Where there is smoke…there is DEAD DATA!

I thought it would be interesting to show you how we GUARANTEE that any media we receive for recycling is destroyed beyond any possible recovery. As an Ontrack Data recovery partner, we know exactly what needs to be done and here is the video to prove it:

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5 things to remember about your technology move

Part of our services is to help our clients who are moving and need to take their technology with them. Though there are some things that are similar to setting up a new business, moving business locations can present their own challenges. In many cases, clients try to plan and execute their office moves on their own.

In some cases, they may ask a furniture or design consultant to help if their are any modifications or construction issues at the new location but rarely do they consult their IT provider (if external) to help plan their technology move. Generally, in our experience, we get the call AFTER all the plans have been made or actually the day of the move which can end up being disastrous.

We recommend having your IT involved right from the planning stage. Not only can they help act to manage the transition but can recommend avenues of opportunity that you may not have considered which could save you time and money or both.

1) Plan your internet and phone provisioning well in advance. This refers to tell your providers you are moving and figuring out what services need to be moved, cancelled and/or re-established. The most common mistake is to wait until the last minute to place the move order with the provider or worse, forget completely until the day of the move. Move order can take anywhere between 1 to 10 business days and usually it is the latter. Also note, that if your new space is to be constructed, that could affect your move order time.

2) Technology teardown and setup. This is the phase where you actually pack and unpack your hardware. In a lot of cases, movers will be engaged to this for workstations but who is responsible for your servers, network gear and specialty equipment? Who will shutddown and properly backup things prior to packing? When the movers unpack, will they be responsible for reconnection? All good questions to find out who is responsible and more importantly who is accountable.

3) Cabling for data and voice. If you are moving into the new space, has a review of your cabling been done? What about wifi? If it is under construction is your contractor taking care of it? Is your contractor qualified to do it? If you are not sure, here is an article you should read first: Why you should NOT let your electrician run your data cabling!

4) Systems Furniture refers to modular workstation style furniture that is designed to have electrical, data and voice cabling hidden inside and allows for easy configuration of your desk layout. If you have to get new furniture for your move, this is the time to consider a furniture change. For smaller offices that are using traditional single user desks, they should consider where their computer and technology will be located in relation to the wall jacks and electrical outlets.

5) Environmental concerns – Does the new space have the proper power requirements or do they suffer from brownouts, blackouts or surges? Many times, the new location may not have the right power configuration for servers or UPS systems and in fact, may not have sufficient electrical outlets for all the technology. A review of the power of the new location is always advised.

Over all, moving is stressful and usually annoying. Downtime and employee time are always of a concern so getting your IT involved early can help minimize the potential problems and unexpected situations.

Feel free to contact us anytime on this or any topic.

If you liked this article, you may be interested in: Why backing up your data is more important than worrying about your anti-virus software

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Friday Funnies – IT humour at the end of the week – July 18, 2014

Another round of funny items for the week:

ethernet key chain

Originally posted on Thechive.com

cpu cooling

Originally posted on Cheezburger.com

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What is a Technology Audit?

Simply put, it is a review of the systems that operate your business.

More specifically, it is a review of your technology in terms of physical, environmental, security, policy, practical and financial evaluations and how your dollars are spent versus what you are getting in return.

Every minute of downtime can cost you money, efficiency and credibility. Audits identify where the risks and critical weak points of your systems are most likely to arise.

Our consultants investigate all aspects of your business technology and report back on the following categories:

Physical Network – The actual cabling, modems, routers, switches and devices for your connections.
Server Review – Detailed analysis of the servers features, performance, capabilities and potential.
Workstation Review – Detailed analysis of each station hardware, software, operating system and application usage.
Security – A review of all levels of security from anti-virus, anti-spyware to authorized users and access controls.
Backup – The type, method, appropriateness and effectiveness of a backup in case of data loss.
Environment – Physical attributes like heating/cooling of servers, location, users furniture and other conditions that may affect technology.

Our review will look at all these areas without downtime and minimal invasion of space (i.e. we may need to use somebody’s computer for a few minutes to gather data).

We do utilize small programs on occasion that gather details of each workstation and gives us a written report on the status of things that we can then analyze.

