Tech Support Tuesday – Never touch your computer

Welcome to Tech Support Tuesday.  January was a busy month and we missed posting, but we are back and things should be better.  The first Tuesday of each month we’ll be sharing tips and “unique” experiences from both sides of the Tech Support spectrum.

Never touch your computer

Often I act as an intermediary for my clients with some of their vendors.  This can often provide some interesting encounters.  In this particular case the client has a computer that is used strictly as a Fax server.  This was a requirement for the Cloud Service they subscribe to.  The Cloud Service configured the System based on their requirements for the Client and was supposed to be maintaining the computer as part of the subscription fee.  At least that’s what the client thought.

Lately this computer has been experiencing some issues; users not able to access their fax inbox or the system not forwarding faxes to the appropriate inbox.  So I was asked to work with the Cloud Vendor to resolve the issues.

Once we got the issues resolved, which were fairly simple, I checked and noticed that there were some updates that had not been run.  I brought this up to the Cloud Vendor and we took a look at them together.  As we were going through these updates the Vendor explained that:

  • This computer should never run any updates,
  • It should never be powered down,
  • There should never be any kind of security software on the computer.

In essence, no one should ever touch this computer.  My response was:  Seriously?! That is one of the worst things you can do to a computer.

When hearing the explanation for why none of these things should ever be done, I asked point blank:  If the Faxing software is that unstable and that out of date, why even use it?  They couldn’t really give an answer that made sense, they only kept going back to the three points they stated at first.  Let’s look at each one.

Never Run Updates on the Computer

The system had auto updates turned off completely.  Why is this an issue?  Very simple; these updates are designed to help prevent security breaches and to fix issues that may prevent the system from running properly.  Auto updates can no longer be disabled in Windows 10.

Microsoft and even Apple release updates for several reasons but the two most important ones are:

  • Fix bugs so the Operating System works properly
    Third party software vendors get these fixes ahead of time in order to test them and see if they adversely effects their product.
  • Prevent Security Breaches both known and potential.
    Security Issues are the most prominent and important. They are also the most common as there is always someone looking for a way to hack into a system whether it is Windows, Apple or Linux.  So making sure your system has the latest Security Patches is pretty darn important.

So if you never run updates on your computer; your system has a risk of being breached and any new software you may install on it may not function properly.

Never Power Down the System

I know I’m splitting hairs here but honestly, if you aren’t using the system; why have it on?  Furthermore, how are you supposed to control what the Electric Company does?  If the power goes out; what happens then?  Is the computer incapable of recovering from a power outage?

Even if you have the system connected to a Battery Back-Up (UPS) it will only keep the system running for a certain length of time, 10-30 minutes on average.  Surge Suppressors only protect systems from shorting out.

If the software you have is incapable of recovering from powering down or a power outage, it may be time to look for an alternative that can recover.

No Security Software of any kind

If your system is connected to the Internet you should have some kind of security software.  Doesn’t matter it is a free Anti-Virus software or a paid security subscription of some kind; there should be something to help protect it.  It’s that simple.

So what happened?  We spent the next two hours going through forty-seven updates to determine if they would cause a problem for the system.  Forty-three were installed, the remaining four were noted.  We searched to see if there was an update for the Faxing Software, there was, and the Vendor will be testing the new version to see if there are any adverse effects to the system.

It doesn’t matter if you have a system that serves a single function or not.  It should be treated like any other computer in your office.  If someone tells you otherwise be weary of their advice.