Windows

Windows 9 Preview Set for Sept. 30: Reports

Microsoft is gearing up for the debut of Windows 9 next month, according to various news reports.

The software giant has tentatively scheduled a special press event for Sept. 30 to introduce Windows 9, people with “knowledge” of Microsoft’s plans told The Verge.

Not much is known, as yet, about the new operating system — code-named Windows Threshold — although it is thought Microsoft will continue on with its numerical names. It is widely thought the new version will be known as Windows 9.

ZDNet reported Microsoft is planning to launch a “technology preview” of Threshold at the end of September or early the following month. According to the report, users would be able to test the operating system but, to do so, would need to have software updates automatically downloaded to the platform on a monthly basis.

Threshold — or Windows 9 — is expected to include a “mini Smart Menu,” separate windows for Metro-style apps running on the desktop and support for virtual desktops.

Microsoft, The Verge said, will be revealing some of the upgrades and new features at the Sept. 30 event. It is expected the operating system will launch as a beta preview soon after its debut.

 

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Windows 9 Preview Set for Sept. 30: Reports


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By cranbak on August 22, 2014 | Webmaster | A comment
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Microsoft Pulls Windows Patch After Users Report Computer Crashes

Microsoft has yanked a patch from Windows Update after receiving complaints from users that computers were crashing and restarts were problematic.

Users said MS14-045 had caused a Stop 0×50 error on some users’ systems, many of which were Windows 7 PCs running the 64-bit version of the OS. The software giant urged users to uninstall the update, which has been dubbed the ‘Blue Screen of Death.’

“Microsoft is investigating behavior associated with the installation of this update and will update this bulletin when more information becomes available,” the company said.

“Microsoft recommends that customers uninstall this update. As an added precaution, Microsoft has removed the download links to the 2982791 update.”

Multiple complaints were posted on Microsoft’s support discussion forum.

Microsoft suggested users try to boot up using Safe Mode — a solution many on the support thread said did not work.

Some users said they were able to regain control of their computers after using System Restore to set the device to a previous date. For this to work, however, they first had to boot the computer using original install media.

Microsoft habitually publishes its patches, but it did not publicize that MS14-045 should be uninstalled on its Microsoft Security Response Center or via Twitter.

For more information on how to deal with the problematic updates, go to Microsoft’s support site.

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Microsoft Pulls Windows Patch After Users Report Computer Crashes


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on August 18, 2014 | Webmaster
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Three Free Programs Every Windows PC Should Have

You probably already know how important it is to have virus and malware protection on any computer that gets on the Internet, but with so many options it can be difficult to know what you need, and it’s easy to overpay. Here are three free programs that every Windows PC should have installed to stay safe and run smoothly.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-virus program that comes pre-installed on Windows 8 machines and is available for download here. It’s compatible with older versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Once you install the program, cruise through the settings to insure that updates will download and install automatically, and scans will take place regularly and without your input.

If you’re concerned that allowing Security Essentials to run automatically will slow your system down, rest assured that it has very little impact on your computer’s resources. It’s also one of the most user-friendly security programs around, with a simple interface and easy to use features.

Recent antivirus tests have indicated that while Microsoft Security Essentials does a great job removing viruses, it is beginning to lag behind some of its competitors in quickly detecting new viruses and malware. This would indicate that Microsoft isn’t keeping the software as up to date as in the past. If you’re willing to take on a somewhat more complicated application in order to gain a bit in protection, consider checking out Avast Free Antivirus (free).

Why do I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials foremost if Avast is more effective? Because if a product isn’t simple and fully automated, you won’t be as likely to use it. The best antivirus is one that you install and never have to look at again, and Microsoft Security Essentials fits that bill. Also, because it’s created and updated by the same company that created your Windows Operating System, Security Essentials seamlessly integrates into Windows, making it one of the best virus removal tools for Windows PCs.

When a new virus or malware program hits the nets, it’s commonly referred to as “zero-day” or “zero-hour” malware. Our favorite software application to find and shield you from the newest bugs that traditional antivirus programs typically miss is Malwarebytes (free and premium versions available). Malware industry analyst Adam Kujawa explained how Malwarebytes works to Lifehacker contributor Alan Henry:

“Zero-hour malware can be any type of malware out there that traditional antivirus products have a hard time detecting, so it’s an additional security measure to protect the user from the kind of malware they are most likely to encounter while surfing the web…” Zero-day malware is often “distributed in drive-by exploits or even via hacked accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or Skype.”

Mr. Kujawa also explained that Malwarebytes has begun detecting what it refers to as “Potentially Unwanted Programs” (PUPs). These programs are typically adware that redirect users to sponsor sites, slow the browsing experience or generally convince the user that they serve a purpose while actually harming the system. Search toolbars are a common category of “PUP.” Malwarebytes will identify these programs and alert the user so that they can elect to uninstall the program and improve their system’s performance.

