Granted, February’s patches from Microsoft weren’t as malevolent as January’s patches, but they still managed to knock out lots and lots of PCs. That said, if you can tiptoe around the problems, now is a good time to get the latest versions of the latest patches installed.Problems with Win10 Fall Creators UpdateThe worst problem I see at this point involves clobbered USB connections on Win10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709) machines after installing the latest cumulative update, KB 4074588. To its credit, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem. But the only offered fix, a complex manual workaround, would drive a hardened MS-DOS junkie to drink.Microsoft currently acknowledges all of these problems with the February Win10 1709 cumulative update: Windows Update History reports that KB4054517 failed to install because of error 0x80070643. Even though the update was successfully installed, Windows Update incorrectly reports that the update failed to install. Microsoft … [Read more...] about Get the February Microsoft patches applied, unless you’re using Win10 Fall Creators Update
Microsoft security essentials
Microsoft last week took the unprecedented step of requiring customers to have up-to-date antivirus software on their personal computers before it would hand over a critical security update."This was unique," said Chris Goettl, product manager with client security and management vendor Ivanti. "But there was a danger here."Goettl was talking about the emergency updates Microsoft issued last week to bolster Windows' defenses against potential attacks leveraging the vulnerabilities labeled Meltdown and Spectre by researchers. Operating system and browser makers have shipped updates designed to harden systems against the vulnerabilities, which stemmed from design flaws in modern processors from companies such as Intel, AMD and ARM.The danger, according to Microsoft, is that the updates might brick a PC because of antivirus (AV) software that improperly tapped into kernel memory."Microsoft has identified a compatibility issue with a small number of antivirus software products," the company … [Read more...] about Microsoft sets novel antivirus prerequisite before offering Windows emergency updates
Microsoft is ending support for Windows Vista in a month’s time, on April 11, so anyone who is actually still using the much-maligned operating system will need to finally make the upgrade.Should you continue to use Windows Vista after April 11, you’ll be much more susceptible to security threats, especially as Internet Explorer 9 is no longer supported either.“Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter more apps and devices that do not work with Windows Vista,” said Microsoft in its announcement. Vista’s antivirus suite Microsoft Security Essentials will only have “limited effectiveness,” it added.The latest figures on operating system market share show that Vista has just 0.78 percent of the pie. And while that may barely be a blip on the screen, if you’re one of those users, you have about a month to get updated and secured.Vista was released … [Read more...] about RIP Windows Vista: Microsoft is ending support on April 11
Between phishing attempts and classic “Nigerian” email scams, there are plenty of threats to the integrity of your email account. Even if you think you would never fall for a blatant attempt to get you to give up sensitive data, you might still be vulnerable to various kinds of hacking attempts. It’s never fun to have to explain to all 347 of your contacts why your email address has spammed them with a link for buying knock-off Oxycodone. Ultimately, email security remains an essential part of maintaining your privacy online.In fact, the U.S. Senate’s proposed amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act aims to make it harder for law officials to search through your old emails. But if you care about protecting your information, why wait for the Senate to take action? Follow our tips to make your email account safer from prying eyes. We’ll start with general suggestions and then cover some nifty tricks just for Gmail.Password securityIf … [Read more...] about Safeguard your email: tips for making your account more secure
Microsoft Corp. says its new computer security program can be downloaded starting on Tuesday.Microsoft Security Essentials, as the free antivirus software is called, has been available in a beta test version since June.The software updates daily to stay current with the latest malicious programs, which can steal passwords or turn PCs into spam servers. Microsoft says it won’t make computers run slower.Microsoft has said it isn’t out to steal business from companies like McAfee Inc. and Symantec Corp., which make popular antivirus programs with more features. Microsoft says it hopes the free program will appeal to people who don’t already run antivirus software. Editors' Recommendations Protect your PC from the cyber-flu with the best free antivirus options New exploit uses antivirus software to help spread malware This real-time map of antivirus fails is roasting MalwareBytes’ competitors CCleaner downloads are found to be infected with malware, … [Read more...] about Microsoft to Release Free Antivirus PC Software
At a developer event in San Francisco yesterday, Microsoft previewed its upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform, which the company hopes to unveil in lock step with Windows 8 for ARM and Intel-based devices. Windows Phone 8 will mark a major step forward for the platform, shifting Windows Phone to the same underlying kernel and application development technologies used in the “real” versions of Windows, so developers will be able to leverage their Windows programming skills and tools to make mobile apps. Windows Phone 8 will also support a number of new technologies and form factors, so phone makers can put the mobile operating system on a broader array of devices — not just handsets, but probably some consumer-focused media tablets as well.But Windows Phone 8 will come with some huge costs. For Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 essentially represents a “do-over.” That Windows Phone platform it was touting a year ago as able to challenge iOS, Android, and RIM with … [Read more...] about Microsoft wants a do-over with Windows Phone 8, but is it too late?
