Not a day goes by that I don’t see some sort of scam or attack. Awareness of the latest scams it key to staying safe — here are some new scams you should be aware of. Ransomware’d Printers The latest in ransomware techniques is to target vulnerable printers inside networks. As noted in a recent article, the attack takes advantage of a network if port 9100 is open. While in a small network behind a router provided by your Internet Service provider, the chances are small that port 9100 will be open if you’d like to make sure you can perform the following steps. From a computer inside your network go to the ShieldsUP website. Click on proceed to begin the process In the box, enter 9100 Click on user specified custom port probe The test will indicate if the port is open or closed. Chances are very good that the port will be closed. If so, you will not be at risk to this attack from external sources. However, I have seen several firms impacted by this attack because the malware entered into the network into a workstation and was able to attack vulnerable printers. In one case it … Read More
Windows 10 comes with a couple of features built into the operating system that lets you easily install a fresh clean copy of Windows 10 to remove OEM clutter or to simply reset your current installation to resolve ongoing system issues. I previously shared with you details about the Refresh Tool for Windows 10, which downloads clean install media for your Windows 10 system, then installs a clean copy of Windows 10 without the extra OEM software and settings overlays — you know, things that can clutter up a Windows system straight out of the box. This week, I want to tell you about the other option that comes in Windows 10 called Reset this PC. This option is similar to the Refresh Tool, except it uses the installation media provided by your device manufacturer, which is normally stored on a recovery partition on your system, and it will also contain all of those OEM programs and other helper tools that are typical on most OEM systems. Call it clutter, bloatware, or junk but it is integrated into the recovery media so it gets reinstalled each and every time you reset your system back to its original out of the … Read More
At my office, I’ve been rolling out Windows 10 machines to replace our older Windows 7 models. In installing these Windows 10 machines, I’ve found several tweaks and adjustments that make my machines behave more nicely and ensure I’m not bothered by apps I don’t want or need. As I’ve said before, the key thing anyone running Windows 10 Home version needs to do is upgrade to Windows 10Professional. This is the easiest step of this process. Of course, you need to purchase a Windows 10 Professional license if your machine came with Windows 10 Home version. This can be easily done from inside the system section of your Windows 10 Home machine: Merely scroll to the about section, click on change product key or upgrade your edition of Windows, and launch the wizard to upgrade to Windows 10Professional. It will take a bit of time to upgrade the computer to the professional version, and it requires a reboot. Once you have upgraded to the professional version, there are a few patching changes I’ll urge you to make. First up: Go into Settings: Update and Security, and then click on Advanced options. In this section, choose to defer feature upgrades so that … Read More
My old password just got a promotion. The password I used, since deleted, was ‘passw0rd’. Yeah, I thought I was being so clever making the letter o into number 0. No hacker could figure that out, right? It ends up that passw0rd was the 24th most used bad password according to SplashID.com”s worst passwords of 2015, and in 2016 it moved up six slots to number 18 on the top 25. Obviously I am one in a crowd of people creating easily guessed/hacked passwords SplashID [site]offers a free and premium password manager for major browsers so it can easily calculate the easily hacked passwords that its customers are using. Each year it releases is Worst Passwords list and the 2016 list (see below) shows that the problem with hackable passwords is us. But there are quick and easy (okay, easy is open to debate) ways to wrangle the ocean of passwords we all need to log on to the various sites we visit regularly. SplashId and a host of other password managers offer tips to wreck the hacks. So do a bevy of security experts. And so do a host of companies with free and paid security workarounds. Too Many … Read More
Many of you may be building your own computers these days, but just as many computer users buy their next device right off the shelf of their favorite box store or from an online retailer. If you are purchasing a device built by one of the many OEMs, it is very likely that device is going to arrive with a lot of extras pre-installed that come from the company who initially built the device plus some additional overlay style software/controls from the OEM themselves. Of course, as long as you have drivers from the OEM for your device, and most are made available through the products support page, then you could always do a clean install of the operating system and have a pristine image ready for your own software and customizations. Microsoft is also working closely with many manufacturers to include hardware drivers right out of the box to avoid needing to track them down elsewhere. In fact, any OEM devices sold in Microsoft Stores come in this configuration and they call it their Signature Edition PCs. This means they meet all the Windows hardware requirements and contain zero bloat from the manufacturer. If you already have your device or purchased … Read More
