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Typical Computer Problems and the ways to avoid them
DSh Offline
#1 Posted : Thursday, February 3, 2011 3:21:34 AM(UTC)
DSh


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Joined: 2/3/2011(UTC)
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Typical Computer Problems and the ways to avoid them


There are many different issues that most of the practices begin facing sooner or later. Most of them could be easily avoided from the very beginning at the office planning stage if you could follow very simple set of rules.


There are many different software solutions that can be used in the practice office. Most of them are network based providing quick access to any document from any computer.


Typical Office Configuration


In a well organized office there is at least one (or more) powerful computer(s) using as server(s) and many working stations connected to this main computer. All these computers are working on a local computer network, often called LAN. A simplest computer network has at least one switch or hub connecting all computers together using cables (mostly twisted pair) or wireless connections (class a, b, g, n). Computers have cable or wireless network cards depending on configuration.


More advanced networks can use more than one network switch or rarely network hub. Many offices are using different configurations of 100 Mbit networks transferring up to 10 Mbytes (realistically less) of data per second. There are still very old 10 Mbit networks, popular a very long time ago, and gigabit networks. A gigabit network easily transfers up to 50-70 and more Mbytes per second and it is the best solution for medium and large offices and even clinics.


Differences between network switch and network hub


More advanced offices are using network switches instead of hubs. The difference is very significant. These network devices have many ports connecting different computers. If you connect four computers to four different ports on your network switch then the maximum transfer speed between both pairs of computers will be maximum possible for each connection. Say, in theory on a 1 Gbit network you can transfer up to 100 Mbytes/sec between each pair of computers at the same time. If instead you use network hub, then your maximum transfer speed of all computers will be equal or less than total transfer speed of all ports together. Let’s explain that one more time in English. If you are using a network hub, then the maximum transfer speed for the entire network will be equal or less than the maximum possible speed divided by the number of computers transferring data.


There is also one more disadvantage of network hubs. Not so many people know that, but this information is very critical to make your local network work at maximum speed. The network switch re-connects computers directly upon each data transfer, port to port. All other ports are not occupied and can be used by other computers. That’s why it’s called switch. Each pair of computer is connected independently for this particular transfer. All other ports are not occupied and free to connect other computers. What happens with the network hub? It receives the data from one computer through the connected port and sends it to all the ports (connected computers). As a result, the whole network gets busy by only one data transfer.


Finally, the network hub ports set the transfer speed equals to the slowest device connected to the hub. If only one of all your computers on the network has a slower network card, then all the hub ports switch to that speed. For example, all your 7 computers from 8 in your office are connected to the network hub using gigabit network cards, and the last one has a 100 Mbit network card. What happens then? The network hub switches all the ports to a 100 Mbit mode and all the computers switch to this mode too. As a result you get a very slow network and cannot explain that because the majority of your computers have gigabit network card and you think that they should work at 100 Mbit speed since they all have these network cards.


The cheapest and best solution for you should be to buy a good gigabit network switch and replace your old network hub with this switch.


Network security and speed


Many offices now days are using wireless networks, but not so many offices correctly configure their networks to avoid external connections. It’s good to provide your patients a free wireless network access. It can be a very good trick attracting people to your office… if these networks are safe and they don’t affect your office work. Imagine that one day some hacker came to your office, found your free wireless network and decided to play with it. He doesn’t even need to leave his car for that! Probably you will notice something, but only after your network starts crashing for some reason, or becomes much slower, so that a usual task, instead of seconds, takes forever. Probably even patient personal sensitive information was freely exposed to unknown hacker and stolen and you never noticed that. Finally whole network can be infected by computer virus that arrived with one of your patient computers connected to your network. Will you and your patients be happy with that? Will they thank you for their personal data freely exposed to somebody else? We don’t think so. Then why are you opening your wireless network to strangers cruising around?


Computer backups as part of office routine


Computer backups are extremely important. If you don’t do that you can simply lose everything you have in less than a second if anything happens to your computer.


