The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Warning Signs That Your Computer Is on Its Last Legs

Warning Signs That Your Computer Is on Its Last Legs

It is no secret that a computer that doesn’t seem to want to behave (or seems to experience constant issues) is something that most people just want to replace, no questions asked. However, by nature of how computing devices are put together, it is entirely possible that your device could simply be in need of a (much less expensive) repair.


Here, we’ll review some of the issues your device may be exhibiting, and discuss what could potentially be causing them. First, however, we need to address the first step you should take - just to be safe.

Take a Backup at the First Sign of Trouble

The moment you suspect that something may be wrong with your device’s hardware, you need to make a point of taking a backup, double and triple-checking that your data is redundantly saved. Ideally, at least three copies, saved in at least two locations, one of which is located offsite. This way, should something go terribly wrong with your equipment before you can solve the problem, you won’t lose everything.

This is purely a means of mitigating a worst-case scenario, and is really a best practice that you should be following every day as there are a variety of situations where a backup can prove useful.

Once you have done so, you are ready for some basic diagnostics.

Issue: Recurring Software Problems

This is one of the surest signs that there is an issue, as long as a few conditions are met. First off, you need to consider how many software titles are experiencing repeated problems. If it is just one title in particular, the problem is probably with the software, not your device. However, if multiple programs are behaving oddly--crashing, glitching out, or freezing--there could be a much more serious problem at play with the software that supports your computer.

This is when it is time to try reformatting the hard disk and reinstalling the operating system (which is exactly the kind of situation in which it helps to have a data backup at the ready). Most software issues would be resolved by this, so if your issues persist, you likely have an issue with the hardware that actually makes up the device.

Issue: Malfunctioning or Failing Hardware

As your computer is made up of many different parts, any of them could potentially fail… and depending on which part it is that does, you could be facing a relatively simple replacement of a certain component, or the replacement of the entire device.

For example, issues with dead pixels on the screen of your device or an unresponsive touchpad are times when it’s just more economical to replace or repair the part, whereas an issue with the motherboard (which would mean replacing a litany of other components, like your RAM, the CPU…) might make it more worth your while to just replace the entire device. In these situations, it is likely better to turn to an expert for their professional opinion.

Issue: Loud Parts or Lacking Performance

While computers don’t have wrinkles, they certainly show their age in other ways. Devices that haven’t been maintained well or are getting long in the metaphorical tooth can become noisy, hard drives clicking and grinding or fans running on full speed, effectively all the time. These are signs that something isn’t quite right in your computer, and that this something needs to be resolved before the part making the noise fails entirely.

A slower computer can also be a sign that your computer has outlived its productivity, but it could also indicate the need for some maintenance. Before taking any drastic measures, try emptying some space on the device’s hard drive and running a virus check to see if your computer’s resources aren’t being used pointlessly. If this doesn’t help matters, it is likely time to replace the device.

A good rule of thumb to follow when deliberating between repairs or replacement: if your computer is too old to run updated software, or your repairs will cost more than half of what a new device would cost, replace it.

If you still aren’t sure about the state of your current devices, or just want a professional opinion as to what your best option is, reach out to The Connection, Inc. Our job is to ensure that businesses have the resources they need to effectively function. To find out more, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Tip of the Week: Extremely Useful Tips

Tip of the Week: Extremely Useful Tips

All Windows machines are capable of leveraging built-in shortcuts. While it might sound ludicrous, using keyboard shortcuts can eliminate the eight days that the average employee spends every year moving between the keyboard and mouse. Shocking, right? Keyboard shortcuts let you retake all of that lost time and use it to be more productive.


Here is a list of the most helpful shortcuts we could round up, though it’s certainly worth mentioning that there are countless keyboard shortcuts out there that you can leverage to your advantage.

Rotate the Screen

This is more for the office prankster rather than for practical use, but we’ll share it all the same. You can rotate your screen by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Arrow Key.

Switch Between Windows

When you have to frequently switch between windows, you might find yourself wasting time getting lost in them. You can use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Tab to cycle through your layover window that displays all of the open windows and select the one you want to open. This is handy for when you want to see which windows you have open, as well as close any unneeded ones.

