Best Way To Make Business PC’s Run Faster

Business computers cannot run slow. Period. So in order to improve the speed & reliability of your computer, you have to be able to clean out any of the problems which it may have with the files or options that it needs to run. The good news is that there are a number of effective ways to do this, which include using the likes of specialized software, as well as ensuring that Windows is able to process the files which it needs to run.

How To Improve Business PC’s Speed

1) Make Sure That Outlook Does Not Have Many Emails

If your Outlook program contains a large number of emails inside, it will likely take a large amount of system resources to run it. This problem sometimes cannot be avoided, and so it’s vital that you are able to either backup or archive the emails that Outlook has:

  • Open Outlook
  • From the top menu, select “File > Data Management”
  • Click “Add”
  • Choose your desired format
  • Enter your filename
  • Click “Save”

2) Uninstall Any Software Which Is No Longer Required

The next step is to clean out any of the programs which the system might not even need. This can be done by clicking onto the Start > Control Panel > Programs & Features, allowing your system to run much smoother and more effectively as a result. This should be done by the system administrator

3) Clean Out The Internet Cache

After that, you should also clean out the Internet cache for your system. This basically ensures that your PC is able to process the files and settings which your computer requires to run, and is used to make sure that you can get the most out of your computer’s Internet speed. To do this, your administrator should connect to the likes of Internet Explorer / Chrome / Firefox, select “Options” and then remove the infected settings that your PC may have.

4) Clean Out The Registry

The next step is to clean out the registry database of your computer. This is a large database which stores a large amount of important information for your system, and is continually being used to help ensure that your PC can process the likes of your most recent emails, desktop wallpaper and even your computer’s passwords. Unfortunately, the registry is continually leading a large number of errors to form on Windows, which can make a lot of computers run considerably slower. To fix this, you should can use a registry cleaner to scan through your PC and fix the errors it may have.

Web Content Caching Explained

The minefield that is web content caching can be confusing and complicated!

It’s one of those features that really sits between the network and the application. In many businesses this grey area has no real ownership and as such, mistakes are often made.

I want to take a little time to explore and hopefully simplify this complex area.

So firstly one must address the question of what is a content cache and why bother using it?

A content cache is a piece of software or an appliance designed to sit in front of the application server. Its job is to intercept certain requests and respond on behalf of the application thus reducing the number of hits sent to the backend severs.

Typically the requests that are intercepted have already been seen before, so the cache will store responses to these requests and if it intercepts a similar request it can respond in the same way.

A simple example would be an image cache. The client (ie browser) would make a response to the web server for an image. The first time this image is requested the cache will have to get it from the web server however for subsequent requests it will simply serve it directly.

The idea is that the web server will have a lot less work to do as the cache can serve a lot of the content. The implications of this really depend on the exact setup, application and content however they typically fit into the following:

1. Reduce load on the web/application servers – Save on application server hardware and licensing costs.

2. Reduce load on middleware and Backed DB systems.

3. Serve the content faster – Caches can be very fast!

4. Cache the content closer to your users. This is an interesting one. The cache does not always have to be at the same location as the rest of the system. You could use a good cache to build your own simple content distribution system to ensure your users get the content from a source as close to them as possible. Who said that a CDN (Content Distribution Network) has to cost the earth!

OK so you have decided that you may want to use a cache, so what next? The biggest problem with content caching is simply deciding what and for how long you want to cache content for. It sounds simple but failure to do this in the past has given many a network manager / application owner a genuine fear of caching. You don’t want one user getting the account balance of the previous user!

However to really make the most of the capabilities that a modern content cache can offer we must understand the full picture. The application behaviour, the cache setup and the browser behaviour.

Let us take a quick look at typically what happens when an image is requested from a web server by a browser.

1. The user requests an image to look at.

2. The Cache will notice that it has not seen this request before and therefore will request it from the web server.

3. The web server will get the image and send it back to the cache.

Important. The web server will decide if this image can be cached or not. It will instruct the upstream devices such as the cache and ultimately the client if it should be cached it or not. It does this by using specific HTTP header. (I won’t geek out on this, in this article as it can get overly complex.)

4. Now it gets interesting because the cache will need to decide on which way to go. Does it obey the rules from the web server or does it override it with its own rules? We will discuss this later on.

5. So the image is now sent back to the client and just to complicate things the client will also cache the content and also look out for the cache control header.

So we can see that not only do we have to decide on the application caching rules but also how we want the cache to behave upstream. If we do this right we can even reduce the number of hits reaching the cache and thus network in the first place.

So now we have a rough idea of what is going on, so how do we implement a cache?

A general method is described in “light” detail below.

