Category Archives: Windows

Even after offer expired, upgrade Windows 10 for free

Most of the people know that Microsoft’s much-hyped Windows 10 free upgrade offer has been ended on July 29, 2016, but you can still upgrade your version of Windows to Windows 10. The GWX tool may not be there, but all the other upgrade tools may be still there which may result in a valid digital license. Here’s some important points which will help you to get yours valid digital license.

Months ago on July 29, 2016, Microsoft officially ended to how notifications on user’s computer about Windows 10 free upgrade and stopped forcing the GWX tool onto the PCs. It was a big relief for those who were happy with their existing version of Windows and were not interest in new upgrade. But once users stopped getting the notification about Windows 10 free upgrade, the only way to get Windows 10 is to buy a copy of it.

Today after so many months also, users who run Microsoft’s activation servers can still claim a free digital entitlement to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7/8.1 without being forced to jump through any hoops.

By using a product key from a previous business edition of Windows 7/8/8.1 (Pro/Ultimate), you can still upgrade Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro. This post explains the basics of a Windows 10 upgrade along with licensing issues which may be involved with this upgrade.

Windows 10 Technical Support
Windows 10 Technical Support

How to upgrade to Windows 10

If you have a PC running a “genuine” copy of Windows 7/8/8.1 (properly licensed and activated), follow the steps given below to upgrade it to Windows 10.

  • To get started, visit Download Windows 10 webpage and click on the button Download tool now. Run the Media Creation Tool once download gets complete.
  • Once the Media Creation Too is downloaded on your machine, choose the option Upgrade this PC now and let it get complete.
  • Select the second option if you’re running the tool on a different machine, or if you want more flexibility. Save the installation files as an ISO file or to a USB drive.
  • Once the download is complete, open the flash drive in File Explorer or mount the ISO file and run Setup from there.
  • Follow the prompts to finish the upgrade successfully. During the upgrade process, you will not be asked for a product key. You’ll have a digital license to Windows 10 once the upgrade is complete. Go to Settings > Update & security > Activation to confirm the upgrade.
  • The digital license is tied to your device and you won’t need a product key, and activation is automatic. You can reformat the disk and install the same edition of Windows 10 anytime.

Microsoft ended the free upgrade through the Get Windows 10 app on July 29, 2016. This upgrade says that a key will be necessary “for this tool to work” (not true), but nothing was explained about licensing.

Unlike the “Genuine Windows” label on older upgrades, the Windows 10 upgrade and activations screens specifically confirm the existence of a “digital license.”

Anyway, if you are users of assistive technologysuch as a screen narrator or magnifier, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free.Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users are qualified for this upgrade as Microsoft is not really checking if you are using assistive technology or not.

The upgrade process is very simple. Just go to Microsoft’s Windows 10 upgrade page, download the program that’s listed on their upgrade page, and then install it. Assistive technology is the magnifier built into Windows that can be triggered by pressing Windows key + plus sign. It will make you eligible for a free upgrade on any device you use. ‘Upgrade Now’ button on that page kicks off an Upgrade Assistant if you click on it.

Microsoft has not announced any end date to the free Windows 10 upgrade program for assistive tool, but if it will, it will make “a public announcement before ending the offer.” The Windows 10 Anniversary Update includes new accessibility features and it means that Microsoft quietly keeping this upgrade path alive for those that need it. Assistive technologies are designed to provide additional flexibility to those who have physical or cognitive difficulties, disabilities, and impairments.

Using an old Windows 7 or 8.1 Key is another known and still available loophole to score a free Windows 10 upgrade. To upgrade to Windows 10, you need to enter valid Windows 7/8 product keys into the Windows 10 installer or later in the operating system. Microsoft may close this workaround soon.Microsoft hasn’t commented whether it will block this method in the future or not, but it seems that it is more concerned about getting more number of people onto Windows 10.

There’s always the option to install Windows 10 into a virtual machine without actually activating it for those that just need access to a fresh Windows 10 install temporarily. The operating system will keep on notifying you about activating it, but one way to go about it is, you need to run some tests like the Windows Bed test.

There is one more option to upgrade to Windows 10. You can download a 90-day evaluation version of Windows 10 Enterprise from Microsoft’s website also.If you are not sure about that you can successfully upgrade to Windows 10, you can ask the experts of pctech24.com.au to get Windows 10 Support.

How to Eject USB Storage Devices Using a Desktop Shortcut

If you are disconnecting a USB storage device from your computer, it is important to eject the device properly by heading to Windows notification area (system tray) and clicking on Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media. When you will do so, you’ll put a stop to the read/write operations between the USB storage device and your computer. It will ultimately help you to minimize the risk of data corruption or loss.

