Power, price and performance combine to make the Acer AC100 Micro Server a worthy choice for small business.
More articles by "Ronald Pacchiano"
Mobile apps for Android and iOs devices let you troubleshoot networking and other IT issues anywhere, anytime. We look at seven of the best.
Adopting these simple email management tips can make your work life easier and more productive.
You'd be surprised how many people struggle to keep track of files and folders on their computer. Here are six basic tips to help you improve file management.
We look at a Delegate Access, a feature found in Microsoft Outlook, and how it could help small businesses improve productivity.
Do notebooks that rely on a Web-based OS -- like Google's Chromebook -- make sense for small business? We look at the benefits and the challenges of tying your PC to the cloud.
Wireless technology is confusing enough, but when terminology collides, it can get ugly. We sort out a bit of encryption confusion. Plus, will a wireless network mess with cordless phones?
Any broadband Internet-connected computer should be protected by a firewall, but should that protection come in the form of a hardware or software firewall -- or both?
Selling and recycling may be the most obvious, but we look at five different options to dispose of old computer systems.
There's big difference between a consumer router and a business-class router that can support a demanding small business network. Is it time -- and worth the cost -- to step up?
Not storing data on a laptop or mobile device might be the best way to keep it secure. We show you three ways to make that strategy work.
To ensure optimal wireless network security, a little MAC (Media Access Control) filtering couldn't hurt. Learn what a MAC address is and how to find it.
Accessing your PC from a remote location used to require complex IT calisthenics. Windows Live Mesh makes it easy -- and free. Plus, three other remote access options.
Cutting costs doesn't mean you have to cut corners. We've got five awesome alternatives to commercial small business software that wont cost you a dime -- or a minute in productivity.
Keeping one employee's Windows PC safe and functional is tricky enough. Doing it for a PC that multiple people use raises the bar considerably. We show you several utilities that can help.
All small business networks lose their connection to the Internet from time to time. Here are five steps you can take to troubleshoot and restore your Internet access.
The new PCs you want to buy most likely run Windows 7's 64-bit OS, which is fine, unless of course you have peripherals and software that wont run on it. Then what? We look at your options.
We look at three mobile broadband options to keep you connected and productive on the road -- and offer tips on finding a plan to fit your small business budget.
Internet-based fax services offer lots of convenient features for small businesses, and they're the best option for companies with VoIP phone systems. We show you why.
Whether you need to improve employee productivity, protect your small business network or reduce your business liability, monitoring software can help.
A small business network needs more security and features than a typical consumer router can provide. Here's our take on the six must-have features to look for in a small business router.
One simple step you can take to protect your data or small business network is to prevent employees from using USB Flash drives and CD/DVD drives on company PCs. We'll show you how.
The heart of a small business is its data. Lose it, and you're in big trouble. But what about your laptop? We look at data security -- from software tweaks to hardware encryption -- to lock down your laptop.
Think you can't afford a small business server? Think again. Windows Home Server offers enough power to earn a position in the workplace -- and enough simplicity to be a welcome addition.
You dont need a doctorate in computer science to keep your Windows PC running smoothly. Follow these seven simple PC maintenance tips to happier, more productive computing.
In part two of our trouble-shooting guide, we turn our attention to software issues. Theres no lack of utilities that can diagnose and repair PC problems, and Ron Pacchiano shares his most reliable, go-to tools.
The most common hardware failures typically involve hard drives and memory. We take a look at several handy utilities to help you diagnose and repair these pesky hardware problems.
Whether youre upgrading to Windows 7 or buying a brand new computer, youll need to get the old files over to the new system. Ron Pacchiano shows how to do it faster using Windows Easy Transfer utility.
Tracking down missing system drivers is a royal pain. Ron Pacchiano shows you an easier way and walks you through backing up and restoring your computers system drivers.
Ron Pacchiano shows how you can synchronize files stored in multiple locations so you always have up-to-date data no matter where you go.
