How to Reset the EFI on a MAC

Resetting the EFI (NVRAM or PRAM) on a MAC

If you’re having trouble starting up your Mac, briefly seeing a question mark during boot, or finding that your Mac constantly boots from the wrong hard drive, resetting the EFI or clearing the NVRAM can help

The EFI (extensible firmware interface) is a set of instructions stored in the computers memory (NVRAM or PRAM) that act as an interface between the computer components and the operating system during startup.

Although it is mainly used in Intel-based Macintosh computers, other computer manufacturers are beginning to replace the older BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) firmware with EFI.


If you are having startup problems or your computer isn’t working properly, you may be able to solve the problem by resetting the EFI to its default settings.

1. Shut down the computer.

2. Turn on the computer and immediately hold down the “Command,” “Option,” “P” and “R” keys at the same time.

3. Release the keys after you hear the computer beep twice.

4. Check to see if the computer is working.


If the computer doesn’t start after doing all of the above then try this…

1. Reboot the computer and hold down the “Command,” “Option,” “O” and “F” keys at the same time during startup.

2. Wait until you see the message “To continue booting, type ‘mac-boot’ and press return.” If the message does not appear, try starting the computer by holding down the power button continuously until the message appears.

3. Type “reset-nvram” and press “Return.”

4. Type “reset-all” and press “Return.”


How to See What’s In Your NVRAM

You can find out what’s actually stored in your NVRAM by using the following procedure

Open up the Terminal in your macOS, which you’ll find in Applications > Utilities.
Type nvram -xp, then press Enter and you will be able to see the complete contents of your NVRAM.

While you have the Terminal open, you can clear the NVRAM using the command nvram -c

Then restart your Mac for the reset to complete.


Clearing the NVRAM won’t solve all of your problems, but it can solve some, especially if you’re having trouble getting your Mac to boot.


Forwarding Gmail Messages to Another Email Address

How to forward Gmail messages to another email address

If you prefer to read email in other apps or web interfaces, forward the Gmail messages you receive to any email address you choose. Using filters, you can forward only messages that meet certain criteria to external addresses. Still, the broad forward-everything approach is useful if you’d rather not take a piecemeal approach.

The instructions in this article apply to the web version of Gmail.

How to Forward Gmail Messages to Another Email Client

To use email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail, you can set up a Gmail account and retrieve messages directly, without having to forward those messages.

Select the Gear icon in the upper-right corner of the Gmail screen.

Choose See all settings from the drop-down menu that appears.

Go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

In the Forwarding section, select Add a forwarding address.

Enter the email address you want to forward future Gmail messages to, then select Next.

Select Proceed in the pop-up window, then select OK.

Gmail will send a confirmation email to the address you want to forward to. Open it and click on the link to confirm the request.

Alternatively, copy the confirmation code and paste it into the Confirmation code field in the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab in Gmail, then select Verify.

Select Forward a copy of incoming mail to.

Select the field next to When messages are accessed with POP to tell Gmail what to do with forwarded messages. Select one of the following options from the drop-down menu:

Keep Gmail’s copy in the Inbox instructs Gmail to leave the original message in your Gmail inbox as new and unread.
Mark Gmail’s copy as read leaves messages in the Gmail inbox but marks messages as read.
Archive Gmail’s copy is probably the most useful setting. It instructs Gmail to mark forwarded messages as read, remove messages from the inbox, and keep messages in the archive for later search and retrieval.
Delete Gmail’s copy allows the messages to move to the Trash folder after being forwarded. Trashed messages are deleted automatically after 30 days. This is not recommended, as keeping your messages in Gmail is an easy way to back it up.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll receive a copy of the email at the address you selected in the previous steps.

Select Save Changes.


From now on, email messages that arrive at your Gmail account (minus any spam) are copied to the other account.


How to Disable Gmail Forwarding


To turn off automatic forwarding, reverse the steps you took above.


Select the Gear icon in the upper-right corner and choose See All Settings from the drop-down menu that appears.

Go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, then select Disable forwarding.

Select Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.


JOB DONE….

Resolving DNS and Cache Issues

Resolving DNS and Cache Issues in Win10

So you have a website that no matter how many times you refresh the page or delete your browser cache files it still wont refresh, don’t despair, there are a couple of things that you can try.

