Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Scam Warnings!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

There have been a lot of scams going around online recently, some of which seem frighteningly real and are completely fake – designed to scare the average computer user into forking over money to ‘fix’ a ‘problem’. Some recent examples would be: the FBI/ICE Virus, or ‘Microsoft Windows’ technicians actually calling over the phone.

These viruses have been seen frequently in our shop since mid-2013: The FBI, ICE, Homeland Security or similar Viruses. Upon starting your computer, you may be presented with a window that completely locks you out from your desktop. It will cover your whole screen and is intelligent enough to disallow all access to the Start button, Control+Alt+Delete, the Task Manager and every last thing that is useful in beating it. This virus may demand you pay it a fine usually between 200 to 400 dollars or more because your computer was found to be harboring some taboo material, such as child pornography and the FBI has frozen your computer for evidence. This is false – and paying the money will NOT allow you access to your computer again, and could potentially make it worse as it could allow them more control over your computer.

The way this virus asks to be paid is with a Moneypak Green Dot pay card code. This way, the payment is completely untraceable and non-refundable. Do NOT purchase any card for this or give any bank/card information to anyone or anything you don’t know.

Additionally, another recent scam warning is some ‘Microsoft Windows’ representatives calling people’s homes, warning them that their computers are in imminent danger. There are a few things immediately wrong with this, that you should remember. Number one: Microsoft, the actual company will not call individuals for any reason. Anyone claiming to be with Microsoft and calling you without you first knowing the person in real life is almost always lying to you. Number two: Nobody over the phone will know the status of your computer, unless this is a person or business you have previously authorized to have regular checkups with, or if a virus has already infected your computer. If someone calls you and you do not know who it is personally – and they also claim your computer is heading for an imminent issue, virus, or problem, they are lying to you. It is a good idea at this point to hang up and call a reputable computer repair company to get the computer or laptop cleaned up of malware and viruses to be safe.

Aside from legitimate shopping websites such as eBay, Amazon or any online retailers you trust do not give out your credit card or any payment info to anyone. Especially if they claim that they can fix or improve your computer or that your computer is going to be unusable. If you are concerned about the issue or have continuous, coincidental issues such as pop-ups, problem warnings, or “DO THIS NOW OR ELSE YOUR COMPUTER WILL BECOME A PAPERWEIGHT” scares, call Cold Snap Technology at 218-744-1210 and ask about anything you are not sure about, or feel free to stop by; we would be glad to help you.

Adobe Products

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Adobe has several commonplace programs out that you more than likely already have on your computer. These are primarily Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader. Flash is very prevalent on the Internet, with many websites having Flash components, Flash games or advertisements, and Flash-based tool sets. Reader allows you to open and view PDFs (Portable Document Files) as well as load them online, using browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox. Adobe Reader integrates into these platforms and allow you to view forms and documents on the web.

It is vital that these programs remain up to date. As of the writing of this article, December 2013, the latest version of Adobe Reader is XI (11.0.04) [Windows Vista’s last version is Adobe Reader X] and the latest version of Flash is 11.9.900.170 (for most major systems). While it’s generally okay to be a couple of minor versions behind (for example, 11.9.900.122 or so on), you still should check to make sure you’re not too far behind. One of the reasons Adobe does these updates is to patch security holes in their software so you are not vulnerable to exploits or attacks that can damage your system.

At the time of writing, the easiest way to ensure your Flash player is working (and check what version) is to go to this link: http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/ This website checks your version and displays it in a little information box, then there’s a chart of the most up to date versions for different operating systems and browsers. As for checking Adobe Reader, just do a Google (or your favorite search engine) search for “Test PDF” and click a couple of the links. If they load, you should be fine.

If you don’t have Flash, or need to update it, (at the time of writing) the easiest link is to just go to http://get.adobe.com/flash and for Reader – if you need it or need to update, it is similarly: http://get.adobe.com/reader .

There are fake Adobe Flash updates out on the Internet. Read the screen carefully, and you can usually tell these aren’t real. The only time you should ever receive an update automatically is from Adobe, or the Adobe product itself. (Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Adobe AIR – etc) These are usually windows that pop up when you turn your computer on (If you have it set to automatically search for updates, which is enabled by default) or on the bottom right of your desktop – unrelated to any Internet browser you are using. If it came up in a pop-up window or another tab, there’s a good chance it’s a virus or malware. If you see the request to update, and are not positive of your current version, download it from the adobe website: http://adobe.com or use one of the aforementioned links.

So just try to remember to check your Adobe products once in a while and don’t be fooled by a website advertisement telling you to get an update. These are some good simple steps to keeping your computer safe from attack and maintaining your PC’s health while making sure you are able to view and use common Internet resources.

Windows 8

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Windows 8 – How and what is it? Windows 8 is the newest operating system from Microsoft, the successor to Windows 7. It provides a few new things and while keeping some features the same – it generally could be said that Windows 8 is a completely new system.

Win8Logo

Firstly, why is it new? Windows 8 offers a fresh experience built from the success that was Windows 7 – Seven was wildly popular and some even viewed it as the spiritual successor to Windows XP rather than Vista. The desktop environment is still present – like other Windows systems and strongly represents the Windows 7 desktop. However, this is hidden by the new “Metro Experience” introduced in Windows 8.

Win8Metro

The Metro Experience

“Metro” is what stands out tall and first in the long line of new features and what you’ll be presented with right away when you start up a machine with Windows 8. It’s a streamlined environment where “Apps” will be presented to you in squares and rectangles all put together nice and squarely. This is a great addition – for mobile computers using Windows 8. Communities around the Internet have been frustrated with how much Windows 8 is designed for mobiles and forcefully using this setup on all installations, including desktops where it is much less useful. Metro goes great on a tablet, or phone or even touch-screen laptop, though as it’s much like a home screen on an Android or Apple device.

Aside from Metro, Windows 8 also offers some new features and re-tooled others. Something that long-time users of Windows may notice immediately is that once you discover how to get to the desktop (Windows Key + D or find the “Desktop” Metro tile) you will see a lack of any discernible and trademark “Start Button” or “Start Menu”. For some reason, Microsoft decided this was not a good inclusion – leaving many long-time users wondering how to navigate their desktop.

A lot of customers and people who ended up with Windows 8 on their new computers seem to be lost without something that has been so paramount in previous systems from Microsoft. There are several solutions to this problem, and the one that has been found by us to be the most helpful is “Start Menu 8” by “IOBit”. It’s fairly customizable and can be very much like the old Windows 7 menu. There are other alternatives for those searching for this solutions though, so do a little googling for what will suit you the best.

Start Menu 8

IOBit’s Start Menu 8 is a welcome sight.

Options Screen

Fairly customizable.

Windows 8 has included some old features in new ways, for example file searching was arguably one of the most powerful features behind Vista and more-so in Windows 7. Since the Start Menu is gone, where did this feature go? From your W8 desktop, hit Windows Key + F, and this will bring up a new menu on the right side of your screen, where you can search for an App, a Setting or a File all in one.

Win 8 Search

Windows Key + F

If you have Windows 7 already, should you upgrade to Windows 8? It’s a hard decision to say yes or no, and you’ll have to think about if you want to re-learn things you already know to more familiarize yourself for the modern, hybrid PC and Mobile system. Is it more powerful? We’ve only seen a couple computers in shop with it so far, and it seems to operate cleanly minus all of the struggles of misplaced features. You may like it, but you also may not – the best suggestion would most certainly be: “Try Before You Buy”.