There is a very interesting article about backup software published here: http://pcyoutrust.com/LearningBackupSoftware.aspx


We recommend you to read it and take care of your digital office if it was not yet done so far.


 ...To be continued...

Dimi
1 user thanked DSh for this useful post.
Mason on 4/9/2011(UTC)
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Dimi Offline
#2 Posted : Friday, February 18, 2011 2:40:37 PM(UTC)
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Microsoft Service Packs and Hot Fixes


Today we'll talk about Microsoft Service Packs and Hot Fixes. Many computer users know that service packs and updates are to be installed as soon as they appear to decrease computer vulnerability, protect it against hackers, etc. But is it really true?

The history shows that it's not always correct. Sometimes Microsoft adds patches and updates that can crash your system. In the best case you will need to uninstall this patch to keep working. But in the worst cases you will have to reinstall the whole operating system from scratch. And you are lucky if you made a complete backup of your system before you aplied these dangerous service packs or updates.

We can recall several cases when some pf the patches were incompatible with AMD processors. The last issue like this happened a few years ago and Microsoft had to confirm this issue.

In most cases Microsoft tries to hide these dangerous mistakes and simply replaces the updates and the patches or removes them from the windows.update.com web site. In some particular cases the patches make so many damages that it is absolutely impossible to hide this fact. And the information becomes accessible to public.

Usually the most dangerous patches and service packs were published in December. A few years ago one of these updates killed a few computers in my enviroment. I'm a lucky, or better say, experienced guy. I always keep the complete backup of my working machine to be able to restore it whatever happens. So I was able to return back on line in about 20 minutes, and most of this time I was sitting relaxing and waiting for Acronis True Image to restore my system drive. But, according to the statistics, most of the computer users never make any backups not only of their computer systems, but of their personal files as well. I'm not going to say that it's extremely risky. That's up to people to decide if they want to save the data if anything happens to the computer, or they want to keep everything on the computer hard drive and never make any copy of critical files.

Sometimes a very reliable company can sell a computer disk with a virus. I'm not telling that it happens very often, but the history knows these examples. And I don't want to tell the names of these companies, these cases are history now.

But there is a new very interesting example of Microsoft Security Patch that was published just a few days ago and already killed many machined in the world. This security patch is called kb2393802. If you want you can find a lot of pretty links in Google here:
http://www.google.com/#s...amp;fp=d4a7e52ef0af3d83

To make a long story short, this patch simply turns computer into worthless garbage. And you will need to spend hours or even days to recover after this security patch. Is it hard to believe in that? Well, here is the list of the patches that have been published just a few days ago.

Windows Server 2003 Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2482017)
Windows Server 2003 Security Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2483185)
Windows Server 2003 Security Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2478960)
Windows Server 2003 Security Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2393802)
Windows Server 2003 Security Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2479628)
Windows Server 2003 Security Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2476687)
Windows Server 2003 Security Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2478971)
Windows Server 2003 Security Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB2485376)

Below are just a few quotes from happy customers without my comments. It's clear what happened ever without additional explanation.



Feburary 2011 Microsoft Black Tuesday Summary, (Tue, Feb 8th)



Windows Updates - HELP - KB2393802
Hi...

Hope somebody can help me.... today are systems received a load of new updates from our WUS server, a good number of our machines (about 100 of them) which were all Dells decided that they didn't like KB2393802

The machines do an automatic install of updates at 10:00AM, once these machines had installed this update, and restarted, that's all they kept doing, get to the logon screen and keep restarting.

I jumped onto the WUS server and Declined any updates from today (which included the KB2393802, went around every machine with the problem and uninstalled the Security Patch from them, this fixed the problem!

However, I'm a little concered, looking at the event logs on some of these machines that they show that KB2393802 has been downloaded to the machines and is scheduled to install at 10AM tomorrow.... WHY?!?!?

I don't want another repeat of today!!!! Help!!!!!

What can I do?!?!?

