Setting up your new computer

Here are some of the things to consider when setting up your new  computer.


  • Get virus protection

    In the Windows operating system, an antivirus program is already built in. Ensure that it is turned on and operating, as it will guard against viruses and other malware. If you have a PC with an operating system dating before Windows 8, you may need to consider purchasing an anti-virus software. Here are some good options.

  • Some recommended settings

    You will also want to be sure that certain options are set on your computer, whether you are realtiming for yourself or sending the feed out to others. Check with your specific CAT software vendor for recommended settings. The following are items to think about when setting up your computer for realtime:

    • Turn off screensavers

      When you’re writing realtime, the lack of mouse and keyboard movements tell your computer it is not being used; therefore, your computer will automatically turn on your screensaver. You can avoid this by moving your mouse every so often or you can turn off your screensaver altogether.

    • Turn off hibernate/suspend features

      When you’re writing realtime, your computer recognizes these features as not being activated or used, so it's important to make sure they never hibernate or are suspended.

    • Universal Serial Bus (USB) controllers

      For each of the USB root hubs, make sure the box that says “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” is unchecked. This keeps your USB ports from going to sleep after a period of time for what the computer mistakenly sees as inactivity.

    • How to access device manager in Windows

      Find out how.

    • Windows updates

      Microsoft Windows frequently provides updates to the operating system. By default setting, your computer will automatically download these updates when you turn your computer on. These updates, at times, can be untimely. You can change this or schedule updates from the control panel. Many court reporters and captioners schedule updates for late at night to so as not to auto-update during the job. Find Windows 10 guidelines and recommendations provided by the NCRA Realtime and Technology Resource committee. 

It is important to note that when your computer does its routine Windows updates, those updates may change those settings described above back to their default settings. It is advised that you check all of these settings again after an update to ensure they are set to your recommended settings so as not to affect your realtime feeds. Just because you've set them once doesn't mean you won't have to troubleshoot those and check them again at some point.


About COM ports

To to be a successful realtime court reporter, you need to be familiar with the location of the COM ports. A COM port is a serial connection (as distinguished from a network connection). Each COM port connection is assigned a number. The number of each COM port needs to be entered in your CAT software settings for the pieces of software to talk to each other. These COM port connections are assigned and accessible via Device Manager.

While in Device Manager, there will be a list of available COM ports and the number they have been assigned. This is where you will look to see what COM port your writer is using and what COM port you are ending your realtime out with, if not using the router or virtual router option. This is also where you would check an attorney's computer to find out which COM port he is receiving the realtime feed through. Once these settings are made, you should rarely have to repeat the steps or look at it again on your computer and it is the first place you should check if you're having connection problems.


Network connections for realtime

Utilizing a network connection simply means having all of your computers and/or devices running off the same network.

There are two main types of computer networks:

  • The first is Wide Area Network (WAN), which connects computers and devices through public networks. (The Internet is the largest WAN network.)

  • The second is a Local Area Network (LAN), which provides a connection to a relatively small area. (In simple terms for realtime purposes, think of intranet as the connection that is limited to a room or building, depending on the strength of your router.) Although it is an option, you do not need an Internet connection to provide or utilize a LAN.

When connecting to a WAN or LAN, it is important to select “Connect Automatically” when you first connect to your network. This enables your computer to automatically search for the network if you get disconnected.

It is important to lay out in your instructions for attorneys on the receiving end, as not connecting automatically to your router or the Internet will cause a permanent disconnection and require action from them in order to reconnect each time. It can happen often. Just have them set to "Connect Automatically" and the problem is literally solved.


Browser connections for realtime

It has never been easier to provide realtime today. Gone are the days of cables! In addition to connecting via a network or a router, there are many options for connecting devices for realtime utilizing a browser.

Software installs, app downloads, or technicalities can slow you down when opening a realtime session.  There are several options from CAT vendors that allow your clients to follow your realtime immediately on any device with an internet connection. Check with your CAT software vendor for the latest in browser realtime options.



Last updated 8/1/2018