The single biggest challenge with Microsoft Outlook are those PSTs (Personal Storage Tables), which are never kept in check by the ordinary user till they become unmanageable. It’s best to keep “.pst” files at 20 GB and under or you will run into serious trouble. The current limit is 50 GB as according to our friends at Microsoft.

The next big intellectual challenge with Outlook happens when someone, usually the user, fools around with the profile and data file settings then they lose their address book, contacts and, most of all, the auto-complete feature. The auto-complete feature refers to the lettering {email addresses} that automatically fills up as the user begins to type. Information contained in the auto-complete feature is very temporary and, perhaps, more popular than it’s more stable intermediate solution called “contacts” and permanent solution called “address book”. If you move “.pst” files around chances are you will screw up the auto-complete feature and you will have a tough time with the end user/customer. Personal Storage Tables {file extension is .pst} are databases and databases should always be treated with respect and delicate care.

The best free tool we have used to solve auto-complete, contacts and address book problems is called nk2edit.

Installing Windows on a Computer with No Optical/DVD Drive

Warning: This is a one-way trip; so, you are warned. As you may expect, all data currently on the hard drive will be deleted. We advise you to create a recovery USB stick just in case.  Creating recovery images is painstakingly slow process and may take the whole day. Steps are:

Windows logo {lower left corner of desktop} > Recovery > Create recovery > Insert a USB that is 8 giga-bytes or higher
> Create recovery image

The big battle is for the computer to recognize the USB drive, which will contain the Windows 7 or 8 payload. This means altering the UEFI {Unified Extended/Enhanced Firmware Interface} to legacy-like BIOS settings. Also, you have to do one procedure and restart the computer in order to do the other. If you don’t understand any of this, please find someone with a slight better understanding of how computers work.

Since the system {which means computer} has no optical drive {this is where you would normally place your CD or DVD}, the first thing you have to do is put a bootable Windows 7 image {which means Operating System} onto a USB drive. From any computer, preferably one with 64-bit version of Windows 7 or 8, do the following:

  1. Insert your USB flash drive into the USB port on the PC in question
  2. Format the USB stick as an NTFS volume. Make a note of the drive letter assigned to it {we will use the letter “F”}
  3. Start up a command prompt as an Administrator.
    Windows logo > cmd > runas /user:Administrator cmd > enter password when prompted
    {the Administrator account must be enabled}

Prepare the source image

  1. Change drives or point to the Windows 7 image and run the following:
    {you may mount the ISO using a PowerISO or extract the entire image to some folder/directory and point to that folder}

>cd E:  {if “E” is your where the image is mounted or cd somefolder} then type the following

> cd boot

>bootsect /nt60 F:

  1. After you’ve don the above, in Windows Explorer, copy the entire contents of the Windows 7 DVD to root directory of the USB stick.
  2. While you’re at it, you’ll probably want to grab the LAN or wireless driver from the ASUS support site and copy it onto the stick as well {don’t worry about mixing software with operating system content because it won’t interfere}. Keep in mind that Windows 7 & Windows 8 drivers are generally interchangeable but there may be issues, particularly because Windows 8 is a ‘touch-screen’ operating system.

If you have followed the above, the USB stick is now prepared. Don’t insert the USB stick yet. You now have to start monkeying with the UEFI configuration of the computer. The following steps may be out of sequence, depending on your needs and ability:

  1. Shut down the system if it’s running. If you reboot as normal, it will skip the POST and you won’t be able to boot into the UEFI interface. So we will interrupt the boot up process.
  2. Power on the system. While it’s booting, press F9 to enter the UEFI interface {may be F12 or some other function key, depending on the manufacturer of your computer}.
  3. Select Troubleshoot > then Advanced > elect UEFI Configuration.
  4. In the UEFI configuration, go to the Security page and set Secure Boot Control to Disabled > then Reboot.
  5. Go back into the UEFI interface as previously, then into the UEFI configuration. On the Boot page, change Launch CSM to Enabled.
  6. Insert the USB stick and reboot.
  7. Once again, go back into the UEFI interface just to check everything is correct. On the Boot page, you should now see the USB stick. Go to the Save & Exit page > Restart
  8. Select the USB stick from the list of one time boot options and you should find yourself booting into the Windows 7 installer.
  9. Since Windows 7 doesn’t support GPT, you’ll have to nuke all the partitions to proceed with the install. Yes, this means delete all the listed partitions, which includes the recovery and OEM partitions.> Click on Drive Options (advanced) > select each partition on the disk {normally Disk 0} and hit the Delete button.
  10. Proceed with the Custom installation of the operating system

Click on links below for attachment with these instructions:

Install Windows 7 on Asus S400C (No Optical-DVD Drive)

Install Windows 7 on Asus S400C (No Optical-DVD Drive)

We implemented these steps successfully but all original research & work belongs to its posters.