You probably use Windows 10’s File Explorer a hundred times a day. You already know how to use it to move around your hard drive. Why bother to learn it better? Because you’ll work more efficiently. This truly excellent file manager has little-known tricks that makes it even more powerful and convenient. You can control what folder the program opens to. You can hide and unhide the ribbon. You can make your favorite File Explorer tools more readily available. And you can use keyboard shortcuts to make everything easier. I’m not going to tell you how to use File Explorer. I assume you already know the basics. But I’ll take you to the next level, and make File Explorer easier and faster for you. The Many Ways to Open File Explorer Of course you know how to open File Explorer. But do you know the fastest and simplest way to do it? Or how to control what folder it opens to? The fastest and easiest way to open File Explorer doesn’t involve your mouse or touchscreen. Simply press Win-E and up comes a File Explorer window. If you’re already running the program, it opens another File Explorer window. This article … Read More
There’s no shortage of technology bloggers who are quick with “best” product badges. I make the distinction myself, calling out certain laptops, routers and other computer hardware. But it’s important to know what’s behind the “best” label. Here’s how I make the determination, based on decades of journalistic and user experience, as well as deep exploration of digital devices. I’m outlining how I devise my criteria and why, so that you can apply this sort of assessment to your own technology options. Step 1: Find Possible Review Candidates Each day, I swim through a sea of public relations pitches and new-product news releases. I go to trade shows and sit through vendor demos. And then there is my daily monitoring of the Web for new products, and my incessant visits to product retailers such as Best Buy and Costco. From all these sources, I compile and evaluate the items I think are worth checking out, and then request review samples. Most are sent as loaners, with the expectation that I will conduct hands-on testing within a certain period of time. Some products are sent to me with no expectation that they be returned. At this stage, I eliminate many products. … Read More
It can happen in any Windows version: Instead of shutting down promptly, your PC stays on and unresponsive for several long minutes. Here are some easy fixes for shutdown delays. Plus: Information about HerdProtect, an anti-malware meta-scanner that employs 68 different anti-malware engines. Win10 shutdowns taking far too long Under ideal conditions, a clean Windows setup can shut down in seconds. But out here in the real world, shutdowns can take longer — sometimes, far, far longer! Some shutdown delays creep in bit by bit, accumulating over time. You can prevent this type of slowdown with good routine maintenance. (See the January 10, 2017, Best Practices, Top Story, “Start 2017 right with a clean Windows PC.”) This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
As Microsoft releases a new Windows 10 beta, we get a patching break. Windows 8.1 in fact only has a Flash update to install. Meanwhile, Redmond has been busy with changes to the upcoming Creator’s release. Upcoming Windows 10 changes Dona Sarkar announced a beta release that makes quite a few changes to Windows update. As she noted on the blog site, the following changes are expected in the next large feature release expected around April of 2017: A feature in the GUI to pause updates for 35 days. We’ve added an option that will enable you to pause updates on your computer for up to 35 days. While this feature already exists for Windows pro and above now, it’s only available via group policy or the registry. This capability will unfortunately only be available on Professional, Education, and Enterprise editions of Windows. A feature to allow you to decide whether or not to include driver updates when you update Windows. Once again, this capability will be available on Professional, Education, and Enterprise editions of Windows. A new icon to the Windows Update Settings page to make easier to see your update status at a glance. Improvements to the logic … Read More
Optimizing your Windows set-up is one of the most useful and productive things you can do. These quick how-tos can help you tweak your daily computing experience so it’s more convenient. Tip #1: Push your Android phone notifications to Windows 10 with Cortana An update to the Cortana app on Android now allows you to only push those notifications to your Windows 10 desktop and tablet based devices, and fully customize them just like Windows 10 Mobile users can. To get started just install the Cortana app for Android on your device from the Google Play store. Once it is installed, you can open the app and it will ask you to sign in with your Microsoft Account. Make sure you use the same one as your other Windows 10 devices if you want to sync notifications from one system to the others. Once you are logged into Cortana she will of course have access to your Notebook on your Android device and be able to set reminders, provide tips and look up other information for you. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.