The Windows firewall can be your friend. Here’s how to get along with it. The Windows firewall is around to protect you against malicious apps and other content from the Internet aimed at infecting your PC. Assuming you’re not running a third-party security program with its own firewall, then the Windows Firewall should be active on your machine, looking out for threats. A firewall doesn’t just block malicious applications from hitting your computer but prevents potentially malicious content from being sent from your computer. But the firewall sometimes gets in your way, blocking legitimate content that you want to run and use. You can tweak and fine-tune the firewall so it filters out real dangers while allowing safe content to pass through. Let’s check out the Windows Firewall to see how you can use it and control it. In this article, I use Windows 10 as my client, but the examples you’ll see with Windows firewall works the same in Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. The only differences you’ll see are in the wording of certain features and settings. The Windows firewall supports private networks, such as your home network, as well as public networks, such as ones in a library, … Read More
You can free up memory and boost performance by putting the kibosh on unnecessary startup programs. Every program that automatically loads when Windows starts up chews up more of your PC’s memory. The more programs that muscle their way into your startup routine, the less available memory you have to run your applications. And many programs that start up automatically don’t necessarily need to do so. How can you control your Windows startup programs? In Windows 7, you can use the System Configuration tool. In Windows 8.1 and 10, you can use the Task Manager. But if these built-in tools aren’t sufficient, you can turn to a third-party utility. Such tools as Sysinternals AutoRuns and Autorun Organizer can help you determine which programs you can kick out of your startup routine and how to give them the heave-ho. Let’s see how you can get a better handle on your Windows startup programs. Many Windows programs like to climb onboard your startup routine. Some programs do legitimately need to launch at startup, such as anti-virus software and backup software like Microsoft OneDrive. But a lot of programs insist on starting up automatically whether or not they need to. That may be … Read More
In Windows 7, you can create and customize accounts all from Control Panel. Adding user accounts in Windows 10 is a relatively straightforward process. You can add and manage accounts from the Accounts screen under Settings. In Windows 7, the process isn’t difficult but it is different. You create and modify accounts from the good, old-fashioned Control Panel. You can add new accounts, change their names, change their passwords, change the account type between a standard user and an administrator, and create a password reset disk for your own account. For those of you still running Windows 7, let’s go through the steps for creating and tweaking user accounts. Creating multiple user accounts is a convenient option if you’re sharing a single PC among different people. Those of you in the same household or small office can sign in with your individual account and create your own individual desktop, wallpaper, color scheme, and other settings. Windows 7 supports three types of accounts: Administrator, Standard, and Guest. With an administrator account, you can create and modify other accounts and change virtually all system settings in Windows. With a standard account, you can modify your own settings but you can’t create or … Read More
Still running Windows 7 but have never used the Media Center? Here’s how it works and what you can do with it. Microsoft put the kibosh on Windows Media Center as a built-in application in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. But those of you running Windows 7 can still tap into the Media Center program. With Media Center, you can access your videos, music, photos, and more. You can play DVDs and view slide shows. You can even watch live TV and record TV shows. So, how can you get Media Center up and running to view your multimedia content? Let’s check it out. First, if you’re running Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate, then Media Center is automatically baked in and accessible. If you’re running Windows 8.1, you could access Media Center by purchasing an add-on program called the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack. Microsoft stopped selling the Pro Pack back in 2015. But you may still be able to find the program from third-party resellers via Amazon. And what about those of you running Windows 10? Are you out of luck as far as Windows Media Center? Officially, yes. Unofficially, no. Microsoft doesn’t make a version of Media … Read More