Our Consultants analyze the gathered data, compare it to industry standard “best practices” guidelines, research your industries requirements and evaluate the life expectancy of the technology in question.

The end result is to provide recommendations based on our observations to illustrate where things are good, where things need improvement and where things are require critical attention.

Our report groups these into three categories of required attention and then you will be able to identify where things need to change and how to estimate the timelines for that.

You will receive a written report with all the items mentioned, combined with a recommendations list and estimated pricing based on our provision of equipment or labour to resolve any issues.

Audits generally take 2-3 hours to complete and we will require access to the server, router and workstations at various intervals so we may need passwords or at least somebody to enter in passwords for us.

Approximately 50% of the time is spent on the server, 30% on the workstations and 20% on networks, security and environmental.

Once you have a report on the status of your technology, our work is not done. We offer ongoing service and support to help address items found in the audit.

We offer the following support services:

• Monthly Onsite and Remote Maintenance Service Packages
• Online Backup Solutions
• Server and Workstation Troubleshooting services
• Emergency Response
• Server, Workstation and Network Upgrades/Migrations/Purchases
• Technology Consulting for business plan, moving or operational growth

Talk to one of our consultants if you have any questions or would like more details on any of the information presented here.

If you liked this article, you may also be interested in Top 10 Scary IT things…

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Friday Funnies – IT humour at the end of the week

Here at Fix My Computer Now Inc. HQ we come across IT related (and sometimes geek related) humour occasionally that makes use snort, chuckle and cough. We’ve decided to share some of these from our favorite geek websites.


Repost from Faildesk.net

and another favorite…


Repost from Faildesk.net

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Has the Canadian Anti-Spam Law created malware threats?

A valid point and argument to the fact that in the rush for all Canadian businesses to get consent in compliance with the new law, phishing and malware opportunities increased signficantly with the huge influx of email.

Effectively, in order to comply with the anti-spam law, you had to spam your mailing lists for approval.

Ah the irony.

For more, visit the Intronis article here at : Intronis Blog

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CryptoLocker, CryptoWall – the new evil ransomware from hell!

If you have heard of CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Cryptodefense or any of those related ransomware infections, pray to the geek gods that you don’t get it.

Ransomware is unsolicited software that hijacks your computer and holds your data hostage. Malware and traditional viruses for the most part hijacked your computer and software but let your data survive untouched. Not with this set of evil hijackers. Now your data is held hostage literally with a ransom demand of money.

Once infected, the ransomware encrypts your data, moves it and then hijacks your browser so that you are automatically redirected to a file that tells you how much to pay and how long you have before your files are permanently lost.

This is so much more than SPAM. So much more than browser hijacks for advertising. This is straight out criminal and malicious activity to destroy your data.

Where do you get this type of infection?

This is an important question with an important multi-part answer:

1)It appears as an attachment in an email or as a pop-up update to legitimate software like Adobe products, Windows products or Java products.
2)It HAS TO BE ACTIVATED by the user. This means that the user usually agrees, opens, runs or accepts the item in question for it to start its activity.
3)Even legitimate websites can redirect to hijacked websites. For example, if you search on Google for a specific topic and choose to follow a link to what you think is a legitimate .PDF file, this could be a trap.

How do I get rid of it?

The real question is, how do I get rid of it BEFORE it damages my files. There are plenty of tools out there that can remove the actual malware code. There is also manual instructions available to do it if you are advanced enough, but the trick is not just getting rid of the malware but getting rid of it BEFORE it encrypts your data. Unfortunately, if it has already done so, the core malware code is no longer the main problem.

Once your files have been encrypted, you only have a few choices:

1) Pay the ransom. We DO NOT recommend submitting to blackmail. Even though there have been reports of paying the fee and getting the decryption key successfully, there have been just as many accounts of people paying and then getting their credit cards hacked with no decryption provided.

2) Restore from backup. This is why we always recommend backups that are not only secured, regular and complete but also testing backups on a regular basis. With an image backup, you can even restore back to before the system was infected.

3) Wipe out the now useless files and start from scratch. This is the most painful option in that you basically accept the fact that your files are gone.

