PrezNotes Apr 2012


XP and Office 2003 Support Ends in 2014

In April 2014 Microsoft will no longer support Office 2003 and with the cessation in July of 2014, two months later of the support of XP’s anti-virus updating also ceasing, XP will effectively be dead. No one can maintain a computer without a steady stream of antivirus patches – so the combination will be dead.

My personal plans are to migrate on or about January 1, 2014 to a new computer – most
likely Win7 and either a later office than 2003 (presumably upgraded), or possibly an office
suite of a competitor. As long as I can read and write a common format for the letters and newsletters I write, all can be worked out without Microsoft Office. TBD!

The announcement that Microsoft will be obsolescing XP mid-2014 is old news, but the announcement that Microsoft will stop supporting Office 2003 is quite recent. This is especially significant because about 65% of Microsoft Office users never upgraded (researched on Google).

Where to go and what to replace Office 2003 with in 2014 is still to be determined. Just be sure  to review all of the available information before you go out and impulsively grab the wrong office suite. Microsoft may bring out a reasonable deal for an upgrade as long as you still have your original license. The research project should be quite interesting. You have a couple of years in which to do your research.


Malwarebytes is probably your most effective anti-virus protection you can install onto your computer. Malwarebytes seems to have a very effective means of discovering malware and they distribute the results of that research about 6 to 10 times a day. Datawise has been recommending the full paid version at a onetime charge of $24.95 for a perpetual  license e.g. one payment of $24.95 for the life of the computer.

SPAUG Members as Speakers

Speakers often come from SPAUG members. You might be one! All of us know people who have intimate knowledge of some topic/subject of general interest to the SPAUG members. You are encouraged to search out persons who have skills or interests that coincide with the needs/desires of our audience. You are encouraged to check it out with a Board Member if you  so choose.

Use Mailwasher to Reduce Malware in Email

Rather than getting all sorts of viruses and malware onto our computer, would it not be better to not let the stuff get onto your computer in the first place by discovering it while the junk is still on servers outside of your computer?
This is the function of a program such as Mailwasher that allows you to review newlyarrived email while the email is still on the server at the provider’s site. There are three features I especially like:

  • The evaluation of suspicious email by thousands of users and tagging it with a red coloring;
  • The ability to look at the text of a message while it is still on a remote server;
  • The ability to prohibit spam by marking a message as spam and never seeing the site again.

Email Hijacking

Recently a series of known acquaintances have had their email address hijacked (I can tell by the raunchy nature of the message). My response is to cal the person personally, tell them of the problem and then to ask what their password is. Invariably the password does not exceed about 8 characters and is very simple. I go through the drill of adding to the present password enough characters to bring it to a minimum of 20 characters and, hopefully using some upper case letters and special characters. Then I have the problem of accepting the messages from that person and checking carefully to assure that the message coming through is from the newly minted password owner. Usually the ISP (Internet Service Provider) will check for the new password and the problem goes away. Do any of the symptoms sound familiar?

Automatic Computer Maintenance

My computer takes care of itself. The computer scans itself periodically for malware, checks the validity of the hard drive, and backs itself up nightly to an extra hard drive inside the computer case.

  •  At 11:00 p.m. it backs itself up with Acronis to an internal “D” drive.
  •  At 12:01 a.m. it defragments.
  •  At 2:00 a.m. it scans for bad guys.

Once in a while I run (from icons on the desktop) a selection of the following:

  • Event Monitor to see what has been blowing up and I didn’t know about it – monthly and deleted.
  • ERUNT to capture the present status of all of the computer for restoring state of the registry – monthly.
  • Malwarebytes because it catches everything else – when heading out the door.  Microsoft Security Essentials because it is free and debugged by Microsoft if anything is found – monthly.
  • CCLEANER (Crap Cleaner) to delete the obsolete intermediate working files of many programs – weekly.
    Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer – infrequently just to check that the basic security is OK – seldom
  • TEST icon – Hank Skawinski’s deep digging debugging/fix’em programs – seldom but great when you need them.
  • PerfectDisk – to assure the boot files are contiguous – very seldom. Different function than program that runs at 12:01 a.m.

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