One of our Security and Anti-Virus solutions available to our customers is a much lauded and awarded product called Bitdefender.

We at A&STech take customer security and discretion very seriously and therefore offer many different solutions to Viruses, Hackers, Firewall, Cracks, Malware, Spyware and other security threats.
Bitdefender is one of our solutions that we have chosen after many years of tests and real world usage of Anti-Virus products.

Bitdefender was firstly developed in Bucharest, Romania by the now CEO of the Bitdefender company and subsidiaries, Mr Florin Talpes.
It was publically offered as an AV product in 2001 and is now in its 17th build version.
Since its relatively short life as a AV product, Bitdefender has grown substantially and now has headquarters in Germany, Spain, UK, USA and off course in Romania.

A&STech use a cloud based version of Bitdefender which grants our staff with intricate controls over all the security aspects of customers’ machines and help our stuff manage all the networks that use Bitdefender from one intuitive web based console.

Bitdefender cloud edition provides real time scanning for our customers.
This real time scanning includes antispam scanning using Bitdefender’s Antispam NeuNet technology, the now patented B-HAVE technology which reduces its dependency on the usual virus signatures by proactively scanning and detecting unknown threats based on behavioural analysis.
Another technology is Active Virus Control, it scans each program as it runs its code for malware like activity and each one of those action is scored, compared and reported if the process executes harmful processes.

Bitdefender has won many awards and accolades over its short existence and this just goes to highlight the amount of calculated trust is put onto the security software to give peace of mind, actual security and threat elimination to networks in this seemingly volatile digital world.

Bitdefender is used by many of the world’s big name enterprises and we at A&STech are proud to offer it as part of our relentless pursuit of network security.

“Unlicensed Product” problem using Office 365 Subscription

At some point, Office 2013 will report that the Microsoft Office 2013 Suite installed is unlicensed even though your subscription is still valid. It will display a red “Unlicensed Product” message at the top of the Microsoft Office 2013 application. Reactivating it is not very straightforward.

Provided you still have a valid Office 365 subscription, do the following to easily reactivate:

  1. Close all opened Microsoft Office 2013 Application.
  2. Run Microsoft Word 2013 as Administrator.
  3. Create a new Blank Document.
  4. Go to File -> Account and then Sign out.
  5. Close Microsoft Word 2013.
  6. Run Microsoft Word 2013 as Administrator again.
  7. Go to File -> Account and then Sign In.
  8. Close all opened Microsoft Office 2013 Application.
  9. Normally open any Microsoft Office 2013 application and the red “Unlicensed Product” should disappear.

Worst case scenario if the above procedure will not work is to Uninstall Microsoft Office 2013, Sign in to Microsoft Online Portal to reinstall Office 2013.

Synology Diskstation DS1813 NAS

A few months back we did a brief overview of NAS devices, but today we will look at a particular model that we use extensively both in house and for our customers, the Synology DiskStation DS1813 NAS.

Synology is a Taiwanese organization that specialises in all types of NAS devices for home, business and enterprise use.
Their products are divided by two categories; DiskStation for home and business applications and RackStation for rack mounted enterprises devices.

Today we will be looking at the matte black Synology Diskstation DS1813+ NAS.
It was only just recently pipped from being the flagship model for home and business solutions from Synology by the DS2413+.

The DS1813+ is an 8-bay NAS which can grow and expand on the fly. The total compatible capacity can be as large as 72TB when paired with another DS1813+ via eSATA connections.
The max capacity of a single device is 32TB (8x 4TB HDD).
The HDD’s are also hot swappable.

The DS1813+comes with Synology’s DSM 4.0 management console software which has really grown and developed into a easy to use GUI system.
Backups, HDD management, Data replication, network surveillance, printer sharing and data storage can all be easily performed and managed by the DSM software.

The biggest and best feature is the raw speed of the device when configured in RAID 5 under a windows or VM environment. The Synology DS1813+ NAS can deliver up to an average 352.39 MB/sec reading and 211.88 MB/sec writing speed* According to Synology, and we can attest that yes, it is blindly fast when backing up!

Overall the Synology Diskstation DS1813+ NAS is a very quiet, low power, backup solution that we at A&STech not only recommend and implement to our customers, but also are so pleased with its performance that we use it ourselves.

Netcomm NB6 Router

The Netcomm NB6 Router is A&STech’s go to replacement and emergency router. We have plenty in our stock and emergency kits for those moments you need a reliable and fail safe ADSL2+ router.

Like all IT service providers, there are times when you get that call that internet is down for a whole site. Among other tools which we’ll eventually cover here on the blog, we carry Netcomm’s tried and tested NB6 ADSL2+ router.

