Monday, September 6, 2010

Google apps for Corporate Use: Should you move to the google apps?

This question comes up in blogs, discussions and clients ask if it's a viable solution.

Google's sweet spot is 1-25 (up to 50) users to share and use all Google Apps and email, calendar, sharing...

There are many IT shops that sell this service exclusively as a sole all in one solution for a business and as a service to their clients. They don't make much as a reseller but they are selling the google "reliability" selling aspect.

Now, as a business, should you move to or start using google apps as your IT infrastructure?

Say you want to move to the cloud. Google Apps seems a logical choice. You can buy your domain name, have google host your site, email and shared apps. It only costs $50 per user.

After really trying to see all different reasons of why should one use google apps, there are +'s and -'s in my opinion.

 This post is just listing 2 of the downsides that we see for businesses.
1. TOS:
The biggest issue I have is in their TOS section 11.1.  http://google.com/accounts/TOS
You the client OWN your data but Google has the right to publish and distribute, royality free globally that content. Your data.

Yikes. I think I know what that means.

2. Support.
I hear the argument their web support is great. I know schools have paid phone support, but even if your a 5-10 person law firm or accounting firm, and you have a doc that goes lost somehow or say Google goes down(yes they do go down) and you have nobody to call or hold accountable, I cannot see this being a reliable complete business solution.

3. Approach of culture change(from MSoft) and business mobile devices:
Yes, Iphone and Droid's have apps for that. Blackberry BES will only work if you have a BES server(extra $$). Blackberry does have an app for Gmail, but it's different than standard Blackberry inbox feel.

The approach to how the look and feel can be an easy cut over or painful "not wanna change attitude" approach.

The big news last year was that the City of Los Angeles gave google the go ahead to host their email on  gmail servers, and I believe it was going to save them Millions in IT overhead. Which is great!

2 questions:
1. Do they get Phone support if Gmail goes down for the city of LA and is their systems protected from the TOS 11.1 section?

2. What I've read, they have only cut over only 1/3-1/4 of the users to the new gmail system and it's been over a year and 1/2/.  What is the hold up and how much is it costing to do this cut over?

I think for a startup with 1-5 users, maybe project based consulting job, or where documents are not trade secret, this might be a good starting off solution. Once a business get's it's feet on the ground, financially accountable to board members, holding other lients private data(accounting or legal) - I think a hosted Exchange solution is a better fit because of ownership and control of the data.

Our approach is different for clients. We do a combo of Cloud and on-premise solutions that there is not single point of failure in-case of a disaster.

We do believe in the cloud. If and only if you control the data(servers) and make them redundant.
If you don't control, control access to and have a solid DR solution, then I cannot give blessing to a client that "just  wants to move to Google" They have to know what they are getting into.

I personally like Google. I have a google account. Not for serious work but it's fast and great for filtering junk. But for business I cannot see moving my whole infrastructure to it.

  • Are you a business using Google Apps?
  • Are you selling google apps to clients?
  • Do the "-" mention above don't bother you?

If you want to know more about our approach for a hosted cloud based solution which includes a complete disaster recovery proof solution, (a Cloud and on-premise based solution), don't hesitate to give us a call and we can give you all the information.




Garett
_____________________________
CEO
TVG Consulting
818-579-7370
"Providing the Ibuprofin for your IT Pains"
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Business process, documentation, IT Policies = fun.

We are in full blitz on making sure we have documentation on all processes that comes up with clients(always something new), vendors(always growing) and HOW TO's.

Nilo, our lead managing technician here at TVG, has worked at Symantec and the server deployment teams at the Orlando Magic. Large large environments. Process is almightly. SLA for this, standard for this, process for that. It seems impersonal in the large environments, but it is one of the most effective time saving solutions any company can deploy.

 We have broken our documentation into 4 categories:

  •  HOW TO's / KB System
  • Vendor Proceesses/ KB system
  • Client Specifics
  • General Client notes
We've have the Knowledge bases system and client notes, but as you all know, we have a ton of information on all our clients.

We use Autotask. We have used AT for the last 2 years, and there is so much more to learn. Very cool very productive - if you use it.

We are trying to manage this monster of documentation and it's turning out to be a actual fun project. It's going to be great because when we hire additional technicians, they will know:
  • exactly how and where to go for answers
  • how to deal with specific situation,
  • what vendor to contact in what situation,
  • when to forward issue to Adavnced server team,
  • how and when to follow up,
  • how to handle an irate client, 
  • how to install new desktop processes,
  • how to do a webinar,
  • how to document new information
 You can never document everything, but the more you put down, the more you automate, the more you can effecitvely improve communication, and efficiency.

