Understanding the Internet

What are the interesting facts about internet that we don’t know?
Carlos Ribeiro
Carlos Ribeiro, Thinking about the future in tech since 1984.

I’ve collected a few interesting facts over the years that (to my own surprise) still are not known by the majority of the Internet users. Some of them are so natural for we technical guys that we tend to forget how surprising they are for regular users.
1) Who is the ultimate ISP of all ISPs?
Regular customers pay to connect to their ISPs, which in turn pay to connect to other (larger) ISPs, and so on. If you keep going upwards then it begs the question: who is the final ISP of all ISPs? Who’s at the top of the Internet food chain?
The answer is that there’s not a single entity that is the ultimate provider of connectivity amongst all ISPs in the world. Instead, there’s a number of very large networks, called ‘Tier 1 ISPs”, which form the core of the Internet. Tier 1 ISPs share a trait: they don’t pay to connect to anyone. They’re connected between themselves via something that’s called a peering agreement, which has caused lots of complicated wars over the past decades, as this status is always disputed between the existing Tier 1 companies.
2) It’s possible to connect to parts of the Internet at virtually no cost
Related to fact (1) above, one of the “secrets’ of the Internet is that even small ISPs and companies can connect to each other and to large content providers at virtually no recurring cost. The setup involves some knowledge and investment, but you’re not going to pay for the “bandwidth” the same way it’s done with an Internet contract. That’s one of the reasons why the Internet became so inexpensive if compared to traditional telecom systems. There are exchange points created just for this purpose, and any ISP willing to participate can join with minimal cost or investment. Content providers usually connect at the same sites and that what allows companies like Google, Facebook and others to provide vast amounts of data directly to ISPs without neither part needing to pay for intermediates.
3) Distance affects the maximum speed of file transfer
Most customers aren’t aware that the maximum speed for a download is affected by the distance between the customer and the server where the file is located. This is known as the bandwidth-delay product. It’s one reason why it’s better to locate servers for large file transfers, like corporate backups, in the same region or geography, avoiding long distance or international links.
4) The path from A to B is not necessarily the path from B to A
This is one of the most surprising things for newbies, and it’s something that even more experienced network engineers forget sometimes. Whenever someone uses a tool named “traceroute” to discover that is the path from A to B, we only know the way OUT (from A to B). The path from B to A can be completely different. Forgetting to remember this leads people to wrong conclusions whenever there’s a performance problem.
Written Jan 23 • View Upvotes • Answer requested by Liam Jones

Microsoft doesn’t give things away without a strategy. Why are they pushing Windows 10 so forcefully?

Microsoft doesn’t give things away without a strategy. Why are they pushing Windows 10 so forcefully?

The piece they’re giving away is the piece nobody is buying anyway, which is the upgrade to Windows

— Gartner

Microsoft doesn’t make much money from upgrades. They rely on the short life span of the laptops and make most of the money selling licenses with new PCs/laptops you buy. And Microsoft is not giving away these licenses for free. You still pay Microsoft when you buy a new PC.

Thus, they don’t lose much revenues. Why is Microsoft giving away the upgrades for free?

  1. PC market is declining (Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 9.5 Percent) and Microsoft is trying everything to avoid that. Windows 10 is designed to be used across PCs, phones and tablets. Microsoft hopes to give mobile developers enough market to push their apps. Having all PCs move up to Windows 10, which would in turn work with all mobile devices is a very enticing opportunity for the app developers.
  2. Bing is embedded everywhere in the new OS. Microsoft sees more opportunities for ad revenues with this “Bing” OS. The drop in revenues from upgrades could be gotten just through increased ads to your new OS.
  3. Better management of security threats. Many users don’t upgrade for many reasons including cost. This affects Windows brand as a whole. By getting all old users to Windows 10 there can better handling of security.Windows 10 will kill off ‘Patch Tuesday’ as Microsoft pushes constant stream of updates
  4. It gets everyone to upgrade to the newest OS. This reduces support costsas well as reduces some of the anti-Windows rants [with people running dinosaur era OS].
  5. It gives them a lot of free publicity & goodwill. Free Windows upgrade? Everyone talked about that.

Windows 10 Signifies Microsoft’s Shift in Strategy

Why did Google become more valuable than Apple. What happened in the last six months?

Why did Google become more valuable than Apple. What happened in the last six months?
It’s a good question.
Most analysts and frenzied articles on the subject make very basic mistake that is both common and easy to do: they confuse a companies stock performance with company performance and assume that a company is fairly valued.
While stock performance can sometimes follow a company’s actual performance, stock price is based on how well investors think the company will do, not how well it’s actually going to do and they are more wrong than they are right.
There are two ways to determine how to price a stock and that is future earnings and past performance. The narrative right now is that Apple is done growing and their past performance is not an indicator of future performance. That’s a valid point, but I think invalid. I fail to see how a company with strong growth that even at maximum growth is still much smaller than a company with steady earnings and little growth is worth more, but I’m not a Wall Street analyst either.
So let’s look at future growth, since that is what they are basing this on.
I go in-depth into Apple’s future prospects in Michael Vogel’s answer to Is Apple at peak earnings? As I stated there, Apple has a lot of growth left in them. The market doesn’t see it that way. However, the market’s track record on Apple is pretty terrible. In 2012, the same thing happened. Apple had no growth left in them, according to Wall Street, and they were going to be sunk by Samsung and Google, especially if they didn’t introduce both a cheaper and larger phone right away. Their stock sank and then the company continued it’s explosive growth, completely surprising the market. To look at Apple in late 2012 was to see a company on it’s way out, not a company that is more than 3 times as valuable. Incidentally, this was also the last time Apple lost the top spot. Whether I’m right or wrong about growth, Apple still huge and has many times the earning potential as Google.
Google/Alphabet is a valuable company and they are working to shore up their biggest weakness: that they are a single product company sitting on top of an ad empire that may crumble at any time (Bad Ads: Research Shows They May Cost More Than They’re Worth) They are diversifying and preparing for that day and Wall Street has responded to it. Are they worth their price? I think they actually are. They may seem a little overvalued at this point, but overall, I think Google has shown that they are innovative enough to move past ads and build a strong, diversified company. Their move to change the name and separate their different sections shows that they are serious about this. I think Google is fairly valued with strong growth in the future.
So the bottom line is that if Google, the question remains is Apple undervalued. I would say that yes, they are. Their fundamentals are strong and investors are seriously underestimating their growth potential and the market in general. Bottom line is, investors are give more leeway to software and services companies than they do hardware companies, rightfully so. Apple is generally the exception to this, but they still get burned by it. I expect to see a repeat of the 2012-2014 with Apple in terms of stock performance. We’ll see a major dip and then they’ll come back from it strong.
Short answer, Wall Street doesn’t understand Apple and punishes their stock for it.

