Technical Support

…I became aware of some existing unresolved long standing IT problems. I am pleased that Fourth Generation Computer Services was able to resolve these quickly and efficiently… The service provided is always prompt, courteous, reliable and often beyond the call of duty even if it means working through the night…

Catherine Smith – Practice Manager, The Chambers of Lord Gifford QC.

Fourth Generation can provide direct technical support and consultancy for both commercial and residential computer systems.

Our technical consultants can provide support for Microsoft Windows and Office environments as well as Apple Mac systems. We have the experience and knowledge to resolve problems with email, fax and document management systems, as well as common printer and scanner faults. In cases where a problem cannot be resolved straight away, research will be carried out on behalf of the client in order to identify a solution.

We are keen, where authorised, to utilise remote assistance in order to provide a faster response, thus offering a more efficient service. Where this is not possible, or for more complex problems, we are also happy to work on site. We are also able to provide ‘Out of Hours’ support 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Fourth Generation can be requested to analyse a client’s current computer systems and make recommendations on how improvements can be made or problems resolved. We are also able to identify where current manual systems could either be enhanced, or replaced with computer-based solutions. In the latter case, we would offer advice and make recommendations for both hardware and software.

We provide technical support for server and PC based operating systems and applications, including:

 

Server Operating Systems

MS© Server 2012, MS© Server 2008, MS© Server 2003, MS© Server 2000, MS© Small Business Server 2011, MS© Small Business Server 2008, MS© Small Business Server 2003, MS© Small Business Server 2000

 

Mail / Fax Server Systems

MS© Exchange Server 2010, MS© Exchange Server 2007, MS© Exchange Server 2003, MS© Exchange Server 2000, MS©© Exchange Server 5.5, Zetafax

 

Operating Systems

Windows© 8, Windows© 7, Windows© Vista, Windows© XP, Windows© 2000, Windows© NT, Windows© 98, Mac OS

 

Legal and Accountancy based Practice / Document Management Systems

Osprey, Osprey TM, Videss Legal Office, IRIS Practice Management

 

Application Software

Office© 2010, Office© 2007, Office© 2003, Office© XP, Office© 2000, Adobe, Sage Line 50, Sage Payroll, Sage ACT

 

Digital Dictation and Transcription

Dragon, Crescendo, Philips, Olympus

 


Hardware support for manufacturers including

Hewlett Packard (HP), Compaq, Microsoft, IBM, Lenovo, Cisco, SonicWALL, Netgear, Draytek, Belkin, Linksys, D-Link, US Robotics, Intel, AMD, Apple, Philips, Logitech, Olympus, Plantronics, Acer, ASUS, Samsung, LG, Fujitsu Siemens, Toshiba, Sony, Dell, Advent, E-System, Packard Bell, APC, WatchGuard, Roxio, RDX, Western Digital, Seagate, Hitachi, Corsair, Crucial, PNY, Sapphire, MSI, nVidia, 3Com, Brother, Lexmark, Epson, Canon, Oki, Creative, AOC, WACOM, BENQ, Optoma, Kensington, BlackBerry, Android, Zoom, Cooler Master, Antec, O2, T-Mobile, Three, Vodafone.

 

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Hardware, Software & Consumables.

Sales, Installation, Support, Maintenance, Repair & Upgrade of hardware and software. Fourth Generation can also supply a wide variety of consumables, ranging from toner/ink cartridges and ribbons for printers, to optical and electronic media accessories, as well as laptop batteries.

Consultancy & Training.

We can provide direct consultancy and training in both commerical and residential computer skills.

Research & Development.

In the past we have worked with the Enhancement Technology Corporation in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. This resulted in the production of the Motorola 68000 based co-processor for the Apple II range of computers.


Case Study Solicitors switching leased line internet providers

Switching Lease Line internet provider meant replacement hardware, changes to Public IP addresses and a lot of forward planning to ensure that the right connection was installed and that internet and email services were not disrupted.

Ensured no disruption to the business when it changed lease line internet provider. Project managed the migration taking control of hardware, configuration, migration and testing processes. Testing was carried out in the early hours to ensure a sanitised environment.

Investigation work was carried out to determine the most suitable connection based on current and future bandwidth needs, distance from telephone exchanges or points of presence, capacity for non-disruptive service upgrades and the value for money offered by varying lengths of fixed term contracts.

Once selected, the new ISP was contacted well in advance of the current contract expiring in order that the necessary physical cable and Cisco router be installed and tested by the ISP’s engineers, and Public IP addresses assigned.

We then set about reconfiguring the existing Watchguard firewall to duplicate incoming and outgoing services on both Leased Line connections. MX records and Reverse DNS records – necessary for continuous flow of email – were updated to reflect the replacement Public IP addresses. Remote users’ VPN links were also updated in advance. Testing was carried out in the early hours of the morning; the only time we could be sure remote workers would not be disturbed.

The two Leased Line connections ran in tandem for a period of time until, at around midday on a Wednesday the old ISP disconnected their Lease Line connection, resulting in no loss of internet connection or access to services.


Case Study Harley Street Clinic looking to replace their treatment and billing system

When approached by a Harley Street clinic our first job was to investigate their current, custom written DOS based system. Its functions, benefits, limitations, quirks and nuances were documented and discussed with the clinic’s staff, as was the best approach for replacing the ageing system.

Consulted to understand business requirements which were not being met by an ageing system. Alternative options recommended. A new customised off-the-shelf system was selected and implemented. This was a cost effective solution which drastically reduced the amount of time needed to complete administration tasks.

The clinic’s requirements included the ability to manage contacts, record and track treatments, invoice patients and client companies and to report on invoicing and referrals. As such we reviewed a number of options, including a custom SQL database tailored to their specific needs and proprietary medical practice management software.

It was quickly established that a custom SQL database would not be cost effective and that proprietary software had limitations in terms of functionality, never quite fulfilling the basic (and uniquely structured) requirement of recording and tracking treatments.

We therefore turned our attention to off-the-shelf contact management software that could be customised to an extent and linked to external files that kept track of patients’ treatments. Linking the contact management side to the accounts and billing side would have complicated matters greatly due to the unique way client companies were invoiced for work undertaken.

The resulting setup included compromises and slight changes to working practices, although proved a much more cost effective solution than either alternative while helping to drastically reduce the amount of time needed to complete administration tasks – one of the main aims of the exercise. Invoicing was kept separate via Sage Accounts which offered reporting options and eased the process for their accountant.


Case Study Legacy systems

A printing firm with an ageing Unix based system connected over a serial network was unable to produce quotations and job sheets when their server, installed in 1988 finally ‘fell over’ due to failed motherboard components. The backup system had not worked for more than a decade!

The company that had supplied the original system and specialist software package no longer employed engineers able to assist with the setup.

We maintain stocks of vintage hardware and were able to repair a server installed in 1988. At the same time we took the opportunity to ensure that data was protected in the event of problems recurring in the future.

A replacement, up to date Windows based system would have required replacement hardware – server, PCs, Cat5e network cabling – on top of the expensive software installation and ongoing licensing costs. Implementation would have taken upwards of a month due to limited availability of third party installation engineers.

Fortunately, we retain hardware of a similar vintage just for such occasions, and were able to clone the original 540MB hard disk and transfer this along with necessary cards into a PC which, after a few minor modifications, ran the Unix system perfectly. As a further precaution we cloned the hard disk several more times and prepared another PC to be kept on standby.

The priority had always been to resurrect the existing system, and now that the pressure is off Fourth Generation is investigating the feasibility of virtualising the server and terminals to give the client the comparatively inexpensive option of running the same system for a further 25 years!


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