Microsoft will reportedly unveil sequels to its first two Surface tablets at its Build developer conference, which is scheduled to run from June 26th through June 28th. Unnamed sources from Microsoft’s supply chain have told Digitimes as much, and they claim initial components for the Intel-based version of the next-generation Surface began shipping in late 2012. According to the report, the next-generation Surface tablets will be smaller than the current models, with screens measuring between 7 and 9 inches diagonally. An earlier report suggested that Microsoft is developing an “Xbox Surface” gaming tablet with a 7-inch 720p display and an ARM-based Texas Instruments processor, but it is unclear if this gaming device is one of the tablets mentioned in Digitimes’ report.
Professor Randy says: Not many people are “singing the praises” of the Microsoft Surface, but I like it! You may want to check it out and come to your own conclusion.
I’m not one for crazy fixes, but this is what just happened to me:
I picked up a Dell Inspiron M5030 laptop from a client a couple of days ago. I pushed the power button and I saw that the motherboard was getting power, the fans were spinning, but no screen. Then I heard the seven beeps over and over again – continuous seven beeps. I immediately thought video chip because it reminded me of the HP Pavilion dv9000 models of a few years back.
I took the laptop into my bedroom and wrapped it (laptop was on, still beeping, and open) in a towel first and then a blanket (covering up the entire non screen part of the computer). Keys covered, fan outlet covered, everything wrapped in the towel and blanket. No possibility for any type of cooling.
I left the room for twenty minutes while the computer was on and beeping away like crazy. After twenty minutes I unwrapped the laptop and turned it off by pushing the power button. The computer was really hot, and the towel and blanket were quite hot to the touch.
After about ten seconds I powered on the computer and no beeps! The screen came up no problem, and everything worked perfectly. I’ve restarted the machine several times and no more beeps. I’ve cold started the machine several times and no more beeps. Boots up just fine. The build up of heat from the twenty minutes must have produced like a mini-reflow!!
I left it off overnight and in the morning it booted up like a dream! I also turned off all sleep and hibernate modes in the control panel (power options). These modes create heating issues in laptops and will produce problems.
The Inspiron M5030 model has known issues with the cpu and video chip. This fix is most likely temporary but it has given me enough time to backup all of my clients data.
Professor Randy says:Don’t be afraid to try a well-researched “fix” even if a bit unorthodox. If nothing else you’ll learn alot and you’ll feel better for having done all that you can do to repair the machine!!
In this March post I told you about a great program that will show you all of your computers third party program vulnerabilities, and then download and install the latest vulnerability fixes. Great stuff!
Speaking of vulnerabilities, here is a chart of the non-MS patches that affect Windows platforms in the present month of May. Get updated asap!
Product Version Affected
Date Released by Vendor
Severity / Our Recommendation
11.7.700.169 and earlier
Critical: Patch within 72 Hours
10, 9.0.2, 9.0.1 and 9.0
Two vulnerabilities; one being executed in the wild
Critical: Patch within 72 Hours
Adobe Acrobat and Reader
11.0.02 and earlier
Critical: Patch within 72 Hours for version 9.5.5; within 30 days for others
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about poor wireless reception, so I’ve decided to share my thoughts:
Poor wireless reception can be caused by a multitude of things. Here are some of the things that I check for when I do my service calls:
1) Set the router to another channel. I try channel 11 first, then channel 6, then channel 1.
2) Try the 5GHz band if the router has this option.
3) Change the position of the router. There may be signal interference due to certain obstructions.
4) Check to see if the router needs a firmware update.
5) The receiving device may have a bad wireless adapter. Try an external dongle.
6) Are the router and the receiving device both wireless “N” protocols? If the router is “N” capable but the receiving device is only b/g then you won’t get “N” speeds. If both devices are “N” capable then don’t use any mixed b/g/n settings in the router. Use “N” only.
7) When setting the security in the router, use WPA2-PSK with AES.
