New HP Laptop (Solid State)

The Apple ® MACbook air made waves when it was released and now the Windows Laptops are having a say about it.  This new laptop is thinner than a dime and weighs a hair over 3 lbs.  Not bad!

This laptop is based on Solid State Drive technology.  Hard-Drives use a mechanical arm that moves around to read information on the rotating disks so the computer must wait to get information.  That is why RAM was developed to hold information that could be used by the computer until the other data could be retrieved from the hard-drive.  Solid State Drives are A LOT of RAM so it removes the mechanical part and greatly improves the speed of the computer.

This new laptop starts at $999 on HP’s ® store website.  However, you may want to upgrade your current laptop or desktop to take advantage of the speed of the solid state technology.  Our recommendation is that a dual-core or better processor on a computer running Windows 7 (supports Solid State Drives) is a good fit.  If you have a Windows Vista machine it would be best to upgrade it.  Does it make a difference, yes, one customer said their computer ran like a “super Nova” after we upgraded their computer.  If you are interested please contact us.

Quick tip: What to look for in a new computer to match today’s (June 2012) technology;

  • Solid State Drive (not necessary but nice!)
  • USB 3.0 (superspeed) ports
  • DisplayPort technology (yes, even HDMI is being superseded)

Need to migrate the data and settings from an older computer to a new computer?  Yep, we can do that too!  We even have solutions to run legacy software on a new computer.

Infected Computers to loose website access in July 2012 (dcwg.org)

Did you get a message with a link to dcwg.org?  There was a malicious group that redirected infected computers to “their” DNS websites.  They were caught and the FBI directed dcwg.org to manage the DNS servers.

What is DNS?  A Domain Name Server (DNS) links the IP address (4 sets of numbers separated by periods) to the name of the website.  Could you remember 74.125.224.142 or is Google.com easier to remember?  Try opening your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, Google Chrome) and typing in 74.124.224.142 where you would normally type in a website address.  Yep, you end up at Google.com.  When you type in a website address, such as http://www.opendns.com, the DNS has a list of what IP address(es) are linked to what websites and you arrive at the expected website.  The authors of these DNS servers and the associated virus had plans to redirect the infected websites for some criminal purpose.  So, you type in the website name and possibly end up at a spoof website.

These next steps will show you how to check if you are a victim and either way you might consider changing the assigned DNS.  One reason to change is a slight increase in surfing speed, and the other is to protect against phishing websites.

To Check:

For Windows XP; Open a command Window, left-click START > run > type in “cmd” and press the ENTER key. In the command window (black with white letters) type in netsh interface ip show dns and then press the Enter key.

For Windows 7; Open a command Window, left-click START > type in cmd (cmd.exe should appear and be highlighted) press the ENTER key.  In the command window (black with white letters) type in netsh interface ip show dnsservers and then press the Enter key.

Is there are any “statically Configured DNS Servermatching one of these DNS servers that will be deactivated in July 2012 (?):

Starting IP           Ending IP                     CIDR
85.255.112.0    85.255.127.255        85.255.112.0/20
67.210.0.0        67.210.15.255          67.210.0.0/20
93.188.160.0    93.188.167.255       93.188.160.0/21
77.67.83.0        77.67.83.255           77.67.83.0/24
213.109.64.0    213.109.79.255       213.109.64.0/20
64.28.176.0      64.28.191.255           64.28.176.0/20

What would happen if yours are set to one of these and you did not make a change.  Well, in July when you typed in the name of a website it will not be accessible.

Most users use the DNS provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP).  However, you can choose to use another DNS by changing the DNS setting.  Among many DNS there are:

Google‘s DNS (Preferred 8.8.8.8 & Alternate 8.8.4.4) that may increase your surfing speed.

And there is:

Opendns DNS (Preferred 208.67.222.222, Alternate 208.67.220.220) that may increase surfing speed and that blocks phishing websites.  This service (free for Home Users) can be further configured by creating a free Opendns account.

To Change the DNS setting:

Open the Network Card Control Panel (ncpa.cpl);

Windows XP users (Windows XP instructions with images):  click START -> Click Run -> Type in ncpa.cpl (wait until window opens)
Windows Vista (Windows Vista instructions with images) or Windows 7 users (Windows 7 instructions with images): click START -> type in ncpa.cpl (wait until window opens)

Next, for Windows XP, VISTA and Windows 7;

Look for the Local Area Connection and the Wireless Network Connection Icon and Right-Click on one of these and left-click on the Properties Window.   In the window that opens Left-Click the Networking Tab (Windows XP: General Tab) -> Left-Click on the (Windows XP) “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)(Vista/Windows 7)Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” to highlight it and Left-Click on the Properties button-> on the General Tab check if “Use the following DNS server addresses” is selected.  If one of the soon to be “turned off” DNS IP addresses are listed (see previous list of DNS IP addresses to be deactivated in July, 2012) either click  “Obtain DNS server address automatically” to use the one provided by your ISP or click “Use the following DNS server addresses” and type in the DNS service you would like such as the Google DNS (Preferred 8.8.8.8 & Alternate 8.8.4.4) or Opendns DNS (Preferred 208.67.222.222, Alternate 208.67.220.220)  When typing them in first type the number, press the PERIOD key, type next number set, press the PERIOD key until done.   Double check the numbers are correct. Click OK all the way out to set the new DNS.  Now, to see they are active use the “To Check” instructions above.

If you followed all this then more power to you!

