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News
Should I install Windows Vista?
This is going to be a common question as awareness of Vista grows.

If your current computer has one of these things in common, then no.
    Less than 2 Gb (gigabytes) of memory.
    More than 1 year old.
    Current software needs to be checked for compatibility with Vista.
    Using essential hardware add ins (PCI cards, older printers. specific device interfaces - ie parallel ports for older camera card readers etc) more than 5 years old.
If you insist on using Vista on a computer meeting one of these criteria, make sure you get the 32bit and 64bit compatible version of Vista. Vista will run on these computers, but older software and hardware is likely to be incompatible, and your system performance is going to be piggish without enough memory.

Now, I know the majority of computers I work on fit one of these criteria, so if you MUST have Vista - here is what I recommend you buy for you new computer:
    At least 2Gb of RAM, if you are comfortable paying close to $1000 for memory then get 4Gb.
    A huge graphics card - a minimum of 512Mb (megabytes).
    The new Intel core2duo chips are amazing, infact the first intel chips I have bought for 10 years. Go for the 4Mb L2 cache chip at a minimum. If budget is not of concern, get one of their new quadcore chips.
    Big harddrive is also essential, with the capacity Vista has for creating useless crap on your harddrive, go 320Gb or so minimum. If you can afford to, use a smaller 80Gb drive for the operating system and the larger drive for storing files.

In any case, if you think it might be nice just to have Vista give yourself a slap, calm down and wait for the first official service pack to be released. Microsoft is well known for using people who must have the latest as guinea pigs for testing and working out bugs and flaws. Now that Vista is finally in retail release, lets see just how long before a hacker can punch holes in the security features and cause that first "critical update" to be released.
angelis on January 31 2007 10:42:40 · Print
Internet Explorer 7
The latest release of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) is now available for those wishing to upgrade.

Please note that the upgrade to IE7 is going to be forced upon those of you who have Windows update set to automatically install new updates. I recommend you change the Windows updates settings to prompt before install so that you can evaluate feedback on IE7 and decide if it is indeed the right choice for you.

The "pro" argument for installing it right now is it appears to offer far greater standalone security than the current IE6.

The "con" argument is however more compelling.
IE7 subtley changes the way IE6 and previous versions display web pages and some of your favourite web pages currently available may not display correctly.
It takes more control of the way cookies are handled and has a huge list of security features which may unwittingly lock you out of your current favourite pages as IE7 will deem them as security risks.

I am experimenting with IE7 at the moment. As a builder of websites I need to know how it is going to display the data I need the visitors to my sites to see.
I cannot recommend an upgrade to IE7 at this stage, if you run IE6 and a firewall/antivirus package then you are as secure as ever from current threats.
angelis on December 23 2006 12:54:34 · Print
Seasons Grettings
It's coming to that time of year again where we congregate with family and friends and ponder just how quick the last 365 days have passed us by.

To all my clients - thank you for making the last 12 months a milestone in my personal and professional development.

To all of you I wish a safe holiday season and a prosperous new year.
angelis on December 18 2006 07:43:49 · Print
Spam from fix-it-pc.com
Some clown is spoofing email from this domain, and the ones that I have got on other email accounts have contained viruses in an attachment. Do not open these attachments and delete the email and the attachment immediately.

The most recent I have seen are claiming someone has sent you money and you need to open the attachment to claim the cash.
This is of course bogus and infects your computer with a virus, or as some other clown alters the payload in the future, possibly trojans and other nasty bits of malware.

Fix-it-pc.com is not responsible for sending these emails and we are in no way associated with the people that are. Unfortunately it is quite a simple task for these people to make an email appear from someone that you feel you can trust, and often people are lulled into opening the attachment thinking it is safe.

The good news is that properly updated antivirus software is catching these emails and disabling the payload in the attachment.
angelis on August 30 2006 18:52:14 · Print
Windows XP - Your copy of XP is pirated
The text used by the latest scammers I have come across varies greatly, but the premise behind their scam is the same.