The only true defense against this type of infection (or any kind in our opinion) is to have proper backup. The state of antivirus and antimalware programs is always changing as new threats force the developers to continually update their software. This always leaves gaps and opportunities for infections to come through which is why we never guarantee 100% protection. In fact, Symantec recently announced that antivirus software is only about 45% effective on its own. see Antivirus is dead… published by PCWorld.com

Therefore having a regular and secure backup, whether it is locally done to a portable drive or whether it is done to a cloud based system, is the best way to avoid the stress of losing all of your data regardless of the type of attack.

We offer online cloud based backup stored on servers in Montreal, QC. Our backup service allows us to perform a variety of backups types including full image backup for reasonable rates. Consider how much your business would lose if all your data was suddenly and effectively deleted. How much would you pay for it to be brought back and how long would you expect to wait for it? With our cloud backup offering, you can recover your files to any internet connected computer anywhere in the world at any time.

Read up on our backup suggestions at Holy Trinity of Backup

If you have any questions about our backup service or about this article, feel free to contact us anytime.

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You know when you are feeling a little frustrated with your old computer?


Yup, we understand the feeling. As you can see, our Senior Consultant Jason Chiles has had some trying times.

So here are some YUPS that you may be interested in:


If you want a “kick-ass” PC with horsepower and speed, check out this monster pc from Signa Computers:

Technical Specifications :

• Intel Core i7-4790 up to 4.0GHz 4th Gen Processor
• Asus Motherboard B85M-G LGA1150
• 16GB Kingston 1600MHz DDR3 Memory
• Western Digital 1TB Hard Drive
• Wireless N150 PCI Express Adapter
• Sapphire AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB Graphic Card
• APEVIA X-Sniper 2 Black Case w/ Side Window- Blue, Red or Green option with 500W Power supply
• CoolerMaster Devastator Keyboard/Mouse Combo
• Microsoft Windows 8 64Bit
• Monitor not Included
• Limited 1 Year parts and Labour warranty

Signa Gamic PC Click here to check it out.

To go along with that, you will need a new programmable keyboard with digital number pad!


Product Specifications:

4.05” (diagonal) touch screen able to run widget apps
Track pad with gesture support
Chiclet style key caps
Tri-color backlit keys
1000Hz Ultrapolling
10 dynamic display keys with 80hz response time
Fully programmable keys with on the fly macro recording
5 additional macro keys Anti-ghosting capability for up to 10 simultaneous key presses
Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
Dedicated Gaming mode
Braided fiber cable
Fixed wrist rest

Now that you have the new computer, you will need to work on a display worthy of the work you are doing:


At 27″ it is pratically a TV but will play all the HD media you want.

And lastly, if you want a mobile solution, the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a pricey addition but it an absolute laptop killer:


Technical Specifications

Size: 11.5” x 7.93” x 0.36”
Weight: 1.76lbs
Display Screen: 12” ClearType Full HD Plus
Battery Life: Up to 9 hours of web browsing4
Storage4/RAM: 64GB or 128GB storage with 4GB RAM, 256GB or 512GB storage with 8GB RAM
Processor: 4th generation Intel® Core™ i3, i5 or i7
Network Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth® 4.0 Low Energy technology
Ports: full size USB 3.0, microSD™ card reader, Headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port
Windows 8.1 Pro
Cameras, Video and Audio
5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera
5.0 megapixel front-facing camera
Stereo microphones
Stereo speakers with Dolby® sound

Wow.. I’m glad father’s day is near!

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How to build your own PC… 1991!

Just browsing the interwebs today and came across this gem.

I remember the days when we used to build our own PCs for sale which resembled a lot of what is captured in this video.




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Celebrating 20 years in “I See Dead DATA” Solutions!


Yup, it is official. Fix My Computer Now Inc. and all of its past identities is now 20 years old. I guess more accurately, I have been doing this for 20 years as a business.

I actually started in the IT world as a teacher. Back in the late 80′s and early 90′s there was a surge in people “learning computers” due to the shift in the economy and the decline of traditional office hours. Layoffs and retirement packages started forcing people to consider working for themselves and/or working from home on a part time basis. As it turned out, I was approached to teach evening classes for adults with a broad range of topics from the basics of mac and pc operating systems, to more business targeted subjects like word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. After a few years, I ended up being the supervisor for computer related courses at the school I was teaching and brought on several other teachers to include things like basic web page development and basic database creation and reporting.