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

A lot of people have covered the Pros of upgrading to Windows 10. So I’ll go ahead and mention some Cons for a change.

By the way, here’s 10 Overlooked New Features in Windows 10.

Now, for most people, the following probably wont count as cons. But best to know these before taking the leap.

  1. Forced Windows Update
    In the previous Windows versions, remember seeing couple of options on how to handle Windows Updates? Like do not update all all or download automatically but don’t install updates or opting for manually selecting which all updates to download and install? Well, all of that is gone in Windows 10 – at least for the time being and we can pretty much be sure that it will stay so.This isn’t necessarily a con. Windows remains one of the top used OS on the planet and hence is the main target for security attacks. By this forced updates, users will automatically get all the patches & feature updates released by Microsoft. The downside is if MS, by accident, releases a botched update – which by the way has happened before – & even if the user knows issue is with the update, you cannot sidestep it anymore because all updates are forcefully installed.On a security level, if someone ever finds out a loophole to disguise viruses or malwares as Windows Update, that again will be forcefully moved into your systems and all other Windows 10 systems everywhere. This is highly unlikely though.

    There are work-arounds for this problem though : How to Prevent Windows 10 From Automatically Downloading Updates

    Links for reference and further reading :

  2. Windows Update Delivery Optimization
    This is a new thing MS has come up with for improving the update process. They have essentially made Windows Update into sort-of a torrent like system.

    Delivery Optimization downloads the same updates and apps that you get through Windows Update and the Windows Store. Delivery Optimization creates a local cache, and stores files that it has downloaded in that cache for a short period of time. Depending on your settings, Windows then send parts of those files to other PCs on your local network or PCs on the Internet that are downloading the same files.

    So? Why is this bad? Well, MS is basically using the bandwidth you are paying for to provide Windows Updates to its other costumers. So, if you’re not on a unlimited internet connection, this will be part of your internet bill – unless you have specified in connection settings that the connection is capped or metered. I don’t think anyone really even knows of such a setting.

    The feature can be turned off though – by going a bit deep into the settings. But I’m pissed that MS just kept it ON by default and did not even ask me while doing so. That’s just arrogant.

    Links for reference and further reading :

  3. Wi-Fi Sense
    So what is it?

    WiFi Sense connects you to WiFi networks around you. It can do these things for you to get you Internet access:

    • Automatically connect you to open WiFi networks it knows about by crowdsourcing networks that other people using Windows have connected to. These are typically open WiFi hotspots that you see when you’re out and about.
    • Automatically connect you to WiFi networks that your Facebook friends, Outlook contacts, or Skype contacts have shared with you after you’ve shared at least one network with your contacts. When you and your contacts share WiFi networks with each other, you give each other Internet access, but you don’t see each other’s passwords. No networks are shared automatically. When you first connect to a network that you decide to share, you’ll need to enter the password, then select the Share network with my contacts tick box to share that network.

    That sounds great! So what is the problem? Well, as always, MS does not explicitly ask you before turning ON such a crucial feature – assuming you used the Express settings. It’s just ON by default.

    Thing is, these are very new software features and are yet to be time-tested. It’s the kind of feature which if has a hidden flaw a hacker could exploit, could lead to disasters. Even if Microsoft has taken measures to encrypt the exchange of credentials, there’s always the potential for motivated crackers to find ways to circumvent the security protocols. And keeping features that has access to critical things like your Wi-Fi credentials ON by default, not a fan of that at all!

    After all, how difficult is it to just tell the passphrase frineds and

    Links for reference and further reading :

  4. Miscellaneous Privacy Issues
    These days, privacy is pretty much a myth and of course apart from the above things, there are some privacy concerns with Windows as well.

    • Cortana is now integreated into Windows. Over time, with access to your mail, calendar, searches and files on your system, Cortana – and MS in turn – could  learn a lot about you.

      When you use Cortana, Microsoft collects and uses information including your device location information and location history, contacts (People), voice input, searching history, calendar details, content and communication history from messages and apps, and other information on your device. In Microsoft Edge, Cortana collects and uses your browsing history.

      This information is saved on your device, in your Cortana Notebook, and in the cloud on the Bing dashboard.

      In order to personalize your experience and provide the best possible suggestions, Cortana collects information about your contacts (People) including their title and/or suffix, first name, last name, middle name, nicknames, and company name. If you communicate with someone via email, or SMS, Cortana collects that person’s email address or phone number.

