Author: Mike

-Microsoft Forcing Windows 10 down through Windows Updates-

I Woke Up & My PC Looks Different.

It seems there is not enough people ready to commit to Windows 10 yet so Microsoft is giving us a kick in ass. We have had an influx of clients calling us complaining about coming into work on Monday morning to find their PC has been upgraded to Windows 10 without any warning. We have had a mixed out come of scenarios for reverting their PCs back to Win7. Sometimes it rolls back without any problems, other times we see the message “An Error Has Occurred” leaving us to either leave Windows 10 on their PC or reinstall Windows 7. Even when the roll back is successful, Microsoft Office is corrupted and needs to be reinstalled. For those of us who are blessed with hard copies of Microsoft Office should be up and running in a few minutes. For everyone else, go find your key cards or your Microsoft store logins and figure out how to re-download it. We have also seen Quickbooks get corrupted as well, particularly versions that are not current.

How & Why Did This Happen?

Most people have Windows Updates set to automatically download and install. Microsoft used that to their advantage and sent the Windows 10 down in an update (guess they thought they were doing you a favor).

It’s Free, Right?

For whatever reason, Microsoft thinks this is necessary but it is not. Windows 7 is good to use until 2021 without any issues. If you don’t like Windows 10 you do not have to upgrade. The only reason to upgrade is if you like the word FREE. But be mindful of what free will get you. There are plenty of “Phone home to big brother services” in the new Operating system and MS says you can turn them off if you don’t like it. What they don’t tell you is there are more services that you are not privy to turn off.  Depending on which version of Windows 10 you upgraded to Automatic Updates are no longer an option to turn off.

I Got Windows 7 Restored, Now What?

First thing, DO NOT TURN OFF WINDOWS UPDATES! “It sounds logical, turn them off and Windows 10 can’t come down.” However, it also prevents windows from getting any security updates which are strongly advised. There are a few ways to remedy the problem. First, change Windows update settings to “Notify me but do not download or install updates”. This works but you will need to manually review, download and install every update. The second way is to check for updates, review them and look for the “Windows 10 Upgrade”. Right click it and select hide. This will prevent it from installing and allow automatic updates to continue to work properly.

If you still need help, give us a call and schedule a repair.

-Windows XP Going.. Going.. Gone!-

windows_xp_deadFor those who do not know yet Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP.
What does this mean? No more updates for Internet Explorer, No more security updates for the operating system, it is now officially RETIRED. Moving on, there is still Windows Vista (on the chopping block for April of 2017) or the stable Windows 7 which business has migrated to. For Home users, Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 on you and the votes are in with mixed results. Fortunately, Windows will be keeping us running until 2020. Windows 8 is scheduled for retirement a couple years after that in 2023.

WindowsXPMigrating to Windows 7 & beyond. The good, the bad and the expense.

A few things you may want to know about migrating to Windows 7 and later.

  1. Outlook Express is gone. You want a free mail client? there are many out there, but exporting mail to them flawlessly is not easy. If you want a painless journey you will want to pony up for a retail copy of Microsoft Office for around $200.images Home & Business includes Outlook, Home & Student does NOT. (Note: Office 2007 on up is supported on Windows7, Office 2003 and back are retired, Office 2k3 installs but we have seen problems with it even with a successful install so beware!)
  2. The location of My Docs, My Pictures, My Music & My Movies have been slightly relocated into a new location called My Library. Internet Explorer aka.IE8 was as current as you could get on Windows XP, Windows7 currently is on IE11. Warning upgrading from earlier versions needs caution as many browser driven applications are not compatible with it.
  3. For business, if you use Quickbooks but not for payroll, you are mostly likely not accustomed to upgrading Qbooks every 3yrs like the rest of us. Well, it is time to shell out some more cash to upgrade it. Quickbooks 2009 is the oldest version you can use on Windows7.
  4. Though Windows 7 runs nice on most XP hardware, BEFORE you decide you want to upgrade think about this: Your XP machine’s age.windows-8-logo The best case scenario is your machine is 2008, which means your machine is no younger than 7yrs old. Folks, PCs are not made to run forever. (I know you would like to think so but they don’t) If you get 5yrs out of a desktop you did well and should buy a new desktop, not upgrade. 7yr or older hard drives and various other parts are not your friend. More, importantly once you load Win7 and activate it on your old PC, Microsoft has placed in the EULA that it is NOT transferable to another PC.

