Office 365 Starting Point

Office 365What is Office 365 you ask? It is a new solution (2014 and 2015) that uses the power of cloud productivity, with businesses of all sizes, to save time and money and free up valuable resources (rid yourself, in some cases, of an on premises server for instance).

Office 365 brings cloud versions of Microsoft’s trusted communications and collaboration software together with its familiar Office Professional Plus desktop suite. Office 365 is designed to help meet IT (computer related) needs for robust security, 24/7 reliability and user productivity.

Personal or Business

There are two versions of the product or ‘solution’.  One is for personal use that is in place with current ‘hotmail’, MSN or other Microsoft email services. The other is a ‘business’ version that you would use for your personalized business account.  The solutions are similar in the way they look and operate yet the pricing is the biggest difference.  For the personal version, most pay nothing.  For this, you get a good solution yet you are testing the version that is given to the business users.  It’s always been this way, so that is not a big deal.

The primary thing to know is if you have highly important information that you fear losing, ensure you keep a copy somewhere.  We find that using OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) for storage works reasonably well (unless you are a Mac user – it’s annoying in a way but it works).  So, place your information on OneDrive and then keep a local backup – just in case you need it.

How to decide about the purchase


Mac OS X – Keyboard Shortcuts

For those that are moving from Windows to Mac OS (Apple), the keyboard and it’s related shortcuts can be frustrating.  It will take some time to memorize the keyboard shortcuts, but you’ll eventually get accustomed to it.  Finding out how to get yourself positioned at the start or end of a line can be quite annoying as HOME and END just don’t work the same (without tweaking your system — in some cases).
Don’t get frustrated and simply take your time.  It will be worth your struggles in the end.

A handy reference for you can be found at Apple’s list of keyboard shortcuts.

Enjoy!  If you have questions, let us know!

Reach My Computer

Computer Support and Computer Repair
Vail Colorado


Webmail, Mac Mail, Outlook or other

What is the best way to manage my email?

This is a question we’ll see if we can answer by providing pros and cons of each method of managing email.  As we become more mobile in our lifestyle, it appears very smart to use Webmail rather than Mac Mail, Outlook or otherwise.  Let’s have a closer look. [Read more…]

Windows – Copy photos from SD to your Computer

Managing your photos on WindowsIf you happen to have a camera card reader in your computer (and this may work in other variations), you can copy photos to your computer in numerous ways (it depends on how comfortable you are with each method).

With Windows XP, after placing the card in the reader, you are prompted asking you ‘What do you want Windows to do?’

One of the options SHOULD BE, ‘Copy pictures to a folder on my computer using Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard’.  Highlight/click it and select ‘OK’.

Follow the prompts and select the photos to copy to your computer (in most cases, all of them).  Name the grouping of photos and select where to store them (I recommend ‘My Pictures’ and then in a subdirectory name — an option is to name them by month/year perhaps).  If you want, you can opt to delete the photos from the camera at this point.  Finish and enjoy the photos!

If you want to clean up your camera card, you can do so through ‘My Computer’ if you are comfortable with that approach.

Printing from your iPad – AirPrint and Printopia

Now with iPads on the scene in large number, the natural progression is to ask about printing.

Today we are looking at two options (sure, there are more).  We are looking at AirPrint and Printopia.


(2/12/12) Eureka!  Printing with AirPrint is great.  Printed and email from my iPhone to a new HP AirPrint enabled printer and worked like a charm!

Requires and AirPrint enabled printer and you can print many things from your iPad to your AirPrint enabled printer.  For the list of printers that are currently known to be AirPrint capable, look here.

On the Apple web site, read about AirPrint here.


Requires that you have a Mac.   If you have a Mac, any printers on your Mac can be used by your iPad.  In this case, your Mac acts as your print server.

Link to their web site

ATT – Microcells – Expand your wireless phone coverage at home

This little gadget (ATT calls is a  looks like a great improvement for those that are struggling with their wireless signal for their phone.  If you’re finding that you cannot get a decent wireless signal in your area (we’ve seen this in Red Canyon Estates and other places), this may do the trick.  Talk with your local phone outlet or call ATT directly.


1. Connects to your internet connection and simulates a tower.  May not work so well with poor internet service or speed.

2. Covers around 40 feet from the device

3. You can share it with 10 lines

Here is a link to the ATT FAQs for the device.  Very handy indeed.

Battery Backup

Do I need battery backup for my computer?

Vail Computer Support and Repair - Backup UPS, Power Protection

APC Back UPS - Inexpensive and rather cool to look at too!

Many people probably feel that they never have power surges or outages.  Most likely, you do have them, and just don’t notice — your computer is on, right?  I personally had my iMac fail after a power surge in my area.  There was an auto accident where some unfortunate soul slammed into a power transformer and everyone’s power was immediately dropped.  I presume a surge or the like occurred with it and my iMac hard drive was broken.

The result?  I had to pack my iMac in my car and drive 2 hours to the local Apple store for repair.  Had to leave it there and got it back 10 days later.  All because I thought I would play the odds and get a UPS ‘later’.

Timing got me in this case.  Had my iMac all setup and purchasing a UPS in the future was on my list.  The power issue occurred prior to the installation of the UPS.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Since this point, I’ve been using and APC Back-UPS unit and it has saved me on numerous occasions — you know, the famous BEEP BEEP.  There has been roadway construction and the like that has caused power outages in our area randomly.  No problems for me though with my power protection in place.

If your system investment matters, install a UPS.  Easy to do and it is cheap insurance.

Windows – Keyboard shortcuts

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are great and save time.  Here’s a few.  We’ll add new ones as we find them.

Windows key = WK

WK + Break = System Properties

WK + D = hide or show all of your application windows (we like this one!)

WK + R = open the Run window

WK + L = locks your windows screen/session.

Helpful Information

Need some help?

Help us get everything you need for your job or whatever in one spot!  We’ll add links here to things that we find useful from time to time.

Trial Versions of Microsoft Office

There are trial versions of MS Office that you can download in the event you were given only a card with your computer system (today, many are receiving a card which contains their software license versus the cd/dvd option we received in the past).

DSL Speed testing

Supposedly these systems are biased in some way, but they give you and idea of whether or not your internet connection is working or not. (pick a city once you connect to the site — doesn’t matter which one)


Purchasing a computer

Computer Sales, Support and Repair - Consultation

Feel like you're throwing darts to make a decision?

Our clients and visitors frequently ask “Should I buy a new computer or use the one I have?”  How does this conversation occur? Generally because the guest is frustrated with their computer for whatever reason — slow, full, broken in some way — and they want to resolve the problem.

In our experience, computers aren’t quickly cleaned up or problems resolved quickly — technically they can be solved quickly, but the client doesn’t think so when they receive an invoice for $100.

Here is where we try our best to help make a good decision.  There is no clear answer — ever!  Thus, we talk with our guests to determine how they think about time and money.  Both are factors and influence the decision at hand.