You might think that there is not much more you could do to improve the capabilities of computer keyboards and mice. And really, what much more do you need to type and point, right? I have been reviewing input devices since the days of Windows 3.1. Sure, there have been many technological improvements, as we might expect over the last 25 years since Windows 3.1 was launched. But what’s amazing that in just the last year alone advancements in keyboard and mouse technology tweak what I thought was already the best. Say Hello to the Mouse Master For example, just about two years ago I praised Logitech’s MX Master mouse [link] for its various, robust features that extend mouse calisthenics beyond just navigating and clicking. Back then I thought this was about as far as a pointing device could reach. But now Logitech has indeed upped its game with the MX Master2 [link]. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Ransomware Hits the Same Vulnerabilities Keep calm: While the news is grim over the latest ransomware, the steps we’ve taken earlier will most likely keep most of us secure. It’s key that you have March’s Windows updates installed to protect from the SMBv1 vulnerabilities and April’s Office updates installed to protect from the RTF (Rich Text Format) vulnerability being used in the attacks. In addition, the vulnerability is specifically targeting networks and using some additional tricks up their sleeves as noted in PTSecurity blog post. The attackers are utilizing various network tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and PsExec to distribute the ransomware throughout a network. It further uses password retrieval tools to gain the local administrator passwords on the workstations in the network. For home and small businesses the best protection is to be vigilant in not opening suspicious emails, and to ensure the March and April updates are installed. What to do: Ensure your systems have the March’s Windows updates installed to protect from the SMBv1 vulnerabilities and April’s Office updates installed. Windows Fixes for IE Printing and Indexing Microsoft has released updates to Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 to fix issues introduced by the June 13th Windows … Read More
You can set up a dual-boot scenario to run both versions on the same machine. Do you want to check out Windows 10 but continue to run Windows 7? Or maybe you’re already using Windows 10 but want to be able to still use Windows 7? You can juggle both flavors of Windows by setting up a dual-boot system. Assuming you’re already running Windows 7, you can steal a chunk of its partition space and use it to create a new partition to house Windows 10. Alternatively, if you’re running Windows 10, you can snip off a portion of it to add a new partition for Windows 7. Once both operating systems are up and running, you can choose which one you wish to use each time you fire up your computer. All you need is a healthy amount of hard disk space to make it all work. How do you prep your PC to run both versions of Windows? Let’s check it out. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
You can split, merge, and otherwise manage your partitions in Windows via the Disk Management tool. Your Windows PC may have come with one hard drive and partition or it may have come with a couple of drives and partitions. No matter the original configuration, you may want to manage and modify your disk drive arrangement. Maybe you’d like to create an extra partition to install and run another operating system. Perhaps you want two partitions to separate your personal files from your Windows system files. Or maybe you already have two partitions and now want to remove one of them. You can do all this through the built-in Windows Disk Management tool. Available in all the current and most of the past versions of Windows, Disk Management lets you shrink, create, and delete your partitions. You already know a hard disk is a single physical drive: it’s either a conventional mechanical drive that magnetically stores your data on platters, or a solid-state drive that houses your data on flash memory chips. Computers usually come with a single hard drive, though you can always add a second one. Most vendors offer an option to outfit a desktop with two mechanical … Read More
Need to migrate your documents, files, and other personal stuff from a Windows 7 computer to one running Windows 10? Here’s how. Do you have a brand new computer running Windows 10? Cool, but what about your old computer, possibly a Windows 7 PC? Maybe there are specific personal files and settings that you want to transfer from your old computer to your new one. With Windows 7 on both ends, you could’ve used the built-in Windows Easy Transfer tool, which migrates your entire user profile and all its files and settings. But Windows 10 doesn’t support Easy Transfer. (Thanks Microsoft!) So what are your options? Microsoft offers a free utility called the User State Migration Tool (USMT). However, USMT is a command-line utility designed for IT professionals and isn’t very user friendly. A few developers make graphical interfaces for the USMT, which you can try. But you may find a third-party utility the easiest way to migrate your profile. Zinstall Easy Transfer is one such migration program, though it’ll cost you $59. Another is EaseUS Todo PCTrans Pro with a price tag of $49.95. A more affordable option is Laplink’s PCMover Express. PCMover Express normally sells for $29.95 but … Read More