For more information please contact us. We can help you make the move to Windows 7.

-Warning! Microsoft Does NOT Make House Calls. New Wave Of Phone Scams Has Arrived-

This article was taken directly from Microsoft’s “Avoid Phone Scams” page.

Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:

 

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.

Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you’re using.

Once they’ve gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:

  • Windows Helpdesk
  • Windows Service Center
  • Microsoft Tech Support
  • Microsoft Support
  • Windows Technical Department Support Group
  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

Report phone scams

Learn about how to report phone fraud in the United States. Outside of the US, contact your local authorities.

How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams

If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:

  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

  • Change your computer’s password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)Note: In Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. However, you can use it anytime to scan for malware if your computer isn’t working properly or you clicked a suspicious link online or in an email message.

    Learn more about Windows Defender

Will Microsoft ever call me?

There are some cases where Microsoft will work with your Internet service provider and call you to fix a malware-infected computer—such as during the recent cleanup effort begun in our botnet takedown actions. These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer. You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.

More information

For more information about how to recognize a phishing scam, see Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently.

If you need help with a virus or other security problem, visit the Microsoft Virus and Security Solution Center.

-Windows XP Coming To The End?-

Windows XP, Your days are numbered!

Yes. you heard it correctly. Nothing lasts forever, especially if you have a Microsoft product. Windows XP had a great run from 2001 and should have been retired in 2011 but with Windows Vista being a failure and nothing to step up and take it’s place, Microsoft extended the support for XP until April 8, 2014.

What does this mean to me or my company?

It means no more support via phone or web. No more Windows updates, new drivers, software or any new hardware will be designed for Windows XP. This is especially important to understand simply disconnecting your PC from the Internet will only act as a bandage. When your printer dies or you need a new video card, you will not be able to use them with XP. Your Anti-Virus Software was also told to stop writing support for XP as of April 8, 2014 as with all software developers.  Simply put, if you are still using XP after 04.8.14 you will be on your own heading to a bad place.

 

How do I avoid going to PC Hell?

Windows 7 has been out for several years now and proven itself as a worthy replacement. There are ton of new changes to look as you are make the move to the new platform.

  • Old Software & applications. 16-bit or 32-bit. You are going need to find out before moving to Win7 if they will still work, and if not, figure out what upgrades to software need to be done. NOTE: Check your Office suite & Accounting applications. Any version Of Microsoft Office older than 2007 will not work. Quickbooks follows the same, anything older than 2009 will not run on Windows7. Your anti-virus will also need to be upgraded to a x64 bit version.
  • Hardware. Printers & every other device attached to you computer or network needs to be verified if it will work correctly under Windows7. Microsoft also released a x32bit version and if you can, pass it by and go right to x64 as that will allow for better memory limits and put you on a better upgrade path to the future since all CPUs for the past few years are all x64 already.
  • PC System Requirements. You should have a x64 bit CPU, 4GB memory and at least an 80GB for Windows, Office & file storage. These specifics are not requirements by Microsoft, they are much more realistic and not bare minimum. If you use Microsoft minimum system requirements which are a x32 1gHz CPU & 1GB memory, Windows will install but will leave the user disappointed with the performance they get out of their PC as soon as they start using a few applications at the same time.

-PC Professionals’ Blog is now open.-

Greeting all!

We open this blog to inform our clients of any news, tips and resources that may help them with technical problems. This blog is an additional channel to ask questions. This is not a “How To” or “Free Support” Forum. We will assist you the best we can online, but if need be, you can bring your PC into the shop or schedule an appointment on site.