Support Ending for Windows XP

April 8, 2014 marks the end of the line for Windows XP

What does that mean for you?

Microsoft has decided that it will no longer support Windows XP after April 8, 2014.  If you have Windows XP you will no longer get Windows Updates which contain important security patches for Windows XP.  Included in these updates are any software updates or fixes for hardware and other Microsoft software products such as Microsoft Office products.

It may also be time to consider new hardware.  Since Windows XP has not been sold for several years, you may have hardware that is too outdated to run the newer operating systems.  The price of upgrading to a new Operating System on older hardware most likely can not be justified.

What should you do?

If you believe you have newer hardware, you may be able upgrade to either Windows 7 or Windows 8.  The minimum needed to upgrade is a 1 GHz processor with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2, 1 GB of RAM, 20 GB Hard drive space, and Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver.

Realizing that these are the very minimum needed to run the operating system, the following requirements are suggested for anyone wanting to do anything more than simple use the internet: 2 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, 80 GB Hard drive and Microsoft Directx 9 support.

What if I want to keep Windows XP

Truthfully you need to know that you will be more likely to be infected with viruses and malware due to Windows XP vulnerabilities.  Malware writers quickly use exploits in system to install their malware. Any issues with the Windows Operating system itself will not be fixed by Microsoft so the exploits will always be vulnerable.  Microsoft will not provide Windows XP users with any support should you have any problems with your Operating System.

What if I do not us my computer on the internet?

If you absolutely do not connect to the internet at any time, then you will still be able to use your computer as you have in the past.  This means absolutely no internet access. Any wired connection to the internet should be unplugged and any wireless access should be turned off or removed to prevent accidental access. The biggest problem with the end of support comes with internet connected computers.  If you are not on the internet then you can not be infected with problems from the internet.

One caveat: Even if you are completely off the internet, if you use a USB drive, CD, DVD or any other means to transfer files that are infected to your XP computer you may still be subject to infection.

 

If you need further assistance or advise, please feel free to CHAT with one our agents, email or call us at (940) 320-9114.

 

Are you infected with a Virus?

If your computer is slow with pop up ads it may be that you are infected with a virus. If you are infected with a virus or malware, you can go online to Microsoft’s Safety Scanner www.microsoft.com/security/scanner to download and run a small virus scanner from Microsoft.

You can find more online scanners on Google: Online Virus Scanners

Depending on the speed of you computer, scans may take several hours to complete. You may also want to look at our article about How to clean up your computer.

If you have tried to remove the virus yourself and would like help getting your computer back to full speed contact us for help. You do not pay unless we fix your problem!

 940-320-9114

Instant Computer Support

Is your computer running slow? Are you having problems with your software? Do you need some help using your computer? WilTech Services offers you help the way you need it. We help you solve your computer problems online via chat or telephone support. Using remote access options, WilTech Services will solve your computer problems quickly and efficiently. Instant computer support available immediately.

Our instant computer support team will access your computer while you watch. We will determine a course of action and provide you with an exact quote for services. You can accept or decline the offer any time. All Work is Guaranteed! If you are not happy, you do not pay. Discover an issue with our service later? No problem. Full 30-day Guarantee on all Remote Support!

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“How do I clean up my computer?”

So you want to clean up your own computer? There are millions of software packages out there offering to keep your computer clean. Offers to clean your registery and fix your every problem with the touch of one button. Just buy their software, pay them money, and you will be set free from the computer slug run. Well, probably not.

While it is true that you will need software on your computer to help you keep it clean, it is still ultimately a process of understanding what will help the most. Adding more software does not help your computer, unless it is the right software and properly used. There are just as many ways to clean up a computer as there are software to use. This is only one way.

DISCLAIMER: JUST TO BE CLEAR, ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA. SOME ACTIONS HERE CAN MAKE YOUR COMPUTER WORSE NOT BETTER. I MAKE A LOT OF ASSUMPTIONS IN THE ARTICAL. IF YOU REALLY NEED IT CLEANED UP FAST–CALL YOUR LOCAL COMPUTER REPAIR TECHNICIAN OR CONTACT WILTECH SERVICES FOR REMOTE SUPPORT (WE CAN CLEAN UP IT OVER THE INTERNET) 940-320-9114.

