MicroSupport 

February, 2002

WINDOWS XP
SHOULD YOU UPGRADE?

VIRUS INFO

MAINTENANCE TIPS

EASY REMOTE ACCESS

YOUR INTERNET
HOMEPAGE

HOME NETWORKING

USEFUL WEB LINKS

UPCOMING TOPICS

CONTACT US

 

 

 

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WELCOME!

This is the E-Newsletter from MicroSupport.  This publication is sent every few weeks or so, as we find tidbits that are worth your time!  Tell your friends and associates.  They can sign-up to receive this newsletter at our website.

WINDOWS XP - SHOULD YOU UPGRADE?  ( back to top )

Windows XP has been out for several months now, and we are always being asked "should I upgrade?"... the answer is generally "NO".  It's not that XP is not good... it's great.  It's just that, usually, it's best to wait to get XP as part of a new computer.  That way, you know that the machine has "XP certified" parts and drivers.  The only other time we would consider upgrading, is when you are having serious problems with a system, and will otherwise need to re-install Windows. 

It can take up to 2 hours to install Windows, depending on the speed of the equipment and the number of drivers that need updating.  Then, there could be another hour (or two) of updating the operating system, to apply all of the recent security patches and bug fixes.  As you can see, you are possibly looking at 2-4 hours of labor... if everything goes well.  Many times, it doesn't.  This translates into $200-600 worth of labor, and another $99-199 for the Windows XP software.  Considering that you can buy a new Dell starting at $500 (with XP already installed), serious thought must be given to just getting a new system.

Windows XP has had a pretty smooth rollout, and is experiencing sales on par with Microsoft's most popular previous upgrade (Windows 98).  There have been a couple of noted security problems, that were blown way out of proportion by the press.  It's worth noting that XP can automatically get updates from Microsoft, and most users were protected with the fix without even knowing it!  

XP is generally far more stable than Windows 95 or 98.  But, before you consider making the switch, make sure that your applications and hardware devices are "XP compatible".  We've had instances where clients have started ordering machines with XP loaded, only to discover that a particularly important software package or scanner wasn't compatible.  90% of older products ARE compatible....

VIRUS INFO UPDATE  ( back to top )
Virus infestations are becoming more common, and the damage is mounting.  Each new virus seems to build on the dirty tricks from prior viruses.  The virus writers are no longer satisfied with crashing your computer... now they make them delete your anti-virus programs, send your confidential documents to thousands of people, capture your keystrokes looking for credit card numbers and passwords, create backdoors so they can get into your computer later, and a myriad of other devious things.  In many cases, you won't even know you have a virus, as the damaging payload (that you'll eventually notice) is delayed for weeks, while the virus busily does silent damage.

GET A RECENT ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAM and MAKE SURE IT IS ALWAYS UPDATED WEEKLY!!! Having an out-dated program is useless.  We like the new Norton Anti-Virus, for one, as the 2002 version will automatically update itself from the Internet as needed. Click here to get up-to-date virus information. 

Do NOT open attachments that you weren't expecting. Unfortunately, this will not protect you against some of the most recent viruses, as they now have the ability to execute without you even opening the attachment OR MESSAGE.  So....

UPDATE YOUR OUTLOOK or OUTLOOK EXPRESS.  While connected to the Internet, use the Windows Update facility to update your operating system and programs.  Most of the security breaches are fixed by patches that Microsoft makes available for free.

If you do not have the time or expertise to make sure your firm is protected, feel free to call our office and make an appointment to have one of our techs review your virus protection status.

WEEKLY COMPUTER MAINTENANCE TIPS  ( back to top )
Weekly, you should be doing the following computer maintenance:
* Update your virus protection files (or check to make sure the automatic update is working)
          learn how to check the date of your virus definitions
* Check Windows Update, to see if there are any fixes available from Microsoft
          in Internet Explorer, it's under the tools menu (must be connected to Internet)
* Check your hard drive for errors and defragment your hard drive
          under "my computer", right-click C: drive, tools tab)
* Delete/check your temporary files
          usually found in the c:\windows\temp folder, but may be other locations.  IE temp files, too!
* Backup/check your backups
          don't forget Emails, address books, or other "personal" data
* Restart your computer, to clear memory and swap file
          if you aren't otherwise shutting it off or rebooting
* Learn something new!
          venture into an area you've never been before, or read something about computing!