The first thing to try is flushing your computers DNS:

Press the windows logo and the “R” key to bring up a dialogue box, type in “cmd” without the quotes to open the user interface.

type: “ipconfig /flushdns” without the quotes and press enter and it will give you confirmation that the DNS has been flushed


This next method is for techies who need to resolve issues with the host

Open “c:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts” then add IP and web address and save (you will need to save as “all files” and not as a txt file).

Windows 10 Installation and Upgrade Errors

There are many reasons why you might receive an error message when upgrading or installing Windows 10, but common errors can be fixed with a few steps that you can do on your own. Note: An upgrade takes your device from an older version of Windows, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, to Windows 10.
Before searching for a specific error code, try the tips listed in General fixes. If those don’t fix your upgrade or installation problem, check the table of error codes at the bottom of this article.

General fixes
Here are some things you can try to fix upgrade and installation errors:
Remove external hardware
Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
Update Windows
Uninstall non-Microsoft antivirus software
Uninstall nonessential software
Free up disk space
0xC1900101 Errors
An error that begins with 0xC1900101 is usually a driver error. If you see any of these error codes, try the following steps first to fix the problem. If these steps don’t work, see Resolve Windows 10 upgrade errors for more detailed technical info.
0xC1900101 – 0x2000c0xC1900101 – 0x200170xC1900101 – 0x300180xC1900101 – 0x3000D0xC1900101 – 0x4000D0xC1900101 – 0x40017
Make sure that your device has enough space. Your device requires at least 16 GB of free space to upgrade a 32-bit OS, or 20 GB for a 64-bit OS.
Run Windows Update a few times. Download and install any available updates in Windows Update, including software updates, hardware updates, and some third-party drivers. Use the troubleshooter for Windows 10 to fix Windows Update errors.
Check third-party drivers and download any updates. You can find third-party drivers and installation instructions for any hardware you’ve added to your device on the manufacturer’s website.
Unplug extra hardware. Remove all external storage devices and drives, docks, and other hardware you might have plugged into your device that isn’t needed for basic functionality.
Check Device Manager for errors. Select the Start button, then in the search box on the taskbar, type device manager. Choose Device Manager from the results. In the window that pops up, look for any device with a yellow exclamation mark beside it (you may have to select each category to switch to the list of devices). Press and hold (or right-click) the device name and select either Update Driver Software or Uninstall to correct the errors.
Remove third-party security software. Make sure you know how to reinstall your programs and that any necessary product keys are on hand. Windows Defender will help protect your device in the meantime.
Repair hard-drive errors. Select the Start button, then in the search box on the taskbar, type command prompt. Choose Command Prompt from the list of results. In the window that pops up, type chkdsk/f C: and press the Enter key. Repairs automatically start on your hard drive, and you’ll be asked to restart your device.
Note: You must have administrator permissions on your device to do this.
Do a clean restart into Windows.
Restore and repair system files. Select the Start button, then in the search box on the taskbar, type command prompt. Choose Command Prompt from the list of results. In the window that pops up, type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press the Enter key.
Note: You must have administrator permissions on your device to do this.

Other Common Errors
The following table lists the most common upgrade and installation errors and some things you can try to fix them. If you continue having problems upgrading or installing Windows 10, contact Microsoft support.

