Tuesday, April 8, 2014 is the day the last security patches will be available for Windows XP and MS-Office 2003. Microsoft will maintain MS Security Essentials until July, 2014, but Microsoft warns that just an up-to-date anti-virus program is not enough to guarantee you computer is secure.
Once you apply the March 11, 2014 update, you will get a nag screen like the following until you mark the box to stop showing it.
You will also get a warning from MS Security Essentials that you are no longer protected.
If you click the link for End-of-support guidance, you will get a page where Microsoft is urging you to buy a NEW COMPUTER with Windows 8.
If you have a computer that meets your needs, but has Windows XP, that same computer can continue to meet your needs.
The simplest way to enable your WinXP computer to meet your needs and keep your data secure is to disconnect from the internet. This option is not practical for the majority of computer users.
Another option would be to use a secure and up-to-date and maintained operating system, such a Linux. There are various flavors of Linux and they are free. There are some limitations to how well Linux can keep your computer going. You will find that your computer is MUCH faster to get going and do your work than with WinXP.
The biggest limitation is that some games cannot be made to run on Linux.
If you need to be able to browse the web, like check your Facebook, and view YouTube videos and work with documents and spreadsheets, you can do it all with Linux.
The simplest way to use Linux is to copy all your data. You are already backing up all your data regularly, right?
Install Linux over the current install. This overwrites Windows and all your data, so if you don’t have a backup, all your data is lost.
The other method requires enough hard disk space. You can install Linux with a dual-boot option that lets you choose whether to run Windows or Linux when you start your computer. This option is best if you have some program that can’t be made to work in Linux, or for which there is no viable free alternative.
If you are interested in avoiding buying a new computer and keeping more of your hard earned money, contact me for assistance in making the switch to Linux.
For $50.00, I can get you step-by-step instructions to do it yourself.
For remote support for me to help verify the information you will need to do your own Linux installation, $75.
If you want phone support or remote support for me to help verify the information you will need to do your own Linux installation, contact me for pricing.
For those who are local, contact me for arrangements to drop off your computer.
$100 to install Linux. *
$50 to backup your data to CD/DVD if you don’t have a backup.
$50 to get your existing internet working with your “NEW” computer. (High Speed Internet Only.)
$25 to pick up and deliver your PC (25 mile radius).
If you want to pay to ship your computer to me, plus return shipping, prices as above.
This is best done with a backup of your data first and insuring your computer for shipping.
Contact me first to coordinate shipping. I suggest the remote option to make sure it is worth the expense. (This requires that you have a high speed internet connection.)
* (This includes verifying that installing Linux will work well your computer. If your computer is old enough, it would be better to get a new one.)
I have had a few questions lately about Satellite Internet service for areas that do not have access to Cable or DSL.
I do not have details about specific satellite providers. My advice is to comparison shop and look for the best price.
Before signing on the dotted line, I recommend that you ask for references from clients in your area that you can question to make sure that they are satisfied with the service. If the service does not work well for a neighbor, it probably will not be any better for you.
The website High-Speed Internet Access provides a guide for various types of high-speed internet service, including Cable, DSL, Wireless, and Satellite. This is one source to help you determine if Satellite Internet is right for you. There is a partial listing of some Satellite providers.
If you use a dial-up service, such as, AOL or Juno to access the internet, and things are slow or not working, there are several possible explanations.
The modem is mis-configured.
The modem is worn out.
The software for the dial-up service needs to be reinstalled.
A mis-configured modem can be identified in the device manager. It may require using add/remove hardware to tell Windows it has been removed. When the computer is re-booted, it should find the modem and offer to “re-install” it.
If a modem is worn out or failing, it may not operate at full speed. This is most noticeable if you have more than one PC with its own modem and one computer is faster online than the other.
To re-install the dial-up software, the best procedure is to uninstall it, reboot the computer and reinstall it. Make sure you have the user name and password before attempting this. The installation program will have an option to install for an existing account.
If your computer has spyware, it can be addressed with the free program Spybot Search and Destroy. If the infection is particularly bad, it may take several scans to remove all of the spyware. This software is updated every Wednesday, it is wise to keep this updated and scan your computer once a month to insure it is free of spyware.
When there is a virus infection, it can be tricky to resolve without internet access. It is often easier to download utilities to help remove a particular virus using a computer that is not infected. Virus software is only useful if it is kept up-to-date. Most anti-virus vendors have daily or weekly updates. A good free program is Grisoft Anti-Virus (AVG).