Now, that you are ready to start. Stop. Back up your data. If you already have a backup, that is okay. Back it up again. Any time you start cleaning your system with free third party tools, you take a chance that something will go wrong.

So you feel safe to continue cleaning your computer. You have your backups all ready just in case. Here is a list of tools that we will be using:
Microsoft Security Essentials
Note: Windows 8 no longer uses Microsoft Security Essentials. It uses Windows Defender instead.
Hitman Pro Trial version
Spybot
Malwarebytes
CCleaner
Combofix

IDrive Remote Backup

If during this process something does not work correctly, go to the next step. Then go back to the steps that failed after your computer has been cleaned by the other processes. Each of the following may be possible on your computer and many may not work. I make a lot of assumptions.

Your computer is Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8. All the hardware is working correctly. You either have an infection or some other software related issue causing your computer to run slow. You have access to the internet. You may have pop ups, unwanted ads on pages that normally do not have ads or odd search results when surfing the internet.

Let’s also assume it will be easy.

Install Malwarebytes, updating the definitions when asked. If it installs without any problem, start a full scan. This may take a while depending on your system.

Install CCleaner and Spybot. Get all the updates, but do not start the scans yet. If you do not have any antivirus on your computer, run the Microsoft Security Essentials(MSE) install and update it as far as you can. If you have any problems such as being asked by Spybot or Microsoft Security Essentials to restart the computer. Wait. Let Malwarebytes finish. You may have to go get a cup of coffee or have some lunch.

Once Malwarebytes is finished it will give you the option to remove any malware found on your system. Follow the instructions from Malwarebytes. It will most likely ask you to restart. If not, restart anyway.

When your computer starts back, install Hitman Pro. Install any updates for hitman. Let it do a full scan, have it clean whatever it can clean. Then restart the computer again.

While HitMan is running you can start CCleaner. You will run 2 scans in CCleaner. “Cleaner” to remove the temp files and “Registry” to clean up the registry entries. You may also want to go to “Tools”, “Startup” and removed anything that appears to be harmful from the startup options. You can “Disable” anything that you are not sure about, so it can be turned back on.

When HitMan finishes, you may have to run the cleanup process. After Ccleaner and HitMan have ran go ahead and restart your computer. Your computer should be in better condition. You should run a full scan with Spybot.  It will probably take over an hour depending on your computer.  If it finds problems, let it clean them.

After restarting from Spybot start a Microsoft Security Essentials (or Windows Defender in Windows 8) full scan.  This will take a while as well. After all is finished, restart and rerun Malwarebytes, Spybot and Hitman Pro to make sure all is cleaned up.

If there are still problems, your last resort is to install and run Combofix. Follow the instructions to Combofix very carefully. Combofix can be a dangerous tool if you have some odd issues on your computer. After running Combofix restart your computer TWICE.

When you return from your 2 restarts, rerun Malwarebytes, Spybot and Hitman. Your computer should be all cleaned up and free of viruses now. If not, please consult a professional.

You can contact WilTech Services nationwide for Remote Telephone Support. Call 940-320-9114.

USPS E-mail Attachment is a virus.

If you get an email from what appears to be USPS with an attachment, it is most like a virus.

From: USPS client manager Terry Dunlap [mailto:reports@usps.com]
To: { your email address }
Subject: USPS delivery failure report
Attachment: USPS report id##########.zip
Notification
Our company’s courier couldn’t make the delivery of parcel.
REASON: Postal code contains an error.
LOCATION OF YOUR PARCEL: KnoxvilleFort
DELIVERY STATUS: sort order
SERVICE: One-day Shipping
NUMBER OF YOUR PARCEL: Z3UI3N0Y1Q
FEATURES: No
Label is enclosed to the letter.
Print a label and show it at your post office.
An additional information:
If the parcel isn’t received within 30 working days our company will have the right to claim compensation from you for it’s keeping in the amount of $8.26 for each day of keeping of it.
You can find the information about the procedure and conditions of parcels keeping in the nearest office.
Thank you for using our services.
USPS Global.

