31 Oct 2013 @ 9:20 AM 


Recently a virus that has been around since earlier this year, has morphed into a greedier and more prolific version. The current version of this virus was first reported in September of 2013 and is considered to be in the class of Ransomware. What this virus does is it encrypts certain file types on your computer such as pictures, documents etc using a mixture of AES and RSA encryption. Once the virus has encrypted the files, you will not longer be able to access them, and it will display a CryptoLocker payment program which says you must pay $300 USD within 96 hours or the encryption key which will unlock your files will be destroyed making your files for all intents and purposes unrecoverable. Currently there is no one who has been able to crack this encryption, and a brute for attack to decrypt the files would take a super computer years and years.

Although some websites have reported that this virus makes your computer completely unusable, that is far from the truth, you can still use your computer, the virus makers need you to be able to use your computer to pay the ransom, you can even easily remove the virus, however at this time, the only known way to recover the files is to pay the ransom (we are not suggesting to do this, as there is still no guarantee that it will get you your files back). The virus is being spread most commonly through email attachments that pretend to be from places like FedEx, DHL, UPS and are often sent to company email addresses. The emails contain a ZIP file that when opened show a file that will often to appear to be a PDF file but is actually a exe file (file names like FORM_12345.pdf.exe with the exe being hidden depending upon your computer settings). In order to see the hidden exe extension in Windows, open Windows Explorer (file manager ie My Computer), and if on Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, go to Tools, Folder Options, View and uncheck the box that says “Hide extensions for known file types” – in Windows 8, go to the View tab at the top of Windows Explorer and Check the box that says “File name extensions”. You should never ever run any kind of .EXE file that comes in an email, and you should only open any kind of attachment when you know that the specific person who sent the email was sending you that specific file – when it doubt, call the person/business, or send them an email asking about it BEFORE you open the attachment.

It is also been mentioned that if your computer is already infected with some malware that makes your computer a member of a botnet, that this virus can be automatically downloaded by other malware on your computer – you should always keep your antivirus and antimalware software up to date and do regular scans! If you do get this virus and your files become encrypted, you have 96 hours to pay the ransom or the current copies of your files will become useless. This virus is especially dangerous to businesses as it is reported that it can and will encrypt files that are on mapped network drives (usually on servers in businesses where files are shared and stored). Unless you have what is called shadow copies enabled on your computers, or have online backups or backups that are not on any mapped network drives, it is possible that you will never be able to recover viable copies of these documents once they have been encrypted – we highly recommend using online backup such as iDrive or Carbonite – ( visit us at http://pensacolacomputers.com for more info on online backup solutions)

This virus is actually fairly easy to remove, however if it is removed by antivirus after the files are encrypted, you will have to manually re-install the virus in order to pay the ransom. The guys over at Bleepingcomputer.com have an excellent guide telling all about the cryptolocker virus as well as removal instructions – http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/cryptolocker-ransomware-information although if the virus morphs, these tools may not work.

For virus and malware removal, or general computer repair or computer service here in Pensacola Florida, visit Pensacola Computers at: http://pensacolacomputers.com

Pensacola computers has been providing licensed and certified computer repair and computer service to local businesses and home users since 2003 and focuses exclusively on Microsoft Windows and PC’s

 17 Oct 2013 @ 6:23 AM 

Windows 8.1 is finally here and becomes available for the general public today. If you are running Windows 8 currently, all you need to do is visit the Windows store from within Windows 8 and download Windows 8.1 (it’s a free upgrade). This is an update that holds quite a few new features and improves and fixes some things that were already a part of Windows 8.

Windows 8.1 brings back a kind of start button and also the option to boot directly to the Desktop mode rather than the new Start screen (although we still recommend using something like Classic Shell to give you a more functional Start Menu – see our article: HERE).

Microsoft has also now fully integrated SkyDrive into windows 8.1 and you will find a new Skydrive Folder in your Windows Explorer.

Another noticeable change is the ability to change the size of the tiles in the new Start Screen to 4 different sizes, and depending upon your screen resolution, you can now display up to 4 apps side by side (4 apps will only work on ultra-high resolution monitors).

