Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • The Truth About Copier Hard Drives. Tips For Securing Your Data!

    Four years ago the American news network CBS launched a story titled ‘Digital Photocopiers Loaded with Secrets’. The journalist who reported on the story, CBS News’ chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian, claimed that every digital copier or an MFP had a hard drive which stored an image of every document which was ever scanned, copied or mailed by that specific MFP unit. This security leak could potentially lead to information thefts worth millions of dollars or endanger privacy of thousands of individuals, leading to other various wrongdoings. Continue reading

  • Simple Cleaning Tips for Copiers

    Keeping your photocopier clean is the most important precondition for its longevity and optimal efficiency. If you take the time to maintain and clean it on a regular basis, you’ll significantly cut down its repair costs and always get flawless copies.

    Cleaning the copier unit is actually pretty simple and won’t take too much of your time once you get the hang of it. This guide provides advice and tips on basic cleaning strategies and tools you’re going to need. We’d also like to stress out the importance of prevention – stick to the tricks we’ve laid out for you in the following text and your copier will serve you well for years.

    Make sure the scanner glass is spotless - Fingerprints, dust, smudges and hairs on the scanner glass will slow down the unit’s performance, cause low-quality copies or even prevent some features to work properly. Scanner glass is best cleaned using a sponge and a mild, non-abrasive glass cleaner. Don’t spray the glass cleaner directly onto the glass to minimize the risk of liquid seeping under and damaging the copier’s interior (make sure the cloth you’re using isn’t too wet either). Avoid using paper based cleaning wipes as they can cause scratches and always dry the glass with a lint-free cloth (that way there won’t be any water spots after drying). Clean the glass once a week – always turn the copier off before cleaning!

    Turn the unit off - Develop the habit of turning of the copier when you’re not using it; on the weekends or in the afternoon. Buy and use a cover; a common sheet will do as well. Both tips are aimed at keeping the dust out of the machine. Some copiers have the so called ‘sleep mode’, which saves energy - meaning you don’t have to turn the unit off. Leaving the copier in sleep mode will help get rid of moisture and reduces the warm up process at the beginning of the next day.

    Watch out for moisture – Humidity and moisture may cause severe damage to the copier, so visit the nearest hardware store, buy a few of silica gel bags and put them in the paper tray. If possible, move the copier in an air conditioned room.

    Secure the proper air intake – The copier’s air intake panel must be clean and unobstructed at all times to avoid overheating. Most of the panels have a filter, but significant amounts of dust often find their way into the machine and cause a plethora of problems and malfunctions. Regularly vacuum the copier’s surroundings and put a strip of cheesecloth over the air panel’s opening – change it every two weeks.

    Don’t save on air filters – The air filter should be changed as well; once a year should be the absolute minimum – we recommend changing it every month to ensure that only clean air gets inside the copier. Filters are crucial since a majority of copier malfunctions are in some way connected to accumulated dust!

    Fresh Paper – Don’t underestimate the importance of using only fresh paper. If there is any old paper which has been sitting in the tray for a long time it probably collected dust and moisture – dust particles may get inside the copier along with the paper, so use fresh pages whenever you can. Keep the paper in a moisture-free environment before putting it in the copier; a plastic locking bag will do fine. If possible, open a new ream of paper only when the copier paper tray is almost empty. Keep the paper in a dark place as light causes the paper to yellow. Also, avoid using post-it notes, that is, avoid putting paper which had recently been in contact with post-it glue into the copier, as the glue residue will collect dust which will eventually slow down the paper feed tires.

    Cleaning the paper tires – If paper can’t get through the machine it’s probably because the paper feed tires are too filthy or slick and can’t get hold of the paper anymore. Although many people call technicians when this appears, in most cases you can fix it yourself: just try to clean the rollers by using a piece of cloth soaked in water (add in a bit of soap) and run it up the tires. Be sure wipe the water off the tires after you cleaned them.

    Cleaning the drum - You can even clean the copier’s drum (such is the case with some copier models, at least – others will require professional help) by yourself. Before you start, turn off the unit, unplug it from electricity and consult the user manual regarding the location of the drum. Most copiers have it in the same place; it’s mounted on the toner cartridge. If you can’t find the manual, type the copier’s manufacturer and model and chances are you’ll find it online. Open the copier door (a diagram of the copier can often be found along the door), locate the cartridge and carefully slide it out of the copier (don’t use excessive force – if you’re doing it right, you won’t have to pull hard). Inside the copier there is also a type of plastic or rubber blade called the Mylar bar; use it to brush the surface of the drum and remove all the extra toner off the copier drum. After you’ve finished cleaning it, just put it back inside, plug the unit and turn it on – test it to see if everything’s working fine.

    Compressed air cans can help you blow paper dust and other small particles out of the machine. It also comes in handy after paper jams as it removes the last remnants of paper still inside the copier.