Fax Machine Issue

The most important thing to know when working on fax machines is that fax machines as affixed to your HP, Dell, Epson, Brother, Xerox, Ricoh printers are ANALOG DEVICES. On the other hand, phone lines are becoming more and more DIGITAL as supplied by telephone/cable/TV/ISP companies. In fact, it is safe to assume that digital phones are by now in the majority in North America. So, the first question when working on fax machines is, “Is the phone company issuing a digital or an analog signal?” If analog, you can connect a phone line to the back of the fax/printer with no problem. If a digital line comes in to the building, you have to somehow convert the digital signal to analog.  However, many times you will have an analog signal coming in from the ISP then it is converted to digital at your client’s or local site by some machine. In that case, you must bypass or circumvent the local digital PBX or box. This intermediary local PBX can be a point of frustration for many technicians who do not understand fax machines.

Just as a side note: Always dedicate a phone number or line for faxing only if you don’t want ping pong between receiving a phone call or fax. Yes, a fax number or line is the SAME as a phone number… No difference at all.  You can use your phone number as a fax number at any time, so long as you have a machine to receive the fax with. Usually, modern printers, particularly the all-in-one machines, will have a connection/input for faxing.


Should I Buy Windows or Apple?

1. Apples are popular because they are flashy but have their share of problems. Please view one example that we had with a wonderful gentleman down in Washington D.C. here (scroll to Apple Mavericks): 


2. Walk into a Best Buy store and play with an Apple for a while because there is a learning curve to using Macs. Things do not quite work in the same manner as on Microsoft Windows. Some people find Apple to be very natural but we definitely do not! :)

3. Certain applications/programs are only designed for Windows. Make sure all the important software that you use can be installed and run on Mac.

4. It is not entirely true that Apples do not have viruses. It’s just that hackers do not spend as much time cooking up viruses for Macs because they are very few compared to Windows. However, it is true that viruses are the last complaint we technicians expect from Apple users.

4. Let us say you worked on some documents or stuff on Windows, then you saved them on to a USB stick and opened them on a Mac, will they work? What about the reverse, will the Windows machine open them? With Word, Excel and PowerPoint… Yes, but you have to buy the license of Microsoft Office that is designed specifically for Apple.

5. TRUE: Apples are relatively reliable and stable.  FOR PROFESSIONAL/TECHNICAL REASONS: Only Apples are used in the following industries: (i) motion picture/movie production, (ii) music recording studios and (iii) professional graphics design. Only people in these industries ABSOLUTELY CANNOT live without Macs. However, this is argument is becoming outdated because Windows computers have become very fast and stable recently. Microsoft Windows has pretty much closed the gap as of now!

6. You may go ahead and purchase an Apple MacBook simply because you will have fun with variety in your home office.

7. Keep in mind that Microsoft has almost always only built software, not actual hardware or computers. They leave the hardware business to manufacturers like Sony, Dell, HP, Asus, Samsung and so forth. Apple on the other hand is in the business of building both the Apple software and the actual computers, entertainment/portable and mobile devices. In simple terms, Apple has a very tight grip on their products, which leaves consumers of their products married to them for life. 

8. From a technical stand point, real technicians do not care about Macs because we know that they are pure Linux machines. Linux is an open-source and FREE operating system. Which means you can just download an absolutely FREE operating system like Ubuntu and boom… You have something very close to an Apple Mac! Apple simply took Linux, made it flashy, called it Apple OS X and made billions of dollars. Don’t worry about our “beef” with Apple… Just go ahead with your decision based on your feelings and do not forget to smile!

9. In case you are wondering: Yes, we would buy an Apple machine just for the fun of it. Please do let us know because we will be standing guard waiting to hear from you. :)