Skype is now the default messaging app, and the Mail app has been overhauled with a fresh look and some nice tweaks including a nice integration with multiple side by side windows allowed for apps.

Microsoft has also added some nice updates to the People (contacts) app as well as the Calendar app.

One of the only features that we have seen removed that is really a shame is the ability to use Windows Easy transfer to transfer your files From a Windows 8.1 system to a new system – you can still use Easy Transfer to transfer in files from another computer, but for some reason it appears as if Microsoft has removed the ability to save From a Windows 8.1 system – go figure?

For those who have been waiting to upgrade from a previous operating system, Windows 8.1 will be available to purchase from retail starting tomorrow, Oct 18th 2013 from online and brick and mortar stores.

For questions about Windows 8.1 or assistance with migration and upgrades, call Pensacola Computers at (850) 390-4242 or visit us on the web at http://pensacolacomputers.com. Pensacola Computers provides Pensacola Computer Repair and Computer Service for Home and Small Business users and has been working with Windows 8 since the early Beta test stages.


 09 Oct 2013 @ 4:49 AM 

Recently, a previous client called me and told me that Microsoft had called them and told them their computer was infected, and that they needed to allow one of their engineers to remote into their system to clean it – Please note: MICROSOFT WILL NEVER CALL YOU ON THE PHONE ABOUT A VIRUS ON YOUR COMPUTER! As a matter of fact, no one reputable will ever call you on the phone and tell you there is a problem on your computer – first of all, how would they know? (unless they themselves created the problem). While it is possible that you may receive a call from your ISP (Cox, ATT etc) if your computer is spamming emails or something, no software company will ever call you on the phone (if you do receive a call from Cox or ATT, never allow anyone you do not specifically know and trust to remote into your computer! – also if you ever have a question as to the legitimacy of a caller, call them back on the official phone number for their company)

Remote computer support is something that a lot of technology companies offer, but it should only be allowed if you know the person/company (and trust them). Also, you should be careful to only allow reputable remote software such as Citrix GotoAssist – beware if someone wants to install something like GoToMyPC, or TeamViewer on your computer as these software installations can be set to allow a hacker unrestricted access to your computer (GotoAssist only allows a single session and requires a unique one time key that the technician will give you, it also requires you to grant it permission to do things before someone can get into your computer). Remote support is a great tool for helping people solve some computer issues, but once again, it should only be allowed if you personally know/trust the person/company using it.

If you have questions about remote computer support, or need computer help or service visit http://pensacolacomputers.com or call Pensacola Computers at (850) 390*4242. Pensacola Computers provides computer service, computer repair, troubleshooting, hardware and software help, malware and virus removal, and is always available to answer your computer questions. Now providing support for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 as well as Office 2013 and Office 365


 19 Jul 2013 @ 4:43 AM 

With Windows 8 being installed on the majority of new computers these days, I am still astounded by the number of people I run into who want to buy a machine with Windows 7 instead. While I do understand some of the frustration that comes with Windows 8 new interface, there is in my opinion no reason to go backwards and get Windows 7. Windows 8 is much more secure, faster, more efficient and overall more polished that Windows 7, and with the addition of one free aftermarket program called Classic Shell, you can have Windows 8 look and feel pretty much like Windows 7 and still have the Windows 8 features there waiting for you to explore and learn at your convenience.

Classic Shell is a program that give you your Start Menu back on the Desktop view, allows you to boot straight to the Desktop view (instead of the new Windows 8 tiles), and also has some other neat interface tweaks which you can do with it. You can get Classic Shell free here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/ – when installing on Windows 8, I generally only install the Classic Start Menu and the Classic Shell Update (you want to change the install options for the Classic Explorer and Classic IE9 to “entire feature will be unavailable) see below pic



The first time you start Classic Shell, you will be prompted to choose the default style of the start menu – Windows Classic, Windows XP, or Windows 7. You can also at this time choose to see either the Basic or Advanced features in the interface – shown below is the dialog box with the Advanced Features showing;



From the Advanced screen you can customize all kinds of things related to the Start Menu and general Windows behavior such as skipping the Metro (Tile) screen on startup and going directly to the desktop, changing the appearance of the start button, changing how things are displayed in the Start Menu, as well as many aesthetic options on the skin, menu look, etc.

