Windows 10 Upgrade Changes

Windows 10

 

The Windows 10 prompt to upgrade was changed following several complaints.

It had been claimed that Mircosoft was forcing the upgrade in users using a ‘nasty trick’. The corporation had given the update ‘recommended’ status, normally associated with critical security updates. When prompted to update, if the user clicked the red ‘X’, the upgrade wouldn’t start immediately, but it would be automatically scheduled for a later time.

Sneaky.

However, Microsoft has now conceded and has changed the process admitting it was confusing.

A statement from Terry Myerson, VP at Windows and Devices Group stated:

“The new experience has clearer options to upgrafe now, choose a time, or decline the offer. If the red x is selected on this new dialog, it will dismiss the dialog box and we will notify the device again in a few days.”

Microsoft continues to promote Windows 10 as a better computing experience with added security features over previous versions and recommends that all users upgrade.

However, some users are still resisting citing worries about the strain the software may put on their hardware and that Windows 10 tracks its users too closely.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Using Your Tech Safely On Holiday

keeping your tech safe on holiday

You’ve been waiting all year for your holiday.

The last thing on your mind is the safety of your tech, but if you don’t give it some thought you could end up with a nasty surprise on your return in the shape of unwelcome bills or lost data.

To help you out, below are some simple and effective tips to keep you safe when you’re connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.

Free Wi-Fi – or is it?

Most travel hubs, like airports, train stations and hotels, offer free public Wi-Fi. It’s a great thing and can make travelling that little bit easier, but you do need to exercise some caution in how you use it.

Before you hook up to a free Wi-Fi network in a public place, check the name of the network with staff or on any signs.

While most public Wi-Fi networks are safe it doesn’t take much for a hacker to set up something known as a man-in-the-middle attack. This essentially intercepts your data by posing as a legitimate network.

Let’s say you’re staying at the Hotel Grand. It may have a free Wi-Fi network called Hotel Grand Wi-Fi. A hacker could easily set up a network called FREE Grand Wi-Fi, try and route you onto their network and basically intercept all of your data.

So when you’re looking for Wi-Fi connection, if ‘free’ appears next to a network name you do need to be cautious. If you’re not absolutely certain about the integrity of a network don’t use it.

Keep your OS up to date – and apps

Another simple precaution is to ensure your operating system is up-to-date. This will at least patch any flaws that have been discovered in it.

And if any apps require updates, make sure you apply them too before you head off on your travels.

Look out for unasked for downloads

You need to be careful when connecting to public or hotel Wi-Fi networks. There have been ‘download tricks’, which are incidents where your device prompts you to update a software package. When accepted, malware is installed. If you get such a request, ignore it.

Mobile security

Also consider getting some antivirus software on your android mobile device, such as BullGuard Mobile Security, which is designed for the Android platform.

Check for HTTPS

It’s also wise to get into the habit of checking there’s always a lock symbol in the browser bar when you’re logging onto websites. This symbol tells you that communications between your device and the website are encrypted with HTTPS and as such are safe.

Happy holidays

It’s a shame all of this is necessary, but that’s the way of the world we live in. By following these simple tips you will be able to holiday in the knowledge that your tech and data are safe and sound.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Did You Miss National Unplugging Day?

plug

 

Yes, there really is a National Unplugging Day.

This year’s was on 26th June. If you missed out, don’t worry, you’ll get another chance next year.

The point behind it is to offer you a chance to do a digital detox.

We’re all so tied to our smartphones, iPads and computers these days it’s hard to imagine what life used to be like (for those of us old enough to remember the non-connected world).

So to help you prepare for it, here are a few tips on how you become completely unplugged for the day – if you’re up to the challenge.

  1. Turn your phone off

A simple and obvious step, but one that’s really difficult to do.

If switching it off is too much for you, how about putting it on silent and turning off notifications so your just using it as a phone.

If you can be really brave and go incommunicado for the day, switch it off and shut it away in a draw.

  1. Leave tech behind

This is easier said than done, but how about a weekend away where there is no WiFi.

If a trip away isn’t on the cards, put all your tech in one room, shut the door and walk away from it. Then go and so something outside – go for a run, bike ride or visiting a lovely ruin somewhere; anything that keeps you away from your virtual online life.

  1. Get your news the old-fashioned way

If shutting yourself off from the world is just a bit too scary for you, buy a newspaper so you can see what’s going on.

Going on a day trip? Then use a good old-fashioned map book rather than your phone’s satnav.

  1. Stop checking at night

Hands up if you’re guilty of sending emails at night or updating your Facebook status.

Stop it. No one wants to be contacted or poked at that time of night. Switch your phone to flight mode, or better still, leave it downstairs and buy an alarm clock.

  1. No sneaky peaks

One rather worrying statistic is that, according to a US study from a couple of years ago, 75 per cent of people use their devices in the lavatory.

