Category: JayTech Solutions


Trending Vulnerability

I’m reading an article that blows my mind. It’s not an uncommon article or even a surprise, but its a shocking reminder. The topic… Chrome and Firefox users are horrible at updating their browser to protect themselves from the latest security vulnerabilities. 

 

Kaspersky is quoted saying “Firefox users take an average of 30 days to upgrade to the latest version, giving criminals a lengthy window to launch new attacks.” This is alarming. 

 

Lets be clear about something. Lets talk about security and vulnerability. Windows computers are most susceptible to a virus why? Because it is the most popular operating system. Attackers are going to spend time writing virus material for something that can and will easily and widely spread. Apple didn’t elude attacks because they are taking the appropriate steps and securing your data, they simply aren’t attacked…yet. As they grow in popularity, they are seeing trends of increasing attacks. 

 

Which smartphone OS is being attacked with 4 different viruses on 2 different versions? Android OS… because why? Yes, (as I cringe to say) it is currently the most popular OS. 

 

Computer users originally switched to browsers like Chrome and Firefox because they were safer than Internet Explorer. They were safer because they were less popular. Thats the bottom line. As they became more and more common as the go-to browser, they too became susceptible to attacks because attackers started writing attacks targeting them and their users. 

 

Now, unfortunately, every update that comes out is not always regarded as worthy or even stable. Our developers are allowed to release anything they wish that has a “final release” badge on it, while often at best its Beta… another topic for another time. You just need to stay alert to the security aspects, and take responsibility for security risks that you could be spreading to your friends and family out of neglect. 

 

#LifeTip: For every person that moves to something trendy, there is an equal number of people trying to spoil the fun. 

Advertisements

Listen, I want to clear the air.

When I make PC jokes, (even though they are regularly directed towards Microsoft) please know that I am an all around fan of computers. I simply know enough about what makes them tick to mock them, and I am not smart enough to design them, only build and fix them.

I can give you pointers, tell you what stinks and what doesn’t, I have bench tested most operating

systems, if not on my own machines, maybe I hacked one of yours to try out your system, who knows. The point is, when I say things like “”Microsoft: “”You’ve got questions. We’ve got dancing paperclips.” I don’t mean any harm, thats just really funny. So lighten up and have a chuckle.

The point is… computers are like air conditioners — they stop working properly if you open WINDOWS.

I am here to fix them

You should not expect that doubling up on Anti-Virus software will offer double the protection. You should not consider that one piece of software offers protection against this or that, and this other one offers protection on the missing component not offered by the first one. 

 

You can be certain, that they actually cancel one another out, shut off each others features, and in some cases, entirely block particular features and components from even being downloaded to begin with. 

 

If you are changing your software, you’ll need to shut the existing one down before moving forward on the install of the new selected software. You’ll need to 100% remove the existing software, and if you have any doubt at all that every file and folder has been removed, or if you are not sure how to be sure, you should not be the one performing this task. 

 

Happy computing.

Re-calibrate your battery

Regardless of your usage habits, or circumstances, battery care is in direct proportion to battery life. And by baterry life I do not mean how long your battery stays charged. What I mean by battery life is how many months/years (charge cycles) it will perform for you as it did when you first got it, and after it starts to deminish, how quick it goes downhill from there. Its endurance.

It is not good to keep a battery at 100% charged all the time, or to leave it charging for any real length of time. It’s really not possible to say how much time is good or bad, everything battery related is truly dependent on usage habits, and each and every person/circumstance is different. It is highly recommended that you practice this calibration once a month at the very least.

  1. With machine on plugged in, let it charge to 100% and remain at 100% for a 2 hour period.
  2. Unplug and leave it on and running until it drains fully, putting itself to sleep.
  3. Let it sleep for a 5 hour period , unplugged/not charging.
  4. Plug it back in and let it charge back to 100%, let it remain at 100% for a 2 hour period.

That is it! For best results do this 1-2 times a month. For laptops that rarely get used, 2-3 times a month. Remember a battery has little ions that are designed to move around… so give them a full workout.

Internet Explorer 9 is in Beta. Trust me when I say “Beta can be a headache”.  An increasingly large number of the machines I repair lately show syptoms that are consistantly related to this particular Beta. At this time please do not ask me for developer details, as with any Beta… its an ongoing change/nightmare. The purpose of this bog is to help you remove it, and get back up and running.

 

The updates date back as far as (maybe further) April 17th. If your machine is set up to auto update, you still have to acknowledge and approve of this update. Issues do not become noticeable immediately. Symptoms include: stuck in boot up, side bar and access bars freezing or disappearing, security vulnerabilities compromising virus anti-virus stability…etc. Typically, machines running Windows 7 do not experience issues. Windows Vista on the other hand, if your computer is not booting or acting like it has a Virus.. step 1 is to remove IE9. Even if it won’t boot, its simply a BIOS issue and if tried enough times… it will eventually boot. IE9 not being compatible with Vista is Microsofts way of saying “whoops, we realize Vista sucks and are working to make it obsolete soon” On to the uninstall process…

 

Option 1: Click “Start” and type “programs and features” and open it. In the top left you’ll see “view installed updates” click on it. Scroll down to “Microsoft Windows” and look for “Internet Explorer 9”. Right click and click uninstall. In the highly likely event that you do not see Internet Explorer 9 under that listing proceed to option 2.