With the addition of Classic Shell, you can regain much of the look and feel of Windows 7 and also get the benefit of all of the under the hood improvements in Windows 8 as well as still retaining the new features of Windows 8 which you can learn as you wish. The new features in Windows 8 aren’t going away (and you might even find that you like some of them), and I highly encourage people to go with Windows 8 over Windows 7 when purchasing a new computer. **Note: you can still get Windows 7 on new computers, however you usually have to go directly to the manufacturers like Dell and HP, and even then you might have to buy through the business sections as the consumer sections are pretty much all Windows 8 now.

For questions or help regarding Windows 8 (and previous version of Windows), or general help with computer hardware or software issues, please visit Pensacola Computers at http://pensacolacomputers.com . Pensacola Computers provides computer service and computer repair for small businesses and home users in the Pensacola FL area including Perdido Key, Gulf Breeze, Cantonment, Navarre, Pace, Warrington, and Milton

 05 Feb 2013 @ 10:13 AM 

I can’t tell you how many times in the past months I have heard people say they want a Windows 7 computer rather than Windows 8 because they have ‘heard bad things about Windows 8′. When I ask them what exactly it is that they have heard that turns them off they tell me that Windows 8 is so different from Windows 7 that it is too hard to use. To me, that is utter rubbish, and I feel sorry for those people who have refused to get Windows 8 on their home machines because of things they have ‘heard’. Notice I say home machines, because Windows 8 for business is another matter due to support from third party software manufacturers for business software.

To me, the only big glaring issue for many people is the lack of a start button in Windows 8 desktop mode (and this can be very simply resolved by downloading one of the many mostly free software add-ons, personally I like Classic Shell **Note: I only install the Classic Start Menu and the Classic Shell Update, deselecting the Classic Explorer and Classic IE9 components), other than that, which as I said is a simple fix, using Windows 8 in Desktop mode is really no different than Windows 7, except that it is more secure, has better built in support for things like multiple monitors and iso files, and has some great new and improved features like a revamped and much more user friendly task manager and Windows explorer.

By choosing Windows 8 you can easily mimic the Windows 7 experience (with add-ons like Classic Shell you can even go directly to the Windows desktop and bypass the new start screen). Plus you do get the addition of the new start screen and new full screen apps like Netflix and great new Xbox live based games like Wordament which are available from the Windows App Store  (there are thousands of app with many great ones for free, and more every day). Windows 8 also allows you to sign in to the computer using a Windows live id (Hotmail, Live.com, Outlook.com, MSN email), and when doing so, you can choose to carry your settings and things like internet history etc with you to other Windows 8 computers. When signing in with your Hotmail etc email address you also have direct access to your emails, calendar and Sky Drive (which is between 7-20 GB of free online storage for your documents, photos etc). If you don’t already have a Hotmail, Outlook, Live.com email, I highly suggest getting one and using it for your Windows 8 id, if anything just to get the free Skydrive storage and use of the online versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

I can’t see any downside for using Windows 8 on a home computer over Windows 7, and I can see many advantages such as ones I have outlined above.

The other thing about Windows 8 is its much improved touch interface for those computers with touchscreens. The touch on Windows 8 machines is much improved over previous versions of Windows, and using the new start menu and apps on a touch enabled computer brings a whole new experience to Windows. Many people who at first were hesitant about touchscreens on Windows 8 find that after a very short while, they use touch more and more as it is easier to do many things with touch rather than using a mouse or touchpad.

In the end, by spending a couple minutes downloading a free start menu replacement, and taking a few minutes to learn about the enhancements in Windows 8, I think the majority of people will be pleasantly surprised by their Windows 8 experience.