 For a great reference that I reccomend every SMB to read is:
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

Do you need an IT Policy at your company? Do you need a little more control on how your employees use the network? Email or call us today: 818-579-7370 x 205


Garett

______________________________
CEO
TVG Consulting
818-579-7370
"Providing the Ibuprofin for your IT Pains"
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Air Travel Tips with Your Mobile Devices

 There are plenty of general tips at various websites and blogs for air travelers, but few address travelling with your laptop and gadgets in tow. The following advice will save you time and perhaps even make the trip a more pleasant experience.

Keep it light. Bring the absolute minimum you need. Stuff can easily get lost, shuffled around, or become quite heavy in a run from one gate to the next. If you’re a frequent traveler opt for a netbook or an ultralight laptop. And if a PDA or smartphone will serve your needs, use that instead.

Carry it on. Don’t put your gear in your check-in luggage – you’d be appalled at how your luggage is handled at some airports. It’s routinely stacked, thrown around, and dropped. Always bring your expensive electronic equipment on board with you.

Be prepared to unpack it. In many airports, you’ll be asked to unpack your laptop for x-ray. Normally you’ll be asked to put it in a bin on the conveyor belt for x-ray. Make sure to use a carrying bag that’s easy to open and repack.

Be alert. It’s very common for technology items to be stolen in airports and even on the plane. Never let your items out of your sight. Don’t leave them behind where they can get lost, and always be on guard.

Keep it accessible. Airport regulations require you to shut off your device during the takeoff and landing. Keep your devices easily accessible, preferably near your body or tucked into the pocket seat in front of you. If you have information stored in your phone or mobile device such as your itinerary, the person who is picking you up at the airport, rental car information, etc., you’ll thank yourself later for keeping it within easy reach.

Traveling can be exciting, but without the proper preparation can also be a pain. Hopefully these tips will help make your next air travel adventure more pleasant.

If you need help connecting those devices or how to work "pain free" with your mobile gadgets, don't hesistate to call us!

Garett
CEO
TVG Consulting
818-579-7370
"Providing the Ibuprofin for your IT Pains"
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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting ahold of a company's support number!!

Frustrated on how to get ahold of a companies support line, or their right deparment?
Having to weed through the
"press 1, for sales 1 department, 2 for someone who hangs up on you, 3 for a rude technician, 4 for an endless loop of musak, 5 for dead air"

Found this little site that acutally works:

http://customerservicenumbers.com/default.aspx

Our support number is right on our page:
818-579-7370 x 200  - FYI

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An everyday Geeks venting on helping "less skilled" Friends and Family on computers

A family member actually sent this to me and was laughing when they sent it.
So true.
So true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySve0dssW98


Have you all run into this before with friends or family?


-Garett
TVG Consulting
'The Aspirin for your IT headaches"
computer consultant Burbank, computer consultant 91601, computer consultant north Hollywood, tech support 91601, tech support Santa Monica,  computer support Santa Monica, ca, computer consultant woodland hills, Computer support 91620, network consultant 91601, IT consultant Burbank 91601, tech support north Hollywood, small business computer support encino, tech support encino, computer support north Hollywood, computer consultant burbank, computer consultant encino

Friday, March 19, 2010

Love logmein, but big security issue just found.

At TVG we utilize LMI for backup remote access to desktops and servers. Great service for us.
Provides backup access, multiple connections at a time and solid.

PROBLEM:
LMI just release a MAC Free to Pro trial for 15 days. Sounds good and why not?

ISSUE: ANYONE USING LMI with multiple accounts.
If a user from company A, who only has access to their desktop, nobody else with their GROUP(that you have given them access to), suddenly clicks on the FREE 15 day PRO TRIAL, they can then see ALL OTHER MAC desktops, servers in ALL other groups/companies that are completely separate and isolated.
  • NOT only can they see other MAC's, but they can upgrade ANY MAC they can see in any groups in any company that has MAC's on LMI.
Actual scenario:
  • If you have 40 Companies, some with MACs on LMI with PC's.
  •  Say Company 1 has a MAC user that needs access to their work desktop.
  • The 1 user, clicks on the 15 day trial within their account.
  • Then that 1 MAC user at Company 1 can then see ALL other MAC's in companies 2-40 and UPGRADE their accounts to the PRO trial.
  • Company 1 MAC cannnot access other MAC's, but can SEE them and UPGRADE them.

Again, cannot access them, but see other companies they should never be able to see.

WOW. Frigthening thought. We tested and confirmed.
Called LMI and were in shock and are working on it and agreed not supposed to happen.

Will update ASAP.