Are you prone to forgetting your Vista password? Dont fret. Our expert walks you through setting up and using a password reset disk.
Want to get your geek on? It takes patience and persistence to set up this utility, but the reward is a powerful tool for recovering data from a corrupt Windows system.
Creating an image backup of your PCs hard drive can save you a lot of anguish down the road. Ron Pacchiano walks you through Part 2 of the process.
Creating an image backup of your PCs hard drive can save you a lot of anguish down the road. Ron Pacchiano walks you through Part 1 of the process.
Networking guru Ron Pacchiano demonstrates the value in going virtual and offers a step-by-step conversion guide.
Sharing a single printer among several computers saves money and increases efficiency. Ron Pacchiano provides a step-by-step guide.
Even after you empty Windows' Recycle Bin, the sensitive files you've deleted can still be read by intruders. Ron Pacchiano explains your options for military-grade data erasure.
In the last of our three-part series on virtual private networks, we look at how to share and access folders, printers and remote desktops over a VPN.
In the second of our two-part series, our network guru reveals how to set up the client PC for a Virtual Private Network in Windows Vista.
In the first of a two-part series, network guru Ron Pacchiano guides you through setting up the host PC for a Virtual Private Network in Windows Vista.
In recent years Gigabit Ethernet has become a practical and economical option for home offices and small businesses. Today it now makes sense to consider Gigabit to the desktop as a viable option when upgrading or setting up a new network.
Your peer-to-peer network is humming along, but you can't see all the PCs connected? We offer several options to browse your network resources.
Sharing Outlook calendars and contacts doesn't have to be an expensive proposition. We rundown network-based and hosted alternatives.
PCs networked in a peer-to-peer fashion are adequate when you have only two or three people on the network. After that you really need to consider investing in a network server. Here's why.
HP's latest notebook for the small-business crowd features strong security, multiple wireless options and, by the time you read this, the Core 2 Duo processor. We just wish it had a few more perks for the price.
Some files are just too big to send via e-mail. However, you don't have to resort to burning a CD and snail mail. We review the options for getting large files from here to there.
Brand new notebook PC, established wireless network waiting at home...Everything should just work, right? Our columnist gets a refresher course in troubleshooting.
In addition to storing Web addresses, AutoComplete can also store your account usernames and passwords. If you're not careful, it could inadvertently let unauthorized people gain access to your sensitive information.
One of the best ways to maintain the security and performance of your business network is to restrict the Web sites employees can access over the Internet.
Hardware manufacturers employ numerous techniques to achieve advertised performance numbers. As a result, competing products might be capable of 108Mbps, but they're not completely compatible with one another.
Accidents happen all of the time: Hard drives fail, viruses and spyware wreak havoc, or sometimes we just delete things we didn't mean to delete. But no matter how bleak things look, remember, there is almost always a fix.
Increase the number of Internet Explorer's simultaneous downloads with this simple registry hack. Plus, how to make Universal Plug and Play work for you.
Maintaining network security takes diligence and the integration of strong security practices into our daily lives.
Windows XP Professional's Remote Desktop feature lets you see and control your office PC as though you were sitting directly in front of it. You may never have to leave home again.
Automatic Configuration for Multiple Networks lets you move between different networks without the configuration hassles. Its transparent operation is one of Windows XP's most useful features.
There's more than one way to backup up your network. In Part 2 of our two-part series on preparing for disaster, we look at your hardware and software options for implementing an efficient backup strategy.
Want better quality and speed than you get with a low-end laser? Can't wrap your wallet around a four-figure price tag? This may be the printer you've been looking for.
Even though most of us know that we need to do regular backups, the fact is that many us don't. In part one of a two-part series, we review why it's important to perform these backups on a regular basis.
Wireless networks and Internet cafes have made it more convenient than ever for road warriors to get online, but this convenience often comes at price. Here are some tips to keep your data safe while you're on the move.
Synet's nTracker Laptop/Desktop Anti-Theft software is designed to help bring a stolen laptop home. But don't reach for your wallet yet the product didn't fare so well in our tests.
