Bergesch Computer Services - October '13
In this issue
- First thing
- Office Starter edition
- Here we go again
- How smart are some viruses
- Microsoft Essentials
- iGoggle is going away
- Email issues
- Android viruses
- Windows XP - retired!
- Windows factory restore
Our Hijacked cleanup page has been updated with more information... Now over 100 known junkware applications.
It can all go wrong very quickly if you are not careful!
This is a growing problem and we have heard from many people who have received one of the support calls.Unfortunately, a couple fell for the scam and with devastating results...
- The online support person became angry at the customer's questions and deleted the customer's data.
- An elderly customer taken for over $600 for bogus repairs and unnecessary (and very expensive) backup hardware.
Fortunately the first we were able to recover the deleted data. The second contested the billing with the credit card company.
Please - be careful who you hire to repair your computer!
Over these past dozen plus years we have dealt with the various manufacturer support a lot and not once were we asked ask to allow remote control!
Know that Dell, HP, Adobe, Microsoft, etc. will not call you out of the blue.
Regardless of what it may look like, if your computer suddenly shows a dire warning and a phone number, IT IS A SCAM!
It may be very difficult. If calling "support," ask for a case number, a return phone number and extension. If they hesitate, be aware! If they do give you a phone, try and confirm that phone number is Dell, HP or whatever company you hope to talk to.
Out of curiosity we did a Google search for "Dell support" and amazingly, many of the results were not Dell at all, the first three for HP support were not HP and the first three for Toshiba support were not Toshiba.
So look carefully at the site you are about to visit. The domain should be clean, e.g., hp.com, dell.com... So while support.dell.com is a legitimate Dell site, domains like iyogi.com/Dell-Help and dell-support.supportcenter247.us are not!
If you have (the free) Microsoft Office Starter edition, you can open and edit Word and Excel documents. But sometime mid-September when attempting to open a document, you may have started seeing a prompt to purchase Office. You probably do not have to...
In the Control Panel's Programs and Features, look for Microsoft Office. You should see Microsoft Office AND Microsoft Office Starter edition. If so, simply uninstall Office (not the Starter edition) and everything should begin working as it did before...
Here we go again...
You may recall the last couple years were plagued with Windstream speed issues. Sometime early this year they seemed to have resolved that, but then starting late July this year, we began to have outages and since mid-August, we are back to having occasional performance issues. From our paid service of 6.0M, we occasionally receive a fraction of what we should...
and on 9/24, LESS THAN 1.0
Then in August and October*, more outages! Welcome to an Internet Free Zone - named Annandale...
*Coincidentally, we have seen an unusually high number of routers requiring factory reset or outright - fail (at least according to Windstream support).
Mid-October, specifically Oct' 11th, there were many outages reported. Windstream responds by indicating routers have to be replaced but we are finding otherwise. We believe the router's MAC-ID is locked out by Windstream. Changing that ID (when possible) by one digit seems to resolve problems! Not saying that you could accidentally change it to another users ID, but chance are very slim. If you have a Motorola router from Windstream, there is nothing you can do but wait for them...
Rumor has it Windstream will be switching out a known problem piece of equipment the evening of 11/14. This should resolve many of the above mentioned issues. Doing so, will break the connection for most people that night. Hopefully everything goes as planned and we all have Internet in the morning...
How smart are some viruses
We have recently cleaned a few machines that had root viruses. These are viruses that take effect so early in the boot process, neither Windows nor your antivirus are aware they even exist.
Two of these infected computers would not allow us to download any of the three scanners we recommend. Attempting to do so would result in the browser indicating that a file was infected and the download was automatically deleted.
Two of the three computers had an active antivirus program in place, but common to all was a lot of Internet junk. Be careful what you download. Free downloads are not always free...
If you have Essentials as your security package, force a Windows update and under optional updates, you may find a version upgrade. Repeat checking for, and installing, the available updates until there are no more listed. Why the version update is not listed as a critical update is beyond us...
If you use the customizable iGoogle as your home page, you know by now it will soon go away. Google+ is the Google recommended replacement, but it is not very customizable. One of many issues we have with Google+ is it places a recently read articles group at the top. If we just read an article, we certainly don't need a reminder taking up space on our customized page. Plus iGoogle is oriented toward social media, for which we simply do not have the time...
Currently we are using MyMSN. While we're not a fan of MSN, MyMSN can be customized to preview those things we are interested in. And unlike Google+ or Google News, you can rearrange the various groups as desired...