We continued for 10 years until things changed in Toronto and the school boards amalgamated. They changed the entire night school offering and eventually it was completely shut down.

During those 10 years, I not only grew to know more about my skillset and abilities but found an inherent business model that developed into our company today. It went something like this:

“Hey, your teaching us computer stuff…can you actually help us at our office?”

You have to realize that at the time, IT support for small or home business (SOHO as it was called for awhile) was realistically non-existent. If you were an IT consultant, you worked for large firms with big budgets and dealt with the IBMs and Hewlett-Packards supplying the whole thing. The independent and small computer market made a lot of changes during this time and the price structure was completely different if you were trying to support a small office vs. a large corporation.

That is where my opportunity lay. Through teaching, I had inadvertently developed a client base of small business owners or decision makers that now needed IT support for the ever changing market. They needed mostly desktop support at first, but eventually the small business servers, web presence, custom application development and network needs began to evolve. So I opened up shop and began taking on clients (mostly my students at first) by day, and continued teaching at night.

It was an exciting time and over the next 18 months or so, I found myself in business.

Over time, I registered my first company name Mage Enterprises (a salute to an old nickname) and went through the ardous task of learning about being a business owner without any business education. Time passed and through trial and error and experience, things progressed and I was able to start hiring staff. Eventually, First Contact Computer Solutions became the name which was more in line with what customers could identify as an IT support company. I brought on my brother in law Bruno whose cabling experience helped us add more value to our clients and my senior consultant, Jason who now manages the overall operations for our clients needs.

Finally in 2008, after long review of our brand and a study on how people remembered us, we incorporated and changed to Fix My Computer Now Inc. Since then, we’ve added another full time technician and an office manager to the team.

In those years, I did make a few good decisions amongst all the bad. The first was going with Fix My Computer Now Inc. not just as a company name but as our brand presence. Every time somebody asks for our email address and we say *****@FixMyComputerNow.Com it elicits a chuckle and an instant place in their memory. For years, I had people address us by “your the fix my computer now guys” which is what exactly I wanted. The fortunate part for many years was that fixmycomputer.com had been taken but a US resident but wasn’t really used until sometime in 2009. When I grabbed fixmycomputerNOW.com it was virtually unopposed in domain presence for many years giving us an advantage in branding.

Though, I must admit we do still get calls from the southern USA from people who keep telling us they “saw your ad on TV then googled the address.” They still don’t realize we are in Canada, but hey, I’ll take the recognition anytime.

The second good decision was going with a tagline that people also remembered easily. One day after surfing the internet, there was a comic that was making fun of the movie Sixth Sense. The one where the kids sees dead people. The running joke went like this:

I see dead people…
I see bad people…
I see dead apples…
I see bad things…

and so on. So out loud as I was thinking about a job that involved a dead hard drive, I blurted to myself I see dead DATA… and after a moment, my eyes widened with that self aware stare at the wall that some of you may recognize when you have a “eureka” moment.

I see Dead Data suddenly described and identified a large portion of what we do. Not only in data recovery but in handling client’s data for the purposes of moving, copying, transferring etc. This little phrase summed up the reason why I started the company and it worked even for those people who had no context from the movie.

I See Dead Data…. so call Fix My Computer Now!

That’s why it is now trademarked as our slogan.

After 20 years, the core philosophies for why companies should hire us has remained the same. Believe me, we have put these elements to the test on many occasions and here is what I can sum up:

1) We understand that you want the problem fixed. The details are not as important as the trust you have in us to take care of the problem and making you feel comfortable. This is usually the primary concern whether you verbalize it or not.
2) We endeavor to communicate as much as possible because nothing is worse than waiting for an answer about a problem. To this end, our technicians are selected for their communication skills first. A trait left over from my teaching days.
3) In the long term, you want us to be familiar with your business. With knowledge about your business goals, style, structure and staff we can better serve your needs and pull in our resources for any technology support, not just direct computers.

This all adds up to a long term relationship type service, not just a fly by night remote fix that can be found online. Fixing a computer problem is only the tip of the iceberg when dealing with a company’s total technology.

Hopefully by continuing down our path with the right name, the right people and the right philosophy, I’ll be able to write another article entitled “Celebrating 40 years in “I See Dead DATA” Solutions!”

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