Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Windows XP lives on: Avast survey shows 27 percent of its XP users don't plan to switch

At least we know where we stand. I would think that more than 27% are sticking with XP. By the way, Avast makes a very fine free anti-virus.

"Microsoft may have ended support for Windows XP, but free antivirus software vendor Avast projects that for millions of users, that won’t mean squat. 

Avast had previously reported that 23.6 percent of its users were still running Windows XP. In the days before Microsoft ended support of Windows XP on April 8, Avast surveyed close to 165,000 of those users. The results, released in in a blog post on Monday, indicate that 27 percent of Avast’s Windows XP users don’t plan on doing anything, even though Windows XP systems are theoretically vulnerable to attack from hitherto unreported vulnerabilities."

More here.....

Friday, April 11, 2014

XP Users: Day 4

All is going well on my 2 machines.

I run Microsoft Updates every day, and today for the first time, I saw 3 0's on each machine, meaning there were no updates of any sort. This is to be the new norm from here on in, the only exception being I may see a MSE Definitions update file.

However, I run a full MSE scan on both machines at 2 AM every day. So far these scans have been clean, with no issues found. Prior to the scan I indicate that a check for updates should be performed, and I continue to get updates almost every day. This is all good.

What is not all good IMHO is the MSE window. Microsoft is sure out to scare everyone they can into buying a new computer. It is very likely that neither you nor I could run Windows 7 or Windows 8 on our older XP machines.

So I continue to ignore all of the red ink and keep a watchful eye on things. I always check the MSE History tab to make sure there were no problems found.

Yesterday I ran Spybot on both machines and again, no problems were found.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

XP Users: Day 2

All went well on my 2 XP machines today. There were no XP updates except for MSE definition files. MSE runs a full virus scan at 2 AM each day. It did early this morning. No problems on the machines. I ran a Spybot scan today on both machines. No problems found.

I installed MSRT last night thru automatic updates. I ran the full MRT scan. Again no issues.

Things seem eerily quiet!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

XP Users: Updates

I was surprised this evening to find 9 updates for one machine and 10 for the other. There was a wide variety of updates including Windows XP Security updates, MSE definitions update, MSRT, and some MS Office updates.

I am guessing the XP Security updates will be the last?

XP Users: 0 Days to go!

Well, it's here, the last day of support for Windows XP. Last night I checked for updates on both of my XP laptops, found one or two and installed them, and ran full virus scans on both machines. As of this moment, they live and appear to be fine.

I use Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) for my anti-virus program on both machines. As long as I see updated signature files coming from Microsoft I will keep on using MSE. When that changes I will change to another free anti-virus, but for now it's a daily watch on these machines.

Good luck to us all!

Monday, April 7, 2014

XP Users: One day to go!

Spend whatever time you can reviewing all that you should have done by now, by reviewing the blog posts below. Make sure you have backed up all of your data. The absolute worst case scenario would be that your machine gets corrupted and you lose all your data. In that case, it's probably time for a new machine.

I do not expect any real problems, but who knows? It is always best to be prepared. If you have any questions you can write me at pcdoc@brpcdoc.com.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

XP Users: Just another 6 days to go!

Please be sure to read my 7 previous posts and check to make sure you have understood all of these recommendations and taken necessary steps to protect your system(s) as well as can be done..

From Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/end-of-support.aspx comes these tidbits (both news to me):

Will Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool be supported after April 8, 2014?

Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool is aligned with the company's anti-malware engines and signatures, and as such the removal tool will continue to be provided for Windows XP through July 14, 2015. However, any PC running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates for the Windows XP operating system. 

Will Microsoft Security Essentials be supported after April 8, 2014?


Microsoft Security Essentials will not be available for download on Windows XP after April 8, 2014. If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive anti-malware signature updates through July 14, 2015. However, please note that PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected.

Friday, March 28, 2014

XP Users: Backup all of your data

For most of us this is the most important step. I have been backing up my data for years.