      Reference : Cortana, Search, and privacy: FAQ – Microsoft Windows

    • Advertising ID , surprise surprise, is ON by default. Windows 10 automatically assigns an advertising ID to each user on a device tied to the email address that’s on file. Using that ID, the company can tailor ads for web-browsing and using certain applicationsReference : Privacy and advertising in Windows 10: Both sides of the story
    • Some wordings in the Privacy Statement are also a bit worrying:

      Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:

      1. comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies;
      2. protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone;
      3. operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or
      4. protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement
    • There are a few more. Go through this article for further reading : Digging into and Understanding Windows 10’s Privacy Settings

Sai Sujit Madiraju

Sai Sujit Madiraju, Avid Windows Enthusiast and User

19.9k Views • Upvoted by Bart Loews, Been administering windows since 3.11, 3 time MCSE

It is a major improvement from the touch-optimized Windows 8. Here are some of the major features of the new OS:

1. The original, desktop-style Start Menu is back in Windows 10. 
The Start Menu is a useful tool of Windows, allowing users to easily access commonly used apps and features. In Windows 8, it’s experience was catered more to touch screens but now a more familiar and desktop friendly interface for it has returned. It now combines both the beat of the traditional and metro features of Windows, by including “modern” apps with updating live tiles with the traditional list of programs and folders. The Start Menu also has an optional translucent Aero look, brought back by user request, and can be customized with a nice range of colors.

2. Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant is heavily integrated into Windows 10.  This is a very intelligent and useful tool that responds to both voice commands and text input. As you begin a search, Cortana automatically presents relevant information. For instance, if you start typing the name of a restaurant, Cortana will begin giving you it’s location, hours, and more. It can also regularly show general info like weather and reminders, and can even operate applications.

3. Microsoft’s Edge Browser is a large improvement over Internet Explorer. It loads pages quickly and easily with support for modern web standards. Edge also allows you directly annotate, mark, and note on Web pages for your reference and share your markings with others. This is a true browser that can compete with others like Chrome and Safari.

4. Continuum allows Windows Phone users to easily pick up on whatever they left off on their Windows PC on their phone, and vice versa. This is possible due to the new Universal nature of Windows which allows the OS to be more interconnected between desktop and mobile. As a result, many apps will be able to seamlessly transition from one platform to another, as similar to iCloud Drive and Reading List for OSX and iOS.

5. Windows 10 now runs DirectX12 which can help improve gaming performance.

6. Windows 10 can run “Metro-style/Windows 8 Style” Apps as regular desktop windows, rather than as fullscreen mobile replications. On top of that, many Metro Apps like Mail and Calendar are major revamps of the old versions are now actually pleasurable and convenient to use alongside normal desktop apps.

7. There is now a convenient action & notification center that effectively does its purpose, displaying messages clearly -along with a mini “control-center” underneath that provides access to commonly used settings, like WiFi and Bluetooth.

8. Windows 10 has support for multiple “virtual” desktops. For those who haven’t heard of these or used these before, virtual desktops essentially create multiple desktop environments, or numerous “copies” of your desktop. Different desktops can hold different windows, allowing users to divide desktops based on usage – i.e. one desktop can have all windows and apps open related to work purposes, while another can be used to maintain all running entertainment applications.


The bottom row of 4 screens represents four different virtual desktops this computer is currently running. 

9. The new OS allows users to multitask efficiently with easy quadrant “window-snapping.” A different window can be placed of the screen’s four quadrants as shown below –

Windows can also be snapped two at a time, side-by-side.

10. Windows 10 makes it very easy to assess hard drive space – it divides the storage space used into categories and can even display space occupied app by app for easy cleanup.

11. Windows 10 supports a biometric program called Windows Hello, which, when combined with the appropriate hardware, can use fingerprints, iris scans, and facial recognition to unlock the computer. Although probably not a widely usable feature quite yet, it is still a great example of Microsoft’s innovation.

12. Not very important to most users but for power users and programmers, Command Prompt now supports Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy and paste! Those of you who use Command Prompt understand what a savior this is 🙂

The overall UI and style of Windows 10 is amazing compared to old versions – it finally got a modern, sleek look! Both the taskbar and Start Menu can be given a beautifully translucent appearance. Window borders and the taskbar are no longer obnoxiously basic and dated solid colors, and windows themselves now display a pleasant little “bounce” or “snap” when minimized or maximized. Even minor things like folder icons and context menus have seen some long-needed aesthetic upgrades.


Windows 10 was named so to show how distant and how much better the OS is from the poorly-received 8. It’s Microsoft’s last-ditch attempt to win back the love and loyalty of its customers. And looking at this new iteration of Windows, I can confidently say it successfully has and will continue to do so!


IMAGE CREDITS 

http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/14…

http://www.dailytech.com/StarDoc…

http://microsoft-news.com/micros…

http://betanews.com/2015/04/29/m…

http://pcx.com.ph/cobalt-desktop…

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/mic…

http://news.softpedia.com/news/D…

http://www.softpedia.com/blog/Wi…

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2…

http://www.howtogeek.com/198230/…

Antony Pallupetta, The stereotypical Indian IT Guy!

Can we use the internet on Mars?

Yes, but not to surf the Web or play Call of Duty. The bandwidth in long distance space communications is not good, and the latency is terrible. You’ll click the mouse, and depending on the time of year, it will take between 4.3 and 21 minutes for the message to pass to the server on Earth, and another 4.3 to 21 minutes for it to come back again. Internet communication to Earth will mostly be low-bandwidth asynchronous activities like E-mail.

 

Written by:

Ernest W. Adams, fascinated by space travel since the Apollo program.

