Posts Tagged 'Microsoft'

Security For Windows 10 – FreeFile Review

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This review addresses how an average user of Windows 10 can easily and effectively maintain security. These are my experiences and observations after more than a year using Windows 10, your mileage may vary.

Antivirus Protection – Many security pros feel that zero-day threats greatly reduce the effectiveness of antivirus programs. Overall, I find Windows 10 to be reasonably secure, and today, most security threats focus on internet browsers. Windows Defender is a lightweight, efficient program, pre-installed with Windows, that operates unobtrusively and effectively. It runs in the background with no user input needed and it receives frequent updates. Use Windows Defender – no additional antivirus is needed.

Browsers – Both Firefox and Chrome are good choices. The best malware blocker add-on is uBlock Origin (available for Firefox and Chrome). Keep your browser up to date and install uBlock origin and you’re good to go. Bear in mind that smart surfing is still the most important thing you can do – no app can help with that.

Malware Scanner – The free version of Malwarebytes does not provide realtime protection, but it is effective when run every week or two, or when a problem is suspected.

Disk Imaging – This is the most important piece to achieve real security. All of the previously mentioned steps can fail, so the ability to quickly recover is key. Imaging software makes an exact copy of the entire C drive, so that the entire PC can be quickly restored after disaster strikes. This will protect you from not just virus and malware attacks, but also from hardware failures and Windows issues. Ideally, the image should be stored on an external drive, so it may require spending about $50. The best free imaging software is Macrium Reflect. It is very fast and reliable.

— — — — The Bottom Line — — — —

1.Use Windows Defender (no additional antivirus programs are needed) 2.Use Firefox or Chrome browsers, with uBlock Origin add-on 3.Get Malwarebytes 4.Consider disk imaging.

Read more FreeFile Reviews on DanKostecki.com

Microsoft Windows Just Turned 30 – A Short History Of Everyone’s Favorite OS

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ZDnet published this short history of Windows – from its humble beginnings in 1985 to today.

ZDnet article HERE

Windows 10 Free Upgrade — Yes or No?

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Should I upgrade to Windows 10? For most people the answer is yes. If you are currently running Windows 7 or 8.1, you undoubtedly know that Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to the newest version of Windows – Windows 10.

—  My Experience – I have been using Windows 10 for the past month on my main PC, and have experienced very few issues. I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 on a new self-built PC. The upgrade was practically perfect, with only the video driver needing to be re-installed; everything else worked flawlessly. With the correct video driver installed, my new PC hummed along for 3 weeks … and then, Microsoft began issuing updates. One of these updates failed, and daily attempts to re-install also failed. A week of Googling did not find a solution. The Windows 10 subreddit finally provided a cure and all is well once more.

—  The Good – It’s difficult to find any features that make Windows 10 a must-have. The most important thing is that Microsoft did not mess up anything too badly and they rolled back most of the Windows 8 changes that users hated. The Start menu is back and most of the ‘Metro’ touch interface has been hidden. A Windows 7 user will not feel completely lost on Windows 10.

—  The Bad – As with every new version of Windows, Microsoft moved around and hid numerous features and controls. They did an especially good job hiding the Control Panel. It cannot be found in any of its old locations, but it is easily accessed with ‘Windows key + X’ keyboard shortcut. The Start Menu may be back, but it isn’t the Windows 7 type menu. I didn’t like the tiles on the menu, nor the inability to customize the menu, so I installed Classic Shell. It brings back the classic Start Menu, with tons of adjustments, and it’s free.

Who should not upgrade – Anyone running Windows Media Center should avoid Windows 10. Windows Media Center has been removed from Windows 10 and is no longer supported.

—  —  —  —  The Bottom Line  —  —  —  —

Windows 10 is the future, so resistance is futile. However, you may want to wait. The free upgrade is being offered until July of 2016, and a major update to Windows 10 is scheduled for November 2015, so waiting a couple months may be prudent. Much has been written about privacy issues with Windows 10, but I feel these concerns are overblown. Some default privacy setting may be less than ideal, but they can be changed. I think most users will be happy with Windows 10. If not, you can revert to your previous version of Windows anytime in the first 30 days.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

FreeFile Review – Document.Editor

Document.Editor is a word processing program. It is an open source project which gives a very good first impression, but with closer inspection, it becomes clear that this project is far from complete. It is for Windows only.

