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Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - March 2013

 Posted: March 15, 2013 -

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Latest Virus/Security Alerts:

New Windows computers and DVDs infected with malware

You would assume that when you buy a new computer it would come virus and malware free but apparently that’s not the case. There are reports out stating that many new computers coming from brand name manufacturers had pirated versions of Windows installed on them that were infected with malware and\or contained pirated Windows DVDs with malware on them.

These infected computers came from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. Microsoft tested 216 laptops and 66 Windows DVDs and found that 147 of the laptops and 49 of the Windows installation DVDs were infected with malware right from the manufacturer. The infections included Trojans, viruses and keyloggers etc. Microsoft also found that 97% of the tested computers had Windows Firewall rules changed and that 79% had Windows Update disabled.

So the lesson to be learned here is to make sure you are buying a computer brand that you have heard of and maybe try to find out where they are made before making your purchase. If you are computer savvy your best bet may be to build your own!

Virus Help
Spyware Help

March's Poll:

Click Here to Go to This Month's Poll

February's Poll Results: 
Do you have your own website?

Yes - 15%
No - 85%

Tip of the Month:

Windows Sticky Notes

I’m sure you have used a Post-It note at some time to write down a message, phone number or reminder and stuck it to your monitor only to find it on the floor later on after it was too late to use the information you had on it. What if there was a way you could have sticky notes that were stuck to your desktop instead?

This is where Windows Sticky Notes come into play. They allow you to post notes to your desktop so they won’t get lost and you can make as many as you need and never run out. Plus you can do things such as change the note color and reposition them anywhere you like on your screen. And when you are done with the note, simply click on the X to have it deleted. If you need a new note you can click on the + to have another one made right on the spot.

To get to the Windows Sticky Notes simply click on Start and then Accessories. From there it should be in your list and if you right click the shortcut you can choose Send to> Desktop (Create shortcut) to have faster access to make a new note.

Windows Sticky Notes

To change the color of the note simply right click on it and choose from yellow, white, purple, pink, green and blue. You can also copy and paste text from other programs to and from the Sticky Notes. To make a note bigger or smaller simply click on the edge and drag to change the size just like you would on a normal window. You can use Windows shortcut keys like Ctrl-b for bold to change text attributes on the notes.

If you want to save your Sticky Notes but still close them then right click on sticky notes in the taskbar and choose close. Then when you open sticky notes again they will return to where they were. Closing a note by using the X will not save the note for next time you open them. If you reboot your computer with the notes open they are supposed to be saved but we have noticed that sometimes that is not the case.


All Tips
Hot Product of the Month: FAVI Entertainment Wireless Keyboard with built in touchpad and laser pointer

Details:

With the growing popularity of home theatre PCs (HTPC) comes the need to have a way to use your computer from the comfort of your couch without having to use a bulky full size keyboard and mouse that will most likely knock over your drink. With the FAVI Entertainment Wireless Keyboard you can easily control your computer wirelessly with a much smaller device. And with the built in touchpad there is no need for a separate mouse.

 

  • 3-in-1 multimedia wireless keyboard (Keyboard, TouchPad, LED light)
  • Built-in rechargeable more staying power lithium-ion battery
  • 2.4GHz USB wireless receiver; works within 30M
  • LED backlit display

 

 

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Important Windows and Office patches:

Microsoft and Adobe both release patches for their software

When you think of updates you most likely think of the typical Windows updates that you seem to always be getting notified of. But Microsoft is not the only one that puts out updates on a regular basis. You may have also noticed that Adobe has had some updates released as well assuming your computer has the Adobe updater running.

Both Microsoft and Adobe are putting out updates for Patch Tuesday to fix critical security issues in their software. There are 7 Microsoft security patches of which 4 are rated critical. The software infected includes Windows, Internet Explorer, Silverlight, Office and SharePoint on all the latest versions of Windows from XP to Server 2012.

As for Adobe there is a patch that addresses 4 security flaws in Flash Player for Windows and Mac. If any of your software uses Adobe AIR then that should be updated as well.

If you use Windows Update you should get your updates downloaded automatically but if you don’t use the Adobe updater then you should go to their site and download the latest version of whichever software you use. Chrome and Internet Explorer 10 have built in automatic updating features that are supposed to upgrade Flash to the latest version but it’s a good idea to check anyway.

More Resources

Interesting site of the Month:

The Chrome Web Lab is a site where you can check out some online experiments and play with some of them yourself. Some of the experiments include Sketchbots that can draw your face from a picture and the Universal Orchestra where you can music with people across the world. Its best visited in Google’s Chrome web browser and can be processor intensive on your computer so keep that in mind. Check it out at ChromeWebLab.com.

 

Reader's Question of the Month:

Sound of a failing hard drive

Steven writes in with a hardware question
Question: I have an older Dell with a Pentium 4 processor and Windows XP. I can hear kind of a crunching noise coming from inside the case that seems to happen when the hard drive light it on. Does this mean there is a problem with my hard drive and if so, how can I fix it? Or is that something that is not even fixable?

Answer: When you hear a “crunching” noise coming from your hard drive, it’s time to back up you data and get ready to replace the drive. One thing you can do to make sure it’s the hard drive is take the cover off the case, turn it back on and listen to the drive. You can do things such as use an old paper towel roll or screwdriver and hold it on the drive and then put the other end up to your ear. If you are sure it’s the drive then it’s only a matter of time before it goes out on you.

You should get a USB flash drive large enough to back up your important files and get a copy of them immediately. Since it’s an older computer it’s most likely an IDE drive and that’s the type you will have to get to replace it. And of course you will have to reinstall Windows again unless you have a recovery CD you can run. You can also run a hard drive diagnostic tool on the computer to see if it will give you any more information.


All Questions

Tech News of the Month:

U.S. warns China to stop hacking our computers

Its common knowledge that people are always trying to hack other people’s computers and it’s been going on for years. And for the most part these attempts don’t end up doing any harm. But lately there has been a lot of hacking going on between different countries which can bring a higher risk of damage if these attacks go through since there is very sensitive data at risk.

Recently there has been a lot of hacking attempts on U.S. computer systems coming from China and now the government has decided to say something about it. The White House issued a warning to China telling them if they don’t stop their hacking attempts it will hurt relations between the 2 countries. Supposedly the majority of these attacks come from an office building on the outskirts of Shanghai that's connected to the People's Liberation Army and of course China denies the allegations.

Some of the companies that have said they have been hacked by China and other outside countries include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter. The government has expanded its emphasis on cyber security recently which resulted in the signing of an executive order that allows companies to share confidential information with intelligence agencies without oversight. Time will tell if the U. S. warnings will do any good or not.

 

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