All of us here at Up Time Tech are super stoked about the launch of Windows 8, but we feel it is our duty to advise our clients to proceed with caution when upgrading to Windows 8. Compatibility issues are among the most common problems that users face when upgrading to a new operating system. If you are running software that is mission critical to your home or business, you may consider putting the brakes on until Windows 8 has come out of the “bleeding edge” stage. New operating systems come out of this stage once third party application/software companies fix compatibility issues that arise.
If you are a regular home user and don’t run mission critical programs, there is less risk when upgrading to a new operating system. Complications (aka frustrations!) may arise upon upgrading due to basic functions such as printing and various programs becoming inoperable due to incompatibility with Windows 8.
If you are a business, however, slow your roll! Put on the e-brake. Up Time Technicians do not recommend that businesses upgrade to Windows 8 yet. Among the compatibility issues that can create expensive down-time (cha-ching!), there are security risks that may surface in the coming months. Do not put your company at risk unless you have an IT professional assess your network first.
There are a few things you’ll want to do before upgrading. Here’s the quick rundown:
- Find Out If Your Computer and Programs Are Actually Compatible with Windows 8
2. Clean Up and Optimize Your Hard Drive
3. Run System and Third-Party Software Updates
4. Back Up Your Computer
5. Save Your System Drivers and Locate Your Program Keys
Check out this link for more detail on these steps:
You’ve probably been hearing about the new Windows 8 from Microsoft. Its all the buzz in the tech world right now. The release date is set for October 26th, but if you’re like many of our customers, you may be wondering what this all means for you… What is it and how will I be affected? Windows 8 is the newest operating system (OS) available from Microsoft and succeeds Windows 7. It will be available in two retailed editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.
What does this mean for you? If you currently have Windows 7 and don’t want to upgrade, you do not have to right now. But like all upgrades, eventually Windows 7 will no longer be available for purchase.
Did you recently buy a Windows 7 PC and now you want to upgrade? Don’t worry! Microsoft has you covered:
If you bought or will buy a qualified Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013, you can purchase a download of Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99*. Visit this site for more info: http://windowsupgradeoff er.com/en-US.
However, if you are currently running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (that was purchased before June 2012) it is rumored that you will be able to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99.
Its always exciting to try the latest Operating System, but be warned: There are major interface changes and a brief tutorial from an Up Time Tech might help. Come on in to play around with our demo!
We’ve been fielding a higher than normal volume of calls lately from customers asking why Microsoft is calling them to save their computer from a virus. Our customer’s number one question: how does Microsoft even know my computer has a virus?
That’s a fair question to ask, and the answer is: they don’t. And it’s not Microsoft on the other end of the line. If you get a call like this, hang up – immediately. While they can’t harm your computer through the phone lines, they can waste your time and leave you wondering if you’re machine has been compromised.
Thanks to a handful of customers who have called in to report this scam, here is our list of red flags:
- Caller says they are calling from Windows, Microsoft, or from Mircotech or PCE Fix on Microsoft’s behalf.
- Caller tells you that you have a virus, and that a variety of bad things are going to happen to your machine if you don’t let them fix the virus.
- Caller may tell you to call his company back and to speak to his manager.
- Caller asks to gain remote access to your computer.
- If you do give them remote access to your computer, caller may direct you to the Event Viewer in Windows which shows details about various hardware and Windows software issues. This Event Viewer is always full of messages, even on a healthy computer, but the caller will convince you that these are the warning signs of the impending disaster.
- To gain your trust in their knowledge, they may ask you to check random folders within the Windows directory that general home computer users will have never had need to look at before. The caller will indicate that a lot of files in this folder, or no files in this folder, is a very bad sign. This is inaccurate.
- You might have to type various commands into the ‘Run’ box or start simple Windows diagnostic programs that are installed by default on your computer. Various screens will appear and the caller will say this looks very bad. Again, not true.
- They might ask you to run a registry checker program that will show hundreds of “errors”. It is common for the Windows Registry to have ‘errors’ in it, but it generally does no harm at all. In fact, running an aggressive registry cleaner can do much more harm, and potentially leave you with a computer that will not boot up.
- Caller asks for credit card info to fix your computer.
Why all the lies?
Scammers are gaining access to your machine in an attempt to steal personal information for the purpose of identity theft. That aside, scammers are also attempting to simply infect your computer with viruses and malware – and we honestly don’t know why. We think it’s awful, and that’s why we are warning you about it.
What to do if you’ve been led astray: Most websites talking about this scam will encourage you to reinstall Windows, and change all your passwords (computer, bank, email, etc). If you are still concerned about your machine’s integrity, or don’t know how to reinstall Windows, we suggest you bring your machine in for a diagnostic. Despite the potential for extreme damage to your machine (and personal life), removing these viruses and hidden tracking programs from your machine is actually quite anti-climactic. Your best defense, however, has nothing to do with your machine at all. If you get a call like this, hang up the phone!
