Network Health and Happiness: An Interview with Alex Kovtun, MCSE

     The Next Wave sat down with Beachwood’s Systems Consultant Alex Kovtun to find out about critical network administration issues.

TNW: Just about everybody understands the concept of backing up critical files… how often should somebody perform a backup?

AK: The question each administrator much ask him or herself is, “How much data am I willing to lose between backups?”  Once they understand this concept, they can develop their own timetable for performing backups.  File servers should be backed up daily.

TNW: What else is important to know about backups?

AK: Some software, such as e-mail and database systems,

always have their files open.  In general, open files do not get backed up by default.  Also, a backup tape should always be taken off site.  Think what you would do if you came to work one morning and a fire had destroyed the area where your file server and backup tapes were stored.

TNW: How about desktop pc’s?

AK: Run scandisk and defrag about once a month.  Delete all unneeded files in the ‘temp’ directory on your system.

TNW: How do you know if your file server is having problems?

AK: On a Novell server, press Ctrl-Esc to get a list of current screens, then press “1” to go to the console prompt.  Look for unusual messages every couple

of days.  On an NT server, look in the event log for items with a red stop sign next to them or a yellow exclamation mark.

TNW: How can I protect my business from a virus?

AK: Obviously, you ought to purchase an anti-virus software package.  However, even the best anti-virus software package won’t be effective if you fail to consistently update the virus signature files.  Then, of course, scan the entire system for viruses regularly.

TNW: Do you have any more advice for maintaining a healthy, happy network?

AK:  One of the most important things that users can do is to properly exit each application and exit the Windows operating system properly.  Don’t just turn off your computer.  Files can and will get damaged by doing this.  Sooner or later your Windows workstation will hang up while in a program (contrary to Bill Gates’ propaganda, Windows is not perfect!).  You should always press the CTRL-ALT-DEL keys to bring up the Task Manager to attempt to shut down that task manually.  Also for quite a few error messages, it is best to shut down your pc and reboot before continuing.  Otherwise, the errors can continue to compund themselves and create even more problems.  


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