    We suggest vacuuming the copier every month and every time you change toner; even more often if the unit is used a lot. You can remove dust, toner and other debris the vacuum can’t suck in with a paint brush. Toner stains can be removed by isopropyl alcohol. Always keep a roll of paper towels somewhere near the copier in case of any toner spills.

  • Common Windows 8 Printer Problems

    Microsoft Windows 8 brought in a lot of creative innovations and is generally praised as a step forward in the evolution of this everlastingly popular OS. Still, as is the case with any new OS, it needs some time to get used to it and people often have issues regarding printers and printing. Fortunately, these problems can be solved fairly easy and will require only basic knowledge of the new Windows 8. Here is a list and a step-by-step guide on how to identify, troubleshoot and solve the most frequent printer related problems when using the Windows 8.

    hp-win8-print

    Auto-detect issues - One of the new features of Windows 8 is the automatic installation of any printer device it detects. This tends to cause problems when Windows don’t have the necessary printer driver and the automatic installer installs a wrong one. The solution is pretty simple – uninstall, then install again, but this time using a Windows 8 driver for your printer device downloaded from your printer manufacturer’s website.
    If your computer is a part of a large network (at work, perhaps) or a badly configured home network, and you’re sharing a single printer device, Windows 8 might not be able to detect it without your help. Open the Devices and Printers folder, then click on ‘Add a device’ and select the device. If it’s not visible, click on ‘Not finding what you’re looking for?’ then follow the suggested steps. If it’s still not working, click on the ‘The printer that I want isn’t listed’ and follow the procedure.

    When you get to the ‘Choose a printer port’ page, check ‘Create a new port’ and then click ‘Local Port’. A dialog box will appear – type the path and the name of the shared printer (example: IE: \examplename\networkprinter). The automatic driver installation will start, and you can click on the ‘Have Disk…’ later in the installation if you want to use the drivers you downloaded manually. After the installation is complete and you plug in the device, the computer will ask you which driver you want to use – use the currently installed one.

    Printer Goes Offline every now and then – If your printer keeps going offline for no apparent reason, try reinstalling the drivers. Right click on the Windows Tile, find your printer in the list of installed devices, then right click on it and click uninstall. Plug the device again, wait for Windows to detect the printer, and follow the wizard to install the drivers again.

    If you’re sure nothing’s wrong with the drivers, do the following: Open the control panel (you can do that by pressing the Windows Key + I), click on the ‘Devices and Printers’, and find the icon of the offline printer (should be faded). Right click it and select ‘See what’s printing’. If the printer is offline, a tick will stand next to the ‘Use Printer Offline’. Just remove the tick and the device will come back online. If the device keeps going offline, you could have some physical connectivity or hardware problems.

    Print spooler – Print spooler’s function is to set the sequence of print jobs; in order to print documents, it just has to run smoothly. Sometimes it doesn’t and the problem is that you won’t receive any error notification or warning message if your print spooler stops working. When you want to print a document, no print-related pop up screens will appear at all, and all the installed printer devices will be shown as disabled. You can’t even enter the properties of the devices while the print spooler is not working. First thing you should try is starting the print spooler service from ‘Services’ which can be found in ‘Computer Management’ or by typing ‘Services.msc’ on search. Find the ‘Print Spooler’ and start it.
    If the print spooler continues to malfunction try deleting the temporary spooler files, thus cleaning the printer backlog. Open C – Windows – System32- Spool – Printers and delete all the files in the folder. By deleting the files you will clear the print queue and the spooler should run without difficulties the next time you start it.

    If the problem persists and you’re absolutely sure there are no physical problems involved (no connectivity, ink shortage, no paper) try the following: Open ‘Services’ and click Print Spooler service and then the ‘Recovery’ tab. Find the Subsequent Failures field and select ‘Restart the Service’. That way, each way the print spooler stops running, the system will restart it. This is, however, only a temporary solution since your spooler service might keep stopping and restarting over and over.

    The problem might be in the depending services: open the ‘Dependencies’ tab and see if the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service is running. And, last but not least, wrong drivers may cause the spooler malfunction. If you’ve installed the wrong driver, the printer and the OS can’t communicate properly and Windows 8 will stop the spooler by itself, so be sure you’ve installed the right drivers for your device and deleted all the other ones (if there are any).

    Some other advice:
    Suppressed or Unknown Printer – The device might be labeled as unknown by Windows. Open the device manager, right click it and find ‘Scan for new hardware’ and the problem should be fixed. You can also delete the unknown printer icon in the device manager, and the printer will be detected after you reboot and plug it again.

    Troubleshooting – Windows 8 have a built in troubleshooter which will save you a lot of trouble. To sum up, here are three simple tricks which can always come in handy. First - go to the ‘Advanced printer setup’ (Control Panel – Hardware and Sound – Devices and Printers) where you can look for network devices manually if Windows don't recognize your printer automatically.