Snap Windows

Windows gives users the ability to provide split-screen functionality simply by snapping application windows to the edges of the screen, dividing them equally. While it might be easy to click and drag them to the side, you can always use Windows Key + Left/Right Arrow Key to make the same thing happen. You can snap the window to a specific corner as well, dividing the screen into quarters, using the Up/Down Arrow Key immediately after the Left/Right Arrow Key.

When you’re ready to maximize a window again, using Windows Key + Up Arrow Key will do so.

Quick Shutdown

Clicking through menus can slow things down, especially when all you want to do is shut down the computer or log out. Windows shortcuts let users take advantage of the Quick Access Menu with the Windows key. You can use Windows Key + X and any of the below keys to complete a variety of processes:

U - Shut Down
I - Sign Out
R - Restart
H - Hibernate
S - Sleep

Create Your Own Desktop Keyboard Shortcut

If there isn’t a keyboard shortcut for your favorite folder or application, you can make your own. Right-click on the desktop icon and select Properties. You’ll see an empty field labeled Shortcut key. All you have to do is click to select the field and press your desired shortcut key. This will map your new shortcut to the following: Ctrl + Alt + Whatever Key You Chose.

What are some of your favorite keyboard shortcuts? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe for more great tips and tricks.

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Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part V: Other Considerations

Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part V: Other Considerations

In parts one through four we talked about choosing the right specifications for your desktop, depending on its role. We talked about selecting the right CPU, RAM, storage, and display options. This final post we hit a few other tips and ideas we came up with that didn’t fit into the other posts.

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Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part IV: Videos, Graphics, and Monitors

Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part IV: Videos, Graphics, and Monitors

Your new desktop isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have a screen to plug into it. Let’s talk about considerations to make when purchasing a new desktop when it comes to your display.

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Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part III: Choosing Storage

Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part III: Choosing Storage

We’re on to part three of our Desktop Buyer’s Guide. When comparing all of your options when shopping around for desktops, one of the main features you’ll see is how much storage they have. We’ve seen this with smartphones and tablets as well - you can buy an iPhone with 64 GB (gigabytes) of storage or 128 GB of storage, etc.

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Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part II: How Much RAM Do I Need?

Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part II: How Much RAM Do I Need?

In part two of our desktop buying guide, we talk about one of the most confusing specifications you’ll see whenever you purchase a computer. We’re going to demystify memory, also referred to as RAM.


In the first post of this series, we went over how to choose a CPU/Processor when picking out a new desktop. Our main focus is on choosing a desktop for your business or home office, but we did talk about a few options that exist for more high-end computers that can handle video editing and gaming. We’re going to stick with this theme here, especially when it comes to talking about RAM.

RAM (which stands for Random Access Memory) is often just referred to as Memory. It’s often confused with the amount of data your computer can store, but that isn’t the case. RAM is used to temporarily store data so it can be instantly recalled without having to pull it from the computer’s storage. If you wanted to compare it to the human brain, it’s sort of like short term memory.

The amount of RAM you have determines how much you can have going on at once, and how quickly your computer performs when a lot is going on. If you read the first post in this series, you might ask ‘hey, isn’t that also what the CPU does?’ and you wouldn’t be wrong. The CPU handles instructions. It processes the data that the RAM holds. More RAM means a bigger stack of data that the CPU can quickly process, and a faster CPU means the CPU will process the data faster. They go together.

How Much RAM Does My Computer Need?

The nice thing about buying a desktop these days is you have pretty limited options as far as RAM goes. That isn’t to say there aren’t dozens of brands with their own clock speeds and special features that you can pick and choose from, but PC manufacturers handle all that for you.

If you were building your own PC at home, or customizing a PC on a site that lets you choose from a wide variety of types of RAM, things will feel more complicated. If that’s the case, this guide probably over-simplifies things for you, but you’ve probably figured that out by now.

When buying a new preconfigured desktop (or laptop), the speed and type of RAM is typically figured out for you based on the manufacturer's model. The real thing you need to look for is how much RAM is included in the device.

The Scrimping Budget End - Generally speaking, the smallest amount of RAM you will typically see for a Windows 10 device is 4 GB (Gigabytes). You can technically get Windows 10 to run on less, but we wouldn’t recommend it for most desktops. Even 4 GB is pretty meager; you won’t be able to do much very quickly on that device. We’re talking very light document editing, and web surfing. Even then, you’ll need to be gentle and not expect much out of your system.