As far as I know USPS does not hold your package ransom either, if something is wrong they just send it back.

USPS does not send out emails like this.  If you think you have been infected, you can contact WilTech Services 940-320-9114 for assistance.

Facebook Tips – Keeping It Positive

I normally do not write Facebook Tips for a couple of reasons.  One is that Facebook changes features and settings almost continuously so what I say today may not work at all on Facebook tomorrow.  Another reason is that I am no expert on Facebook, just a normal user, so I don’t have much to add to the conversation.  But, lately, there seems to be a lot of incorrect information floating around about how to keep your news feed up to date with information you want to see while preventing some of the more often negative tones or perhaps we would say less desirable moods prevail in your News Feeds.

First, let’s look at what the News Feed is actually letting us see.  Basically it is what Facebook machines believe is most important to you.  The machine decides by “guessing” at what you want to see next using a combination of what you “like”, what you view, where you are, your age and other information Facebook has collected about you.  You can adjust these settings and tell it what you really want to see or more importantly what you do “not” want to see.

Go to Facebook and hover over the name of one of your friends in the feed.  A “pop up” will show you their picture, some general information, and 2 buttons in the lower right corner of the pop up: A “Friends” button and a “Message” button.

Now hover or click on the “Friends” button inside that pop up to get some options.  If you uncheck the “Show in News Feed” it will no longer show updates from that user in your News Feed area.  Here is where I want to make note that these settings only apply to the “News Feed” area (where you start in Facebook).  If you click on any of the groups on the left, this does not apply, you will see the friend in that area.  The object of the News Feed area is to bring into immediate view your most wanted friends updates.

On this same pop up options area you can also click “Close Friend” to add it to your Close Friends list or one of the other Groups to add to that Group List.  You can suggest friends to that person or unfriend.  If you unfriend them, you will not longer be connected and will not get direct updates or information from their status updates at all.  If you have friends in common you may still see comments from that person on other status updates.

Now let’s look at a more precious way to narrow down what you see from some of your friends.  Let’s say for example you have someone on your list that is always updating with photos that you really do not want to see, for whatever reason.  But maybe they do status updates and comments that you do not mind seeing.  Hover over the person or go to their page by clicking on them.  Hover over or click the Friends button.  Then click “Settings”.

You will notice the top of the options list here lets you pickup a level of updates: All Updates, Most Updates and Only Important updates.  Facebook default is Most Updates.  Which means it sends most of their updates to your News Feed.  You can move a person up or down in that list (kind of like a ranking system for that person).  Or at the bottom you will notice update “types”.

You can uncheck the updates that you do not want to see from that person on your News Feed.  In our example we do not want to see the pictures in our news feed so we uncheck the Photos.  If you are not a Games person you might want to uncheck the Games updates.  Remember this only applies to your News Feed.  If you go to that person page or a group that you have that person in, you will see the pictures and everything else.

Now let’s say you have a friend on your list that has posted something that you just do not want to see any more, for whatever reason.  You do not want to change the friend setting maybe, you just do not want to see that one post.  If you hover over the post area you will notice that a down area appears in the upper right corner of the block.  In this area you can select to either “Follow Post”, “Hide” or Report it as Spam.  Most likely in this case you would want to “Hide” the status update.  You will no longer see the updates for that status block.

The hide option will hide it only from you in your News Feed and your Group Lists.  If you go to the persons Facebook Page you will see the status update on their page.  The hide option does not hide it from anyone else.

There are tons of other options available and this only scratches the surface, but using this options/settings area you can control what you see in your News Feed and streamline what news you get from your friends.

 

Cleaning Your LCD Monitor

When cleaning your LCD monitor, you may have some confusion about what is the best product to use. You will find a number of products ranging from a few dollars to over $40 for some cleaning products.  Don’t bother!

If you just “want” to spend money, buy some Distilled water, Isopropyl 99% Alcohol and a microfiber cloth.  You may want to just look around the house.  You probably already have what you need lying around somewhere.

