Best Home Small Business Printer

Color Printer

Best Home Small Business Printer

Best Home Small Business Printer – where do I find one? The problem these days is that there are too many choices.

While a color laser printer used to be out of reach for home and small businesses they can be had for a reasonable price these days.

The initial cost of the Best Home Small Business Printer is just the beginning.

Keeping them in ink or toner can be expensive.

Bells and Whistles for Best Home Small Business Printer

Adding to the confusion of finding the Best Home Small Business Printer is all the bells and whistles that are available.

  • WiFi
  • FAX
  • ADF (Automatic Document Feeder)
  • Ethernet
  • print-shop-quality color prints
  • laser-sharp black and color text
  • high-speed prints
  • multiple paper trays
  • monthly duty cycle (pages/month)
  •  auto 2-sided print/copy/scan/fax.

Wireless Printers

Wireless printers allows printing from tablets (e.g., iPad) and

Wi Fi

smartphones (e.g., iPhone). Not all printers make this easy.

Some printers may require mobile devices to print to the cloud (Internet).

While this can be useful we want our Best Home Small Business Printer to connect directly to.

Some may require you to print to their cloud or allow popular clouds like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

Printing to the cloud may not be a concern if you have high-speed Internet but it might be a problem if you depend on a cellular data plan to upload the files.

There are also security concerns for uploading sensitive documents to the cloud.

Downs Consulting recommends a wireless printer that doesn’t require printing to the cloud. We prefer our Best Home Small Business Printer to print directly via WiFi.

Printing to the cloud is a nice feature but we don’t want all our print jobs to go through it.


Wireless setup sounds nice. In theory you setup your Best Home Small Business Printer anywhere you have

Wireless Connection
Wireless Connection

power and WiFi reception and you are “good to go”.

The printer forums are littered with complaints about printers connected or rather not connected via WiFi.

It’s common for WiFi to drop the connections. It’s similar to mobile phone connections.

Dropping a connection in the middle of a big print job could cause problems. Maybe you would have to start all over again after waiting minutes for it to enter the print queue.

The reality is that WiFi is not as dependable as an Ethernet connection.

Our advice is to use a wired connection if at all possible. This requires an Ethernet connections which some models may not have.


This is our preferred method of connecting our printer. We

network connector

can still use WiFi to connect to our mobile devices.

Downs Consulting recommends a networked printer that is not tied to a computer.

Many printers limit their functions if connected via USB.

Some printers may not have this capability.

Footprint and Noise

A noisy printer right next to you in a small office is no small intrusion on

foot print

your space.

Likewise, a huge printer is not going to very welcome either.

While there are plenty of small printers they tend to skimp on some features.

A small printer may be better for a Home user that doesn’t need all the “bells and whistles”.

When we settled on our Best Home Small Business Printer we still had to convince our office that we had room for it.

Printer Maintenance Costs – Ink & Toner

A major concern is operating costs. It’s common to see the ink/toner

replacement cost more than the printer.

Printers often come with starter

operating costs

supplies that don’t last as long as the standard capacity.

Usually, you can find high-yield supplies that are a better buy in the long run.

It also saves on the aggravation of running to the store for supplies.

Some printers may refuse to work at all if one of their cartridges are low. This is particularly frustrating if you don’t need that cartridge for the job you have queued up.

New Color Inkjet printers can be up to 50% cheaper to operate than a color laser.

Review Sites

Review sites are a good place to start looking for available features, costs,

editors' choice

and buyer or editor opinions.

Preferably the  site has lost of reviews so the overall score can’t be skewed one way or another by a few one-sided reviews.

If there are not many reviews you may not get an accurate assessment.

Likewise, the site should not have a vested interest in the sale of the product and reviewers should be able to post sincere remarks.

A lack of disparaging or complimentary remarks could be a sign of bias.


Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is a great resource for buying appliances like this but you need a subscription to see their reviews online. They compile statistics on the main categories including maintenance cost, print quality, photo quality, and speed.