The Low-End - Most ‘budget” PCs start with 8 GB of RAM. This is plenty to run the operating system and handle some light office work. Editing documents, looking at photos, and surfing the web should work fine. Much more than that will likely tax the system.

The Mid-Range - Even on a budget, check to see if the desktop can be upgraded to 16 GB of RAM. Often the price difference isn’t very significant, and you’ll be able to get more out of your investment. Often, when older computers start to feel slow for our clients, we’ll upgrade the RAM by doubling it for a low-cost way to get more life out of the system.

What’s nice about having 16 GB of RAM is that this is also the entry-point for gaming systems. We’re not saying that 16 is the magic number, but if you are willing to pay a little to reach it, you’ll likely be in pretty good shape if the rest of your computer can handle what you throw at it.

The High-End - Like everything else, this is where we can really push the ceiling up. For example, the new Mac Pro is boasting that it’s capable of supporting up to 1.5 TB of RAM (That’s a whopping 1500 GB). At the time of writing this, no pricing has been made available for configuring the Mac Pro with 1.5 TB of RAM, but rumors say it could cost up to $20 grand.

If you are designing a gaming rig, a video editing system, or a server, you start to get into the realm of more than 16 GB of RAM. Once you get much past 32 GB of RAM (the next tier) it’s time to leave Best Buy and start consulting with an expert (no offense Geek Squad).

Final Thoughts on RAM

Often, you can upgrade your RAM later, depending on the device. This is more likely in desktops and less likely in laptops.

When in doubt, never settle for less than 8 GB and typically try to shoot for 16 GB.

We hope this guide was helpful! Be sure to check out part 3 in the next couple of days, and if you need any help when it comes to purchasing computer equipment for your business or keeping your existing computers running smoothly, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part I: Choosing the Right CPU

Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part I: Choosing the Right CPU

Are you looking to purchase a new desktop for your business (or for home)? We’ve put together this handy guide to help demystify the computer-buying process. This is the first part of five in our series, selecting the right CPU.


First, Determine the Computer’s Role

You can narrow down your search a whole lot just by deciding exactly what you want the desktop for. There are many major differences between a computer suitable for someone in your billing department and for someone who needs to edit video.

For the sake of this article, we’re going to focus a little more on the lower-to-medium end, because as you get into audio/video production or gaming, the roof can be raised to almost no limit.

Remember, You Can Usually Upgrade Down the Road, But...

A desktop computer that is designed for basic office work can usually be upgraded, but don’t expect to take a low-end desktop and upgrade it to a high-end gaming system. Laptops are a whole different story. Some can be upgraded a little, others can’t, but as a rule of thumb, assume you won’t be turning a low-end laptop into a high-performance rig.

Making Sense of the Specifications

When shopping around, you’ll typically see a few components listed on the desktop’s spec sheet. Let’s talk about one of the big specifications to pay attention to, the CPU.

CPU/Processor

The CPU determines, in essence, how much your computer can do at once and how quickly it does it. There are two brands you’ll run into; Intel and AMD.

Intel has tried to simplify this otherwise complicated specification by tiering out their CPUs, the Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9. The higher the number, the more powerful the CPU is. AMD is starting to follow a similar path to simplify their naming convention, but both brands make both low-end and high-end CPUs. Let’s look at some of the most common you see today:

Intel Core i3 - This tier is okay for real low-end work. We’re talking editing documents, checking email, and surfing the web. The latest generation of Core i3 processors are strong enough to handle streaming video services like YouTube and Netflix without too much trouble.

Intel Core i5 - The i5 will do what the i3 can do a little faster, and you’ll have no problem streaming a little video, doing some light photo editing, and maybe playing a game or two if it isn’t too taxing on your system. This is a pretty solid choice for the typical office workstation.

Intel Core i7 - This is where the price starts to climb. Core i7 CPUs are geared towards high-end systems for video editing and gaming.

Intel Core i9 - The i9 tier is fairly new, and at this point is pretty overkill for what most people need out of their desktop. If you are building out a computer for 3D animation, rendering, gaming while streaming, scientific calculations, etc., then this might be the way to go, but the price tag for this CPU alone can be several thousands of dollars.

