Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Apple, where is the touchscreen?

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Apple where is the touchscreenIf you have seen any of the commercials for the new Macbook Pro you probably noticed that Apple has incorporated a new touchbar feature above the keyboard. The touchbar marketing makes this new feature seem sexy sleek and cool by allowing users to interact with certain programs by using the new touchbar. Apple calls this new feature “A touch of genius” and “Light. Years ahead”, but really is this that “genius” or awesome of a feature? This new feature certainly begs the question: Why doesn’t Apple just make a Macbook Pro that is a touchscreen, and how about they call it a Touchbook Pro (duh)?

The Apple team has explained that they just do not think Mac OSX would be effective as a touchscreen operating system. They would like to keep iOS the iPhone and iPad OS the touchscreen operating system and Mac OSX the old point and click version but now with the new touchbar. For the company that claims to create the most intuitive user interfaces for operating system it seems like Apple is missing the boat here since most Windows based laptops now include a touchscreen for ease of use. Windows has recreated the entire Microsoft Windows user interface to accommodate both touchscreen and tradition mouse and keyboard users. So is Windows ahead of the curve here? Has Windows finally taken back the prize for most intuitive operating system interface?

In Windows the computer user is never forced to exclusively use the touchscreen as they can still use the touchpad mouse and keyboard to navigate the operating system as well. It just seems logical to provide Mac OSX users with the same experience to stay competitive. There is nothing wrong with touching the screen every once in a while to launch a program or to move the focus to a search field in the web browser.

Perhaps there is something else holding the Apple company back from making a touchscreen laptop. Maybe it has something to do with the chipset they have created for the Macbook laptop, and they just do not want to re-engineer a touchscreen into the motherboard due to cost and profit margins. While we may never really know what is holding this feature back, it is safe to say that the Macbook Pro laptop and Mac OSX is lagging behind in using the cutting edge features that touchscreen brings to the usability of a laptop.

Windows 10 Free Upgrade Ends this Month

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South City Computer Windows 10The Free Windows 10 upgrade is set to expire later this month. The last day to upgrade for free to Windows 10 is on Friday July 29, 2016.

Nearly one third of Windows devices have already been upgraded to Windows 10. This number is shy of the anticipated 1 billion devices Microsoft has targeted to upgrade. Many Windows users have remained on their current version of Windows and do not feel the need to upgrade. The Windows 10 operating system will be available for purchase after the Free upgrade expires. After July 29, upgrading to the Home version of Windows 10 will cost $119, while the Pro flavor will be priced at $199.

Ready to upgrade to Windows 10?

Are you ready to take advantage of the Free Windows 10 upgrade? Are you hesitant because you are afraid to break something or lose all of the data on your computer? South City Computer is offering Windows 10 upgrade assistance. We will ensure your upgrade to Windows 10 happens smoothly, or be able to get you back to where you were before the failed upgrade attempt. For assistance upgrading to Windows 10 contact South City Computer today.

Don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10?

So you are going to pass on the Free Windows 10 upgrade? That is fine if you are content with your current version of Windows. South City Computer can remove the Windows 10 upgrade from your computer to ensure your computer is not automatically upgraded. Contact South City Computer today for help removing the Windows 10 upgrade from your computer

Windows Vista Approaches End of Support

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Windows Vista End of SupportIn less than a year Microsoft will “end of life” Windows Vista. The official end of support date for the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system is April 11, 2017. You may recall Microsoft ended all support for the Windows XP operating system just over a year ago. Microsoft will no longer offer technical support, release any Microsoft updates or security patches for Windows Vista after the end of mainstream support date. Windows Vista users will be left to fend for themselves. Windows Vista will no longer be safe to use on the Internet and will no longer be able to install newer software.

The Windows Vista operating system is now 3 versions behind the current release of Windows. Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 have all come into the market after Windows Vista so the choice to upgrade to a newer version of Windows is available. The next predecessor, Windows 7, will not end mainstream support until January 14, 2020.

Windows Vista was officially released into the consumer computing market nearly 10 years ago on January 30, 2007. Most computers that were originally built for the Windows Vista operating system are also reaching the age range of 7 to 10 years old. The lifespan of most laptop computers is 3 to 5 years while desktops can last slightly longer for 5 to 7 years. If your computer is still running Windows Vista, then congratulations, you have had a very reliable computer, but unfortunately it is probably time to upgrade.

While Windows Vista was once the acclaimed version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, it has now become nearly obsolete, being surpassed by the usability, functionality, speed, stability, and ease the of use of Windows 7 and Windows 10.

