Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HP Online Desktop Diagnostic Memory Test

HP On-Line Diagnostic - Model HP Compaq dc5100 SFF Memory

This is one of the things that I prefer and like that HP does that at least recently I've not seen from Dell. The fact that I could run a memory test, and not just a status test, while a computer was still in Windows XP.

With Dell, I had to take the system off-line and then run a deep memory scan. With HP's online diagnostics memory test, I was able to keep the desktop system online.

This particualr desktop however, had no memory errors. the computer was acting very erratic. It would freeze, applications would hang, and the time of these accurances was random almost like a memory problem but without blue screens or hard stop errors. The applications and computer would just hang, requiring a hard reboot. This is also a symtom of a tempurature problem. I found this nice little program very handy for checking on the system fans and the tempurature of the desktop.

A nice little freeware product that's a nice little addition to the toolbox is called SpeedFan. Besides the memory test, I installed and ran SpeedFan and it really helped with the problem. It showed the sensores installed on the motherboard and their individual RPM speeds. It also showed the current temperatures of the sensors and not surprisingly, there was an image of flames on one of them and another fan with 0 RPM - it was not spinning at all.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Simple Program to Extract .rar Archives.

ExtractNow is a handy little program that needs to get noticed. If you hate having to install software on your computer that you really don;t use often and really don;t want because of the changes that it's going to make to your system then this is the program if for you for extracting files from rar archives quickly.

I really liked this program for it's fast and simple installation. The download from of the installation package was also very small, just 1 megabyte (1MB). It downloads fast and gets to work fast to get the files out of rar files and into a folder where you can use them.

When Microsoft added the zip technology into the windows explorer shell on every desktop, zip archives became the standard for compressing files. Every now and then I need to decompress files from a rar archive and I have always in the past installed WinRAR to do this and never really used the application again to compress anything. This time on a new Windows Vista system I didn't want to install a big program that makes all sorts of file association changes and adds stuff to the explorer context menu and add a ton of keys and strings into the registry. I wanted a simple program to just extract the files from a rar archive file.

A quick search on the web and I found this little gem, ExtractNow. It's small, it does the job I need it to do and nothing more. I'll never compress a rar file when I can easily create a zip from the explorer right-click context menu so i don;t need a feature rich program if I just want to extract files from a RAR archive. WinRAR and others do have many features built into their programs and some included features for backing up file and folders from you computer to other media or network locations. For just extracting files, those big feature rich archival programs too much for me. Addition information and user opinion for using ExtractNow to Extract rar files without WinRAR can be found at this personal site.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Information Technology Support - Adventure (Rated PG): Computer Desktop and Server Management

More than remote control software, Kaseya has some excellent features that aer unparralelled. They have a complete solution for desktop and server management that doesn;t stop at just the desktops or servers. They have a crossplatform support for PC and MACs and can also monitor any SMTP enabled device to alert of a problem before a customer for whom you are monitoring would even know. It has a backup and disaster recover component that allows you to create offisite backups of your customer';s most important computers and servers based on the best imaging software, Acronis.

In addition to remote control through a silently installed agent on the remote computers and servers, their is a very robust and complete ticket system and help desk.

Main features inlcude:

  • PC Remote Control/Remote Support

  • Patch Management

  • Kaseya Computer Audit and Discovery

  • Remote Desktop Management

  • LAN and Windows Monitoring

  • Help Desk and Trouble Ticketing

  • Software Deployment & Systems Management

  • Network Policy Management

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery

  • Anti-Virus/Anti-Spyware Detection

  • Cross Platform Support (PC and MAC)

  • User State Management
  • Power Management

Visit their site for complete information at kaseya.com

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Computer & Networking News and Reviews: Remote Support Software Solution

Computer & Networking News and Reviews: Remote Support Software Solution

Gotoassist express is still in beta. This solution for computer remote support software is looking to be a good product for PC remote support. One of the problems encountered with gotoassist the full version was the high price for the online application. It truly had all the features tech support could need but the price was in many instances cost prohibitive.

Citrix Online has created a scaled down but effective version of their application for remote support and have users signing up to beta test the application before its final release. The bugs are being worked out and they'll surely have a nice product that will enable technical support department, help-desks and other computer and application support specialists to get remote access through their PC remote control software.

LiveMeeting is another great application for remote control, online desktop remote support and conferencing and it too has a high price tag but is definitely in the elite category for remote control and PC remote support. It's main intent is for conferencing and collaboration just as Citrix's gotomeeting has both features for collaboration and conferencing and does them well. Innate with the architecture is remote control land that enables remote support. Removing the collaboration or watering it down somewhat to leave the main aspect that's in greater demand at times is the ability to remote control the desktop that's connected. Both support software applications have the ability to select only applications to share to the viewer, they bot also have the option for share the entire desktop remote desktop remote support. PC remote support software is a secondary aspect of the full blown products and are in high demand by information technology and systems integrators.