I am talking about:

all of my documents, like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, any other text documents, in my case I include my web sites in this (the local copy of what is out there on the web), etc. These include everything you'd expect to find like tax forms, wills, PC Doc class handouts, letters I have written over the years. etc. Even I am amazed when I see that this folder, containing many, many other folders, numbers over 58,000 files.

all of my pictures. I am talking digital photographs. I am talking about the 46000 +/- digital photos I have taken since 2001 when I got my first digital camera. Also included are many old photos I have scanned and converted into digital files.

all of my videos. I don't remember when I bought my Flip Video Recorder. but as I look at the My Videos directory I see I have videos in the Flip folder dating back to 2005, so I am working on year 10 of these. I also see many other videos. Some are YouTube downloads, others make up the old Super 8 videos my son had converted to digital videos, some videos taken by my family which were given to me, and more than a handful of miscellaneous videos saved from various sources over the years. There are roughly 1400 of these (quite large) files.

all of my music. I have over 3000 individual songs (files) in several categories (folders) like Christmas, Kids, my old favorites, Patriotic, etc.

If you are fortunate enough to have organized your files on your PC, as I have over the years, the rest is pretty easy. I realize, for most of you, you will have some preliminary steps to get through this. Start by moving files into the proper one of the 4 folders named above (Documents, Pictures, Videos, and Music).

When ready to back up your files, right click once on the Start button (lower left), and select Explore from the resulting pop-up menu. You should have an idea of how much data you need to backup. I am talking about how many gigabytes (Billions of characters).

Doing what I just laid out, I see this window:

Above you can see the data folders we are talking about - the four of them.

Next, determine how much data you want to back up. To see the size of your aggregated data, right click once on the upper (there are 2) folder named My Documents. Select Properties from the drop down menu. You will then see a window that looks like this:

On this new window note that I have selected the General tab at the top of the Properties window. For me, then, I see that I have a total of 114 GB that includes almost 108,000 files.

I do not expect most of you will have nearly this many, but you need to find out how much data you have on your PC and you MUST have an ironclad plan to back up all of this data before April 8!

The next step is to determine onto what device you will back up your data.

Do not, under this April 8 circumstance think of simply making a duplicate copy on your hard drive! Think in terms of your whole PC being destroyed. Think about backing up your data to an external device, one which can be easily removed and stored (off site - out of the house is best).

Three types of storage media come to mind.

1) A thumb, aka flash, drive

2) A portable external hard drive. These are small, attach via a USB connection, and are pretty affordable these days.

 3) A back up service in "the Cloud", meaning you store your data at a servicer's location. There are many of these in the business. I do this and I use SOS Online Backup, http://www.sosonlinebackup.com/. I am very happy with SOS. I am so comfortable with them that I now just run my backups once a week. I can view my data at any time, and I can restore a file at will - easily. I really love SOS. Find a company you are comfortable with if you want to back up your data in the cloud. It is very reassuring doing this.

However, you may choose to use a thmb drive. Just make sure you buy one that is big enough to hold all of your data.

A Micro Center 64GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive can be bought today for $25.99! (I am amazed at this low price). They make quality stuff and you can buy it online from your easy chair at http://www.microcenter.com/product/388688/64GB_USB_20_Flash_Drive

If you need larger, I have seen 128 GB flash drives advertised too! Simply amazing. That would handle my 118 GB easily.

However, if you decide to go to a flash drive I would urge you to buy 2! Use one for your first backup, and then a week or several weeks later use the second one for your second backup. Always sight verify the backed up results and be sure you can easily restore a file from the flash drive.

Or, you may choose to use an external portable hard drive.

These are priced all over the board. Here is one that seems to be mid-priced, but shop around and ask questions: Matsunichi Inc. 500 GB Portable SuperSpeed USB 3.0 External Hard Drive. The writeup says it also supports USB 2.0. http://www.microcenter.com/product/418095/500GB_Portable_SuperSpeed_USB_30_External_Hard_Drive

If you use a flash drive or a portable hard drive, get the device out of the house after you are satisfied that you have backed up everything you intended to back up!