From Quora.com

The Cost of Cyber Crime

After a year of massive data breaches and headline-making security warnings, it may come as a surprise that antivirus makers are seeing lower than expected growth.

Stats from Gartner show the software security market posted sales less than expected, with global revenue of $19.9 billion last year, up from $19 billion in 2012 – still “healthy”, but less than expected, the analyst firm said.

Gartner pinned the slowing growth partially on “commoditisation” of consumer software, which makes up about a quarter of the total security market, according to analyst Ruggero Contu.

The global growth rate for consumer security software halved, from 6.2% in 2012 to 3% in 2013.

He said most of the growth came from emerging markets, following trends across the wider IT market, but most revenue still comes from mature markets such as North American and Western Europe.

 

 

Contu said such markets are saturated – most people and businesses already have security software, even if they do pay annually for it – and highly competitive, with the “technology gap” between firms shrinking. That makes it tough for companies to post higher growth, especially with free antivirus seen as good enough.

Scare story?

The slowing sales growth, especially for consumer antivirus, comes amid a series of high-profile attacks, and security firms warning that the cost of cybercrime is increasing. So how much do cyber-attacks cost us – and what should we pay to avoid them?

There’s no easy answer. The Gartner stats follow a report from McAfee that claimed annual losses from cybercrime could be as much as $575 billion, and will continue to increase annually.

However, that number is extrapolated from many assumptions, and made up of everything from lost productivity to “slowed innovation”, so should be questioned – there’s a good report picking apart the numbers at The Guardian.

Indeed, McAfee’s report admits: “The lack of data means that any dollar amount for the global cost of cybercrime is an estimate based on incomplete data.”

Either way, Gartners’ sales figures suggests companies and users seem to ignore such terrifying statistics, or at least not take them into account when deciding what to spend on security software for protection.

McAfee stresses in its report: “Companies and individuals make decisions on how to manage the potential for loss from cybercrime by deciding how much risk they are willing to accept and how much they are willing to spend to reduce that risk. The problem with this is that if companies are unaware of their losses or underestimate their vulnerability, they will underestimate risk.”

The amount being spent on security software – the Gartner stats don’t include other protective measures – is a small slice of McAfee’s (admittedly questionable) total, at just 3%.

McAfee tried to estimate what society has deemed an acceptable cost of cybercrime, pinning the amount that we’re willing to tolerate at 2% of GDP. At the moment, even with McAfee’s high cost estimate, it comes in at 0.8% globally.

In the EU, it’s 0.41% and in the UK only 0.16% – suggesting the cost of cybercrime simply isn’t high enough for us to start spending more to be secure.

Indeed, a report by Trend Micro earlier this year said Britons were willing to pay up to £30 for security and privacy, though most would prefer to cap spending at £10 annually.

Rankings

Globally, Symantec and McAfee remained in first and second place in revenue rankings, but IBM pipped Trend Micro to third, with EMC rounding out the top five.

“This is the first time in many years that a broad portfolio vendor such as IBM (that is, not a pure-play security vendor) has been able to enter the top three,” Gartner said.

Intriguingly, the market hasn’t shifted much in the past five years, with the same firms making up the top five since 2008.

Gartner chart
By Nicole Kobie

Credit goes to: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/security/389218/the-cost-of-cybercrime-and-what-we-ll-pay-to-avoid-it

End of XP Support

xp_end-680x400Support for Windows XP has now ended. Microsoft’s 8 April support deadline has been and gone and the final security updates for Windows XP have now been released. Worryingly, these updates fixed two critical security flaws that would have allowed hackers to remotely execute code. The final security fixes are part of Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday update for 8 April 2014, the last time Windows XP will be included.

Despite the end of Windows XP support, it is estimated that 27.7 per cent of the world’s computers still use it. Many security flaws uncovered in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 may also apply to Windows XP, with hackers potentially able to use Microsoft’s own security updates to find new ways of exploiting the ageing operating system.

Only Windows 7, with around 47 per cent of the market, sits above Windows XP, with the much maligned Windows 8 taking just shy of seven per cent of the OS cake.

If you’re one of the many Windows XP users out there, the big question is, what happens now support has stopped? There are plenty of articles warning of an incoming hacker storm, as cyber-criminals run riot through unpatched security holes in Windows XP, but how true is this scenario? In this article, we’re going to show you how to keep your Windows XP computer safe.

 

WINDOWS XP NO MORE SECURITY PATCHES

 

When Windows XP Support ends in April, it means that Microsoft will no longer be issuing any security updates for this operating system. You’ll still be able to download and update patches up to this date, but if a new flaw in the operating system is discovered, it will go unpatched. Potentially, this means that hackers could target the new flaw, letting them infect a Windows XP machine.

Windows XP Windows Update

You’ll still be able to install old security updates, but no new patches will be released

This sounds bad, but before you get too worried about Microsoft no longer providing patches, it’s important to understand the other threats to your computer.

First, other software may have flaws in it, which allows an attacker to infect your computer. Cyber-criminals typically attack well-known bits of software that most people have, so Adobe Reader and Java are typical targets, no matter which version of Windows you’re running. Just because Microsoft is going to Windows XP updates doesn’t mean other manufacturers will do the same, so you can still update other bits of software.

Finally, cyber-criminals use a variety of social engineering tricks to get you to install dodgy software or give them access to your accounts. While AV suites will detect some of these threats, they don’t detect everything and certainly won’t stop you passing on your username and password over the phone. In this regard, whether or not Microsoft has released new updates for Windows XP or not makes no difference to your security.

As you can see, then, Microsoft’s decision to stop releasing updates for Windows XP is actually only one part of the security puzzle. This is good news, as it means it’s still possible to defend your computer against threats, as we’ll show you.