Thanks

Matt



Glad I'm not alone!!! Posed earlier about BSOD's from updates. Did the same as you and declined all updates from 8/2/11. As I didnt have chance to identify the culrit from about 8 updates etc I just did a system restore from an earlier point. These were Fujitsu PC's and did the same/similar, booted up got almost to logging on screen then blue screened and rebooted. Came to the school at lunch and was faced with three down in the suite and a couple of more by the end of the afternoon. Bet I'm faced with a couple tomorrow as I noticed some were saying they would update at shut down (took option to not install and just shut down).
Googling around shows 'we are not alone!"



This update KB2393802 updates the Windows kernel, so it could be many things causing the computer to BSOD.



I cannot install more than one at a time otherwise it crashes out in a BSOD. It's annoying, but I can live with that...

The latest issue (the one I'm asking about) is that the latest batch of updates (I'm pretty sure that it's one of both of these: KB2479628 & KB2393802) is making my PC run unstable and stopping my antivirus from working.

When either are installed, my pc freezes on boot and may or may not enter Vista (safemode does still work). If and when it does enter Vista, MSE displays an error symbol stating that it is not functional / turned on. When I try to turn it on, I get a full system freeze requiring a hard restart.



Windows update applied KB2393802 around 03:00 and my system no longer boots. I recovered using System Restore in Safe Mode. We've had one other report of this inside IBM, but it's early in the day yet.

It may not be KB2393802; here is my list of fixes applied:

KB2393802
KB2478960
KB2476687
KB2482017
KB890830
KB2483185
KB2479628
KB2485376
KB2492441
KB2478971

Forgive me if there is a better place that this; I rarely come here.



I concur - we're having the same problem. Our PCs installed these patches last night through WSUS:

2393802
2478960
2476687
2483185
2479628
2485376
2492441 outlook
2478971

Uninstalling KB2393802 and KB2478960 appears to resolve the issue. Sadly, we appear to have rolled these patches out to 1700+ clients! It's going to be a fun day. :-|

Edit: I Binged this article here http://searchenterprised...ip/Rolling-back-patches on rolling back security patches. Our only apparent options are to roll back each patch manually by browsing to the %SYSTEMROOT%\$NTUninstallKB2393802$\ and %SYSTEMROOT%\$NTUninstallKB2478960$\ folders, then executing spuninst.exe in each.

Any other automated methods out there for rolling back patches?




I guess you noticed that the last guy applied this patch to over 1700+ client computers!

In addition - it was a very interesting patch just a few (2-3) months ago. After this patch my extremely powerful and stable system started crashing an freezing. It can simply freeze so that even mouse glues. And the only one solution is reset. I caught computer just before it started getting crazy and was able to recover it. What I found was a serious problem with explorer.exe. The whole screen became jerky and extremely slow. It almost died, but I was able to call the Task manager and kill explorer.exe. After I did that computer kept working as usual. I just restarted a new instance of explorer.exe and that helped me to avoid resetting the computer. But I always have a complete backup of my system drive. Shame on you

All these cases are real. If you google for them you will find much more examples on the Internet for sure. And this is just the very last example of extremely dangerous Microsoft Patch published a few days ago. People, be careful with that! Don't blame your system administrators for applying these patches. But make them run a complete backup for all your systems on a regular basis to avoid nightmare!

You can read how to make a backup of your computer here:
http://pcyoutrust.com/LearningBackupSoftware.aspx

Good luck!
Dimi
Mason Offline
#3 Posted : Saturday, April 9, 2011 2:00:42 PM(UTC)
Mason


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What would you recommend for the office printer if we need to share one printer using it from several computers?
Mason Offline
#4 Posted : Saturday, April 9, 2011 2:02:51 PM(UTC)
Mason


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Originally Posted by: Mason Go to Quoted Post
What would you recommend for the office printer if we need to share one printer using it from several computers?

Same about backup hardware. An external multi Terabyte hard drive inside enclosure sounds good, but what advices you could give to the office users and why?
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