Saturday, February 11, 2017

How to Automatically Update Your System Drivers

How to Automatically Update Your System Drivers
Computer technology is constantly evolving with improvements and updates daily. Keeping your system current helps keep your computer stable, secure and helps decrease compatibility issues which often leads to system crashes. This also extends to your drivers.

What is a Driver?

A driver is a piece of software that informs the hardware on your computer how to run a particular operating system.

You most likely have a number of drivers already installed and working on your computer.  This hardware includes the DVD drive, video card and the PC card to make sure their systems work.

Why Should I Update My Drivers?

If you are experiencing hardware issues such as your Ethernet connection periodically drops or your printer stops printing properly, updating your drivers will mostly get them back on track.

Updating your drivers can also improve your gaming experience. When you update your video drivers they often lead to a huge performance boost, especially in new games. According to research, a recent Nvidia update produced a 45% boost in Skyrim performance, and the update following that increased its performance by 20%. So if your video driver has a new driver update available, you'll definitely want to upgrade rather than keep the current drivers you have.

Where can I Find Drivers?

There are a number of places to update or install a driver on your device. Windows often automatically installs its own version of drivers on your computer; however, you'll often find that downloading the drivers directly from the manufacturer's site offers loads of extra features. For example, sound drivers usually include an entire control panel of options so you can customize your sound and graphic experiences as you'd like.

How to Automatically Update Your System Drivers

It is easy to update your drivers. Simply, open up the Device Manager on your device and right click on the hardware you wish to update.

To access the "Update Driver" from Windows, open the control panel, then select "Device Manager". Locate all hardware with a yellow icon next to it. These are the components that are not installed properly. Click on them to update. This method can also be used to update components that are not working properly. Right click on a component, and then select "Update Driver Software". Lastly, select "search updates automatically" to update your drivers.

Updating Windows Card Drivers

For AMD, download the AMD Driver Auto detect tool. This tool automatically finds the AMD graphics card and Windows version that is on your computer. Select the AMD Driver Auto Detect to scan your device for automatic updates. If an update is ready, select "Download Now," then wait for the download to finish. Select "Install" when the driver is done downloading. Follow the commands to install the new driver.

For Nvidia, find the "Nvidia GeForce Experience" program from the start menu in the Nvidia folder. If the program is unavailable, simply download it from the manufacturer's website. Select the "Driver" tab, then select "Check for Updates". If an update is ready, select "Download and Install". Follow the commands to download the installer to your device.

Updating OS X Drivers

Select the Apple Menu. Click "Software Update". Apple will display a list of available updates. Select the "Update" button next to the drivers you wish to update. Select "Update All" to install all available updates.

Updating Your Drivers Using a Disk

There are disk programs that scan your computer for driver updates. However, these disks send you directly to the manufacturer's site to install the updates, which is an extra step as opposed to directly checking the manufacturer's site yourself.

Generally, whenever Windows and Mac have an update, driver updates are usually installed along with them, so you don't need to fret about driver updates. If the automatic update doesn't work, check the driver's version number then go to the manufacture's web site to update it. If the driver version number on the manufacturer's web site is newer than the one you have, then an update is available. Read up on the installer, then download it. Run the update like you would all other programs. When you are finished, your hardware will be running like new.

Dominick Rivoli is the owner at A1 Rivoli, top office equipment and computer service and repair specialists for the Long Island, NY Nassau, and Western Suffolk areas. Visit the website at

Benefits of a Multi Drive RAID Backup

Multi Drive RAIDs (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) are Two or More Hard Drives Working Together as One and Should Be Backed Up.
A Redundant Array of Independent Disks, more commonly known as RAIDs, are basically two or more hard drives working together as one. People choose to put together drives for a number of different reasons and there are a lot of benefits to these setups.

A multi drive RAID is particularly useful as a form of backup for all of your files. It shouldn't be used as an alternative to traditional backups and you should always have a backup plan in place in addition to a RAID. RAIDs don't protect you from complete system failure. Some viruses such as Trojans can sometimes destroy data across RAIDs.

RAID Backup Arrangements

There are many different RAID setups out there. There are two that are commonly used by people interested in multi drive backup.

  • The first is known as a RAID 1 array and requires two or more hard drives.
  • The second is a RAID 5 array and you'll need at least 3 hard drives.

Both are excellent forms of protection and increased readability, but a RAID 1 is simpler than a RAID 5. When creating any RAIDs you need to be sure that all of the drives you're using are identical. You never want to make a RAID with a 60KB drive and an 80KB drive, for example. It will cause many issues with your system and even slow it down or result in file corruption.

