Professional Development for Healthcare Professions Blog

Monday Technology Tip- Know Your Machine

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Med-Line School of Medical TranscriptionThere were no articles last week because I was out on a business trip.

At some point, in fact at many points, in your education and career, someone is going to say to you “tell me about your system configuration.” Sadly, many have no clue what kind of computer they are using. Usually you are told Dell, PC, or Mac. This is really sad as the computer is one of the MTs most important tools. Without it, you cannot work remotely. You must know this information without having to check. If you have to go look when asked, it is a matter of professional development.

The reason you are asked about your system is that many MT platforms do not work with certain operating systems, Internet explorer versions, or a 64-bit operating system. It is very common for a job ad to mention system requirements. If your system does not meet these requirements, applying for the job is useless and applying without the requirements will just annoy the recruiter.

So today, you are going to become an expert.

Mac or PC

If you do not know this, then you seriously need intensive computer skills training. Macs can work with training; however, most MT platforms will not be Mac compatible. Keep this in mind if you are considering working as an IC.

Operating System

If you are using windows and the little flag in the lower left is a rectangle, you are using Windows XP. If it is a circle, you are using Vista or Windows 7. Ironically the old Windows XP is still one of the most popular versions for MTSOs as many do not want to upgrade software. So do not be so quick to upgrade.

32- or 64-bit

Without going into too much here, most older PCs are 32-bit. Most newer laptops are 64-bit. Simply put, 64-bit is newer, faster, and the future of PCs. There is a lot of potential here; however, software must be written for it as a 32-bit version and 64-bit version interact differently with the system. You can install a 32-bit version of Windows on a 64-bit machine but not the other way around. I only mention that because you can have a 64-bit computer and be running a 32-bit operating system. Yep. It is confusing. Just accept it. Sometimes putting that 32-bit version on is enough to fix any issues. Sadly, it usually requires a complete hard drive wipe and restart from the beginning. Many platforms are not compatible with a 64-bit system. They will be when/if the vendor updates the software to incorporate the newer technology. You can see why they need to know if your 64-bit. If you are and their system only works on 32-bit, then there is no need to consider you for employment unless you buy a new PC, try a 32-bit version of the Windows software, or they send you a computer. XP is only 32-bit. Vista and Windows 7 can be either.

For more specific information---Windows 7/Vista- Click the flag in the lower left. Click Control Panel. Click System and Security. Click System. You will then see all the info you need.

You want to see the Windows version, amount of RAM, 32- or 64-bit operating system.

Internet Explorer

Even though many complain that Internet Explorer makes your computer vulnerable, it is the reason you can work from home. Your computer uses Internet Explorer to interact with the MTSO and your computer. It is the portal to the system. Never upgrade without checking wit your school or employer to be sure that their system is compatible with the new version. It is extremely common for there to be a 6-month or more delay until it will work with the new Internet Explorer.

Open Internet Explorer and look for a question mark in the upper right. Click it and look for About. Clicking that will tell you the version.

Microsoft Word

Your Word version is sometimes important. Many platforms use the Word on your computer to handle the data input. Usually there is a question mark in the upper right (there is on 2010). Click it to see your word version.

Hard Drive Size

You need to know this so people can be sure you have enough space for their software. Here is a tutorial to check this depending on your operating system

Okay, there you have it. Now respond and tell me your system configuration. I will go first.

Windows 7 64-bit

6 Mb Ram

Internet Explorer 9

Word 2010

270 GB free