I currently use a Lenovo Yoga 13 convertible ultrabook as my main laptop/tablet and it is a great testament to what Windows 8 can do as it has both a tablet and laptop mode, incredible battery life, and amazingly responsive touchscreen, and can easily run any full Windows program. For home use I have a Lenovo A720 touchscreen all in one which is fantastic (see review here)

For Windows 8 questions and help with migration, upgrades and new computer setup – visit PensacolaComputers.com

 10 Dec 2012 @ 8:22 AM 

The holidays are upon us and once again I am often asked – what do I get when shopping for a new computer. First let me get the whole Apple vs PC issue out of the way – Unless you are an adult who is great with technology or already use a Mac, then stick with PC’s. Mac’s are not for business use (at least not in the corporate world – and many corporations do not allow Macs on their networks), they are NOT good for students (no one in the job market cares if an applicant has Mac skills, they want PC skills), and in terms of security, while it is true you have less of a chance of getting a virus on a Mac, they are NOT more secure (in fact they are often the first to fall to hackers, and some of the viruses that are out there for Macs are very nasty). Not that Macs are not well made machines (although their latest models are next to impossible to service easily or upgrade), but they are overpriced in terms of hardware (exactly the same hardware as you can get in a PC), and unless you already use one, relearning everything can be challenging especially if you use a PC at work and a Mac at home. I am sure there are those who will argue that they just love their Mac, and to each his own, but we do not recommend them for general and current PC users for a number of reasons including the ones outlined above.

With that out of the way – what to shop for when it comes to a computer? With Windows 8 being sold on almost all new retail computers (if you must have it, you can still get Windows 7 machines from big manufacturers like Dell and HP, but more on that later), the question is do I want Windows 8? (Yes) And what kind of hardware do I want? For the first question, there is really no reason to not go to Windows 8. The biggest complaint about Windows 8 that I have heard from some people is the new start screen and the lack of the Start button on the Desktop mode – if you hate the new Start screen and miss the old Start Button you can get a free download of Classic Shell that gives you the start button back as well as gives you the option to go directly to the desktop mode at startup, bypassing the new Start screen (there are also other free and paid for programs that do this as well). The nice thing about Windows 8 is you can use it almost exactly like Windows 7 after a few alterations such as installing Classic Shell, but you also have access to all the new features of Windows 8 including the fantastically quick boot times, the better security, and the better integration of features (such as native .iso image support, VHD support etc).

The new Start Menu has caused some consternation among old time Windows users, but it is actually pretty cool and the number of Apps are growing every day. Windows 8 is designed to be usable on all kinds of devices, but the Touch features have come a long way and now using Windows on a touch screen PC or a tablet PC is a much more satisfying experience (see our preview of the Lenovo A720 Touch Screen all-in-one). We have also been using Windows 8 on a new Lenovo Yoga 13 convertible laptop/tablet and the experience is awesome! There are quite a few great apps, including productivity apps, entertainment apps, and game apps (Wordament is one of our favs). The cool thing is that many of these apps are free and Microsoft has done a good job so far of keeping the garbage adware kind of apps out of the store.

As far as hardware for Windows 8 goes – if your budget is enough to go with a touchscreen (whether an all-in-one or laptop/tablet), I highly recommend it as the touch experience is very good. If not interested in touch, then make sure that you base your decision on a number of factors – what will you use the computer for? (no need to buy a gaming machine if you are going to be just surfing the internet and checking email – conversely, don’t buy a low end machine and expect to play today’s games on it). What is your budget? (remember, you usually get what you pay for, and sometimes paying a bit more can save you a world of disappointment). Do you need a home use machine or a business machine? (most all local retailers only stock home use machines, if you are buying for work or business, you are much better off going through a major manufacturer like Dell, Lenovo, or HP). Do you want a warranty, and what kind/length? (we never recommend getting a warranty from the store itself, most all computer manufacturers allow you to purchase a warranty directly from the manufacturer within a period of time after buying a computer from a store (usually 90 days, check with the manufacturer before you buy). Store warranties are basically useless as they usually require you to bring the computer to them, do not guarantee your data, and you have no idea how long it will be until you get it back – many manufacturers such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo offer in home warranty service. For business users we definitely recommend going directly through the business websites of the big manufactures as you will get better deals, support and warranties.