RAID 1 Array Benefits

The basic RAID 1 setup involves two 1TB hard drives. You'll end up with the speed and capacity of a single 1TB drive, but you'll have protection that a single drive can't provide. The second drive is a mirror image of the first and vice versa. In other words, both drives in the RAID contain the exact same data and files. If either of the two drives fails then the other keeps going. You don't lose anything at all and there's no downtime because your system is hot swappable. All you need to do is replace or "hot swap" whichever drive failed and you'll be protected again, which you can do without even shutting down your system.

RAID 5 Array Benefits

A RAID 5 array provides the same protection of a RAID 1 multi drive, but it also comes with a boost to your speed as well as capacity, which seen in RAID 0. The presence of three drives allow for two of the drives to be used for storage and the third to be used as the backup. How a RAID 5 works is a little harder to understand. Data is broken down into sections called stripes and stored on the first two drives - this increases both speed and storage capacity. The third drive is a parity drive, which saves all of the data from the first two drives. If one of the storage drives crashes, then the parity drive comes into play with the missing data from the defective drive. This will cause your system to slow down a bit, but you'll still have all of your data and again you can hot swap the damaged drive.

Other RAID Levels

The different RAID arrays or configurations are arranged in levels that are labelled 0 through 9. The RAID 5 array, mentioned previously, is a combination of RAID 0 and 1. RAID 0 is when you have two or more drives just to enhance performance, without any sort of backup. In RAID 0 there isn't actually any "redundancy" or copying of files.

Another interesting RAID setup is called RAID 10, or RAID 1+0. Like RAID 5 it is a combination of 1 and 0, but RAID 10 is much different and some people use it as an alternative to 5. You only need two drives and, like 1, it ends up cutting your disk space in half, but you do get some enhanced performance perks as with RAID 0. Plus you have protection from RAID 1. Both drives are duplicates of one another as well as partition drives and all of the data is striped as well. Striping writes data simultaneously across disks, making your system faster.

Dominick Rivoli is the owner at A1 Rivoli, top computer and office equipment repair and service specialists for the Long Island, NY Nassau, and Western Suffolk areas. Visit the website at

Benefits of Having a PayPal Account

Woman Shopping With PayPal
PayPal offers individuals convenience and security like no other online processing service.

With a basic PayPal account, you can make online purchases, and you have access to instant transfers with secure transactions and paper-free record keeping.

And since it's universally recognized, it's no wonder it's among the most trusted sites of consumers and businesses everywhere; and it's free.

Free Basic Account

The best thing about PayPal is it's free. Once you sign up for a basic PayPal account and type in your personal information, you are free to make transactions free of charge. There are no service charges, transfer fees, annual fees or processing fees.

Instant Transfers

Having a PayPal account means you can receive and send money conveniently via instant transfer. Your account gives you the power to both receive and make payments for online transactions, and you can also transfer money in your PayPal account to your bank account. You can even rest assured knowing that in the event of an emergency, you can also send money to family members and friends as long as they have a valid email account and phone number.

Financial Data is Never Released

With PayPal, your financial information is never shared with third parties. This means when you make a transaction with a third party company using your PayPal account, your credit card and bank information are never revealed to the company.

Universally Recognized

PayPal is recognized by retailers and consumers in over 190 countries and regions for its secure web transactions. Therefore, when businesses offer PayPal as a payment method, it gives them credibility. In fact, it can be bad when a consumer does not see PayPal offered as a payment method, because they may not see the business as trustworthy.

Flexible Payment Options

PayPal allows you to connect different payment options to your account including your debit card, bank account and credit card for funding purchases made through your account. This means you have the power to select the payment option of your choice for funding your transactions. You can also select a backup account to cover your transactions. In the event your first option is declined, your backup choice will automatically cover the purchase.

Easy Record Keeping

Each time you make a transaction using your PayPal account, your transaction history is recorded and can be viewed or downloaded right from your online account.

Opt in to the Business Account

Opt in to the PayPal business account for better bookkeeping and pre printed shipping labels for faster shipping. See PayPal's business page for fees and restrictions.

Preferred Method of Payment on Online Auction Sites

Many buyers and auction sites such as eBay will not accept checks or money orders for purchases because they bounce and get lost in the mail. With PayPal the seller is paid right away. The buyer is sent from the winning auction to PayPal to pay for the items. Then the shipping, handling and insurance is handled by PayPal according to the terms of the auction guidelines, providing security for both buyers and sellers.

Dispute Resolution Center

With PayPal, you never have to worry about dispute settlements. If you feel the seller violated the agreement terms, you can file a claim against them. To file a dispute, you must make a claim within 30 days of making the purchase. To make your case even stronger, be sure to save documents that support your claim, such as receipts, emails, tracking numbers and any other supporting documents you may have.

