December 2009 Newsletter ...
Happy Holidays... some gifts from Microsoft
Microsoft has a couple of pretty useful free items that you may be wanting to try out. The first is Office Live. Unlike Microsoft Office Online that gives you free templates, Office Live gives you document storage, sharing, and even viewing of files. You can even create a free web site. All that is needed is a free Windows Live ID.
Security is always an issue. Microsoft has a FREE online security and PC tune-up tool that works well at http://onecare.live.com/site/en-us/default.htm .
This brings me to one of those "hmmmmm" thoughts I occasionally have. 2009 seems to have been the year of "Internet Security Suites". Symantec/Norton, McAfee, CA, AVG, etc. all offer them. "Prevention" is the word of the day. Most have multiple times of the day updates. Windows has frequent updates. EVERYTHING has updates!! It drives you crazy! Let's just give up working and just do security all day. If we have the best prevention, WHY do we need to do the daily scans???? What bothers me the most is that in spite off all of this, and prompts to do daily scans, etc. malware DOES get into the computers, even ones that are fully patched with careful users. I have had problems where Symantec was itself infected, yet secured itself against tampering so I could not repair it. It was an absolute mess. I do not recommend home version Symantec or Norton products. They are too intrusive and bloated. CA and AVG seem okay, but I have seen infection get through both products with seeming ease. McAfee seems better, but still is bloated. What IS a good antivirus/antimalware program? Honestly, at this moment, I am not sure what to recommend. AVG is my current pick. Corporate versions of most products are tolerable, but expensive. I recommend frequent scans with the Microsoft scanner above and also Malwarebytes available free at http://www.malwarebytes.org If you find malwarebytes useful, please donate. These folks put a lot of time and effort into their work. Microsoft also has a free antivirus/antispyware program. I am in the process of testing it. You can learn more and download it at http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/ .
Microsoft Vista and Windows 7
Dell is selling Windows 7 computers with XP loaded as a downgrade. This will tell you the "state" of the latest two Microsoft operating systems. Microsoft offers no upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7, so if you are thinking of an upgrade, a new computer is likely a LOT easier and less costly in the long run. External drives are MUCH cheaper, so it's not a bad idea to store your files on one then change computers.
Added 12-13-09... very good comments on Windows 7 and Vista. Redmond Magazine is "The Independent Voice of the Microsoft IT Community" http://redmondmag.com/articles/2009/12/01/deja-vista.aspx?sc_lang=en
That's it for this newsletter... Merry Christmas and wishing you the best in 2010!!
Until next time... Happy Computing !
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