8) Check all Network settings in the computer. I usually disable all wireless network adapter protocols except for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Don’t disable the ones that your client needs!
9) I flush the DNS cache (ipconfig /flushdns in “command prompt” window), and then change the routers settings to point to OpenDNS.
10) When possible I always try to use the same brand of router and wireless adapter. For example, if using a D-Link router, also use a D-Link wireless USB adapter.
11) And finally, you may very well have a bad router! Try another one or get a new one!!
Professor Randy says:There is nothing like going wireless, but at times it can be a real hassle! You can enjoy your wireless connection more by becoming aware of the suggestions in this post. Happy wireless!
Great article from the great Windows guru Woody Leonhard. I personally don’t care if Microsoft brings back the Start menu or not. I know though, that many of my elderly clients will be ecstatic! Almost without exception I’ve been installing the free Classic Shell that I usually download and install from Ninite.
The fat lady hasn’t yet sung. It’s entirely possible that Microsoft will bring back the Start menu in Windows “Blue” 8.1 and allow customers to boot directly to the Desktop. While that doesn’t bode well for Microsoft’s Metro campaign, it may — with a little effort — go a long way toward taking Windows 8 out of the doghouse.
One week ago today, a rather obscure post on the My Digital Life forum first identified a new registry key value pair in Windows 8.1 Build 9364 — the leaked build dated March 24. The key, twinui-CanSuppressStartScreen, certainly sounds interesting.
Russian-language site Microsoft Portal fueled the speculation over the weekend, by identifying a line of code in Build 9364′s twinui.dll that references the same key. My Russian’s rusty, but the site appears to say that the line of code “is responsible for disabling the (Metro) Start screen (on startup). This will immediately go to the desktop automatically when Windows starts.”
On Tuesday, Tom Warren at The Verge quoted “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans” as saying Win8.1 will include an option to boot directly to the Desktop. “We’re told that the option is disabled by default, allowing users to simply turn on the functionality should they want to avoid the Metro Start screen at initial boot or login.”
That same day, ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley quoted “one of my sources” as saying boot-direct-to-desktop “is now looking like the plan and added that Microsoft is also considering bringing back the Start button as an option with Windows ‘Blue.’ It’s not 100 percent sure that either/both of these options will be baked into the final Blue release. … ‘Until it ships, anything can change,’ said my source, who requested anonymity.”
Foley’s revelation is mind-boggling on many levels. Under the Sinofsky regime, such leaks were unheard of. Just a year after Sinofsky’s departure, Foley quotes a single source as saying Microsoft’s making a major Windows design reversal. The fact that Foley ran the article with just a single source means (in my estimation) that she’s talking with the very highest-level people inside Microsoft. What a breath of fresh air!
Matt Rosoff at CITEWorld drew some insightful conclusions about the move: “The risk for Microsoft is that if the company makes it easier for users to spend all their time in old-fashioned Desktop mode, that’s exactly what they’ll do. … The new UI needs apps designed for touch … but the only way developers will feel compelled to build those apps is if users actually spend time in the new interface.”
That’s precisely the dilemma facing Microsoft. It can build an OS that many people (and companies) actively avoid because of it schizophrenic tendencies. Or it can build an OS that improves on the old OS in a compelling way, adding the Metro side as a bit of lagniappe. Don’t shove our noses in Metro, Microsoft. Dangle it like a carrot.
My one fervent request: Dear Microsoft, if you bring back the Start Menu and let me boot Win8.1 directly to the desktop, please, please reinstate the Aero Glass interface. It can’t be that hard to resurrect: Glass was obliterated in the final weeks of the Windows 8 RTM rush.
It still exists on the Win8 desktop’s taskbar. The hooks are still there. Just bring back the UI, so we can adjust it. I know that Glass was killed in an “off with their heads” moment when battery drain took high priority, but for some folks losing 15 minutes of battery capacity isn’t that big a deal. You can even make the blah, boxy Metro Flatland look the default, if you must. Jensen, please give us back Glass!
