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Welcome to the PC-Advice Newsletter

In this Issue


Welcome to the PC-Advice Newsletter

Welcome to the October edition of the PC-Advice Newsletter. This month I will be covering the end of Windows 98, information on broadband access, and the Blaster worm.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like covered, or have any specific questions then please email editor@pc-advice.net

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Good-Bye Windows 98

As from 1st July 2003 Windows 98 was no longer a fully supported product from Microsoft. If you have a problem and need to contact Microsoft then we are afraid they'll charge for support up front. This decision follows announcements over the last few years to retire Windows 95 and other Microsoft products. More information on this can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;en-gb;lifewin98 and a full description of which products are current can be found at www.microsoft.com/lifecyle.

It seems like only yesterday when there were people queuing outside PC World at midnight buy it and raving about all the new features that it had, with the promise that it would improve our computers and make life a lot easier. It was '98 that introduced USB devices that worked, internet connection sharing and support for dynamic web pages.

You might be wondering why Windows 98 only got 5 years of life.  Well it was never really designed for businesses but rather for home use. The corporate world got Windows NT4 which looked very similar but was more stable, and this became Windows 2000 and then XP.

If you are running Windows 98, do you have to do anything? Well yes and no. Microsoft would love you to rush out and buy a copy of Windows XP and upgrade, but to put XP on a machine that you have had for 4+ years is probably a waste of time and money.

You can keep running Windows 98 on your machine, but just make sure that you have new Anti-Virus software, as there will be no new software coming out from the big companies for Windows 98. Also make sure that you have visited Windows Update and your system is fully up-to-date.


Broadband

Here in Edinburgh there are 2 types of Broadband access, ADSL and Cable. These two systems provide the same features, but with limitations of who can get which type. For ADSL you must be within a certain distance of an ADSL enabled exchange, and for Cable you must be in an area where Telewest have dug up your streets and laid cables.

To find out which is available in your area you can enter your postcode into HERE for Cable, and HERE for ADSL.

Cost for both are about the same, and tends to be about 25 per month. There are charges for installation, which tend to be from 50 for Cable to a few hundred for ADSL. There are various offers on all the time, which range from free installation to money off your first month's rental.

There are lots of features of a broadband connection that can be useful. First you no longer need to tie up a phone line. Secondly connection a lot faster and you stat connected all the time. Thirdly the capacity for downloading is faster and greater.

If you would like to get Broadband then please contact us as we are both Blueyonder Broadband and Zen Internet Partners Agents as well as working with other ADSL providers. We can help you choose the correct package as well as save you money on connection.


Blaster Worm

The Blaster Worm (also referred to as the Lovsan, MSBlast or Poza viruses) as been causing a lot of trouble over the last few weeks. Unlike most current viruses simply having the latest virus protection is not enough. The reason is that it exploits a weakness in Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows NT in a way that allows free access to your system. Microsoft was aware of this problem and even published a fix over a month ago.

To patch an XP system simply go to Windows Update and install all the current patches. Over the last few weeks I have seen XP systems with no patches and no updates. These systems are critically vulnerable, and can get infested in seconds, resulting in the system shutting down on its own after 30 seconds. At this point the system needs patching before it next goes online, otherwise it will simply get re-infected in seconds.

If you need more information or assistance on any of the issues raised in this newsletter then please contact us at support@pc-advice.net.


Latest Trivia

Tom Lehrer's "The Elements" with animations, the periodic table to a familiar tune.


Disclaimer

The contents of this newsletter are for information only. The views expressed are those of the editor on the date of publication and reflect the current state of technology at that date.

This document may not be distributed without the permission of the editor unless it is complete and without alterations of any kind.

 

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Updated: 07 Oct 2003

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