If your interested, email newsletter@tvgconsulting.com to get on alerts that we send out about these updates to client and non-clients.

-Garett
CEO
"The Advil for your IT pains"
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Friday, March 5, 2010

I cannont stop smiling. My best week ever to date. I cannot actually believe I am living it

We are truely blessed.

Have a great week!

Garett
CEO
TVG Consulting
computer consultant Burbank, computer consultant 91601, computer consultant north Hollywood, tech support 91601, tech support Santa Monica, Ca computer support Santa Monica, ca, computer consultant woodland hills, Computer support 91620, network consultant 91601, IT consultant Burbank 91601, tech support north Hollywood, computer support north Hollywood

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life and Times in of Entrepreneurship

A partner of TVG's, Vlad over at OWN, has a post that bleeds’ into other concerns happening to SMB in IT and other markets/business owners.

http://www.vladville.com/2010/02/emotional-disclosure.html

Vlad can sometimes say it straight, you might not like it, and he can have a sort of a king-of-the hill attitude. He has a right to be. I think he's right on this point in the blog.

Decision have to be made one way or another.

You have to ask yourself:

This has to happen, or we're going to try to make it happen and give it a shot?

I am running a company or is this a hobby?

I don't care what happens, I will make it OR I'm going to give it my best for 3 months and then stop if I don't make it.

It's OK to quit and change jobs, professional. BUT MAKE A DECISION.

Personally, starting off, we were in that situation. I think ALL entrepreneurs are in that situation in the beginning. Funding with your own capital, hitting the pavement, banging on all doors that would creek open. Bending over backwards for the silliest requests and needs.

Then something clicks. There is a point. A REFUSAL NOT quit and win at any cost, no matter how the hell the current situation looks.

A REFUSAL to not give up and constantly BANG your head until something sticks and or reveal itself.

A REFUSAL to QUIT the attitude of negative thoughts seeping in and affecting your business, your kids and your family and your overall attitude.

Might sound non-techy here but, ATTITUDE can compensate for lack of job history/Experience, previous FAILURES, previous LOST clients, FAILED jobs, FAILED bid's you lost out on.

Attitude can make or break you. You might think I'm nuts, but try it for 7 days.

Eliminate ALL NEGATIVE thoughts and attitudes.

If you are constantly in your head questioning yourself, ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!!

Ask BETTER questions of yourself.

Don't ask:

Why am I not getting any new clients?
The answer is: Because you complain like a little KID AND your an idiot for asking that stupid question.

Instead, ASK:

How am I going to get new Clients? Then you will think more in line with what you want and you will think like the Entrepreneur you set out to be.

Anything negative, ELIMINATE it:

"What is he talking about? He's crazy" = negative.

"Man this client is such a pain" = negative

"Oh, I don't want to drive out there. He only needs 1 hour of work" = Negative.

Millionaire's Shimllionaires

Successful Millionaires found out the secrets of previous Millionaires. How they did it. How they thought. Why they thought that way.

As a start - >They THINK and ACT and have the right ATTITUDE of millionaires.

We all know what it's like to have success in our lives. No matter what level you are and/or when you FELT success- you still have it and that ability.

Look at the way Vlad blogs and presents himself! Nothing can stop him. His Attitude is everything. You might not agree with him, but he's doing something right.

Surround yourself with positive people, positive forces, and attitudes.

Honestly, these 3 things can change your life, not just your company. It really is a game changer.

Hang in there.

Monday, February 8, 2010

TIPS: Windows 7 : Should we install it at our Corporate Office?

If you haven't moved to Windows  7 yet, and your not a die hard MacHead, then you should.

Yes, it looks like Vista, which causes you to break out in a cold sweat. BUT it has a alot more easy to access settings, FASTER, really smart in finding out devices on the network, and FAST to install applications.
It does look different, but so does a MAC or Windows XP did, or Windows 3.11.

As a Tech Support Company for small businesses, it is the closest thing to Windows XP for diagnoistics as we can find. Compatibility issues are thinning out, and the intuitiveness of the OS can officially be reckoned with and can stop the complaints of it not being "Social Media" friendly while being a buiness machine at the core.

For a Client with a Server and a Domain, we believe it satisfies the FLASHYness of MAC experience(yes we use MAC's) but more importantly, in the corporate world, it satisfies all business line of applications that a company uses AND has the SOCIAL media looking/gadetry experience. (IF your company allows that policy)


We'll periodically post some hints and tricks to customizing your Windows 7 experience and make it easier to work with if your having issues.


TIP 1: Desktop ICONS.
Windows defaults the desktop ICONS to HUGE.
How to shrink them?
Select all the desktop ICONs, by left clicking.
Then with your scroll mouse, scroll up and down. Watch them shrink.