Professor Randy says:To be a good “technology man” you’ve got to “work on your craft”. I have “cut my Windows teeth” reading/studying great writers like Woody Leonhard. I suggest you do the same.
Granted this is a very basic set of tools, but for most fixes it will suffice. I have fixed over four hundred computers the last couple of years and for 90% of those fixes I have needed nothing more than this Belkin Tool Kit. If I ever need something more, it can usually be taken care of by tool #3 on this list.
I can’t tell you how many times I have installed or reinstalled an Operating System but forgotten to back up the Ethernet driver. With this great tool I just run the software, plug the adapter into the USB port, and I’m online in less than two minutes. I then go straight to Microsoft Update and download/install all updates and hardware drivers.
The MAGLITE XL50 is my favorite flashlight. It is very small and I can turn it on and off by just using the thumb of one hand. The light is awesome and the batteries last a long time. I used to use another MAGLITE model, but I had to twist the head of the flashlight to turn on/off and it was very difficult to do with just one hand.
My repair shop is a converted garage and I have no overhead fluorescent lights. I’m standing up bent over my computer bench and without good light I’m lost. The Petzl is absolutely the coolest headlamp that I have ever seen. The light is small but awesome and it shoots straight down directly onto the guts of the open computer. I feel like I’m a coal miner in West Virginia, my wife thinks I look crazy, but man do I fix those computers!!
Professor Randy says:A computer repair technician without great tools is like milk without cookies! Pointless! By choosing great hardware tools your repairs will be smooth, fast, and they’ll be enjoyable to boot!
It used to be that if you were diligently keeping your system updated by using the Windows Update Service, you could be sure that your Operating System was protected against vulnerabilities to malware and security exploits. But no more…
Windows Update does a great job, but it isn’t enough anymore. Hackers are now attacking your system through third party applications. In my area of the country I estimate that as much as 80% of the infections I see are caused by vulnerabilities due to outdated or unsecure third party programs.
Just last month (February 2013) alone, consider the following, mind boggling third party app scenario:
Adobe Flash: Multiple vulnerabilities
Adobe Reader & Adobe Acrobat:Two vulnerabilities were being exploited in the wild
Adobe Shockwave Player:2 vulnerabilities
Google Chrome: Multiple high risk vulnerabilities fixed
Mozilla Firefox: Multiple high risk vulnerabilties fixed
Mozilla SeaMonkey: Multiple high risk vulnerabilties fixed
Mozilla Thunderbird: Multiple high risk vulnerabilties fixed
Oracle Java:55 security fixes!
Opera: Security enhancements
And that’s just the month of February!! How in the world is a person supposed to 1) know about all of these third party vulnerabilities and 2) get the latest vulnerability fixes? This is what I suggest:
1)Secunia PSI 3.0: The Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) is a free computer security solution that identifies vulnerabilities in non-Microsoft (third-party) programs which can leave your PC open to attacks. It then supplies your computer with the necessary software security updates to keep it safe. The Secunia PSI even automates the updates for your insecure programs, making it a lot easier for you to maintain a secure PC.
2)SUMo: SUMo (Software Update Monitor) keeps your PC up-to-date & safe by using the most recent version of your favorite software ! Unlike built-in auto update features, SUMo tells you if updates are available before you need to use your software.
3) Lumension Patch and Remediation: Awesome Enterprise Solution: Lumension Patch and Remediation is the world’s leading patch management solution, and is available as a modular offering on the Lumension Endpoint Management and Security Suite. With Lumension Patch and Remediation, IT administrators can automatically identify and patch vulnerabilities across heterogeneous operating systems, Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications, and endpoint configurations – all of which is seamlessly managed through a single console.
Professor Randy says:Don’t forget about your third party programs! Check them and update them regularly by using one of these great checker/updater programs. You’ll keep your computer secure by staying one step ahead of any attack!