As for actual hardware recommendations – We personally recommend the intel core i processors (core i3, i5, and i7) as they are some of the best performing and are good with power usage (make sure to get the 3rd generation i series – denoted with 3000 series numbers as they are the newest). The intels core i series have proven themselves, and generally if you get them, the rest of the hardware will be better than some of the mix-and-match used with other processors. While AMD does make some good chips, and they are generally cheaper, the performance of their chips (as well as the lesser intel chips like the Pentiums, Celerons etc ) are all over the place and can be quite disappointing at times. Stick with the i3, i5, or i7 and you should be happy. If buying a laptop, make sure to check the screen resolution to ensure you are getting enough screen real estate – the resolution is just as important as the screen size itself. Also, if purchasing a laptop, if at all possible, try it out to see how you like the keyboard and how it fits your hands (the smaller laptops especially can cause some issue when typing because of the key placement).

If you have a higher budget, definitely check out the Lenovo a720 27″ all-in-one, and the Lenovo Yoga 13 ultrabook – we have really enjoyed ours!

As always Pensacola Computers is available for all of your PC needs including Windows 8 upgrades and new computer setups. Feel free to visit us on the web at http://pensacolacomputers.com and give us a call with any questions you may have – especially Before you buy a new PC – our general advice is always free!

 22 Oct 2012 @ 4:18 AM 

Friday October 26th is a big day for Microsoft with the release of Windows 8. Windows 8 is a big departure for Microsoft and has a lot of big changes in both appearance and in underlying code. We have been working with Windows 8 throughout the development cycle and have been running the final version on a number of systems for the past couple of months ever since its release to manufacturing and partners. The biggest difference off the bat is the new start screen which replaces the start menu – this is going to be one of the hardest things for users to adapt to, but it is a great feature that offers many advantages, especially for touch enabled devices.

On Friday October 26th, most major retailers will begin selling new computers with Windows 8 pre-installed, and you will also be able to upgrade many older machines with a download from Microsoft’s website ($40 until January 31st 2013). If you have or do purchase a Windows 7 machine between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you can get upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $15 which is an excellent deal (*Note: only Windows 8 Pro with the media pack contains Windows Media Center which included codecs for DVD playing and an interface to watch TV if you have a compatible TV card).

Windows 8 is the first version of Windows that is truly designed for multiple device platforms and has a number of features which make using it on a touch enabled device much easier than on previous versions of Windows. Windows 8 comes in several different versions and it is important to understand the differences – especially between the standard/pro editions and the RT edition.

Windows RT is made especially for ARM based processors (the kind used in many smartphones and tablets), and while it shares some of the code and looks similar to the new start screen on the other versions of Windows 8, it does NOT run software that was designed for x86/x64 PC’s and previous versions of Windows. It does run Windows Apps, and comes with a somewhat stripped down version of Microsoft Office with Apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. (In our opinion, it will be better for many people to wait a bit and check out the Windows 8 Pro tablets that are coming out which will offer the full features of Windows and run legacy programs as well as new ones.

For a detailed explanation of the different Windows versions, see this blog post from Microsoft made earlier this year: http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/04/16/announcing-the-windows-8-editions.aspx

Windows 8 is tightly integrated with Windows Live services which allow you to logon to Windows using your Windows Live ID (hotmail, live.com, outlook.com email address), and also gives you direct access to Windows Live services like your Skydrive files. Using a Windows Live account will also allow you to synch your settings between multiple Windows 8 devices which is pretty cool.

THE START BUTTON ON THE DESKTOP IS GONE! This is one of the most apparent and controversial changes in Windows 8 and will probably cause a bit of confusion among new users. Windows 8 offers both the new Start Menu screen as well as the old desktop mode, however the old desktop mode is missing the familiar Start button. (it is easy to jump to the start screen by mousing to screen corners, and there are also several third party vendors which have made start button replacements. Using the new start screen takes a bit of getting used to, but the live tiles are very cool and once you play around with it for a while you will find that it has some really cool features.

Touch Gestures are amazing! Windows 8 is optimized for touch gestures and support 10 touch points (yes you can play a piano app with both hands and use all 10 fingers!). Getting around Windows 8 with a touch enabled screen is a breeze as it uses swipe gestures to do many things like open the start screen and move between apps. (*Note: beware on buying older or clearance touchscreen computers as many of the older ones only come with 2 touch points and you will not be able to take advantage of all of the new touch features!)