Installation is rather unusual; an .application file is downloaded and when clicked it downloads the program and installs it (I would prefer a simple .exe). Installation is otherwise quick and painless. The program’s interface is an exceptionally well done version of Microsoft’s ribbon interface. Here’s a screenshot. It has Spell Check, Text-to-Speech, and Definitions (Bing look up). Tabs allow opening multiple documents. Unfortunately, the positive impression ended there.

The list of negatives is long. The program can open and save only the most basic formats (.txt .rtf .xdoc). Page layout functions are non existent and printing is very basic. Those two shortcomings make Document.Editor unusable for most users. The program is not stable – it crashed after about 30 minutes of inactivity and it does not remember its window size and location after being minimized to the task bar. The Translation button seems to be non functioning. Most of the links in the program are dead (WTF?). User options are limited.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

I cannot recommend Document.Editor – it is simply too incomplete at this time. I hope this project continues to improve, as I see potential in it. For a better free word processor, see my review of AbiWord.
Document.Editor can be downloaded HERE.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

The Nerd Life According to Conan O’Brien

One of the co-founders of Microsoft has purchased a Russian fighter jet.

He said, “If this doesn’t get me laid, I give up.”

 

FreeFile Review – 2011 Big Browser Round-Up

With both Firefox and Internet Explorer releasing major upgrades in March, I thought now would be a good time to test them both and give Chrome another look.

Internet Explorer 9 was up first. Things started going downhill during the installation. Even though I had all programs closed, the installer insisted on closing 7 background programs. This list included Microsoft’s antivirus program – Security Essentials. That’s right, IE 9 shut off my antivirus protection to install itself. My second issue with IE 9 was with importing of bookmarks. I have a large collection of bookmarks, arranged in folders. Internet Explorer would import only a small percentage of the bookmarks and most of the ones that were imported were pulled out of their folders(the folders were not imported). The most serious strike against IE 9 is that it is only available for Windows 7; all earlier versions of Windows, including XP, cannot use IE 9. Overall, IE 9 seemed to perform well – it never crashed or had any page rendering issues. The interface is quite stripped down and atractive, but I cannot recommend IE 9.

Firefox 4 jumps on the minimalization bandwagon by replacing the Menu Bar with a single button and disabling the Status Bar by default. Those are the major interface changes and both are easily reversed, if you prefer a look more like Firefox 3. Another major upgrade is the improved Add-ons Manager. Firefox 4 seems faster and it did not crash. Of course, extensions are the reason to use Firefox. All of my extensions from FF3 were available on FF4, and I found 2 more I had to have. If you like to browse your way, Firefox is the browser for you. With a large library of extensions, themes and other add-ons, Firefox can be personalized like no other browser.

Last year, I gave Chrome a very poor review. I decided to give Chrome 10 another shot. Speed is still Chrome’s strong suit. I did not experience the crashes that had occurred frequently last year. My major complaint with Chrome is the lack of customization. This has not changed since last year. Almost nothing on the interface can be altered and the selection of extentions is pathetic. Chrome takes the minimalization to the extreme – the Home Button, Bookmarks Bar and Status Bar are all disabled by default. The Home Button, Bookmarks Bar can be enabled, the Status Bar cannot. Chrome’s worst feature may be the Downloads Bar. It is 2 or 3 times the size of a standard bar, it is activated and animated with every download and it cannot be disabled. I just realized that Chrome is the browser equivelant of OSX – do it their way or don’t do it at all. My opinion of Chrome is much improved due solely to the improved reliability.

– – The Bottom Line – –

Firefox 4 is the best of the lot. Speed and reliablity have improved and it offers the most personal browsing experience. Chrome is the right choice if the lack of customization is not important. I can’t recommend Internet Explorer 9.

Download Firefox 4 HERE or Chrome HERE.

Visit DanKostecki.com for more FreeFile Reviews.

Microsoft Does Customer Relations Right

Wired reports –

Hack a Sony gadget and you might get slapped with a lawsuit. Hack a Windows phone, however, and you might get a free T-shirt and a phone call from Microsoft. That’s the sort of treatment Windows Phone 7 hackers report receiving from Microsoft: warm embrace, a willingness to collaborate and free gear as if they’re part of a new team. In recent weeks, Microsoft representatives have reportedly met with Windows Phone 7 jailbreakers to discuss how they can support “homebrew” apps — third-party software that doesn’t require the approval of Microsoft — in a way that benefits both parties. This friendly approach even managed to impress George Hotz, the youngster who gained fame as the first hacker to unlock the iPhone.

Continue reading HERE.


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