Microfiber clothes are often included with eye glass repair or cleaning kits.  Or look in your automotive section for a microfiber cloth or two.  Just make sure it is as clean.  Any rough or rigid protrusion will scratch your LCD screen.

To clean your LCD, first use just the microfiber cloth to lightly remove all the dust and particles from the screen.  Normally the cloth alone will not remove the smudges and smears.  But you want to remove as much of the “large dust” from the screen as possible. Use a very light touch.

Next, combine equal parts of your distilled water and alcohol together to create a cleaning solution.  Use only a very small amount on your cloth.  Do NOT spray your LCD screen directly.  Your cloth should be slightly less than damp.

Clean with small circular motions and a light touch to the screen.  You can apply slightly more force to the difficult areas, but it is important to keep your touch as light as possible to complete the job.

You can finish by cleaning the outside casing.  You can apply extra force on the outside case along with more solutions than you used for the screen itself.  But you should not spray any liquid on any part of the monitor.

  • Monitor should be off and unplugged
  • Lay the monitor down on a hard flat surface
  • Apply a very small amount of cleaning solution (less than damp)
  • Use small circular motions during cleaning
  • Apply light pressure, only increasing slightly for difficult areas

NEVER SPRAY OR DOWSE LIQUID ON YOUR LCD

Managed Computer Services and Support

WilTech Services offers comprehensive managed computer services, network support, computer repair, consulting, and integration services for businesses in North Central Texas and Southern Oklahoma. WilTech Services can provide your small or mid-sized office both immediate Break-Fix Solutions and Managed Monthly Service Plans with Scheduled Proactive Management.

We at WilTech Services have a special respect for the challenges small business owners face in keeping their offices running. It is our duty to provide the best and most efficient service and support for our customers. Our goal is to form a long-term relationship with you that will help your company succeed and grow without constant worry of computer failure, data loss or network issues.

We pride ourselves on top of the line Customer Service! Our job is to make your job easier without all the Information Technology mumbo jumbo and complicated pricing. We fix your computers and make sure your network keeps running.

Your office data is a very important part of your business. If you, your employees or customers cannot access or cannot otherwise use your data for whatever reason, your company suffers. WilTech Services solves that problem for you. We protect your data assets!

William Helloms
WilTech Services
Technical Support Specialist

 

Keep Your Work Computer Usable

Your company computer is just about as important of a tool as anything in the office. If not more so. It is advantageous of you to keep it accessible and in good functioning order. About the most important thing to you do to your computer is to keep it clean. I do not mean to get out the scrub brush and get it immaculate. Not yet anyway, that comes later. What I mean is the software that runs your computer needs to be clean and in good working order.

Every process in your computer takes a fraction of time. The more processes it has to do, the more the time adds up. If your computer is not cleaned of all the extra junk and little demons that run around, it will soon start to slow down. There are many ways that extra software gets into your computer, but most of them are a result of your everyday use.

Let’s get some ideas on what to avoid.

1. Toolbars

Probably one of the primary uses on the computer is internet or internet based solutions. Whether it be a Google or Yahoo search, a cloud based documents share, or intranet portal. You face some of the same issues. Google has a toolbar, Yahoo has one, MSN, Dogpile, Ask, Ebay, MapQuest… I could list for days the toolbars out there. And if there is not one out there already, there are just as many ways to create your own custom toolbars. We will not even touch on the junkware toolbars lurking around to turn your day into a nightmare. If you have ever been on the internet, chances are you have been tempted to install a toolbar. The idea is simple: save time, save effort, quick and easy, save money.

Don’t do it! Or more yet, ask yourself a few questions before you actually install it. Do you really need that toolbar? Is it really going to save you time? You have been doing without it this long, why do you need it now. Do you have other toolbars already? If you are going to use another toolbar, will it replace one you already use?

Most people that I deal with, never use their toolbars. They don’t need them. They only take up space on the browser and add just one more round of ticks on the clock during processing time. There are good uses for specific toolbars, but that is an entirely different topic. Unless you really see a true benefit, avoid the toolbars.