Don’t not only is it wrong, it’s unhygienic.

  1. Do something different

Forget catching up on box sets, get outside and do something different, or bake a cask, or do that DIY you’ve been putting off, how about write someone a proper old-fashioned letter?

Are you up for the challenge?

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

Why It’s Important to Backup Your Data

Backup your data

 

Did you know that 31st March was World Backup Day?

Granted, this news is reaching you rather late, but in our minds World Backup Day should be every day. In fact it should be second nature.

The problem is most of us know it should be done, but never seem to have the time to make sure the right measures are in place.

Today, everything we do is dependent on data. Hardware failure, user error and malware can cause a real headache, which is why good backups (both business and home) are essential.

In honour of World Backup Day, Spiceworks and Unitrends produced this infographic aimed at raising awareness of the increasing role of data in our lives and the importance of regular backups.

World Backup Day

Looking for backup solutions?

If you’re unsure of what you should be doing, we’re always happy to advise you on the best method for your particular circumstances.

Just call or drop us an email here at MPM IT.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Spiceworks

 

Is Your Internet Explorer a Hot Potato?

IE is a hot potato

 

Estimates suggest that Internet Explorer accounts for 57% of the browser market.

Great for Microsoft, but there lies a problem. According to a recent article on the BBC website, Computerworld claims that only 55% of IE users are running the latest version. You might not think that’s too much of an issue, well you’d be wrong because Microsoft has ended technical support and security updates for versions 8,9 and 10.

“Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates,” Microsoft announced on its website.

“Microsoft encourages customers to upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser for a faster, more secure browsing experience.”

Bad news for you, great news for hackers.

With some 340 million people still relying on older versions of IE, experts have warned about a security “hot potato”.

“It is safe to assume that cybercriminals have been stockpiling IE vulnerability information ahead of the support cut-off,” said Craig Young, a researcher at security firm Tripwire.

This view is backed up by Mark James, a researcher at security firm ESET, who added:

“No updates, no patches, no fixes, no new versions and no support options if things go wrong. This basically means it’s a hot potato and you need to drop it as fast as you can.”

The best advice we can give if you currently run IE is to update it to the most current version, or switch to Firefox or Chrome.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BBC

7 Things You Must Do When You Get a New PC

New PC

 

Yay, your new PC has arrived and you can’t wait to get it out of the box and switch it on.

Stop.

You want to flick the switch and dive in, don’t you?

Don’t.

Before you get carried away there are 7 vital steps you must carry out before you can safely start playing.

1. Updates

Yes, this is pretty boring, but also essential. You don’t want to be poking around online unless you copy of Windows is fully patched and up to date.

Depending on how long your machine  was in the shop, this can take a few minutes, or a few hours. The main thing is that you are patient and get it done before going any further.

Connect to the internet, open the Start menu (Windows 10) and head to Settings > Update and security > Check for updates. Then wait until it’s finished.

2. Browser

Next up is to choose your favourite browser. You’ll be familiar with the main contenders, so we won’t go into detail about them, but whichever floats your boat, set that as your browser of choice.

3. Think security

Now’s the time to decide whether you’re going to opt for a free anti virus or pay out for something like Nortons or McAfee.

They all have the good and bad points – again this will come down to personal preference, but whichever you chose get it set up ASAP to make sure your new machine is protected.

4. Time for a clean up

Boxed PCs will come with a shed load of bloatware clogging up your hard drive.

Use PC Decrapifier to scan your PC for known bloatware. It will then allow you get shot of it all in one hit.

5. Get your house in order

Now you’ve made room, it’s time to instal the stuff you want.

6. Cloning

Now your PC is shaping up just the way you want it, it’s time to create a clone or image of your primary hard drive and save it to another hard drive. That means if your primary drive gives up the ghost, you have a back up.

7. Drivers

The last thing on our list is updating your drivers. If your PC is straight from the box you should be able to ignore this step. If, however, you’ve built it yourself, it would be wise to check you have the most up to date versions.

It’s always exciting getting a new PC, but taking your time and following these simple steps will help make sure you get many years trouble-free use.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

How to Create a Good Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Plans (BCP) provide procedures for how employers and employees will stay in touch and keep doing their jobs in the event of a disaster or emergency, such as a fire at the office. Unfortunately, many companies never take the time to develop such a plan, typically because they do not feel it is necessary. However, creating a comprehensive BCP will allow you to enhance your company’s ability to continue business as usual during or after significant disruptions to business operations.

bussines-continuity-planWe have produced a guide to creating a business continuity plan. To download the pdf click here.

Protect Your Wi-Fi Bandwidth from Bandits

Wi-fi bandwidth bandits

 

It’s so annoying when your internet connection slows down, isn’t it?

Assuming you only have a few devices connected to the internet and there isn’t a hoard of gaming kids in the room next door, you could have someone leeching off your wifi bandwidth.

