IT help and advice

A few of our handy tips

This page is a basic help guide and attempts to answer some common questions that we get asked. It is a work-in-progress, so should hopefully become more useful over time. If you have an IT-related question you would like answering please send it to us using the contact form.

Windows 7 mainstream support ends on January 13th 2015; however extended support will continue until 2020. This means that there will still be windows updates until that time, however there will be no new features or changes.

The answer is a definite YES on a Windows machine. You cannot always guarantee that an email that appears to be from a friend has actually come from them, and even if it has they may have malicious software ('malware') on their machine which can be transmitted to you via an email attachment.

The answer depends very much on personal preference. Desktops tend to be easier and cheaper to maintain, and being generally kept under a desk are less likely to get damaged. Desktops are also more suitable for playing action games as the graphics on laptops rarely have the power to cope with these. However, laptops obviously give benefits of portability and size. They can be stored in a cupboard when not in use and you can use them in any convenient place in the house whilst being connected to the internet, unlike a desktop which is stuck in one position.

The speed of your broadband connection depends on a number of factors, for example the distance from your telephone exchange, the quality of the telephone line between the exchange and your house, the quality of your house telephone wiring, the effectiveness of your router and in the case of a wireless connection, the distance from and number and thickness of walls and other obstacles between your router and computer. Simple things to check are whether you have a filter on each telephone socket that has a device plugged in (including Sky boxes and telephone-connected burglar alarms) and whether your router is plugged into a rat’s nest of extension cables that are longer than they needs to be. Ideally the router should be plugged into the main telephone socket to eliminate any problems caused by internal wiring, but if this is not possible then the shorter the internal cabling run the better..

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