Unfortunately you have to tolerate an advertisement block in the
(Right where the Google+ stupid recent articles block appears.)
If you have Network Solutions hosting your email (probably many other providers these days), you may have to build a whitelist. For Network Solutions, log on using mail.domain_name > Configuration > Safe/Block list...
Recently we were expecting email from Dell.com which bounced back [to Dell]. If something from Dell.com is being blocked, there's a real problem with spam filter technology...
But we and others have had problems sending as well, where the sent item never gets delivered. Of little consequence or help, this is the explanation I received from the provider...
I apologize for any inconvenience. I have received your message regarding your e-mail concern. Due to the volume of e-mail sent and received from our e-mail servers, we commonly are triggered for automatic blacklisting with some providers. We have a team that constantly monitors these listings, and requests delistings of our IP addresses, in addition to requesting a whitelist of our IPs whenever possible. Some blacklist providers take longer than others to remove listings and/or provide the whitelisting that we request. We apologize for the inconvenience this issue has caused and appreciate your patience while our team works to have these listings removed.
Please be aware that some blacklist providers require a fee for delisting of our IP addresses and offer no whitelisting or other options for large companies to manage a relationship with them. Even when the fee is paid, they will then re-list the IP address in an attempt to collect additional fees. In some cases we may not be able to pursue delisting with these companies and suggest that a contact be made to any ISP using those blacklists to voice concern with those blacklist inclusions.
As we have warned for years, ignore (delete) email messages claiming undeliverable packages, package delivery notifications, etc. If you think you may have missed a delivery, pick up the phone and make a call, just don't open those attachments...
Seeing something like this?
It may not be from Sprint... Instead of clicking on anything in the email, go to Sprint.com directly then look up the deals.
They do exist, so if you have an Android phone here are 5 basic (common sense) ways to avoid becoming infected.
Windows XP - retired!
Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and sometime next year they will remove it from Windows Updates. This means if you reinstall XP on a machine, none of the service packs or security updates will be automatic.
While XP still serves many people well, there is another issue and that is with the Internet Explorer.
IE has had many updates and upgrades since IE8 was released, but none are compatible with Windows XP. As new Internet browser exploits are discovered XP will remain unprotected...
Very few computers are shipped with restoration disks. Instead there is a utility to help you build them. Most of those utilities pop up a reminder until you build the disks (or dismiss the reminder). So before they are needed and while your computer is new, create the disk kit! Typically takes only 3 or 4 DVDs and about 15 minutes.
If you find your computer is corrupt or infected, or you simply want to do a factory restore and have not made the disks, most computers have a key combination to launch the repair mode, see our notes page. Windows 8 machines may not have that repair from boot hot key available, but there is still a way to build those disks. See this Microsoft article.
Now even more important to have them as the manufacturers are starting to charge a lot! We recently spent over 20 minutes and $80 to get recovery disks from Sony and for another computer, 15 minutes and $70 from Lenovo ...
Of some interest
Months in space
Have time to gaze at some amazing pictures? See these NBC images.
What do these sets of years represent?
Hint: Bulleted set is ~11 years apart...
It's all out of control
A seventh-grade student in Virginia Beach, Va., has been suspended from school for playing with an airsoft gun with a friend in his front yard while waiting for the school bus. The article.
The postal Board of Governors said Wednesday it wants to raise the price of a first-class stamp by 3 cents, citing the agency's "precarious financial condition" and the uncertain prospects for postal overhaul legislation in Congress. The article.
"The financially strapped United States Postal Service is paying a futurist more than half a million dollars to assess the future of stamps as the agency struggles to raise revenues." The article.
- A 600-page law but no time to read it before the vote. The video clip.
- Obama administration pushes back on NSA document leaks. The article.
- Future cost of the "affordable" Obama-healthcare act... The article.
- Does the new government-controlled healthcare really need to spend 9 million dollars for advertising? The article.
- Does the EPA really need to be armed? The article.
'Grand canyon' discovered beneath Greenland ice
Glacial melt, long before man... (short) news clip.
Somewhat related... The world has warmed 0.05 degrees Celsius (0.09 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade over the past 15 years, a fraction of the 0.2ºC (0.36ºF) per decade rate confidently predicted by the U.N. six years ago, according to a leaked copy of the foremost climate report in the world. The article.
“With the new math standard in the Common Core, there are no longer absolute truths. So 3 times 4 can now equal 11 so long as a student can effectively explain how they reached that answer.” The article.
Not sure about yours, but "fuzzy math" doesn't work so well with our checking account...