Rogue access points are the silent killer of wireless network security. However, there are numerous steps you can take to minimize the threat.
Many computer users mistakenly think that if they run anti-virus software on the computer connected to the Internet all PCs on the network are protected. Plus, tips for new Mac owners and how far Ethernet cables can reach.
Setting up a wireless network in your home shouldn't be a major project, but one thing can stand in the way of unsuspecting users it's called Wireless Zero Configuration and you gotta have it.
Cable modems will operate fine connected to either a USB or an Ethernet port. Your cable provider may not tell you, but one is a much better choice. Plus, everyone talks about using secure passwords, but what constitutes one?
An attorney leaves a big firm to open his own practice and discovers he needs access to his office PC from the road. We outline the options, which range from installing a virtual private network to using a simple Web-based service.
A curious reader eager to understand how wireless encryption and security works runs two scenarios by our columnist. Read on to find out if logical assumptions pan out in the world of Wi-Fi.
While it's true that managed switches are technically superior to non-managed switches, the superiority comes with more complexity and the need for a network engineer to get the best performance. For those reasons, non-managed switches are best for small networks.
In addition to running MAC filtering, you need to add multiple security layers to protect your wireless network. Plus, when your computer is misbehaving and all else fails, start over from scratch.
If you send an e-mail and it bounces back to you with a message that it was blocked by SORBS, the problem lies with your service provider's open relay mail server. Here's what you need to do to resolve the situation.
Can a router that has been providing wireless Internet access to every room in a one-floor apartment adjust to life in a three-floor townhouse? We offer some pointers to make it work. Plus, why won't your boss's notebook connect to a wireless network?
It may not be a household name, but Trend Micro's PC-cillin offers a healthy dose of security for less than the leading anti-virus applications.
Making your small business a hotspot can be a great boost to customer satisfaction as well as a potential profit center. Here's advice on how to offer Wi-Fi capabilities without spending a fortune or putting your internal network at risk.
Some small businesses especially those concerned with compliance, confidentiality and liability issues are still reluctant to trust wireless networks. In this week's column, we help a network manager at a small law firm go extreme with wireless security.
If you travel a lot for work, chances are good that your notebook PC is equipped with a wireless adapter. So it's understandable that you hate the thought of being tethered to a wired Internet connection especially a dialup one. Follow these tips if you find yourself away from home and looking for a wireless connection.
Buying an 802.11g router won't improve your wireless LAN's performance if you also have 802.11b devices connected to it. The good news is that there is a painless resolution to ensure that slower Wi-Fi devices don't slow down the faster ones.
No need to stress. You can use both static and dynamic IP addresses on the same network. We provide a couple of options. Plus, learn what to do when two PCs on a LAN share the same name.
Stumped by acronyms such as WPA2 and WMM? You're not alone. We define these new terms and, more importantly, explain why you need to care about them.
One man's story of how he was reeled in by a bogus e-mail. We also offer tips on how to quickly spot a scheme designed to steal your identity and offer some advice on what to do if you're caught in a phisher's net.
The paperless office has not yet arrive, which means confidential documents lying on printers is still a problem. To make printing over a network more secure, Silex' SecurePrint system uses biometric technology. While it does work, it could be smoother.
A few weeks ago, we explained why having software firewalls might not make sense when you have multiple PCs sharing resources on your network. Some readers objected. While we understand the concern, we're sticking with our advice; here's why.
Need to print great-looking color projects quickly and at a price that won't cripple your budget? Meet the Phaser 8550 Solid Ink Printer from Xerox.
Sure, DSL is a huge improvement over dial-up, but knowing what's behind the speed will help you manage your expectations. Plus, learn what can happen when Windows Update meets a fully functioning wireless adapter.
One Internet connection and two computers, each running firewall software, can mean PCs that refuse to talk to each other. Here's an easy way to break down walls. Plus, diagnosing the cause of a dysfunctional wireless network.