We have been using a Lenovo A720 27″ all in one touch screen to test Windows 8 and must say that it is amazing! Swiping through apps and using the touch enabled programs is a breeze and it changes the way you can use your computer. We highly recommend going to a store like BestBuy (don’t listen to the salespeople there though!) and trying out some of the newe touch enabled systems before you buy.

Windows 8 has a number of features which improve both performance and security, and it comes with Internet Explorer 10 (2 versions, one on the start screen for full screen only browsing with limited add-on support and the second full featured version available from the desktop)

For Windows 8 support, and help with upgrades and new Windows 8 installs, visit http://pensacolacomputers.com . We provide computer service and repair in the Pensacola Florida area for small businesses and home users

 04 Sep 2012 @ 7:19 AM 

With access to the final RTM version of Microsoft Windows 8, I just had to get a computer that would handle the wealth of new features. Although Windows 8 will not be available pre-installed on new hardware before October 26th of this year, I did a good bit of searching before I settled on the new A720 27″ IdeaCenter all-in-one computer. The A720 according to Lenovo is built for Windows 8, and includes full 10 point multi-touch (most current touchscreen all-in-ones have 2 point touch) which is amazing to see in action (try the piano app for one!). The A720 I got also has an intel third generation i5 processor, 6 GB of RAM, built in tv-tuner, Blue Ray, Bluetooth and HDMI in and out.

I figured I would try doing an upgrade to the pre-installed Windows 7 so that I would be able to take advantage of some of the pre-installed Lenovo apps as well as perhaps having an easier time with drivers etc. I am still not sure this was the best route to take as I did have to do a bit of tweaking to get everything to work. According to the Lenovo website, they recommend uninstalling most of the pre-installed applications, but I only uninstalled a few that I knew would have issues, such as the basically worthless Mcaffee security software.

The actual installation I will cover in a future post, but for the most part, it was quick and painless, and certainly a much quicker upgrade installation that previous versions of Windows I have done. Once I got the correct drivers updated and installed, I began to play around with the Windows 8 interface using the native touchscreen. While I had previously installed Windows 8 on a few machines, none of them had touch and I hadn’t been able to really see the wonders of a touchscreen with the Windows 8 interface.

Using touch on the Lenovo A720 is fluid and easy, and the Windows 8 charms menu seemed much easier to use with a flick of a finger. Pinching and zooming was also a thrill that most people are used to on their smartphones, but never get to use on their computers. I have found that there are many times that I just don’t want to use a keyboard now, especially when browsing the web. With the use of the touchscreen and the built in speech recognition that has been part of Windows since Vista, there are many things that I can now do without need of the keyboard, and for those times when I do need one, I can always use the on screen keyboard if needed.

This isn’t to say that I want to type a long article or document using the onscreen keyboard, and despite the much improved accuracy of speech recognition, the old school part of me does have the need to keyboard it when writing an article (perhaps it is part of the whole ‘process’ of writing), but the A720 with Windows 8 does have me using a keyboard much less. The new Start page (there is no more start button on the desktop, much to the dismay of many), is actually pretty cool with its live tabs and views that give you a quick insight into things like your email, news, weather, social media etc. I am not sure whether I can use it fully as a replacement of the start button, so I have made my own sort of workaround by writing a small script which copies my start menu items to a folder on the desktop every time I logon, then by adding desktop to the taskbar I have a working kind of start menu that gives me quick access to my programs as well as common folders etc.

Windows 8 is a wonder to behold in many ways, and while I think that most people will not see a huge difference between it and Windows 7 (except for the start menu issue), there are plenty of features that I really like including the new task manager which really has undergone a fantastic evolution, as well as the new and improved Windows Explorer which now features the Microsoft Office type bars instead of the old menu driven system.

Windows 8 is very quick to boot up, and pretty darn responsive in multi-tasking and web browsing, although I do find myself using the desktop browser pretty much exclusively due to the inability of the app browser to use plug-ins (although that feature may certainly save a lot of grief for those who click too much and get viruses malware often).

The Lenovo A720 is definitely a fine choice for the Windows 8 Experience, and I will follow up soon with posts on the installation/upgrade as well as some feature focuses.