Our security team at Up Time does not run certain popular programs on their workstations because so many of them are security Swiss cheese (full of security holes) and we want to protect our clients. But the FBI, with much more sensitive data, seems to think they are immune and runs all the known and dangerous hack-me-ware!
Java, Flash, ActiveX, and Internet Explorer have been a constant vector for hackers to take over machines. Anyone really serious about security shouldn’t be running them (or even Windows or Mac OS X for that matter). The long line of Flash and Java security errors and length of time to patch them makes their use a Russian Roulette for every website (which calls 20 banner ads from who knows where) you visit.
Hitting the news stand last week: An FBI laptop was hacked by a hacker group called AntiSec. Although the FBI denies it, the group claims to have stolen information on 12 million Apple Users (including their Unique Device ID, UDID, name, phone numbers, etc). This link also includes a tool to see if your iPad/Phone/Tab is amongst them. Our question is ‘What is the FBI doing with 12 million Apple UDIDs and corresponding private data?’! And were they running hack-me-ware programs that made this hack possible?
Here’s the story:
Apparently, it wasn’t the FBI that got hacked but Blue Turtle. Our caution is still the same regardless of who was hacked.
Where are the security holes in your network?
By Michael Sullenszino
Do you have Hyper V on your server? If you don’t know, ask your IT department or us.
Warning! If you are unknowingly running a Hyper V Snapshot on your server, you might be looking at a painful recovery. And now you might be wondering “what is a hyper V snapshot?” A snapshot is literally just that. A picture of the way your server looked like a one point in time… but it’s functional. Let’s say you are going to deploy an upgrade and would like to have a backup plan in case things go terribly wrong. You could take a Hyper V Snapshot before you do the upgrade. If the upgrade was unsuccessful, you can take a ride on the IT Dolorian back in time and REVERT back to your snapshot where things are running happily before that upgrade.
So why is it the fast road to destruction? Here’s where the devastation can happen: If you forget to revert back to the original and then USE the snapshot to make changes /edits to your data and network, you will run into a few big problems: you won’t be able to edit hard drive configurations and it will eat up your storage space because the snapshot is just as big as your original data (and can’t shrink even if you delete large files!). That means you lose functionality of your network because you can’t save any work. In order to merge the original with the snapshot after this mistake, you must have equal-to or greater-than space on the hard drive. But if you’re out of space, you have quite the project on your hands that might require experts if you don’t know how to solve this problem.
Although Hyper V Snapshot is a great tool, it should only be used for non-production servers in an isolated environment. It is NOT a suitable method for backup on a production server that runs your company. You should frantically notify your IT staff about this issue if you are running Hyper V on your server.
Green Technology, such as virtualization, is pretty cool because you can reduce hardware, electricity costs, and space consumed for housing servers. When you reduce the amount of hardware, you are reducing the amount of failure points. All hardware will break down eventually.
But do you really save money on electricity? Everyone selling Green Technology is talking about this. Here at Up Time, we are curious, so we like to get down to brass tacks:
When you have a server, you need electricity to power AND cool it. If you throw 3 servers in a closet with poor ventilation, we guarantee those puppies will give you grief sooner rather than later. Servers need air flow and it needs to be cool air. So on top of paying for powering the thing, you also need to pay for air conditioning for the server to have any sort of life span.
As a general guideline, the electricity cost to cool a server room is DOUBLE the cost of electricity for powering the server.
So when you use virtualization (multiple servers in one physical server), you are saving on power and AC because there are less servers powered and pumping out heat.
What’s the takeaway? Green Technology WILL help your wallet! Its all true and we are excited about it. Contact Up Time to save your business money.
Mac users used to be able to sleep soundly at night thinking that they were “immune” from viruses. Well, get yourself some Nyquil because a Mac virus could be coming your way. There are now pesky viruses written for Mac OSX and iOS (iPhone and iPad). A recent Mac virus was able to take control of 500,000 Macs and their owners had no idea their computer was in the hands of hacker!
Computer viruses are everywhere for just about every device (Android, iPhone, Linux, Windows). With mobile computing taking the internet by storm and cloud computing offered by every vendor, do you have a data security plan? Do you know what new Federal Regulations require you to do to secure your data? Is that cheap cloud storage, hosted email or iPhone app up to security and regulatory snuff?
We have certified security gurus who can answer those questions and help you get the most from mobile computing. Get in touch with Up Time and take responsibility for your home or business! www.uptimetech.com.
If you haven’t heard about Solid State Hard Drives (SSD), you need to read this. These bad boys are new to the market but are a HUGE step in technology. Why? Because regular hard drives have moving parts that spin and are notorious for failing for that very reason. Solid State Drives have no moving parts, hence the term “solid”. The speed is much faster and the failure rate is significantly lower that regular drives, but it will cost you. These drives are twice the greenbacks, but you should ask yourself “how much do I think my data is worth”? If you think your data is worth a few hundred bucks, think about SSD. If your data is worth $20K, you definitely need to make the move. If your data is priceless with memories of your kid taking those first steps, you should be running out the door. Check out more ideas and services at www.uptimetech.com!