But if you need to connect a USB flash drive, memory card, or external hard drive frequently to your computer, you may not like to follow the same routine each time to eject your device. In that case it will be convenient for you to create a desktop shortcut to eject USB storage devices quickly.

Safely Remove Hardware Using a Desktop Shortcut

To open the Create Shortcut Wizard, right-click on the free space on your desktop and choose New > Shortcut:

In the Type the location of the item field, copy/paste the following line (case-sensitive): Rundll32 shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL HotPlug.dll.

Once you are done, move to the next screen by clicking on Next:

By registering a new name in the Type a name for this shortcut field, you can rename the shortcut (e.g. Remove USB). After registering a new name there, click on Finish and that’s all there is to it to place the new shortcut on the desktop.

Safely Remove Hardware Using a Desktop Shortcut

How to Change the Shortcut Icon

It is very easy changing the default icon of a desktop shortcut. Right-click on the new shortcut > Properties > Shortcut and click on Change icon:

Now you will see a dialogue window titled Change icon, click on the Browse button and look for a file named “shell32.dll”:

Once you have found a file named “shell32.dll”, select the file (C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll) and click on the option Open:

Now Windows will display the icons contained in the shell32.dll file. Choose the icon you want and click on OK to validate:

Assigning a Keyboard Shortcut

It is also possible to associate a shortcut key with your new desktop shortcut. In the Shortcut key field, go back to the Properties menu and define a key combination:

Click on Apply then OK to save your new settings.

Ejecting USB Storage Devices

As your new shortcut is ready now, you have a direct access to the Safely Remove Hardware utility. In the Safely Remove Hardware utility, you will see all the USB storage devices connected to your computer. To eject any device, just choose its corresponding entry from the Hardware devices list and click on the Stop button:

To validate your action, click on OK button on your computer screen. Now Windows will reflect a message that says, “The USB Mass Storage device can now be safely removed from the computer”.

If you require experts help while using a desktop shortcut to eject USB drive or anything else explained in this document, you can ask the experts at PCTECH24.COM.AU to get support for all hardware.

1800 832424 – TECH 24 (AUS)- Google’s Best Tips to Android Ransomware Protection

It is always a matter of concern that ransomware are infecting Android devices. As per report and according to Google, less than 0.00001% of apps that you install from Google Play ever have ransomware. On a justifying note, Google states that you’re more likely to be struck by lightning twice. However, that doesn’t mean that Google say that ransomware isn’t a very serious issue. They are still a crotical problem and obviously need to give it a second thought while using your Android device. You will get hardly hurt if you exercise caution. It is must especially when a device has as much sensitive information as your tablet or phone.

support for android

It is good to hear that Google has already done a lot of the work for Android users. To keep ransomware and all kinds of other threats from infiltrating your device, it has built numerous protections into Android. You’re in the best shape if you’re among the roughly 3% of users running Android 7 Nougat.

Google implemented several new features in its latest version to fend off ransomware, like “safety blinders”. This feature keeps apps from finding out all other running apps. Android 7 Nougat also launched protections against clickjacking which is a technique that attackers use to trick users into clicking buttons where they can’t see to kickstart malware.

This can be a big relief for you that Google has made it impossible for a malicious program to change your PIN. It is one of the most common way attackers and hackers use. They lock users out of their devices using ransomware apps and reinforce them to set up a PIN or other lock. Now for safety, Android apps are also sandboxed. Android apps will run inside isolated virtual containers so that they could not poke around where they’re not supposed to interfere. Though it’s not a impossible task to break out of a sandbox, but it is arduous.

There’s also a feature called Verify Apps feature, which has been around for years. This feature scans for suspicious behaviour and blocks them.  This feature will even remove suspicious behaviour from your device in very serious situations, all without you lifting a finger.

How Android users can avoid getting a ransomware infection

The first step to avoid getting a ransomware infection on your Android device is, don’t mess with the “untrusted sources” switch in your settings. Google screens apps in Google Play after checking them on its security parameters. It is not obvious that other places where you can find Android apps, like third-party app stores and filesharing sites will be necessarily screening apps.

Google advises you to do little investigation before clicking on download and install button of any app even in Google Play Store. Though Google is good at keeping threats out of its store, but still odd ones can still slip through cracks. Before installing any app, have a look at its reviews and see what permissions it will request. Skip the install if in case things aren’t adding up.