Error What it means and how to fix it   
0xc1900223 This indicates that there was a problem downloading and installing the selected update. Windows Update will try again later and there is nothing you need to do at this time.   
0xC1900208 – 0x4000C This could indicate that an incompatible app installed on your PC is blocking the upgrade process from completing. Check to make sure that any incompatible apps are uninstalled and then try upgrading again.   
0xC1900107 A cleanup operation from a previous installation attempt is still pending, and a system restart is required to continue the upgrade. Restart the device and run setup again. If restarting device does not resolve the issue, then use the Disk Cleanup utility and clean up the temporary files and the System files.   
0x80073712 A file needed by Windows Update is likely damaged or missing.
Try repairing your system files:
Select the Start button and type command prompt in the search box on the taskbar.
Choose Command Prompt from the list of results.
In the window that appears, type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press the Enter key.   
0xC1900200 – 0x20008 This may signify that your PC doesn’t meet the minimum requirements to download or install the upgrade to Windows 10.   
0x800F0923 This might indicate that a driver or other software on your PC isn’t compatible with the upgrade to Windows 10.   
0x80200056 This could mean that the upgrade process was interrupted because you accidentally restarted your PC or signed out of your PC.
Try upgrading again and make sure your PC is plugged in and stays turned on.   
0x800F0922 This error might mean that your PC couldn’t connect to the Windows Update servers. If you’re using a VPN connection to connect to a work network, disconnect from the network and turn off the VPN software (if applicable) and try upgrading again.
The error could also mean there isn’t enough free space in the System Reserved partition. You might be able to fix this problem by using third-party software to increase the size of the System Reserved partition.   Error: We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off your computer. These are generic errors that might appear any time a Windows update fails. You’ll need to determine the specific error code to investigate how to best resolve this problem.
You can find the error code for the failed update by viewing your update history. Look for the update that wasn’t installed, note the error code, and then contact support.   
Error: Failure configuring Windows Updates. Reverting changes. To view your update history in Windows 8.1:
Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the lower-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), select Settings > Change PC settings > Update and recovery > View your update history.
To view your update history in Windows 7:
Select the Start Start button icon button. In the search box, type Update, and then, in the list of results, Select Windows Update > View update history.   Error: The update isn’t applicable to your computer. This error might mean that your PC doesn’t have the required updates installed.
Check to make sure that all important updates are installed on your PC before you try upgrading.   
0x80070070 – 0x500110x80070070 – 0x500120x80070070 – 0x60000 This likely indicates that your PC doesn’t have enough space available to install the upgrade.
Free some space on the drive and try again.   
0x80300024 The specified disk operation is not supported by the target disk, partition, or volume.
Make sure your machine meets the minimum requirements to install Windows 10.   
0x80070002 0x20009 The system cannot find the file specified.
If you have a disk or disks where you are not installing Windows 10 on, remove those disks.   
0xC1900101 0x200170xC1900101 0x30017 A driver has caused a problem.
Disable or remove all 3rd party antivirus or antispyware from your system. Disconnect all peripheral devices that are connected to the system, except for the mouse, keyboard and display.
Contact your hardware vendor to obtain updated device drivers.   0x8007042B 0x4000D Windows Setup terminated unexpectedly due to another process running in the background.
When you start Windows by using a normal startup, several applications and services start automatically, and then run in the background. These programs include basic system processes, antivirus software, system utility applications, and other software that has been previously installed. These applications and services can cause interference when you attempt to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10.To help you determine whether a background program is interfering with the upgrade, a “clean boot” may be needed.   
0x800700B7 0x2000a Windows Setup terminated unexpectedly due to another process running in the background.
Uninstall any antivirus or antispyware software and run the update again. 

Here at MSA Data Solutions we have continued to evolve, moving with the times and keeping pace with modern technology. We are happy to pass on this knowledge and experience to our customers and pride ourselves in our personal service and commitment to excellence.

So whatever info-tech issues you may have, MSA Data Solutions has the knowledge and expertise to help you overcome them….

Windows 7 to Windows 10 Upgrade Help

Let me share a few interesting facts about the Windows 10 free upgrade

The first thing I would like to point out is that the Windows 10 free upgrade is only available for Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. Those with older versions such as XP and Vista will have to purchase a Windows 10 license if they wish to upgrade.

The Free Windows 10 upgrade process is called Digital Entitlement and links your Product Key to the hardware you’re upgrading on and the installation process creates a unique installation ID for your system. So what happens to your old version of Windows when you upgrade to Windows 10? A Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 OEM license upgraded to Windows 10 will be linked to that system, and cannot be transferred, with no exceptions. A Windows 7, 8, 8.1 retail license upgraded to Windows 10 will also be linked to that system. It is unlikely that you will be able to move that Windows 10 product to a new device using the same Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 license. So basically Microsoft has traded your retail license for an OEM license.