You can usually get a free trial for online or magazines. The magazines come with a buyers guide and is a good resource in itself.

The Consumer Reports interactive video below offers some good advice.  You can click on the sections you are most interested in.

Other Review Sites

Some websites like PC Magazine have editor and user reviews.

Amazon has good prices and user reviews.

Bad Reviews

No printer is perfect in every way and we found bad reviews on the best-rated ones.

Some bad reviews may have been from lemons or simply technical errors. Some may have had issues with their networks. Some may have been malicious.

Laser Printers

Since some inkjet printers are cheaper to run than a color laser we would


not recommend a color laser as a Best Home Small Business Printer.

If you are only concerned about printing text then you may want to consider buying a monochrome laser printer.

Text quality has long been the domain of the laser printer but even here  inkjet printers are competitive with text print quality and speed.

Inkjet Printers

For us, all roads point to a Multi-Function inkjet printer which is somewhat disappointing.

Just when the costs of color laser have become affordable, inkjet

Inkjet printer Downs Consulting
Inkjet printer – Downs Consulting

technology has become competitive in all respects.


We shouldn’t complain since keeping up with multiple toners for the color laser is not a task we would want.

Inkjet ink itself is expensive enough.

Compromises for the Best Home Small Business Printer



If you find a printer that is perfect in every way then it is likely a budget breaker.

Consequently, you have to decide what’s the most important features you need and what you can do without.

Our Best Home Small Business Printer requirements:

  1. Network connection  using our LAN (local area )network
  2. Print laser-sharp text
  3. Print color and text
  4. FAX
  5. Scan
  6. Low Cost
  7. Reasonable speed
  8. Reasonable maintenance costs – Save on ink or toner
  9. Multiple Paper Trays

Nice to have features

  1. ADF – Automatic Document Feeder
  2. Automatic 2-sided print/copy/scan/fax
  3. Easy printing from tablets and smartphones – Android, Apple & Windows products
  4. Fast print speeds
  5. Stunning graphics and images

Windows 10 Upgrade? – Restore Old O/S

Windows 10 Upgrade?



Windows 10 Upgrade, should I allow it? For the most part Windows 10 is a decent Operating System.

There are over 200 million installs and Microsoft’s goal is one billion.

There are some issues with Windows 10 that may cause grief for some


Isn’t Windows 10 Upgrade a Better Operating System?

Certainly Windows 10 has a much better reputation than Windows 8.

Our recommendation would be to upgrade Windows 8 unless you have applications that are not officially supported for Windows 10.

If you are using Windows 7, you may want to keep the O/S. It will lose extended support for security patches in 2020 but by then you will may want a new computer.


Is Windows 10 Upgrade Secure?

There are some security issues with the default settings but

It’s easy enough to change those.

Overall we think Windows 10 is secure but you may want to change the settings.

Keep in mind that you are already tracked by the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft.

In some cases, you don’t have to be logged in to be tracked. Certainly you are tracked if you are logged into their accounts.

That said Windows 10 is not any more intrusive than Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, …

All Programs Are Compatible with Windows 10 Upgrade, Right?

Some folks assume that Windows 10 is compatible with their applications

since it runs a test prior to the upgrade.


While the test is a good precaution it’s a Herculean task to test every

application in the world not to mention applications you may not  have currently installed.

Case in Point – Windows 10 Upgrade Gone Wrong

To our dismay we have found some applications like LogMeIn Backup are not officially supported for Windows 10.

While it may work the LogMeIn team is clueless about fixing the problem or even moving your backup to another machine.

Part of the problem is with the USB drives we use for backups.

Unfortunately for us this was after the thirty-day rollback period and

moving the application required a full backup.

A full backup backs up every file. Subsequent backups are much quicker since you don’t have to backup files that don’t change.

Note that moving backups requires a lot of time for the full backup and being cut off from the previous backups is disconcerting too.

Some of our remote full backups  take twenty hours.

Obviously we were not happy with this pitfall of Windows 10 and in the end wiped our computer and installed Windows 7.

