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Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - January 2013

 Posted: January 19, 2012 -

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Latest Virus/Security Alerts:

Another Facebook phishing scam making its rounds

I'm sure you or someone you know uses Facebook on a regular basis. Or actually a lot of people you know use Facebook on a regular basis. If that's the case then you need to be more careful these days since cybercriminals are targeting the social networking site more and more for a quick way to make some money or steal personal information.

There is a new phishing scam hitting Facebook users that starts out with a link to a link to a popular video or other intriguing topic with a shortened link that hides the true URL. When clicked on it will take you to a page that looks like a real Facebook page but if you look closely the real website name is Then this page will ask you to update your security information and ask for things such as your credit card information, password and phone number. After you give your personal information to the site you will be taken to the real Facebook page where you can go about your business and you won't even notice the transaction.

The latest update says that this site has been taken down but that doesn't mean they are not working on a new site to do the same thing. You should always check the URL of links before you click on them when it comes to giving out personal information. Many times you can hover your mouse over the link to have the real URL shown.


Virus Help
Spyware Help

January's Poll:

Will you get a new computer or upgrade your old one in 2013?
Click Here to Go to This Month's Poll

December's Poll Results: 
Would you rather have a Windows 8 laptop or tablet?

Laptop - 40%
Tablet - 0%
Neither - 60%

Tip of the Month:

7-Zip File Compression Utility

If you have been using a computer for any length of time I'm sure you have seen, created, opened or been emailed a zip file at some point. Zip files are used to compress files to make them smaller as well as combine several files into one file making them easier to store or email. Windows has a built in zipping utility but it's very basic. There are also third party programs out there such as WinZip but they usually cost money.


If you want a file compression utility that will do more than what comes with Windows but you don't want to spend any money then check out 7-Zip which is an open source free utility you can download and install on your computer. It supports the high compression 7z format and can open other types of files such as ARJ, RAR, CAB, ISO and many more. I can also create other types of files such as GZIP and TAR files.

Other features of 7-Zip include a powerful file manager, command line version and integration with Windows Shell. Plus if security is an issue it also supports AES-256 encryption. 7-Zip is compatible with pretty much every version of Windows all the way back to Windows 98.

All Tips
Hot Product of the Month: Plugable UD-3000 USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station


If you are a laptop owner and you like to use a full size keyboard, monitor and mouse rather than straining your eyes then what you need is a docking station. A docking station lets you connect these types of devices to your computer all with one connection and when you are ready to hit the road you simply just unplug and go. But if your particular model doesn't come with the connection to use with a docking station you are usually out of luck. There are USB docking stations that are model specific but now you can get the Plugable UD-3000 Universal Docking Station that works with most Windows based laptops.


  • Provides a fast USB 3.0 link from PC to video, Ethernet, audio input/output, and two USB 3.0 ports; USB 2.0-compatible and includes four USB 2.0 ports
  • DVI/VGA/HDMI monitor port supports display resolutions up to 2048x1152 / 1920x1200; wired Ethernet port supports 10/100/1,000 Mbps speeds
  • Support for Windows 8, in addition to 7, Vista and XP.
  • Not a charging station
  • Comes with four-amp AC power adapter, USB 3.0 Type-A male to Type-B male cable , and DVI-to-VGA passive port adapter



Important Windows and Office patches:

Microsoft includes a firmware update January's round of patches

Everyone who has a Windows based computer knows about Windows updates because we get prompted for them on a regular basis and are then asked to reboot over and over again after we install them. What we are not used to is getting a firmware update on top of our usual software update.

If you are not using a Windows 8 tablet or not running Windows 8 altogether then you don't have to worry about this firmware update. The firmware update is for tablets running Windows RT, specifically the Surface RT tablet as well as a few others.

As for regular Windows PC users, Microsoft has released 7 security bulletins for January that affect XML Core Services, Windows, Office, .NET and so on. 2 of the updates are labeled as critical and affect a vulnerability in the MSXML library, which is an part of many Microsoft software titles and Windows print spooler. The print spooler issue vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a print server received a specially crafted print job.

More Resources

Interesting site of the Month:

Do you want to learn how to do things such as make cool stuff with household items, find useful software and apps and tweak your existing electronics and software? If so then check out and get cracking and hacking!


Reader's Question of the Month:

Changing file associations back to the proper program

Denise writes in with a Windows question
Question: I keep getting these low disk space warnings popping up when I use my computer. I haven't added any new programs or files recently and thought I had enough hard drive space on my computer. I don't want to delete anything either. How do I get my space back or do I have to do some kind of upgrade?

Answer: When you have a low disk space message you should really try and free up some space because it will only get worse and your computer's performance will start to suffer more and more. One thing you can try first is to do some cleanup and see if you can remove some temporary files to get by for a while. In some cases it's possible to free 2 or more GB just by doing this if it hasn't been done it some time. We recommend using the free and effective Ccleaner to do the job even though Windows has a built in cleaning utility as well. After your do an analysis you will see how much drive space you will get back before you do the actual cleaning. Just be sure to have your other programs closed for best results. Ccleaner will empty your recycle bin by default so if you don't want that to happen then make sure to uncheck it. Then again having too much stuff in your recycle bin could be the cause of your problem since it still takes up space on your hard drive until you empty it.

If the cleanup doesn't give you enough disk space back then you may have to remove some software or move some files like pictures or music to another device like a flash drive or external hard drive.

All Questions

Tech News of the Month:

Microsoft Surface Pro tablets on their way

With the rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets recently it seems as though the PC world has not been getting a lot of attention lately. Microsoft has been trying to get its piece of the tablet pie that Android and Apple currently own with its line of tablet computers.

Microsoft is coming out with the Surface Pro which is its first PC\Tablet combo device and it should be here in a few weeks. You may have noticed that Microsoft already has the Surface tablet out but the Pro version will be able to run any application that is compatible with a Windows 7 PC. This will give Pro owners a greater choice when it comes to software compared to their non Pro counterparts. The Surface Pro is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, have a 10.6 inch screen and will come in a 64GB version and 128GB priced at $899 and $999 in the US.

Go to The OCT News Blog

Wallpaper of the Month:

Chill out with these snowy winter wallpapers

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