Friday, 14 January 2011

Our latest newsletter

The IT Dept publishes an email newsletter, about once per month.

If you'd like to subscribe please visit the Contact Page of our web site at

This is the newsletter for Jan 2011:

Happy New Year!

For many of us the new year will bring new computers - or new computer problems. The extended office closures of the Christmas and New Year period do not do computers much good at all, as they tend to prefer to be kept working. Many clients are surprised when a computer which is little used suddenly dies, but the fact is that computers would rather be used than not, and they prefer to be kept at working temperature.

There are two main schools of thought on this. On the one hand many people believe that you should switch the computer off when it is not in use to conserve energy; whilst on the other hand leaving the computer on all the time keeps it running at optimum temperature. (If you have a backup programme which runs overnight you probably need to leave the computer on all the time anyway).

Most IT geeks will leave their computers on all the time, but you must ensure that the cooling fans are not clogged with dust, or running very noisily, otherwise the computer could overheat. And Windows does like to be restarted at least once a week, otherwise it will run less efficiently.

Email issues

One of the most common reasons we are called by clients is to solve email issues.

The email system was never designed for anything other than small, text based messages; (although it can also be used for sending small attachments, of course). However, large attachments play havoc with the email servers and can cause many problems. This is especially true of those larger ISPs who sell their services very cheaply, (BT Internet, BlueYonder, TalkTalk, Virgin, etc). They have very large numbers of users on their email servers and can sometimes struggle to cope with the volume of data.

When you attach a file to an email you can generally see the size of the file. If this shows a number of KB (kilobytes) it should be OK to send. However, if the size is shown as MB (Megabytes) then it will be considered a large attachment and may cause issues. Anything over 5 MB is very large, and most systems will have an absolute limit of 30 MB. (Roughly, 1000 bytes = 1 KB. 1000 KB = 1 MB. 1000 MB = 1 GB)

If an email can not be delivered you will generally receive a Non-Delivery Report (NDR) back in to your mailbox. This could take up to 72 hours as the email servers may continue attempting to send an email for that length of time. (Many people believe email to be an instantaneous service, but this is not the case at all. It will often take a couple of days before an email is delivered.)

NDRs take many different forms and are often unclear as to the real reason for the inability to deliver an email. If you do receive a NDR then, before calling us, check the obvious things such as the exact spelling of the email address you are sending the email to, and whether you are able to send emails to other people.

The most bizarre reason for an inability to send an email that we have seen recently was that the body of the email contained the phrase "". This must have been due to an inappropriate junk mail filter set by the email hosting company. Such junk mail filtering is often done without your knowledge by otherwise well-meaning hosting companies, whose aim is to reduce the amount of spam emails they must process.

Some of the cheaper Domain Hosting companies (123-Reg, FastHosts, etc) are exceptionally good - until you have issues, including problems with email. They will then suggest you go online to their web site to view solutions for you to try; which can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming for those with limited knowledge of the many different problems. The IT Dept offer domain and email hosting with an unrivalled level of stability and service - and we ensure that the rare issues which do occur are quickly solved by us. See for more details.

Quite often you may believe you should have received an email, but you haven't seen it. Check your Junk Mail folders as many email programmes will automatically decide some emails are Junk and, without warning, will send perfectly legitimate emails to the Junk Folder. In general you should be able to right click the "Header" of the email and choose to add the Sender to your Safe Senders List - to avoid the same problem happening again with the same sender.

The IT Dept

The IT Dept. supports the computers that support your business. We offer completely professional, fast and efficient computer and server support services to your business. You can protect your computers and your business with an affordable monthly Support Contract from The IT Dept - proactive and professional computer support services.

We currently have a Special Offer of 1 Months Free Support for clients signing up to a Contract, or 1 hours free support for all new clients. See our Blog at for details.

See our web site for full information on The IT Dept at

Thank You
Thank you for taking the time to read this edition of our newsletter. If you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends.

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The IT Dept offers computer support services in Lancashire, including Monthly On-Site or Remote Support Contracts; Secure Online Data Backup; Domain Hosting; Server and Desktop Sales; Software Supply & Installation. We cover all of Lancashire, including Chorley, Preston, Blackburn, Darwen, Bolton, Wigan, Blackpool, etc.
© Michael Donkin 2011