After you remove viruses, malware, adware and the like, you may notice that your system still isn’t running optimally. This is because these programs typically write themselves into your system’s registry – think of it like your computer’s internal directory. Once the program is gone, it leaves behinds fragments and holes in your system’s registry that can lead to errors, crashes or slow performance. Here’s where CCleaner (free) comes in handy.

First, remove any malware that’s managed to get past your protection software. Next, run CCleaner’s registry repair tool. It will go through and clean out the fragments that the malware left behind, patch holes in your system’s registry and generally make things run more smoothly.

One word of caution: CCleaner includes some advanced tools and options that aren’t for everyone. In order to (potentially) improve your surfing speed, CCleaner offers to remove temporary internet files and cookies. However, if you like your username and password to pre-fill at sites you frequent, you should refrain from deleting your cookies. Also, the Tools option includes the ability to disable things from starting up automatically and running in the background when you turn on your PC. While turning off things you don’t need can make a big difference to your computer’s start up time, it can also stop programs from working, even lead to system boot up problems. Proceed with caution if you elect to explore the more advanced features.

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Three Free Programs Every Windows PC Should Have


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Andrea Eldridge is CEO of Nerds On Call, which offers onsite computer and laptop repair service for homeowners and small businesses. Based in Redding, Calif., it has locations in five states. Contact Eldridge at www.callnerds.com/andrea.

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Windows 8 Maintenance — Uninstalling, Changing and Repairing Programs

Here are three simple maintenance tasks you can undertake in Windows 8 in order to speed up your computer or bring it back to peak efficiency:

1. Uninstalling programs — with Windows 8, or indeed any other earlier versions of Windows, you can increase your system’s performance by uninstalling apps or programs that you don’t use.

2. Changing programs — you can also add or remove features from certain apps or programs in Windows 8.

3. Repairing programs— if a program is not working properly you can repair it.

Undertaking these Windows 8 maintenance tasks yourself will save you time and money. They are quite easy to do if you just follow these simple instructions:

Uninstalling Programs in Windows 8

You should look for apps or programs that you hardly ever use. Uninstalling these programs will free up disk space, giving you improved performance from your computer.

You can uninstall either from the start screen or the desktop.

Uninstalling from the start screen

Follow these simple steps to install an app from the start screen in Windows 8:

  • Press and hold the app (if you are using a touchscreen monitor) or right-click the app tile (if you are using mouse).
  • Tap or click on Uninstall.

If you don’t want to uninstall an app, but want to remove it from your start screen, ignore Uninstall and instead tap or click on the app and select Unpin from start.

Uninstalling from the desktop

Here’s how you uninstall a program or app from your desktop in Windows 8. First you have to bring up the ‘search’ box.

If you are using a touch screen, swipe from the right edge of the screen and then tap Search. If you are using a mouse, point to the top right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and then click Search. Either way, the ‘search’ box should open. Then:

  • In search, type Control Panel and tap or click Control Panel.
  • Under the View By option, select Large Icons, and tap or click on Programs and features.
  • Select the program you want to install by tapping or clicking on it.
  • Tap or click on Uninstall.

After this, you just follow the instructions shown on the screen.

Changing a program

The change program feature works with apps or programs downloaded from the Windows store, and enables you to add or remove features from these apps and programs.

But before changing an app or program you should first make sure that it includes the latest updates. Go to the Windows Store and update the software. After that, proceed as follows:

First bring up the ‘search’ box as described under Uninstalling apps from the desktop above. Then:

  • In the search box, type Control Panel and then tap or click Control Panel.
  • Under the View By option, select Large Icons, and tap or click on Programs and features.
  • Select the program you want to install by tapping or clicking on it.
  • Tap or click on Change.

After this, you just follow the instructions shown on the screen.

Repairing a program

If an app or program is not working properly, you may be able to repair it.

However, if you got the app or program from the Windows Store, you should first make sure that it includes the latest updates. Go to the Store and update the software. After that, proceed as follows:

First bring up the ‘search’ box as described under Uninstalling apps from the desktop above. Then:

  • In the search box, type Control Panel and then tap or click Control Panel.
  • Under the View By option, select Large Icons, and tap or click on Programs and features.
  • Select the program you want to install by tapping or clicking on it.
  • Tap or click on Repair.

After this, you just follow the instructions shown on the screen.

Note: If you cannot see the repair option when you select the program then tap or click on Change to see if it includes a repair option.

If the repair is unsuccessful, you need to uninstall the app or program and then reinstall it.

