list of 5 common PC problems and how to solve them yourself.

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How to spot a phishing scam email

Posted on: 14/09/2018 | by: CT North Staffs

This email from Sage looks OK – but take a closer look

We’ve all received those phishing scam emails. They try to pretend they are from big, well known companies and they try to entice you into clicking on a link. Then the criminals will try to get hold of a legitimate user name and password. Or worse, they try to install malicious software on your computer, like ransomware. They used to be easy to spot, by their bad grammar and poor spelling. But they are getting more sophisticated.

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Disaster! (and handmade pies)

Posted on: 11/06/2018 | by: CT North Staffs

What’s wrong with this picture?

Obviously not taken by a professional photographer … Yes
Shows how messy that corner of my office is … Yes!
Very boring subject because the screen is blank … Getting warmer!!

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Next time it snows – work from home

Posted on: 02/03/2018 | by: CT North Staffs


Canal boat stuck in ice

You may have noticed – it snowed this week. Much of the UK was like this. Ice, snow and people not moving. (Notice how I managed to sneak a canal picture in!)

To be honest, there were some areas (North Midlands for example) that were only briefly affected. But schools shut down, offices closed down and business generally seemed to grind to a halt.

Not for some of us though. I was with a customer this week setting up their IT systems in a new office. I overheard the attempts they made to speak with several of their suppliers. They kept getting messages along the lines of “Due to adverse weather conditions …. customer support isn’t available today… please leave a message or call later.”

I could feel the level of irritation rising with each successive failed call. They even started muttering about how they should think about dumping some of these companies if they can’t support them properly.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be like this. With the right systems in place, a business can let their employees work from anywhere. It could be at home, it could be on their narrowboat. You can read about my “work anywhere” experience of starting my business when I was living on my canal boat in an earlier post.

OK, I can hear those of you who run manufacturing businesses are now shouting at the screen that they can’t make things if staff cannot get in. Well that’s true, but you can still run sales, marketing, finance and, most importantly, customer support from anywhere these days.

With the right combination of physical and cloud technologies and the right IT Support your business can carry on, whatever the British weather does next.

Get in touch on 01782 444563 or info@ctnorthstaffs.co.uk to learn more.

5 Cyber Security Tips

Posted on: 10/11/2017 | by: CT North Staffs

Take these small steps to improve your cyber security and stay safe online.

  1. Be Cautious When Connecting to Wi-Fi

When setting the password (sometimes shown as passphrase or pre-shared key) for your home or business Wi-Fi, ensure you use a strong password to protect your network and prevent intrusions. You want to keep your Wi-Fi router up to date and name it strategically, so hackers won’t know it’s yours. When connecting to public Wi-Fi, confirm your connection is safe. Know who or what you are connecting to because criminals sometimes set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots so they can hack your device and steal your personal information.

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We need to talk about your passwords again!

Posted on: 27/10/2017 | by: CT North Staffs

I thought everybody understood how important good password health is. But I was wrong. You see, people have to tell me their password sometimes. I’m trustworthy so that’s OK! I might be fixing something or setting something up when they aren’t there. I continue to be shocked at how weak some people’s passwords are. I know some of the reasons why. You can read my earlier post How to Escape Password Hell for some of the background.

It’s not just my customers, it’s everywhere. You might have seen this video before, it’s from the Jimmy Kimmel show in the US.

It’s a funny video. It would be even funnier if it wasn’t so frightening.

Is your password is your pet’s name (or your child… or your wife .. or your mother…), followed by a number like a birthday that you’ve probably posted on Facebook at some time? It is? Well, you have to change it NOW.  Especially if you use the same one everywhere.

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Google Drive Office Plug-in and Really Slow Excel

Posted on: 25/10/2017 | by: CT North Staffs

Google Drive and Excel

I use Office a lot. And I use Goole Drive a lot. Yes, don’t all shout at once! I know it’s just been rebranded to Google Backup and Sync. But not as far as Office is concerned.

The plugin that Google built to simplify using Google Drive with Office applications is still called the Google Drive Plugin for Office. It gives you an additional location to save files directly to Google Drive from the File Save As and some extra options to directly work with files on Google Drive even if they are not synchronised to your local PC. That could be handy I thought. But I never really used it. Because all my stuff is synchronised locally.

When Excel started to misbehave, especially when it was taking 45 seconds to a minute to close, I didn’t think of this plugin I never used.

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How Remote Support Services Can Help Your Business

Posted on: 20/07/2017 | by: CT North Staffs

How many times has an employee or coworker struggled with a computer issue that renders them unable to do their work productively? When a file takes forever to open or when the wireless keeps disconnecting, work can become nearly impossible. The way business is done these days relies heavily on technology working well and sometimes a computer problem strikes when it is least convenient. Leaving the office to have a problem with a desktop or laptop can throw off your entire schedule, not to mention cut into your productive time at the office.

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4 Golden Rules for Keeping your PCs and your Data Safe

Posted on: 10/07/2017 | by: CT North Staffs

If you use computers in your business or at home it is really important to know how to keep PCs and your data safe.


Of course, you could never use the internet, or never connect a USB drive to any of your PCs. But that’s not really practical for most businesses or homes. You need some basic guidelines to help keep you safe.


Now, if you heard me talk recently about keeping computers and data safe, you may be thinking “Hang on, doesn’t Ian only have 3 rules?” And you would be right. But I’ve added one. One that I thought was obvious, so, I assumed everyone was doing it. But I was wrong.


So here are my refreshed 4 Golden Rules for Keeping your PC and Data Safe.

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Ransomware: How safe are you?

Posted on: 15/05/2017 | by: CT North Staffs

Wannacry screen

Cyber security hit the headlines yet again this week. Several high-profile victims, including the NHS, had their data held to ransom by the Wannacry malware, complete with a demand to pay $300 in bitcoins (about £230) to get the affected files decrypted.  You can learn more about this attack here.

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