 

Option 2: (Same first step) Click “Start” and type “programs and features” and open it. In the top RIGHT corner in the search field, type: “expl” and hit enter. you should now see a list of installed Internet Explorer versions. Right click on IE9 and uninstall.

 

Once the uninstall completes, you will be asked to restart your computer. Make sure all other work is saved in any other programs, and restart. Upon restart, you will get a pop up asking you to install Internet Explorer 8. Do that.

 

Hope this helped. Smile

When you sign up for an Evernote account (and you should), you freely and automatically get an auto generated  @m.evernote.com email address that you can send ANYTHING to and it will put it directly into your selected default notebook. Remember that whatever you use as the “Subject” Evernote will use as the “note title” so keep it accurate and not too long. (For this reason I have created a default Notebook as “Inbox” which i very frequently drag/drop from. 

So send your favorite RSS, webpage, email content… you name it. Snap a photo of a restaurant menu or favorite bottle of wine and send it on. Whatever you find that you like and would normally email somewhere, you can email it directly into your notebook.

If you re unsure how to obtain what that email address is, please comment with which operating system you use, and I would be glad to give further instructions.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1

Its always exciting to see the 1st Service Pack release of a new operating system. Windows 7 is no exception, with the many user friendly settings that just don’t seem to function. They ARE working on it, (although some seem to lead us to believe they actually released it as a Beta test version neglecting some very obvious faults). It is however, a very exciting operating system worthy of consideration, as exciting as Windows can be anyway. 😉

You can find out the latest Service pack installed on your machine by following these steps:

  • Right mouse click on “My Computer”
  • Select “Properties”
  • Below “Windows Edition” you may or may not see “SP1” (If you do not, click: start/all programs/windows update
  • Service Packs are good, and I recommended installing them.

*NOTE: Before installation of any update, you’ll notice “space required” for that update (or for total of all updates), its important to know that after installation a good portion of that space will be reclaimed by the operating system, it only needs all that space for installation and execution. The latest Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is merely 533MB or less (depending), and has little impact on your hard drive.

*ANOTHER NOTE: If for “file sharing” reasons you need a less than authentic Service Pack, x86-based = 32-bit & x64-based = 64-bit

So there you have it… and here is a link for Windows 7, Vista & XP Service Pack general info and releases.

And now for a word from you operating system creators:

“Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is an important update that includes previously released security, performance, and stability updates for Windows 7. SP1 also includes new improvements to features and services in Windows 7, such as improved reliability when connecting to HDMI audio devices, printing using the XPS Viewer, and restoring previous folders in Windows Explorer after restarting.” – Microsoft

There was a time when you had to JailBreak your iPhone in order to obtain a setting that would allow you to see your iPhone battery, in an actual % remaining.  FYI that’s no longer the case.

Simple steps: In settings, tap general/usage and viola, there is your toggle. On/Off

Requirements:

  • iPhone 3GS w/ iOS 3.0 or newer,  iPhone 4 or iPad (standard iOS option)
  • iPhone 3G or older (must be jailbroken) install SBSettings in Cydia, tap more/extras and see toggle.

Recovery Mode… FEAR

FEAR… is one of the most common reasons for tolerating a slow computer. Maybe even the reason you have replaced an old run down computer that just won’t run the way it did when it was fresh out of the box. Maybe you get that “send error report” or xxx (whatever) dll.file is missing or corrupt. Familiar?

The FEAR is… Facing the costly repair shop bill?! Facing the fact that you don’t have the slightest idea what’s wrong with it, and just like your car you have to find some repair guy or some place that you can trust won’t rip you off. Does that sound right?

Lucky for you/us…. There are some computers out there that were built and loaded with that very thought in mind.

Presenting: “Recovery Mode” – the neat little partition set aside just for… You guessed it… Recovery. I’m not going to detail how it’s there, why it’s there or even where it’s at. I’m just going to tell you how to tell IF it’s there and how to use it. The goal, as always, is to help you avoid spending unnecessary $$ at your local repair shop.

The most obvious way to tell if it’s there is on system boot up. What I mean by that is, turn on your computer, and for a brief moment when you see boot options, one of them will be/may be, “Recovery Mode”. That’s somewhat common and often found on Windows XP Professional and Home Edition. Again that’s just the most obvious way, some systems have hidden it on boot up and there are a few different methods of bringing it up. More often than not it is by use of the F10 key. As soon as you press the power button, start whaling away at the F10 key repeatedly until you see windows start loading or until something else pops up on the screen. If that “something else popping up” happens and it says something about recovery mode, BAM!!! You’re in luck. If that “something else happens” but it says nothing at all about recovery mode, simply hold the power button until the machine shuts down completely. You won’t hurt anything, after all, it’s already a computer written off as a paper weight. So don’t be scared, turn it back on and try the same process with F11, F12 and simultaneously the control button held down w/ repeatedly pressing F11 or F10. The reason being is that different machines offer different functions while in boot up. To try all combinations only takes a few minutes, and it could save you hundreds of $$. Now, in the event that you tried it all, and nothing happens, it could mean that no recovery partition has been installed (which means this blog does not apply to you, sorry), or it could mean that “Boot options” are not enabled and you would need make a few changes. That’s not going to be covered in this blog, if enough interest is expressed (in comments) I will gladly go further into detail, just leave me a comment and ask.

