At this time of year it is important to take precautions against theft of your electronic devices. What can you do limit the chance of theft, and how can you prepare in case the worst happens? Read on.Don’t Leave Valuables Unattended
It only takes a moment for a computer to be stolen. When you’re working in a public place like the Library, never leave your computer unattended and unlocked, even for a few minutes. Bring it where you’re going, have a friend hold on to it–or better yet, invest in a lock and anchor it securely to an immovable objectTurn on Tracking
On a Mac, System Preferences/iCloud allows you to turn on Find my Mac, which will track your device and allow you to wipe it remotely or play an alarm if it is detected on line. Windows 10 has a “Find My Device” option in Settings/Update & Security, which will show you where your device is. There are other 3rd-party options for different platforms–Prey is one option for Android, Linux, as well as Mac, iOS and Windows.Know your Serial Number
Your serial number will be helpful for law enforcement if your computer is recovered. Many computers have the serial number printed on the computer or a sticker attached to it; if you don’t have a sticker or can’t read it, search online for how to find it on your computer–or for a Mac just use Apple–>About this Mac. If you need to know the serial number of your Hampshire-owned computer, IT has a record of it.Know your MAC Address(es)
Your computer has a “Media Access Control” (MAC) address which uniquely identifies it on each network connection it has. For example, there is a MAC address associated with the wireless connection, and a different one associated with its Ethernet connection (if it has one). The MAC address can be used to track the computer if it’s connected to the internet. Here are instructions for determining the MAC address of many different types of devices. If you need the MAC address of your Hampshire-owned computer, IT has a record of it.Keep your Files Backed Up
Losing your computer can be devastating, but losing your files can be irrecoverable. Keep your files backed up either on an external drive or on a cloud service. If you use an external drive to backup, always store it separately from your computer–you don’t want it to be stolen with your computer.What to do if your Computer is Stolen
If your computer is stolen from campus, notify campus police as soon as you realize it; if you’re off campus, call the local police. If it is a Hampshire-owned computer, let the IT Help Desk know. If you have a record of your serial number and MAC addresses, provide them to the police. If you have taken our advice and set up a device tracker, check to see if you can locate your device, and consider other options as allowed by the tracker–for instance, to play an alarm or erase the drive.
Sometimes when you print a PDF, a PostScript or other error appears. What this means is that the app that is printing sent a command to the printer that it doesn’t understand. The first thing to try if this happens is to a different program to print it, if there’s something available. On a Mac, you might try Preview or Adobe Acrobat, on a PC the only choice might be Adobe Acrobat. If you’re printing from a browser like Chrome, you can try a different browser or app.
If printing from a different app doesn’t work, you can use Adobe Acrobat to print it as an image instead of a PostScript document. There may be slight differences in output, but in general it’s a good option in this situation. To print as an image:
- Open the document in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. Acrobat is available on all Hampshire owned computers, but you can download the Adobe Reader for free.
- Select the Print command. Choose the printer you want to use, and then press the “Advanced” button to the right.
- On the window that comes up, check the box labeled “Print as Image.”
- OK your way out of the boxes, and your document should print without error.
March 31 is World Backup Day–let’s celebrate by making sure you have a backup plan in place. How devastated would you be if your computer died right now, with no possibility of getting your data off of it? Hard drives and even solid state drives (SSD’s) fail. If you don’t back up your data on a regular basis, make getting a backup system in place a priority.
If you’ve experienced a data loss due to drive failure, chances are that you’ve got a backup system in place. If you haven’t experienced a data loss, don’t worry, you’ll be a member of the club some day–unless you’re backing up your data on a regular basis.
These days a backup system is pretty painless–you can either back up to an external drive on an automatic basis (Time Machine for Mac or Windows Backup for Windows), or sign up for an online backup system such as Carbonite.
Backup drives are pretty cheap: you can get a terabyte drive for about $60. To make sure you buy one large enough, look at how much space you’re currently using on your computer and buy a drive that holds at least three times that. Once you have a backup plan in place, make sure you use it on a regular basis.
We have backup drives available for purchase through a departmental charge and are happy to help. A 1 Terabyte backup drive (sufficient for the vast majority of users) is $60 and a 2 Terabyte backup drive is $80, and a 3 Terabyte backup is $100. To buy one of these drives contact the IT Helpdesk, give us a departmental charge number, and you can stop by and pick up your drive. If you’d like assistance setting up a backup drive and starting the backup, make an appointment with an IT Tech through the IT Helpdesk at email@example.com.