ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Do you know which email account you have?

Emails.  We all use them and many businesses would be completely stuck if they lost them and that is exactly what happened to a client I dealt with recently.

I had a call from a client who sounded very frantic on the phone. Their main PC for the business had just died and they were worried about recovering their data so I went across to take a look.  On arrival on site it became apparent that indeed they had backups for their data on an external drive and the most they would lose was two days.  The emails though were a different matter.

The client didn’t know the difference between POP, Imap or Exchange accounts and thought the email hosting company would be doing backups of his entire account so he didn’t have to.  The main email account was a POP3 account which had quite happily pulled all his emails off the server for the last 3 years until the hard drive died.  Since there was no backup the emails have gone.

The are some main differences between the account types which would could have helpt the client had he known.  POP3 by default will pull all the emails off the server onto the local machine.  You can configure the account to leave the emails on the server for a set period if needs be but you are better using Imap for this.  If your email account is POP3 YOU MUST BACK UP THE EMAILS ON THE SYSTEM and I generally recommend backing your emails to something like Dropbox so they are stored off site.

Imap keeps the emails on the server to which you have access. This makes Imap a good choice when you have multiple devices which need access to the full set of emails in the account.  You can also configure Imap to store a copy of all emails on the local device which means your emails are then in two places (system and hosting server) taking care of backups.

Exchange basically takes Imap a step further with all your emails, contacts and calender backed up on the server. You can also cache a local copy of all your emails too.  Exchange also allows shared calenders between workers which is a very handy feature.

Personally I would go with either Imap or Exchange everytime for your emails as the backup features are a no brainer when running a business.

As for the client they have sent their hard drive off to a data recovery firm but the prognosis is not good.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter


Backing up your files is great but what about those emails?

I have been banging on about backups now for months and at last some of my clients are beginning to get the idea.  This is good news but I now have a different problem.  I am beginning to see clients who have good backup strategies for all their files but have nothing in place for their emails.

Let me illustrate.  I had a new client last week with a Sony Vaio running Windows Vista which was riddled with viruses (118 to be precise).  The best option I had was to reset the system so I explained to the client that I would backup all their data, reset the system and then move all their data back across.  The client said that he had all his files backed up (on CD) but then I asked him about his emails.  “Funny you should mention that they all got deleted off Windows Mail last week and I was hoping you could get them back”. There was nothing left on the system to retrieve even with file recovery software (my best guess is that a virus has wiped them).  “Surely they will be left on the server though” asked my client who was now getting a bit panicky.  Usually they would be but someone had unchecked the leave messages on the server option in the account options.  He had lost all his emails from the last 5 years.

Now most people in a business environment will be using some form of Microsoft Outlook which is very easy to back up.  If you are using webmail (eg GMail, Yahoo mail etc) you don’t have this problem but it is still good practice to backup all your data anyway.

Moral of this story is backup everything (files, folders and emails) to either another system, external hard drive or cloud storage so this scenario doesn’t happen to you.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter


This is why I do backups

I went to a client last week who wanted me to set up a new laptop for them in a business environment.  When I turned up on site I was asked “while you are here could you also take a look at this other laptop that is having issues with emails”.  “No problem I will take a look at that first” I replied.

I sat down and opened up Outlook 2010 to be greeted with the message PST FILE IS MISSING and sure enough when I checked deeper it was nowhere to be seen!! I asked the client “has anyone taken off any files over the last week” and they replied “no it was all working until we sent it back to get the graphics replaced.  Since it has come back we have had this”.  It looks like that when the client sent the laptop back to the manufacturer to get the graphics replaced (laptop is one month old) somehow their pst file containing all their emails had been deleted.

Lucky for them I had installed a NAS Server in the office one month ago and configured all the laptops to back up all client files to it (inc their emails) and after checking sure enough their backed up pst file was there.

After creating a new profile and importing their pst file the client got their emails back.  It cost them 1 1/2 hours of my time but it could have been worse, much worse!!

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



How not to get a virus

Lately I am seeing more and more people coming to me with a virus on their systems.  After some basic checking I then find out that they have not carried out basic maintenance which would stop them getting a virus in the first place.  Follow the tips below to reduce the chances of getting a virus.

1. Install antivirus and make sure it is working.  The antivirus I would recommend for either home or business is Bit Defender.  I use this on all my own systems and my clients and am very impressed by it.

2. Make sure your version of windows has all the relevant updates installed.

3. Do not open emails from anyone you don’t recognise.  Most viruses come through emails and the moment you open it your system becomes comprimised.

4. Switch to a more secure web  browser.  Your browser is your first line of defence when a virus tries to attack your system from the internet.  Do yourself a favour and switch from Internet Explorer to either Firefox of Chrome.

5. When online be careful of which sites you visit.  Do not go to a site you don’t recognise.

6. Switch from Windows to Linux.  About 90% of viruses are written for Windows and the rest for Mac.  Linux has no known virus issues and is inherently a more secure operating system.

7. Be very careful when downloading torrents.  The websites most torrents reside on can be a haven for viruses.  If you do download a torrent then run a full scan the minute the download is finished.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

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