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Windows 8 Maintenance — Uninstalling, Changing and Repairing Programs


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Paul Kennedy is the marketing manager of Jupiter Support (Ireland). He can be contacted by e-mail to paul@jupitersupport.ie. You can also go to jupitersupport.ie where you can use chat or Skype to talk with a technician free of charge. Alternatively you can call 0766803006 to speak to a technician and get free diagnosis/advice. Jupiter Support only charges a fixed fee of €19.99 to rid your computer of any and all viruses on a no-fix/no-fee basis.

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By cranbak on July 1, 2014 | Webmaster
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End Of Support Changes Little About Windows XP’s Popularity

By cranbak on June 9, 2014 | Webmaster
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Microsoft’s Free Windows To Come With Bings Attached – Re/code


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Microsoft's Free Windows To Come With Bings Attached
Re/code
That version, as the name implies, comes with the Bing search engine as the default within the Internet Explorer browser. Customers, of course, will be able to change the default search engine (or use an alternate browser). “This new edition will … I

and more »

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By cranbak on May 26, 2014 | Webmaster
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China Bars Windows 8 on All Government Devices

China has banned Microsoft’s Windows 8 from new government computers, seemingly in retaliation for the technology firm’s decision to discontinue support for its aged XP operating system — an OS that remains popular in China.

Although the Chinese government made the announcement restricting the OS in a notice about the use of energy-saving products, Xinhua, the country’s official news source, says the government actually made the decision out of concerns for security.

“The Chinese government obviously cannot ignore the risks of running OS without guaranteed technical support,” Xinhua reported.

“It has moved to avoid the awkwardness of being confronted with a similar situation again in future if it continues to purchase computers with foreign OS.”

The Xinhua report indicated all desktops, laptops and tablet PCs purchased by central state bodies were affected by the decree, but the personal computer market should not be affected.

Microsoft said it was surprised by China’s decision, but said it would continue to offer older versions of its software to placate the government.

“We were surprised to learn about the reference to Windows 8 in this notice,” a spokesman told the BBC.

“Microsoft has been working proactively with the Central Government Procurement Centre and other government agencies through the evaluation process to ensure that our products and services meet all government procurement requirements. We have been and will continue to provide Windows 7 to government customers. At the same time we are working on the Window 8 evaluation with relevant government agencies.”

Microsoft pulled support for its 13-year-old operating system April 8, meaning there will be no more security updates.

Windows XP was released in 2001 and, although Microsoft originally planned to give it the axe back in 2010, its wildly unpopular replacement — Vista — convinced the company to hold off on discontinuing support for the older OS.

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China Bars Windows 8 on All Government Devices


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By cranbak on May 20, 2014 | Webmaster
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Microsoft Patches IE, Even for WIndows XP Users

Microsoft has patched the critical flaw that has invaded Internet Explorer the past week, and even extended the fix to users of Window XP, its retired operating system.

Hackers last week discovered a security flaw in Microsoft’s browser that enabled the firm to launch “targeted attacks” against users of IE versions 6 through 11. The most common attack being leveraged against IE users was tricking them into visiting malicious websites. Known as “drive-bys,” these attacks enable a hacker to hit a vulnerable browser as soon as its user clicks on the malicious URL.

Microsoft, which will host a webcast today to discuss the fix it issued yesterday afternoon, said the update has been “fully tested” and released for all affected versions of the browser.

“The majority of customers have automatic updates enabled and will not need to take any action because protections will be downloaded and installed automatically,” said Microsoft Trustworthy Computing group manager Dustin Childs.

“If you’re unsure if you have automatic updates, or you haven’t enabled Automatic Update, now is the time. For those manually updating, we strongly encourage you to apply this update as quickly as possible following the directions in the released security bulletin.”

Customers are also being encouraged to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11.

Childs said although Microsoft opted to issue a security update for Windows XP, the company is still urging users to adopt a modern operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.1.

Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group director Tim Rains has been recommending for several months that XP users make the switch.

“When we release monthly security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will try and reverse engineer them to identify any vulnerabilities that also exist in Windows XP,” Rains said. “If they succeed, attackers will have the capability to develop exploit code to take advantage of them.”

“Microsoft Windows XP was released almost 12 years ago, which is an eternity in technology terms,” he added. “While we are proud of Windows XP’s success in serving the needs of so many people for more than a decade, inevitably there is a tipping point where dated software and hardware can no longer defend against modern day threats and increasingly sophisticated cyber-criminals.”

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Microsoft Patches IE, Even for WIndows XP Users


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on May 2, 2014 | Webmaster
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Microsoft Patches IE Vulnerability, Even On Windows XP

The update that does this goes live today at 10 a.m. PDT.

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By cranbak on May 1, 2014 | Webmaster
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Nearly 3 in 10 PCs Still Run Windows XP

By cranbak on April 21, 2014 | Webmaster
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