Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Office 365 deactivation notices – Fake

July 10th, 2017 by EKG Networking

Happy Monday.

And today another fake email to get in the way of productivity.

This is a quick one to ignore.

When you see an email saying it is coming from Microsoft Office 365 note the return email address.

It will obviously not be @microsoft.com.

The body will say something like:

  • A Request to deactivate your Mailbox (Mailbox name here) was made and this request will be processed shortly.
  • Sorry, we couldn’t validate your Office 365 subscription, so most features in your email have been disabled.
  • Please note that starting from July 10, 2017 we will be introducing new online authentication procedures in order to protect the private information of all Microsft-Account users.

All of these are fake emails designed to get you to click on the link and provide information to bad people.

Thanks to all who have let us know about them and NOT clicked.

Windows 10: Upgrade Overview

June 9th, 2016 by EKG Networking

Microsoft is offering a free Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.  This free upgrade offer is valid until the July 29, 2016.  There are a lot of great features of Windows 10 and some not so great ones.  There are a few items to consider to determine whether you should upgrade.

Does your computer support Windows 10?

First, check with the manufacturer of your computer to see if they support Windows 10 on it.  If your model isn’t listed, don’t upgrade.  If your model is compatible, there is still more work to do regarding whether you should upgrade.

Here are some links for the most common manufacturers:

Dell:
http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/19/SLN297954
HP:
http://www8.hp.com/us/en/ads/windows10/upgrade.html
Acer:
http://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/windows10-eligible-models
Samsung:
http://www.samsung.com/us/windows10/upgrade.html
Lenovo:
https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/documents/ht103535
ASUS:
http://www.asus.com/event/2015/osupgrade/upgrade.html

Does your software support Windows 10?

Microsoft makes a compatibility checker you can run on your system.  However, it requires that you install their Windows 10 nag software in order to run it and their nag software basically forces the Windows 10 upgrade on you.  So, it isn’t a good idea to run it.
Unfortunately, this makes checking your software for compatibility a more manual process.
Make a list of the software that you are currently using.  You will need the version as well.  If you are using 3rd party antivirus, remember to include that on your list of software to research.
For example:

Manufacturer    Software          Version
Intuit                QuickBooks       2014
Microsoft           Office               2010

To research, it is recommended that you go directly to the manufacturer’s website and click support.  There is sometimes a link right on the support page outlining what is compatible and what is not.  On some sites, you will need to search for “Windows 10 compatibility” and read the resulting documents.  If this is not successful, look for a support email address or a phone number to check.
If your software is not on the manufacturer’s list, it doesn’t mean it will not work.  Sometimes, manufacturers do not test older versions for compatibility. However, if it is not listed be prepared to upgrade it to a compatible version if you decide to proceed with upgrading.

Most Common Software
To make this process a little easier, here is the compatibility of some commonly used software.
Microsoft Office:  
Microsoft Office 2016, 2013, and 2010 all work on Windows 10.  Office 2007 is not officially supported, but Microsoft says it will run on Windows 10.  If you do not have the Office suite, this includes the individual components such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access as well.
QuickBooks:
Intuit specifies that QuickBooks 2015 and later will work on Windows 10.
Adobe Acrobat:
Acrobat XI and above work with Windows 10.

If you Decide to Upgrade
Windows 10 does have a method to go back to your previous Windows version if you don’t like Windows 10.  However, about 10% of the time it doesn’t work and you either live with Windows 10, restore from a full system backup, or reinstall from scratch.  If you want to upgrade, take the following steps to protect yourself.  The steps may seem excessive. Windows 10 upgrades usually do not result in a non-bootable system.  However, the adage “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst” is more than appropriate in this case.  It is suggested you use an external USB drive for this process.

1)    If any software needs to be upgraded to work with Windows 10, it is recommended that you get the compatible versions in place before you upgrade.  The latest software versions are almost always tested with Windows 7 and 8.1, so this should not be a problem.

2)    Use Windows 7 or 8 backup software to create a full system backup to an external drive.
Instructions for Windows 7
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/back-up-programs-system-settings-files#1TC=windows-7

Instructions for Windows 8.1
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/how-to-make-system-image-backup,26542.html

3)    Make a copy of all your documents, favorites, desktop items, email files, downloaded software installation files, and other personal data to an external drive.

4)    Make sure you have a copy of any installation codes for purchased software.

5)    If your computer came with re-installation disks, make sure you still have them.  In not, some manufacturers have software installed that will let you create them to a DVD or USB thumb drive.
When you are ready, pick a day when you have lots of time to recover if needed.  Then, click the link below and follow the instructions
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-upgrade
If you upgrade but decide to go back to your previous Windows Version
You have a month to decide you go back to your previous version once you upgrade.  Don’t make major changes to your computer during this time.  For example, don’t add a new video card or upgrade all your software.  The steps to go back are:
1)    Make sure you are logged in using an account that has administrator rights.
2)    Go to Settings
3)    Update & security
4)    Recovery
5)    Select either: “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1”

If you decide not to Upgrade
Microsoft is constantly pushing the Windows 10 upgrade.  Fortunately, a 3rd party has made a small utility to prevent the upgrade, at least for now. You can find the instructions here:
http://ekgnetworking.com/computer-consultants-blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/GWX-Windows-10-Stopper.pdf

If you would prefer to download or print this document, select the below link.
EKG Windows 10 Upgrade Instructions

Windows 10 – To upgrade or not to upgrade or to upgrade on your schedule

March 11th, 2016 by EKG Networking

We all rely on our technology these days and when something unexpected happens it can throw us a curve.