Product Key: Refers to the 25 alphanumeric characters required to activate a copy of Windows.
Retail License: A Windows license purchased in a retail environment, can be used to activate Windows multiple times on different systems (provided it is removed from the old system before installing on a new system).
OEM License: Original Equipment Manufacturer License. These licenses are provided to equipment manufacturers to include with their hardware sales. If you’ve purchased a new computer or laptop that came with a pre-installed version of Windows, it is highly likely to have been an OEM version. These licenses are not transferable between different machines, are directly linked to the hardware where first activated, and are often much cheaper than retail copies.

Fixing Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 to Windows 10 upgrade issues and bugs

Before Upgrading;

  • Backup all files to a different drive or an external storage device
  • Recover disk space and defragment your hard drive.
  • Look for and remove any malware from your computer.
  • Disable your antivirus program until you finish the upgrade.
  • Go for a clean install wherever possible.
  • Always use a bootable USB created using the Windows Media Creation Tool.
  • Run the Media Creation Tool as an “Administrator”

Known issues and bugs

The 25% bug – The solution is to unplug any DVD or Blu-ray drive connected to the system and restart the upgrade.
The 44% bug – If you’re using an SD Card for the upgrade, Removing the SD card before installation solves the problem. You can reinsert it after you have completed the upgrade. As a general rule, it’s best to keep all peripherals disconnected during the upgrade. Once the upgrade is complete you can reconnect them and find the appropriate drivers for them. You can also use Windows Update to find the latest device drivers before you upgrade.
Performance issues can crop up after the upgrade regardless of precautionary measures. For example, users have reported issues like 100% CPU usage, slow boot processes, and choppy videos post the November update. In such cases try rebooting your computer. The number of issues that this step can fix will surprise you.
Several issues that you may come across while upgrading will come with error codes and descriptions. You can search for the most common error codes by clicking here to take you to our list of Windows 10 upgrade error messages and fixes, this will help you to figure out what they mean, what’s causing them, and hopefully, how to fix them. 

Here at MSA Data Solutions we have continued to evolve, moving with the times and keeping pace with modern technology. We are happy to pass on this knowledge and experience to our customers and pride ourselves in our personal service and commitment to excellence.


So whatever info-tech issues you may have, MSA Data Solutions has the knowledge and expertise to help you overcome them….

KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

Here we have some handy keyboard shortcuts that we often use to help speed up our daily tasks, these are handy to know especially when your mouse decides to stop working

Internet  
Ctrl + TOpens a new tab (you can also use the middle mouse button)
Alt + f4Closes the window
Ctrl + DBookmark – Adds website to your favourites
Ctrl + FOpens a Search box to find a word on a page
Ctrl + HOpens your browsers “History”
Documents  
Ctrl + A Selects All
Ctrl + CCopies file or text
Ctrl + XCuts the highlighted text
Ctrl + Z Undo
Ctrl + Y Redo
Ctrl + VPastes the cut or copied text
Ctrl + BChanges highlighted text to Bold or normal
Ctrl + IChanges highlighted text to Italics or normal
   
Alt + f4Closes the file or folder
Tech Shortcuts  
Ctrl + Alt +DelOpens the Task Manager
Win + ROpens the “Run” Command Line
Win + IOpens Settings

SPEED UP YOUR PC

Slower performance over time is completely normal and can be caused by anything from a hardware failure to something as simple as a full hard-drive.

