SpireTech Blog - Category: Windows
Microsoft Windows updates, features, tips, and tricks
SpireTech does not use any SolarWinds software. However, the longer-term effects of this hack are likely not going to be known for a while – if at all – because SolarWinds was used by many government agencies and larger enterprise companies.
As of this point, we know of no customer-affecting data breaches as a result of this hack. However, with a hack of this magnitude, it is important to consider the larger supply chain – perhaps even your vendor’s vendors. For example, Microsoft makes extensive use of contractors. Microsoft has disclosed they were affected by the SolarWinds hack and there was unauthorized read-only access to their source code repository. No access to customer data has been reported or disclosed as of this writing.
Evolved from Emotet and Trickbot malware, Trickboot has the ability to modify your computer’s firmware – basically, the portion of code that lives in chips in your motherboard – to survive even after a complete wipe and reinstall of your hard drive.
The best defense against this malware is user education – typically, a user is tricked into opening a compromised Word document, usually received via an email attachment or link, and accepting macros. This causes the malware to execute and potentially download other harmful malware to your computer. Be sure that any attachments you receive are legitimate – even attachments from “trusted” senders could be compromised. If in doubt, forward to our helpdesk for advice on how to proceed.
Microsoft is transitioning Internet Explorer 11 to End-of-life status. Internet Explorer became unsupported by Microsoft Teams on Nov 30th, 2020 and it will cease to be supported by Microsoft completely on August 11, 2021. Microsoft has installed tools to redirect users to the new Edge browser.
The new Microsoft Edge is powered by Chromium, the same browser engine that powers Google Chrome – and has vastly superior compatibility with websites when compared to the previous version of Microsoft Edge or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
We recommend anyone still using Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 stop doing so now, and switch to a supported browser – such as the new Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.
Just a quick note to let clients know that if you are still running Windows 7 or 2008 server, we cannot be responsible for the security of your network. The risk of ransomware is real, and we’ve heard many horror stories of companies that have been breached. Being able to apply security updates to your computers is one of the key defenses you have against this risk.
In accordance with our policies, we reserve the right to invoice for technical support of software that does not have vendor support. As a courtesy, we will extend free support for 15 minutes, after which we will request approval to bill for our time. We do not wish to impose hardship, but aged software and hardware does require more time to support than modern software, and we must balance this against the need for security.
With work from home, we’re noticing an increase in the number of machines being shut off when we are trying to install updates. Please remember to log off and leave your computers turned on and connected to power when we prompt you for updates.
Thank you for your cooperation.
As a reminder to what we advised last month, we’re putting a stop to SpireTech support for Win 7 machines on July 1st. Congratulations to those of you that have successfully eradicated these machines from your networks. However – in a review today, we see that approximately 10% of machines are still running Win 7. We’ve now got 30 days to get rid of the rest of them. While we don’t want to create unnecessary hardship for clients that may be stressed due to COVID-19, we still need clients to make an effort to replace the remaining systems.
Win 7 machines can be slow, insecure, and time-consuming to support. If your network gets breached due to outdated software, or you call us for support on a Win 7 system, we reserve the right to invoice for time beyond 15 minutes of support.
Windows 7 is reaching the end of its life and support on January 14, 2020. It’s now time to plan your upgrade to Windows 10.
What’s happening to Windows 7?
Windows 7 (as well as Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2) will no longer be supported by Microsoft after January 14, 2020. This means there will be no more software updates or security patches. Continuing to use the operating system could make you out of compliance with industry standards. Microsoft customer service will also no longer be available for Windows 7.
Unsupported operating systems are often targeted by cyber attackers specifically because they no longer receive software updates or patches to fix flaws and vulnerabilities. By continuing to use Windows 7 past its end of support, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
Your organization may also be out of compliance with industry or legal standards if you continue to run on unsupported software or operating systems. Read more...
Update: Microsoft has stopped deploying build 1809 due to reports of lost data. At this time there is not a new release window. More information can be found at this link.
Microsoft Windows runs 87% of the world’s computers.
Windows 10 is the latest version and keeps evolving to bring you the best experience when it comes to your phone and PC.
In October 2018 the latest update to the popular software is rolling out and there are even more changes. But which features are really worth your while and which are just fluff?
Here are five of the most exciting Windows 10 features new in October.
One of the most simplest yet biggest updates to Windows is Dark Mode.
But why is dark mode so popular? There are three main reasons.
Computer technology is no longer a new frontier. In fact, over 85 percent of households in America have at least one computer.
With this tech being so accessible, it’s easy to feel like a computer whiz. However, there are tons of simple, time-saving daily tips and tricks that you may be missing out on.
Did you know that you can privately browse the Internet or save your laptop’s dying battery in the nick of time? And it’s easier than you think.
Curious to know more? Keep reading.
We’ll review some computer tricks everyone should know in 2018. Let’s get started!
1. Scrolling Shortcuts
If you’re perusing a long web page or document, scrolling can get tedious. This is where handy scrolling shortcuts come in.
To scroll down, press the spacebar. To scroll up, press the shift key and the spacebar at the same time. Simple computer tips like this will save you a surprising amount of time and energy while working and browsing. Read more...
used with permission from Microsoft, by Elana Pidgeon
Did you know there’s a new feature in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update to help you easily find what matters to you across your devices?
It’s called Timeline, and it lets you go back in time to past activities you’ve worked on across your devices, so you can jump back into them like you never left. So, if you’re looking for a specific document, image, or video you worked on yesterday or a week ago, Timeline makes it even easier to find what you’re looking for. You can even pick up what you were doing on your iOS or Android device on your Windows 10 PC when you’re ready to get back to it.
Here’s what you can do with Timeline:
- Go back and forth in time. Easily scroll back in time to find things you were working on earlier today or a few weeks ago.*