Windows 7 – Support Is Coming To An End

Support for Windows 7 is coming to an end. D-day is January 14th 2020. From that date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support.

There’s nothing to stop you from continuing to use Windows 7 after this date. However, once support ends, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks. It’s also worth noting that support for Internet Explorer on Windows 7 will also be discontinued at the same time.

Now would be a good time to start thinking about moving across to Windows 10.

Can I upgrade my existing PC to Windows 10?

Yes. Upgrading compatible PCs is possible. However, they must fulfil the following requirements:

  • 1GHz processor or faster
  • 1GB RAM for 32-bit; 2GB for 64-bit
  • 800×600 screen resolution or higher. DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver
  • Internet access
  • Microsoft account required for some features

Can I get a free upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft 365 Business comes with a free upgrade for users with a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 Pro license on their device. By buying Microsoft 365 Business, your users can upgrade all of their old Windows Pro licensed devices at no additional cost.

What alternatives are there?

If you use Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise, you can buy Extended Security Updates through January 2023. For an in-depth FAQ about these Extended Security Updates, please download the Microsoft End of Support FAQ

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 Stop Windows Updating Drivers When You Update Your PC

By default, Windows updates all your PC’s drivers whenever you update your PC.

On the whole this is a good thing, however, sometimes a faulty driver update (for example to your graphics card or motherboard) can harm your entire PC.

If this happens, you have a couple of options.

You can roll back your driver to its previous version. You can do this by:

  • Opening Device Manager
  • Right-clicking the faulty driver
  • Clicking properties
  • Click the driver tab and the button to revert to the previous version

Alternatively, you can choose to skip driver updates completely whenever you update Windows.  You can do this by searching for and opening your Registry Editor. Then all you have to do is navigate through the following path by clicking the dropdown menus on the left:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

Right-click any blank area in the right-hand section, move your cursor to New, select ‘DWORD (32bit) Value’, name it ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate, then press enter.

Finally, right click this key, click modify, type 1in to the ‘value data’ field then click OK.

Close your registry editor and restart your PC.

That’s all there is to it.

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

Even Old Windows Server Machines Can Fend of Hacks

Windows Server 2003

 

Microsoft wants you to upgrade your business onto the latest Windows OSes that offer security patches because, if you’re running a Windows Server 2003 machine, you’re doomed.

Sound advice, but many large institutions (such as those in healthcare and manufacturing) can’t upgrade because they rely on legacy software that won’t run on modern operating systems.

It costs an enormous amount to upgrade, especially when the machines are fine and it’s just the Server that’s the issue.

However, all is not lost because there are some things you can do to keep your old Windows Server 2003 secure.

Network segmentation and monitoring

Network segmentation goes beyond placing vulnerable servers behind a firewall.

By restricting access to your most critical servers, and making sure only system admins can control them, you’re reducing the network hackers can access should they breach your firewall.

It’s not a costly exercise, and Enterprise internet routers often have access control features that can limit which computers can talk to what. It’s also wise to monitor vulnerable servers (especially if carrying critical information) for any unusual traffic.

Application whitelisting

Whitelisting works by allowing only trusted applications to run on your computer.

It’s the opposite approach to antivirus products that blacklist malicious programs based on known indicators.

Backup sensitive data

Hopefully, you’re already doing this, but backing up important data stored in your machines will help. Particularly with the growing popularity of ransomware that infects your computer and encrypts all the data within it, which will only be freed once a ransom is paid.

The best option

Although these ideas will help, the best solution is still to upgrade.

Yes, it will be costly in the short-term, but that investment will help the long-term security of your data and reputation of your business.

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

Microsoft’s Monthly Rollup Updates

Windows monthly rollup updates

 

You may have noticed that since October 2016 Microsoft introduced monthly rollup updates for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1.

Why?

Well, according to Technet it’s because:

“Historically, we have released individual patches for these platforms, which allowed you to be selective with the updates you deployed. This resulted in fragmentation where different PCs could have a different set of updates installed leading to multiple potential problems:

  • Various combinations caused sync and dependency errors and lower update quality
  • Testing complexity increased for enterprises
  • Scan times increased
  • Finding and applying the right patches became challenging
  • Customers encountered issues where a patch was already released, but because it was in limited distribution it was hard to find and apply proactively

By moving to a rollup model, we bring a more consistent and simplified servicing experience to Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1, so that all supported versions of Windows follow a similar update servicing model. The new rollup model gives you fewer updates to manage, greater predictability, and higher quality updates. The outcome increases Windows operating system reliability, by eliminating update fragmentation and providing more proactive patches for known issues. Getting and staying current will also be easier with only one rollup update required. Rollups enable you to bring your systems up to date with fewer updates, and will minimize administrative overhead to install a large number of updates. (Note: Several update types aren’t included in a rollup, such as those for Servicing Stack and Adobe Flash.)” (Technet)

Now, as a user, you will get a monthly rollup that addresses both security issues and reliability issues in a single update.

Sounds OK, but what about this single monthly update rollup means users don’t have the ability to figure out exactly what fix in the rollup is causing the headache.

Only time will tell how successful this approach is going to be, so we shall continue to monitor the situation.

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

Windows Update KB3097877 Crashes Outlook

bad apple windows update

 

Usually, Windows updates make your life easier, but not this time.

Part of the security bulletin MS15-115, which is a critical patch to fix vulnerabilities in OpenType fonts, KB3097877 has turned out to be a bad apple.

There have been numerous reports from Windows 7 users about problems with logging in to Windows, or experiencing crashes in Outlook 2010 and 2013 when viewing HTML emails after downloading the update.

Microsoft hasn’t issued a patch to fix it, instead they’ve reissued it under the same reference (just to confuse everyone), so once you’ve remove it and are offered the same again from Windows Updates, you should be fine.

So how do you get rid of the offending update?

To remove the patch in Windows 7, open the Control Panel, Programs and Features, click “View installed updates” on the left hand side. You can now search for KB3097877, right-click on the appropriate entry and select un-install.

Alternatively, and perhaps preferably (especially if you’re actually able to login to Windows) simply check for Windows Updates again. If KB3097877 is available with a date of 12/11/2015 then install this and reboot again.

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