You will be booting (starting) your machine and after it has settled with your wallpaper and icons on the screen, an authentic looking windows style message pops up. The message only stays on the screen for a few seconds, and it tells you the copy of Windows XP you are using is not a legitimate copy and you should click a link to rectify that problem immediately.

This is happening to people with licensed and stolen copies of Windows XP. You may also experience several other ad windows appearing momentarily after the original one disappears. This is not a genuine windows message, and is infact generated by spyware on the users system.
angelis on July 16 2006 18:19:53 · Print
Support for Windows 95, 98, 98SE and ME
I have had a few people ask why we have stopped offering support for these operating systems.

The problem from our end, is that newer software is written with Windows XP as the primary operating system for it to be used on. Windows XP and Windows 2000 have many common core programming traits, whereas 95, 98, 98SE and ME are of a different core program.

As a business we do not pretend to know all the answers to the problems people have with their computers, but we are able to develop a likely solution based on the operating system and software being used on that computer.
Older operating systems have fewer users, we therefore see the problems less often, and it can take substantially longer to diagnose and fix a problem.

In a nutshell, the issue for our customers is the cost involved to fix the more serious problems can be exorbitant, the issue for us as a business is we need to recoup money for the time we spend on fixing a problem. We believe the best solution for both sides is to encourage people using these operating systems to upgrade to XP, and in all honesty it can often be cheaper to do so than fix a problem in earlier operating systems.
angelis on May 01 2006 10:50:05 · Print
Support for Windows 95, 98, 98SE and ME
Software developers are beginning to phase out compatibility and support for these operating systems as they become less common amongst home and office PC users.

As of 1/5/2006 we will no longer be offering our services to users of these operating systems.

If you are a current customer, and this causes you some concern, feel free to contact us using the email form to voice your concerns.
angelis on April 24 2006 13:41:34 · Print
Securing your PC
I've had a few requests from people to give a very basic guide to securing your computer and the information stored on it. In the left menu you will now see "Securing Your PC & Information" as one of the content pages.

It is a very basic guide, but if you are new to the internet then it will provide you with some valuable tips and tricks to keeping your information safe.

I am quite happy to write these sorts of guides if people request them. If you would like a guide on a subject written for this site, use the contact me link and leave me a detailed explanation of the subject so I can give you a more focused answer. Requests like "Updating Stuff" are harder to write responses for than "Updating Windows XP". Allow me a week or so to write and proof it before publishing it.
angelis on February 24 2006 17:41:25 · Print
Toolbars, Spyware and Removal Programs
Hold on to your wallet, there are a whole new rash of scumbags out there trying to part you with your hard earned money - and more importantly to them, your credit card and other personal details.

Several calls this week have been from people asking if they should buy the program being recommended to them to remove the spyware infection they have. Further investigation shows that these folk have a screen popping up on them, telling them they have a trojan on their machine, then recommending they purchase SpyAxe, SpyTrooper or SpyGuard to magically remove the infection.

Please note the programs you may be asked to purchase will change as copycats appear and release their own versions of this infection.

Of course, the infection is what is causing this page to appear and recommend they hand over credit card details and so on. This is not a new methodology being used by these scumbags, but the frequency with which I am seeing it reported on security websites, and indeed the number of calls I am getting about it indicate it is becoming more common and widespread.

The method of infection at this stage is quite simple. When surfing websites with video content, a message appears that your Windows Media Player requires updating to view the video, or your player lacks a codec and that you should download and install it now. Both of these messages will install what is known as VCODEC which goes on to install trojans and the hijack scumware that launches the spyware screens described above.

To keep yourself safe, and this goes for all occasions when you are prompted to upgrade a Windows component or download a security patch, go to Microsoft and download it from there, then you know you are getting the legitimate update.

This is a nasty piece of malware as it also writes itself into Windows system files, and in most cases the cost to remove it needs to be weighed up against the value of the pictures, files etc on your computer. Formatting and reinstalling your operating system after attempting to recover those files is the easiest way to clean up the mess.
angelis on February 20 2006 23:31:52 · Print
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