EASY AND CHEAP REMOTE ACCESS  ( back to top )
* Remote access to your office computer from home, the cabin, or anywhere in the World.
* Safe and secure, using end-to-end encryption and multiple strong passwords
* Setup by yourself in 5 minutes... computer consultants NOT NEEDED
* Use your computer exactly as if you were sitting in front of it, from anywhere!
* Inexpensive... 4-20 times cheaper than previous solutions
* Great for maternity leave or sick days
* Totally Web-based, no software disks, uses your web browser
* Allows you to share your screen with anyone (great for troubleshooting with your consultant!)
        we can work on your computer without coming on-site!
* Fast... data never leaves the computer...only the screen is projected to the remote location
* Works with firewalls, no need to fiddle with port settings, IP addresses or anything
* No static IP address needed, so it works all Internet connections
* One month free trial available!
* Click here for more information, and links to take you where you can sign up.

Also, our web page ( www.microsupport.com ) has links for more information

YOUR INTERNET HOME PAGE  ( back to top )
I'm surprised at the number of people who don't realize that their Internet "Home Page" can be changed.  The "Home Page" is nothing more than your starting point when you open up your web browser (usually Internet Explorer).  Your computer will usually come with the home page set to MSN.com or maybe DELL.com.  You can be sure that, out of the box, it will be pre-set to start at some Mega-company website, so that they get more chances to sell you stuff or hit you with advertising.  It's kind of like having a TV that always turns on to Channel 12; wouldn't the folks at KPNX like that!

You might like to start your web surfing at a different site- like your favorite search engine, company website, or your favorite news website.  Other folks may prefer Ebay or a weather page. 

Changing your home page couldn't be easier.  Just go to that page and then grab the little icon that appears at the left edge of the "address" area (it usually looks like a little "e") and drag it down and drop it on the little house icon that is on the toolbar just above or below the address area.  The little house icon will probably be labeled "HOME" as it takes you to your "home" page.  That's it.  You've just setup your own home page!

HOME NETWORKING - THE NEXT FRONTIER  ( back to top )

  • One of the fastest growing computer markets... within 3 years 25% of homes will be networked
  • Typically used to share access to fast Internet connection
  • Also used to share printers and data between computers
  • Often involves a laptop (possibly from work)
  • Great way to backup... from PC-to-PC
  • Many games have great multi-user capabilities
  • Choose from hard-wired, wireless, and phone-line (don't choose phone-line!)

USEFUL WEB LINKS  ( back to top )
Clicking on any of these links will open the site in a new window.  If you find the site useful, just press Ctrl+D and it will be put on your "favorites" list. Email us with your discoveries...

Speak Out - change the World, or at least read other peoples' opinions on issues
Webopedia - on-line dictionary of PC and Internet terms
On-line Dictionary of Computing - not as pretty as webopedia, but comprehensive
TVGuide - why buy it at the checkout stand?
FunBrain.com - brain teasers and games for K-8 kids
Puzzles.com - more fun for kids and everyone... great stuff!
Classic TV & Cartoon themes - got a tune stuck in your head?  TechTV's comprehensive listing... 
Emazing Tips -  daily tips for 100+ topics... many of these links come from there
CIA World Fact Book - now unclassified, recent useful info for kids' reports, etc.
Nutricise - need help keeping that New Years resolution??? Fitness central
TruthorFiction.com - check out those weird Internet hoaxes before you forward the email
GigglePoetry.com - light-hearted poetry site... great for kids
 

UPCOMING TOPICS  ( back to top )
Be looking for these and more:  more virus alerts & useful web sites, new products, firewalls, remote access,  upgrades, certification, keyboard shortcuts, getting the best prices, Internet shopping, Internet auctions, troubleshooting printer problems, PC utilities, the benefits of PC planning, and much much more!!!

CONTACT US  ( back to top )
MicroSupport, Inc.
1928 E. Highland
Suite F104-502
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(60) 308-4878 (guru)

Our Websites:   www.microlawyer.com   www.microsupport.com

Email:   Email the President     Schedule An Appointment    Ask a Question

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