 My Hardware is Supported for the Windows 10 Upgrade , Right?

In most Windows 10 Upgrade cases, you probably won’t have issues with hardware if it was

installed prior to the upgrade. In theory Windows 10 would warn you if the hardware was incompatible.

USB external drives may not be compatible with Windows 10.

Manufacturers like Western Digital and Seagate may not a Windows 10 driver that works reliably for relatively new drives.

We found that our external drives using USB 3 were not compatible. This was very disconcerting since most of our files are backed up to external drives.

In our case, LogMeIn backups and even Windows Explorer couldn’t get the drives to show a listing until we installed a Windows 7 driver!

Even with the Windows 7 driver, we suspect we didn’t get USB 3 speeds but never measured.

How Did I End Up With Windows 10 Upgrade?

Microsoft has gotten more aggressive in pushing out Windows 10. They

made it a recommended upgrade so it upgraded if you had automatic updates on.

Downs Consulting recommends Windows Updates so the dilemma is that we don’t necessarily want the upgrade but do want updates.

An alternative is to use something like GWX Control Panel.

GWX Control Panel should stop the upgrade to Windows 10.

Restore Old O/S – How Do I Go Back to My Previous Operating System (O/S)?

If you ran into as many issues as we did then you will want to revert back

to your old O/S.

Gracefully Revert to Your Old O/S

If you decide to revert your old O/S in the thirty-day window you may back out gracefully.

To uninstall Windows 10 within the first month, go to the Start menu and choose “settings.” From the resulting menu, choose “update and security,” then click “recovery.” You’ll be given the option to “go back” to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, depending on what you had previously. Click “get started.”

Reinstall Windows

If you are beyond the thirty-day window you are looking at a re-install of

Downgrade Windows 10
Downgrade Windows 10

some sort.

Image Backup

If you made an image backup of your system you may want to restore it

but that will wipe out all your data too.

Likewise you could use the factory image backup to restore everything back to the day your computer arrived.

To install the factory image backup, you probably have to press specific keys during start-up. F8 & Advanced Boot Options work for some Dell computers.

Image backups will restore all software  that was installed at the time the image was made.

A factory image may contain trail software that they sent with the computer.

A personal image will have the software, data and updates that resided on the computer at the time of the backup.

New Installation

New installation is not for the faint at heart but it may keep your files in

Windows.old. This is a nice backup but we recommend backing up your files to an external drive as a precaution.

You will have to restore all the Windows updates and any software you use .

Obtaining Recovery Media

Ideally you created  backup disks when you received your computer. If you

can locate these disks then you can restore the factory image backup.

If you don’t have recovery media then you will have to contact the computer manufacturer. This may be a nominal fee if you are no longer in warranty.

Our Experience Obtaining Recovery Media

Hopefully you won’t have as much trouble obtaining recovery media as we

did. Maybe you can avoid some of the pitfalls of our experience.

It started out well enough with our first contact at Dell and we were prepared to pay the $20 or so since we were no longer in warranty. So far, so good.

We ran into problems when they wanted our account. Since we were logged into our Dell Advantage account this didn’t seem to be a problem but they wanted an account number.

We didn’t have an account number on our purchases or our online account.

Seven conversations and two hours later we assume the original person wanted a financial account which we didn’t have. We finally explained we wanted to pay by credit card and got the media in a couple of days.

To add insult to injury, we discovered later that we had a $20 credit we could have used for this transaction.

Backup You Files

As a general rule, most of your files will be in your User folder. If the user

is “Randy” then the user folder will look something like the following:

C:\Windows.old\Users\Randy – backup profile in previous Windows

C:\Users\Randy – profile in current Windows

Once you have you files backed up you can initiate a new install and preferably keep old files in Windows.old.

You can always remove this later if space is an issue.

Removing Windows.old

Removing Windows.old should be done via Disk Cleanup.

Here’s the proper way to delete the Windows.old folder: Step 1: Click in Windows‘ search field, type Cleanup, then click Disk Cleanup. Step 2: Click the “Clean up system files” button. Step 3: Wait a bit while Windows scans for files, then scroll down the list until you see “Previous Windows installation(s).