Another super-simple way to provide the protection to your device is, keep the software up-to-date. Make sure that you have the latest Android patches and current updates whatever software you have installed on your device. It will help you keeping malware at bay.

If you it is being difficult for you to understand how you can keep your device protected against ransomware and malware, you can ask the experts to do hacks for you. Here at PCTECH24.COM.AU, we have experienced experts who can provide you support for android ransomware protection as well as device running on any other platform.

7 Top Reasons Windows Becomes Unresponsive

It is a signal of danger if your computer stops responding to your inputs or shows delayed response. Sometimes at initial stage, you may not lose work because of it, but hanging programs or a total system freeze will definitely hamper your productivity and later cause system crash. Many of you may know why Windows crashes and how to troubleshoot these crashes, but one thing that every user need to know that, computer problems always don’t always manifest through random shutdowns or a blue screen. Here are some reasons enlisted below that may be responsible for momentarily Windows will freeze ups.

Windows 10 OS Technical Support
Windows 10 OS Technical Support

Incompatibility of Hardware

An incompatible piece of hardware with your version of Windows may cause stability issues. Your system will show blue screen if there is any hardware problem and to avoid damage, Windows shuts down. If you experience system freezes, try to recall if you have connected some new hardware to your PC recently.

Any peripheral hardware unit like printer, keyboard, mouse, USB drive, or other external device could be the source which is causing the problem. Replace your outdated hardware with a modern device and see if it helps. People may get their old hardware working with newer versions of Windows long after their hardware units are retired with the help of compatibility modes and some tweaks. For example, if you can’t live without a particular device, try using a virtual machine emulating an older version of Windows.

Driver Issues

It could be driver if your hardware isn’t the reason of a problem. A driver is a small piece of software program which allows correct Windows interfacing with hardware. On Windows computers, a generic Microsoft driver works just fine for basic devices like a mouse or keyboard. If you want to use specific features of a device, the device will require its own driver. Problems may chase your device if your installed drivers are not updated or you have installed the wrong driver for your device.

The general rule with drivers is, don’t touch them if everything is working fine. If your computer manufacturer provides driver update utilities then it is fine otherwise, avoid using third-party driver update utilities as they may be shady and could screw your device up more than fixing it. However, if you suspect that there is a driver problem, you can ask the experts at PCTECH24.Com.AU to stop replace outdated drivers on Windows 10 and stop your version of Windows 10 from controlling your drivers. At PCTECH24.COM.AU, you get Windows 10 OS Technical Support.

If you are updating your drivers manually, verify that you’re using the right 64-bit or 32-bit driver, depending on your system.

A Messy Windows Registry

Windows Registry is a database which holds detailed information about system and its configuration. Windows takes a note in its Registry whenever you remove or install any software, edit a setting, or make any changes yourself. Most of the time, it is better not to intervene the Registry. Do not use Registry cleaners, as they are good for nothing and won’t provide any performance benefits, moreover, put your device at danger. However there are trusted registry cleaning tools also which may clean thousands of errors.

If your registry is screwed up, it will cause crashes. In this scenario, you’ll probably need to reinstall your Windows. You will not need to reinstall your Windows until you haven’t hit by malware or made a mistake while editing the registry or used a poor registry cleaning program.

Any Type of Malware and Other Infections

Malware, spyware, worms, the catch-all term for viruses, and other nasties can wreak havoc on your PC. These infections specifically malware may take over your system, inject ads into your browser causing it to freeze and degrade performance or rootkits inhibiting your system in plain sight. Foreign agents, viruses and other infections make your device unstable.

Using a Substandard Antivirus Program, or More than One

Though it is not a common problem now-a-days as it was, but worth mentioning. If you run more than one antivirus programs, they’ll conflict with each other and potentially cause sluggish performance of your device. To keep your device safe and top of its performance, install and run a good antivirus program.

If you’re suffering from malware, or any other infections, there are easy ways to clean such infections including running powerful security software. Moreover, you can seek the help of experts to get rid of computer infections and install a powerful application like Trend Micro as it can detect multiple viruses and infections present in your machine and remove them. At PCTECH24.COM.AU, you get comprehensive Technical Support for Trend Micro.

Software Program’s Bugs

Though, it out of your control, but poorly-written software program may be the reason of unstable and unpredictable performance of your PC. You might notice that you fall for troubles only when you use certain program which hasn’t been updated in years or you are using a poorly optimized browser extension.