PayPal Debit Card

You can apply for a debit card through your PayPal account, then use the money in your account to make purchases just as you would with a traditional credit or debit card.

Exclusive Promotions

When you sign up for PayPal, you will enjoy exclusive discounts at top retail stores like Bath & Body Works, Walmart, Overstock, Apple Store, Office Depot and more, right in your inbox. Simply place your order using the link. Select the PayPal option on the retailer's site to check out and the promo code will automatically be applied through your PayPal account. Visit for a complete list of participating retailers.

Dominick Rivoli is the owner at A1 Rivoli, top office equipment and computer repair and  service specialists for the Long Island, NY Nassau, and Western Suffolk areas. Visit the website at

Online Protection If Your Store or Business Account Gets Hacked

Tips for Online Protection If Your Store or Business Account Gets Hacked
Being hacked is a part of being on the Internet. If you have an online store and the account gets hacked, there are some things that you need to do. You want to prevent the accounts from being hacked in the first place, though even with control and security, a good hacker can make his way into the information that you have stored online.

What Can Be Obtained?

Before you take any kind of action, you have to find out how much of your online store has been hacked. What was the person able to do or take? This can be done by going through each section with a fine-tooth comb.

Don’t assume that everything was taken. Many of the online store accounts will use different levels of encryption for different areas.

Some information that can be obtained:

  • Email addresses
  • Credit card information
  • Mailing addresses
  • Inventory 
  • Proprietary information

Each of these items can be stored online, and therefore, it is possible for someone to hack and copy the information. They may also delete the information from your account, which means you may not have access to the information that you need any longer.

Use a Secure Email Account

No email account is 100 percent secure. However, most of the Internet email accounts use a lot of encryption and offer many security features. If you don’t think the site offers much in terms of security, consider not using it and finding another provider. Follow the instructions for establishing a secure account and adhere to a password that is at least eight characters in length.

Contact Customers

You will need to contact all of your customers. This is the hardest part because your customers trusted you with their personal information and you have to come out and say that you were victim to a security breach. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone and many large companies have been hacked as well. Let them know what was compromised so they can order new credit cards or monitor their email more closely.

Create a Backup

You need to create a backup of all of the information that you store online. It can be stored in another cloud or on your computer. Some of the items that you need to store include a copy of your customer database, inventory, as well as any proprietary information that you more store online, including recipes, financials or anything else.

Call Local Authorities

You will need to call and report the fact that your online store account has been compromised. The first call should be to local authorities, and they may provide you with another number to call. The company or website that hosts your website should also be contacted so that you can inform them of the security breach.

The host company may have their own protocol for you to follow. This can include listing what has been stolen and then running an investigation to see when and how your account was hacked and if there were other websites that were also affected.

Whether the local authorities conduct it or a host company conducts it, a criminal investigation may be opened where they are going to need your full cooperation. They are going to look for “digital fingerprints” to see who was responsible for hacking your account. If they find the person who hacked your account, you may be able to press charges and obtain some of the data that was stolen before it can be used against you.

Taking Precautions

You need to take precautions to prevent such a thing from happening again in the future. This means creating more backups, using a higher level of encryption, and potentially not storing as much information online where it can be stolen.

If your online store account gets hacked, you need to learn from the experience. Don’t make the same mistakes in the future. Change your password with more frequency, research the online providers for your website and email, and ensure that they are doing their part to prevent any hacking from taking place.

You may not have been able to control getting hacked, but you can control how you manage security in the future.

Dominick Rivoli is the owner at A1 Rivoli, top office equipment and computer repair and service specialists for the Long Island, NY Nassau, and Western Suffolk areas. Visit the website at

The Importance of Defragging Your Hard Drive

How to Defrag Your Hard Drive and Why it Should Be Done
In nearly every general article about computer upkeep, the term defragging comes up. It's an essential part of maintenance, but what is it? Unlike some other computer tasks, a disc defrag isn't self-explanatory.

What is Defragging?

Defragging a hard drive is a way to make it work a little more efficiently. To know why this works, you need to know a little about how hard drives work.

A hard drive is essentially a set of metal platters encased in a machine that spins them like a CD or DVD. A small magnetic needle, similar to an old-time record player, both reads and writes data on those metal platters. The data is stored magnetically, which means that when there is no electricity flowing to the drive, it retains the data

Data is stored in small magnetic bits. In a brand new hard drive, the read/write heads -- the magnetic needle -- will write the data in a sensible order. When you attempt to read a file on your computer, the hard drive knows where to find the relevant magnetic bits and reads them. The hard drive automatically writes data in areas that are quck and efficient to access.