AMD Ryzen 3 - AMD’s low end model is, to simplify things, on par with the Intel Core i3. You’ll be able to edit documents and surf the web, but not a whole lot else without straining the system.

AMD Ryzen 5 - Conveniently enough, the Ryzen 5 is in about the same tier as the Intel Core i5. You’ll pay a little more than the Ryzen 3, and get some more performance out of your desktop. Expect to handle typical office work, stream video, and light photo editing and gaming.

AMD Ryzen 7 - Seeing a pattern? The Ryzen 7 is AMD’s answer to the Intel Core i7. Just like the i7, the cost of the CPU starts to climb pretty significantly compared to the lower-end models.

AMD Threadripper - Here’s where we get into overkill territory for most use. The Threadripper is designed for heavy loads like 3D animation, gaming while broadcasting your stream, and other intense computing that a typical workstation doesn’t tend to experience.

When Does the GHz Matter?
The nice thing about Intel and AMD arranging their CPUs into tiers is that you can almost always ignore the clock speed. When helping non-technical friends and family pick out a computer, I always tell them that the CPU speed, which is measured in gigahertz, is for nerds to care about. The higher the number, the faster the CPU, and the more it costs. Until you get to the point where you are building a server or high-end gaming PC, you can definitely just worry about the tiers instead of the GHz.

Does the Number of Cores Matter?
Cores are the number of processors built within the main processor. Typically, shoot for at least four cores unless you are on a serious budget. For gaming and video editing and higher-end tasks, more cores can start to matter, but even then, most of the time it caps off at eight. There are processors out there with dozens of cores, but typically these are designed for servers or specific situations.

One more tip: Usually, getting last generation’s CPU doesn’t save you much money, and as long as you get something recent you should be good. You don’t need to get bleeding edge or wait for the next line of CPUs to come out either, unless you are really trying to hit the very peak of high-end performance and are willing to spend top dollar to make it happen.

Next time, we’ll demystify other pain points of the desktop buying process! Keep in mind, if you need help purchasing computers for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Connection, Inc. You can call and talk to one of our experienced IT professionals at (732) 291-5938.

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When Do You Know When It’s Time For an Upgrade?

When Do You Know When It’s Time For an Upgrade?

Nothing lasts forever; this phrase is true regardless of which industry you’re in or business you run. We all use technology in the office to a certain extent, and the ugly truth is that someday that technology will fail. It’s critical that you monitor technology for warning signs prior to its failure so as to avoid costly repair bills and rushed replacements. You might be surprised by how much you save as a result.

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Tech Term: Responsive Web Design

Tech Term: Responsive Web Design

We all have our favorite websites to visit, as well as those we often have to visit to fulfill our responsibilities. As a result, it isn’t uncommon for us to try and access the same websites on both a desktop workstation and a mobile device, but some websites work better than others while trying this. This is because of something called responsive web design, which we’ll review below for our weekly Tech Term.

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Tip of the Week: How to Speed Up a Windows PC

Tip of the Week: How to Speed Up a Windows PC

The personal computer is a remarkable tool, allowing us to accomplish levels of productivity and efficiency at speeds that were once only dreamed of… at least, that’s how it feels at first. However, it doesn’t take very long for a computer to seem like it drags on and on before performing the task requested of it. Why is that, and how can this be resolved?

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Tech Term: Protocol

Tech Term: Protocol

Computers use quite a lot of different types of protocol to function. In particular, the Internet takes advantage of protocol to a great degree. You might recognize terms like Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, File Transfer Protocol, Internet Message Protocol, and Post Office Protocol. But what exactly is protocol, and why is it important?

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Tech Term: Safe Mode

Tech Term: Safe Mode

Sometimes it can be hard to diagnose a problem with your PC. While it might not be something system-breaking, it’s still important to find the root of an issue before it becomes a major problem. One of the best ways to diagnose an issue with your computer is by logging in using Safe Mode. We’ll talk about when and how you can use Safe Mode to your computer’s benefit.

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Power Off, or Leave It On?

Power Off, or Leave It On?

At the end of the day, do you shut down your computer or do you put it into sleep mode? Depending on what you need from your device the next day, you might want to consider which option benefits you the most. Here are some of the pros and cons of both approaches so that you can pick which one best suits your situation.


