PCS Blog

PCS has been serving the Knoxville area since 1996, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tip of the Week: Changing a PDF in Microsoft Word

Tip of the Week: Changing a PDF in Microsoft Word

Did you know that Microsoft Word can actually edit PDF files? Well… the most recent version of it can, anyway. Since Adobe Acrobat can be a considerable investment for each and every one of your employees, you can instead turn to the tried and true Microsoft Word for this purpose. We’ll show you how you can do this (as long as you have the most recent version of MS Word).

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Tip of the Week: How to Transfer Apps to a New Phone

Tip of the Week: How to Transfer Apps to a New Phone

There is little that is more satisfying than obtaining a new phone. However, this sense of satisfaction is often undermined by the need to get your applications and data to ensure that your new device has everything you normally use installed. For this week’s tip, we’ll go over a method of making this process easier on an Android phone.

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Tip of the Week: Closed A Tab On Accident? Here’s How To Restore It

Tip of the Week: Closed A Tab On Accident? Here’s How To Restore It

Have you ever accidentally closed a tab before you were done with it? It’s a classic case of clicking just a little too close to the X. We’ll walk you through how you can open up Google Chrome tabs, not just on your ordinary desktop web browser, but your Android device as well. It’s a lot easier than searching for the same web pages as before!

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Tip of the Week: Drag and Drop Between Android and Windows

Tip of the Week: Drag and Drop Between Android and Windows

Smartphones have proven to be excellent devices for enhancing an employee’s ability to be productive while mobile. However, this approach often means that company work is now on an employee’s mobile device, instead of on your network. This issue can be easily resolved if the mobile device in question runs the Android OS. We’ll go over how for this week’s tip.

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Tip of the Week: How to Prevent Windows 10 From Restarting While You’re Working

Tip of the Week: How to Prevent Windows 10 From Restarting While You’re Working

How many times has this happened to you: you’ve walked back to your home or work PC after taking a break, only to find that Windows 10 installed new updates and automatically restarted? Thanks to Windows 10’s notoriously aggressive update behavior, any work that wasn’t saved was lost forever. It can be very frustrating to lose a project that you’ve spent hours on, through no fault of your own. Luckily, there are steps you can take to easily create a restart schedule.


In the fall of 2016, Microsoft issued an Anniversary Update to the Windows 10 OS. With this update, Microsoft included a new feature called “Active Hours.” Active Hours was created to let users specify the times when they’re more likely to be using their computers. In order to set up an Active Hours restart schedule, ensure that your computer has the Anniversary update installed (check your PC settings to see if it has already present). If you need help installing Windows 10 Anniversary, you can download this Update Assistant on Microsoft’s website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/features.

After Windows 10 Anniversary is properly installed, follow these steps to setup Active Hours on your PC:

 

  1. Click on the Start menu and then the Settings. As a shortcut, you can also use Windows key + i on your keyboard.
  2. Next, select Update & Security.
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  3. Under the Windows Update tab, which will show up automatically, you’ll see a link to Change active hours. Click that.
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  4. From there, you can set your active hours (note: time lengths exceeding 12 hours will be marked as invalid).
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  5. Click Save to confirm your changes.

Now your PC will not install updates during those specified hours. But again, at most, you’re only covered for a 12-hour period. So, what about those times when you need to pull an all-nighter to complete a project? Not only can Windows 10 updates interrupt your productivity, they can also take a long time to install. To further prevent unwanted installations and restarts, you can also adjust your restart settings.

To change your restart settings, you’ll need to stay in the Update & Security section of your PC settings. Next:

 

  1. Click on Restart options, which is located under Change active hours.
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  2. Turn the feature On.
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  3. Next, set the day and time when you’d like Windows to finish installing updates. There is no need to save anything. As long as the switch is set to On, you’re all set.
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If you find that the On/Off switch is grayed out and you aren’t able to adjust it, this means that there are no new updates available at that time. In other words, you won’t have to worry about updates finishing up and forcing your PC to restart. Be sure to keep an eye on your restart options if you are planning to burn the candle at both ends.

There you have it. Windows 10 will no longer be able to bully you into halting your productivity! 

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Tip of the Week: How to Know if You’ve Experienced a Data Breach

Tip of the Week: How to Know if You’ve Experienced a Data Breach

Your data is vital to the success of your business, and as such, it needs to be protected. Can you identify the warning signs that someone has managed to get past your protections to access your data?


According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, or ITRC, there were 781 data breaches in 2015 within the United States alone. This marked the second-highest number since 2005, when the ITRC began to track these occurrences. Of particular interest, the ITRC report noted that, in 2015, the business sector saw the highest percentage of publically reported breaches with almost 40 percent of all reports coming from business organizations. What’s more, motive analysis saw that more and more thieves sought financial gain through accessing sensitive personal data.

Presumably, the report for 2016 should show more of the same.

Business owners should therefore be extremely cautious and prepared when it comes to possible data breaches, not only in terms of preventing them but also in terms of identifying them within their organizations. What follows are some best practices to assist you in determining if a data breach has occurred on your systems.

First, determine what is normal within your systems.
After all, you will need to know what is right to identify if something is going wrong. This can be largely accomplished by familiarizing yourself with the typical goings-on of your employees at different times of day, and with different levels of access.