Over time, as your hard drive fills up, the disc has a harder time finding efficient locations for each piece of data. It will have to break up larger files to fit into smaller gaps in the drive. Deleting files will free up some segments, but the chances of those segments forming a continuous open space for a new file are slim.

At the same time, individual fragments can become corrupted. These bad sectors refuse to hold data properly, forcing the hard drive to work around them. In many cases, these sectors can be repaired, but it is not done automatically.

What Does Defragmenting Do?

The process of defragmenting is a computer service that analyzes how the data on your drive is sorted. It then attempts to move pieces of files into a more sensible order. It will attempt to group data in locations that makes it easier to read entire files at once.

The defrag process takes some time. In fact, the larger the hard drive and the higher the amount of data on it, the longer it will take. For a small laptop hard drive, it may only take half an hour. As part of regular server maintenance, it may take quite a bit longer.

Most defragmenting utilities will also discover and repair bad sectors on the hard drive during this process. This will also make your computer run faster, as the drive no longer encounters corrupted data. Some sectors may not be repairable -- in these cases, the drive simply flags them as sectors to avoid. This process is a routine part of computer service, and it's a basic step to take to increase the speed of any computer.

How to Defrag a Hard Drive

Defragging is a very simple process, but it can take a significant amount of time, especially as part of routine server maintenance. Every computer with a Microsoft Windows installation has a built-in defragmentation utility, usually found in the Start menu under system tools and accessories. This is a very basic utility, but it does exactly what it is supposed to do.

There are also over a dozen available utilities with more or less functionality. Some of them are designed to make the defrag process as fast as possible, while others offer a much wider range of options, including other forms of disc cleanup and optimization. Some of these are free, while others cost a small fee.

Dominick Rivoli is the owner at A1 Rivoli, top office equipment and computer service and repair specialists for the Long Island, NY Nassau, and Western Suffolk areas. Visit the website at

Home Network Setup Tips

Home Network Installation
These days, everyone has an Internet-ready device. Setting up a home network is nearly essential to live life the way it's expected. Fortunately, setting up a basic home network is easy.

Step 1: Determine Your Needs

What devices do you need to connect to the Internet? What is the state of your home? These are important questions to help you decide what hardware you need to purchase. What Internet Service Providers (ISPs) service your areas? There are generally four types of connection; DSL, cable, satellite and fiber.

Satellite is generally the worst in terms of connection speeds, but is available in areas other connections can't reach. DSL is slower than cable in most circumstances, but works better during peak hours.

Cable can slow down during peak hours, but is often the only available choice. Fiber is extremely limited, but is amazingly fast if you can get it.

How old is your home? Installing Internet cables is easier in new construction, and modern homes may already be wired. Older homes will need special installation and will benefit more from wireless or power line Internet.

How many devices will connect? If you only have one or two personal computers set up in an office, you won't need a full-house installation. On the other hand, if five people live in the home and each has a laptop, smart phone and tablet, a wireless network is the only solution.

Your network hardware shopping list:

  • A modem, either for DSL or cable depending on your ISP. You can rent one from your ISP, but it's more cost-effective to buy your own. Not to mention, owning your own hardware gives you greater freedom to configure your network

  • Unless you only have one computer and will never expand, purchase a router. Most routers will offer four or more wired connections and a wireless option, allowing you to connect as many devices as you need

  • Cat6 cabling. This network cabling is the current standard. You will need a short cable to reach from your modem to your router, and as many longer cables as you need for wired connections

Step 2: Set Up Your Network Hardware

Call your ISP of choice and schedule an appointment for network installation or activation. If your home has not previously had an Internet connection, this meeting will take some time while the technician installs the proper cabling. If your home has an older, deactivated connection, the technician will activate it and help you install your modem.

Each piece of hardware will come with its own instructions. Follow these instructions. Your ISP technician should help you install your modem. Your router will require setup through your computer, using a CD. Make sure you change the default administrator password on any wireless network. Otherwise, anyone driving by could access your network and change your settings. In particularly bad cases, this may require home network repairs.

Access the router once you have it installed and set up a firewall and any additional security you need. If you have a wireless installation, you should set up some kind of additional security, such as WPA encryption or MAC address filtering. You can also set your wireless network not to broadcast its name, making it impossible for anyone without the name to access it.

If you have a home business you my be interested in network maintenance plans. In some cases, ISPs will provide a service where they check your network on a regular basis to ensure proper functionality. You can also set up your own schedule for personal network maintenance, changing your passwords and updating firmware.