Understanding the Difference
Before you can identify which one suits your needs, you should first understand the difference between what they do. When a computer shuts down, it will first turn off any software that might be in use before the hardware itself shuts down. Your operating system will send a message to any open programs to stop reading and writing files so that they can be prepared for the hardware shutdown. Once all of the software has shut down, the physical components can now start their shutdown processes. Most notably, the physical hardware gradually loses power, which keeps your workstation safe from surges and other types of damage. This is also why you should never turn off your computer by holding down the power button.

On the other hand, a computer in sleep mode will use its RAM to store open files and run in a low-power state. It also limits which software and hardware are running so that limited resources are being used. These can then be reactivated at any time.

The Benefits of a Full Shutdown
One of the greatest benefits of a full system shutdown is that your operating system will have a chance to restart itself, so to speak, by getting rid of minor OS problems. If you go too long without a reboot, these issues could increase and become a major impediment in the future. In fact, many updates to the Windows operating system require a full restart in order to install properly.

Power issues can be reduced considerably by following the proper computer shutdown process. A computer uses less power when it’s off compared to when it’s on, even in sleep mode. However, as long as a computer is left on, there will always be a chance of a power surge hitting the device and doing damage. A complete shutdown can potentially limit this risk.

The Benefits of Sleep Mode
The first and arguably most convincing benefit of sleep mode is the convenience that it provides. You won’t have to wait for your device to boot up again the next time you plan to use it. One instance of this might not merit much of an increase in productivity, but repeated instances will certainly be of value. Another benefit of placing your computer in sleep mode is that it can run basic maintenance when it’s needed. This could include security updates and other types of general upkeep that your device won’t take advantage of when it’s turned off.

Why to Consider Both
Keeping all of this in mind, it would make sense to customize your approach to system shutdown and sleep mode based on your specific needs. One of the best ways to do this is by shutting down your computer at the end of the day, and only putting it in sleep mode when you walk away from it for a few moments. This approach allows you to remain productive during the workday while also ensuring your device is still maintained during the off hours.

However, if you want your devices to be upgraded during the office’s quiet hours, it’s crucial that you leave your workstations on. This allows for the automation of security updates and patching, which is a valuable asset in its own right.

Do you typically leave your computer on or off? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our blog.

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Tech Term: Motherboard

Tech Term: Motherboard

A computer is made up of many parts, one of which is today’s Tech Term: the motherboard. We’ll discuss what the motherboard does for your computer and why it’s such an important part for its continued operation.

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Tip of the Week: Optimize Your Computer By Taking Care of the Clutter

Tip of the Week: Optimize Your Computer By Taking Care of the Clutter

Do you remember the day that you purchased your current workstation? Maybe it was last week, last month, last year, or several years ago. At one point, it was pristine, untouched by the demands of the workday, but those days have long since passed. Over time, your computer collects all sorts of stuff on it, from unnecessary files to outdated, unused software.


For this week’s tip, we’ll discuss ways in which your organization can cut down on the immense amount of digital clutter on your PC, ranging from how to organize the contents of your workstation, to what you can do with your old mobile devices and other unnecessary hardware you have lying about.

Organize Your Workstation’s Files and Network Drive
Is your desktop filled with all sorts of files and icons that make navigating your workstation more difficult than it should be? This is a common problem, and it’s important to stay organized so you can be productive, especially if you utilize an on premise shared network drive. Make sure that all of your employees know the proper protocol for storing files before they are allowed to upload files to the shared drive.

You can work with the business technology experts at The Connection, Inc for help if you feel your current system needs some work. Whether you need to better the organization process for stored data, or control who has access to things, we can assist you to make sure it’s done right, and backed up. 

Remove Unnecessary Programs and Applications
As time passes, certain applications will lose their value. This is due to a number of factors, such as changes in internal policy, the size of your workforce, and so on. Perhaps you’ve found a better solution that suits your needs, but you forgot to uninstall the old one. Old programs that are no longer useful can take up valuable network space, and worse yet, they could become vulnerable if they aren’t kept updated. We recommend performing a network audit to determine exactly which applications are being used, and how often they’re accessed.