If you know that this particular app is causing uninstall and remove it and install its alternative. Try disabling extensions one by one if you find that the problem occur in your browser. Remove any plugins that are not safe and you don’t use.

User Tweaks

Once you have eliminated all the problems described above, there is a possibility that your stability problem may be coming from a tweak that you’ve made.

It shouldn’t interfere with your system if you are making changes from the Control Panel/Settings, but it might cause issues if you are using third-party tools to customize the nitty-gritty bits of Windows. Check the tools that you’ve used for Windows 10 privacy, tweaking the Taskbar, or similar deep tweaks. If you can’t find any other source of instability, consider reversing those changes.

There are fair chances that frequent freezing you deal with has its root in any of these above described sources. Most of them are in your control and it just takes is a bit of troubleshooting to figure out where the problem is. Once you know where the problem lies and fix it, you can get back to use your PC like normal.

Refresh your Windows operating system and reset it to its default state, i you don’t want to spend time on these fixes described above.

How to Recover Password for Windows

What if you forget or lose your login credentials because you are accessing your account after a long time or there are so many IDs and passwords that’s why it is tough for you to remember. In such tricky situations, password recovery tools can be useful. These tools can be handy for you if you work as IT or network engineer. Password recovery tools can be useful as a computer user also while reinstalling or upgrading your version of Windows. These tools can help you to understand certain security risks like storing credentials unencrypted, and mitigating them.

Window Support
Window Support

How to Recover Passwords Saved by Web Browsers

It is easy to recover passwords saved in the popular web browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. To recover password in Chrome and Firefox, you can access a list of saved passwords via the browser settings. You can view a list of saved passwords in the Credential Manager of Windows for Internet Explorer in Windows 8 and Windows 10. You can use these ways to double-check passwords you’ve saved.  For instance, you may need to know a password to login to a website from another computer on which it isn’t saved. However, it is risky also to save browser passwords and someone quickly could get to them.

Moreover, there are third-party tools also that can help you to recover passwords from multiple browsers. These tools allow you to save a list of all the passwords and will prove handy when you are reinstalling Windows or upgrading it and don’t utilize browser syncing. To keep your passwords more secure, you can import them in password managers which encrypt them for better security.

Alternatively, Firefox users need to enable their native master password feature that put encryption on the passwords so that third-party tools cannot recover them.

How to Retrieve Passwords for Wi-Fi Networks

Yu can also recover WEP keys, Wi-Fi passwords, and the PSKs of WPA or WPA2, saved by Windows.In Windows 7, open the Network and Sharing Center, select Manage Wireless Networks, click on the desired network to open it, and view the password on the Security tab. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, you can view the passwords in that same place, but you won’t find Manage Wireless Networks screen as it is gone. In Windows 8 and late, you can only open the wireless network properties of the specific network you’re connected to via the Network and Sharing Center. Windows 8 and later also, you can use third-party tools to capture and export a list of all the Wi-Fi passwords.

As you have seen how easy and insecure it is to retrieve Wi-Fi passwords stored by Windows.  You can see that the personal (PSK) mode of WPA/WPA2 can be very insecure than the Enterprise mode. The personal mode means if all the users will have and use the same password and their device is stolen or lost, or they leave the company, you will have to change the password in order to keep your network secure. But when you use the enterprise mode of WPA/WPA2, you could simply change or revoke a particular user’s login or password. Though the enterprise mode needs a RADIUS server the 802.1X authentication, but these days there are cloud-based options so you don’t have to deploy your own server.

How to Catch Login Credentials Sniffed from the Network

In recovering lost or forgotten passwords, catching login credentials sniffed from the network might not have a big practical use, but it helps demonstrate network security risks. In order to capture usernames and passwords for various kinds of services via protocols like HTTP, SMTP, FTP, and POP3, you can use tools to monitor a certain PC’s or the entire network’s traffic.

When you are on public Wi-Fi hotspots that have no encryption, remember to ensure that all services and sites you login should be using the standard SSL encryption. To check if site is using SSL encryption, check for the https in the URL. You also need to ensure that email clients and other apps should be using encryption as well. For peace of mind, encrypt all your Internet traffic using a VPN server provided by your company or a third-party VPN service.

On private Wi-Fi networks that are secured and encrypted, you’re also vulnerable to password hacking and hijacking. Users can still snoop on each other’s network traffic on networks secured with the personal (PSK) mode of WPA/WPA2 security. However, with the enterprise mode of Wi-Fi security, this is not the case. So businesses and organizations should use it.