Windows Vista computer users can come into South City Computer to discuss what options they have to upgrade or replace their computers. South City Computer has suitable replacement laptops and desktops computer in stock. South City Computer also offers computer recycling service for Windows Vista laptops and desktop computers. Please call or come by! 314-400-7918

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 onto Users

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We often hear that computers are automatically upgrading to Windows 10 without the computer users knowledge or consent.

Here are just a few messages that appeared on Facebook over the weekend with the identities and expletives removed. You can see the frustration of the Windows users.



At first we thought maybe people were confused by the recommended Windows 10 upgrade message and maybe accidentally clicked to initiate the upgrade, until we noticed the computers for sale here at South City Computer started showing a message indicating that Windows was going to upgrade to Windows 10 automatically. What Microsoft?!?! We didn’t ask or agree to upgrade to Windows 10!


As you can see, Windows is set to automatically upgrade to Windows 10 on May 20th for this computer. Even though we have ignored the pop-ups urging us to upgrade to Windows 10 for months now, we are going to be upgraded unless we take action!

So here is how to cancel this force upgrade. Do NOT click OK, instead click on the word “here” where it says “Click here to change upgrade schedule or cancel scheduled upgrade”.

The next screen you should see is as follows:


Next click “Cancel scheduled upgrade”.

After this you will see the next message:


Again, Microsoft wants to be very sure that we want to seriously Cancel the automatic upgrade to Windows 10. Now click the “Cancel Scheduled Upgrade” button.

After you do this, it should cancel the automatic upgrade that was set for May 20th. If you do not go through this process, then you will be forced into Windows 10. If you want to eliminate the Windows 10 upgrade completely forever, bring your computer to South City Computer and we will disable the Windows 10 upgrade for good!

How to access the Boot Option Menu when Windows won’t start

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Windows 10 Advanced Boot Option MenuSince UEFI firmware was added to most new Windows computers the Advanced Windows Boot Option Menu is essential to change your computer’s bios settings, access the recovery partition, run startup repair, or to access the command prompt to administer the computer using the command line.

Normally to access the Windows Boot Option Menu you can hold down the shift key while choosing to restart the computer, however the Windows operating system sometimes becomes corrupt and will no longer boot to the login or desktop screen, or Windows will hang during start up in an endless startup recovery loop, or Windows will show a frowning face and report that it has an issue and needs to shut down, or Windows will boot to only show a black screen with the mouse cursor, and in any of these cases there is no way a computer user can press the shift key and select to restart the computer in order to access the Windows Boot Option Menu. So if you are experiencing one of these common symptoms during the boot up of your computer then you may be able to use the following workaround.

To access the Windows Boot Option Menu you will need to boot your computer with a Windows 8 or Windows 10 CD. After selecting your language, select to “Repair your Computer”, and you will be taken to the Windows Boot Option Menu.

But lets get real, unfortunately most computers no longer come with a Windows restore CD. Microsoft recommends borrowing one from a friend. But what if you don’t have a friend with the CD, or don’t have any friends at all? If you don’t have access to the Windows CD then bring your computer to a local computer repair store near you or if you find yourself in the St. Louis metro area, then bring your computer to South City Computer.

The Windows 10 Hidden Gotcha!

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South City Computer Windows 10 The free Windows 10 product key works very differently from previous versions Windows. In the past the product key would always serve to activate your copy of Windows. However if you upgraded to Windows 10 from a previous version of Windows then you probably never received a product key for Windows 10. Since a Windows 10 update released in November it may be possible to use your previous Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key to activate Windows 10. But, basically the Windows 10 upgraders just don’t have a product key.

The Windows 10 license key is now bound to your computer’s hardware. During the Windows 10 activation Microsoft created a fingerprint of your computer’s hardware that corresponds to your product key. They did this in order to identify your computer again if it requests to activate Windows 10. If you reinstall Windows 10, then you will probably not have any issues. If you replace your hard drive, video card, a broken screen or RAM you will probably not have any issues re-activating Windows 10 either. However if you replace your computer’s CPU or motherboard, you will be surprised that Windows 10 will no longer activate.

If Windows 10 is instructing you to activate your copy of Windows, then you will have to call Microsoft support. They will decide whether or not you deserve a free licensed copy of Windows 10 again. They will probably inform you that you have to purchase a copy of Windows 10 in order to use the operating system on your computer.

There might be a workaround, a way to get a Windows 10 license again. But this is only good while the Windows 10 upgrade window lasts. But before I tell you, I want you to agree that you will not do anything that violates your license agreement with Microsoft. If you are able to re-install the previous valid licensed copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, then you could possibly just upgrade to Windows 10 again.