Properly Dispose of Unused Devices
When a device’s life cycle meets its end, or it’s simply outclassed by another, more potent device, it’s natural to replace it with something that better meets your organization’s needs. However, when you regularly refresh your hardware, you’ll wind up with plenty of extra devices just collecting dust. Even worse, these devices might be completely functional. You don’t want to simply throw away old computers, laptops, and mobile devices. This is bad for the environment as there are harmful metals and elements. It also puts your business at risk because your data may still be on the device even after deleting it. It’s best to have professionals purge the data and recycle old hardware.

That said, it never hurts to keep an extra workstation on hand just in case something bad happens to an employee’s computer in the line of duty. Still, all other devices that are no longer in use should be wiped of any data that’s on them (ask us if you have questions on how) before being recycled.

For more great tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to The Connection, Inc’s blog.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Resolve the Blue Screen of Death

Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Resolve the Blue Screen of Death

It’s quite possibly the most infamous screen image in computing: the Blue Screen of Death. Encountering this screen will often cause two thoughts to run through a user’s mind: what just happened, and how can I fix it?

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As if Selecting Hardware Wasn’t Tricky Enough, Intel Went and Did This

As if Selecting Hardware Wasn’t Tricky Enough, Intel Went and Did This

Intel recently announced their next line of laptop processors, and with that single act, caused no small amount of frustration and confusion among the IT market. After claims that they were breaking from their traditional schedule of releasing a new processor each September and improving upon it later, Intel has gone ahead and released a new processor architecture instead of maintaining their Skylake processor from last year.


Referred to as Kaby Lake, the processor has been better optimized for 4K video handling and editing than its predecessor was, and reportedly improves upon the battery life as well. However, along with the changes made to the architecture were some changes made to the branding, which will almost certainly cause confusion among consumers.

Before Kaby Lake, Intel essentially had two lines of processors: Core i and Core M. Core i was the stronger of the two options with the i5 and i7 processors, while the Core m5 and m7 were typically put into tablets. However, as Kaby Lake was released, Intel changed the name of their Core M processors so that an m5 is now called… an i5.

Mind you, there has been no change in the capabilities of the processors, just in the name. The only distinguishing feature between Core M and Core i is now the inclusion of Y or U, respectively, in the SKU numbers included in the extended name of the products. What’s worse, when researching components to include as a part of a workstation configuration, many websites will only display that an i7 processor is included--meaning that it is entirely possible for someone to purchase a less-than-adequate solution for their needs because the SKU numbers are buried in the product specifications.

While the average consumer would likely notice little difference between the two, business users will need to be especially cognizant of this name change as they select a solution to suit their business. Of course, that’s assuming a business user has the time to research the solutions they will need to continue their operations in such depth, and the focus to spare on ensuring the SKU numbers match the processor to fit their work needs.

If a business doesn’t have the time to spare digging through minutiae, they could always call The Connection, Inc for assistance. Our expert technicians make sure that solutions are properly devised to meet the expectations any business requires. Call The Connection, Inc at (732) 291-5938 today to evaluate your tech to ensure your solutions are adequate.

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Microsoft Sets Itself Up Nicely With Windows Store Loophole

Microsoft Sets Itself Up Nicely With Windows Store Loophole

When you’re managing your business’s technology, you want to limit access to time-wasting applications and keep your employees from accessing the Windows Store. It just makes sense. Yet, for the businesses that want to restrict access to the Windows Store on Windows 10 devices, well, that’s too bad; Windows 10 Pro version 1511 just made your life a whole lot more difficult, unless you’re willing to pay extra for Windows 10 Enterprise edition.

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Tip of the Week: Why Having an Extra Workstation is Worth It

Tip of the Week: Why Having an Extra Workstation is Worth It

For every business, it’s essential to be prepared for any unforeseen problems that can disrupt day-to-day operations. One easy way to do this is by keeping an extra workstation on hand.


Having a spare PC is actually a common recommendation for many business continuity plans. The purpose is to have a terminal ready to go that your employees can use for whenever their regular workstation must undergo repairs. Otherwise, they might just stand around with nothing to do, which adds up to a lot of lost productivity.

Considering how much money results from downtime, having an extra workstation on hand is well worth the expense. Also, it’s not like your spare PC has to be a state-of-the-art machine. In fact, a basic computer having just enough resources to run your mission-critical applications should do the trick.

Obtaining a spare PC doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re a growing company that’s regularly refreshing your hardware, then it’s simply a matter of storing away an older PC that’s been replaced--assuming that it’s still in good working order and can perform the minimum job requirements.

