ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Tablets and the “How do I access my documents?” problem

Tablets are fantastic pieces of kit.  They allow you to work from anywhere (without carrying a “huge” laptop around), are quick to power up, last longer on a charge than a laptop whilst also allowing the user to carry out almost any task they can think of.  There is one big problem though which I came across last week and that is accessing documents.  Let me explain.

A customer rang in last week with a Windows 7 laptop which was running very slow.  It turned out that the hard drive was on its last legs but before it died I managed to get the clients files off and store them onto an external hard drive.  Great all I have to do now is transfer them across to another laptop / PC which the client owns and job done.  One problem though, along with the dying laptop the client owns an iPad.  Last time I checked iPad’s don’t come with USB ports and even if they did the amount of data recovered was 25 GB while the available internal storage on this particular iPad was only 10 GB.  This was not going to happen.

A lot of home businesses use iPads and Android tablets (and slowly Windows tablets too) as secondary devices to a laptop or PC. How do you access your files if you main system dies?

You see iPads, and tablets in general, are designed to work with cloud storage and that’s why they tend not to have huge hard drives.  Connect a tablet upto a Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, iCloud or Google Drive account and you can access all your documents from anywhere and only download the files (or pictures) when you need them.  All of your files will be safely stored online which means that you can never lose them.  You do have to pay a monthly fee but it does depend on the amount of storage you need. Personally I think it is a small price to pay to know your files are safe.

Now I know that some Android tablets come with USB ports and yes they can read external hard drives (I have done this myself) but lugging around an external hard drive just to plug it in to a tablet and read files is a hassle. You also run the risk of damaging the hard drive if it gets knocked.  Get yourself some online storage as it is so much simpler.

And the client? She borrowed a laptop from a friend so at least I could transfer the files across to something. They are now looking into Dropbox.

About the Author


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

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


How to transfer files over wi-fi to a Blackberry Playbook

I have been playing around with a Blackberry Playbook (no pun intended) recently to see what is the best way to access network shares and transfer files.  Today I will show you how to mount your Playbook as a network share on a Windows 7 system and transfer files to it.  This works for Workgroups only as I have not yet tried connecting a Playbook to Active Directory.

On the Playbook

  1. On the home screen tap on Settings (this is the grey cog on the top right hand corner of the screen).
  2. We need to jot down the ip address of the Playbook so tap on About – Network.  You should see the IPv4, IPv6 and MAC Address.  Write down the IPv4 address as we will need this later.
  3. Now in Settings scroll down the menu on the left until you come to Storage and Sharing and tap on it.  Locate Network Identification and tap on Properties.  This is where you enter details for the network so choose a name for your Playbook, enter the name of your Workgroup and a User name to access the Playbook when it is mounted.  Once done tap Back.
  4. Back on the Storage and Sharing screen make sure that File Sharing, Wi-Fi Sharing and Password Protect options are all set to on.
  5. Tap on Change Password to set a password to access the files when the Playbook is mounted.

Your Playbook is now correctly configured.  Now onto Windows 7.

On Windows 7

  1. Go to Start – Run and in the Open box type file:// where is the address of the Playbook on the network.
  2. A box should appear asking for network credentials.  Enter the username and password you set up earlier on the Playbook.
  3. Once accepted you will see two shared folders on the screen – certs and media.  All of your files will be in media.  You can now happily transfer files back and forth between your PC and your Playbook.

Update 22/03/12

If you just want to get data off the Playbook an easier way is to download an app called Wifi File Explorer.  Once downloaded and installed you can access the data through a web page!!

About the Author

Hi I am 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 and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.


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