How to: Use Windows 10’s Screenshot Tool

Female hands showing cropping composition gesture. Isolated on blue.

The screenshot is one of the great tools that users can use to capture information in their browsers. If you are using a PC, you have access to many of them. Once you set one, you can typically use the Print Screen key to capture the image. Today, there is a Snip & Sketch tool that provides better functionality and is much easier to use.

How to Use Snip & Sketch for Screenshots

Snip & Sketch is integrated right into Windows, not a browser. It provides users with several screenshot options that you can access by pressing Windows Key+Shift+S. Here is a list of the available options:

  1. A basic box selection, allowing you to click and drag to encompass your selection
  2. A freeform selection, allowing you to draw out your boundary
  3. Window snip, allowing you to select an active monitor to screenshot
  4. Fullscreen snip, taking the place of the Print Screen key, allowing you to take a picture of all your monitors simultaneously

This tool gives you a wider range of useful options than most of today’s screenshot programs and it can be used throughout Windows to capture images.

We hope you can use this extremely useful tool to make your “screenshotting” needs easier. If you like the tips and tricks we provide, return to our blog weekly!

Tip of the Week: How to Engage Remote Meeting Participants

better remote meetings

Over the last few months, many businesses have had to hurriedly adopt remote work as an alternative to in-house operations. While many have done so successfully, it isn’t uncommon for certain elements to trip them up, including remote meetings. As these meetings are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, we wanted to share a few tips on how to engage remote meeting participants.

Boost Engagement with Responsibility

The experience that participants of an in-person meeting have is naturally going to be very different than it would be in a remote meeting. The natural flow of conversation is interrupted by the limits of the very tool that enables the conversation to take place at all. This can lead to inconsistent participation and side conversations taking place… bad enough in person, but debilitating to a remote session. Preparing an agenda ahead of time and giving each participant something that they will be responsible for during the meeting can help to minimize the chances of this.

Streamline Your Meeting

Just as is the case in person, a remote meeting that involves too many people can be counterproductive and ineffective when collaboration is the goal. With an overly large group, there are just too many potential distractions to derail your efforts. Lagging technology and excessive background noise can swiftly diminish a meeting’s value, so to minimize the chances of this happening, resist the urge to pack your meetings and stick to those whose presence is essential. This also helps to add to the engagement that participants can have, as a smaller group offers more opportunities to speak.

Disable Muting

When someone has muted themselves during a remote meeting, they have effectively disengaged from the conversation. Consider it: by muting themselves, they can no longer contribute, and there’s the potential that they could allow their attention to wander more easily. While briefly muting can help to minimize interruptions, it should not be sustained longer than necessary when meeting.

How have your remote meetings gone? What have you done to make the most of them? Share your approach in the comments!

Key Steps to Take Before Reopening Your Organization

key steps to take before reopening your organization

While many states have at least partially opened, it remains to be seen if they will continue a steady pace forward to an eventual full reopening, or if they will decide to pull back for a time. In other words, the process of recovering from a world-wide pandemic seems to be a two steps forward, followed by a one step backward process. Thankfully, many organizations have employed creative and innovative methods to keep their doors open as much as possible, while protecting both employees and the clients they serve.

For those who may have gotten off to a shaky start, we will provide some helpful tips on how to make the transition back to normal life as smoothly as possible.

Employee Safety First

While customers may come and go as they like, employees are obligated to remain in the workspaces their employer provides. Of course, organizations must follow government guidelines as to how many people are allowed within a building at the same time. Employers may need to expand the distance between employee workstations, whether they spend most of their time sitting or standing. It’s also a good idea to keep up with the latest information regarding PPE (personal protection equipment) to determine whether employees are being provided with the correct instructions on how to wear their various forms of protection. 

Stay Flexible

While many companies allowed their employees to work remotely right from the beginning of the pandemic, some have found today they need at least some of their employees to work within their physical buildings. Still, some employees may have pre-existing health conditions that put them at a higher risk, or they have a family member who is in a high risk group.

While in a normal world it may be advantageous to have these people back in the office, if they do get sick, not only will it add an extra burden to their physical and mental health, at best they’ll still be required to quarantine for a two-week period. Now is the time to remain flexible and realize it might not be possible to have the entire company operating as effectively as it could. 

Reassure the Public 

Let customers, vendors, and other company staff members with which your organization regularly comes in contact know that you are making every effort to honor their health and safety as well. This may include sending out a corporate email outlining all the steps your organization is performing to ensure their interaction with your employees will remain a safe, positive experience.

If an organization has a physical building that customers or vendors will enter, let them know what you are doing to ensure their safety as well as your expectations of them, by posting a sign on the door which they can read prior to entering. Some organizations may want to include some details about their safety practices in their corporate phone greeting. Others may want to inform the public by way of an advertisement shown on TV or through a radio commercial.

Reevaluate Corporate Technology Security

Many organizations have employees working in entirely different settings than they did before the pandemic. This could mean the new settings open them up to additional security risks as they use technology devices and software apps in a way they never did before. For employees in a remote work environment, organizations need to consider who in the environment may potentially have access to confidential information and/or computer equipment, including logins used for various apps. 

All the different ways in which employees now use corporate computer equipment and software applications must be reevaluated to ensure that a company’s technology system as a whole, remains safe and secure.

If you would like to know more about how to successfully navigate your organization through the pandemic, please contact us.

6 Tips for Supporting Your Remote Workforce During the Pandemic

6 tips for supporting your remote workforce during the pandemic

During this pandemic, businesses have been forced to quickly adapt to changing realities. One of the major changes we have seen in society is the shift towards telecommuting. Teams are working remotely to avoid having to go into the office. It can be difficult to acclimate to this new reality, so you need to provide your employees with the necessary support they need for your team to be successful. Today, we will be going through six tips for supporting your remote workforce during the pandemic. 