 

WINDOWS XP EXISTING UPDATES

 

We’ve talked to Microsoft and it has confirmed that all existing security patches and updates for Windows XP will still be available after support officially ends. This means that after the 8th April 2014, you’ll still be able to use Windows Update to download all existing security patches.

This is important, as if you re-install Windows XP, you should still apply all of the existing patches in order to make the base operating system as secure as it should be.

There is a worry that Microsoft will decide at some point to pull the updates from its website or make them harder to get. Don’t worry, as the best thing you can do when support ends is to make a custom XP disc with SP3 and all updates pre-applied.

As our instructions in the previous link show you, slipstreaming is a brilliant thing to do. This takes your original XP installation files and bundles together the service pack and updates into it. When you install XP from this disc, it’s completely up-to-date with no need to visit Windows Update for anything. Given the situation with XP, this is the best thing that any existing XP user can do.

 

WINDOWS XP UPDATE HACK

 

Turns out that XP updates aren’t quite as over as we may have thought. While Microsoft is no longer supporting the consumer edition of the operating system, it is still providing updates for Windows Embedded POPSReady. Despite having the clunkiest name ever, this special OS is based on XP and designed for use in industrial systems, such as ATMs and cash tills. The upshot is that Microsoft is still releasing updates for this OS, and they’ll work on the home version, too. All you have to do is run a Registry hack to enable Windows XP updates.

Before you follow the instructions it’s important to note a couple of important things. First, although the hack currently allows updates until April 2019 (adding five years to XP), there’s a chance that Microsoft will shut down this loophole. Secondly, the company has already warned that these updates could break your computer, although if you take regular backups and use System Restore we feel as though it’s a risk worth taking.

We should also point out that updates are likely to be less often and fewer, as the Embedded version of the OS is likely to see fewer threats than the home edition. Regardless of whether you use the hack, you should follow the rest of the advice in this article.

 

INSTALL ANTI-VIRUS

 

To stop flaws in Windows XP being exploited, you need to have proper security software installed on your computer. This will help negate the impact of no longer having security updates coming from Microsoft. You need to choose carefully, though, as your existing security might not be good enough.

Although Microsoft has said that Security Essentials, its free security package, will continue to get XP updates until July 2015, you shouldn’t rely on it, as it always comes near the bottom in our AV tests. Instead, you need to install decent security software to protect against threats.

If you want free protection, Avast! 2014 Free anti-virus is a far superior product. However, if you can, you should buy a security suite. Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 is our favourite security suite, blocking all the live threats we put against it. In addition, Kaspersky will detect many exploits, preventing criminals from being able to take over your computer.

Windows XP Avast

Proper security software will protect Windows XP

Of course, there’s a chance that the security companies will stop providing new versions of their software or virus definitions that are compatible with Windows XP, but while that OS is still such a huge part of the market we can’t see that happening for a few years. In other words, with proper security software installed on Windows XP, you’ve got peace of mind that your computer is as secure as it can be.

 

UPDATE SOFTWARE

 

As we pointed out, it can be other out-of-date bits of software that create security holes criminals can exploit. For this reason, you need to make sure that you keep all software completely up-to-date. A lot of software will automatically update itself, but not all will.

To save manually checking, you can use a free software updater instead. These scan your computer for installed applications, then check online to see if there’s a newer version installed. There are a few programs out there, but Secunia PSI andUpdate Notifier are two of the best.

Windows XP PSI

Secunia PSI will scan your computer for out-of-date software

 

UPDATE DRIVERS

 

Device drivers have been known to contain security flaws, which can be exploited, so it’s important to keep these updated, too. There are free tools, such as Device Doctor, which will scan your computer for drivers and let you know if there’s an updated version available. Make sure you decline all the other bits of software Device Doctor asks you to install when you run its installation program.

Windows XP Device Doctor

You can scan your computer for driver updates

Use Device Doctor with a little caution, particularly if you have a laptop, as some computers can be a little finicky about driver updates and you don’t want to break your computer. You can also check for drivers manually, visiting your manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers. Graphics drivers for the major card manufacturers can be downloaded from Nvidia and AMD.

 

SWITCH BROWSERS

 

If you’re using Internet Explorer under Windows XP, it’s time to stop. Windows XP only supports Internet Explorer 9, which means that it’s at least two versions out of date and vulnerable to some exploits.

Windows XP Chrome

Both Chrome and Firefox have up-to-date versions for Windows XP

Fortunately, both Google Chrome and Firefox have been continuously updated for Windows XP, so you can download the latest version and be confident that you’ll get future updates, too.

 

DISABLE JAVA FOR WEB BROWSING

 

Java has had a bit of a kicking in recent times, with big failures in its security causing a lot of problems. One of the most sensible things you can do is disable Java from running in browsers, which means you can still run standalone Java-based apps, but your browser won’t run this content online. To do this go to the Control Panel and select Java from the Classic view. Click the Security tab and deselect the ‘Enable Java content in the browser’ tickbox. Click OK to apply the setting. You’ll be warned that you’ll need to restart your browsers for the changes to take effect.

Windows XP Disable Java

Disabling Java for web browsers can increase security

 

SWITCH TO A LIMITED ACCOUNT

 

Limited accounts are a great way to use Windows XP securely. As the name suggests, these accounts have restrictions on them, so they can’t install or remove all applications, or make system-wide changes, such as changing a hard disk’s partitions. However, a Limited account also means that software you encounter can’t do any of the above things, either. So, if you’re running a Limited account and run some malware, it will be as limited as you are.