Windows 8 comes out to the public on October 28th, but if you have purchased or will purchase a machine with Windows 7 on it between  June 2 and January 31st 2013 you can qualify for the Windows 8 upgrade offer with which you can get upgraded to Windows 8 Professional for $14.99 here in the US

For questions about the upcoming Windows 8, or upgrade information for local Pensacola Florida businesses and home users, please visit: http://pensacolacomputers.com for contact information. We have been working with Windows 8 throughout the development cycle and can help you migrate, upgrade or start out fresh with Windows 8.

 26 Aug 2012 @ 6:25 AM 

Once again it is hurricane season with an imminent threat looming over the gulf coast. It is time to prepare for the storm and this includes protecting our valuables including our data as best we can. One of the often overlooked things in the rush to evacuate or stay and ride out the storm (not advised if evacuations are recommended) is the protection of our technology, our computers and most importantly the data stored on them. Having a good backup plan is extremely important as today we often have irreplaceable and important data stored on our computers.

For both business and home users, it is recommended to have a two stage backup plan in force at all times, this includes an on-site removable backup device as well as online backup storage. Keeping a full backup of your computer on a removable hard drive is the best way to ensure a quick recovery in case of disaster as you can store an image of your entire computer on a backup drive. If you are running Windows Vista, Windows 7, or have Server 2008 (R2), there is a Windows Backup program that will make an entire image of your computer for you. If you are still running Windows XP, you can get a third party backup tool, such as Acronis to help you create a computer image backup. You should also have online backup, such as Carbonite, or IBackup as a second line of backup. Online backup will help give you piece of mind should anything happen to your on-site backup, but it is not recommended as your only backup due to the time involved in restoring everything (downloading an entire computer’s worth of data from the internet can take a very long time!).

The best case scenario in case of a hurricane is to take your computer with you, however this is not always practical, and in the case of businesses almost impossible. For businesses it is recommended to move or remove your servers if at all possible before the storm. For computers that must be left behind, it is recommended that both the power and ethernet cables be removed before a storm to prevent electrical shocks from entering the systems – this is true for all electronic devices as well! Also, if the systems are in an area that could possibly be effected by roof leakage or flooding it is recommended that if they cannot be removed, that they are set up off the floor and covered with a water barrier such as heavy plastic bag or tarp.

Having good backup plans as well as equipment protection plans in place is the best way to ensure the safety of your data, and when it comes to irreplacable data, multiple backups are always recommended.

For questions regarding backup systems and backup plans, visit http://pensacolacomputers.com

 25 Aug 2012 @ 3:03 AM 

Microsoft’s Windows 8 has already been released to manufacturers and developers and is scheduled to be released to the general public and for sale on new computers as of October 26th. Windows 8 brings a wealth of new features and better security to the PC as well as tablets. Optimized for touch screens, Windows 8 is a pretty big departure from previous versions of Windows and make take some getting used to. We have been using Windows 8 throughout it’s development cycle and have been playing with the final release version now for over a week and it is impressive.

Starting with the new Start Screen (there is no more start button), Windows 8 brings us live tiles and apps that provide a live link to web content in a full screen app. We were really impressed with some of the start up apps such as Weather, which brings together a wealth of information in an easy to browse format. Also included in Windows 8 are 2 versions of Internet Explorer 10, a full screen one that runs from the app screen (but does not include support for plug-ins) and the normal desktop mode. We found that while the full screen app version does provide both excellent speed and rendering, the lack of plug-in support made us switch to the desktop version quite frequently – this will of course depend upon your own personal browsing habits, but we tend to use quite a few sites that require plug-ins on a regular basis.

Under the hood there have been quite a lot of changes to optimize the Windows experience, both from a performance and a security standpoint. Gone is the resource hogging Windows Aero (which provided the cool transparent windows borders, but also taxed the system), and Windows now sports many updated features including a new Windows Explorer and a much improved task manager. Windows also comes with much better default security and privacy features that offer a much higher level of protection than previously.

Coming in the following weeks will be providing a wealth of info on the new Windows 8 including some galleries and specific hardware review.

For any questions on the upcoming Windows 8, including information on Windows 8 installation and Windows 8 upgrades, please visit http://pensacolacomputers.com

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