1. Decide what you want to cache and for how long – So I want to cache all images for 24hours or all *.asp for 2seconds etc. These can get complicated.

2. Be certain you are happy with these rules.

3. Now check again.

4. Configure the cache to remove all cache control headers from the response from the web server. In other words ignore any caching control setup on the webserver – We assume we know how to create more accurate set of rules.

5. Configure the cache with these new rules and also expiry dates/ durations.

6. Configure the cache to add some new cache controls for the Client. Client side cache control is tough as browsers respect these rules with varying degrees of success. This is not really in the scope of this paper but I may revisit it.

7. Document – These rules can be complex and can involve speaking to people in different parts of the business to understand the application, therefore it’s worth documenting this info whilst it is fresh.

8. Test and test again – The more testing the better. Remember part of testing is to manually empty the content cache’s cache but also the client’s too.

That’s it for now folks.

I am writing a follow up on this talking in a little more detail about typical cache settings and also helping to answer questions such as, ‘will a cache be of any help for my application and if so what type of cache should I be looking at?’

How to Grow Your Lawn Care Business During Cold Months, Beyond Adding the Obvious Services

It’s cold in many areas of the country. Temperatures are steadily falling in many states, but that does not mean your business profits have to go down as a lawn maintenance company. One of the most effective ways to grow your lawn care business during the fall and winter months is to add new services.

Goal: Healthy Bottom Line

During the winter months, many lawn maintenance companies market the obvious services such as blowing leaves, mulching, aerating, pruning, and similar services. These are needed services that most lawn care companies tout and bank on to assist in a healthier bottom line.

Grow Your Lawn Maintenance Business by Working with Foreclosures

But to exponentially grow your lawn maintenance business during slower months, you can capitalize off a needed service that has cropped up as a result of the astronomical number of foreclosures on the market: foreclosure cleanup. Foreclosure cleanup businesses generally handle a plethora of services which can include the following: debris removal, interior and exterior cleaning, lawn mowing, trimming, tree removal, roof repair, gutter cleaning, pressure washing, window boarding, door boarding, lock changing, inspections, carpet cleaning, laying and carpet removal, painting, minor repairs, and the like.

Work On HUD Homes

In many scenarios, the homes needing foreclosure cleanup services are HUD homes and often the work is given to smaller companies by foreclosure realtors or larger property preservation companies working as an extension of HUD’s M&M Contractors (“Management and Marketing” Contractors).

Choose Services that Work with Your Business

Though foreclosure cleaning businesses can offer a plethora of services, as a lawn maintenance business, you can choose to add foreclosure cleanup services that fall in line with the services you already offer in your business. For example, you can offer lawn and exterior debris removal such as the removal of limbs, fallen trees and piled up junk such as bicycles, swing sets, grills, etc., from homes that have been abandoned or are in the foreclosure or pre-foreclosure state.

Put Truck and Trailer to Work

As a lawn maintenance company, you likely already have a truck and/or a trailer you can use to pick up exterior debris and haul to the junk yard. You probably already have a saw, large bags, needed gloves and face masks and a small crew. Use them to get a foot in the foreclosure cleanup industry in your area.

You can also choose to offer drive way and exterior pressure washing. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can easily rent one at The Home Depot or a similar rental outlet. Throw it on your truck and offer this service as part of your foreclosure cleanup cache of services during the cold months so you can profit during what is traditionally a slow time for lawn care businesses.

If you are equipped, you can also offer snow removal (consider partnering with a like company) and interior trash-outs. Remember, you likely already have a truck and you are familiar with the real estate contracting industry as a lawn maintenance company; so why not buy some cleaning supplies, hire qualified interior cleaners and put some miles on that truck in the winter months by offering foreclosure cleanup services.

Using Equipment You Already Have On-hand

The trick in adding basic foreclosure cleanup services to your lawn care business is to keep in mind the equipment you already have on hand. Take inventory of the tools, equipment and supplies you already have, research the foreclosure cleanup industry, and get creative on how you can maximum equipment inventory in your area in the fall and winter months.

Check Your Business Insurance and Licensing

You will want to contact your insurance agent to make sure your existing coverage is ample to cover the new foreclosure cleanup services you want to add to your lawn maintenance business. Also, give a quick call to your governing business license office (i.e., in some areas, the County Clerk) to make sure your current business license is ample to offer foreclosure cleanup services.

Get a Quick Start

To get started quickly, pick up some new car magnets from your local print shop or online printer (less than $30 bucks in most cases!), order some new business cards (you can find free business cards online), find a list of Realtors in your area (go to your multiple listing service) and start contacting them announcing the new aspect you’ve added to your lawn maintenance company’s cache of business services.

Good luck with your lawn maintenance business as you venture into the world of foreclosure cleanup!