Because routers have the capability to support up to 256 PCs, they are inherently expandable just add an inexpensive switch to the mix. Plus, what to do when your WLAN and cordless phone just can't get along.
Microsoft's increased Outlook security features restrict access to attached programs and file types that could contain viruses. If you find this annoying, you can disable the restrictions. We tell you how, but warn you to do so cautiously.
Defining the difference between HomePlug and HomePNA, just the 'fax' on DSL and Universal Plug and Play explained.
Both broadband technologies have matured over recent years and are faster, easier to setup and more reliable. Each has its pros and cons, but which is better? The answer is a frustrating 'it depends.'
Tips and tricks for setting up a P2P wireless network with no access point and wireless cards from different vendors plus, how to remove unused ports once and for all.
If you are using Windows XP and haven't upgraded to Service Pack 2, you could experience drops in wireless connectivity. We detail the issue and also suggest some workarounds should you not want to upgrade to SP2.
Can you share an internal DSL modem connection, or should you buy an external DSL modem? Plus, we tell you how to turn off annoying 'debug error' popup messages.
Is there a difference between a VPN and VPN Passthrough device? Turns out it's a big difference. Plus, what's the best protocol for VPNs? IPSec or PPTP?
Conversations about switches and hubs can be confusing because people use the terms interchangeably. However, the devices function differently. We explain how and why.
Tips for getting Windows XP, 2000 and 98SE to share and share alike on a peer-to-peer network. Plus, turning a wired network into a wireless one and configuring firewalls to allow sharing within while keeping intruders out.
When you buy a second-hand router, be sure to wipe its history clean for a fresh start ... and Internet Explorer limits you to downloading only two files simultaneously. We offer a workaround to let you take advantage of high bandwidth.
Your wireless router could be keeping you from connecting to some Web sites and preventing you from sending and receiving e-mail. The problem may lie in something called Maximum Transmission Units. Plus, how to set up TCP/IP using Mac OS X.
Wireless networks must overcome steel beams, concrete, glass, sheer distance and other types of interference. To conquer these obstacles, you can try repeaters and rearranging your WLAN configuration. Or you could opt for a more stable, more secure and faster wired network.
Can a wireless print server support non-printing functions such as scanning and faxing? Plus, unscrambling Wi-Fi encryption and how to find Microsoft's NetMeeting in Windows XP.
Many malicious programs are capable of hiding from the Windows Task Manager, but a third-party utility called Security Task Manager, which performs a threat assessment of every running process on your PC, can help.
Even in today's high-speed world of cable and DSL connections, dial-up isn't dead. However, options for sharing a dial-up line are limited. We offer a look at the products available and also make a plea to convert to broadband.
When you can't access a Web site, should you blame your router or is the problem more likely in your browser settings? Plus, why you might be getting inundated with 'runtime error' messages.
Video conferencing can be a helpful tool to stay in face-to-face contact with clients or co-workers, but getting it to function means fussing with your firewall. We offer advice for getting Microsoft's NetMeeting to work over the Internet and then offer caveats and a few alternatives.
The good news is you just upgraded your company's printers, and now you're making the retired printers available to your employees for use at home. The bad news is that reconfiguring the printer to work on a home network takes a bit of fussing. Fear not. We walk you through the process.
Your Wi-Fi device may allow you to specify what channel to use for your connection, but would you ever want to change the default configuration? Plus, before you let your guard down, know the risks of playing online games or participating in video chats without the safety of a firewall.
One of the lesser-known features in Windows XP makes it easy to move a mobile computer from a home network to the office LAN without needing to manually reconfigure TCP/IP settings.
You avoided going with a broadband connection for as long as possible, fearing the effects of the always-on nature of cable and DSL modems. Now it's time to hang up the dial-up service. Here are some security tips to ease your trepidation.
If you are going cross-eyed trying to tell the difference between crossover and straight-through cables, we pin down the keys to clearing up the confusion. Plus, why every computer needs its own anti-virus software.