It is a decently priced router, probably even considered in the medium range bracket, if not on price, then definitely on features and stability.
Like all Netcomm’s the firmware o this router is top notch and stable and many speeds and its features just work.

The Netcomm NB6 features ADSL1, ADSL2, ADSL2+ and ADSL 2+ Annex M DSL capabilities.
To keep the cost down of the router, no line filters are included with the device. Good to know when you are out on site for an emergency.

LAN connectivity includes 1 USB 3.0 port, 10mbps and 10/100mbps LAN ports. Unfortunately being in the low price range brackets it does not come with gigabit (1000mbps) LAN connectivity.
But seeing how this is used for mainly testing and emergency calls, it certainly does the job.

As a router the NB6 works well.  It can act as a DHCP relay and can even act as your DNS server.
It supports IPv4, NAT routing QoS (Quality of Service) prioritisation for VoIP and in the latest firmware update IPv6 support has been enabled.

The NB6 comes with a 12 month return to base warranty and this can be extended to 24 months with a registration on the Netcomm website.

The NB6 comes with Broadcom’s BCM6338 chip which is known for its stability even under a lot of heat and humidity.

The router is also highly regarded as one of the best cheap routers on the ever popular websites,

If you’re looking for a sure fire backup or even primary router to have I your kit, we at A&STech highly recommend the Netcomm NB6 router as we use it for all our testing and emergency calls.

3CX Phone System

3CX was founded in 2006 to provide all Windows based platforms with a open standard PBX (Private Branch Exchange) so customers can make calls straight from within Windows.

The 3CX Phone System software was initially offered as an open source free product in 2006.
Not long after, in 2007 the first major commercial version was released to the public and was intended to provide an easy solution of making VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls.

The latest stable version which was released in September is version 12.
3CX is based on the SIP standard (Session Initiation Protocol) and enables its users to make calls via either VoIP or PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) services.

The 3CX Phone system software is completely IP based and supports both the standard software (virtual) and hardware (physical) SIP phones.

The 3CX system is web based and can easily be configured for users on the network or pushed out and managed form the web interface.
We at A&STech have rolled out this software including hardware to many of our customers, both small and medium sized businesses.

Along with the web interface, the 3CX Phone System also comes with a very powerful management console which although when it was in its infancy had very little features, now packs all the bells and whistles for creating, managing and supporting the entire network infrastructure.

Being 3CX certified and a 3CX reseller, A&STech has vast experience with the system and many of our customers are very pleased with the ease and features the system gives them.

On the client side of things, the 3CX software gives users many customising and productive features.
They can message each other, set their status, divert calls, access all messages and functions both though the phone or 3CX client software, they can record personalised messages or greetings and a lot more. Plus on top of that all this is available to them from a remote location by installing the 3CX phone software on their smart phone.

We at A&STech highly recommend the 3CX Phone system, for cheap, crystal clear calls and ease of management.

Solid State Drive – SSD

Solid State Drive’s (or more commonly abbreviated to SSD), are one of the biggest technology advancements in recent times for speeding up the modern PC.
Their name is a little incorrect in describing what they actually are as they in actual fact don’t contain any mechanical disks or drives like the more commonly used and known storage devices such as Hard Disk Drives and Floppy Disks.

Solid State Drives use a technology similar to computer RAM called NAND-based flash memory, which retains the data onto the memory module without the need of constant power, unlike RAM.

Having no mechanical parts to spin, seek, search, read and write to, SSD’s have much faster seek times, lower latency and shorter access time than traditional mechanical drives.
This in turn allows SSD’s to have over ten (10x) times the read speed of traditional mechanical or electromagnetic drives.
Another benefit of no moving parts is that they run silently no matter what they are doing.
Personally besides the speed increase, this is one of my most adored features of SSD’s as I always seemed to have hard drives made of loose pebbles, rocks and crunchy biscuits in my old computers as a kid.

Their development in the recent past has really pushed hardware manufacturers to further develop the SATA I/O interface technology to take advantage of the SSD’s increased performance.
Most SSD’s require the SATA 3 interface standard to fully utilise the extra performance.

The only major drawbacks currently are the price and the available sizes.
Prices have really come down in the past 3 years and the sizes have gone up to 1TB, but they still lag behind the price per GB compared to traditional mechanical HDD’s.

The current best solution?
Buy a decent sized SSD, anything between 120GB to 256GB; install your preferred OS and all your programs on it. Then store all your files (videos, music, images, backups, documents etc.) on a traditional HDD, preferably in a RAID configuration.

