TWT Newsletter, Issue#051 – Windows 7 Superguide 2 launches!
Welcome to our August 2011 TWT Newsletter. In this issue we have some exciting news regarding a great new product we have just added to our site. While we are naturally very excited about our newest product, you will still find your monthly free utility and tip, as well as news about the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Windows 7 Superguide 2 launches! Fantastic introductory sale!
3) Black Hat and Defcon – The latest from the security conferences
4) Tip of the Month – Use the “Can You Run It?” site when considering new software purchases
5) Free Utility of the Month – ImgBurn
6) Windows 8 update
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
We brought you a couple of updates to existing tutorials in July. Firstly, we updated our disk defragmenter tutorials for Windows 7 users. If you are on a Windows 7 machine and want to learn about the benefits of defragmenting your hard drive, click here to view our new tutorial.
EASEUS disc copy is a handy utility for our more advanced readers. If you need to backup your entire hard drive, bit for bit, to another hard drive, then this free utility is exactly what you need. Click here to view the two updated tutorials.
If you are a Windows 7 Superguide customer, then you can now download Windows 7 Superguide Patch 1. This patch allows the Superguide to be run without requiring administrator rights. Now beginners in your home won’t need to run administrator accounts or ask for your permission to view the contents of the Windows 7 Superguide download/disc. For more information or to download the patch, use this link.
Windows 7 Superguide 2 launches! Fantastic introductory sale!
We are delighted to announce the launch of the new Windows 7 Superguide 2! Building on the core skills we taught in the first Windows 7 Superguide, Superguide 2 will take your Windows 7 skills to a whole new level. Learn how to install, maintain and upgrade PC’s ready for Windows 7, soak test and diagnose faulty PC’s, run legacy software with Windows XP mode or VirtualBox, encrypt your data with EFS or Truecrypt and much more.
Windows 7 Superguide 2 dissects the advanced feature set of Windows 7 and goes in depth with the useful features, while eschewing the features that are irrelevant or unavailable to home users in favour of free alternatives. The guide contains no less than 75 lessons and 68 video tutorials. To read more about Windows 7 Superguide 2, visit this link.
Windows 7 Superguide 2 isn’t the only new product launched this month. To save our customers money, we combined the two Windows 7 Superguides into one incredible value product. The Windows 7 Gigaguide contains all the content from Windows 7 Superguide and Windows 7 Superguide 2 on one DVD or download package.
As a loyal newsletter reader, we wanted to let you know first about these fantastic new products. For one month only (until the 10th September, 2011) we are putting all Windows 7 Superguide products, both downloads and physical media on sale. You can now save $10 on all our Windows 7 Superguide products. This sale absolutely must end on the 11th September, so grab a bargain now.
Windows 7 Superguide (including patch 1) – Regular price $20 – Special price $10
Windows 7 Superguide 2 – Regular price $30 – Special price $20
Windows 7 Gigaguide – Regular price $40 – Special price $30
Don’t waste money on computer books for your Windows 7 machine, when you can have a full e-book and training course for less than the price of most Windows 7 training manuals or guides. Order today and take full advantage of this fantastic offer.
Black Hat and Defcon – The latest from the security conferences
Long-term subscribers to our newsletter will be familiar with the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences held every August in Las Vegas. It is a chance for the leading security researchers to meet and discuss the state of computer security in general, as well as present important research. There seems to be an alarming amount of misunderstanding surrounding so called ‘hackers’ and their agenda. After a lot of high-profile hacks from groups like Lulzsec, many members of the public are understandably annoyed. However, not all hackers waste their time and talents on attacking websites. The kind of hackers you would see giving a talk at the Black Hat conference are the good guys, who find the security weaknesses before the criminals can. They play a vital role in helping improve IT security around the world. This is something Microsoft is well aware of, they even sponsor the conference.
While both events take place at the same time and both in Las Vegas, Black Hat is the ‘professional’ event whereas Defcon embraces the more underground nature of hacking and security research. The Defcon conference has been described as the most hostile computer network in the world, where anyone unwittingly venturing onto the premises is likely to have any electronic device they are carrying hacked into, just for the ‘lulz’.
What were the notable announcements from both events? For Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, it was generally good news. Chris Paget, chief hacker at security consulting firm Recursion Ventures, made headlines when she took to the stage to praise Microsoft’s thoroughness in testing Windows Vista for security problems. “Microsoft’s security process is spectacular,” she said. “Security is a process, not a product. It evolves. The question is, ‘Was Vista secure?’ Microsoft has a very bad reputation for security and it is very much undeserved.” Of course, no operating system is ever fully secure, especially not if the end user disables security features like User Account Control, something that too many Vista and Windows 7 users are tempted to do!