Other factors that may come into play are mis-configured firewalls, Windows has not been updated with the latest security fixes, or firmware updates have not been applied.
In addition to my favorite software, here are the tools I use to help others with their Windows computer problems.
For Anti-Virus, I use a combination of Trend Micro’s Sysclean, Grisoft AVG, and ClamWin. I also use McAfee’s Stinger for quick scans for the most common issues.
For SpyWare, I use a combination of SpyBot Search and Destroy and WinPatrol.
For Optimizing, I use CCleaner, NTRegOpt, and PageDefrag, and JKDefrag..
For Backups, I use SyncBak.
For computers that have so much spyware/viruses that they do not start, I use a Linux Boot CD. This allows me to get the data copied to a USB stick, so that I can wipe the drive and start fresh.
Where the user is open to it, I move them to Linux.
If Linux is not an option, I try to get them to use FireFox and Thunderbird, and educate them about how to avoid viruses and spyware. I also point out all of the free and open source software that is available.
I found a good black and white laser printer for under $80 this fall. It is a Brother HL-2040. It installed easily in Slackware Linux 10.2. The print is great. It works just as well as it does on Windows XP SP2. On my dual-boot PC, there is no trouble using the printer from either Operating System.
It came with half the amount of ink as a new cartridge, but I have printed about two reams of paper, and still going strong. I would have spent nearly $200 on ink for my Lexmark injet printer.
I think it is wrong for ink to cost more than my printer, unless there is value in it. With the Brother I will spend about $150 for a new ink cartridge, but it will be able to do several reams of paper. With my Lexmark, I was lucky to print about 100 pages, using the ink save setting. When the new cartridges cost $30, it costs about $150 to print a ream of paper. I could print about 6 reams of paper for the same cost of ink on the Brother.
Now, the only reason I use the Lexmark, is if I need something printed in color, which is not very often. I will not buy another ink jet printer! Lexmark has enough of my money.
This year will be the first year for the new Daylight Saving Time
start and end dates to go into effect. Instead of starting the first
Sunday of April, it is now the second Sunday of March. It is March 11
this year. Instead of ending on the last Sunday of October, it now
ends the first Sunday of November. It is November 4 this year.
Microsoft is NOT providing patches for automatic updating of older
versions of Windows. Even Windows 2000 Pro and Server are too old for
this. Other Microsoft programs, such as older version of Outlook and Exchange are also affected. You will need to make sure that any Microsoft programs you use, that rely on dates are eligible for an update, or require more money for the latest version.
The law to change the start and end date of Daylight Saving Time was passed a couple of years ago. For the majority of computer users in the U.S. and Canada, this may be an inconvenience. If you have Windows 98, ME, or 2000, Microsoft will not provide an update for the automatic changing of your PCs clock on the new dates.
There are two options:
1.) Live with it and change the time manually. This is inconvenient if you have a lot of PCs and Servers to update. This can also lead to data issues. Some databases can have synchronization issues if the time on the PC and the time on the server are different. This will require diligence on the part of users.
2.) Use the Time Zone Edit utility provided by Microsoft, or use one the the available third party programs for correcting the Time Zone. NOTE: The tzedit.exe provided by MS does not work with Win9x. Here is the KB article with more information.
On Windows 9x click Start > Run then type winipconfig and press enter.
On Widows 2K and XP click Start > Run then type CMD and press enter. This will start a command line. Type ipconfig and press enter.
On Linux, this requires root permissions. The simplest is to open a command prompt and su to root. Type /sbin/ifconfig, the IP address is after the lnet addr.
Due to financial difficulties, it appears that the end is near for Pegasus Mail.
While Pegasus has some great features, and is free, it is limited to Windows. This also raises the question of whether or not Pegasus users will be able to easily convert to other email programs. While most email programs can probably handle importing from Pegasus, there are also utilities to aid one in moving from Pegasus to other mail formats.
There are two good utilities, while Windows based, run well in Wine, or in various virtual machines on different operating systems. Both are developed by Fookes Software, Aid4Mail and Mailbag Assistant.
Both are able to convert from one email format to almost any other desired format. Aid4Mail can save messages to MHT format, for ease of viewing in a web browser. Mailbag Assistant is an email archiving and search utility. One can reply to or forward an email in any email box, using one’s current email program.
There is much more to both programs, that will help those with lots of email, from any program move to other formats. Both preserve the original mail files, so the conversion, is really a new set of files. These utilities make it very easy to investigate different email clients if one wants to experiment. Both are fast and can handle very large numbers of email messages.