Even if your new computer is a beauty with a wireless LAN adapter built in, your connection could still get ugly. If your Wi-Fi connection's dropping, here are a few simple suggestions to improve signal strength.
If you surf the Web to places you'd rather not have your boss (or anyone else for that matter) know about, here are a few techniques and products that can expunge the trail -- if not your conscience.
The range of wireless networks can fluctuate dramatically depending on the environment you're in, but there is a simple way to add some power and consistency to your WLAN. Plus, what the heck is NAT?
A wireless print server allows you to print untethered from the constraints of cables. However, this reader ran into an obscure problem. At first confounded, our intrepid columnist recreated the problem and offers some simple directions to solve it.
Ten PCs some wireless, some not a network without a server, and a small business that needs to share info adds up to frustration. Here's our advice and a suggestion.
The Symantec Gateway Security 360R is designed to be a high-performance, low-maintenance firewall designed specifically for small businesses. The approach is right, but is the price?
One day your laptop and desktop PCs are happily sharing files, the next day they won't. We look at several reasons and solutions for this failure to communicate.
If annoying or hostile adware has infiltrated your computer, here's how to clean out your system. Also, learn how well-intentioned spam-blocking systems can separate innocent users from their legitimate e-mail messages.
If you live in an area where DSL and cable Internet access is difficult to come by, can you still enjoy the convenience of a wireless router? Plus ... can you tell your firewall from your anti-virus?
When sinister spyware and adware invade your system, can you ever regain control? Plus, how to leap your own firewall and finally are two routers better than one?
If your browser browses and your e-mail mails, why does IRC refuse to chat? Plus, good news and bad news when sharing a cable modem between two PCs.
Our SBC networking guru tells a reader how to fix a conflict with his VPN and firewall.
When you bring your old work PC home or try to treat new home PC like your office computer, you often find trouble. But it's nothing that a little time and money can't fix.
There's nothing magical about setting up a wireless local area network. As with standard LAN adapters, wireless network cards can function in a peer-to-peer mode. The good news is it's relatively simple to configure with just a few exceptions.
If mysterious problems are slowing down your Internet connection, here are some tips and advice for resolving Internet performance issues, as well as recommendations for preventing them from occurring in the future.
Adding a computer to a wireless network can sometimes be simple. Other times it can be more challenging than evading the tax man. This week, we offer a few general tips and some ThinkPad-specific tricks to try when all else fails.
We offer tips for solving tricky issues that can prevent PCs from being able to share data with others computers on a small network. We also diagnose a conflict between VPN access and Windows XP's Internet Connection Firewall.
Keeping current with the multitude of small biz networking systems can be a challenge. It's easy to get lost in the onslaught of acronyms and terms. This week, we discuss a pair of commonly confused technologies Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Learn how to make your laptop friendly with disparate wireless networks. We explore how you can take advantage of Windows XP's programming to automatically configure Wi-Fi network settings with Star Bucks, the office, and beyond.
This week we troubleshoot a couple of quirky problems that can pop up with your Web browser when trying to access the Windows Update. Learn how to eliminate annoying scripting issues that can really bug you when using Windows XP.
This week we diagnose a common problem that can prevent your cable modem from properly connecting to and communicating with your router and networked PCs. Learn how to keep all the computers in your home office connected.
There are all sorts of less than scrupulous downloads and Web sites that covertly install malevolent code onto computers. Learn how to avoid malware by protecting your PCs from the threat of insiduous, often invisible adware and spyware.
This week we address a couple of networking issues on Windows 98 Second Edition machines, including how to network multiple 98SE machines that have software- or hardware-based firewalls in place, and how to share a printer over a 98SE network.
Firewalls, routers, and security settings can make transferring files between two computers or controlling another computer over the Internet quite challenging. This week we look at two options that can ease file transfer frustrations.
Keeping current with the multitude of home networking technologies can be quite a challenge. This week, we compare and contrast a couple of commonly misunderstood technologies Powerline and PoE.
