Archive for News

This computer will soon stop receiving Google Chrome updates

If you are using Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 2003 Server, and using the Google Chrome browser, you may have noticed a new warning (nag) message displaying every time you start up Chrome:

The computer will soon stop receiving Google Chrome updates because Windows XP and windows Vista will no longer be supported.

image

There is a simple way to disable this warning message, by adding: –disable-infobars” option to your Google Chrome shortcut icon.

Here are the steps to do this:

  • Right click on your Google Chrome shortcut icon (either on your desktop or the desktop’s taskbar) and then click Properties
    image
  • In the Target box, go to the end of the line, press the spacebar once and then type:  –disable-infobars
  • To be very clear, what you will type is:
    spacebar dash dash, the word disable, another dash, then the word infobars
  • Click Apply, then OK
    image
  • Restart Google Chrome

Scam Alert for Fake Phone Calls from Microsoft Support

It seems to go in waves … phone calls supposedly from a Microsoft person informing you that your computer is infected or has been compromised. We’re in such a wave as I have recently had several people tell me that they have receive such phone calls.

The red flag that this is a scam is when the person calling you says that there will be a fee involved for fixing it.  Microsoft clearly states on their web site:

“You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.”

Bottom line: Any unsolicited phone call from anyone reporting that your computer is infected with a virus, or has been hacked or compromised, should be considered a scam. I would advise that you quickly hang up on them. Do not try to talk your way through it. It’s not worth it.

Here are three links that contain more information on these scams. The first is Microsoft’s own warning on these scams, the other two identify they type of things these scammers will do to try to convince you that they are real and that they have intimate knowledge about your computer.

Finally, here is a true story from a customer of mine who reported that this happened to him this morning:

I got a phone call at home from a man who says his name is John, and claiming to be from Windows Licensing Technical Support.  It sounded like he was calling from India, and I can hear other people in the background making similar calls.  He says that my computer has been sending a message to their servers indicating that there is an issue with my computer and license.  He then asks for me to turn on my computer, and for a fee that he can help correct the issue. 

I asked him to read to me the license number that he is registering as having an issue.  After some push back (he wanted me to read him my license number), hesitation, and almost a minute for him to look it up, he finally rattles off a long serial number (888DC … D7B062).  Already I know that this isn’t a real windows license number so I ask him for their number and I’ll call back if I really have an issue.  He gives me 209-894-0429 as their support line.  The number which showed up on my caller ID was 9-9876.

StorageCraft Announces TA Investment

I’ve never posted about financial business dealings with vendors before. Home

However, when I read the press release that StorageCraft had signed an agreement to a rather large $$$ investment with a private equity firm, I thought “Good for you!”.

Why?

I’ve been a long time (+10 years) user and proponent of StorageCraft for backup and disaster recovery solutions. Their solutions have been reliable and trustworthy. Makes me happy to see that a vendor that I’ve relied on is still successful and moving forward.

That’s all.

Windows 10 Upgrade Prompt Coming Soon to a Domain Near You–Possibly

It’s hard to believe it was 5 1/2 months ago (July 2015) that Windows 10 was released. at that time Microsoft also announced a one year window of opportunity to upgrade your Windows 7/8.1 computer to Windows 10 for free.

windows10-upgrade-ad.png

To encourage easy access to the Windows 10 upgrade, home PC’s (non-domain joined corporate/business PC’s) started seeing the Get Windows 10 (GWX) prompt at the bottom of their screen.

Microsoft has now announced that many business PC’s will soon be seeing the GWX taskbar icon and upgrade notification prompts. Eligible PC’s will be those domain joined PC’s running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, or Windows 8.1 Pro. PC’s running Windows 7 / 8.1 Enterprise are not eligible for the free upgrade.

But to receive the Get Windows 10 prompt, eligible computers must be receiving updates directly from Windows Update.

To word it differently, if your computers are receiving their updates from Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), then they will NOT see the Get Windows 10 prompts.

For more information, check out the article at ZDNet.

Awarded MVP for 2016 (13th year)

imageYea!!!    I received my official announcement from Microsoft today that I was awarded as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 2016.