Mystery Duqu Virus

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Computer security vulnerabilityEarlier this year cyber security software company Kapersky announced the discovery of a cyber intrusion that affected many of it’s internal computer systems which initiated a large scale investigation. They believe the virus penetrated their systems through an email attachment sent to an employee at the company. From there the virus moved stealthily through the company’s computer network targeting it’s customer’s computer networks and collecting information. Instead of removing the virus Kapersky monitored the virus on their systems in an attempt to better understand its function and purpose.

The investigation led to the discovery of a new highly sophisticated malware platform known as Duqu. The platform was developed from one of the most skilled, mysterious and powerful underground groups in malware. The virus is considered to be in the same league of complexity as the “Stuxnet” worm that was discovered in June 2010 by “Symantic” and has been nicknamed the “step-brother of Stuxnet” in the cyber security world. The Stuxnet worm was a malware created to target Iranian nuclear centrifuge control system software and reportedly ruined one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

The Duqu malware platform was initially discovered in 2011 by Crysys labs in Budapest Hungary. Crysys Labs released a 60 page document to the cyber security world defining it as a cyber threat that was not related to Stuxnet as was initially believed because it was nearly identical to Stuxnet, but seemingly had a completely different purpose.

In 2012 the mysterious group responsible for Duqu seemed to have gone dark, and the Duqu virus seemed to no longer pose a threat, that is, until now.

The Duqu virus attacks Microsoft Windows computers by using a “zero-day-vulnarability” that uses a Microsoft Word document (.doc) to exploit the computer. A win32k font parsing engine actually enables the virus to install onto the victims computer when the victim downloads and tries to open the Microsoft document.

At first Duqu was thought to be targeting industrial control systems like the “Stuxnet” worm, but recent revelations have uncovered a very different purpose for the virus. The virus actually is a form of spyware targeted hotel computer systems where nuclear arms talks with the Iranian government and allied world leaders (p5+1 events) were happening throughout the world.

Costin Raiu, director of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky, said the virus was packed with more than 100 discrete “modules” that enabled the infected computers to be controlled by someone else. Other modules found were designed to compress video feeds from surveillance cameras, and also target communications from phones to Wi-Fi networks. The attackers would know who was connected to the infected network, allowing them to eavesdrop on conversations and steal electronic information. The virus is also capable of operating two-way microphones in hotel elevators, computers and alarm systems. The virus automatically deposits a small file on the infected computer to enable a way for the attackers to monitor and return to the computer at a later date.

The only question is, who is responsible for this complex and sophisticated eavesdropping attempt? Who would benefit most from this sort of intelligence? Cyber security experts at Kapersky hinted toward involvement from the Isreali government, initially naming the virus “The Duqu Bet”. “Bet” being the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but later changed the name to Duqu 2.0. The Israeli government did not claim any involvement in the Duqu malware platform.

The sophistication and dedication of the Duqu group is a testament of just how complex a virus can be all in an attempt to collect information.

Windows 7 reaches End of Sales date this October 31

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Windows 7 End of SalesOctober 31, 2014 marks the End of Sales date for Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate. End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMS are Dell and Toshiba—PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software.

This means that Microsoft will no longer offer retailers the ability to buy and sell new copies of Windows 7 and the operating system will no longer be offered pre-installed on new computers. This also means customers will no longer be able to order custom built computers with Windows 7 pre-installed or purchase new copies of Windows 7. When a version of Windows reaches its end of sales date, it’s probably a good time to think about upgrading to a newer version of Windows.

This deadline does not mean you will no longer find computers with Windows 7 pre-installed on them, and copies of Windows 7 available for purchase at big-box computer stores. Retailers already have a stock of computers that have Windows 7 pre-installed on them and will continue to sell the existing stock they have. However there are now a limited supply of these computers since manufacturers and retails can no longer order new computer with Windows 7 pre-installed.

Windows 7 Professional will not be affected by this date, as Microsoft has not yet specified a date to end of sales the operating system software. Institutions, corporations and businesses have been leery to make the switch to Windows 8 and have relied on Windows 7 as there have been too many bugs that needed to be fixed before the OS is ready to be a reliable business computing platform.

If you think that you may be running a version of Windows 7 that has reached the End of Sales date Microsoft urges you to start thinking about upgrading. However, realistically, you probably do not need to do anything at this point to your existing computer. You probably will not have to upgrade as the end of main stream support date for Windows 7 does not come until January 14, 2020.

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