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4 posts

Wannabe Geek


Topic # 232088 28-Mar-2018 22:47
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Hi team, this is my first time on here and I'm hoping for a little advice to get me sorted in the office!

 

My husband and I are finding ourselves having to deal with an increasing amount of computer work in order to run our farming business. As our business gets busier, I know that our current computer situation isn't going to last us into the future.

 

We are currently using two laptops - one is about 3 years old and gets the majority of use. The second is a very old laptop in our office (we're using it like a desktop as the battery & screen don't work anymore) - this gets used less, but I'm worried it's going to cark it before I replace it and rescue all the files from it. Currently our newer laptop is not backed-up at all. The older one is backed up approximately monthly to a small external hard-drive.

 

My husband and I have some files/programs we both need access to. Also some of the programs we use are not fully online (so it has to be installed on just the one computer). This can be a pain if one of us has the laptop away and the other needs a file/program that's not the office computer. We also use the computers for our family (photos etc) and our children use them occasionally. We have good internet at home (VDSL I think) - it can cut out occasionally but usually only for a few minutes.

 

I'm looking for some options to upgrade our old laptop (keep the newer laptop) that will be affordable and user-friendly, yet take us into the future. I have worked in several schools that have their own server, but that was before the whole world of cloud computing. I can find my way around computers just fine, but am definitely no tech-whizz so I'm not sure what is available these days.

 

The options I have thought of are:
- Buy a 2nd laptop which would mean we can both be flexible with where we work - but then what to do with the bulk of all the files/photos?
- Buy an All in One Computer with a large hard drive (I found an HP one with 3TB) - the All in One Computer can be the "base" computer with all our files, programs etc, and the laptop can just have what we need to work on.
OR: Do we look at creating a small network/server that can hold the files we need?

 

I also need to think about back-up options as our current "back-up one laptop when I remember" doesn't really cut it.

 

Sorry this has been so long winded! Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions you can offer.


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  Reply # 1985205 28-Mar-2018 23:20
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If business is doing so well, maybe hire a professional to come up with the best solution for your needs, and perhaps a more commercial and robust solution. There are many options and people will have differing opinions


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  Reply # 1985207 28-Mar-2018 23:28
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Imo two laptops and an additional desktop would work well. Use remote desktop to the desktop machine for the programs that only install on one machine. You can access files remotely using the same method to some extent. Filesharing with OneDrive or Google docs can be effective and provide some off-site backup.

Personally I like the HP business all in one machines. Very tidy! How much were you thinking of spending on everything?

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1985208 28-Mar-2018 23:31
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mattwnz:

If business is doing so well, maybe hire a professional to come up with the best solution for your needs, and perhaps a more commercial and robust solution. There are many options and people will have differing opinions


Agree. Random suggestions are good. Seeing the whole picture is different. Local support might outweigh all other factors for instance.

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  Reply # 1985214 29-Mar-2018 00:51
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Where in the country are you? If you are after some professional advice, I am happy to meet with you and make a recommendation. No pressure either way.

 

 


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  Reply # 1985215 29-Mar-2018 01:53
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Thought about using something like G Suite/Office 365 and keeping your files in their cloud options? As in Google Drive/OneDrive? 


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  Reply # 1985224 29-Mar-2018 07:46
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+1 for getting a local professional to advise. 

 

+1 for Office 365 (not a G Suite fan)

 

 

 

 

 

 





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  Reply # 1985225 29-Mar-2018 07:46
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Consider setting up cloud backups using BackBlaze or similar, immediately. That way if your computer fails you'll be able to recover your files. It costs US$5 per computer per month. What I'd do is sync files from the old computer to the new computer using Resilio Sync so you only have to pay once, but for someone who's not super PC literate just pay the US$10.

 

If you need fast on-site support if a computer fails you might have to do some research. If you can wait a week for a new laptop when one fails, buy a Dell or Lenovo. Lenovo are SOLID. You could buy a desktop instead, if you like, they tend to be either cheaper or for the same price more capable than a laptop.

 

For anything fancier like a home server suggest you have someone locally set you up and support you. A good professional might charge $75 - $120 per hour, but consider this against the cost and time required if you lose your data or have big problems.





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  Reply # 1985241 29-Mar-2018 08:41
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IMHO: 

 

Backblaze for backups.

 

HP/Dell Business grade laptops/desktops for new machines.

 

Avoid all in ones - one part fails, the whole machine is generally useless until repaired.

 

Gmail/O365 for email/docs/storage

 

 





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  Reply # 1985299 29-Mar-2018 10:34
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My best advise is..
Tool or Toy . You choose .