A beta version of Microsoft's free computer security software is now out. Microsoft Security Essentials, or SE, aka "Morro," replaces Redmond's OneCare subscription service.Features in SE are designed to preempt such typical malware activities as stealing passwords or turning a PC into a zombie bot.The application is expected to be generally available in the Fall.Meanwhile, not surprisingly, commercial providers of similar applications are getting out the long knives, pointing to the lack of more sophisticated protection in SE. "It is yet another antivirus/antispyware/rootkit finder software solution which still needs to download definitions to stay current," Christopher Ciabarra, president of Network Intercept, told TechNewsWorld.It lacks any means for monitoring third-party devices or mobile devices, pointed out Rob Fitzgerald, president of the Lorenzi Group."These should be encrypted and protected as well, because they also provide a way into the network," he told … [Read more...] about Pros Cool, Bloggers Warm Toward Microsoft’s Security Freeware
Microsoft released version 1.0 of Microsoft Security Essentials, a free basic anti-malware service from Redmond, on Tuesday.This replaces Microsoft's discontinued Live OneCare Security-as-a-Service offering.Live OneCare customers can move to Microsoft Security Essentials once their subscriptions expire.Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a lightweight application that runs in the background and takes up few CPU and memory resources, the vendor said.It is the first Microsoft security product to use the company's new Dynamic Signature Service, which ensures users are protected by the most current virus definitions available. Most other antivirus applications download the latest virus signatures one or more times daily.MSE will run on Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or SP3, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.Only users of genuine versions of these Windows operating systems will be able to install MSE. The application will be available in eight languages and in 19 countries including the … [Read more...] about New Microsoft Security App Battens Down Windows for Free
The most important and daring move that Microsoft made Wednesday is far and away making the upgrade to Windows 10 free. Seems dirt-simple and intuitive on the surface, but it represents a startling and abrupt shift in both how users will relate to Microsoft and how Microsoft innovates with Windows going forward.As long-time readers know, I'm an unabashed Apple fan -- but I can appreciate a smart move when I see one, and no doubt about it, making Windows a free upgrade is a smart move.So what is Microsoft doing, exactly? Well, that's a funny question, because Microsoft managed to make a cool announcement that left so many questions unanswered that hardcore Microsoft tech enthusiasts like Paul Thurott and his commenting followers were leftscratching their heads.On one hand, Microsoft said that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1. So far so good. That alone is pretty big news. Then Microsoft said that Windows 10 would be delivered "as a service" … [Read more...] about OPINION Could Microsoft’s Foggy Windows 10 Plan Be Any Smarter?
The European Commission is concluding its latest antitrust case against Microsoft by accepting the company's promise to offer Windows users a choice of Web browsers, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes announced on Wednesday.Specifically, in March Microsoft will issue an update that enables the more than 100 million European users of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 to choose among a variety of browsers available for installation in addition to -- or instead of -- its Internet Explorer.The agreement also stipulates that computer manufacturers will be able to install competing Web browsers, set those as default and turn Internet Explorer off."Millions of European consumers will benefit from this decision by having a free choice about which Web browser they use," Kroes said. "Such choice will not only serve to improve people's experience of the Internet now but also act as an incentive for Web browser companies to innovate and offer people better browsers in the future."In January of … [Read more...] about Microsoft Agrees to Help Europeans Pick a Browser