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December 2009 - Windows 7 & XP

December 2009

Windows 7 & XP

Many of our customers are asking: "Is Windows 7 better than XP?"  

Even though XP was released in 2001, it is still the operating system of choice.  A survey was completed by PCWorld magazine of more than 8000 people.  The top three reasons they haven't upgraded to Vista: 1.) Satisfaction with XP, 2.) Lack of Vista only features, and 3.) Concern over driver and compatibility issues.  Vista's failure to please is reminiscent of Microsoft's Windows ME flop.

Also reported in the survey: There were 26 percent of respondents who had already experienced Windows 7 as an operating system.  Of the users, 73 percent had a somewhat or very positive opinion of Win 7, while 11 percent viewed it very or somewhat negatively.  About half surveyed said they intended to move to Win 7 immediately or eventually. 

Still, 40 percent of those polled said they intended to stick with XP indefinitely.  Microsoft, however, ended mainstream support on April 14, 2009.  The company will still allow PCs to ship with XP downgrades for another 18 months after the release of Windows 7 or until the first service pack for Windows 7 is released--whichever comes first. 

According to Microsoft, April 8, 2014 is the end date for all XP support calls and security fixes for Windows XP.  After the cutoff, any problems or vulnerabilities in Windows XP will no longer be addressed by Microsoft, so from that point you will be on your own.

To see if your PC is ready for Windows 7 click here

Phishing Attempts  

With the holidays just around the corner, 'tis the season for phishing attempts to increase. 

What is Phishing?  Phishing is a form of Internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit cards, social security numbers, user IDs, and passwords. 

These attempts usually appear to be coming from a trusted email address, but sometimes the attacks can be accidentally or unintentionally downloaded from trusted or untrusted websites. 

One of the most notorious phishing events from last month was perpetrated via Facebook.  Who would have ever suspected Facebook accounts had been compromised? 

The main question we receive: "What do they benefit from phishing?"  Money, of course.  One of the most prevalent attacks are fake Antivirus programs.  These programs called "freeloaders" will popup on your screen and indicate that your computer is infected. 

The fake alert then scares users into purchasing their software to fix the problem.  Once the credit card is used to buy the fake Antivirus, not only does the scammer have the money paid for the fake software, the credit card number has been stolen and could be used for fraudulent purchases. 

The Lesson: Be careful online.  Be certain the sites you are shopping on are who they say they are.

Does Free 'Legitimate' Antivirus Software Work?  

The answer is yes, but the free programs might lack some of the other features included with paid versions such as a firewall, parental controls, or website filtering. 

While they do provide some value they don't have everything the paid versions do.  There will most likely be no tech support to call (unless you call us of course) but they do provide forums you can browse for solutions.

If you choose to utilize one the free, legitimate antivirus programs, however, you should note that in the AV-Test.org tests, AntiVir's malware protection ranked among the most effective compared to the other free applications. 

At PCTech, we do not endorse free antivirus software as none can guarantee 100% protection.  Instead, we offer a cost-effective customizable AntiVirus solution through Trend Micro or Kaspersky.

Dry a Submerged Cell Phone

Ever drop your phone into a not so dry place?  Many phones have seen the bottom of the ocean, fish tanks, hot tubs, pools, and even the toilet!  Can such a submerged phone be saved?  Quite possibly and very often, yes.

The first act of salvaging your important device is to retrieve it and immediately remove the battery.  If the battery doesn't pop out easily (iPhone's are notoriously difficult) at least turn off the power.  Also, remove your SIM card if you have one.

Remove as many pieces from the phone as possible and let the device air dry in a sunny area.  You might also want to try using a hair dryer to speed the process, but be careful since too much heat can damage the components.  

With your quick action, you may be able to save your phone just long enough to backup your essential information.  Thus, once your phone is completely dried, replace the battery and download/sync your data, music, photos, etc. ASAP!  If you wait, the internal components of the phone may finally corrode or short out, making recovery impossible. 

Since the phone may be still functioning after you backup your data, you might decide to continue using your phone.  Beware if you do!  While some phones have visited the bottom of the bowl and survived to be used for several weeks thereafter, they eventually die and many times without a warning such as a gradual decline in performance.  

If your phone won't turn on after you have thoroughly dried out the device, you are probably out of luck.  At this point, you can contact your phone company to determine if they can pull information off your SIM card.  

I Get Sound, But No Video

Why does my sound work but no video show up?  Typically your computer will come pre-installed with an MPEG-2 DVD Decoder plug-in.  This decoder allows your computer to join video and sound within your DVD player application.  Many times, however, computers develop this playback problem after your hard drive is  formatted or the operating system is reinstalled.   

In order to view the DVD video playback, you need to have a decoder installed.  Click here for the full article.

Free Powerpoint Viewer  

On occasion, our office receives a call because "I can't open Powerpoint files" or "I have this attachment with the extension .PPT so how do I open it?"  In order to create or edit Powerpoint files, you will need to purchase Microsoft Office or download a free office suite at www.OpenOffice.org.  If you already have the Office basic version installed but just need to view Powerpoint files, then click here for the free viewing tool.  

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Windows 7 & XP
  • Phishing Attempts
  • Does Free Antivirus Work?
  • Dry a submerged cell phone
  • I Get Sound, But No Video
  • Free Powerpoint Viewer


    

 

Needing a new PC?

The end of the year is the best time to invest that "little leftover budget" on new hardware. 

(There may even be fiscal advantages to doing this, so check with your tax advisor.)





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  PCTech Inc. 3510 Jeffco Blvd Suite 101           636.464.2400           
www.pctechrx.com

The above text is for informational purposes only & is not a substitute for legal, tax or other professional assistance.
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