Microsoft is pushing the Windows 10 upgrade even more now.  While we like a lot of features of Windows 10, we feel users need to schedule this time rather than have it happen on the fly which is always when you need to get payroll out or complete that important proposal for a client.  Also please be aware some of your software or peripherals may not work with Windows 10.  There is planning required before upgrading your operating system.

We have a link below to a document describing the process of downloading software that currently blocks the Windows 10 upgrade.  However Microsoft is working to get around these kind of packages.

http://ekgnetworking.com/computer-consultants-blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/GWX-Windows-10-Stopper.pdf

Thank you to Ultimate Outsider for creating this software to help users with this.

http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/GwxControlPanelSetup.exe

Please contact EKG Networking, Inc for all your business IT needs.

Thank you to Daniel Grimm, IT Support Technician at EKG Networking for compiling the documentation and testing the products.

Windows 10 – Microsoft will NOT send you an email with an attachment – Scams to watch out for

August 5th, 2015 by EKG Networking

With the current release of Windows 10, there are many people willing and ready to upgrade from their previous Operating system.  Many loyal Windows users were not too happy about the Windows 8 model and were looking for something better.  Microsoft decided it was time to cater to what the people wanted when they developed Windows 10, and it shows.

Desktop users can rest assured knowing their once familiar settings are back in an updated Operating System.  This new system caters to not only the desktop user, but also the tablet and the phone user.

With a new Operating System, comes new threats to compromise it.  Unfortunately, there are programmers out there that have already created a new threat that targets the new Operating system.

It comes in the form of email that seems legitimately from Microsoft, but is most definitely not.

Once you double-click on the attached file that is included within the email, you will become infected with the ransomware software.

If you have reserved the Windows 10 upgrade, you will be notified by the small Windows icon in the lower right hand toolbar by the clock.  Microsoft will NOT send you an email with an attachment in it.

Always being on your guard is a good way to think of it.

Here is a link to an article that explains everything in a more involved manor.
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/585105/ctb-locker-ransomware-being-pushed-by-fake-windows-10-update-emails/

– Daniel Grimm

Microsoft 2015 Partner Network

June 19th, 2015 by EKG Networking

One must toot one’s own horn occasionally.  Especially when pretty signs arrive in the mail.

Commitment to creating and delivering innovative customer solutions and services based on Microsoft Technologies.

Commitment to creating and delivering innovative customer solutions and services based on Microsoft Technologies.

Microsoft Windows 10 Upgrade – That little white flag in the lower right hand corner that just appeared.

June 9th, 2015 by EKG Networking

As many of you are aware, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 10 on July 29th.  They will make it available for free for all Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to all “non-enterprise” users.  In fact, many of you may have noticed a white Microsoft flag logo appearing near your clock announcing that fact. If you click on the icon, you can sign up for the free upgrade when it is release.  Microsoft will make the free upgrade available for one year.  After that time, you will have to pay for the upgrade.

There are some caveats regarding the release.  First, windows users that use a Domain server are not prompted with the Windows flag.  This is because their upgrades will be managed by their server administrators.  Also, not all versions of Windows 7/8 are eligible for the free upgrade.  Many of our customers have purchased Windows 7/8 via 3rd parties such as Techsoup.  It is unclear whether these licenses are eligible.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has yet to make the Windows 10 release available to its partners.  So, testing has not been done on this new version. So, its compatibility with existing software and its reliability has yet to be determined by EKG Networking.  Also, we cannot test the upgrade process itself. Or, whether the upgrade can be undone.

Our advice regarding the upgrade is to sign up for the free upgrade if you are prompted via the white Microsoft flag logo.  However, do not install it when Windows 10 is released.  Wait.
There is no reason to upgrade right away other than curiosity.  If you upgrade close to release date, you will be one of thousands who might have problems all at the same time.  Also, some of these problems might not have solutions right away.  So, wait.

Many of you use specialty software that may not be compatible with Windows 10 and may never be compatible.  The compatibility of the software you rely upon needs to be confirmed with the manufacture of that software.  You also have to make sure that your specific version of your software is compatible.  Some older versions may never be tested. Some manufactures have already announced which versions of their software they have tested. However, some have not.  If a manufacture has not announced their compatibility with Windows 10, wait to do the upgrade.

EKG Networking will give the all clear when we are comfortable the upgrade will do no harm.  However, we may have to approve the upgrade on a case-by-case basis.  Since we cannot test it, we cannot say for sure at this time.

Microsoft Patches Internet Explorer Vulnerability

May 2nd, 2014 by EKG Networking

Referencing our previous post, Microsoft has made available an update to fix the Internet Explorer vulnerability in all versions including Windows XP.

To apply this update or check if it was applied, please do the following:

Make sure to save and close all open work before beginning.

Windows XP

Start
All Programs
Windows Update
NOTE: It may ask you to install an ActiveX Addon underneath the upper portion of the screen, this is okay to do.
Select Custom

The below should appear:

Microsoft Internet Explorer Update fix

Microsoft Internet Explorer Update fix

If it is already installed, there will be no updates.

Install the update and restart the computer.

Windows 7

Start
All ProgramsWindows Update
Select the Important Update –
Security Update for Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 for “xxxxx” based systems

Install and restart the system

Internet Explorer Vulnerability – Best Practices

April 30th, 2014 by EKG Networking

The current Internet Explorer vulnerability allows the information on your computer to be exposed when it connects to a hijacked website.  It is not clear whether or not you actually have to agree to download software to allow this access.

Regardless, it is known that the connection to your computer takes place via the Adobe Flash add-on.  Regardless of whether your system is Windows XP or not, you can bypass this issue by:

1)    Not using Internet Explorer.  Options are:
Chrome
https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/

Firefox
http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

2)    Disabling the Adobe Flash within Internet Explorer
a.    Click the Tools menu or the sprocket on the right if you do not have a Tools menu
b.    Select “Manage Add-Ons”
c.    Change Show: from “Currently loaded add-ons” to “All add-ons”
d.    Locate and left-click “Shockwave Flash Object”
e.    Click “Disable” in the lower-right corner
f.    Click Close
g.    If you have a legitimate web site that requires Flash, you can turn it back on by repeating steps a though d and clicking “Enable”.  Just remember to disable again it when done.

 

Microsoft Internet Explorer Tools AddOns

Microsoft Internet Explorer Tools AddOns

The best advice we can give is not to worry about each individual security breach that is reported.  Every company needs to setup best practices with their employees.

Make sure everyone understands business use for the computers.  Using your systems for business use and being diligent all the time will definitely limit your companies exposure to bugs and hacks.

Microsoft Windows XP – Microsoft Security Essentials – April 8

April 1st, 2014 by EKG Networking

Windows XP Microsoft Security Essentials

When Microsoft discontinues support of Windows XP on April 8th, they will also be stopping updates to their antivirus software called “Microsoft Security Essentials”. Of course, this will only impact you if you use Microsoft Security Essentials as your antivirus program. If you use a different antivirus program, this does not impact you.

Please read all these instructions first before beginning and provide at least a ½ hour time to run through the instructions.
If you are unsure, look for an icon on the lower right-hand side of your screen (by the clock) that looks like a castle with a flag.  It might be colored green, yellow, or red

You can also click: Start, All Programs and look for “Microsoft Security Essentials” in the list of programs.
If you are indeed using Microsoft Security Essentials, it will need to be uninstalled and a replacement product installed.  We recommend AVG’s free antivirus to replace it.

1) So, step one is get ready by downloading AVG first.  To do so, go here:

http://free.avg.com/us-en/download.prd-afh.line-2013

Your choice is between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.  You most likely have the 32-bit version. If you are unsure, you can check by right-clicking on “My Computer” and selecting properties.  Look in the “System” section at the top.  If you do not see the text “64-bit”, then you have 32-bit.

Download the appropriate version and save it to your desktop for later.

2) Next, uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials.  To do so, go to your Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, select Microsoft Security Essentials and click Remove.

3) Install AVG.  Double-click the file you downloaded in step one to run the installation program (if you get a software restriction error, go to the note section below.). Follow the wizard, but select “Custom Install” when asked for the type of installation and
click next.  Uncheck all of the options and click Next to continue.

It will prompt you to enter your email address, this is optional.

Once the installation is finished, reboot the computer. DONE
Note:
If you get an error message during the installation that a software restriction setting is not permitting the installation, you have installed the CryptoPrevent software.  This is software that stops the Crytolocker virus, but can also stop certain programs from installing.  If this happens, do the following

Download the CrytoPrevent software from here:
 http://www.foolishit.com/download/cryptoprevent-installer

If the website gives an error, try it again shortly.  It’s a very busy site.

It will download as a ZIP file, so you will need to extract it.  To do so, right-click on the downloaded file and select “Extract All”.  Follow the wizard.  Once completed there will be a CryptoPrevent folder in which you will find two files.  You want to double-click on the one named “CryptoPrevent”

Click OK at the About screen and then click Undo. If asked to remove any whitelist policies, click “No”.  It will recommend a reboot, but it is not always needed.  So, click “No.”

Try to reinstall AVG.  If it still complains about a Group Policy issue, reboot and try again.
Once AVG is installed you will need to reactivate CrytoPrevent.  Do so by clicking “Apply” within CryptoPrevent.  You will need to reboot when this is done.