Microsoft’s Security Chief Says Ditch Internet Explorer

It’s not every day you hear the security chief of Microsoft telling you not to use one of its products. However, today isn’t any old day. Today is the day you’re urged not to use Internet Explorer.

In the words of Chris Jackson, Microsoft’s security chief, Internet Explorer is outdated and shouldn’t be used as a main web browser.

Is Internet Explorer is outdated?

Developers no longer test their work on it, instead preferring more modern browsers. This causes problems for people who do use it.

Microsoft is well aware that many firms still rely on IE. Their websites use the deep programming behind it. According to Mr Jackson, this won’t affect the running of the sites. However, IE is now merely a ‘compatibility solution.’

What supersedes Internet Explorer?

Back in 2015, Microsoft launched a successor to IE called Edge, but it struggled and failed to capture the imagination of users.

The software giant now plans to adopt technology from Google Chrome.

If you are still using IE, one word of warning, from 2020 IE11 will be the only version to get security updates.

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

Microsoft Adds Ransomware Protection To OneDrive

OneDrive ransomware protection

 

OneDrive Ransomware Protection

Here’s a scenario for you.

You know all about ransomware and how it can affect your computer. But did you realise it can also spread to your files stored in the cloud?

Microsoft does, which is why it’s creating some new OneDrive protections.

As a result, you can now ‘roll back’ the files stored in OneDrive to versions stored up to a month ago. This helps you get back to a point before the malware infection occurred.

Better still, it will use its automated threat-detection system. This figures out when the ransomware began infecting those files. You then get an alert, via your phone, so let you know that an infection has taken place.

What’s the catch?

You have to subscribe to Office 365, although the Outlook protections aren’t yet available to the Office 365 version of Outlook.

How does it work?

According to a recent article in PCWorld.com:

“What’s new is that Microsoft has adapted its Files Restore capability—previously only for OneDrive for Business—and brought it into Office 365 subscriptions for home users. Not only will Microsoft detect an attack, but you’ll be notified by any channels that Microsoft would normally use to send you messages: email, a popup notification, and more.

“Then, you’ll be able to enter OneDrive and essentially “roll back” to an earlier day. You’ll want to pick a day before Microsoft alerted you about the attack, naturally.

“Microsoft has also taken security within Outlook a step further: Now you can password-protect links to folders or files. That’s handy: Previously, there was really no real way to protect links to files or folders from being shared to anyone. Both the ransomware detection and link protections are available starting Thursday, Microsoft said.

“If you are concerned about those links being forwarded, Microsoft has begun to address that, too. In Outlook.com, you now have the option of encrypting a file or preventing it from being forwarded, or both simultaneously.”

 

 

 

Do You Want More Control Over When Windows 10 Installs Updates?

Windows 10 upgrades

You spoke. Microsoft listened.

That’s not something that happens every day, but Microsoft is canny enough to realise its priority has to be keeping its customers happy.

Following user feedback, the software giant has finally taken notice of the complaints that it’s been receiving since Windows 10 made its debut. These are mainly levelled at how the OS grabs control of their PC to install updates and upgrades, usually at inconvenient times.

In a report by Computerworld, Microsoft has announced it will offer customers more options for installing, and delaying, monthly security updates and once to twice a year feature upgrades.

Starting with the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update release, Microsoft will give users notifications once an update or upgrade has been downloaded and offer them the ability to install right away or hit “snooze,” which will postpone the update install for three days.

These new options apply to all Windows 10 editions. Administrators, however, will only be able to push policy-based delays in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of 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.

Source: Spiceworks

Have You Installed the Emergency Flash Patch?

emergency flash patch

 

As a PC user, you rely on Microsoft’s regular patch updates to make sure your system works smoothly and remains secure.

Adobe and Microsoft release Flash Player updates at about the same time to limit the number of vulnerable users, but in February something went wrong.

We’re not sure what because Microsoft is keeping tight-lipped, but for some reason, the software giant cancelled it’s usual Patch Tuesday that month.

As a result, a critical security fix has been released to resolve the problem with Adobe’s Flash Player on:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 RE
  • Windows RT 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2016

According to The Verge:

“The patch requires a restart, and fixes a problem that could lead to remote code execution. It’s a serious issue, so check Windows Update and install the patch immediately.”

Check your patches

Historically it’s been shown that attackers analyse Flash Player updates to find vulnerabilities, which are then used to attack the users who haven’t patched their systems.

That’s why it’s important to double-check whether you have downloaded the patch.

If you haven’t, your whole system is at risk.

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

Microsoft’s Browsing Code’s Got a Bug

Microsoft code bug

 

Microsoft is having a ‘bad day at the office’ at the moment.