    There are two ways to make your printer work even if it doesn't have a Windows 8 driver or you just can't find it. Open the ‘Programs and Features’ in the Control Panel and find ‘Run programs made for previous versions of Windows’. Or find the ‘Program Compatibility’ and the issue ‘The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won’t install or run now’ where you can set the working OS for the driver manually.

  • Most Common Copier Problems -> How To Fix Them?

    A Copier is one of the most used pieces of technology in every office; it is essential for a wide range of everyday office activities and it must be running smoothly if your business is to run smoothly. Knowing how to fix the copier unit is a highly appreciated skill in any workplace and will certainly save you a lot of money. We’ve summarized the seven most frequent copier related problems, included advice on how to fix them, and added some tips regarding the malfunction prevention and toner saving.

    Paper Jams – Paper jams are one of the most common copier problems, especially in offices as there is a lot of material being copied. This also means that a potential standstill creates a substantial backlog in a short amount of time, slowing down everyone’s work. They most often happen because of the use of inappropriate paper (wrong size, too thick) or when someone stacks too many pieces of paper in the supply reservoir. People often try to pull out the paper, but only end up ripping it, leaving small pieces stuck in the feeder. Never force the paper out, try to gently move it along its natural path. Check the copier manual for jam-related instructions and, if necessary, call the technical support. After removing the paper, clean the feed rollers with a piece of cloth; make sure there aren’t any paper remnants left.

    paper-jam

    Overheating – Even if the room containing the copier has an air conditioner, the chances are your machine will overheat every now and then; copier’s bulbs, gears, fans, drawers and other delicate mechanisms are heat-sensitive. The machine will stop working, in extreme cases some of the previously mentioned parts will need to be replaced. To prevent this from happening always watch the machine’s LED display for any warning messages regarding overheating and never use the copier too long without a couple of breaks.

    Light/Dark Issues – Pages that are either too light or too dark are most often the result of badly set density levels on the copier. The settings are most often accidentally changed by someone and a simple reset to default settings will fix the problem. However, if the problem persists, it may be because of the low quality toner or because the copier drum is not functioning properly.

    Double Images and other imperfections – The occurrence of double images may indicate problems with the fuser assembly or improper alignment of the toner and the drum inside the toner cartridge. If your copies have lines, streaks or any other deformities, may be caused by fuser issues, drum blade malfunction (vertical lines down along the page) or dirt or any substances on the scanner glass. You can clean the glass yourself, but the other issues will unfortunately require replacing the unit which is causing the malfunction.

    issues

    Wrinkled Pages – Wrinkled copies will make you and your business look amateurish; reports and paperwork that look like they’ve been chewed surely won’t establish you as a serious professional. To avoid such inconveniences, protect your copier from moisture and humidity, replace the worn out paper trays and ragged rollers which may cause jamming. The problem may also lie in the fusser assembly; but if that’s the case, there’s nothing you can do except get a professional to fix or replace it.

    Codes – Copiers report problems and malfunctions through a series of letters and numbers appearing on their LED screens. These codes report everything from unclosed drawers to all kinds of serious malfunctions. They often cause confusion since most people don’t understand what each code means; so always keep the Service Code Sheet around; it’s usually provided by the copier manufacturer along with the machine. The sheet will help you identify the code and provide further instructions; some copiers will stop working and even prevent you from operating the control panel if there was a major malfunction, but most times you’ll be able to temporarily restart the machine. Don’t hesitate to call for professional help if there was some major malfunction. You might even want to put the most frequent codes (and what they mean) on a piece of paper somewhere near the copier, so that everyone using the machine can understand and possibly fix the issue – if it is a simple one, like a paper jam.

    Excessive toner spending – Copying with the lid up is a common practice in many offices; it’s a harmful habit which consumes large amounts of valuable toner. With the lid up, the copier will print all the blank areas in black; this may result in smudgy printouts. In fact, such a large amount of toner often ruins the paper and makes the copy unusable. The simplest solution would be to find an “Edge Erase” option (if your copier has it - most of them do) and turn it on. If that’s not available, always crop the black areas out of the page or put pieces of paper on the empty parts of the scanner glass. If the book you’re copying is too thick and you just can’t lower the lid, activate the draft mode and print in low quality.

    Prevention – Although not exactly an issue, we decided to stress out the importance of prevention by including it on this list. A lot of copier malfunctions are a direct consequence of improper usage of the machine. To minimize the risk of breakdown, invest time and effort and take care of your copier; keep it clean and in a ventilated area – accumulated dust causes may cause most of the previously mentioned issues. Never use excessive force when handling the machine; whether you’re replacing the toner or loading paper – if you have to apply much pressure doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the copier’s options by studying the manual and always follow manufacturer instructions. Always use approved tools and tested methods when performing maintenance. And finally, don’t hesitate to call for professional help when you feel the problem requires it.

