Monday, October 4, 2010

Microsoft Releases Ten Patches, Three Critical

Microsoft released ten security bulletins today and updates to various products to fix thirty-four separate vulnerabilities. Three of the updates have a maximum severity level of Critical. Two affect Microsoft Windows and one is a Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer.

The three Critical updates were:

*MS10-033: Vulnerabilities in Media Decompression Could Allow Remote Code Execution—Two vulnerabilities affecting a variety of components in almost all versions of Windows could lead to remote code execution. The user would have to open a malicious media file or receive streaming content.
*MS10-034: Cumulative Security Update of ActiveX Kill Bits—Because of vulnerabilities in two COM objects from Microsoft and several others from Danske Bank, CA, Eastman Kodak and Avaya, this update applies kill bits to disable the components.
*MS10-035: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer—6 different vulnerabilities affecting all versions of Internet Explorer on all supported versions of Windows are fixed in this cumulative update. Several are rated likely to result in working exploit code, including the two which are ranked Critical.

The remaining seven vulnerabilities top out at Important, meaning that there is some significant mitigating factor or that the damage is limited:

*MS10-032: Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers Could Allow Elevation of Privilege —All supported versions of Windows are vulnerable to privilege elevation owing to three vulnerabilities. An attacker would need valid logon credentials in order to execute the attack.
*MS10-036: Vulnerability in COM Validation in Microsoft Office Could Allow Remote Code Execution —Various Microsoft Office for Windows programs (not including Office 2010) are vulnerable to remote code execution if the user opens a malicious web page or e-mail attachment. Working exploit code is likely for this attack.
*MS10-037: Vulnerability in the OpenType Compact Font Format (CFF) Driver Could Allow Elevation of Privilege—All versions of Windows are vulnerable to an elevation of privilege vulnerability But the attacker needs valid logon credentials and consistent exploit code is not likely.
MS10-038: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution—Excel and certain other Office programs on Windows and the Mac are vulnerable to remote code execution through 14 different vulnerabilities, most of which are likely to produce functioning exploit code.
*MS10-039: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft SharePoint Could Allow Elevation of Privilege—Two vulnerabilities in SharePoint could lead to denial of service (locking up the client session) or improper disclosure of information.
*MS10-040: Vulnerability in Internet Information Services Could Allow Remote Code Execution —An authentication error in all versions of IIS could lead to remote code execution.
*MS10-041: Vulnerability in Microsoft .NET Framework Could Allow Tampering—An attacker could tamper with signed XML content without being detected.

There were also a large number of non-security updates released today. including the following:
* New versions of the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (32-bit and 64-bit)
* An update for the Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter
*Updates to various versions of Microsoft .NET Framework—strengthens authentication credentials in specific scenarios. [Why is this classified as a non-security update? Is it really the same thing as MS10-041?]


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Microsoft's 10 Tips to Help Developers Play Nice with Sleeping PCs

PC power management is becoming ever more widely adopted by companies and computer manufacturers alike -- a good example is that in order to achieve an energy star rating for a computer, it must ship with its operating system's power management features switched on.

But as with all innovations, it takes some time to bring everyone up to speed. In the vast ecosystem of software developers, some companies are long since up to speed on making sure programs don't interfere with built-in or network-based power management solutions, but many more still have some catching up to do.

In addition to providing a handful of guidance documents for developers, Microsoft's Director of Environmental Technology spoke at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this week to help developers help their users save energy.

"This was a call for [users] to start taking the issue seriously, like they have with reliability and security in the past," Mark Aggar explained in an interview. "Developers have not played an active role in ensuring that their applications allow systems to run efficiently. It's all too easy for systems to undermine power management, or contribute to a poor user experience when they're trying to use power management."

Aggar gave the example of an early bug that arose in the development of Windows 7: Adobe's Flash player was failing to close the audio channel, even if users were not listening to any music or playing any videos. That simple bug kept the PC from going to sleep, wasting energy and money in the process.

With more and more companies seeing the easy benefits to embracing PC power management -- among them reduced costs, energy savings, reducing load on data centers and power grids -- it's becoming more important for developers to make sure their programs play nice with power management policies.

Windows 7 includes tools that let IT professionals see if an application is not cooperating with the sleep cycle, and Aggar said that programs that inadvertently keep PCs awake are likely to face repercussions.

"If organizations go to the effort to use less power, then they're going to care if applications they install are undermining efficiency on the machines," he said. "We'd say that over time organizations are going to care a lot more about this issue, and you as a developer don't want to find out that your application isn't being deployed because it doesn't work well with power management."