Keep an eye out for unusual activity.
There are numerous warning signs that a data breach has occurred in your systems. These warnings might be as subtle as a piece of equipment suddenly becoming slower. They may include:

  • Unusual/unapproved programs: If there are suddenly unauthorized programs appearing on the company’s workstations, you may have a breach. You must be diligent in keeping an eye out for such red flags, as well as encouraging employees to do the same by insisting that they report any sudden appearances of new software that were not mandated by the company.
  • Unexplained “employee” activity: Have records suddenly shown users logging on to the system at odd times and from odd locations? Are your accounts being altered without your knowledge or approval? Have employees suddenly had unexplainable difficulties in remembering their passwords? These are also indicators that your system has been breached.
  • Other breach attempts: Have you had to fend off an overt cyber attack recently, such as a Distributed Denial of Service attack? If so, these attempts may have served a secondary purpose as a smokescreen to conceal a more insidious attack. It’s becoming a best practice to assume that an attack isn’t over, even when it’s over (because it may not be).

Educate your employees.
The first and last line of defense against most cyber threats is educated vigilance, including from your end users. Make sure your employees are also aware of the signs of a data breach, as well as other security threats. PCS can help you to keep your systems safe from these attacks as well. To see what we can set up to keep you secure, reach out to us at (865) 273-1960.

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Tip of the Week: Be More Efficient With These Windows 10 Shortcuts

Tip of the Week: Be More Efficient With These Windows 10 Shortcuts

A mouse can be very handy when it comes to navigating around the documents you have to work on, but it can also slow you down. Fortunately, key command shortcuts exist for situations just like these, and as Windows 10 has continued to improve, more shortcuts have been included to accomplish more tasks with improved efficiency.


Quick Access to the Start Menu
Take, for instance, the Start menu. Almost anyone who has sat at a computer knows that by clicking the Windows icon in the bottom left-hand corner, a comprehensive menu of your available content is revealed. However, for those those cases when a mouse is unavailable and a trackpad (if working on a laptop) is inefficient, you can navigate the Start menu exclusively with your keyboard. Press the Windows key to open the menu and navigate up and down the column with the arrow keys. You may also begin a search by just typing, once you have opened the Start menu.

For users seeking a more advanced experience, there’s an additional menu, the Power Usersmenu, that offers utilities like your device’s Event Viewer, Device Manager, and Command Prompt module.

Greater Accessibility of Your Apps
You can also press the Windows Key in combination with a number key to open the associated apps that appear on your taskbar. If the app is already open, it’s a quick way to minimize and maximize a window. Adding the Control key to the combination will open a new window for an app. For example, if you want a separate Chrome window, and Chrome is the fifth app on your taskbar, you would press Ctrl+Windows+5. Alternatively, to open a new app from your taskbar, you can use Windows+T to highlight your first toolbar app by selecting which app to launch with the arrow keys and Enter.

Utilizing a Virtual Desktop
If you are one to heavily use virtual desktops in your day-to-day, you can quickly create one by pressing Windows key+Shift+D. Once you are finished, Windows key+Ctrl+F4 will close the virtual desktop back down.

With these shortcuts now in your arsenal, you have the tools to help you stay productive--with or without a mouse. For more tips, tricks, and handy information, keep coming back to PCS’s blog!

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Tip of the Week: Get Rid of Those Pesky Ads on Your Windows 10 Lock Screen

Tip of the Week: Get Rid of Those Pesky Ads on Your Windows 10 Lock Screen

Do you have Windows 10 on your workstation or PC? You’ve probably realized that it’s a pretty sweet operating system. Still, there’s a reason why so many people have been bothered by it, and it’s because of its practically omnipresent attempts to advertise to consumers.


One of the ways that Windows 10 will do this is by displaying ads on your lock screen. This is done through the Windows Spotlight feature found in your Personalization settings. Chances are that if you are using the default settings for your Windows 10 PC, these ads are enabled. Thankfully, it’s very easy to switch them off for good.

To start, open up the Settings app. You can do this through either the Start menu or by typing Settings into the search bar/Cortana at the bottom of your screen. Next, click on Personalization. This opens up several options for your background image, colors for the operating system, themes, and your Start menu. You want to click on Lock screen.

Once you’ve clicked on Lock screen, you’ll see a preview for what your lock screen will look like, as well as options for what Windows will display as your lock screen. You can select the Windows spotlight, which is showing the ads, or if you’d rather have something more personal and ad-free, you can pick Picture or Slideshow.

If you choose Pictures or Slideshow, Microsoft won’t be able to bother you with shameless ad-pushing to your lock screen, which nobody appreciates. When you’re choosing your new background, we recommend that you choose pictures of a sunny, tropic locale that you dream of visiting on your next vacation. Or, better yet, a slideshow of something that you’re particularly passionate about, your family, your children, your beloved pets... the possibilities are endless.

One other feature that you should consider switching off is the Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen slider. This helps you avoid frustrating and annoying ads that may still find their way to your lock screen. Or, if you don’t mind the ads, you can provide feedback to Microsoft so that they can better serve your interests. Click the top-right icon to inform Microsoft of what you want to see more of, as well as what you don’t want to see.

For more great tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your operating system, read our blog or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

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