 

Honestly , if its used for your business...dont treat PC/laptops as toys/entertainment.
Keep the kids off them. Business only. Nothing else . Password protect both.

You wouldnt let your kids etc play with your credit card or chequebook . Thats what it amounts to with
PC's you need for your business.
Ive seen the results of kids on business PC's .   :-(

 

Also, have a think about how you will cope if one/both machine goes down is & unusable for some time being repaired .
have a good Plan B .


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  Reply # 1985310 29-Mar-2018 10:54
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macdonaldnz:

 

Hi team, this is my first time on here and I'm hoping for a little advice to get me sorted in the office!

 

My husband and I are finding ourselves having to deal with an increasing amount of computer work in order to run our farming business. As our business gets busier, I know that our current computer situation isn't going to last us into the future.

 

We are currently using two laptops - one is about 3 years old and gets the majority of use. The second is a very old laptop in our office (we're using it like a desktop as the battery & screen don't work anymore) - this gets used less, but I'm worried it's going to cark it before I replace it and rescue all the files from it. Currently our newer laptop is not backed-up at all. The older one is backed up approximately monthly to a small external hard-drive.

 

My husband and I have some files/programs we both need access to. Also some of the programs we use are not fully online (so it has to be installed on just the one computer). This can be a pain if one of us has the laptop away and the other needs a file/program that's not the office computer. We also use the computers for our family (photos etc) and our children use them occasionally. We have good internet at home (VDSL I think) - it can cut out occasionally but usually only for a few minutes.

 

I'm looking for some options to upgrade our old laptop (keep the newer laptop) that will be affordable and user-friendly, yet take us into the future. I have worked in several schools that have their own server, but that was before the whole world of cloud computing. I can find my way around computers just fine, but am definitely no tech-whizz so I'm not sure what is available these days.

 

The options I have thought of are:
- Buy a 2nd laptop which would mean we can both be flexible with where we work - but then what to do with the bulk of all the files/photos?
- Buy an All in One Computer with a large hard drive (I found an HP one with 3TB) - the All in One Computer can be the "base" computer with all our files, programs etc, and the laptop can just have what we need to work on.
OR: Do we look at creating a small network/server that can hold the files we need?

 

I also need to think about back-up options as our current "back-up one laptop when I remember" doesn't really cut it.

 

Sorry this has been so long winded! Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions you can offer.

 

 

 

 

I'm going to agree with a lot of the other posters here ... But in short ...

 

  • Backups are king. BackBlaze or similar is a must.
  • I'll add my vote to Office 365. OneDrive will help with the files, but don't be fooled into thinking it's in the cloud so it's backed up - so in conjunction with a backup system.
  • Children are beings that are possessed by the devil. Keep them off your business machines. They're not a toy - keep your business machines and files well away from a machine for your kids and their files.
  • No one seems to have mentioned it - but Anti-Virus/Security! I've not been in the PC world for a while but Eset/Nod32 was the low overhead go-to when I last ventured into the PC scene.
  • A professional wouldn't hurt...



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1985626 29-Mar-2018 19:36
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Thanks everyone - you have certainly given me lots of options to explore!

 

It's good to know what things to start looking at, and then I can call in a professional to give me a hand.

 

Hope you all have a good Easter!


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  Reply # 1985707 29-Mar-2018 21:29
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macdonaldnz:

 

Hi team, this is my first time on here ...

 

My husband and I have some files/------ we both need access to.

 

I also need to think about back-up options as our current "back-up one laptop when I remember" doesn't really cut it.

 

     

  1. Welcome
  2. Consider a NAS? Files are stored centrally and available no matter which computer is out of the office. With the correct software, the NAS is also accessible when out of the office. This method also saves on sync'ing constantly across the internet, if you have data caps.
  3. See point 2. You can backup the laptops locally to the NAS and then back up specific files from the NAS to the cloud.



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1985842 30-Mar-2018 09:43
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Thanks for the suggestion - I have just done a very quick search of "NAS" and that option sounds very promising! I guess it's similar to what I've used in schools without realising what it was called. 

 

I've found a Consumer NZ review of NAS devices and also several blogs reviewing software so I'll be able to spend the weekend learning more about it.

 

Thanks again


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  Reply # 1985887 30-Mar-2018 11:48
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What form is the bulk of your data?

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  Reply # 1985894 30-Mar-2018 12:04
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My computer backup process uses a portable hard drive and Windows command line programs. While it requires an understanding of the command line with which many are unfamiliar the advantage is using programs that are already included in Windows so are free.

 

To create backup image on the portable hard drive I use the wbadmin command.

 

I can use the PowerShell module Mount-Diskimage to mount the image file as a drive on a computer then use Explorer to access files on the drive.


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