To help developers get up to speed on what Microsoft calls "Energy Smart" software development, Aggar outlined his top 10 list for developers at the Forum yesterday:

  1. Be resilient and respectful of sleep transitions
  2. Use system and display availability requests appropriately
  3. Support virtualization
  4. Measure system utilization when your application is idle
  5. Help the system stay idle
  6. Consider and adjust to the power environment
  7. Measure workload power efficiency
  8. Improve workload power efficiency
  9. Scale resource use intelligently
  10. "Cloudburst" the peak load

There are a number of similar guidance documents on the Microsoft Developers Network page for Windows Power Management. And you can read's list of 10 things to know about PC power management and much more in our energy efficiency section.


Monday, July 19, 2010

10 Reasons Why Windows XP Requires Long-Term Microsoft Support

Microsoft has officially discontinued support for Windows XP Service Pack 2. Although the company will continue to support Service Pack 3 through 2014, it's worth nothing that nearly 50 percent of the world's computers are still running Service Pack 2. Going forward, owners won't have the support they need to keep their systems safe.

But Microsoft's decision to stop supporting Service Pack 2 goes beyond just that version of the operating system. It makes it clear to its users that XP is losing its value to the software giant. That's unfortunate. Windows XP was the best OS release of the past decade. By slowly pushing users to its newer operating systems, Microsoft could be making a huge mistake. Not only will some folks opt to stick with XP, but others won't find happiness in Windows 7. The result is an issue that impacts all stakeholders.

Whether Microsoft likes it or not, the company needs to support XP indefinitely. It's simply too important to its operation. Here's why:

  1. Nearly 50 percent still run XP SP2

    As noted, a recent study from research firm Softchoice found that nearly 45 percent of all computers are still running Windows XP Service Pack 2. That alone should be enough for Microsoft to continue supporting the operating system. Windows XP was an unbridled success that is still being employed as the go-to operating system for both consumers and companies around the world. By not supporting a key build of that operating system, Microsoft is effectively saying to nearly 50 percent of the world's computer users that they need to keep up with the times, or their data will be put into danger.

  2. The enterprise isn't switching

    Microsoft's decision to no longer support XP Service Pack 2 smacks of the company trying desperately to prod the corporate world into adopting Windows 7. From a business standpoint, it's understandable. But for the enterprise, switching to Windows 7 at this point just doesn't look like the best idea. Not only are they concerned about the productivity and security problems that might come along with switching to Windows 7, but they're also heavily invested in XP and, due to the recession, may not have the available funds to invest in new technology. The vast majority of companies around the world are running XP on at least some computers. The last thing Microsoft should want to do is stop supporting those firms.

  3. What about the world?

    Discussions about Microsoft's decision to discontinue its support for Service Pack 2 have left out a key component that can't be overlooked: People in developing countries rely on XP. To simply stop supporting XP would potentially cause security problems for those people, which at this point, they just don't need as technology becomes an even greater part of their lives. Microsoft's reach is second to none in the software space. It's a key component in its success. But if it decides to turn its back on XP before it should, the company would also effectively turn its back on people all over the world who rely on XP to get technology into their lives.

  4. Netbooks are a key battleground

    Although speculation abounds over the future of netbooks, there is a chance that the lightweight computers will survive against tablets. And if that happens, Microsoft, which currently dominates the space with Windows XP, would be dumb to stop supporting its old operating system. Right now, Microsoft offers a version of Windows 7 designed for netbooks. But for the vast majority of consumers, Windows XP works just fine, and they don't see a reason to switch. If Microsoft doesn't support XP indefinitely, the company could put its netbook operation at risk, and potentially give Linux or even Google's Chrome OS the opening they need to capitalize. XP is extremely important in the netbook market. Microsoft can't forget that.

  5. Vista should come first

    If anything, Microsoft should stop supporting Windows Vista. The predecessor to Windows 7 is arguably one of the worst operating systems the software giant has ever released. And although Microsoft tries to say that it really wasn't as bad as some folks thought, most Windows users know the truth. Whereas Windows XP was a major victory for Microsoft in the software space, Vista was a failure that the company is still trying to overcome. If it were smart, Microsoft would support XP and Windows 7. If it absolutely needs to stop supporting an operating system, it should ditch Vista.

  6. It's still being installed

    How Microsoft can even consider stopping its support for Windows XP at any point in the near future is incredible. The operating system isn't being adopted as much as it was a few years ago, but there are still some consumers and even enterprise customers that are buying new computers and running Windows XP. The reason why is simple: They trust XP more than they trust some of Microsoft's latest operating systems. As more people download XP, it would seem that Microsoft would be smart to back off from its desire to stop supporting XP entirely. After all, XP's market share is holding steady. And to stop supporting it means Microsoft will leave a major piece of the market out in the cold.