Here are some handy tips to help you speed up your computer

DESKTOP FILESRemoving all those files, folders and shortcuts from your desktop will certainly help to speed up your PC. This is because the desktop is interactive and isn’t designed for file storage. Its job is to make it easier for you to navigate your computer and give you information. So instead of having individual folders for everything on your desktop, put your files and folders into one folder and sort them from there, also move your app shortcuts to the taskbar. These simple tips will help to maximise the speed of your PC.
RECYCLE BINEmptying your recycle bin can speed up the computer’s performance and add room to your hard drive.
CACHE FILESCaches helps make things faster and easier to get to, but too much in your cache could be slowing your computer down.
TEMPORARY INTERNET FILESIf you do a lot of web browsing, there is a good chance that this is why your computer is slow. To remedy this, close your Internet browser, open up “Internet Options” and click delete in the “Browsing History” section.
HARD DRIVE FULLBecause of the way “Virtual Memory” works, RAM files get swapped out onto the hard drive. If the hard drive doesn’t have very much space left, it will slow the process down. If your computer has less than 10 percent of the total hard drive space free, it will begin to slow down.
FREE UP SPACEYou can free up space on your hard drive by deleting temporary files, removing old or unwanted programs and emptying your recycle bin.
CLEAR OUT UNWANTED DOWNLOADED FILES Your Downloads folder is often full of forgotten about photos, videos, documents, update files, downloaded programs and email attachments that have accumulated over the years. Cleaning this out will help free up hard drive space.
DEFRAGMENT YOUR HARD DRIVEFragmented data can cause the read/write function of your hard drive to slow down. Set up a schedule to regularly defragment your hard drive. If you have a Mac OS X, it is also helpful to verify and repair the disk and disk permissions.
CLOSE DOWN UNWANTED TASKS AND PROGRAMS Open the Windows Task Manager and select “CPU” -> “Memory” -> “Disk” to see what is using your computer’s memoryand close anything you’re not using. You can close programs manually or use the “End Task” function within Task Manager. This will reduce the CPU usage and speed up performance.
RESTART YOUR COMPUTERRestarting your computer is probably the most effective way to close down lagging software, end unwanted tasks and processes and reset any other data that is draining your computer’s resources. When you reboot your computer it will free up resources such as RAM allowing your computer to perform faster.

Adjusting Virtual Memory

How to Adjust Your Virtual Memory

Virtual graphics memory allocates a certain amount of your computers memory (RAM) to your computer’s graphics system.

Your computer examines your RAM and finds areas that have not been recently accessed or used. It then uses those empty areas of RAM as virtual memory, allowing your computer to render graphics faster and more efficiently.

Many applications such as games or photo-editing software may require a higher amount of virtual memory. If this happens, you will receive a pop-up box stating that your virtual memory is low.

With Windows XP and newer operating systems you can increase the size of your virtual memory through the Control Panel.

1. Click the “Start” button and open your Control Panel. Click the “System and Maintenance” button and then select the “System” option.

2. Select “Advanced System Settings” in the left pane of the window. Enter the administrator password if you are prompted.

3. Click the “Settings” box at the top of the pop-up window under the “Performance” section.

4. Click the “Advanced” tab and in the virtual memory section click the “Change” button.

5. Unselect the option “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.”

6. Select the radio button beside “Custom Size.” Enter new values into the Initial Size and Maximum Size value boxes and click the “Set” button, then click “OK.”

7. Exit the system windows and close the Control Panel.

And that’s it done.

OLD MEDIA DATA FILE TRANSFER & RECOVERY SERVICES

OLD MEDIA – NO PROBLEM

The 3.5″ floppy became the standard storage disk in the late 1980s, due mainly to the fact that it provided better protection and more compact data storage than its predecessor the 5.25″ floppy. This was slowly replaced by other formats including Zip, Jaz and Tape Drives.

We can access data on most media types including, Zip, Jaz, Tape, Cassette, CD, 5.25″ and 3.5″ floppy disks and then transfer the salvaged files onto a more accessible media.

Many companies still have files stored on these types of media and use our services to recover or transfer data from them.


ADSG Jaz Drive and media (Advanced Digital Systems Group) was a Sony Data Storage System launched around 1999

The Iomega Ditto and Ditto Max tapes from the 1990’s were aimed at small business file back-up and archive storage

Syquest 5.25″ inch removable cartridge drives (44, 88 and 200MB capacities) were commonly used on Apple Mac systems.

Magnetic Tape Storage

Keyboard Alt Codes

HOW to enter ASCII characters by code in your browser, notepad, or console?

You can enter an ascii character by holding the ‘ALT’ key and inputting the numeric code of the character you want. 

Try this as an example: Hold the ‘ALT’ key and press 1, 6. 9 then release the ‘ALT’ key and you will see that you have inputted the character ‘©’.


You can type most ASCII symbols by using Alt Codes


ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange [æski]


American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is a character encoding based on the English alphabet.

Work on ASCII started in the 1960s with the most recent update in 1986.

The ASCII character encoding (or a compatible extension) is used on nearly all modern computers, especially personal computers and workstations.

The early encoding was 7-bit with 128 characters, but over time was extended to 8-bits with 256 characters.

ASCII’s second part (characters 127-255) is bound to language. That is why you will see a difference between ASCII characters in English and Russian.