There could be other reasons too, but if you notice your signal randomly slows on every device you use (including smartphone, tablet or TV) and it happens regularly you could have someone helping themselves to your wireless signal.

How can you find out?

All you have to do is log into your router to see which devices are hooked up to your network.

If something shows up that you know doesn’t belong to you, there are a few things you can do to stop your bandit’s fun.

Stay protected

One of the best ways to keep the bandits at bay is to make sure your wifi is encrypted. This should happen as a matter of course and you can check the status of yours by looking at the wireless security key on the bottom of your router.

When you first set up your router you should have been asked to enter your encryption key – usually a mixture of numbers and letters.

If you weren’t, your wireless network is not secure.

Encrypting your router

If your router isn’t encrypted this is what you should do.

Find your router’s IP address and the administrator’s username and password. A lot have default settings for these and this blog should help you find yours.

Once you have the information, open your browser and enter your router’s IP address into the address bar. You’ll then be asked for your administrator’s username and password, which can be found on the base of your router.

You should then get a choice of encryption – if you have a choice between WEP, WPA and WPA2, choose the latter as this is the strongest.

You can also change the wireless network’s default name to make it more difficult for hackers to work out who the manufacturer is and so guess the default settings.

Change your user password

If you are encrypted, but find that someone is still using your bandwidth, the next thing to do is change your password from the default one supplied with your router.

Make sure it’s easy to remember, but difficult to guess.

Hopefully these tips will help you keep the bandwidth bandits at bay.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Bullguard Blog

What are the Window’s 10 Touchpad Gestures for Laptops?

Windows 10 touchpad

 

Continuing on with our Windows 10 theme, this week’s post takes a look at the touchpad gestures that have been introduced in the latest incarnation of Windows.

These gestures make controlling your PC more fluid, helping you get things done quickly and efficiently without the need for buttons.

Although first introduced under Windows 8, the gestures have been improved and added to. The only requirement for using these gestures is that you have a precision touchpad, which some of the older laptops won’t have.

Getting started with touchpad gestures

If you’re unsure whether your touchpad supports gestures you can check by opening the Settings app and go to Devices > Mouse & touchpad. Under the touchpad heading it will say “Your PC has a precision touchpad” if you can swipe and tap instead of clicking.

To get you started here are some of the gestures that will make your PCing life a whole lot easier:

  • Select an item: Tap on the touchpad
  • Scroll: Place two fingers on the touchpad and slide horizontally or vertically
  • Zoom in and out: Place two fingers on the touchpad and pinch in or stretch out.
  • Right-click: Tap the touchpad with two fingers, or press on the bottom right corner
  • Open Task View: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe up (away from you).
  • Show desktop: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe down (towards you). Reverse the movement to get all your windows to return.
  • Switch between open windows: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe right or left (this is the same as pressing Alt + Tab).
  • Drag an open window: Double-tap and then drag from the title bar
  • Open Cortana: Tap the touchpad with three fingers. If you’d rather this gesture opened Action Center instead, you can change this default in Settings > Devices > Mouse & touchpad.

Happy swiping!

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

Source: PCWorld

How To Uninstall Windows 10

dreaming about uninstalling Windows 10

So, you want to know how to uninstall Windows 10.

After upgrading your PC you’ve decided that you really, really don’t like it and want to go back to the familiarity of Windows 7 or 8.1.

The good news is that you can do that.

The bad news is that you only have 1 month to go back to your earlier version after installing Windows 10, so if you’re going to do it, do so before the deadline.

Step 1

To uninstall Windows 10, the first thing you need to do is back up the information stored on your PC. You can use external hard drives, thumb drives or cloud storage.

The second thing to remember is that this isn’t a quick process, so make sure you have plenty of time.

Step 2

If you installed Windows 10 on a PC that already had Windows, your older version will be stored away in a folder called Windows.old. This means you can actually use Windows 10 to restore the old version.

First, open the Windows Start menu by clicking the icon in the bottom left do the screen and select ‘Settings’ from the menu.

You’ll see an option for ‘Update & Security’ – click on it.

Uninstall Windows 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, you’ll get a page with various options on the left – you want the one that says ‘Recovery’. Click this and the main pain will offer a variety of choices. You want the one that says ‘Go back to Windows x’, where the x is 7 or 8.1 depending on the pervious version you were running.

Click ‘Get started’.

Uninstalling Windows 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Next you’ll see a blue screen like the one below. Don’t panic – it’s not the blue screen of death.

Windows 10 uninstall blue screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filling this out helps Microsoft understand the users’ experience of Windows 10. Once you’re done, click ‘Next.’

As you would expect, before  the process gets underway, Windows gives you a couple more chances to change your mind and it reminds you that if you have a password in your earlier version of Windows you’ll need it once the process has finished.

If you still want to go ahead click ‘Next’ and Windows will do the uninstall.

Congratulations, you have now uninstalled Windows 10.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.