Known Issues

Get the latest Windows updates securely

Reports of Microsoft’s silent updates published on
Sept. 13
and
20 Windows Secrets raised security questions for many readers.

But with a little bit of know-how, you can keep risks to a minimum when getting updates using Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

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Readers state concerns over Windows Update

The Sept. 13 issue of Windows Secrets reported that Windows Update sometimes installs files without notice, even if auto-install has supposedly been disabled.

Many readers are dismayed to learn that their control over their computers is compromised and are asking how they can prevent this in the future.

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How to run Microsoft Update using Firefox

The Sept. 6 issue of Windows Secrets explained how to automate Internet Explorer 7 to access Microsoft Update once a month.

But some readers expressed displeasure at the thought of using the dreaded IE 7 even for this relatively safe chore.

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How to fix problems Software Inspector finds

In the
Aug. 16
issue, I pointed out that the
Secunia Software Inspector
may find multiple versions of unpatched products on your
system.

Older programs and Web sites may need the older versions of run-time
software. But the old run-time code represents a security risk.

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Restrict application privileges for greater security

In recent columns, including in the
Aug. 9
issue, I’ve told you how to limit user and application permissions in XP
for greater security.

Our readers have responded with their own questions and suggestions
on running programs with greater or fewer privileges.

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Change user access one app at a time

In the
“last issue,
I explained how to use XP without administrator rights to simulate the safety
offered Vista’s User Account Control.

Readers responded with their own tools and tricks to stop programs from
gaining full (and therefore risky) access to your system.

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Drive encryption not just for hard disks

I pointed out in our
July 19
issue some programs that encrypt hard-disk partitions — a
feature of the more-expensive Ultimate and Enterprise versions
of Windows Vista.

But these days, you may want protection for more than just hard disks,
such as Flash drives.

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More free ways to enhance Windows XP

Last week, I listed several products for bringing XP up to par with
Vista, both functionally and visually.

Readers responded with their own favorite utilities and improvements
to give XP more of Vista’s sizzle.

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Get a great backup program for free

My lead story in the
July 12
newsletter explained how you can get Vista Ultimate features in
Windows XP or versions of Vista that aren’t as expensive as
Ultimate.

Several readers have written in with even more ways to save money
and get useful add-on programs that are free or inexpensive.

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Readers find alternatives to costly ink cartridges

Any way you slice it, inkjet ink is an expensive commodity that requires frequent replacement.

Fortunately, some readers have good ideas for economizing and getting the most ink for your money.

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