Troubleshooting Tips

Eventually, your network will fail. The most basic solution is to power cycle your modem and your router. To do this, unplug both devices and leave them off for at least a full minute. Once this minute has passed, plug in each device and wait for them to connect.

Most basic networking issues can be solved with this process, and when you call your ISP tech support, it is the first thing they will tell you to do. You may be able to solve your issues, if they persist, by searching for the symptoms online. You can also call tech support for advanced troubleshooting; it's even possible they may pro-rate your next bill for the down time.
Dominick Rivoli is the owner at A1 Rivoli, top office equipment and computer service and repair specialists for the Long Island, NY Nassau, and Western Suffolk areas. Visit the website at

The Ten Major Differences Between the Windows and Macintosh Operating Systems

Windows vs Mac Operating Systems, 10 differences between the two.
The great debate still rages between Apple-enthusiasts and avid PC-users. It is a volatile and can quickly become hostile on Internet forums. In reality, which machine is "better" is really determined by personal preference and what you need from your machine.

Both Windows and the Macintosh OS have their pros and cons and there are ten major differences between the two.


Though not directly an aspect of either computers' operating system, the design of the different machines is a big difference between Apple computers and Windows computers. The actual computer units are, after all, how you access each respective operating system. Apple was the first company to create desktop machines that housed the monitor and CPU together in one unit

Apple manufactures all of their own machines with more expensive components, resulting in more expensive computers. Windows-based computers are manufactured by an array of companies, resulting in an array of different designs, shapes and sizes, many of which are more affordable options.

Software Compatibility

In general, there is more software on the market that is compatible with the Windows operating system. Apple has its own suites of software and there are plenty of alternatives to most Windows-only programs. The gap is also beginning to close as more software companies are making their programs compatible with the Mac OS, due to its rising popularity with consumers.

Cross-Platform Abilities

While there is more Windows compatible software and interesting thing to note is that you can run Windows in the Mac OS. In addition, the Mac OS allows the user to open most all Windows files without running Windows and without Windows programs. Windows on the other hand does not allow the opening of Mac files nor running of the Mac OS.


For those out there who like to play games on their computers most lean toward Windows. This ties in not only with the availability of games to Windows machines, but also the affordability of customizing a computer to meet power-hungry game specifications. It is much easier and cheaper to soup up a Windows computer for a game than it is to soup up a Mac. Again, as with other software, game manufacturers are releasing more and more titles that are compatible with the Mac OS.

Design and Creative Occupations

Toward the other end of the spectrum are graphic designers, video producers and those with similar careers and passions. People with creative occupations or hobbies lean toward Macs. There is a solid collection of apps and software that is Mac OS only is geared toward photographers, artists, filmmakers and more.

The User Interface

The user interface (UI) of a Windows computer is a lot different than that of the Mac OS. Switching from either OS can be a challenge because they look so different. The Mac OS has long been seen as more aesthetically pleasing while some consider the Windows UI to be more functional, but less user friendly. Apple boasts a much more intuitive UI.

Standard Bundles

Windows computers come bundled with Internet Explorer, a mail app and several other programs. Macs are also equipped with an equivalent suite of programs including Mail, iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band and others. The apps that come standard with Mac OS are arguably better than the Windows versions.

Malware and Viruses

Because fewer people use Mac computers there are fewer hackers out there who target them with viruses and other malware. Windows computers have been notoriously targeted time and time again and are susceptible to many security issues. It is absolutely vital that PCs have anti-virus software installed to protect you and your data while Mac OS users can rest much easier without it.


Most companies, both large and small, turn to Windows computers to construct their networks. This ties back in with affordability and the fact that pretty much all employees are familiar with Windows computers. Relevant software is also readily available for work-related and productivity tasks for Windows-based networks. Server maintenance plans are also easy for Windows networks. It is not impossible to create a network running with Macintosh OS, but it just is not as popular of a choice.

Customer Support

Apple offers better customer support for both hardware and software issues. If you are having a problem with your iMac or Macbook you simply make an appointment at your neighborhood Apple Store and they will get your machine up and running again. The prices are reasonable and sometimes if the problem is common there is no charge at all.

Windows computers are another story. You either need a computer savvy friend or you have to find computer or laptop repair companies in your area. Microsoft has some retail locations, but they are not as plentiful as Apple Stores nor are they as helpful at fixing your operating system dilemmas.

Dominick Rivoli is the owner at A1 Rivoli, top office equipment and computer service and repair specialists for the Long Island, NY Nassau, and Western Suffolk areas. Visit the website at