Other researchers praised Microsoft’s improved security, stating that even after the introduction of the new version of Apple’s OSX (Lion) Microsoft were still stronger over all, especially where enterprise security was concerned. Windows still makes for a more attractive platform for attackers, considering its deeper market penetration, so remember your Windows updates and your antivirus. To read more about this particular subject, check the article on NetworkWorld here.
Speaking of Antivirus, one researcher from Google took it upon himself to test the robustness of the Sophos Antivirus software. Attacking antivirus software may seem like a strange thing to do, but in actual fact it makes a lot of sense to attack one of the programs users rely on to improve their defenses. Tavis Ormandy said that the Sophos antivirus software’s encryption was weak and easy to crack, allowing him to add his own ‘false positive’ entries to the virus database or even remove signatures of existing viruses. He criticised the closed, secretive nature of most antivirus software development and called for more open sourcing (making programming code public) or reviewing of the programming code within antivirus and similar security software.
Elsewhere at the conference, there were the usual headline grabbing stories. News sites around the web were quick to print terrifying headlines like “Black Hat hacker can remotely attack insulin pumps and kill people”. The truth was somewhat further removed from this sensationalist headline however. Jerome Radcliffe, himself a diabetic, decided to investigate his own insulin pump and glucose monitor. His research made for an interesting presentation on such devices and the potential for exploitation, but despite his best efforts to completely reverse engineer the device, there was no hack presented that could actually be adapted and used to murder someone.
Less dramatic, but still somewhat worrying, Don Bailey and Matthew Solnik demonstrated how they could use something as simple as a text message to unlock the security system on a Subaru Outback motor vehicle. The pair demonstrated their hack, which not only unlocked the car but started the engine too. Their research has been made public and hopefully Subaru will fix this particular flaw!
The conference also saw the light-hearted “Pwnie Awards” ceremony. The slang phrase ‘Pwn’, comes from a miss-spelling of the word own, as in, “I now own your data”. The awards recognise the most interesting, clever or just plain amusing hacking events this year. Of course, the big losers were Sony, who were nominated no less than 5 times in their category for “Most Epic Fail”. For a full list of the other winners and losers, visit this link.
The Black Hat and Defcon conferences always make headlines, this year even more than usual, due to the massive amount of hack attacks we have seen recently. As the sorry Sony saga proved, ignoring IT security and just hoping you won’t become a target is simply not an option. Security research and testing is vital in the ongoing battle against online criminals, spammers and con-artists. So the next time you hear the word “hacker”, don’t assume that means villain!
Tip of the Month – Use the “Can You Run It?” site when considering new software purchases
Understanding system requirements for PC software can be difficult. If you’re not sure how much memory your PC has, or what kind of graphics processor it contains, or even what kind of central processing unit, then help is at hand. Visit the Can You Run It? Website, provided by the System Requirements Lab. Select the program you are considering purchasing and then click the button. The website will automatically analyse your PC and tell you if the program in question is compatible. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
If you want to try this handy service, simply visit the Can You Run it? page here.
Free Utility of the Month – ImgBurn
Although CD-R and DVD-R discs are not as widely used as they once were, they are still useful for lots of computing tasks. Being able to work with both CD/DVD images and physical media is still something many users need to do. Windows now comes with some excellent CD/DVD recording software, but for users that need more power and flexibility, ImgBurn is a fantastic free alternative.
ImgBurn can create CD/DVD image files from physical media, record image files back to physical media and also record folders or files to CD/DVD. These tasks can be done on any version of Windows from Windows XP all the way up to Windows 7 64.
To find out more about ImgBurn, visit the official ImgBurn website here.
Windows 8 update
To round off this month we have a brief update of the latest Windows 8 rumours and news stories around the web. Several new patents granted to Microsoft suggest that Windows 8 tablets will use finger and stylus gestures. Gestures are flicks or motions made by your finger or a stylus in order to quickly carry out an action. Power users can use these gestures on a touch-only interface to accelerate common actions. Winrumors.com even went as far as illustrating how these gestures might work on this page.
Microsoft also promised a smooth transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8, for those users wanting to take the plunge and upgrade to the new operating system. “We will have backward compatibility with Windows 7 embedded into Windows 8. That’s something that we’re very committed to”, commented Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner at the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Meanwhile, Window’s corporate vice-president Tami Reller confirmed that the system requirements for Windows 8 would be the same as Windows 7, or even lower, meaning that every Windows 7 PC in your home will be eligible for an upgrade.
More details of Windows 8 are expected to emerge in September, at the Build conference in California. As always, we will keep our readers updated with any significant Windows 8 news that comes out in the following months.
That rounds off our newsletter for August. We’d like to take this opportunity once again to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th September, 2011 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7! We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page or by leaving us feedback in our forum. 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, enjoy the rest of the summer and happy, safe and stress-free computing!