Social Media Sharing Apps on a Budget

Social Media Sharing Apps  on a Budget

Social Media Sharing Apps on a Budget can be tricky but we offer advice on how to do this without breaking the bank.

Most of these techniques will run on the free versions of the apps we utilize.

Social media sharing apps without subscription fees presents a challenge since each free product has limitations but overall it works out OK for our needs.

Why Use Social Media Sharing Apps?

You may wonder why you would need social media sharing apps if you

only have a single account or even a couple.

It’s not that difficult to share a page by copying a link to social networks like Facebook or even schedule it on a Facebook Page.

Posting becomes trickier when you have several networks and you don’t want to spend all your time at the computer sharing.

You may also want to schedule post so they hit all at once.

We generally schedule our posts in the morning and let the apps handle the schedule.

In our case, we have:

Facebook, Facebook Pages – Downs SEO, Downs Consulting

Google+ page,


Houston-Galveston IT Consulting Services (LinkedIn Group/Page)

MailChimp Newsletter


Twitter accounts (DownsNumber,  RandyRDowns)

Future Posting

Confusing World of Social Media Accounts
Confusing World of Social Media Accounts

At some point these services may become unavailable for free or go away entirely so we will probably end up with a paid service somewhere down the road but for now the free services suffice.

The nice part about subscription services is they are much more versatile and can probably handle most of your posting needs via one application.


Buffer is one of our favorite social media posting tools. The free version

will only let you use five social profiles and buffer 10 posts maximum.

The free limitation is further limited to just one of each service so you can’t post to a Facebook profile and Facebook page, for example.

We don’t find this too big a burden since we would not want to post the same article to multiple Facebook pages and profile.

We suggest posting relevant content to your specific pages. In our case, we don’t post the same content to Downs SEO as we do our Facebook profile. Not everyone is interested in seeing SEO posts that we post on Downs SEO. In any case, the pages really need unique content since there may be overlap with the subscribers to the pages and profile.

That said you can post to specific pages with the paid version but we prefer separate accounts so that we don’t get confused on what to post where.

Primarily it works with Facebook (profile, pages, groups), Google +, Linked In, and Twitter. Pinterest is a recent addition and seems to be for the paid version.

We have the seven-day trial and it’s pretty cool. It’s not as Automated as the share pages since you have to select both a Pinterest board and photo but we like it so far.

The paid version allows ten social profiles and one hundred posts in the buffer. Currently that costs $102/year. You can also use multiple pages & profiles from the same source and allows Pinterest.

How About the rest of Social Media Accounts?

Buffer covered sharing pages with Facebook (profile, pages, groups),

Google+, Linked In & Pages, Pinterest and Twitter but we only get 5 networks at most per account.

We can designate another user to share some of our accounts so that takes care of most of networks but we still have a few left out.

Enter Hootsuite to the Rescue

Hootsuite is another favorite of ours. It includes Instagram but we are limited to 3 social media profiles with the free version.

Since we already have three setup we are not currently scheduling posts to Instagram but that’s a minor inconvenience.

We use Hootsuite to post to Twitter account Twitter account – DownsNumber, Facebook Page  Downs Consulting, and Houston-Galveston IT Consulting Services (LinkedIn Group/Page).

There doesn’t appear to be a limit on the number of posts so we schedule technical post as we run into them. Mostly we save SEO posts for one of our Buffer accounts.

One quirk we notice with Hootsuite is that it seems to ignore our Houston-Galveston IT Consulting Services (LinkedIn Group/Page) when posting from our phone. Posting from our PC picks up all there accounts.

The Professional version includes 10 Social Profiles  so that would be nice but it’s $10/month. We might consider that in the future but for now Buffer does most of the heavy lifting.

Social Media Communication

Hootsuite  allows easy interaction with the accounts but interfacing

directly with the social network works for us.

We keep multiple computers and browsers open to the various account plus we get notifications via email.

