TWT Newsletter, Issue#054
Welcome to our November 2011 TWT Newsletter. 2011 has flown by in the blink of an eye and here we are on the build up to Christmas again. This month we have some handy tips for shopping online at Christmas, a look back at two iconic IT products and much more.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
We brought you two important updates in October. The first update was for our NOD32 tutorials. Our favourite antivirus package has had another major overhaul, which means that our tutorials needed an overhaul too. You can now view our new NOD32 tutorials by clicking here.
For those of you who want a Firewall and antivirus solution in one convenient package, the excellent Eset Smart Security comes with NOD32’s antivirus engine built in. We also updated our tutorials for ESET Smart Security, you can view them by clicking this link.
We’ll be bringing you plenty of fresh content in November too, so keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter or RSS feeds!
A quick note about our new advertising policy
Regular readers/viewers of our site might have noticed that we have started to run advertisements on our videos now. For a long time we have held off from adding adverts to our video content and instead only run static Google Adsense adverts around the pages. However, Top-Windows-Tutorials now gets thousands of views every day, and in order to make sure that we have the bandwidth to keep bringing you great free content, it became necessary that we monetize our content more effectively.
We hope you don’t find the adverts to be an inconvenience. Our advertising is run by Google who specialise in bringing their audiences relevant and targeted advertisements, so you might even find them useful, who knows! Of course, if you want to get our content advert free, there are our excellent Superguide DVD/Downloads and our Offline Archive available to purchase.
The festive season looms again, shop safely online with our security tips
The internet has made Christmas shopping much easier. No longer do you need to rush into town, fight your way through crowds and then heave the packages back home. Now that internet shopping is fast and convenient, you can simply order online in a few clicks.
That doesn’t mean that internet shopping doesn’t have risks associated with it, but use our handy security tips here to help you stay one step ahead of the fraudsters and make sure the only bills delivered in January are the ones you were reluctantly expecting!
Tip 1 – Use https/SSL sites for submitting payment only:- When using an online shopping site, make sure you look for the https in the address bar at the top. The picture below shows a https enabled site open in Internet Explorer:-
(can’t see the picture, Click here)
Notice how the address begins ““https” and not “http”? The ‘S’ stands for secure, and it means that the information is encrypted while in transit, allowing you to safely transmit your credit card details. Only the page where you submit your card details needs to be https, the rest of the site can run as http without any security risk.
Tip 2 – Use a password manager so that you can have different passwords for each site
Most users on the web use just a handful of passwords for all the sites they visit. After several high-profile breaches at companies like Sony and Play.com, this generally isn’t a good idea. Should a hacker gain your details from one website, he/she can then try the same details on any of the other websites you use. The best idea is to use a password manager like Lastpass or Roboform. This allows you to easily use a different, hard to guess password on each site you use. To find out more about password managers, visit this link.
Tip 3 – Spot spoof or ‘phising’ e-mails easily
Phising e-mails are mails which purport to be from one site but actually come from another site controlled by criminals. By fooling the user into entering their credentials into the fake site, the criminals then harvest this information and use it to steal your bank card details. Spotting fake e-mails is normally easy however, if you keep these rules in mind:-
1) Most banks do not use e-mail at all:- Any e-mail from your bank should be treated as suspicious. E-mail is an inherently insecure means of communication and most banks do not use it at all. Even out of those that do , most only use it for marketing and other such purposes. Never believe an e-mail that encourages you to follow a link and log into your account.
2) Watch out for bad grammar, spelling and other mistakes:- The vast majority of phising e-mails have terrible grammar and spelling, consider this classic example here:-
(can’t see the picture, Click here)
3) Even if you are convinced an e-mail is legitimate, visit the site manually – Rather than following a link in an e-mail that could be a scam, why not simply fire up your browser and manually type the address instead. If the offer/message is legitimate, you’ll still be able to complete the task, if not, then you’ve safely discovered that the e-mail was a fake.
4) And finally…make sure you leave enough time for your product to ship. If you’re ordering from our site then remember that our DVD’s ship from America (even though our site is in the UK). Allow plenty of time for delivery to avoid disappointment!
Tip of the Month – Get 25gb free online storage with Skydrive
Last month we talked about using Dropbox to send and receive files over the internet. Dropbox isn’t the only service of its kind however, and Microsoft themselves offer a compelling alternative.