Sometimes, it doesn't make sense to use a hub when networking multiple PCs together. This week, we review the steps of the process required when setting up a network and sharing Internet access without using a hub or switch.
Learn how to enable specific applications to connect to the Internet through Windows XP's ICF, while keeping troublesome ports protected. We'll also explore how uplink ports on network hubs differ from regular ports.
When networking problems inevitably pop up, it can be all too easy to forget that faulty equipment can be the source of your trouble. Save yourself some time and frustration by doing a quick check on the cables and your hardware before narrowing in on potential software issues.
The first step in networking two or more computers is to determine how best to connect them. We look at the pros and cons of networking via direct cable connections, hubs, switches, or routers.
Any number of problems can pop up when attempting to properly configure a wireless local area network. This week we provide simple solutions for some common configuration issues when connecting to a wireless router.
One of Windows XP's lesser known features makes automatically switching network settings between different types of networks wired, wireless, or whatever a breeze. Learn all about XP's switch-hitting capabilties.
Suffering from wildly fluctuating wireless connection speeds or having trouble getting any connection at all? This week we offer some tips and tricks for helping you get the maximum speed out of your wireless network.
Will the D-Link i2eye VideoPhone be remembered as the start of the videophone revolution? Only time will tell. However, D-Link has managed to deliver on everything they set out to, and finally, at long last, the potential of videophones may be realized.
Have a network with one or two PCs that can't connect to the Internet or other networked computers? This week we look at several tips and tricks of the trade that could help you diagnose and fix computer connection issues.
Even with virus protection in place you'll still be vulnerable to adware and spyware applications. Learn what these insidious tools can do and how you can protect your small business from them.
Arming yourself with up-to-date anti-virus software should be a top priority, but even with anti-virus protection in place you'll still be vulnerable to the threat of adware and spyware applications. Learn how you can protect yourself from them before it's too late.
FTP servers are inexpensive and relatively simple to operate tools that work well for sharing files over the Internet. Learn how to upload and download files to and from the server as well as how to open up ports to allow for Internet access.
An file transfer protocol server is an inexpensive and relatively simple to operate tool that works great for small businesses that just need to share files over the Internet. Learn how to install, configure, and operate a basic FTP server.
Ever wonder whether or not external 'attacks' reported by your firewall are dangerous or how these 'attacks' could possibly be allowed to penetrate your defenses? Explore the logic behind firewalls and also learn how to share a broadband connection between both Windows and Mac computers.
Confused about whether or not you can share a printer over your network? Learn the most effective ways for setting up printer sharing for your small office or home office.
This week we examine how the two AOL broadband services cable modem and digital supscriber line compare in terms of networking. We also provide step-by-step details for setting up a small office or home office router to share your AOL DSL service with another computer.
Learn how to overcome the critical shortcomings of wired equivalent privacy to secure your home office or small office wireless local area network. It's not as tough as you think you, too can build an ultra-secure WLAN.
Troubleshooting various issues that can creep up with peer-to-peer computer connections can be tricky. If the hardware is functional, it could just a matter of establishing user accounts and access rights. Also, learn about network functionality in most of today's all-in-one multifunction printers.
If you're using Windows XP Home Edition and have tried using it on a corporate network, you might have encountered a 'could not reconnect all network drives' error message at startup. This week we'll explain what causes the error and how to prevent it from occurring.
Have a dial-up connection that insists on stealing Internet access from your broadband connection? We'll discuss how to configure Windows to allow the two connections to coexist in harmony. We'll also cover how to set up your VPN access to work with Windows XP's Internet Connection Firewall.
Mysterious problems in Windows giving you trouble? We'll discuss some of the things you should look for to resolve them. We'll also show you how spending a little bit of money on the right equipment now will not only make your life easier, but will also save you time and needless effort.
Have you ever had the urge to publish your own website, but weren't sure how to go about it? We offer you some general guidelines on how to do-it-yourself and start serving up your small business site on the Web.