For now that keeps us within our budget.

How About Using Facebook Directly?

Facebook works pretty well by itself. If you have access to the pages it’s just a matter of flipping from one to another.

Better yet open multiple browsers with the account you want.

You can schedule posts on pages but not your profile. The only issue her is that you will have to post the same article on your other networks.

That’s time-consuming and both Buffer and Hootsuite free editions help in this regard.

Don’t Forget Instagram

Instagram works nicely at sharing posts with Facebook so you can kill two birds with one stone. Still its slow walking through the Instagram filters and such to just make a post.

We use it occasionally but don’t share much on Instagram for our business.

Our Setup

We have multiple computers (PC, laptop) side by side with multiple browsers open on each.

Laptop Setup


Facebook Page  Downs Consulting

Twitter account – DownsNumber


Buffer Account for Downs SEO, RandyRDowns – SEO posts.

Facebook Page – Downs SEO

Twitter account – RandyRDowns

Facebook open on the laptop to distinguish which accounts we are dealing with. Mostly Twitter is the determining factor.

PC Setup

Buffer Account for Twitter DownsNumberFacebook profile, Google+ page, LinkedIn,  and Pinterest (trial).

We don’t need Facebook open on the PC since we get email notifications.

WordPress And the Newsletter?

One of the most important social media sharing app is a plugin for WordPress. We use Jetpack Publicize and it publishes our blog post out to all the networks we have set up.

Likewise we have MailChimp for WP setup to publish our posts to our newsletter.

Isn’t That Complicated?

Social Media Sharing Apps on a Budget
Social Media Sharing Apps on a Budget

Yes it’s complicated but it works for our Social Media Sharing Apps on a Budget.

It would be definitely easier to use one application to post to all our networks but that’s not happening for free.

We suggest starting small and see how it works for you.

If a paid application is in your budget we suggest you go with Buffer or Hootsuite for all your networks.

Try the free product first to see how it fits your needs.

Perfect Backup Solution – The Cloud & Encryption

The Cloud – The Perfect Backup Solution

Downs Consulting looks to the cloud in search of the Perfect Backup Solution without having to pay extra for the privilege.

Does such a solution exist or is it like the unicorn a fantasy?

What can be better than having all your files accessible via the cloud?

We setup our documents to store in the cloud and always have the latest versions of files available. The only question is which cloud should we use.

Dropbox & Google Drive gave us significant storage but Microsoft gave us at least 1 TB and it was supposed to go to unlimited. Microsoft has since backed out of the unlimited storage deal for Office 365 users.

Downs Consulting also wanted traditional backups with external drives just in case something went wrong with the cloud files.

We used applications like SyncToy to make the synchronization easier.

We even had Norton backup running which was allegedly backing up our important files. It turns out that Norton doesn’t think html files are important enough to backup which is bad for a web developer.


Life was good everything was backed up in multiple locations. What could possibly go wrong?

Encrypt Cloud Files

For one we started to become concerned that our files were not encrypted in the cloud. We discovered that CloudFogger encrypts the files on your PC and that seemed to resolve our problem.

CloudFogger works great since the files are actually encrypted in your PC and become decrypted as you use them but it didn’t play well with our backup scheme.

We had encrypted our cloud services PC folders but we were limited to few locations that can be encrypted outside of that.

Even so CloudFogger is a great tool if you want to upload sensitive files to the cloud. Other alternatives for cloud storage of data is LastPass and OneNote password protection.

Unable to Sync Backups – Can’t Encrypt Everything Unless You Use BitLocker

Sync to Cloud
Sync to Cloud

Consequently files on our external drives were not encrypted.

Encrypted external drives would have been a problem with sharing files between PCs as well.

This also presented a problem for SyncToy since it was comparing an encrypted folder to a non-encrypted one.

Other applications like Mysticthumbs also had issues.

Mysticthumbs also seemed to have issues with Windows 10 so we don’t currently use it. Mysticthumbs presents thumbnails of about everything including Photoshop and Illustrator files. It seemed to drag down our PC when Windows Explorer. To be fair we have lots of images in some of our stock image folders.

