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What’s in your budget?

Pop Quiz.

1. How much are you spending on IT?
In a 2014 online survey of 1000 businesses with  11-499 employees 20% spent less than $2500, 7% spent between $2501 and $5000 and 7% spent between $5001 and $1000 that year.
http://tech4businessnow.com/smbs-expect-to-grow-revenue-and-spend-on-tech/

  1. How much does it costs your firm when a computer, your server, your Internet service or another piece of technology is down?

A InformationWeek article reported in a survey that IT Downtime results in $26.5 Billion in lost revenue. Some of the findings include;

  1. Businesses suffered 14 hours of downtime per month.
  2. 56% of North American enterprises do not have a formal disaster recovery plan.
  3. One of the primary obstacles that is preventing organizations from investing in a disaster recovery policy is cost.
  4. Small enterprises lost, on average, more than $55,000 in revenue due to IT failures each year, while midsize companies lost more than $91,000 and large companies lost more than $1,000,000.

Recent advancements in technology now make Disaster Recovery options affordable for the under 25 employees sized firms.

Contact me at wshareef@niteowlinc.com to review disaster recovery options for your firm.


Reactive vs Proactive Technology Services

Tale of two firms.

Firm #1 calls me in the afternoon to inform me that a computer had frozen up and upon rebooting is giving a message that the hard drive has failed. I tell them, I will pick up a hard drive and come out in the morning to replace it. I spend about 2 and half hours reinstalling the operating system and software and configuring the computer back to the way it was.

I received a automated alert via email that a computer in Firm#2 has bad blocks detected on a hard drive and imminent hard drive failure. I pick up a hard drive and make arrangements to arrive after hours where I successfully cloned the failing hard drive to the new one in about an hour.

So let’s review; both firms suffered hard drive failure as is common with office computers, both firms had to pay $75 for the replacement hard drive but that is where the similarities end. Firm #1 additional costs were 2.5 hours of my time and most importantly one computer was out of commission for almost 6 hours, three in the afternoon and 2 and half the next day which means the user of that computer could not do their work. How much did that cost Firm #1 in lost revenue generating potential? Meanwhile Firm #2’s additional cost was 1 and a half hours for me coming out after hours, the user was able to continue working through the day as the drive had not yet failed and was able to work the next day with a new hard drive. Firm #2 does also pay an additional monthly fee to remotely monitor their computers with the costs being far less than the revenue and productivity losses suffered by Firm #1.

This is the difference between reactive and proactive technology services, which firm are you?

Contact me at wshareef@niteowlinc.com to schedule a review of the services Nite Owl Technology Services can offer to reduce potential revenue and productivity losses at your firm.


Zemana key logger and Comcast’s Constant Guard

Here is one that tried to kick my butt.

A client calls in a panic because all of a sudden her computer, a HP Elite Book tablet, is giving the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. client says that nothing has changed and no new programs have been added. I get to the client and run a start up repair, which asked if I wanted to restore the laptop, I say yes and about 15 mintues later the laptop boots up fine. I thought that was the end of it. Two days later the client gets the BSOD again and states that it occurred after she turned on her laptop after it being off overnight. I walked her through the repair and had her leave the computer on until I could get there.

So here is what I found, the laptop was blue screening on a file called keycrypt64.sys which was part of a program called zemana anti key logger. I checked programs and features and found it on the list and attempted to remove it. The removal wizard asked for a code to complete the uninstallation but would not take the correct code. I did a google search online and found that it was a legit program and some people hadproblems with the program. There was n’t a site that I trusted enough to click to get further info. One post did mention Comcast’s Constant Guard but I tried to go command and remove it through the registry… Big Mistake. Afterrenaming keycrypt64.sys and rebooting, I get another BSOD butthis one referencing the file hpqkbfiltr.sys. Dam, Dam. Know I don’t want to go further because things aren’t looking so good. I do some more googling and find that hpqkbfiltr.sys is related to HP’s quick keys menu and I find out that Zemana anti keylogger comes bundled with Comast’s Constant Guard. So I want to do is get the computer back upso I can uninstall the Constant Guard and call it a day. Since the hpqkbfiltr.sys file didn’t seem too important, I figured that I wold rename that one too and see if I could get the laptop up. Well, Thank God I was working on a tablet because when I rebooted after renaming hpqkbfiltr.sys, my keyboard and mouse were inoperable, but, I could use the stylus on the screen. So I uninstalled Constant Guard and renamed hpqkbfiltr.sys back to it’s oringinal name and rebooted. WHO’S YOUR DADDY NOW ZEMANA! Zemana, gone, Laptop, No more Blue Screen of Death, two and a half hours later I look like the hero. Yeah I have to admit that BSOD did hit me and it hurt a little but in the end I put the smack down on that puppy!


Trying to get to google.com redirects to facebook.com

Well boys and girls, here’s a good one for you. A client calls and states that whenever she goes to google.com she is immediately redirected to facebook.com homepage. Strange? I know. At first, I walked her through resetting her Internet Explorer 9 settings, the soft one and then the hard one. I changed her start page to www.google.com and still she only gets to facebook.com.

Ok, so now i’m thinking, maybe some virii or something. I run tdsskiller and malwarebytes and both come up clean. I decided to ping both google.com and facebook.com and received a general failure (very weird). I figured at this point, why not do something that makes no sense since evryone else in the office is surfing fine and the pc can go every other place except google.com. I had the client reboot their Cisco business router and BAM! All good in the neighborhood!

Go Figure!


As dumb as it may sound … Reboot the darn device!

All week I have been running into the most complex problems solved by the simplest of methods.

I spent a whole day at a client’s site battling the internet connection on their main server. Any computer using the main server for DNS resolution could not connect to the internet. If I change to a external DNS server, I could surf. In addition the main server could not ping the router but all other computers could. This is a brand new server which I spent two weekends on with nary a hiccup and the first Monday I put it in production, BAM! It blows up on me and now I have a office full of people who can’t get on line. I called HP who made the server, they were of no assistance. I called Microsoft to open a case and waited 4 hours for a chance to part with $250.00 so they could assist me in solving the problem. Five minutes before they called and with the office empty, I decided to reboot the firebox just because I had nothing else to do. Son of beeswax!, that worked! Yippe, don’t have give up $250.00.

At the same location I have been battling a hp designjet printer. I changed the ip address and was able to get to the web interface but the bugger will not print. I attached it via the server, via the IP address and used the client installation that found the printer but still no dice. After a couple of days off and on, I decided to reboot the printer and of course, it worked!

so what is the moral of the story here boys and girls? When in doubt, shut it off and turn it back on!