This is my 13th consecutive year as an MVP. I still consider it a great honor to be involved with the MVP organization, and especially working with the Server sub-group team that I have been a part of for all these years.

image

When I was first recognized as an MVP back in 2004, the group I was part of was named “Windows Small Business Server” (SBS). Then in 2013 our group was renamed “Windows Server for Small & Medium Business” (WSSMB). In October 2015, we became part of the new “Cloud and Datacenter Management” MVP group.

The name change reflects the evolving nature of server technology and how it is used and implemented in businesses. What doesn’t change is our call to inspire and help people solve problems and discover new capabilities.

Happy New Years!

Just Received My Lumia 950 Windows 10 Phone

I will be honest. My first two smart phones years ago were Apple iPhones.  I had an iPhone 3, and liked it enough to upgrade to an iPhone 4. I enjoyed them both. I refuse to use the word “love” when talking about a phone!  I also have a Galaxy tablet back then.

When Microsoft came out with their Windows 8 phones, I knew I wanted to try one. So I went with the Nokia Lumia 920 three years ago. I liked it enough that when the phone cracked from repeated drops to the floor, I picked up an exact replacement.

But I’ve been biding my time for the Windows 10 phones to come out.

http://www.dispatchreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Lumia-950.jpgMicrosoft recently announced the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. I wanted to get the XL as it is slightly larger, but I decided to go with the Lumia 950 due to pricing and availability through AT&T, who released it on Nov 20th.

I will write up a report of my experience in a week or two. I have some an upcoming trip and will get to utilize the phone a lot during that time. I’m anxiously awaiting arrival of my Microsoft Docking Device

But my first impressions of the 950 are good ones. I was able to restore all my apps, settings, files and pictures. I was able to activate my SIM/Cellular from a web page or phone (so no driving to the local AT&T store to do it). It’s a cleaner image than the Windows 8 phone.

So, in the words of The Rocket Man … “I like it!”

New Ransomware Prevention Kit Coming Soon

Back HomeAmy Babinchak, President of Third Tier, has announced that they will be releasing an updated version of their Ransomware Prevention Kit next week.

http://www.thirdtier.net/2015/11/the-new-ransomware-kit-is-coming-soon/ 

Two years ago (October 2013), Amy and her team led the way in providing a solution to help block the CryptoLocker attacks that were causing havoc worldwide (see blog post).

A lot has changed in the past two years, and such threats can still do great harm and damage for both individuals and businesses. Thanks to Third Tier, I sleep better knowing that my systems are protected.

Finally, Third Tier wants to reach out and encourage more women to get certified and work in the I.T. field, and is using this new Prevention Kit to raise money for this effort!

Windows 10 First Major Update

Microsoft announced the release of the first major update to Windows 10.

imageIn prior terminology, we would be calling this Service Pack 1, but Microsoft want to simply refer to it as the November 2015 Update. During pre-testing phase it was referred to as TH2.

This update will be pushed out automatically through Windows Update.

It contains a slew of new new features and improvements, including

  • Improved boot time (30% faster than Windows 7 on the same device)
  • Cortana and Microsoft Edge enhancements
  • New Windows Update for Business and Windows Store for Business services
  • Mobile Device Management
  • Azure Active Directory Join
  • and more!

Read more on the Microsoft site:
http://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2015/11/12/first-major-update-for-windows-10-available-today/

Outlook Crashing after Latest Updates–KB3097877

I am seeing many reports today of Outlook crashing after the recent set of Office 2010 updates, as well as getting a blank screen after pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL for the login screen.

It appears that KB 3097877 may be the cause. If so you can try uninstalling that KB patch.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3097877

There is also a suggestion to clear the Java cache. Instructions can be found here:

http://www.java.com/en/download/help/plugin_cache.xml

MaxFocus RMM Dashboard SHA-2 Security Update Affects XP and Windows 2003 Servers

MaxFocus (formerly GFI) has announced that they will be upgrading all of their SHA-1 SSL certificates to SHA-2. This change may impact XP devices and Windows 2003 servers from connecting to the RMM dashboard, if they are not properly upgraded.

  • XP workstations must have Service Pack 3 installed
  • Windows 2003 Servers must have either KB 2868626 or KB 2918614 installed.

(Please note that Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP and for Server 2003. As such we are providing this update in an advisory capacity, but cannot offer support with any installation issues of the patches on these endpoint devices.)