Email Server and Login Credentials Details

You may want to save the server and login credentials details along with the emails themselves if you are reinstalling Windows.  Windows has an email client Outlook that you may be using. To get the email server and login credential details, go into the account settings of the email client. But this usually doesn’t show you the password in clear-text. There are fair chances to forget the password if you don’t use it often. To quickly retrieve the server details and password, use a tool instead of having to reset it via the email provider and then save them to a text file for later reference.

How to Reset Windows Account Passwords

It’s typically easier to reset a forgotten password instead of having to reinstall Windows when working with non-domain Windows computers. You can reset anywhere via the Microsoft site if it’s a Microsoft Account on a Windows 8 or newer computer. You can use bootable tools to do an offline password removal for Windows 7 and earlier (or local accounts on Windows 8 and later). However, when performing offline resets like this, some of your secured data like any passwords saved by Windows and any files encrypted by Windows may be wiped out.

It’s easy to retrieve and save most passwords when reinstalling or clean upgrading Windows. It can save your passwords as well as time and frustration that may develop because you accidently wiped out your passwords and forgotten them. But it also impose risk if you store login credentials so it is recommended to you that for better security, utilize encryption for your saved passwords or a whole-disk encryption solution.

Though it is easy to find passwords for saved Wi-Fi networks, when trying to connect other devices to the wireless, but in this case hackers can also snoop on your public and private network connections. They can hijack your accounts and capture your passwords so for the superior security, use enterprise mode instead of the personal (PSK) mode.

Where to Get Windows 10 OS Technical Support

Though it has been long time since Windows 10 was released, but it is still new for those who have just bought a new machines which has Windows 10 already installed in it. New Windows 10 users may face multiple issues while interacting with it as new software program tends to have a few teething troubles. This version of operating system has lots of useful features to improve overall user’s experience. It has Windows store apps on your desktop, virtual assistance Cortana, new and improved Start Menu, enhanced new virtual desktops and task view, new Microsoft Edge browser at the place of Internet Explorer, copy and paste in command prompt, greatly improved mail and calendar apps, improved ‘Snap Assist’ for Windows, new tablet mode, changed Action center, Windows Defender, Dark Mode, HoloLens, Xbox apps and streaming, etc.

There are so many things you can do with Windows 10 and with a high configuration device, you can get most out of your computing machine. No user can use this operating system like a pr in one day. With the time, you will be able of using it more efficiently. If you are seeking to have support for Windows 10, the help is available in many forms. Apart from Microsoft, there are so many vendors who provide support services for Windows 10. PCTECH24.COM.AU which is an independent third-party that also provides Windows 10 OS Customer Support. This article explains your Windows 10 OS Technical Support options. Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will continue to get upgrade notifications on their PC, laptop, or tablet until they don’t accept to upgrade your exiting OS. Technically, it will be good to accept the upgrade as the new Windows 10 has so many impressive features and more responsive.

pctechau

At PCTECH24.COM.AU, you will always get support for Windows 10. Here all technicians are proactively ready, so you can call us at any instant whenever you find it convenient to talk to our representative to get Windows 10 OS Technical Support.  Our experts can help you with installing a fresh Windows 10 as well as its available updated in case you have already installed it. Our experts can guide you how you can start with Windows 10. They can provide you simple tips and tricks to get grips with Microsoft’s new operating system. They will focus on new features and irritants what may seem the biggest gripes to the new users of Windows 10. Our experienced professionals are delighted to assist you in specific event when your new Windows operating system is throwing challenging events towards you.

PCTECH24.COM.AU experts can provide you support if you want to upgrade from Windows 7/Windows 8, enabling virtual assistance in Windows 10, downgrade to previous version of Windows, how to get Edge browser and hide the administrator account in Windows, and other small 0r large problems. PCTECH24.COM.AU is the one stop solution to prove 360 degree support for Windows 10 problems. For detailed help, you can visit our official website or talk to our representatives over phone.

How to Disable Windows Automatically Restart Feature After Windows Update?

The system needs to restart after Windows updates are installed for them to take effect. When the installation process is complete, Windows Update normally initiates an automatic restart. This document describes the steps to disable this feature. Before disabling this feature, just bear in mind that updates will not be applied unless the computer doesn’t restart. To disable Windows Automatically restart feature after Windows Update, choose your version of Windows from the given list and proceed with the instructions:

windows.8.gpedit.no_.auto-restart

Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8

  • Press the Windows Key on the keyboard or Click the Start button and type gpedit.msc in the search text field and hit Enter keyboard.
  • Navigate to the following location in the Local Group Policy Editor window:

Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates> Windows Components > Windows Update

  • For scheduled automatic updates installations option, double-click on No auto-restart with logged on users in the Windows Update window.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the screen in the windows that opens, select the circle next to Enabled.
  • Click on the option Apply, and then OK.

