Monday, 14 December 2009

Helpful Computing Guides now Available on Quad's Website

Quad have recently published a number of helpful guides in order to keep your PC and business running smoothly and efficiently.

The guides can be found here on Quad's website and are aimed at the novice user, not the PC techie. The first release includes :-

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery - useful notes on backup best practices. Take action now to minimise disruption, should disaster strike!

  • PC Health Tips - Defragmenting Your Hard Drive - gain some performance by ensuring your hard disk drive is working as efficiently as possible.
  • PC Health Tips - Disk Cleanup - get more space on your hard disk drive.

  • Quad has been helping businesses in Sheffield and South Yorkshire keep their IT infrastructre running smoothly since 1987. We provide IT support services in Sheffield and South Yorkshire

    Friday, 18 September 2009

    Backup Best Practices

    If the data on your server was lost, what would you do?

    At some point, everyone will lose data. It is often at this point you will realise how good your backup strategy is. There are several data loss scenarios to consider...

    Hardware Failure
    Hardware is becoming more and more resilient, but it will never be 100% perfect. Although better quality components cost more and reduce the risk of failure, failure can never be completely eliminated. Backing up your data will allow you to be prepared when it does happen. A common misconception is that backups are not required when a server has mirrored disks or RAID. This is not the case!

    User Error
    Users can often delete or overwrite important files accidentally. Sometimes they realise this immediately, other times the error is not detected until much later when the file is next needed. Having a backup which enables you to retrieve files from a long time ago will help in this situation.

    Fire/Theft/Flooding
    The end result of these can be the same as a hardware failure: an unusable box and no data. Did you know: In the UK, a home or business is more likely to flood, than have a fire? (source: Environment Agency). You probably have a burglar alarm and fire extinguishers, yet flooding is more likely than fire. No matter how good your hardware, it won’t withstand a fire and will almost certainly be affected should it flood.

    Solutions
    It may sound daunting, but a good backup plan is simple, requiring only a few factors to be taken into account. There is no perfect solution, rather a best-fit which balances the needs of the business or individual against the budget available.

    Considerations...

    Ensure Sufficient History

    Say the only backup available to you is last night's copy. If an important file was deleted several days or weeks ago, you will have no backup containing that deleted file. Part of the process to decide a backup plan should include consideration of how far back your backups may need to go.

    Offsite Storage
    It is vital to have some form of offsite backup. Keeping all your tapes neatly on top of the server is no good. If a fire engulfs the server room, you're left with nothing. Having an offsite backup which is two years old is also little use in most circumstances. Fire safes do not necessarily guarantee that the tapes or devices stored in them will be usable after a fire. It is important as part of an offsite rotation routine, that there is always at least one tape offsite and that all the tapes are not in the same place at the same time (that could be when the fire strikes, destroying all hardware and backups)

    Test Your Solution!
    If you have a solution, do you know that it works? Does somebody check regularly to see that the backup is working? Have you tried to get data back so that you are happy that the solution works? Do you know which tape contains the data you need? Many people find out their backup hasn’t been working when a disaster happens.

    Friday, 11 September 2009

    Quad Online Backup - First Sale!

    Quad is proud to announce the first sale of its online backup solution, QuadBackup.

    Before its official launch, our good customer, Arches Housing Ltd, had been helping us to trial the software. They had been looking for a reliable way of storing their backup off site, instead of the weekly tape drop-off at Quad by courier. When QuadBackup was in its final phases of testing, we set it up at Arches to give them an idea of how it would work.

    We had been monitoring the testing, and all had been going very well. Whilst finalising how to launch the product, we received a call asking to restore a folder which had been accidentally deleted some time ago. As it happened, the oldest tape (two weeks) was offsite at Quad, so we restored the folder from it which had around 150Mb of data in it. Using QuadBackup, however, we restored over 750Mb of data as the history went back for several months.

    Needless to say, Arches were delighted at this and have snapped-up the QuadBackup.

    Wednesday, 9 September 2009

    Clearing the Visual Studio Web Cache

    Working with Visual Studio 2008 on websites with other developers, I was continually annoyed by the message :-

    Confirm Save To Web Server
    A more recent version of the file [filename] has been saved to the Web server by [username] on [DateTime]

    Do you want to replace the server file with your local file?

    Yes/No

    I didn't want to replace the server file with my local file. In fact, I wanted to update my local file with the one from the server if someone else had changed it!

    This situation got steadily more annoying as more files were changed on the site, meaning that it took many clicks of "no" (would be nice to have had "no to all") just to exit Visual Studio (2008). This message appeared whether or not I had changed a file.

    Extensive searching on the internet, within help files and looking at options did not reveal anything which helped me.

    Finally, I pieced together the following which worked for me, and hopefully will work for you.

    It appears Visual Studio (version 2008 at least) saves a local cache of files in the following folder :-
    For Vista and Windows 7:-
    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Temp\VWDWebCache\
    For XP:-
    C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Temp\VWDWebCache\

    Here you'll find a folder for each website you have opened to edit. Essentially, it is a cache of pages for each website. Whichever one is giving you the problem, delete it and the messages will stop!

    I think an option to keep files cached or not should be made available in Visual Studio as I think other people must want to use it the same way as we do. Or an option to refresh the cache or delete it entirely would be a step in the right direction.

    Hope that helps you, it took a while to get to the bottom of this, but as usual I found a solution!

    Thursday, 3 September 2009

    Dore House Industrial Estate - New Blog

    Quad has started a blog specifically for Dore House Industrial Estate. View it here.

    Thursday, 13 August 2009

    Quad Raises Neighbouring Companies’ Web Presences

    Quad Computer Services Ltd has always believed that helping its neighbours is important. This summer, we set up a web site for the Dore House Industrial Estate in Handsworth, Sheffield, where we are based. The site, www.dore-house-industrial-estate.co.uk, is free for anyone on the industrial estate and allows companies to put up details about their services as well as highlight their location on a map. We have had a positive response from people on the estate. The site has a good Google Ranking already, which helps the companies on there. We also have a feature which allows each company to show their location exactly as we have found that SatNavs based on the postcode often take you to the wrong place!

    Quad Attain DrayTek Advanced Networking Partner Accreditation

    Quad Computer Services Ltd confirmed their status as leading providers of secure, remote networking solutions in Sheffield and South Yorkshire by attaining the status of Advanced Networking Partner from DrayTek. Linking sites together is an important part of modern business. Resources can be shared easily and reliably between multiple sites, in particular for home workers or management needing access to information at all times. Some of the advanced features of the DrayTek range allow companies to use Voice over IP services across the network with often significant savings in phone charges. There are features to allow use of two ADSL lines, failing over should one line go down.
    Welcome to the Quad Computer Services Ltd first blogging post. Here we intend to post news articles and items that may be of interest and hopefully useful to you. We have been providing bespoke computer services to Sheffield and South Yorkshire since 1987. We write write and support software, sell and support hardware and we are an ISP which means we host websites, email and can provide broadband services.