There are a couple of tricks, which we’ll show you, for running things as Administrator when you need to. This means that you’re protected day to day, but you have Administrator tools ready when you need them.

To create a Limited account, first you need to log in as an Administrator and make sure the account has a password. Go to Control Panel, User Accounts and select your user account. Click Create a password and enter a new password twice. Enter a hint if you want, then click OK. Next click Home, then click Create a new account and give it a name, click Next, then select Limited and click Create Account. You’ve now got a Limited user account. You can set a password for it by following the steps at the start of this paragraph. You can now restart your computer and log in as the Limited account.

Windows XP Limited Account

A Limited Account in Windows XP is more secure

You’ll find that you can do pretty much everything from the Limited account, but you may stumble into the restrictions. For example, if you try and install a new application, you may get a warning message telling you that you don’t have the right permissions. To get around this, right-click an installer or application and select Run As from the menu. Click ‘The following user’, select your Administrator account from the drop-down menu, enter its password and click OK. You’ll now be able to run your task.

Unfortunately, Windows XP isn’t as refined as Windows 7 or 8 and there are some times where a Limited account is no good and there’s no option to run as an Administrator. In these circumstances, you’ll need to log out of your account and log in as an Administrator. From there you can add and remove applications, update drivers and perform all of your usual maintenance. If you don’t want the hassle of having to switch accounts, stick with an Administrator-only account, but just be aware that it’s not as secure as the Limited version.

 

HOW LONG WILL WINDOWS XP BE SECURE FOR?

 

Unless there’s a massive vulnerability that security software can’t protect against, Windows XP should still have a long life in front of it. As long as security software, drivers and other applications have Windows XP updates for them, the operating system can continue to be used securely and reliably. At some point you’ll find that new hardware and software won’t support the OS, and updates stop coming, but until that day you don’t need to upgrade.

 

Credit for this article goes to: http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/software/1304965/when-windows-xp-support-ends-this-is-how-you-secure-your-pc-and-save-all-updates

 

Harmwares Have Improved, Has you Security?

“Harmwares” have improved!
Computer viruses have always generated fear in the back of users mind. The word “virus” is usually associated with something baleful, something that causes damage, which destroys and makes troubles. As well as natural viruses, computer viruses are capable to multiply, destroy, and hide with the difference that these processes are performed on a computer.

BSOD_Main

 

Computer viruses are small software programs of a few kilobytes (kb) only, which have the sole purpose to damage the infected computer. They are not alive, not spread through the air or by touching disks with other disks. Since they are just programs, it is logical that they were not created by themselves. Viruses are written by hackers, experienced system developers, who send viruses to our computers for diverse reasons: because they need confidential information (the greatest cause), because they want to prove that Microsoft’s operating systems are not well protected, or just because they want your money. Viruses are easily multiplied and many have the ability to re-send to all of your contact list to infect everybody you know, then everybody they know. Situated in other files such as toolbars, add-ons, popups, through emails and many other means, they usually cause damage by modifying or deleting a program or system files. Trouble begins when the virus is loaded into memory (RAM) in order to be active until you turn off the computer (or clear the RAM), sometimes it will multiply in your RAM until your computer grinds to a halt other times it waits until you start a program such as your internet banking, emails or word processing,it can then read every action, every keypress, every move of the mouse until it get what it wants, your private detailed information.

In the beginning, viruses were spread via floppy disks, and later via USB flash disks. The virus is most frequently transmitted via networks such as LAN (Local area network – Your home network of desktops, laptops tablets and anything connected to your WiFi) or most usually it’s transmitted via WAN (Wide Area Network – Basically the internet). This is why it is so important to have a substantial firewall and anti-virus program, the firewall is your first defence in stopping unwanted access to your computer via ports (the gateways in and out of your computer), the second which most people are fully aware of is your antivirus, usually actively scanning your computer 24/7 for any changes that might indicate virus or malicious activity on your machine. You would know your antivirus as you probably get a new bill every 12 months or pop ups non stop asking you to upgrade to the “premium package”. It doesn’t matter what you use, just as long as you have protection and obviously it keeps you virus free!

There are many different types of “Virus”, most common forms of viruses are, the so-called, “worms”. It copies itself or its segments to other computers, and it is usually transmitted via internet. Worms are rarely destructive and perilous, but because of their unlimited ability to create their own copy, they can only slow down traffic considerably. Unfortunately, you can not avoid them, but they are easy to remove. Another famous virus is “Trojan”. It is not actually a virus, but a code that is activated after you launch a certain program. It usually happens when you download a program from the internet that seemed attractive to you, for example, A program offering free vouchers, free antivirus or toolbars. You would be amazed with the different ways hackers can hide their code, which is why its so important to have the protection, and the knowledge on what is good and reliable and what is not, you could end up having your hard disc erased losing emails, work and even the family photographs. The trojan is designed to allow somebody else (the hacker) access to your computer, they are the biggest issues in the computing world, and have their very own category, they are now known as “Spyware”, as the name suggest, it allows somebody to spy on all of your computer usage. The best advice we can give you to avoid Trojans is not to download any suspicious programs, especially from untrusted sites (check your antivirus or browser for a trust rating).

The next hazardous virus is known as “Hoax”. As its name suggests, it’s a false alarm. It is not a virus, it is just a message that appears on your screen while you are on the internet, and warns you to delete some of your system files because they are infected. So, YOU take the role of a virus instead. As many people are easy to believe the written word, they immediately find and delete that file; and the result is – half of the programs do not function properly!Therefore, do not download any suspicious program (from untrusted sites!) and games, do not open fishy links, and certainly do not delete the files you are not supposed to.