If, on the other hand, you’re a newer company that hasn’t yet gone through a hardware refresh, then you’ll likely have to purchase a new computer in order to have an extra one on hand. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to buy anything fancy. After all, you just need a spare PC.

While we’re on the subject of swapping out workstations, let this scenario serve as a reminder of why it’s best to store all work-related files and applications over a company server or cloud storage solution. That way, all one would have to do in order to keep the project moving forward, is simply unplug one computer and swap it out for another. Plus, if your applications are running over the network, then the terminal needed to access the software would only have to be something basic and affordable, like a thin client.

Alternatively, going with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) may suffice in your time of hardware repair. If an employee can use their own mobile device, like a laptop, to access the network and get work done, then pulling their workstation in order to fix it shouldn’t hinder operations. However, if you go this route, you’ll want to make sure that proper security measures have first been implemented before allowing a personal device to access company files. Also, even if you allow for BYOD in your office, it’s still a good idea to have a spare PC on hand.

At the end of the day, having an extra workstation comes with many benefits, and it’s just one of the many precautions you can take to ensure that operations will continue while downed technology is getting repaired or replaced. For more tips on how to protect your assets with a bulletproof business continuity plan, give The Connection, Inc a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Tip of the Week: 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or More - How Much RAM Do You Actually Need?

Tip of the Week: 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or More - How Much RAM Do You Actually Need?

You can tell when a workstation might need an upgrade if it’s slowing down, or if the machine is so absurdly slow that you can barely accomplish your daily tasks with it. One of the easiest ways you can improve the quality of your workstation is by increasing the amount of RAM.


RAM, or Random Access Memory, is one major factor that can contribute to how much you can do with your workstation or server at any given time. Here’s what you can do with various amounts of RAM commonly found in PCs.

1GB: Literally Nothing but the Basics
The minimum requirement for the 32-bit Windows 10 operating system is 1GB of RAM, though it’s obviously not recommended that you run it like this. 1GB is barely enough for basic functionality like web browsing, word processing, and checking your email, but you can’t expect it to run well. Also with only 1GB of RAM, you can forget about photo and video editing. 1GB isn’t even passable for a consumer PC. Most machines these days house somewhere between 4-8GB of RAM. In fact, most smartphones and tablets have more than 1GB.

2GB: Not Enough to Get Much Done
2GB is the minimum system requirement for the 64-bit version of Windows 10; as such, it’s still recommended that you run more RAM than this. 2GB is enough to get some work done, like running your productivity suite and having plenty of open browser tabs, but you’ll still be held back significantly in terms of running more powerful software solutions.

4GB: A Major Improvement
Here’s where you start to see some significant improvements in functionality. You’ll find that you can run more applications at the same time, allowing for greater productivity. Plus, your software will run much faster in general, cutting down on frustration and making it easier to get work done. 4GB is considered a benchmark for a low-end office PC.

Keep in mind that a 32-bit operating system on a 4GB machine will only be able to access about 3.2GB. When using a 64-bit operating system, you’ll have access to the whole 4GB (and higher). It’s also important to remember that the 32-bit version of Windows 10 has a 4GB RAM limit - the 64-bit versions require more RAM to run properly.

8GB: Now We’re Talking
If you’re going to be working with several editing softwares, like the Adobe Creative Cloud or light multimedia, you’ll want to up the ante to 8GB. Doing so allows you to further increase performance, and you’ll experience minimal frustration. Office workstations will sing (as long as their other components are up-to-speed), and 8GB of RAM is where you’ll typically want to start for light gaming.

16GB and Up: Is it Worth It?
Whether or not your system needs more than 8GB will really depend on what you plan to use it for. The only time that 16GB or more becomes worth your money is when you’re running several resource-heavy applications and/or virtual machines at the same time. If you need your workstation to be able to handle anything resource-intensive like this, you’ll want to invest in a machine that has at least 16GB of RAM. On top of that, video editing and other multimedia will be more effective with more RAM.

Be sure to discuss what you need with an internal IT department, or contact The Connection, Inc at (732) 291-5938, if you think you need an upgrade.

Disclaimer: For those who aren’t technologically savvy, RAM is a hardware component, not something that you can download off of the Internet to speed up your computer.

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