At the beginning of February, it cancelled a regular monthly security update without explanation (it was to include fixes for several significant vulnerabilities). Plus, security researchers released information about how to exploit a weakness in some Microsoft server code.

Not a great start to the year.

To top it all, a recent article on the BBC website announced that Google had released details of a bug in Microsoft’s browsing program that allows attackers to build websites that make the software crash.

It stated that:

Google researcher Ivan Fratric, said the bug could, in some cases, allow attackers to hijack a victim’s browser.

The bug was found in November, but details are only now being released after the expiry of the 90-day deadline Google gave Microsoft to find a fix.

Microsoft has yet to say when it will produce a patch that removes the bug.

The problem is found in Internet Explorer 11 as well as the Edge browser and arises because of the way both programs handle instructions to format some parts of web pages.

In a statement, Microsoft did not comment directly on the bug and its significance but said it had a “customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible”.

It added it was involved in “an ongoing conversation with Google about extending their deadline since the disclosure could potentially put customers at risk”.

The good news is that at the moment there is no evidence that malicious attackers are exploiting the problem unearthed by Mr Fratric.

The bad news is that no fix has yet been released for this vulnerability.

If we hear anything new, we’ll update you.

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

Windows 10 as a Recommended Update

Windows 10

 

Last year Microsoft unleashed Windows 10, offering it as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users. As a result, it is now the Operating System on more than 110 million devices.

Not bad.

But Microsoft is stepping up its efforts. Starting from this year, it’s re-categorising Windows 10 as a “recommended update” in its Windows Update system. That means the upgrade process will download and start automatically on thousands of machines.

According to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson in a recent interview in The Verge:

“A user will be presented with a choice to install Windows 10. They’ll come back to their PC and there will be a dialog where they can choose to upgrade to Windows 10 or not.”

It’s worth noting however, that you’ll only see this dialogue box once. Windows 10 will automatically download and start the upgrade process, depending on your Windows Update settings, but you can opt out and not receive nagging prompts to update. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users on a metered connection will have to turn off automatic updates to prevent the installer from downloading automatically.

Easing the path from piracy to genuine user of Windows 10

Microsoft is also making changes designed to entice software pirates to upgrade. According to Myerson:

“If you try and upgrade a non-genuine PC to Windows 10 today it says the free upgrade is only available to genuine PCs. We’re seeing people be creative to get around that block, and then many are actually going to the Windows Store and buying a genuine license.”

To make it easier for non-genuine Windows users to get genuine, the company is planning to run an experiment in the US to get software pirates on board. It will offer a one-click opportunity to get a genuine Windows license from the Windows Store, but it won’t be a free upgrade. Pirates will have to purchase the genuine license and proceed with an upgrade.

This is all part of Microsoft’s master plan to get 1 billion devices running Windows 10 within 2 or 3 years.

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

Source: The Verge

Say Farewell to OneDrive’s Unlimited Storage for Office 365 Users

OneDrive cloud storage changes

 

Once upon a time, paying Office 365 subscribers enjoyed unlimited OneDrive storage, increasing the platform’s competitiveness against the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox. But now Microsoft has changed its mind because, apparently, the unlimited storage privilege had been abused by some users.

According to their official blog:

“Since starting to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings.”

They also added that, in some cases, users used 75TB of storage, which is 14,000 times the average used by Office 365 subscribers.

The changes mean that subscribers for Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal and Office 365 University will go back to a 1TB limit for OneDrive storage. If you are on one of these plans and currently have more than 1TB stored in your OneDrive account, you can keep the increased space for 12 months.

To sum up:

  • Microsoft is offering pro-rated refunds to users who decide ti withdraw from their Office 365 subscription
  • Paid users of OneDrive will also experience downgrades, with the 100GB and 200GB storage options being replaced by a 50GB service for a monthly fee of $1.99 (currently standalone storage plans won’t be affected)
  • Free storage on OneDrive will decrease from 5GB to 15GB for all new and current users, with the bonus of 15GB for camera roll storage also being discontinued

Not such great news if you use the service.

It will be interesting to see how many current users will move their cloud storage services in light of Microsoft’s changes.

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

 

Source: Techtimes

 

15 Essential Microsoft Word Shortcuts

Word shortcuts

 

Microsoft Word is one of those programmes you use every day (pretty much) without giving it a second thought.

But what if there was a way to be more productive?

It’s the same with anything you use regularly.

You become overly familiar with it and then continue to use it as as you always have, even if there’s a quicker way to get things done.

That’s the problem with Word. It’s certainly not the hardest bit of software to use, so the way you use it seems perfectly OK. However, just a few minutes of your time will make you more productive.

Below are 15 really useful keyboard shortcuts that you, or may not know about. They work for both Word for Windows 2013 and 2016.