In a nutshell, the Difference between an Intel i3, i5 and i7 processor

Here’s the scoop on the Intel® i3, i5, and i7 processors:

Computers were originally based on one CPU (Processor), sort of like one genius engineer working at a desk mounted on a bicycle, to process the data the computer needed.  The computer designers had the engineer pedal faster and faster to keep up (the processor frequency or clock speed) until the engineer on the bike said, “No more!”  The computer designers thought, “what if there are multiple genius engineers working together?” and the multi-core processor was born.  Turbo-boost is like saying, hey, “please work a little faster to make the deadline” and hyper-threading is similar to asking, “since you are a genius please do these 2 jobs at the same time” and so the basic difference in the Intel i3, i5, and i7 processors are;
i3Dual core (no turbo boost or hyper-threading)
i5 – one model is Dual Core the rest Quad core (all support turbo boost which is the ability for the clock speed to be increased to handle short periods of extra demand)
i7Quad core (supports turbo boost & hyper threading which is the ability to handle 2 threads per core)
For emailing and word processing an i3 is sufficient to do the job.  For photo editing and more advanced photo work an i5 is a useful computer.  For professional or large photo file processing or Auto-Cad and similar intensive processor work an i7 processor is the CPU to choose.  Or, if you can get a good deal, maybe we can help ;), consider one step up to future proof the computer purchase.

Locate pictures and photos with Microsoft Office Picture Manager

Do you have Microsoft Office ® 2007 or 2010 and need to locate a photo, then try this;

1. Left-Click on the Windows 7 Start  Button (for Windows XP , left-click Start > All Programs > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Tools)  , type in microsoft office picture manager and if it is installed on the computer it will show up in the list above.  Make sure it is high-lighted (use the up or down arrows if needed) and press the ENTER key or click on it.  (By-The-Way you can locate Programs and just about any file on the computer by Clicking on the Windows 7 Start  Button and typing in any part of the name you remember).

2. After it opens left-click on File, left-click on Locate Pictures and choose the drive letter (i.e. C:, D: etc) to search.

3. Now you can see what it finds.

Never Open an Attachment!

Website drive-by’s are one of the most common ways for Malware (i.e. Virus, Spyware or unwanted program) to reach the computer and another is email attachments.  If you are using a secure email connection (https) to receive email then the Anti-Malware (Anti-Virus) email scanner cannot scan it or you might not even have one.  No worries, if you follow this advice:

NEVER OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS

Instead, download the attachment, right-click on it and select the installed Anti-Virus program to scan the file.   To help with the incentive to do this consider the following:

1. There are twice as many cyber-attacks then babies born each day.

2. Consider the feeling of invasion when that false Virus Alert Pops-up and keeps you from using the computer.

3. Without your knowledge your computer is now part of a spy-bot network hacking and attacking other computers.

Take back the control, put this practice into place and save yourself future frustrations and expense.

We strive to provide lots of useful information and occasionally we will throw out “Special”, like this one:

Are you thinking to change your current Anti-Virus?  Consider the $45 Security Update deal;

1. We will run a double check scan for Malware (Viruses) on one computer.
2. We will replace the troublesome Anti-Virus safely, so the new top-rated (Free Version) Anti-Virus will install and operate correctly.  We will then show you how to get the full Paid version for less, a lot less.  It is likely the savings will pay for this service.
3.  To top that, we will install a free security assistant and an add-on to your browser that will warn you prior to visiting a site if it is dangerous.  Several clients thanked us later when it saved them from a Malware (Virus) infection.

The one disclaimer is if step one uncovers a serious Malware infection additional service time may be required.  We will give you our best recommendation and the associated cost for your consideration.

Add on Performance Service (add $27.50): We will perform a performance service, and hardware assessment to look for potential early hardware failure.

or go for, THE TOTAL PACKAGE DEAL $165, that includes;

1.  Install a local Backup Program (requires an external Hard-Drive larger than the space used on the computer.  We can quote one if you need one.)  See; Disk Imaging
2. Perform a in-depth Malware search.
3. Complete a performance checkup including the removal of Potentially Unwanted Programs.
4. End with the install of an off-site backup Program (estimated cost for unlimited storage space of one computer is between $5 per month if paid monthly down to $2.92 for 4 year pre-purchase.)

The TOTAL PACKAGE DEAL is the best practice for computers.  With this service you are ready for just about any problem that could arise.

To schedule one of these services please visit Service Request and type in the service you would like:

Security Update Deal” for steps 1,2 & 3. ($45)

Performance Service add-on” ($27.50).  Note this is an add-on to the “Security Update Deal” and not a stand alone service.

OR

the “TOTAL PACKAGE DEAL”  ($165)

Whichever deal you pick it is our mission to provide excellent service.

Who is impersonating my Email?

A recent customer was surprised and upset to receive an email that said it came from the customer’s name.  (ex. sentfrom: insert your name here!).  That would mean a spoof email could be sent impersonating the customer even though they did not send it!  Can it be done, yes. So be warned and careful about links and especially attachments in emails even if sent from someone you know and communicate with regularly.

To check and confirm the emails origin via the email header see the instructions for your email service here:

Expanded List of Sites with instructions on finding email headers:

http://www.emailquestions.com/full-email-headers/

 http://spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/19.html -

 http://www.haltabuse.org/help/headers/

When you see the actual email header there will likely be a series of “Received: From” listings so find the last one listed (lowest down on the Received:From list) and this is the originator of the email.

This may be frustrating news but it’s not new, remember USPS Mail!  Stay vigilant and stay safe.