Need help with your Network? Has your server been down and no IT help insite?

Call us now and let us help you resolve those IT headaches!
Garett's Extention818-579-7370 x 205
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Handly list of error codes for Email Exchange Server

Applies to SBS, and exchange:

Microsoft Exchange Mail Server NDR Error Codes

4.2.2 The recipient has exceeded their mailbox limit. It could also be that the delivery directory on the Virtual server has exceeded its limit.

4.3.1 Not enough disk space on the delivery server. Microsoft say this NDR maybe reported as out-of-memory error.

4.3.2 Classic temporary problem, the Administrator has frozen the queue.

4.4.1 Intermittent network connection. The server has not yet responded. Classic temporary problem. If it persists, you will also a 5.4.x status code error.

4.4.2 The server started to deliver the message but then the connection was broken.

4.4.6 Too many hops. Most likely, the message is looping.

4.4.7 Problem with a timeout. Check receiving server connectors.

4.4.9 A DNS problem. Check your smart host setting on the SMTP connector.

4.6.5 Multi-language situation. Your server does not have the correct language code page installed.

5.0.0 SMTP 500 reply code means an unrecognized command.

5.1.x Problem with email address.

5.1.0 Often seen with contacts. Check the recipient address.

5.1.1 Another problem with the recipient address. Possibly the user was moved to another server in Active Directory.

5.1.2 SMTP; 550 Host unknown. An error is triggered when the host name can’t be found.

5.1.3 Another problem with contacts. Address field maybe empty. Check the address information.

5.1.4 Two objects have the same address, which confuses the categorizer.

5.1.5 Destination mailbox address invalid.

5.1.6 Problem with homeMDB or msExchHomeServerName - check how many users are affected. Sometimes running RUS (Recipient Update Service) cures this problem. Mailbox may have moved.

5.1.7 Problem with senders mail attribute, check properties sheet in ADUC.

5.2.x NDR caused by a problem with the large size of the email.

5.2.1 The message is too large. Else it could be a permissions problem. Check the recipient’s mailbox.

5.2.2 Sadly, the recipient has exceeded their mailbox limit.

5.2.3 Recipient cannot receive messages this big. Server or connector limit exceeded.

5.2.4 Most likely, a distribution list or group is trying to send an email. Check where the expansion server is situated.

5.3.0 Problem with MTA, maybe someone has been editing the registry to disable the MTA / Store driver.

5.3.1 Mail system full. Possibly a Standard edition of Exchange reached the 16 GB limit.

5.3.2 System not accepting network messages. Look outside Exchange for a connectivity problem.

5.3.3 Remote server has insufficient disk space to hold email. Check SMTP log.

5.3.4 Message too big. Check limits, System Policy, connector, virtual server.

5.3.5 Multiple Virtual Servers are using the same IP address and port.

5.4.0 DNS Problem. Check the Smart host, or check your DNS.

5.4.1 No answer from host. Not Exchange’s fault check connections.

5.4.2 Bad connection.

5.4.3 Routing server failure. No available route.

5.4.4 Cannot find the next hop, check the Routing Group Connector. Perhaps you have Exchange servers in different Routing Groups, but no connector.

5.4.6 Tricky looping problem, a contact has the same email address as an Active Directory user. One user is probably using an Alternate Recipient with the same email address as a contact.

5.4.7 Delivery time-out. Message is taking too long to be delivered.

5.4.8 Microsoft advise, check your recipient policy. SMTP address should be cp.com. NOT server.cp.com.

5.5.0 Underlying SMTP 500 error. Our server tried ehlo, the recipient’s server did not understand and returned a 550 or 500 error.

5.5.2 Possibly the disk holding the operating system is full. Or could be a syntax error if you are executing SMTP from a telnet shell.

5.5.3 More than 5,000 recipients. Check the Global Settings, Message Delivery properties.

5.5.5 Wrong protocol version

5.6.3 More than 250 attachments.

5.7.1 Permissions problem. For some reason the sender is not allowed to email this account. Perhaps an anonymous user is trying to send mail to a distribution list. Check SMTP Virtual Server Access Tab. Try checking this box: Allow computers which successfully authenticate to relay User may have a manually created email address that does not match a System Policy.

5.7.2 Distribution list cannot expand and so is unable to deliver its messages.

5.7.3 Check external IP address of ISA server. Make sure it matches the SMTP publishing rule.

5.7.4 Extra security features not supported. Check delivery server settings

5.7.5 Cryptographic failure. Try a plain message with encryption.

5.7.6 Certificate problem, encryption level maybe to high.

5.7.7 Message integrity problem.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Helping out your IT deparment...Help you.

