What is SFC and what does it do?

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Hello. Today I am going to take a techie subject, break it down in a nontechnical way, and try to explain it at a level that is understood by many people. There is a built-in command within Windows that is called SFC (System File Checker).  Most times, this will be run if you are getting error messages and popups stating a .dll file is missing or could not be found.

SFC is a scanning tool that runs within the command prompt and is used to scan all the protected systems files. It is usually run from an administrator command prompt and will replace all the corrupted system files with a clean version that is pulled from a safe place on the hard drive. This location is not one that can be accessed normally, as it is a compressed folder located at %WinDir% \System32\dllcache (“%WinDir%” is just a way of saying the operating system folder, such as C:\Windows).

SFC will run through a series of checks (and corrections, if it finds any corruption). During this whole process the command prompt will stay open and then state that it is 100% completed. If there is no action that needs to be taken from the scan, you will get a message that says “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.” If it did find violations it will fix them, and then you will get a message saying it was successful. Afterwards, you will want to reboot your computer.

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UEFI Boot Was a New One For Me, What About You?

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Hello all, and welcome back! Today I am writing another bit of information that I came across recently. I am going to talk about UEFI boot, that was new to Windows 8. As a tech, we are constantly learning, ourselves. With all the new technology coming out all the time, it is really hard keeping up with all the changes. Some of you may already know about UEFI boot, but it was new to me.

UEFI  is “Unified Extensible Firmware Interface,” which provides an interface between an operating system and the BIOS (platform firmware).  It provides extensive recovery options for the operating system even without another operating system. UEFI was created to replace the older BIOS firmware interfaces and has made its way to being the default boot option on all new computers that are being sold.

UEFI has many benefits that are applicable and rather convenient for the people using them. It provides faster boot up times, it provides the ability for “Secure Boot” that helps prevent untrusted applications/codes from starting before the operating system does (malware and viruses for example), the ability to utilize larger hard drives (over 2 TB), and it allows the use of drives with more than 4 partitions.

I am sure that there are more benefits than what I listed but you get the point: it’s pretty great.

As you can tell by this article, I did not go into extreme technical details about UEFI, so if you would like more information about it, please do not hesitate to reach out to a tech here at Everon. We’re available 24/7 at 888-244-1748.

Microsoft Announces Windows 10!

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The new Windows 10 Start Menu, with customizable panel

Windows 10 is on its way for a release before the end of 2015! Microsoft announced earlier this week that they are releasing their latest operating system on all platforms before the end of 2015, which includes Xbox, smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops.

This is very exciting news, however, the first question anyone who’s following Microsoft might ask is: “What happened to Windows 9?”

Microsoft has been talking about its imminent Windows 9 OS, pretty much ever since the backlash over a missing Start Menu in Windows 8. So why are they abandoning 9? They chose to move forward from 9 to create a unified theme between all platforms. Here is the direct response from Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft:

“This product, when you see [it in its], fullness, I think you’ll agree with us that it’s a more appropriate name. That fullness applies to Windows Phone, too, which will see Windows 10 as its next major upgrade. Windows 10 is built for “screens from 4 to 80 inches.”

Terry Myerson, MS Executive Vice President also states:

“Windows 9 name wouldn’t be right, given the new One Microsoft internal strategy. Hence the move to Windows 10.”

This move to Windows 10 is going to be a huge test for Microsoft, as it is increasingly becoming whispered that Windows 8 is considered a failure, along the lines of the Windows Vista OS.

From early previews of this new OS, however, great things have been said. (For anyone who would like to try the early preview of the Windows 10 OS, you can sign up and download the OS for free here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=510225 (64-bit preview).)

From the early preview, Microsoft has stated it is interested in taking the best parts of Windows 7 and Windows 8 to combine into creating the best operating system yet. Going to a unified operating system for all of Microsoft’s platforms will present a nice solution to integration of the various platforms into a small business environment, making the transition from smartphone, to laptop, to tablet a much easier process for even the most basic user.

Here at our Everon office we have downloaded and installed the tech preview for Windows 10. Just from the past few hours of reviewing it we can report that Microsoft has included a ton of features that are going to help technicians troubleshoot the OS quicker and more efficiently. Stay tuned for future blogs on the various features and find out what you can expect from Microsoft, with regard to this OS. If you have any questions about it, feel free to call our technicians at 1-888-244-1748. We are pretty excited about the changes they have made and would be happy to share our excitement with anyone willing to listen. :)

5 Things You Need to Know About the BashBug

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1. Don’t Panic.

As our favorite galactic traveler’s companion reminds us (ref. Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy), It’s important to keep problems in perspective. The Heartbleed Bug incited widespread panic for what turned out to be limited reasons. This new security bug is reported to be even bigger than Heartbleed, but it, too, has a relatively limited reach. It only affects Unix-based systems that use Bash. The best way to address it is to keep updated on the patches which are sent out. Some routers are also affected, and so updates will be pushed out to handle those as well.

2. What is the BashBug?

Bash is one of the central programs to the modern Unix operating system. It’s used to issue commands to the kernel of the OS. It is a little like the Windows command line. Mac’s desktop operating systems are built on Unix, and that’s why people are concerned. The BashBug is an exploitable nuance of the Bash shell that someone could use to observe and possibly modify an unknowing computer’s information. Basically, it’s like leaving your car window down.

3. I have an iPhone, should I be worried?

No. The iOS is a different operating system from the Desktop OS of MAC, known as OS X.

4. What if someone w/ a Mac emails me? Will my company be at risk? Can I “catch” the Bug this way?

No. The vulnerability is specific to Unix-based OSes. It can’t be transferred between operating systems. Windows has a fundamentally different underlying program, and it does not include Bash, which is the host for this bug.

5. What’s this thing about routers? 

Some routers run on a variation of Linux. Manufacturers will also be pushing out updates to resolve this. Please contact your system administrator (which might be us) to resolve it if you have concerns. We can be reached at 888-244-1748.

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What you can do to improve Outlook performance

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If you’re like me, you are in a constant battle with an ever-growing mailbox that seems to get slower and slower every week. I have used and loved Outlook for a long time. Its stability and ease keep me from moving to its competitors. However, one flaw I have found is that sometimes when I am cleaning up my mailbox, the actual size of the mailbox remains the same. This slows it down. There are a few built-in tools you can use to pep up your mail browsing.

“Compacting” your mailbox removes all the items in your mailbox that you have marked for deletion and lowers the size of your mailbox on your hard drive. Smaller file equals faster access. In Outlook 2010 and 2013 the process is exactly the same.

Select the File tab at the top and press Account Settings > Account Settings.

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Select the Data Files tab > Highlight your data file > Select Settings

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Select Advance and press the Outlook Data File Settings button. Press Compact Now and give it some time (especially if your mailbox is as big as mine!)

 

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Once that’s done there should be some improvement to your Outlook performance, depending on how unhealthy your mailbox is. If you have multiple mailboxes you should consider doing this process on all of them. Good Luck! And remember: if you need help, you can always call us at Everon (888-244-1748).