Let’s assume for the sake of this blog that you are a lucky recipient of a computer with an installed recovery partition. Simply follow the couple steps, and you’ll be on your way to a “Restored to Factory Settings” computer. That’s right; it’ll be as good as new.

You will wipe out all saved data and files, all installed programs and need to take some steps to get yourself up and running in a safe manner. See my previous blog “AntiVirus 101” for security measures, and comment with any questions about getting the software you had, but now do not have.

Thanks for tuning in, and feel free to suggest a next topic for me to cover.

AntiVirus 101

There are so many different AntiVirus programs out there, that promise to protect you from more new and dangerous Trojans than the other company’s software. Well that is partly true… right this moment. Meaning that while thousands of different Virus types and Trojans surface the web daily, they are saying that they currently cover at least 1 that another company doesn’t. This is why selecting an AntiVirus Program that updates virus definitions regularly is critical. So just HAVING an AntiVirus program is only half the battle. Proper scan and update setup is the other half. Not all instances/user habits are going to require the same set up. I will address and answer most of what might be part of your selection process and set up process.

As with most of my material, this is something that most beginner – moderate level computer users can do on their own, without the need for expensive consultation. If you are unsure about something… just ask. I am very excited to help and connect with you. But I always give very basic and beginner level instructions, or warn you accordingly if “you should not try this at home”

The selection process. Let me help narrow this down quickly for you. SpyWare, Maleware and Virus protection – all 3 are critical. There are a lot of programs that package all 3 together for a pretty fair price. Some of them, high priced and cheap, are very sufficient once set up properly. You can even visit Microsofts website and now download for free, enough software to protect you on all levels. That’s the reason I am writing this blog… Because again I say, HAVING the software is only half the battle. Why spend time setting up 3 different programs? I recommend one that incorporates all packages and areas of protection into one program, so that you don’t miss any critical steps in setup, so that you don’t have to take so many extra steps regularly to stay protected, and to put the least load possible on your machine. Too many programs running in the background affect performance as well as life expectancy of your processor and computer in general.

To the point… I recommend AVG. First and foremost… Its FREE. Yes it’s free BUT, to it’s best ability, continuously finds clever ways to try to get you to upgrade. Ignore and move on if/when it occurs. While it IS ad supported, it won’t affect you or your pleasant computing experience. It’s not intrusive, it’s easy to set up, and I have had tremendous success, in that, I rarely have any customers with Virus concerns. All of my computers out there are running the FREE version of AVG downloaded from here and I am confident in saying that they are very protected (if you follow these steps, and even practice “safe surf”, you could still get a virus, please don’t write me with blame, only with questions).

So you have downloaded it, now to install & set it up. Close all programs. It’s a safe practice for installing any programs or software, to close out all other programs. Primarily because an installer may close it for you, causing loss of any unsaved data. Go ahead and click install…. Follow the steps BUT REMEMBER: “Avoiding Those Toolbars” is a great read before you start, because like I said AVG is ad supported, and they throw in a few annoyances that you’ll see after installation if you don’t follow the installation in my prior blog.

Once installed you’ll notice all sorts of errors and in the top right it will say “Fix All” – for the time being (because its an attempt to sell you an upgrade) pay no attention to it. You will also get pop ups that alert you to perform an initial scan, you can go ahead and do it, but it may slow down your PC, or you can ignore it and let it run the scan at the scheduled time. By tomorrow this time, it will be scanned and protected.

Just click on tools/advanced settings – and locate in the new window “Schedules” click on the little + to make it drop down and make yours look like the pictures below. (But be sure to read the text following the pics)

Notice in my pictures that the “Update” time is scheduled prior to the “Scan” time (for obvious reasons?) but that they are set for late at night. Set the program update for any time. Specifically note that its best to schedule them for when you are not likely to be on the computer. Its not imperative, it only helps because when you are on the computer, you don’t want stuff happening in the background as it affects how fast your computer works for you when you are on it. So I make all scheduled tasks for times when I am likely to be sleeping or at work while all of this is happening.

As I mentioned AVG packages all areas of protection, and more importantly shuts off any other software you might be using i.e. Windows defender, spybot…etc. My strong warning is, prior to installation of AVG (But after downloading AVG) go into control panel/add remove programs and get rid of any protection software you have been using or even have installed on your computer. Commonly computers come from the factory w/ trials of Norton and McAffe even though they have expired, they should not be there at all. They negate and fight one another and only one will win, but even the winner will be compromised. If you think to yourself, “I paid $49.99 for that, I am not deleting it” please remember I do not just offer free advice, I also offer paid services and can be available for hire to fix your PC if you do not listen to me 🙂 Delete it. Restart your computer once you are finished with everything.

So let me know how you make out… what would you like to know about next?