Tech Talk #25 – May 14, 2016

One of your biggest security threats doesn’t come from Internet criminals or online identity thieves. It comes from you and your out-of-date software.

 

The folks who write the programs we run on our computers spend more time on how their program works and looks than they do on security. Internet criminals know this and spend lots of time finding security in flaws in popular programs.

 

Java, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Reader are programs just about everybody has on their computers, so the criminals look for security vulnerabilities in these programs – and others – and then figure out ways to exploit those vulnerabilities.

 

As the bad guys figure out vulnerabilities and exploits, the folks that originally wrote the software go back and re-write the weak parts and release security patches and program updates for their product. To help keep your computer safe, you need to apply these program patches and updates. With hundreds of programs on your computer, it can be a real pain to keep all of your program updated.

 

Luckily, Secunia Personal Software Inspector (Secunia PSI) can do the job for you. This free software monitoring utility can compare the programs on your computer against a list of more than 3,000 programs in its database and let you know which of your programs need to be updated. It can even do the updates for you. When a program can’t be updated automatically, Secunia PSI will show you a link to get the update.

 

To get the program, Google Secunia PSI and download it from either the bleepingcomputer.com or MajorGeeks.com search results. Double-click on your downloaded PSISetup.exe file and finish the installation. For most people the default settings will be fine.

 

 

Coloring folders

Have you ever looked at your Windows desktop and wanted to make a folder stand out by changing the color of the folder? Maybe by putting all your money-related files in a green folder and the pictures from last winter in a white folder? No? Well, some people DO want to color their folders. If you’re one of the folder-coloring people, try Folder Marker Free. Google Folder Marker Free then download and install it, just right-click on the folder you want to color (or change the icon for) and choose Mark Folder.

 

If you’re running a Mac, there are way too many ways and programs to change your icon colors depending on your version of OSX. I honestly got a bit of a headache trying to sort it out.

 

 

Windows 10 – where’s the Accessories folder?

If you’ve looked for the Accessories folder in Windows 10 but couldn’t find it, don’t worry. It’s still there, but it’s called Windows Accessories now. All your old favorites like NotePad, Clipping Tool, Paint, and Sticky Notes are still there, plus Windows Accessories is the new home Internet Explorer, too. Look for it in All Apps on the Start menu.

 

 

Running old MS-DOS games on modern Windows

In the beginning, there was MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System). And we played games, cool games. At least when the boss wasn’t looking. Well, what if you want to dust off some of those floppy disks and play an old (game) friend?

 

First, a bit of history. MS-DOS was the only PC operating system most of us used until Windows 3.11 came along in late 1992. From then until September 2000 all versions of Windows were built on MS-DOS.

 

With the release of Windows XP, Windows was now built on the Windows NT codebase and only included an “MS-DOS virtual machine” – the famous NTDVM – this continued in all versions of Windows until Windows 7. Windows 7 32bit would still run true DOS programs, but Windows 7 64bit couldn’t run DOS because the NTDVM not included.

 

Windows 7 64bit, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 all completely lack any capability to run true MS-DOS programs.

 

But, but, but, how am I going to play Castle Wolfenstein, Prince of Persia, or Doom? Relax. Go to https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary_msdos_games , click on the game you want to play, and they’ll do a DOS emulation right in your browser and you can play any game they’ve got on the site. No downloads, nothing to buy, nothing to install.

 

And if you’ve got an old DOS-based business program you need to run, give the DOS emulator DOSBox program a try.

 

 

Whyizzit?

Facial recognition software can pick a person out of a crowd, but the vending machine at work can’t recognize my dollar bill with a bent corner.

 

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at greg@tech-hachapi.com.                                                                                                                        

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