Welcome to our November 2016 Newsletter:
This issue is later than usual as we’ve been extraordinarily busy at Gulfcoast Networking. Things appear to be settling back to normal. Look for the December Newsletter to show up a lot closer to the first of the month.
NEWS FROM THE SHOP
We’ll be running special hours during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Hours will be as follows:
Wednesday, November 23rd: Open 9:00am until Noon
Thursday, November 24th: Closed for Thanksgiving Day
Friday, November 25th: Closed for Black Friday
Saturday, November 26th: Small Business Saturday – Special Hours 2:00pm – 5:00pm
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
Small Business Saturday is the Saturday following Black Friday. Black Friday has been traditionally been the start of the Christmas shopping season, but the large retailers have pushed earlier each year, often opening on Thanksgiving. You can already find “Black Friday” promotions online. While some excellent deals are available on Black Friday, you need to be careful. One of the tricks that the big box stores play is to get “special” TVs and other electronics that have been “de-featured” just to make a low price point for the sale. You get a low price, but you don’t get all the features that show up on similar items the rest of the year.
Small businesses are still generally closed on Thanksgiving so that their employees can enjoy the holiday with family. You can get excellent personal assistance from shop owners who actually know their products at small businesses. We encourage you to visit the small local retailers on Small Business Saturday and do your Christmas shopping at them.
We’ll have limited store hours (2-5pm) on Small Business Saturday and we’ll be looking over things this next week to make sure we’ve got some great stocking stuffers available at great prices.
SURVIVING WINDOWS 10 UPDATES
Microsoft has changed the way they send out updates and the resulting “new” updates are much larger as a result. Some of the updates take an extraordinarily long time to download and install. We are modifying our long standing recommendation that you turn your machine off when you aren’t actively using it. You may want to consider leaving your Windows 10 machine on, possibly overnight, once in a while, especially on the second Tuesday of each month.
This should allow your computer to process the updates in a better fashion. One symptom that Windows updates are having an issue is when your otherwise very fast machine becomes glacially slow. If you have any question, give us a call and we can walk you through a quick check to see if this is likely the issue with your computer.
STEPS TO TAKE WITH A NEW COMPUTER
If you come home on Black Friday with a new Windows computer, there are several things you need to consider:
- Make sure you have a set of recovery disks. All computers used to come with a set of disks so that you could reinstall Windows and all the drivers if worse came to worse. That is generally not the case anymore. Hard drives are mechanical devices and they will fail eventually. You need a set of recovery disks. You can generally burn a set of disks using a utility that should be installed on your computer. These disks “should” save you in the event of a hard drive failure. A better solution is to call the computer manufacturer and get them to send you a recovery disk set. Figure to spend $20-$30 dollars. Some manufacturers, such as Dell, actually send the recovery set on a USB flash drive. Recovery with a Dell flash drive is actually pretty slick and you don’t have to keep feeding the computer one disk after another.
- Make sure you have a good anti-malware program on your computer. Most computers come with a 30-90 day trial version of an anti-malware program. We recommend Avira Antivirus-Pro for our consumer clients. It is just $39.95 a year and is highly rated. We stock it and we can help you install it.
- Remove any pre-installed programs that came on your computer that you don’t expect to use. All of these programs take up a lot of space and some of them can slow your computer down. Games that you don’t expect to play are a prime example.
- Consider purchasing one of our Safe Computing Plans that bundle technical support and anti-malware protection in one affordable package.
Finally, if you don’t see exactly what you want, or you aren’t sure what you want, feel free to talk to us. We can help you decide what computer would be right for you and we offer a wide range of both brand name and custom built machines that you might find perfect.
We hope this newsletter has been worth your time. Look forward to our December issue in a couple of weeks.
Rob Marlowe, Senior Geek
Gulfcoast Networking, Inc.