Focus on Team Building 

Just because your team is working remotely, that doesn’t mean that you can forget about team building. Working on improving communication and rapport between team members will lead to better collaboration and improved performance. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work Report, one of the top challenges remote workers face is loneliness. 

Although team members can’t get together physically, you still want them to be able to chit-chat with each other and create meaningful relationships. Consider setting up an after-hour video chat “work party” or create a group “coffee room” chat. It is important for each team member to have a feeling of belonging to the team. 

Up Your Communication

A top challenge for remote teams is communicating effectively. In the office, team members can drop a note on their manager’s desk or walk a few steps to a colleague to ask for advice. Managers can regularly check in with team members when they bump into them in the office.

When managing a remote team, it is important to make a concerted effort to increase communication. Check in with your workers every day to ask if they need anything, and tell them not to hesitate to contact you if they have any sort of question. 

Set Up Effective Channels

Every remote team should be utilizing video chat. One-on-one chats allow you to check in with individual team members and stay on top of their progress, while group chats can take the place of daily briefings and meetings. However, not everything has to take place over a video chat. Assign different channels for different tasks — for example, team members can use email or a group chat board instead of video chat for more mundane tasks and questions. 

Create a Schedule and Set Goals

Creating a schedule can help teams stay focused and productive. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown schedule planned for the entire day; it can be a simple 15-minute briefing at the same time every morning or a 15-minute progress check at the end of the day. Establishing a ritual is important, and so is setting goals to help your workers stay focused. 

Be Flexible and Understanding

Another major challenge of working at home is facing distractions. Some team members may have children running around — kids aren’t going to school either. Offer understanding and flexibility. In addition, not every team member will need the same level of communication. For example, some team members may have a lot of questions and doubts and will benefit from an open communication channel; others may not need to ask as many questions and may flourish better when left to concentrate on the task at hand.

While it is important to stay on top of things and check in with your employees regularly, you may have to stay on top of some employees more.

Invest In Quality Cloud Solutions

If you haven’t yet done so, now is the time to invest in high-quality business cloud computing solutions. This will help avoid hiccups and ensure that your business runs smoothly day-to-day.

Contact us for more information on how we can set up versatile and reliable cloud solutions for your workforce so your team members can work from wherever they are, on any device.

How to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache in Windows

how to clear or flush the dns cache in windows

Sometimes slow internet connection hinders our productivity or whatever we’re browsing online for. This could be due to many reasons, and one common reason involves your DNS cache.

What is a DNS Cache?

A Domain Name Server (DNS) cache acts like a temporary directory where it stores domain names for the computers to access and read.

A simple analogy to better understand a DNS cache is to compare it to your mobile phone or any gadget’s phonebook directory. Of course, when storing a friend’s number on your phonebook, you don’t just save the number and leave it like that.

That would be really hard to memorize especially that a number contains at least seven digits. So what we usually do is type in a corresponding name to that number and save it. So when we’re browsing for our friend’s number, we only have to search for his name.

Also browsing for numbers only would be extremely hard to do compared to just typing the letters that spell out the names.

The DNS cache works the same way with phonebooks except it does the opposite.

So instead of storing names, the server transforms them into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. In other words, numbers. That’s because machines can’t read words, they use a binary language and communicate in numbers.

How Does a DNS Cache Work?

When you browse for a new website, the DNS Cache saves the domain name in its database. In layman’s terms, it’s like your “search history.”

Then when you try to search for the same website again, the browser communicates with the external server to load the website you’re looking for. However, your local server will work on name resolutions and try to find the domain name in its database.

Once the cache finds the name, it then loads the page.

Having too many domain names in the database could take a while to read and access. That’s why it’s necessary to clear or flush the DNS cache every once in a while or when there are random slowdowns.

Flushing the DNS cache will also get rid of the invalid records and even contaminated domains.

Simple Steps to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache

  • When clearing the DNS Cache in Windows, you must first go to the Start Menu. Then type in “CMD” in the search box.
  • Hit enter, and you can find the CMD file.
  • Right-click the CMD file and then click “Run as administrator.”
  • Hit “Yes” when a prompt box appears.
  • After clicking “Yes,” you should see a command window editor. From there, type in ipconfig /flushdns.
  • Hit enter.
  • After you’ve hit enter, there should be a notification below that says “Successfully flushed the DNS resolver cache.”

You can try browsing your favorite website. Or others would also do one last step, which is to go to the internet settings. Then disconnect and reconnect to the internet.

After that, you should be able to return to your regular browsing speed.

And that’s basically it!

You’ve just cleared your DNS cache, and now it will repopulate all new domain names that you’re going to type in your browsers moving forward.

Flushing the DNS cache isn’t only necessary to fix random internet slowdowns, it can also be imperative when you’ve recently changed the DNS server on your computer.

When you do this, sometimes the settings aren’t properly fixed. Hence, flushing or clearing your DNS cache can help.

Final Thoughts

These simple and easy steps to clear your DNS cache aren’t the panacea for your internet browsing slowdowns. In some cases, your ISP provider could also be the culprit.

But clearing the DNS cache will undoubtedly help if not permanently – then temporarily. For more tutorial videos on all things tech, there arefree online resourcesthat provide clear and concise step-by-step processes.

Author Bio:

Kerry Brooks is a passionate blogger and frequent traveler who loves share tips on photography, technology, and travel. She is currently working with AGR Technology, which aims to provide new information and provide some free software utilities to help computer users get things done quickly and in a simple way.