Windows Live Skydrive gives you a whopping 25 gigabytes of online storage all for free. Use the space to backup your most important documents, share files and folders with friends or store and collaborate on Office documents. Skydrive integrates with Windows Explorer for a smooth, familiar experience and once files are uploaded you can access them anywhere you have an internet connection.
Skydrive is available for anyone to use who has a Windows Live account, find out more about this service by clicking here.
Free Utility of the Month – Startup Delayer 3
We were so impressed with the new improved Startup Delayer that we had to make it our free utility of the month this month. Startup Delayer is a tool for smoothing out the startup procedure on your PC. If you have lots of programs that all run when your PC starts, you can use Startup Delayer to temporarily delay them, so that several programs are not all trying to start at once.
The new improved Startup Delayer 3 now not only gives you the ability to delay a startup program manually, but can also delay a program starting until there are free CPU or disk cycles available. The program is now completely UAC aware too, meaning Windows Vista and Windows 7 users can delay startup applications for their own non-administrator accounts.
We tried the program on several PC’s and just using the default settings we noticed a big improvement in startup times, the desktop and start menu became responsive quicker, allowing less important programs to be loaded as and when the computer resources were available for them. We’ll be overhauling our Startup Delayer tutorials for the new version this month, in the meantime, download your own copy of Startup Delayer 3 by visiting this link.
XP and iPod turn 10, while IE drops below 50% usage, two computer pioneers sadly pass away
October 25th marked the 10th birthday of the venerable Windows XP operating system. Ten years is a long time in the computer industry, and few products have the staying power of Microsoft’s most popular desktop operating system. Even now, Windows XP is still used by around 48% of computer users worldwide.
When XP was introduced, it landed with more of a whimper than a bang. Home computer users were sceptical of the new operating system, which had much higher system requirements than Windows 98 and Windows Millennium edition. Game players found that many of their older games didn’t work, while older hardware often lacked drivers that were compatible with Windows XP.
However, Windows XP brought with it some huge advantages over the previous home versions of the operating system. Improvements to the underlying software that brought in technologies like memory protection meant that Windows XP was an order of magnitude more stable than Windows 98 or Windows ME. Support for faster processors and more memory meant that as time went on, and hardware advanced, the previous versions of Windows couldn’t compete with XP’s stability and speed.
Even if Windows XP was a great operating system, after ten years it is starting to look a little tired. Windows 7 offers huge security improvements, a faster and more beautiful user interface, support for newer hardware standards like USB3 and the ability to use greater amounts of computer memory than XP can boast. These improvements are just scratching the surface too, if you’re still using Windows XP, why not check out our Windows 7 tutorial videos? These are a great way to see what you’re missing out on. Check them out here.
Speaking of venerable Microsoft products, technology news site Ars Technica reported that, in October, Internet Explorer’s market share dipped below 50% for the first time since the late 1990’s. Ars Technica ran this story with the headline “End of an era” but that’s a little premature. IE still commands a whopping 49.59 percent of the browser market share, more than any other single web browser.
While XP will be fondly remembered by many in the IT industry, Internet Explorer has an altogether different legacy. While newer versions have sought to improve security, Internet Explorer 6, still stubbornly used by many home users and corporations alike, had a woeful track record with security. Internet Explorer is also often berated by web designers for its lack of standards support and it’s ability to break pages that otherwise look fine in other browsers. Nevertheless, newer versions of the browser are much improved and if alternative browsers are not for you we still strongly recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of IE available on your operating system.
Another iconic product turned 10 years old last month. Apple’s original iPod, the player that started the iPod craze. As most of our readers will have also seen, Apple’s charismatic co-founder, chairman, and former chief executive officer Steve Jobs sadly passed away last month. While we don’t cover Apple products here on Top-Windows-Tutorials.com, we know that many of our readers use them. From Apple Mac computers to iPhones and iPods, the Apple brand was synonymous with products that were well built, high quality and easy to use. We salute Steve Jobs and all the great innovations he brought to the world of personal computing.
While Steve Job’s death gained much media attention, another equally important computing pioneer passed away in October. Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie was the man responsible for creating the C programming language. This important programming language was used to create all kinds of software, from embedded systems in TV’s and washing machines, through to games and multimedia software and also much of the code in Windows itself.
Regardless of whether you are on Windows XP or Windows 7, you can expect more great new content from Top-Windows-Tutorials.com. However, remember that support for Windows XP will end in 2014. After this time, you will not receive any security updates or patches for your operating system.
That rounds off our newsletter for November. 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 with our Christmas issue on the 10th December 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, and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!