TWT Newsletter, Issue #026 –, – Protecting your PC privacy!
Hello once more to our loyal subscribers. The 10th of the month brings you another feature packed TWT Newsletter.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) How safe is private data on your PC?
3) Tip of the Month – Send big files using Dropbox
4) Free Utility of the Month – Boxee
5) Windows 7 pricing has been announced – It’s cheaper than Vista was!
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
Next, we brought you a four lesson preview of our fantastic new OpenOffice.org Writer Superguide. View the preview lessons here.
Last month we also brought you our new digital photography section. Just in time for the summer when everyone starts snapping lots of pictures. You can learn about Windows Live Photo Gallery or Google Picasa .
Things are always changing in the world of computing! We reviewed several of our tutorials last month and posted updates for Eset Smart Security Version 4 and Outpost Firewall 2009. We also overhauled our popular free personal firewall comparison to include updated information on Outpost Firewall 2009 Free.
Lastly, we updated our skins and themes section to include Stardock BootSkin Vista. Thanks to this utility, Vista users can now customise their boot screens just like XP users can. To learn how, click here.
We promise to bring you plenty of great new content in July too, to keep up to date, remember to subscribe to our RSS feed!
How safe is private data on your PC?
We write a lot about Windows Security on Top-Windows-Tutorials.com. Being the most popular operating system, Windows is also the most popular choice for hackers and malware authors to target. However, while lots of our readers keep their machines malware and virus free, they don’t consider the security threats from thieves or snoops in the home or the office.
Laptops and portable computers are the most vulnerable, but even the mighty desktop workstation can fall victim to a nefarious house burglar. Once an intruder has physical access to your computer then they can access virtually any information on it. Think because you have a Windows password your files are safe? Think again! Recently in the Top-Windows-Tutorials labs, we looked at a piece of software called Konboot. (Named after the amorous and voyeuristic animated cuddly lion from the Japanese TV show ‘Bleach’), this software boots from a CD and can completely bypass a windows password prompt, instantly. What’s more, it leaves virtually no trace behind. Ideal for any snoops in the office or home to use for stealing data.
If you are travelling with your laptop, you should carefully consider securing any and all data on it. Laptops are even more vulnerable when you’re on the road, in unfamiliar surroundings. Check out my article on travelling with your laptop for more details.
Selling or disposing of computers or old hard drives can also trip people up. Think that nobody is going to go to the bother of recovering your personal data? Increasingly criminal gangs, here and in third world countries where e-waste is shamefully dumped, are salvaging hard drives and using the personal information on them for identity theft and extortion.
What can you do to protect yourself and your data from this kind of thing? Fortunately it’s not that difficult. To protect the data on your PC or laptop from theft, we recommend Truecrypt. This free utility can completely lock your hard drive, making it impossible to access your data without the correct password. If you want to learn how to use this excellent free utility, click here.
For cleaning personal data from your hard drive, including your browsing history, we recommend Evidence Eliminator. Evidence Eliminator is a file shredder that not only clears clutter from your computer but safely and effectively shreds confidential information. Think of it as a paper shredder, but for your sensitive digital files. There are several of these products on the market but Evidence Eliminator has been proven time and again to be the most effective.
You can learn more about this product and what it can do for you by clicking here.
Finally, if you are selling your PC, consider cleaning the hard drive with the boot and nuke disk. This disc will load and automatically wipe your hard drive, rendering it virtually impossible to recover your data, even in a forensic laboratory. Remember that if you do this to a PC you are intending to sell, you’ll need to reinstall the operating system before the computer can be used again.
Tip of the Month – Send big files using Dropbox
So many of us have broadband internet these days. There are so many great things we can do with our connections, from streaming live video with Boxee (our free utility of the month!) to live videophone conversations with Skype or Windows Live Messenger.
It’s strange though, that there aren’t easier ways to share larger files. Attaching files to e-mails is slow and severely limited by the size of the file you can send. Often sending files by instant messenger is painfully slow too. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way? Fortunately, there is.
Dropbox is a great online service that provides you with a 2gb folder on your computer that is automatically synchronised across the internet, meaning anywhere you have an internet connection you can access your files.
Want to share documents with your friends? No problem as long as you both have a Dropbox account. You can share files and folders with your friends and Dropbox will automatically sync the shared content. Dropbox can be configured in seconds and works on Windows, Linux and Apple Mac machines. For more information or to sign up for your own account, visit this link.
Free Utility of the Month – Boxee
Boxee represents a quantum leap forward for home theatre PC’s. Home theatre PC’s, or HTPC’s as enthusiasts like to call them, are PC’s that are connected to televisions rather than monitors and controlled by remote controls rather than keyboard and mouse. Of course, trying to control Windows with your typical TV remote control isn’t much fun, but with specialized software loaded onto the computer the HTPC concept can come alive.
Several of these HTPC front ends have been available, some commercial some free, but none have been as successful at bringing rich video and audio content from the web seamlessly into the living room as Boxee does. Even in its current development state, streaming video from sites like Youtube and Revision3 worked flawlessly. The software is also able to automatically scan the video and media files you have on your PC and catalogue them for you.
If you ever hook your PC or laptop to your television, you owe it to yourself to check out Boxee today. Visit the Boxee homepage here.
Windows 7 pricing has been announced – It’s cheaper than Vista was!
At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we’re quietly optimistic about Windows 7. Windows Vista was met with a lukewarm response from many users thanks to incompatibility problems and reduced performance in some situations. Microsoft addressed many of the issues the new operating system suffered from in the two Windows Vista service packs and in actual fact Windows Vista can now outperform Windows XP in many situations. It seems however, that the damage to Vista’s reputation was done and so, instead of another major service pack, Microsoft is getting ready to launch Windows 7 this year.
Windows 7 has had a generally warm reception from most of the brave individuals who decided to join the beta testing programs. The modest little tablet PC that I am currently writing this newsletter on has been running the release candidate of Windows 7 for a month or two now. Windows 7 feels responsive and stable even on older hardware, making it a welcome upgrade for me and many other users.
The question is, how much will this welcome upgrade hurt your wallet? Here are the numbers:-
Windows 7 Home Premium is $199 new or $119 if you upgrade from XP or Vista. Windows 7 Professional is $299, new or $199 if you upgrade from XP or Vista. Windows 7 Ultimate is $319 new, of $219 if you upgrade from XP or Vista.
If you are fast you can still catch the preorder offers! Customers in the USA, Canada and Japan who pre-order Windows 7 from certain online and brick-and-mortar stores, including Amazon and Best Buy between June 25th and July 11th will receive discounts of more than 50%, Microsoft said. The same program is available in the UK, France, and Germany between July 15th and Aug. 14th. (Thanks to InformationWeek for this information).
The prices above are around 10% cheaper than the prices for Vista were when it was released. Furthermore, tech-savvy home users who build their own systems will typically pay less for an OEM licence. This licence is bound to a single computer motherboard rather than an individual, but is usually much cheaper.
Windows 7 is certainly an attractive upgrade for many users, particularly users who avoided Windows Vista. With the global economic downturn in full swing however, it remains to be seen how many users will be willing to open their wallets for a new operating system. Of course, Top-Windows-Tutorials.com will continue to support Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 users for the foreseeable future. Even Microsoft won’t abandon XP users completely until 2014 (although XP users won’t receive any new features, just critical security updates).
That wraps up our Newsletter for another month. Thank you to all our subscribers, new and old, for reading, we hope that you found it informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy! Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!