Useful Tip:  Walk through the same steps to turn the automatic restart back on, but choose the Disabled option in Step 4.

Windows XP users

  • Click the Start button on the screen and then Run.
  • To open the Registry Editor, type regedit in the search for field appears.
  • Navigate to the following Registry key:
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU
  • To disable Automatic restart after update, find NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers and change the DWord value to a 1.

Useful Tip:  Walk through the same steps to turn the automatic restart back on, but change the DWord value to a 0 in Step 4.

Important Note: For Windows XP Microsoft made a change to that in Service Pack 2 allowing updates to be installed when the user initiates a computer shut down or restart. This feature is helpful to stop auto restart from occurring.

If you need any kind of professional help to configure your computer or expert support for Windows 7 talk to us for immediate support. We provide 24*7 help to resolve all technical complexities related to your printer and Windows as well as Mac computers.

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Microsoft Confirmed that Hacks are Occurring due to Serious Windows Flaw

On Friday, October 21st, Google reported about the zero-day vulnerabilities to Microsoft and Adobe. Google publicly disclosed the critical Windows flaw, and because of that the two tech giants, Microsoft and Google were indulged in a verbal spat over the same. Microsoft was claiming that Google have given enough time to release the patch for the issue.

microsoft-windows-zeo-day-flaw

Google’s spokesperson has said that they have given enough time to Microsoft to find the solution for the issue a fix before the public disclosure of the Windows flaw. Hackers were already exploiting the privilege escalation bug by escaping Windows security sandboxing and exposing Flash Player flaws. Google closed the Flash exploits in Chrome as with an emergency fix last week, Adobe has patched the zero-day flaws in Flash.

Although, Microsoft has not issued any patch yet, it has scheduled to release its patch on November 8 to fix the Windows critical flaws. Google reported that hackers are behind the zero-day flaw vulnerabilities who want to trade on such flaws for their own profits. Microsoft reported on 2nd of November that the attacks were traced back to the Russian hacking group Strontium.

A few details about what is this hacking campaign?

Strontium is the group-code name for a Russian hacking group also known as Fancy Bear. The same group was blamed to be responsible the Democratic National Committee email hack by the U.S. intelligence officials. Washington put these allegations in line that the Russian government is making  efforts to disrupt the upcoming 2016 U.S. elections. U.S. intelligence cybersecurity experts said that Strontium aka Fancy Bear works is association with the GRU (Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye) which is the military intelligence agency of the Russian Federation.

Microsoft tags and explains that Strontium/Fancy Bear is the group that is associated with more zero-day exploits than any other hacking group that tracked in 2016. Microsoft said, “STRONTIUM is the group that often uses compromised and hacked e-mail accounts to send infected and malicious e-mails from one victim to another victim and persistently pursue specific targets till the time they don’t get successful in compromising the target computer. Once they successfully gets inside, STRONTIUM gradually moves throughout the victim network, encroach itself as deeply as possible in order to get access to the victim’s computer and steals sensitive information.

To lead the recent Windows and Flash player exploit, the attacks were made using spear-phishing emails containing malicious links. Spear phishing is a term used for those hacking attempts where the aim of the hacker is to practice targeted email frauds aiming specifically at an organization or individual. Hackers send well-crafted emails that include identifiable personal data so that it look like as if emails are coming from trusted and legitimate sources. If hackers got successful in gaining your trust and you fall for the trap and open a malicious link or attachment, data theft software and spying malware may get installed on your machine or network that will leave you vulnerable to more attacks.

Phishing frauds/scams may be a real frightening experience for you, so it is essential that you keep yourself protected against such attempts. There are a few ways recommended below that Windows users may apply to protect themselves from latest zero-day attacks. As the latest zero-day attacks originate from a spear phishing campaign, so it is important that you don’t click on links in suspicious emails, don’t download unsolicited email attachments, especially from unknown sources. Don’t trust on every “official” emails that you receive from companies you don’t know and don’t do business with. Before following any instructions written in any email, verify its authenticity.

Windows 10 users are advised use Microsoft Edge running on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update until Microsoft doesn’t release patch for Windows flaws as these are believed to be protected from these attacks. Microsoft stated that users need to wait until the November 8 patch. Google encourages users to verify that auto-updaters have already updated Flash and if it not updated, update it manually. It also advised to the Windows users that apply Windows patches when Microsoft makes them available.

