ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Going truly mobile

At the moment when I am not on site fixing clients systems or in meetings you will usually find me in a coffee shop somewhere doing work (and drinking too many Caramalattes!!). The reason for this is simple – I need internet access.  Yes I could travel back to the office and get it there but that usually means travelling in the car and using diesel.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could go truly mobile and access the internet from anywhere.  I have a solution which I use at the moment which involves tethering my Blackberry Bold 9780 to my Blackberry Playbook.  This works fine when there is signal but is pretty much useless when there isn’t any.

I spoke to a friend who recommended something called myfi and so I went off to the internet to take a look.  What I ended up purchasing was the T-Mobile Wireless pointer.  This little box allows me to connect up to 8 wireless devices at the same time and then use the T-Mobile 3G network to access the internet.  So how does this differ to what you had already I hear you ask?

Before I could only connect one device over bluetooth to my smartphone but now I can connect laptops, desktops and tablets all at the same time.  For £10 /month I get a limit of 2GB which is enough to do my day to day webby stuff and by going with a different network to that on my smartphone I am doubling my chances of getting a half decent 3G signal.

This little box now allows me to sit in the park and do social media (last thursday was a lovely sunny day) along with accessing the internet almost instantly at a client premises without accessing their network (good for checking their firewalls).  The battery lasts for 5 hours constant use and it fits in my pocket too.

At last I am going truly mobile.

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!!



10 things your average IT user should know

So what should your average IT user know when they are using their computer? How about how to switch it on and off safely or how to use Word and Excel? I have constructed a list below of the 10 most important things your average IT user should know.

1. Backups

People need to know what a backup is and how you should go about taking one.  I have met too many people (and companies) who are so blasé about backups it is unreal. How would you feel if you lost all your family pictures or all your company financial records? I am guessing not very good!! This tutorial will show you how to take a backup in Windows while this one will show you how to do it in Linux.

2. Antivirus Software

Next up we have viruses.  If you run a Windows system you need antivirus protection (Linux users you may now start smiling – you don’t need antivirus) .  The best way to avoid infection is to install an antivirus program and make sure that it updates regularly to get the latest virus definitions.  For a home PC I recommend Avast Free Home Edition and for Business use either Norton 2011 Small Business Pack or Avast Internet Security Suite.  Either way get some!!

3. Firewall

A firewall is a piece of software that acts as the front door to your system.  When it is activated the door is closed (and locked) but when it is off your system is wide open. Most modern operating systems come with a firewall installed by default and chances are your router should have one as well, however you do need to check periodically.

4. Internet Explorer and Google are not the internet

A lot of people think that Internet Explorer is the internet.  Same goes for Google.  If one of them is not working then “my internet is broken!!”  Internet Explorer is a web browser which is a program for accessing the internet.  There are loads of web browsers on the market.  For example you could choose Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Opera.  The choice is yours which one you use as they all allow you to access the internet.

As for Google, it is a search engine which allows you to find things on the internet nothing more.  There are different types of search engines available, for example Ask, Yahoo, Bing etc.  Choose whichever one suits you.

5. Passwords

This one is simple – use them!! A lot of users don’t bother or use easily cracked passwords (using password offers very little protection).  Use a combination of letters and numbers and don’t write them on a postit and place it on your monitor!!!

6. Emails

This links nicely with passwords as most people use easily cracked passwords for their email accounts.  You should also note that you should never open any attachments from anyone you don’t know as these may carry viruses.  Another thing to note is that you will never receive emails from the HMRC or your bank.  If you do these will be fraudulent and do not enter any financial details or give them your bank details!!!

7. Do not delete anything on your system unless you know what it is

I see this a lot.  People try to clean up their systems by deleting things they think they don’t need.  Upon rebooting the system nothing works.  Unless you know exactly what a file or program is for do not touch it.


This is another one I see a lot of.  Unless you know the website be very careful when you are downloading software.  I recommend people stay away from bit torrent and file sharing sites as yes you will get the software but chances are it will be riddled full of viruses.

9. Wireless Settings

Write down your encryption key and put it in a secure place.  I have had people change their wireless key and then forget what it is or even better didn’t know they had one!! You also need to make sure that you have the highest form of encryption available on your router.  Use this tutorial to check yours.

10. You can make secure payments over the internet

Yes you can make secure payments over the internet but you do need to check that the website starts with https://. If it does then it means all communication between your system and the website is secure and encrypted meaning no one can get access your details.

If you think I have left any obvious ones out 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


How to change your wireless encryption

Most people know that you need to keep your wireless network secure but how many people know how to check their wireless encryption and maybe even increase it? This tutorial will show you how.

Before we start a few words on the different types of encryption.  There are basically 4 different types of encryption – WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK and EAP.  Home users only need to worry about the first 3 whereas EAP will only apply to businesses.  Almost all routers and WAP’s (wireless access points) by default only come with WEP or even no encryption whatsoever.  WEP has some pretty big security failings and can be easily broken using tools off the internet!!  WPA is much better but WPA2 is, at the moment, virtually unbreakable. EAP requires a radius server which centralises all access attempts but this is not covered in this tutorial.

Ok open up a browser and type one of the addresses below which corresponds to your router in the address bar.  For example mine would be






You will then be asked for the router login details.  If this is the first time that you have accessed your router then use one of the passwords below.  If you have accessed your router before and changed the login details then use those.

Sky username = admin, password = sky

BT username = admin, password = admin

Orange username = admin, password = admin

Talktalk username = admin, password = password

Virgin username = virgin, password = password

Next thing to do is locate the wireless settings.  Once located you should be able to determine what type of encryption you have and what the key is.  Make sure that you have the highest form of encryption available for your router (either WPA or WPA2) and that your key is made up of both letters and numbers.  Keep a record of your encryption key in a safe place for future reference. Before you leave the router settings change the admin login and again keep a copy in a safe place for future reference.

All that is left to do is reconnect all your wireless devices using the new level of encryption.

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


Virtualbox Wireless Networking

We have previously discussed how to set up networking within virtualbox but we never covered wireless networking specifically.  Today we shall.

Open up virtualbox highlight your virtual machine and then go to settings.  Navigate to network.  You should have a screen with 4 adapters available.  You need to set adapter 1 to NAT and then adapter 2 to Bridged Adapter (for networking purposes).  While on adapter 2 choose wlan as the name from the drop down menu.

Save your settings and start up your virtual machine.  You will now be able to connect to the internet using the wireless adapter of the host machine.

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






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