  7. Security implications

    There are real and concerning security implications to Microsoft's desire to stop supporting Windows XP. When Windows isn't updated, those who run outdated software put themselves in undue risk. And by doing so, they're effectively putting the rest of the Windows ecosystem at risk. But when Microsoft decides it will no longer support a software version that is being used by nearly half of the world's PC population, it's Microsoft that could be creating more security problems. Hackers will target those still running XP and find ways to make those problems spread. It's a real issue that Microsoft must consider.

  8. Pushing isn't the best idea right now

    The last thing Microsoft should be doing right now is annoying Windows XP users. When the company released Vista, it was clear that Microsoft was in trouble. Consumers and enterprise customers didn't want any part of the operating system, and even vendors took issue with it. Now, Microsoft is trying to rebuild relationships. By stopping support for Service Pack 2, and eventually discontinuing its support for Windows XP, Microsoft is going about it all wrong. Whether it likes it or not, the market is still heavily invested in Windows XP. And if it wants to see them adopt Windows 7, it will need to be patient. It won't be easy, but it's the smart move.

  9. IT manager push-back

    Let's not forget that IT managers play a key role in the success or failure of Windows. As the tech experts at their business, they tell the executives what operating systems and software solutions the company should be using. By discontinuing support for Windows XP Service Pack 2, and eventually Windows XP, Microsoft is forcing the average IT manager's hand. That's not a smart move. IT managers will decide if companies should opt for Windows 7, stick with Windows XP or go with something new, like Mac OS X. Microsoft shouldn't want to annoy IT managers simply because it wants users to move to Windows 7. That will never be a smart move.

  10. Windows 7 isn't a profit leader

    For the time being, Windows 7 will not be the key to Microsoft's success. Although the company hopes to add more Windows 7 customers going forward, it's highly unlikely that a mass influx of users to the new operating system is coming anytime soon. Realizing that, Microsoft can't simply rely on the new operating system, and turn its back on all others. Yes, Vista was a mess, but Windows XP wasn't. By eventually stopping support for XP, Microsoft is putting all of its revenue potential into Windows 7, an operating system that that has shown some early success, but so far hasn't proven that it can best Windows XP.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Does your Computer Really Need Tech Support

Tips and How To

While experienced computer users can easily make a correct diagnosis out of observable signs and symptoms exhibited by their PCs, the rest of us barely have a clue as to whether or not something is really wrong with our computers. Although some problems may require an expert to fix, most glitches can easily be corrected without the need for a technician. So how do you really tell if your computer really requires repair? Here are tips on how to check:

  • Learning to Eliminate
    Unless you are experienced at diagnosing what ails your computer, the best thing you can do is to try to determine the problem by elimination. First, find out the symptoms and then consider the most possible causes and eliminate those that are not plausible. This will help you discover the most possible explanation for the problem. From there, you can decide whether or not your computer really requires repair.

  • Learning to Scan
    Many of the problems manifested by the computer are caused by malware such as viruses, spyware and adware. As long as your computer and antivirus software are updated, you can perform a regular scan to check for any infection. In most cases, common problems are solved this way, although others may require you to download patches to correct any errors and vulnerabilities.

  • No Power
    If your computer won’t turn on, don’t immediately assume you’ll need professional help. Check if it’s connected to a power outlet and then check if there is power. Next, check the power button and the connections for the cables. If using a battery to run a laptop, determine if the battery has been sufficiently charged. Only when you’ve checked all possible scenarios and still failed should you consider having your computer repaired.

  • Slowpoke Computer
    A slow computer may not always be a sign that it really requires repair. It may be because you’re running a lot of programs that may be too much of a burden for the amount of memory your computer has. Try to close programs you don’t need and delete stuff you have no use for. Empty your recycle bin right after. Defrag your system to re-organize your files.

If these steps still don’t fix your problem, it may either be because you need more memory or that there’s something in your system that requires a checkup from the professionals.

  • Missing Drivers
    This usually comes as a surprise, when your computer shows a message indicating that a device is missing. If you are quite sure that drivers for hardware you’re using have already been installed, try to re-install them using the appropriate CDs. In minor cases, that should fix the problem. If the problem continues or if your computer exhibits even stranger symptoms, that’s a clear sign that you really need to have it repaired.