Here at TVG Consulting, we support a wide variety  vertical markets: Financial, Education, Government, Non-Profit, Entertainment, Tax and Legal attorney to name a few.

We provide complete IT enterprise level support for companies that range from 10 -250 employees in 1 or multiple locations - on a small business budget. This includes managing a clients Email and File servers, data backup, instant remote control support and English speaking helpdesk, for all employees at the company. We have the ability to do 95% of all your issues remotely vs waiting for a tech to come out. We can resolve your issues almost immediately as soon as you call in or open a ticket.
Ok - enough already.

Point of this entry:  Users will be users. They will listen to protocol when it works for them.
More importantly I want to mention how to help out your IT department when you have a computer/technical issue.

The more detailed you can be when calling in or opening a ticket with what your problems is, the FASTER and more efficient your IT department can help you out in resolving your issue.

Let's give some good actual examples and, well, bad ones:
(we includes these examples in out New Client Handouts when how to use the IT Department efficiently.

User Cannot Print



  • Good:  “I cannot print. I tried unplugging it.  It turned it off and on, but it has this red light blinking on it, but I don’t know how to stop it.”
  • BAD: “I cannot print”

User reported slowness of computer
  • Good: “For some reason my system really slowed down, then it froze. I was working on Photoshop, and had like 5 emails open, then I plugged in my USB external drive, then it locked. I know the drive is good, but just locked it.”
  • BAD: “My computer stopped working”

User reported their phone has issues
  • Good: “My blackberry phone is not getting emails all of a sudden. I can make calls. I cannot browse with the blackberry browser, it just goes blank. I have a big RED x when I try to send emails and I don’t see a large EDGE in the top right. Oh, I'm with ATT and it’s a Blackberry Bold. Thanks.”

  • BAD: “My phone doesn’t work”
User reported the have an issues logging on to their computer
  • Good: I just sat down and I cannot log into my desktop. I noticed it took me 3 times to actually start the computer. Then I notices that the network cable seems to be unplugged. Should this be plugged in? I don’t who did it. Thanks. 
  • BAD: “My computer doesn’t work and I cannot get to my desktop”

You can see how a user can be frustrated when something doesn't work. They have NO idea what the problem is. BUT if you do have an IT company that supports you, if you can give as much information as you can, the support team can help resolve your issues faster and more efficient which allows you to get back on your desktop and back to work.

Need Help call TVG for FREE 27 point network audit to see where some of your pain points are and give you 2 free hours of support.

Office: 818-579-7370

Garett
TVG Consulting
"Taking the Rocket Science out of IT"
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Obstacles scholbstacles in 2010

Here is a great quote that is very relevant by Niccolo Machiavelli.

Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.

2010 has a lot of potential this year - if your in the right mindset. The financial forecasters say that the 2nd market crumble is coming soon, the job creations is not legitimate  and alot of guru's are saying look for selling to other countries vs domestic.

I'm not here to say that all the above is not going to be true or it will or will not happen.

If it does. It does . If it does not it doesn't.

You have to see the truth behind what is apparent  the reality in front of you. The reality is there is MORE than enough business in these times. There is MORE than enough money in the universe. It's won't run out.
Your just not looking in the right area. Your just not asking the right questions. Your just not finding the right people who can spend it.

Essentially - you are an entrepreneur. You stopped working for somebody else because you found a passion, a desire, a satisfaction in working for yourself. You will never go back. You cannot fail. You must push forward and find that solution, that client, that next job.

There is no other option but success.

TVG Consulting - "Taking the Rocket Science out of IT"
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ITUNES - Activate...no Deactivate!

Forgetting which computers you've activated with your ITUNES account? Cannot play music because of authorization issues? Upgraded your machine to Windows 7 or you mac crashed, and have to reinstall?

Well, Apple doesnt make it easy but here is there direct link for HOW to Deauthorize.
Apple Deauthorization page
Deauthorize them all is the solutions, then re-do.

Basically, on a machine with ITUNES, goto to Store, login with account, select VIEW ACCOUNT option, then there will be option to "deauthorize all" - select this and all computers with be deauthorized.

SPECIAL NOTE: You can only use this feature 1x per year. The Deauthorize button will not appear if you have fewer than 5 auth computers, or if you've used within last 12 months.


Now, you will have to RE-authorize all you computers that you want, but you will be ok.

Another hint for 7.5 +, is log into accountCLICK on APPLE ID(top right) and deauthorize all.

You will not lose any of your songs.

Hope it helps.

Garett
TVG Consulting -
"Taking the Rocket Science out of IT"
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