Otherwise, you have one more option to stop emerging zero-day attacks. Having the protection of potential security software can create a robust fence for the security of your computer and can keep you protected from latest and emerging internet threats like this Strontium/Fancy Bear campaign.

Like every other suite of software application, Windows also is not error free and has some flaws. Although Microsoft always try to fix the issue as soon as it is identified. If you are a Windows user and facing any problem, you can seek the help of certified technicians at PCTECH24.com.au at an affordable cost. Get the help at PCTECH24.com.au of Certified technicians who are 24*7 available.

Resolution of Common Problems of Windows 10/8.1/8

There is nothing perfect in this world and this is applicable to the technology as well. Windows is also such an Operating System that is not perfect has some temperament, glitches, and flaws. However, the good thing about Microsoft is that it learns from the flaws and issues and eventually and creates a super OS (near to perfect) that will be capable of beating all other OS.

There are numbers of operating systems in the market, but Windows has made its special place because of various reasons that add convenience for the end users. Since the release of its first OS, Microsoft has developed various versions of Windows over the years. Today, Windows has a great significance and with the every passing day, it is becoming more popular among the computer users.

In the year 2014 in the month of September, Microsoft announced that it is going to release its new version of Windows for consumers on July 29, 2015. With the release, Microsoft also announced that the authentic and eligible users of Windows 7/8 can upgrade their editions to Windows 10 for free. Microsoft launched Windows 10 to render a harmonious experience to the Windows 7 as well as Windows 8 users. It includes the features and functionalities of both of the versions.

windows-app-store

a harmonious experience Microsoft developed this OS version with the expectations that it will provide a smooth and glitch free experience, but like other software programs, it may encounter some internal glitch or issues  in fewer instances. Windows 10 users have reported a few Windows related issues with their version of OS and Microsoft have taken the corrective measures for most of the reported problems that are easy to apply and follow.

Below a few of Windows 10 issues are enlisted with their solutions:

Prevalent issues of Windows 10 and their solutions

Installation Problem

Users have reported that issues encounter at the instance when they tried to install Windows 10. While installing Windows, issues encountered accompanied by a pop-up message reflecting, “Something happened.” To fix this problem the only option users have is close the window to terminate the installation process. Users reported that this problem occurs when they were using a burned USB or DVD while installing Windows 10 or trying to choose to create an ISO.

Before installing Windows 10, check the Language and Region settings on the control panel and verify that US English is selected. If US English is not selected, you need install the US English Language pack on your system again. Otherwise option you have is, use the feature “Upgrade This PC” with the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

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Unable to Find Wireless Networks

This annoying problem may not only encounter with wireless network, but it can be irksome even in wired Ethernet connections also. To fix this issue, the first recourse you can exercise to counter this problem is restart your computer first and then your Wi-Fi router. This recourse will usually work for you, but if it doesn’t resolve your issue and could not find any Wi-Fi connection, what you need to do next is see if you have installed any VPN software. Check out that your VPN software is compatible with Windows 10 or not. If it is not compatible with Windows 10, uninstall it. Another option to fix this issue is disable your firewall and see it works for you or not.

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Windows 8.1 Unusual Issues and their Resolution

Windows 8.1 is an upgrade to Windows 8 that was codenamed Blue. This better version of Windows 8 is regarded as an upgrade from its predecessor and received mixed reviews from the users. This version of Windows also has its share of issues so below a few unusual problems are discussed along with their corresponding fixes.

Start Menu

Microsoft has received many complaints from Windows 8.1 users that their Start Menu is missing. The most effective solution for this problem is use the 3rd party apps. This solves your issue of missing Start Menu.

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One File Saved with Multiple Copies

If you have saved multiple copies of same file, this will consume space on hard drive and will show many issues in Windows 8.1. What you can do as a solution to prevent occurrence of this issue is, use a 3rd party service to disable the default back up service.

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Windows 8 Common Concerns and Fixes

Windows 8 launched with the major changes specifically in terms of the user interface as well as the OS’ platform. It was launched to provide a good experience to the Windows users. In fact, it was built to give the user a better touch experience on desktop computers and laptops. Like other two of its versions, Windows 8 also has its share of problems. So here is the fix for a few common problems.

Apps do not Close

Once a user launches an app, it will remain running until the operating system decides close or stop it. The OS do so to save CPU cycles mainly. The common fix for this problem is use ALT + F4 to close apps. However, with regular builds, this command does not work.

