Monday, March 14, 2016


And, what can I do about it?

Don't panic, but do act quickly. Try these suggestions first:

If the upgrade has already happened, it's pretty simple to go back to Windows 7. If you were on Windows 8 or 8.1, keep Windows 10 - it's generally better than 8.1.

Want help? Text, email, Facebook, Twitter or call me.

Cathy Contant    315-573-4905


Many of us still want to do some regular computer maintenance, as we were taught to do 15 years ago. As technology advances quickly, we may have missed the point where many of these tasks became obsolete, and even damaging to our computers. 

Installing current updates for your programs will go a lot further in protecting your computer, data and identity than scanning your discs for viruses or defragmenting the drive.

The problems we have with computers these days are far more likely to be the result of clicking on something that installs adware, spyware, worms or Trojans than for viruses to be lurking and multiplying across our networks. Why? Because viruses aren't our problem anymore, when when have a decent, up-to-date antivirus program installed. Antivirus programs take care of themselves, updating, scanning things that come into the computer, and leaving us with a sense of well-being. 

In fact, we never need to run a scan with our antivirus program any more; the program does a full scan on installation, then scans everything that comes in as it happens. If it finds something suspicious attempting to download to your computer, the antivirus program either warns you or just takes care of the problem. So, when your program nags you that your computer hasn't been scanned in a while, it's more to make you feel better when the "All Clear!" message pops up than to do any necessary job. 

Any decent antivirus program will take care of your computer. The for-pay suites don't really do anything more for you - remember when we cleaned all that malware out of your computer and your expensive security suite never made a peep about the infections? Not only do they not protect from all risks - because there's nothing on the planet that protects us from all risks, including the biggest risk, which is ourselves - but they slow down the computer and give us a false sense of security. The big security suites compete with each other for the best ratings, not because they protect your computer better but because they can advertise their great ratings to convince you to buy them. 

There are several good, free antivirus programs around. Consider not renewing your expensive security program when it expires, and replacing it with something free that does the job, without slowing down your computer or sending all your data to the home servers to "check for viruses". 

Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 all come with decent antivirus protection, free. Many retailers include a trial or even coerce you to buy a subscription to Webroot, Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky or TrendMicro security - not because it protects your computer better but because like the old "rustproofing" add-on when you bought a new car, it adds to their profit. 

And when you renew for $50, $60 or $80 every year they get a kick-back. That's one reason it's so difficult to cancel your subscription to these suites, which may automatically renew on your credit card. If you can't find how to cancel your subscription, check your credit card statement for a toll-free number on the charges; you can call that number to cancel. 

Is there anything wrong with subscribing to and using for-pay security suites? Nope, and generally, they're good products. But they'll slow down your computer, send a lot of data back and forth to their servers, and not stop the stuff that really causes us pain these days. 

Here's more on using antivirus programs:

Save yourself some money - use the antivirus and security software you've already paid for with your operating system, and be careful where you click.

Want help? Contact me via text, email, Facebook, Twitter or phone.

Cathy Contant   315-573-4905

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


As expected, Microsoft has again ramped-up the pressure for Windows 7 and 8.1 users to install the Windows 10 upgrade. In fact, if you miss the opportunity to say no to the download of Windows 10, you'll find yourself faced with a message asking if you're ready to use Windows 10. If that's you - what now?
First, don't panic. If you're using Windows 8.1, allowing Windows 10 to install is probably the best choice. If you're using Windows 7 and like it and just want to stay put, there are a few things that can be done.

Understand you never have to upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 computer to Windows 10. Windows 7 will be fully supported with security updates into 2020, and Windows 8 into 2025.
If you're on Windows 7, the Windows Updates settings can be changed to stop the automatic download and installation of Windows 10. Here's how to do that:
If you want to try Windows 10, however, do allow the installation to finish. But look here first, and take the necessary steps:…/10-things-to-think-about-bef…
If somehow, Windows 10 did install (it can't without you saying "Yes" multiple times), you have 30 days to revert to Windows 7 (or 8.1). Want help? Please ask. No panic necessary.
Cathy Contant              315-573-4905 

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Did you see an ad that offers to update your drivers or speed up your computer, and now you're tempted? And it even has a logo that indicates it's "Microsoft Certified" or some other important-sounding term?
Step away. Don't click on it, and if you did, don't install anything.
Many web sites have ads today, even the ones you'd think wouldn't need the money (ahem, MSN, CNN, Yahoo). Many of these ads attempt to create urgency on your part to "fix" something wrong with your computer.
We all want faster computers, but clicking on those ads and installing the software to update or clean your computer will result in a slower or non-functioning computer.
Do you need to update the drivers on your computer? Probably not, unless you've made the decision to upgrade to another operating system (Windows 7 or 8 to 10, for example).
If you're not sure whether you should install something, check it out first. Search online, ask someone who knows, or just don't do it.
Don't click on ads on web sites. Just following this one rule will save most of us from malware infections.

Cathy Contant         315-573-4905