2. Registry Cleaners

It has to be going through your mind right now. Hey, to keep my computer clean I need to clean the registry. Everyone tells me that.

And that is true. Everyone does tell you that. But it is not necessarily the best solution to have multiple registry cleaners. Some may even argue that is not a good idea to have any. My question to you is this. Do you really need a registry cleaner running all day, every day, taking up process time? For what? If you are going to use a registry cleaner, it certainly does not have to run all the time. Pick one, run it occasionally. Avoid the blot of multiple cleaners and full time registry scanners.

3. Messengers

Do you really have that many people that use messaging services that you just have to have every service out there? IMs are almost as abundant as toolbars. Yahoo, AOL, MSN, whoever, all have messengers and all want to run in your tray, even when you do not have them on. (Thanks Microsoft) I don’t need your chat software running non stop. Just another piece of junkware most of the time. If you use IM, pick one. Stick to it. Many allow you to chat with other users on other services. So you don’t have to have multiple IM programs running all the time, even if you chat on them all.

Also check the preferences, options and tools sections in the IM software. See if you can remove them from starting up automatically. Have a shortcut on your desktop. Run it when you need it. If you must have one, only use one messenger and avoid running it in the system tray when it is not in use.

4. Streaming Audio/Video

Okay. If you are the only person in your office, or your house, you pay the bills–use it all you want. If not, if you are in an office environment with several users. Use your MP3 player of choice. Connect to a power source (not your office computer.) You can get MP3 docking stations for cheap. They allow you to listen to your music without streaming it over the company internet. Remember, every process takes a little time. Many processes take much more time. Avoid streaming non work related media to your company workstation.

Now that you have an idea of what to avoid, why not check out for instructions on how to clean and maintain your computer.

Install Free Anti-Virus

If you ask ten technicians what antivirus they would recommend for Windows, you will most likely get ten different answers. Opinions vary widely. One thing is for certain, there is no right answer to the question. It is an opinion, just like any other. If you are a home user or have less than 10 employees there are some free choices out there you may be interested in. Watch out for the word free–often they mean a trial. (I will not include trials here.)

There are several people that will tell you that the free antivirus programs are not as good as the paid versions. That is just another opinion and it is up to you to decide the answer to that question.

The best protection again viruses is education, know what to look for. Educate your employees on how to prevent infections from fakes, don’t download unknown software. If in doubt–ask. If you don’t have an education program in place, contact me.

One of the most popular free antivirus for Windows right now is Microsoft Security Essentials which you can get at www.microsoft.com/security_essentials. It is good (and free) for home users or small business clients up to 10 users. If you have more than 10 users, Microsoft wants you to look into their paid Frontline Endpoint Protection. But as far as free, Security Essentials is about as good as you can get for Windows. Their only requirement is your Windows must pass Validation.

Another free antivirus is ClamWin. ClamWin is open source software. Unlike most antivirus software, ClamWin does not have an Active Real-Time scanning engine. You must run it manually. I would not normally recommend this for your average, every day user. I would however recommend it for more advanced users or as a manual scan option. Combining Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and ClamWin can add to your protection. MSE has the active engine running. ClamWin can manually be ran on a time schedule.

AVG Free version is a fairly well known free version software. It is a scaled down version of their full product. The definitions are limited in the free version as are the features. It is meant to be a very basic antivirus with limited protection. If you plan to use AVG Free, I would recommend a second malware application as well to cover the limitations. You could use the free on-access scanning for AVG and a manual ClamWin scan on a schedule to better protect yourself.

My last suggestion would be Comodo Antivirus. I do not know much about Comodo other than they have a free version of their software available. It appears to be, in much that same what as AVG, a scaled-down version of their original. As with AVG I would suggest a secondary protection software as well.

Again, there are hundreds of antivirus products on the market promising to keep your computer safe. If you are going to use these products and spend sometimes hundreds of dollars to protect your computers, do your research. There may be free options out there that are just as useful. Often the investment in money that you save requires an investment in time. Since Time Is Money, you may want to weigh your options.