The only true indicator that can point to a malicious file is the antivirus system.Antivirus system is a set of programs that are installed on your computer with the aim of your computer protection. Antivirus contains code that can recognize viruses and warn you about them while you are online. When an antivirus program detects the virus it will stop its function and ask you about the action: whether to delete, skip or put into quarantine. The most common antivirus programs include Avast, Avira, Nod, Kaspersky and Bitdefender and Mcafee.

At the end of the day, avoiding suspicious viruses and malware is useful but not complete protection. Therefore, choose some of the most popular and powerful antivirus programs and save your computer from infection and hacking. We recommend using; Mcafee Total Protection 2013, they offer some of the best protection around and also don’t have so many popups like other programs do, perfect if all you want to do it work or play!

If you have a virus on your computer and you would like an expert to look at it for you, please do not hesitate to call us – Super PC Repair. We are always glad to help.

How to change the LCD on a Laptop

 

At Super PC Repair we take the utmost care when handling your laptop to ensure it is kept in top condition!

Broken LCD

 To replace the LCD panel in a laptop screen is actually easier than you might expect. To start we remove the power from the DC Jack & disconnect the battery. 

 This is for safety for the laptop and for us! 

* If you are following this guide at home we will assume you have already ordered and received your new LCD panel. Please ensure it is the correct panel for your laptop as some LCD panels do have different connectors, resolutions etc and may not work if not the OEM replacement for your model. *

The second step in changing your LCD over is to remove the bezel. The bezel is the plastic around the edge of the screen which makes the laptop look aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This is usually held to the lid of the laptop by a series of screws and clips. Start out by removing the screws, they can be located under round rubber grommets at the 4 corners of the screen (some laptops just have 2 screws they are usually located in the lower 2 corners). Once the screws have been removed you now need to remove the bezel without breaking any of the clips. Depending on what laptop you have sometimes it is impossible to get the bezel off without breaking the clips off too. If this is the case you can buy replacement bezels online for about £30.

Removing Bezel

Removing Bezel

Start at the bottom of the screen in the middle as it is easy to find slack and work your way clockwise around the screen with your fingertips to gently ease the bezel from the screen.

Once the bezel is removed you can now start working on removing the screws holding the LCD in place. This can either be 4 screws in the 4 corners or 6 screws 3 on each side. Remove them all. It usually doesn’t matter which order.

Place the LCD panel on the keyboard gently once it is free from the lid. You will now be able to see the data cable that plugs into the back of the LCD panel. This usually has a clear tape of the top to hold it in place, using your nails or a small flat head screwdriver carefully lift this tape off of the data cable allowing you room to unplug the cable from the LCD.

Screen Side ScrewsOnce the cable is removed place the new LCD onto the keyboard in the same position the old one was and plug the data cable into the new LCD panel. Remember to reapply the tape.

Now put the screws back in the same places they were removed when disassembling. Once this has been done you can put the bezel back on, line it up with the screen carefully and start from the top right corner working clockwise, you will hear all the clips click into place. 

When the bezel is tight to the screen again, insert the screws and cover with the rubber grommets.

Now time for testing, re-insert your laptop battery and power cable and power it up. If all goes well it should power up and the display will work like normal!

Hope this guide has helped you. If you have any questions or get a little stuck, please give us a call, we are always happy to give advice!

www.superpcrepair.co.uk/contact-us

How to Build a Gaming Computer in 3 Easy Steps

Choosing the right parts

How do you choose the right parts? Will everything be compatible? This is the hard bit right?

Correct. This is the hardest part about building a computer. Not because of the reasons you might first think, but for the sheer fact there is so much choice, it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop!

Firstly Intel or AMD, ATI or Nvidia, HDD or SSD (or Both!). Then on top of those choices, you’ve got brands, sizes, budgets. But don’t let this put you off! This really is the fun part. A lot of your choices will be dictated to you by your budget so it makes it much easier to choose.

My personal website of choice is www.ebuyer.co.uk they offer great value and reasonable postage but the main reason I use them is because of their great website layout and filters. I have tried several other companies and finding products using Ebuyer is 10x better.

First question you have to ask is what is your computer going to do? Games or Business? Second Question is what’s your budget?

For this I will assume that you are building for games as most businesses’ buy off the shelf and I will go with an average price of about £750 for a relatively affordable gaming rig. If you’re building it yourself don’t be surprised to save £150 – £250 from an off the shelf model so it’s well worth doing yourself.

For a £750 rig I personally would focus mainly on graphics, my graphics budget would be in the region of £250. I will also assume you have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers and a headset.

Checklist 

Case £50

Power Supply £50

Optical Drive £15 (optional but necessary to install windows via a dvd – you can however have a usb optical drive or have windows setup files put on a USB stick).

Solid State Drive £65 (Optional but highly recommended)

Hard Drive £40

Motherboard £80

Processor (CPU) £150

Graphics Card £250

RAM £50

If you need a copy of Windows then to stick to the £750 budget something will have to give (Optical drive and SSD most likely).

That is usually what I do before every build. As soon as I know my budget, I prioritise the cash to each part and if I find a awesome part on offer thats more I will either stretch the budget to accommodate it or something else will suffer for the time. (Usually RAM as its easy to upgrade at a later date).

Now once you have got your prices in mind time to hit the shops! My personal recommendation is Intel. I have the Intel i5 2500k (sandybridge), a couple of generations old now but still an outstanding chip. Anything in the same bracket is good. If you want to overclock your new machine you will need a K series chip as non K series cannot be overclocked. Since sandy bridge there has been ivybridge and the latest release from Intel is the Haswell chip, offering lower power consumption and better onboard graphics, no major changes there! Something like a i5 4670k will currently cost about £180.00.