Ready?

Here goes.

  1. Keyboard Access to the Ribbon: Just like Excel, Word has a method that lets you access menu items using only your keyboard. Just press Alt or F10 and letters will appear next to each visible menu item. Press the corresponding letter to activate a particular menu option. To get rid of the labels, press Esc.
  2. Ctrl + F1: Display or hide the Ribbon.
  3. Ctrl + K: Insert a hyperlink for the selected text.
  4. Ctrl + F: Open the search box in the navigation pane.
  5. Alt + Ctrl + S: Split or remove split in the document window.
  6. Ctrl + Backspace: Delete one word to the left.
  7. Shift + F3: Change the case of the selected letters.
  8. Alt + Shift + W: Underline the selected words, but not the spaces included in the selection.
  9. Ctrl + 1: Set single-line spacing.
  10. Ctrl + 2: Set double-line spacing.
  11. Ctrl + 5: Set 1.5-line spacing.
  12. Ctrl + Y: Re-do the last action.
  13. Ctrl + Enter: Insert page break.
  14. Ctrl + W: Close the current document.
  15. Alt + F4: Close the program.

How many did you already know?

Not many I’m guessing.

There’s lot to remember there, so bookmark this page for easy reference until you’ve committed  them all to memory.

Happy typing.

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

Which Free Antivirus Software is Right For You?

Virus protection

 

Antivirus (AV) software is a must for every PC owner.

You’d be daft to use one without it.

But with so many to choose from, how can you be sure you find the right one for you?

Plus, should you be paying for it, or is one of the free ones just as good?

Like you, we love to get something for nothing and so were pleased to stumble across a post in alpha.com that looks at the best free AV available right now.

Here are their 4 top AV packages.

1. Avast

Avast anti virus

 

 

 

 

 

Simple to use, Avast delivers an effective virus protection in a lightweight, but well-equipped package.

2. AVG

AVG Anti virus

 

 

 

 

 

AVG offers loads of features. It also has protection scores that are pretty damn close to those boasted by Avast. In our eyes, this one is a better bet than the next one on our list – Microsoft Security Essentials.

3. Microsoft Security Essentials 2015

Microsoft security essentials

 

 

 

 

 

This one only covers the basics of malware protection. Although it has improved in its internet protection ratings, it still lets through a significantly higher percentage of attacks than third party security software.

4. Panda Free Antivirus

Panda Free Antivirus

 

 

 

 

This is a slight improvement on Microsoft’s offering, but it can’t match the performance of either Avast or AVG. Panda’s malware protection score is a respectable 90%, but it’s closest rival, AVG, performs better.

To sum up, if you want safety and security for your PC, go for either Avast or AVG.

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

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

Do I upgrade to Windows 10

 

Yes, it’s here.

The latest incarnation of Windows has landed. Some lucky people are in line for free upgrades whereas the rest of us mere mortals have to fork out cash to get the benefit of Microsoft’s latest OS.

In this article we’ll try and answer some of the questions that are buzzing round your head as you try to decide whether to upgrade or not.

Who can upgrade to the new OS?

Those lovely people at Microsoft are offering a free upgrade (until July 29th 2016) to all those using Windows 7 and Windows 8 or 8.1.

There is a caveat however, this only applies to users of non-enterprise versions.

What if I’ve got Windows Vista or XP? Can I upgrade?

Bad news – there’s no direct upgrade for you. Instead, you’ll have to do a clean install.

What about is you have a volume license?

If you have an enterprise edition you can upgrade through Microsoft Software Assurance.

If you don’t have Software Assurance, we’re still waiting for an announcement from Microsoft about a standalone Windows 10 Enterprise option.

For this who installed Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 Professional editions using a volume license, here’s what Microsoft said:

…we are offering the full versions of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Pro as a free and easy upgrade for qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year after launch. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.

How about updating through Windows Update?

You can, but it depends. The best way to answer this question is to show you the Upgrade Matrix from Microsoft that outlines the minimum requirements. It’s worth noting that is you run Windows RT, you’r not eligible for a free upgrade.

 

Microsoft upgrade matrix

Is it going to cost me a lot?

The upgrade version is free. Of course, if you buy the full version at retail it’s not going to be cheap, so the best way to do it – especially if you’re in the market for a new PC – is buy one with Windows 10 pre-installed.

Microsoft have said  that once updates they will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device at no additional charge. What is not clear however, is how long that will be, or how much they’ll charge for the new updates after the support ends.

Do I have to upgrade?

If you still love Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, the answer is no, you don’t have to. However, it is worth remembering that extended support for Windows 7 ends in January 2020 and for Windows 8 in January 2023.

How that answers some of your questions about Windows 10. We’ll have more news, advice and tips coming over the next few weeks.

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