Wednesday, March 24, 2010

End of Support for some versions of Windows

Again and again I encounter computers with Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows Vista Service Pack 1 or even Vista without any Service Pack installed.

Although this can have multiple reasons the ones I most commonly encounter are
  • Automatic Update is not set to automatically download and install updates and the user ignores the warnings telling her/him that updates have to be downloaded and or installed;
  • Some obnoxious software thinks they can do a better job of alerting the user of updates, turns Automatic Update off and then gets deactivated or un-installed and does not turn Automatic Updates back on;
  • Some malicious software disabled Automatic Update altogether.
Here is a literal quote from Microsoft’s Exploring Windows newsletter March 23, 2010:
Support is ending for some versions of Windows
  • Support for Windows Vista without any service packs will end on April 13, 2010.

  • Support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) will end on July 13, 2010.
If you're running one of these versions after support ends, you will NOT get any security updates for Windows.
If your computer is still running Windows XP, Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows Vista with no Service Pack then you are in deep trouble; call or email me (see below).

Above mentioned newsletter then has a link to the article Which version and service pack am I running? This article is invalid for Windows XP users, great advice, Microsoft!

Easier and better information can be had by
  • Windows XP: Right click My Computer, left click on Properties;
  • Windows Vista/7: Right click Computer, left click on Properties.
  • Windows XP ought to be on Service Pack 3,
  • Windows Vista ought to be on Service Pack 2.
I don’t mean to scare you but if your system is not yet at it’s respective service pack level something is seriously wrong and you better call me or email me at ejheinze*at*gmail*dot*com.
By the way, not knowing what operating system and what Service Pack your computer is running is somewhat like not knowing whether your car needs gasoline or diesel fuel. Please be informed!

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

Click here for a categorized Table Of Contents.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sudden Virus Alert?

You receive a sudden alert that your computer is infected with any number of virus programs including a list with file names that supposedly are viruses. All this looks quite serious but you are being pressured into buying and/or downloading a “clean-up” program.

Be clever, be observant and VERY suspicious!
  1. Do NOT click on anything in such a window; this kind of links likely takes you to a malicious web site that will immediately attempt to download the really nasty stuff.
  2. When you search on Google for information about the program that is bugging you then please be very careful before you click on any results; there are way too many malicious web sites that might come up with such a search.
    If I have set up your computer you should have McAfee SiteAdvisor installed and you can at least distinguish known nasty web sites from the likely harmless ones.  
  3. Sometimes you may observe some sort of “scan” starting after you went to a website. Do NOT click on anything in such a web page; it most likely is a malicious web site and any click will do more harm.   
  4. Do you have an account on social networking web sites like LinkedIn, MySpace or Facebook? If yes you may want to change all email passwords! Make them unique and hard to guess!  
  5. Because nowadays so many email accounts are being hacked you have to be extra careful when you receive an email with nothing but a link in the mail. Again, be extra suspicious if the email contains “just a link”, danger is lurking!
How do I stop the attack that just started?
  • Start Task Manager. How? Press Control, Alt, Delete simultaneously.
  • Activate the Applications tab. 
  • Find all instances of running web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox a.s.o.); one by one highlight them and click End Process (or End Task in Vista/Win 7).
    BTW: If you have been using Internet Explorer and are my customer then you disregarded my warnings about IE, didn’t you? 
  • Find all instances of running “security” programs with names you have not heard yet; one by one highlight them and click End Process (or End Task in Vista/Win 7).  
  • Hopefully you will notice the scan windows disappear.  
  • Update your anti virus software and do a full system scan.
After all that your computer may still be infected. If the original or similar windows come back and/or your computer seems to be running slower than before then likely there is some nasty, malicious program still running. You have these options:
  1. Call 414-719-2977, I can fix this sort of thing. If this is too expensive  
  2. Try to fix it yourself, you may even be successful. Congratulations. 
  3. Call your 14 year old grandson or nephew or the kid nest door.
    According to many of my customers’ experience that mostly was not the best idea.  
  4. Ignore it and let it get worse, much worse, guaranteed. Then see #1 above.
As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

Click here for a categorized Table Of Contents.