When choosing a CPU you need to ensure you buy the correct motherboard. This is easier than you think. Using Ebuyer you can filter your motherboard/cpu by compatibility. For example the Sandybridge uses a 1155 socket and so does Ivybridge but Haswell uses a 1150 socket. Xeon has its own socket and so does socket 2011.

When you have chosen your CPU just check which socket it requires (FM1, FM2, FM3 – AMD) (1155 or 1150 – Intel) and then select a motherboard with the same socket. My personal preference for motherboard is Gigabyte, they have dual bios, quality boards and I’ve used them in nearly every build I’ve ever done.

You will need to decide what size motherboard to get, ATX or mATX are the most common. I recommend ATX as it is larger and allows for more expansion. You will need to find a case that is ATX compatible (most of them are – only the small cases aren’t).

RAM – I would always stay with the big players here. There is no need to go to a strange brand as the big companies such as corsair offer a lifetime warranty and very competitive prices.

Cases and Power supplies – If you are lucky enough to find a case that comes with a good power supply you may save a fortune here. A while ago Coolermaster offered a Elite ATX case with a 500w coolermaster power supply for just £50 – such a good deal! My preference for both of these is Coolermaster but Antec or Corsair are also very good. If you want a power supply to last I would certainly recommend investing some money in a good one to begin with, I have had several power supplies fail and cause me major issues in the past because they were cheap. Around the 500w will power most gaming machines very happily. If you are in doubt there are power supply calculators available online. Just Google them.

Optical Drive – Anything will do as long as its SATA. If your going to game chances are you will be using steam or if you’re unlucky origin. The likelihood is you will rarely use your optical drive so don’t waste much on it.

Hard Drive – Definitely go for a SATA III model, they are much faster than anything else and new motherboards can take full advantage of the speed increase. Western Digital are good drives as are Samsung and Seagate. I would say for an average user 1TB (1000GB) is plenty, you can always add more in at a later date. Saying that, there are often very attractive deals for drives 1TB and above. Shop around.

Solid State Drive (Optional) – Although this isn’t necessary I recommend that everyone and their mothers has a solid state drive, improves boot times, load times, read and write times. Everything is better with a Solid state drive! (EVERYTHING)! – OCZ or Samsung for these. Make sure you get SATA III and that the read write speeds are 500MB/s +.

And Finally onto the best part. The Graphics card. The holy grail of every gaming rig. It will be what sets you apart from the XBOX or the Playstation wannabe gamers. Both ATI and Nvidia are at the top of their game at the moment (pardon the pun). So either mid range card is nothing to be sniffed at. The thing here is check the benchmarks, this is a big decision and the most expensive part of your rig. Read reviews, comparisons, and make sure you make the right choice. What ever that might be something like a NVidia GTX 660Ti or GTX 760 should be in your price range or an ATI 7870. What ever you choose do some research before.

That concludes the first step of building a PC in 3 Easy Steps. If you have any questions on parts to use, brands, or for our opinion please send us an email – admin@superpcrepair.co.uk

 

Assembly Guide

So all your parts have finally arrive and comes the time to carefully put it all together. It really is easier that you might think.

The first step is to open the new case and install the gold risers in the correct positions in the case. Do not put risers where they are not needed there is a small possibility this could be shorting something on your motherboard if you do this.

Now install the metal back plate for the motherboard slots (USB Ports, Sound, Video etc). It clicks into place easy enough, remember that the 6 holes for the audio jacks always go at the bottom.

Now its time to slot your motherboard into the case and screw it in. Make sure it lines up with all the screws and that everything is tight to the metal back plate to ensure a good fit first time. Now using the screws provided with your case put a screw into every available hole to give adequate support to the motherboard.

When you are happy that the motherboard is secure its time to install the CPU and Heatsink. There will be a lever on the motherboard where the CPU goes (usually top middle). Lift the lever and line the CPU up. Usually there is a gold corner on the CPU that lines up with a marked out triangle on the motherboard. OR there are notches in the cpu that line up with pins on the motherboard to ensure the CPU is fitted correctly. You will feel the CPU drop slightly into its slot, if you don’t feel it drop please ensure the CPU is in correctly as if you fit the heatsink and the CPU is not fitted correctly it could damage the CPU and the Motherboard. If you are happy that the CPU is fitted correctly pull down the lever back to the position it was in before the CPU was inserted onto the motherboard. With new CPUs the heatsink will already have thermal paste applied so you can go right ahead and line the heatsink up above the CPU and either using the click mechanism (Intel) – you basically just push the pins down until they click. Or the AMD method is usually another lever, put the metal clips over the plastic on the motherboard then turn the lever so that the heatsink is tight to the CPU.

Thats the hard part done!!

Now its the easy bit, installing the RAM, PCI Cards, Hard Drives and Power Supply.

I would now recommend installing the Hard Drives. Easy eno

ugh, slot them in, screw them in tight and connect the SATA cable from the motherboard to the Hard drive. Same applies for any optical drives.

RAM will click in, best to choose slot number 1 first (its numbered on the motherboard.) PCI cards/Graphics Cards next, slot the main card into the top PCI slot, tighten the screws and check it doesnt require any power from the power supply.

Now the slightly tricky part. Not installing the power supply thats easy, its making the cables look tidy that is the hardest part!! I recommend cable ties. Ensure all connections are tight and double check everything is plugged in before closing up the case and turning on your new PC.

I hope this guide helps, sorry if its a little vague towards the end but the last couple of things are so easy I didn’t want to waffle on!! Any questions please don’t hesitate to email me on admin@superpcrepair.co.uk or leave a comment.