Major upgrades to Windows client and server platforms introduce extensive changes both on the surface and under-the-hood, down to the very core of the operating systems. It’s no wonder then, that the installation of new service packs can be prevented by programs designed with the specific purpose of safeguarding the platforms’ integrity.

Early adopters deploying the Beta of the first Service Pack for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 can experience installation problems if they are running security software on their computers. According to Microsoft, the issues can affect Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta when testers attempt to have it integrated on top of Windows 7 RTM and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM on computers where Microsoft Security Essentials or Microsoft Forefront Client Security are already installed. More »

The latest routers, security suites, and software patches can help protect your PC against today’s ever-more-sophisticated Internet attacks.

These security tools are easy to install, easy to maintain, and provide the average PC user with basic protection against viruses, botnets, Trojans, rootkits, and other types of malware.

Keeping your PC secure goes far beyond convenience it can protect you against significant financial loss. That’s not hyperbole: according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2009 annual report (available from the IC3 site), Internet crime losses more than doubled through 2009 to more than U.S. $559 million!

But it’s not hard to provide a reasonable level of basic security for any PC. For average PC users, the basic rule for keeping PCs secure has not changed  keep it simple, keep it up-to-date.

The WS Security Baseline summarizes the latest reviews from trusted computer test labs. The current status of these reviews will be periodically updated on the Security Baseline page at Pctipsbox.com. More »

On October 22, 2009 Microsoft reached the final milestone of the Windows 7 release schedule, namely general availability. Customers worldwide have already started embracing the product, buying 234% more boxed retail copies of Windows 7 since the official launch compared to the first few days after Windows Vista GA. The NPD Group took into consideration only sales of Windows 7 through the retail channel in the US in order to note that Windows 7 retail sales were outpacing those of Vista, but it’s likely that actual sold licenses of the latest Windows client are more than reported by NPD, taking into account the fact that the platform is available pre-installed on OEM computers, as well as offered for download through online outlets such as Microsoft Store.

Windows 7 guarantees a completely revolutionary UX for users upgrading from Windows XP, and evolutionary, as Microsoft itself has put it, for those that migrate from Vista. Either way, the latest edition of Windows brings a consistent range of enhancements that set Windows 7 apart from its predecessors. Assessing the value associated with the innovations introduced in Windows 7 certainly leads to recommendation lists with more than seven items.

Users will find that some of the new Windows 7 features and capabilities will come into focus more than others. Without having this aspect become a representation of the value they will bring to end users, there are things that customers will want to try ahead of anything else. Below is a list with seven of them, although in all fairness, users that will actually keep count will find that the limit of seven items “might” not have been respected entirely. More »

The final version of Microsoft’s Security Essentials (codename Morro), the basic security solution the Redmond company is working on delivering for Windows, is expected to become available in a matter of weeks, at least this is what the software giant announced on Sunday in a note sent to beta testers. The MSE solution should come to the company’s client as the replacement for Windows Live OneCare, which will end its life cycle as soon as the new security software arrives.

“The final version of Microsoft Security Essentials will be released to the public in the coming weeks. If you are running the older version of the beta (1.0.1407.0), we encourage you to upgrade to a newer version of the beta (1.0.1500.0),” is what Microsoft reportedly said to the participants to its beta testing program. Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 beta went live officially on June 23 this year, and we’ve already seen a series of updates leaked on the web and made available for download.

According to some estimations there are more than 400,000 beta testers for Morro out there, with 75,000 people downloading the Security Essentials during the first day of public availability, thus allowing Microsoft to reach its aimed number of testers in only a day. The final version of Microsoft’s new security solutions is expected to come to Windows users for free, offering them an alternative to paid antivirus software in case they are unable to purchase such a solution. More »

Contrary to some of the stories circulating in the more excitable sections of the media millions of PCs didn’t suddenly blow up following the much-anticipated reactivation of the Conflicker C virus on April 1st. In fact, at the time of writing nothing much seemed to have happened and the world moved on to more important matters. Nevertheless, this virus, and its ilk do present an ongoing threat, especially for PC owners who do not keep their security software and Windows Updates current. By the way, if you have any concerns about Conflicker C and malware in general and you think your PC may be infected I wouldn’t ask Google. I typed in ‘Conflicker C Removal’ a couple of days ago and the first three hits all led to websites carrying the virus!

If you have been lax with your security updates then your best bet is to download the free Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, which scans your PC for Conflicker and a raft of other nasties, but in the end the best way to avoid becoming infected is to install a decent anti-virus program and regularly sweep your PC with cleaners like AdAware, A-Squared and Spybot.

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