  • The need to Reboot now and then
    Frequent rebooting is often the result of a system freezing or hanging up. This is when the computer screen just simply stops reacting to what you do and nothing you can do to the keyboard or the mouse seems to work. The only way to make the system work again is to press the reboot button. If this happens, then it’s a sign that you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself because your computer really requires repair.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

3TB Hard Drives Coming, but You’ll need a new Computer

Hard drive manufacturer Seagate has confirmed to UK website Thinq that 3TB hard drives are definitely on the plan for 2010.

3TB hard drives The only problem? If you’re using a 32-bit version of a Windows operating system (which is – most people), you may end up seeing as little as 990MB of that huge storage capacity because of limitations to the Logical Block Addressing (LBA) measures used to access the space. Current PC standard for LBA cannot address more than 2.1TB of storage in a single drive.

The limitation appears set to become the "Y2K problem" for hard drives with the limitation of the LBA system setup by Microsoft and IBM back in 1980. Apparently, no-one expected anyone to need more than 2.1TB of storage.

Seagate product manager Barbara Craig told Thinq support for Long LBA is required for both hardware and software to handle the new drives which limits operating system support to 64-bit Windows 7 and Vista plus modified versions of Linux. The new 3TB drive won’t work with Windows XP at all.

The problem with hardware is more difficult to fix.

Drives of greater than 2.1TB will also require a GUID Partition Table – a system implemented in Apple computers – because the old Master Boot Record (MBR) method of noting storage particulars again can’t work with drives greater than 2.1TB. Intel announced last year that it was looking to improve the old DOS-look BIOS system with EFI – Extensible Firmware Interface.

However, very few PC motherboards currently support EFI and that pretty much knocks things on the head right there in terms of upgrading.

So if you’re thinking about turning your PC into a storage farm, chances are you’re going to need to start from scratch with a new PC to go with it.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

PC Computer Repair Concept

computer support
When your PC behaves strangely like applications taking longer to launch, computer is running very slow etc., it indicates that your PC demands repair. For repairing your computer, you can contact any technical service provider. But it would be beneficial for you, if you contact an online service provider.
Online service providers offer a wide range of services at variant rates. iYogi Technical Services is one of them. iYogi offers round- -the-clock PC support and a variety of services at an affordable price. Some of the services offered through online support for PC repair are enlisted below:
• Installation, un-installation, re-installation of software
• Troubleshooting computer hardware and software errors
• Configuring settings of different applications
• PC Optimization
In addition to all the aforementioned services, many services are also offered through remote support. In online support, you just have to contact any remote service provider and they can reach out to you at the comfort of your home or office. Any tech expert from your service provider will remotely access your PC after taking your permission.
After accessing your system, tech experts will diagnose your system with great care in order to find out the root cause behind the occurrence of these technical issues. After diagnosing your system, the tech expert will carry out the necessary steps in order to repair your PC. In this manner, your PC gets repaired without any pain of transportation.
In case, you take your PC to any service centre, it would take roughly around three to four days to get it repaired and you will have to pay every time you go there. But this is not the case with online support; you just have to pay once and you can access unlimited services for the specified time. If you call any technician at your premises, you have to pay an extra amount for the services. So, it would be better to say that online technical support for PC repair is more beneficial as compared to on-site tech support.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trojan Removal without Installation of any Antivirus Software

antivirus software
Trojan is basically a software program that can perform enviable functions on your computer. In addition to this, it offers the facility to intruders to easily access your system. Trojans can get entry into your system from many methods, such as e-mail attachments, software downloads, etc.
Once any Trojan gets entry into your system, it allows remote access of your system to hacker. After getting access to your system, hacker can perform various tasks like, stealing your confidential information, installation of software, deletion or modification of files, keystroke logging, etc.
You can scan your system with Windows Live OneCare safety scanner in order to get information about malicious programs installed on your system. This scanner consists of various scan types and you can select any scan for your system. Its protection scan will check your system for Trojans viruses and other malicious software.
In addition to this, it will check for the open ports of your computer, which can make your system more vulnerable to online threats. After scanning, it will produce a report, which contains the number of files scanned, the number of infected files found, the type of infection and virus name, the number of common open ports, etc.
Another scan type of Windows Live OneCare safety scanner is clean up scan, which will find out the redundant temporary files of your system. Tune up scan will provide you the information about your hard disk drive. After scanning your system with Windows Live OneCare safety scanner, you can remove Trojans with Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.
This tool can check the systems running Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 for infections and can also remove these infections. When its detection and removal process gets complete, it will display a report, which will contain information about all the malicious software detected and removed.