ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Mac’s can break too

I am finding that more and more of my clients are looking towards buying Macs for their businesses. Some like the design, others the functionality while others have been told that Mac’s are much better than Windows machines in that they never break.  It is that last bit I have issues with.

You see it is true (generally) that Mac’s last longer than Windows machines, whether it be laptops or PC’s, but they are not without problems of their own.  I have seen MacBook’s lose their wifi connection on a regular basis and need new wireless cards installed (I have had this on my own system).  Then there are the hard drives that die on relatively new systems and of course screens get damaged just like a Windows system.  When some piece of hardware does go it gets VERY expensive as most tech’s (myself included) don’t deal with Apple hardware which means you go back to Apple and they ramp up the repair price.

People expect Mac’s to be superior to Windows systems and in some respects they are.  For example there are much less options for a someone to tinker with when compared to a Windows system (unless of course you open up a terminal) which means that your average user can’t go and break anything by accident.  On a windows system this is much easier to do but on the flip side this means that Windows systems tend to be more configurable.

This expectation that Mac’s are better also transfers across to the quality of the hardware.  “Macs don’t break” is something I have heard a lot of during the last couple of years and it is simply not true.  Yes they do break but they also tend to break less.

So if you are looking to purchase a new Mac do yourself a favour and take out that lovely expensive Apple Care as chances are you might need it at some point.

Comments welcome as always.

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


What is the most critical piece of hardware within your business?

I had a meeting with a local company yesterday and as part of that meeting was a review of the systems they already had in place. So all the desktops, servers, routers, printers, routers and switches were all documented and then I asked the client “what do you think is the most critical piece of hardware within your business?” He replied “That’s easy – it has to be my desktop as without it I lose the ability to do any work”.  I disagreed.

I pointed out that the files that he uses on a daily basis were infact not on his desktop but stored on the server and then shared across the network.  If his computer died he could go and purchase another one that day, connect it up the network and retrieve his files without a lot of effort. “Ah but what about my emails?” “They are backed up to the server every night and anyway you have access to webmail”.

So you might be thinking at this point the the server would be the most critical piece of hardware within this business but again I would disagree and I shall explain why.  The setup is as follows:

This particular business has five desktops which all connect to a Windows Server which stores all their files.  The desktops back up their emails (pst file) to the server every night and the server itself is backed up to the cloud.  This means that they have onsite and offsite backups.

So what is the most critcal piece of hardware – their Netgear router!!

If the building burns down or all their equipment is stolen they would still be able to access their data from anywhere with an internet connection.  If the router goes down they lose all capability to use emails and can no longer communicate with the outside world but probably more important is they would not be able to backup their data to an offsite location.

So I think in this case the router is the most critical piece of hardware they have.  What do you think?

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



Why hasn’t Windows 8 been adopted more?

Windows 8. These two words have split opinion more than anything I can remember over the last couple of months.  Some people love the new look while others absolutely hate it but whatever you opinion the figures don’t lie – sales are not as strong as Microsoft would have liked. The sales of Windows Vista over the same period after its launch were higher and the public absolutely hated that!! So what are the factors that are affecting Windows 8 adoption? Lets take a look.

The new interface

This is what has caught most peoples attention.  The new UI is completely different to anything which has ever come out of Redmond.  Instead of defaulting to the traditional desktop it now defaults to ‘Metro’ instead and a lot of people don’t like this. Also the removal of the start button has changed the way you load programs (personally I don’t mind this) and people don’t like change.  Both consumers and businesses are going to have to relearn the way you use Windows and this has put off a lot of people.

The hardware wasn’t there

Personally I think this is one of the major factors affecting Windows 8 adoption.  To fully appreciate Windows 8 you need to try it on a touchscreen and to put it blunt the hardware at launch simply wasn’t upto the task and as yet it is still a long way behind.  On a laptop with a keyboard and mouse Windows 8 can feel clunky and not intuitive at all.  Use it on a touchscreen and the experience increases ten fold.

Windows 7

Windows 7 is having a huge effect on how people and businesses view Windows 8 but not in a good way.  People like it and are comfortable using it so why upgrade to a newer and different operating system in which they would have to relearn everyday tasks.  Windows 7 could become the new Windows XP and for Microsoft that could be a disaster.

Different versions of Windows 8

Microsoft has aimed Windows 8 as the operating system that can span multiple devices and architectures.  In my opinion this was a mistake.  Take a look at Apple who have OS X on their Macbooks and iOS on their phones and tablets.  This in my mind is the right approach.  If you try and cover all bases then people will expect programs to work on all the devices.  If they don’t you will receive a backlash (enter stage left Windows RT).  Design an operating system for tablets and touchscreen and design another for the ‘traditional’ laptops and PC’s.  This way consumers are in no doubt you can’t run the same apps / programs on both and everyone understands from day one.  At the moment Microsofts strategy is confusing.

Price of hardware

At the moment the price for Windows 8 tablets are too high.  Windows has always been associated with computing for the masses so trying to position yourself as an alternative to Apple and asking for the same price is just wrong.  Drop the prices and people will start to buy them.

Have I missed anything? If so please let me know!!

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




What is a Firewall ?

A firewall is a device designed to permit or deny network transmissions based upon a set of rules. A firewall is frequently used to protect networks from unauthorized access while permitting legitimate communications to pass. Basically a firewall is designed to keep the bad people out while allowing network traffic to function normally.


There are two main types of firewall, either hardware or software based.

Hardware Based

This is when you install the firewall software onto a separate computer and configure it so that it acts as a doorway into your network. The advantage of this method is that any attacker would have to compromise the firewall computer before getting access to any other network resources. The firewall would also protect the entire network not just the computer it is installed on. The disadvantage is that you would require further hardware.

If you are looking for a hardware based firewall then I would recommend using Untangle Linux Firewall. This is open source software which while being easy to set up and configure is also very powerful.

Software Based

This is when you install a piece of software onto the computer that you want to protect. The main advantages of this method are that it is usually easier to setup than a hardware based firewall and does not require any more hardware. The disadvantage of this approach is that the software will take up more system resources and the firewall will only protect the system it is installed on.

Hope this helps.

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


Computer Hardware Maintenance Tips

 Follow these tips to make your hardware last longer.

  • Always clean your computer regularly. This should involve cleaning all the accessories and peripherals (inc mouse).
  • Always turn off your computer and unplug from the socket prior to cleaning.
  • Use cleaning solvent that is purposely designed for computers.
  • Take your time. If you rush you might displace a vital component or worse.
  • Coffee is the deamon when it comes to IT. Keep coffee away from your computer at all costs!!
  • Use a handheld vacuum cleaner to suck up all that dust and pet hair.
  • Do not use washing up liquid on LCD screens!!
  • Make sure that vents on your computer are not clogged up with dust. If these clog up then the system can overheat and crash.
  • Try and keep all cables out of the way so that they don’t get damaged.
  • Try not to eat while typing. All the crumbs can get into the gaps between the keys and degrade the performance of the keyboard (sticking keys etc).

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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