Perhaps this would work better on drives that are truly encrypted using something like Bitlocker (only available in Windows 10,  Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Enterprise editions). We haven’t tried BitLocker but I would expect everything would be uploaded encrypted to the cloud similar to CloudFogger .

This meant we needed to re-organize my files to encrypted and unencrypted. Reorganizing our drives was no small task since we had websites, graphics, software, in addition to our business files neatly arranged in both PC and cloud folders however it was not setup with encryption in mind.

The logical place to do this was in the Documents folder so we needed to duplicate the new structure on cloud and external drives.

Otherwise we would have to remember which backup files on the external drives went with the PC files and the same for cloud storage. That’s way too confusing if you have as many files as we have.

Convenience and Security Complications for the Perfect Backup Solution

Our new structure looked like the following on our PC.

PC Folders

\Documents\_ Encrypted in Cloud – Docs

\Documents\_Not Encrypted in Cloud – Docs

We tried to distinguish which folders were on the PC versus the cloud folder and external drives. We could do the same for other cloud folders but we wanted to keep this relatively simple.

External Drive Folders

E:\_ Encrypted in Cloud – External Backup

E:\_  Not Encrypted in Cloud – External Backup

Dropbox PC Folders

C:\Users\Randy\Dropbox\_  Encrypted Dropbox

C:\Users\Randy\Dropbox\Non-Encrypted Dropbox


One disadvantage of encrypting everything is that files are unusable when accessing from another machine via the cloud or external drive.

If you want to share videos or pictures with people then you do not want to encrypt them.

Some consultants advise against using the cloud for sensitive data period. That’s not bad advice but it’s not convenient either.

With that line of reasoning you could keep your data even safer by not connecting your PC to the Internet. It’s really a compromise between convenience and security.

OneDrive Crashes – Start All Over?

Additional problems cropped up like OneDrive dragging my PC to a halt and at times losing the entire OneDrive folder. A word to the wise is to never interrupt OneDrive when it’s syncing but sometimes it’s just not possible to wait for the application to catch up.

Sometimes OneDrive crashes and you power down PC because it’s hopelessly locked up for hours. This essentially means you need to start OneDrive all over which could easily lead to another  hang.

This is why we moved to Dropbox exclusively for our routine backups. We still use OneDrive on occasion but don’t have a lot of faith in those backups.

The best policy with the cloud backups is to back up most of your data once to the cloud & quit synchronizing it. In OneDrive and Dropbox this is called selective sync.

Enter Dropbox

Dropbox seems to work better for me but I have much more on OneDrive. I do use Google Drive for automatic phone backups. That doesn’t leave us much available space for anything else.

We got a trial of Dropbox with a new PC that gave us an additional 20 G free for a year. We may re-evaluate our cloud options at the end of the year.


We are not certain that the files on OneDrive are that dependable since I have had videos and picture quit working.

Consequently we mainly archive to Dropbox these days and utilize Google drive for phone backup.

Downs Consulting can’t recommend OneDrive as the Perfect Backup Solution since it tends to drag down PCs and is unreliable. It’s free for Office 365 users so you may want to use it as a secondary backup.

We backup our files to external drives 1st and then sync them to the cloud. Once they are synced, we can quit syncing on the PC cloud folder.  This doesn’t remove the files from the cloud but it does remove them from the PC folder.

Note that you must remove files from the cloud if you want them erased completely. For that matter you may want to empty the deleted folder on the cloud as well.

Too Many Copies?

With the original, a copy in the cloud,  another copy in the PC cloud folder and yet another on at least one external drive there may be a confusing number of file copies available.

This also takes up considerable space for media files and may get backed up yet again by utilities like Norton Backup.

We can get rid of the copy in the PC cloud folder easily enough with selective sync but there are still a lot of copies floating around not to mention various cloud services.

Is this is a good thing? Perhaps we may want to access one of these copies if something goes awry with our other backups but chances are the extraneous copy won’t be up to date.