Web based desktop remote support software doesn't have to cost an exorbitant amount of money and as Citrix has learned it seems, all the features in the world won't help sell the product if it's just too out of range for small budgets. Livemeeting too costs a lot of money and is mostly used by larger support companies and software application developer companies that have the financial flexibility to afford online PC remote support applications in their price range. I suspect that Microsoft too will introduce a smaller version of their product intended for web based remote desktop support and not the full blown collaboration and conferencing application.

WhitePaper From Microsoft:


Monday, February 11, 2008

Information Technology Support - Adventure (Rated PG): Computer Remote Support Software

Information Technology Support - Adventure (Rated PG): Computer Remote Support Software

Microsoft LiveMeeting and Cisco's meeting place were both applications that were designed originally by other companies that specialized in conferencing and collaboration software applications. They also included in their products software for PC remote support. It's a feature or part of the package for conferencing. The applications have the option for techs to remote control the client desktops by enabling the client user to share their applications or sharing the entire desktop remotely.

Once enabled, the entire desktop can be viewed by the remote user and if also allowed, they can control over it including mouse and keyboard. Computer remote support software can come bundled within another application like one that's for conferencing or collaboration, as we've seen, it can be a standalone application or online service that gives tech support the tool to reach more of their users and clients spread out all over the world to provide them with web based desktop remote support.

Computer Support - Adventure (Rated PG): Remote Support Software

Computer Support - Adventure (Rated PG): Remote Support Software

Microsoft LiveMeeting

Microsoft LiveMeeting

Part of the Microsft Office Online Movement

Take a product tour and sign-up for demo:


See the demo - live demonstration opportunity for Microsoft's LiveMeeting Conferencing and collaboration software.


I had the opportunity to see Microsoft's LiveMeeting in action while working on a service call for one of my clients. The client was having some trouble with their document imaging application for which they had tech support from the vendor. The vendor had a contract for support and whilst they were many states away, they were able to remote into the computer and gain access to the server and the application both server side and client.

Although remote desktop support is not a strange phenomenon to me. I've heard of Microsoft's program desktop remote support (I believe the result of a purchase of another company). I also heard it's main focus was on conferencing and collaboration. I'm a fan, a critical one at times, of Microsoft's products and believe that their product once I saw it would live up to the expectations of expectant Microsoft touch or flavor as they've done with other products they've acquired through purchases.

Microsoft's LiveMeeting was phenomenal. The program for conferencing looked as if it would be a great asset to any company that was looking to host online meetings and collaboration efforts. It was well laid out in appearance and functionality, although I did not look at the conferencing features because the goal at the time was to solve the problem with the application the tech support group was working on. I did have an opportunity to explorer the menu options. I did see the important key elements for conferencing and collaboration. The layout of the application can make a huge difference for users who may not be that experienced in the desktop and online meetings. The result of my quick review was that Microsoft's LiveMeeting was a strong product in the area of online meetings.

Where I did get a little more exposure was in the area of online tech support. Although not touted and support software, the ability to provide desktop remote support was easily apparent. Like many other programs of it kind, there was the choice of allowing the viewing of a applications that were displayed on the desktop or for the entire desktop. As many computer desktop remote support programs do, a full view and control of the computer desktop was the optimum choice in this case. The need to have the technician be able to roam very freely to get to system that were related to the remote support session at hand. As computer remote support software, LiveMeeting had a good quality about it. It was fast it was reliable and provided the ability to apply tech support to customers or clients through the web for web based desktop remote support.

It just so happened that during another support call to this same customer, there was a need to get tech support from the same vendor but this time it was a problem on the desktop client side of their application. The client software would not install and the problem was isolated to this particular desktop which was dell desktop. Although I believed their was a problem on this computer itself, and having tech support remote into it to try and run the install that although a very fat installation that takes a lot of time, usually completed without problems. The computer was having issues but the company's tech support person wanted to call not believing the problem was on the desktop and not the installer application. So we called tech support again. I was looking forward to seeing the desktop support software from Microsoft in action once again. This time the LiveMeeting software was unable to load. Just as the client application software that they were trying to remoter into the desktop to fix was not installing, neither was the application that was intended as desktop remote support was not installing. This is where I believe Microsoft could make a difference with their product to improve it.

The software relies on the windows installer service to get started. If there is a problem with the installer service or with the computer itself that's either corrupting files or not allowing them to start on desktop properly, the program will not start as conferencing, collaboration or as computer remote support software. Microsoft needs to develop a backup method for the software to start a session with the remote client. Java would be the best option. I've seen webex use this and gotoassist. Perhaps because of the settlement with Sun, they no longer look to build applications that require a virtual machine as a component. Activex is another option for them to code as a backup method to connect clients to session but although it may have been in there it wasn't starting for me on this particular computer desktop. We did find a way around this problem to continue the tech support session via remote desktop support. If Microsoft is going to push their product as a computer remote support software package, then they'll need to address this issue and perhaps not rely sole on the windows installer to run initialize and start the program. Computer remote support software needs to not be wroapped around so tightly as to require too many things to be not only presetn o nthe remote desktop for support but needn't be there at all. For computer remote support software, just getting the program to execute and connect and keeping the method as basic is a better choice of direction.
Please see a prior related post regarding support software: