Archive for October, 2009

Upgrading XP to Windows 7

Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Because you can’t upgrade over XP, there are some steps you’ll want to take before you install Windows 7 to make the process easier. This game plan also works if you plan to do a clean or custom install on a Windows Vista system.
* Make an inventory of the software you’ll want to reinstall on Windows 7. This may be a good time to do some housecleaning. Identify the programs you really need and plan to keep them, and cast off those you don’t.
* Download, install and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor at www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/upgrade-advisor.aspx. This will scan your PC and point out compatibility issues with hardware and software. You may have software that won’t run on Windows 7, and you’ll need to upgrade to a newer version of that program, or obtain a patch if available.
* Download and save to a CD, DVD or external drive any software patches you’ll need. Do the same for any Windows 7 drivers that are available for your key hardware, video and audio adapters, printers, mice, keyboards, scanners, etc.
* Research and identify the security software you’ll want to install. Don’t expect the antivirus or antispyware programs you bought two years ago to work on Windows 7. Microsoft has a Web page that lists developers with compatible security titles at www.microsoft.com/windows/antivirus-partners/windows-7.aspx.
* Make a backup of your documents, music, videos and photos, to an external drive. Check the help files for your e-mail program to see how to export your mail folders, then save those to the external drive as well. If you’re really cautious, make a disk image of your entire system using software such as Acronis TrueImage, Norton Ghost or Norton Save & Restore so you can recover your Windows XP setup in case something goes horribly wrong.
* Check the system requirements for Windows 7 to see if your PC is powerful enough. Although Microsoft says 1 GB of RAM will work with the 32-bit version, I’d recommend you have at least double that. Install your RAM or any hardware upgrades before you install Windows 7.
* Once you have Windows 7, you can start the installer from within XP. It will do additional compatibility checks, then reboot the system to begin the installation. I’d recommend doing the Custom install, because it does provide a secondary copy of your data files.
* When the installation is complete, install the latest Windows 7 drivers, then the antivirus software you’ve selected and let it update its malware definitions.
* Manually run Windows Update to check for any patches and fixes.
* Before you install any of your software, live with this installation for a while. Play around with Windows 7, learning its differences before you have to rely on it for real work. Give it a few days before installing your software, and copying data back to the hard drive.
Once your installation is the way you like it, consider using the Backup and Restore function in Windows 7 to make an image of your existing hard drive. You can use this later if you need to start over from scratch – and it will come in handy when Windows 8 rolls around in a few years!

Virus Removal

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

A vulnerability in Microsoft GDI+ may allow remote code execution. The vulnerability exists in the way GDI+ allocates buffer size when handling WMF image files. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted WMF image file or browses to a Web site that contains specially crafted content. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights. RescueTech can make sure you have the appropriate patches and updates to protect your system.

Windows7 is a winner!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

After conducting an analysis of actual inventory data collected from more than 450,000 corporate PCs between November 2008 and August 2009, Softchoice (via ComputerWorld) has concluded that 88 percent of them meet the minimum system requirements to run Windows 7. The sample consisted of 248 individual organizations representing a wide range of industries from across the United States and Canada, including financial, health care, manufacturing, and education. In comparison, when Windows Vista was going to be released, Softchoice found that only 50 percent of corporate PCs were able to support the minimum system requirements.

Microsoft’s Free AntiVirus Software

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Microsoft registered more than 1.5 million downloads of its free antivirus software in the week after it shipped.

Though XP is not the most popular platform for Security Essentials, it’s where the software is doing the most work. Microsoft counted 4 million total malware detections on more than 500,000 machines during the one-week period; 52 percent of them were on XP machines. Vista was next, with 32 percent of detections, followed by Windows 7, with 16 percent. “This follows our usual observed trend of seeing less malware on newer OSes and service packs,” Microsoft said.