Turning the Device off

Clicking the Start button brings the shut down or restart option to the Windows 7 user, but due to different setup, Windows 8 gives you shut down or restart the computer options when you click on the Power button to. Another technique to restart or shut down the computer is hover the cursor over the Start button, go to Settings, Power and then choose the option.

If you still face any problem with Windows 10, then you contact Windows 10 Technical Support Services to their respective service provider or any third-party service provider and in case if you have any problem with Windows 8 then you contact Windows 8 Technical Support Services to their respective service provider or any third-party service provider .

 

What is Macro Targeted Malware or Macro Virus and How to stay safe from it?

Ever since the rudiments of the computers, many types of viruses and malware have been created and distributed. Initially back in the days of QDOS, it was just for fun, but now computer viruses and malware creation and distribution has become a full-time business for the hackers and cyber-criminals. Hackers have made it a business to earn profit. The macro virus is also a type of virus that may leave your system vulnerable.

This write-up is about what “macro virus” or “macro targeted malware” is and how to stay safe from this infection?

Step-1

Microsoft Office applications like the Microsoft Word or Excel run macros and these macros are targeted by the viruses to take the advantages. Often cyber criminals send their macro-infested document to the computer users by attaching them in an email and use an attractive subject line that grasp the users’ attention and provoke them to open that mail and the document attached to the email.

As soon as you download and open that macro-infected document, a macro runs and executes the task the criminal wanted to run. Macros are specifically designed to install malware on your computers and perform particular activities. Or it may be possible that a macro itself creates a malware on your computer that may duplicates itself and spread from there to all the users of your contact list.

After detecting the vulnerability, Microsoft deactivated the macro functioning by default. Means, no macro would run in the Microsoft Word unless you turn on macros or run them manually. This applies with the other applications of Microsoft often used by the computer users. There are other applications also that cyber-criminal may target, but because of the popularity, Microsoft applications are targeted by cyber-criminal.

For your understanding, in a Microsoft Office document, a macro in Office refers to a series of commands and instructions that are clubbed together to run as a single command in order to accomplish a task automatically.

To “Disable” all macros with notification, Microsoft has now set the default settings in Office. Now, when the settings of macros are disabled or off, the intrusive program will compel you to turn on the malicious macro. For instance, you may receive an email saying that your software package is ready; open the attachment for shipping details, etc. As soon as you open the attached media, you will see a notification that says Macros have been disabled. Enable Content.

Step-2

If you turn on the macro, it executes the task for which it was created. It runs a malicious code on your computer.

Macro settings in Word are like: Open Word document > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Macro Settings.

Step-3

Here four settings will be available:

  • Disable all macros without notification
  • Disable all macros with notification (default setting)
  • Disable all macros except digitally signed macros
  • Enable all macros.

What to do to stay safe from Macro Virus?

The first thing you need is your awareness. If you receive any attachment, it’s better to open it for the first time in read-only mode. Most of the popular email clients like Outlook open your documents in read-only mode and disable macros, etc. so that you are not affected. If you receive a message to turn on macros, use your reasoning if there is any need to turn-on macros or not?

If you get a message asking you to turn on the macros, understand why the message is there and if macros really need to be enabled. For example, documents like an invoice don’t need to turn on macros as there is nothing programmable. This is just a way of baiting the innocent computer users. You also should never open attachments sent by untrusted sources. If you receive any message that your software package is ready even if you haven’t ordered it ever, don’t open the attachment.

If you have ordered something, the information about the product will be the main body of the email not in the attachments.

It may also possible that any of your contact on your contact list has been prey to such a macro virus and you have received the email from that infected computer. Open only those emails, which are sent by known and trustworthy resources. Don’t open an attachment without any message in the email body. Verify from your contacts if the email has nothing other than an attachment with the subject line like “See the attachment” or so.

In most of the cases, the attachment is usually a Word document. If any of your contacts has sent you the email, he/she must be aware about what the attachment is about. So if you see an attachment without any message or saying “Open the attachment”, as a precautionary measure, ask your contact for the further details of the attachment. If you are not cautious, macro targeted malware can be easily acquired and even your regular antivirus cannot help you much about it.

Way to remove Macro Virus

  • Microsoft suggests that run a good antivirus to prevent macros from installing malware or sending unintended information.
  • If you have doubts that any document may contain macros while opening Word documents, press Shift key while opening the document. This step will prevent the running process of any macro because your Office document will be open in Safe Mode.
  • Next, you may check out what all macros are there in the document. If you find something suspicious, remove it before using the document.