  • Buying Online - Tips For Reducing Expenditure

    Buying office supplies online can save business owners a great deal of money. More and more entrepreneurs turn to online shopping as it has proven as cost effective and simple: buying in large quantities means significantly lower prices and online office supplies vendors have everything an average business needs, meaning you won’t have to purchase from several different sources.

    Competition and a fast growing market has forced online office suppliers to create great deals for their customers; you’ll have no problems finding office accessories of different sizes, materials, colors and styles. The items they offer also radically differ in prices, but you can get decent products even if your budget is limited. This article serves as an introduction guide to the world of online shopping for your office supplies.

    Let’s answer the most obvious question first - where to find vendors? Office suppliers may contact you if your company or business is often advertised or has a strong market or local presence. You can always search for them at trade shows, or even contact the manufacturers of the supplies directly and ask if they do wholesale. But all serious vendors have a strong online presence and can easily be found through their websites, social media and online marketplaces such as eBay.

    Buying on eBay – eBay is the place to start your search for affordable office supplies. Hundreds of manufacturers, wholesalers, importers have eBay accounts. Just type in ‘office supplies’ into the search box and you’ll find dozens of vendors. Use categories to narrow down your search; you can also set to receive an email notification when a certain item is available for sale. You can find the top-rated sellers list and see which vendors have received positive feedback from other customers. All important seller information, such as the physical location of the vendor’s warehouses and shipping fees, is also very easy to find. Don’t underestimate the importance of positive feedback from other customers and always try to find those who offer free shipping.

    When deciding to purchase from a specific vendor, ask yourself the following questions
    - How fast do they deliver?
    - What is the minimum required order?
    - How can I pay them? (credit cards, accounts…)
    - Are they already established as a reliable company? Do they have a customer service? Search the Internet for additional information, and the previously mentioned feedback from their other customers.
    - What about their warranty policy?

    And finally, how good are their products? An average online vendor has about 16 000 different products. When you purchase for the first time (whether through their web site or via eBay) an online list of the purchased items is created, so you can re-order and replenish your supplies fast and simple. You’ll only have to select the items for the first time – once an item is on the list; it stays there until you remove it. Once you generate the list of items you need on a regular basis, re-stocking your supplies is only a click away.

    There are various types of office supplies and knowing them is useful when deciding about the purchase. As you already may know, some office supplies are in high demand in virtually all businesses, so there should be no problems finding low prices and sufficient quantities. Other items, however, are constantly consumed or a designed for a narrower, specific purpose, meaning it’s not so easy finding them in large quantities. Let’s take a look at some of the stuff you’ll probably need.

    Printers and Computers – The computer supplies market is large and keeps growing; you’ll find that printers are getting cheaper and cheaper, but the related paraphernalia, such as ink, is expensive and a good item to buy wholesale. When it comes to purchasing ink and toner cartridges, you have to know which ones are compatible with your printers, and bear in mind that lower-priced cartridges often mean lower-quality printouts. You can even make a deal with the vendor to send them empty ink cartridges which will then be refilled and you’ll get them for a lower price.

    ink-cartridge-hp

    Other necessary computer paraphernalia include mice, keyboards, wrist rests and cleaning supplies. It is wise to purchase the latter in bulk as these are specialized solutions and rags designed for the computer screen.

    Storage devices are also easy to find; CDs and DVDs come in packs, but USB is getting increasingly popular as it is portable and easy to handle.

    Paper - Paper market is also very large and diverse, as virtually all offices spend a tremendous amount of it; you can find different kinds of papers, varying in size, finish, color and weight, including recycled paper. Similar products include envelopes, cards, post-its etc.

    printing-paper

    Desk Accessories – Everything from ink blotter to a magnifying glass can be purchased wholesale. You can either purchase a certain quantity of one item or find specialized desk kits which include all the necessary desk accessories in a single package.

    Other items necessary for every office include fasteners, adhesives, clipboards, file folders, labels and writing utensils etc. Each of these comes in different varieties and prices, so finding the one suitable for you and your needs is usually not a problem.

    Terms of purchase – Finding a good vendor is all about comparing prices, discounts and fees. Start by evaluating the items and comparing similar products. It may seem that the difference in price is minimal, but it will prove to be significant when you purchase wholesale. There is always a possibility of finding a time-limited discount as well. Some vendors ask for a specific minimum order or a membership fee. Others are not so interested in small-scale businesses and will ask you some business documentation to prove your legitimacy. However, most will not require any formalities, especially if your order is large.

    To sum up, online shopping has become popular due to its simplicity and reliability. By carefully selecting the vendors and their products you can save significant amount of money, especially if you're willing to take the time and discover the best offers out there.

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