Enter Repositories

Git Repositories
Git Repositories

Downs Consulting also use Git repositories to backup up my websites not to mention that the websites are also backed up on the host.

In theory I can get my anything I retrieve the entire site or just the changes I committed from my local repository or my remote if I pushed the commits.

It’s much easier to get the changes rather than the full site but cloning the site from the remote is a possibility.

When we tried restoring websites the Norton backup was unable to retrieve all files but it did save my images so it wasn’t a total lost. Even so we would not recommend relying on this sort of utility if you are a web developer.

The Perfect Backup Solution Revisited

There doesn’t seem to be a The Perfect Backup Solution and adding more

variations to the mix makes the issue that much more confusing. having an off-site backup was always a part of a disaster recovery plan so the cloud & remote repositories make a lot of sense.

If your data is sensitive it should be encrypted in the cloud which makes local backups all the more confusing.

That said the simpler you can backup your files the better.

Paid Backups

There are solutions like LogMeIn backup and Carbonite that will backup your files for a fee. Both are reasonably priced but our goal was to take advantage of free cloud services we already had.

If these fit your budget then they may be the perfect backup solution .

LogMeIn Backup actually backs up to another of your computers (Storage PC – preferably offsite). The initial backup takes a long time if you have a lot of files. Subsequent backups are much quicker as they only backup files that change.

LogMeIn Backup backups up all your files you designate but you provide the storage on a storage PC.

LogMeIn Backup is not officially supported for Windows 10 so you may run into issues with that. Moving the files to another PC is also not supported so you probably have to start all over if your Storage PC has problems.

We haven’t used Carbonite Personal basic solution but their plan allows unlimited backup of all the user-generated files on your internal hard drive. That sort of sounds like Norton backup so it may miss some files that you consider important.

Carbonite business plans are more expensive but backup much more.

My approach to the Perfect Backup Solution

Our “Perfect Backup solution”  is to backup only select files to my cloud provider, Dropbox

Perfect Backup
Perfect Backup

and then use selective sync to remove the files from my cloud folders on the PC.

Selective sync also prevents other backups from doing additional backups if they backup the cloud folders (e.g., OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive).

We no longer use utilities like SyncToy much since they may wipe out your files depending on how you have them set up.

Consequently our backups are not automatic as we manually put files into folders that are uploaded to the cloud and then remove them from selective sync. That’s not how we envisioned a perfect backup but that probably doesn’t exist for free.

Our procedure may not be the Perfect Backup Solution but it tries to adhere with the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid. 

Customize Applications – Web Content Management Systems

Need help with Web Content Management Systems? Need a new application or support for an existing one? Perhaps you want a Joomla website, Mantis help desk, WordPress Blog (like this one) or Zen shopping cart.

If you don’t have the time or technical expertise to setup these applications Downs Consulting can guide you through it or set it up for you.

We charge by the hour so you pay for only the help you need.

Cost & Installation

The aforementioned applications are free so there’s no initial cost but setup can be tedious for the less technical savvy. Some applications may require subscriptions and specific hardware.

GoDaddy hosting plans make the installation & upgrading of common applications painless once you find the procedure. Other hosts have similar procedures.

If you want to host on an unmanaged server then you may need to find the procedure from the vendor. If you want an application on a managed server then support will likely help if not install the application.


Some applications like WordPress offer a ton of templates & plug-ins to make your application look nice and perform specialized tasks like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This blog utilizes a free template and a few useful plug-ins.

Our sample Zen Cart utilizes a customized template while the Joomla  site is pretty much plain vanilla. It took considerable time to find the photos and re-size them for the Zen Cart. Free templates for Zen Cart are not as common as WordPress but there are some nice ones that are responsive like the one we used.

Web Content Management Systems

Many of these products use Web Content Management Systems (Web CMS or WCMS). WCMS allow users to make changes to their application design without knowing HTML.

The User Interface (UI) for these applications tend towards the simplistic but you may need technical help to get started.