Microsoft Office 365

In addition to Google Apps, we are now offering Microsoft Office 365 to our customers in Brisbane. Like Google Apps, it is a subscription-based Microsoft Office software.

Microsoft Office 365 is a great offering for businesses that operates in a Microsoft Exchange environment and wants to transition to this service. Customers will get the best experience across multiple devices and always up to date Microsoft Office including Spam and Malware filtering.

We think a lot of customers will like Microsoft Office 365 for their business as well as their homes.

Microsoft Windows XP : End of Support.

August 24th 2001 saw the release of Microsoft’s most popular operating system to date, Windows XP. If you’re still not sure what the letters XP stand for, even after all these years, Microsoft in a press release said its simply short for the word “eXPerience”.

Microsoft has set April 8th 2014 as the last day of support for all version of Windows XP.
We at A&STech are in the process of currently moving the last remaining customer PC’s which have yet to make the switch to the newer versions of Windows OS.

What happens after the 8th of April with your Windows based PC? Nothing initially.
You can use your Windows XP OS for as long as you like but you will be exposing and risking your PC every day that goes by as all security and stabilisation updates will cease.
Microsoft will also stop creating or updating KB articles for Windows XP.
All phone, email and other forms of support will also stop on that day.
All hardware and software support from manufacturers and vendors will also slowly cease and are not required to support Windows XP in their new hardware and software updates.

In other words it’s a sinking ship. If you want to inevitably go down with it, there’s that choice to stick with XP as long as you like and can keep it clean from harmful programs and have working drivers for all your hardware.

There are many benefits of moving to Windows 7 (Recommended by A&STech) or Windows 8.1 which include virtualisation optimisation with the cloud, support for the latest hardware and a vastly more secure Operating System.
The only real downside… You can’t perform an upgrade from Windows XP to the latest OS’s.
Only full, clean installs are possible with transferring of your data after the install.

Farewell to XP, it’s been an eXPerience.

The Security Database on the Server Does Not Have a Computer Account for This Workstation Trust Relationship – Domain

“The Security Database on the Server Does Not Have a Computer Account for This Workstation Trust Relationship” – On Widnows Domain

This error has presented itself on a few rare occasions on our customer’s domain network machines.

We recently discovered a quick an easy fix for the error as the fix provided by Microsoft in their knowledge base articles is inadequate.

It can be caused by several things, but for our customers it was the Active Directory entries for the PC either becoming corrupt or the PC brought onto the network had the old domain credentials.

The fix is done and applicable for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 (32bit & 64bit)

  1. On the log on screen on the affected PC, no domain credentials will log you in, you must use a local account to log onto the machine
  2. If you do not know the local admin credentials, unplug the Ethernet cable from the PC or turn of the Wi-Fi signal and log in with the domain credentials
  3. Right click on the computer icon, go to properties
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and under “Computer name, domain and workgroup settings”. Click [Change setting]
  5. Remove the PC from the current domain onto a workgroup (WORGROUP eg.)
  6. Restart the machine
  7. Use the local admin credentials to log on
  8. Repeat steps 3 & 4
  9. This time, join the domain and insert the domain admin credentials
  10. To be extra cautious, we also rename the PC Name, just in case the Operational Unit on the Active Directory server is corrupt.
  11. Reboot the machine
  12. Log onto the domain normally.

Stubborn printer drivers in Windows – Driver in use

Since the introduction of Windows Vista, through to Windows 7 and Windows 8, I have encountered an issue where certain printers along with the printer drivers cannot be uninstalled or removed completely.

To keep users from accessing old printers, to keep a lean and efficient network and most importantly to stop printer driver errors, it is always recommended to remove unused or old printer drivers.

The normal way is to navigate to Devices and Printers and right click a device and then select “remove device”.
Then navigate to Programs and Features and uninstall the associated extra software for the printer.
This method works sometimes but I have found that printer divers remain behind if you have a look at the print management console.
Now if you try and remove the drivers from within the print management console, most likely you will get an error preventing its removal (Driver in use)

The following method will help you get around this stubborn issue and has helped us resolve many driver related issues with printers from many of our customers.

WARNING – Use at own risk as this fix involves editing the Windows registry! – WARNING

1. Then we stopped print spooler
2. Open registry editor: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\
3. Rename all Print Processors that are listed. Like Winprint to Winprint.old, Hpcpp107 to Hpcpp107.old, and so on …
4. Start the print spooler
5. Remove all unwanted driver packages in Print Management Console
6. Reopen registry location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\
7. Rename all Print Processors back to Winprint.old to Winprint, Hpcpp107.old to Hpcpp107, and so on…
8. Restart print spooler
9. Install your new printer drivers