Byte Me Article 395 – Read the flamin’ manual

Most of the wrapping paper has subsided and too often so has the receipt, the original packaging and sometimes the user manual or setup instructions.  IT based Christmas presents will either be currently entertaining and enthralling us or alternately perplexing and annoying us.  If your Christmas bonanza falls into this latter category we may have help at hand.

You will not be on your own if you are having all sorts of trouble in setting up a range of IT devices – even those which you may have thought were simple.  Setup manuals and instructions are supplied for good reason as there are often default passwords or default IP addresses that you simply cannot just guess.  Wireless devices such as routers, printers, network storage devices and such will come with a setup page just for this reason.

If these important documents are now somewhere with your waste management service, then your next point of call is the manufacturers’ web site.  In 95% of cases the same exact documentation will be available to you online and further online research will often reveal a host of tips and tricks for whatever device you have.  If in the rare case that the manufacturer does not have online documentation, then someone somewhere will have written something helpful and posted it online.

I don’t want to sound boring however the smart money is on skim reading through the entire setup brochure before even starting and then going through the steps in actuality and on paper one at a time.  Modern appliances should not be designed this way but sometimes missing a vital step necessitates the complete removal of all associated software and a ‘fresh start’ to the installation process.

Be particularly careful with USB based devices such as multifunction printers which like you to run the manufacturers’ software installer BEFORE you plug it into your computers USB.  Windows 10 will install the base drivers for most such devices however you can miss out on a lot of functionality if you have not run the original manufacturers software.  Typical add-ons such as having a visual confirmation of remaining ink capacity or the ability to scan direct to a PC folder may only be provided by this original software.

If your new device is wireless or Bluetooth based and has a setup screen then keep a sharp eye on both screens during a linking process, otherwise you could be missing a vital “enter passcode xyz” that may not flash up for long on either screen.  If you are now the confused owner of an under $800 brand new SLOW laptop or desktop be prepared to take an axe to it for some form of gratification as speeding it up and getting it to a useful state will cost money.

If a cheap laptop or desktop has a ‘worthwhile’ processor with a CPU benchmark of at least 2,000 then adding a solid-state drive and a fresh installation of Windows 10 without any junk software can increased the perceived speed of the device 5 times over.  Stay tuned for next year’s articles.  Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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