The History of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems

MS-DOS

The very first Microsoft operating was released in August 1981, that’s right back to the typewriter days! Bill Gates and Paul Allen released “MS-DOS” which is the abbreviation of Microsoft Disk Operating Systems just 6 years after forming Microsoft. It was supported by the x86 platforms and could run of just 1MB of memory! The design was very basic it had just a command line interface where you could type in various different commands.

Microsoft Windows

Windows 1.0


After MS DOS, the next Windows operating system to be shipped out by Microsoft was Windows 1.0. This was released in 1985 just 2 years after it was announced. Windows 1.0 at the time was a more user friendly interface, instead of typing MS-DOS commands users were now able to use the mouse and click different “windows” as quoted by Bill Gates to navigate around the operating system. This operating system was the first to also release programs already installed which are still on the very latest operating systems today, such as Paint, Calculator and Notepad!

Windows 2.0

The Windows 2.0 operating system was released at a pinnacle time for Microsoft as this was their latest operating system when they became the world’s largest software company based on their sales figures. This operating was a more advanced to the previous 1.0 version, it was designed with improved graphics, multiple windows and keyboard shortcuts to make working a whole lot faster. The birth of control panel was also implemented with Windows 2.0.

Windows 3.0

This version of the windows operating system was designed with more technical elements put into place. Features such as File Manager, Print Manager and Program manager and also for the very first time you could customize the colour of your interface through 16 different colours. Windows 3.0 was programmed to be compatible to the latest processors and memory making it run a lot faster.

Windows NT

This was a strange move by Microsoft as this was an operating system which they had started from scratch, some say it was more of an experiment for office environments and it would prove crucial to the continued advanced products by Microsoft.

Windows 95

This was introduced by Microsoft as the whole new online world of Internet and emailing was born. Windows 95 was a 32bit operating system which had built in internet support and various other internet capabilities. It was able to run of a maximum 8MB of RAM, available in a CD-ROM format and also was available in 12 different languages.

Windows 98

Windows 98 was to be the last operating system based on MS-DOS, the main improvement was the ability to run and close programs more quickly and also capabilities with reading DVD disks and USB devices.

Windows XP

At the time in 2001 when first release little did Microsoft know that this operating system would be one of its best selling products in the coming years. The speed was as quick as it has been, the security awareness to protect the system from corrupt attachments and viruses, digital programs such as windows media player and movie maker. This at the time was the best piece of software around and it was compiled with 45 MILLION lines of code!

Windows Vista

Personally this isn’t my favourite windows operating system; I find it takes up a lot of memory. The best thing about Windows Vista is it’s more advanced security settings, since released in 2006 it was known at the time as the strongest security system yet. The biggest improvement with this OS is again the security and the improved graphics for the digital programs.

Windows 7

At the end of the late 2000s a new era of wireless connection started becoming popular, people could go and sit in a café which has wifi and browse the internet. Microsoft decided that they would program an updated version of windows XP which would benefit users who use wireless internet frequently. Fun fact; before it’s release Windows 7 was tested by around 9 million beta testers!

Windows 8

Finally, the latest operating system which looks like something from the future. Windows 8 was released late last year and many people were excited to see what Microsoft had to offer. Many people found that the windows 8 operating system was mainly designed for touch screen devices and not as effective on a desktop. The security was not as effective as let’s say vista, maybe that is something Microsoft will work on for the next operating system?

Windows 8.1

For the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft went back to it’s roots and gave everybody back the start button that had been missing. They also updated all security features.

Password Storage Tools

In this day and age people have what seems like hundreds of passwords. One for their computer, one for their tablet and one for their phone. And then one for Facebook, one for Twitter, Hotmail, Gmail, work etc. It can all get a bit much if you’re constantly having to remember which email addresses go with which password.

It’s also not prudent to simply reuse the same password for everything. Imagine, if someone cracked one of your passwords, they’re going to try that password for every other account you have. That’s not a good thing to happen as they’ll be able to access everything.

There are some great programs out there that can keep track of your passwords for you, and you only need to know one password. Programs such as LastPass also offer a great password generation addition to their site so you can create some powerful passwords for all your critical accounts.

You can also create an extra secure password for LastPass and even use two factor authentication for your passwords with LastPass. This adds an extra step, in effect two passwords, that are required to gain access to a program or website. LastPass will store one and you will have to remember the other.

They offer this because there is no truly bulletproof software out there. For every genius trying to create uncrackable software, there are other genius’ dedicated to cracking that software. Two Factor authentication will protect you if your LastPass is ever compromised.

So, the choice is up to you if you want to use password storage tools or not. But I’d recommend if you do, then make sure to use two factor authentication.

New Computer This Christmas? Stay Safe With These Top Tips

So you’ve started the new year with a new computer. Lucky you, but if you want to make the most of your computer then you need to make sure to look after it. Here are some basic tips to help you keep your computer secure and running smoothly.

Turn On Automatic Updates

I know this will get on the nerves of every computer user, none more so than Windows users. Windows are always releasing updates and they can take a while to install sometimes. What you want to be able to do is have these updates install automatically. This will help keep your computer not only up to date with the latest software, but it can help tighten up security too.

Find an Antivirus & Update it Daily

Security is a big business these days so no doubt your computer will already come with an antivirus trial installed. The good news is that you don’t have to stick with this antivirus and can remove it. Usually the antivirus pre-installed isn’t the best, they’ve just paid the computer manufacturer to be there. So once you’ve uninstalled it you find a new antivirus. Which program you choose is completely up to you, but I do recommend having one and updating it daily.

Remove Unused Software

This ties in with the last point a little bit. When computers are released, other tech companies pay these computer manufacturers to have their software pre-installed on the models that get shipped out. It is just another form of advertising and is often referred to as “bloatware”, because it bloats up your system when you don’t need it. Removing this software will not only free up system resources, but if you open an old version of one of these programs accidentally, you could have a security issue.

So stay safe with these tips and get the most from your new computer.

Precaution measures to take when outsourcing laptop repairs

The modern laptop is a great business tool, as these days you can carry out most of the functions that you can on a desktop computer but with the added bonus of being able to use them on the move. Choosing the right laptop, as with everything, is vital to ensure you can use it for everything you want to, but the effective running of it means regular maintenance. Even if you take all the precautions that you can such as virus prevention software and carry out regular cleaning both inside and out, your laptop will inevitably run into problems at one point and you will need to source a laptop repairs company unless you have someone in house trained to do so.

Sourcing a company to fix something you don’t understand, and few people know the inner workings of their beloved laptops, can be intimidating in the same way as buying a car; how do I know if their taking advantage of my ignorance, so there are a few precautions to take when outsourcing laptop repairs:
Ask around for recommendations.

Nothing beats first-hand experience and so even if this is your first time outsourcing laptop repairs, you may well know someone who does this already or has done in the past. Ask about companies they have tried, and get an idea of which you should consider and which you should avoid like the plague.

Get the person with the most knowledge of laptops and laptops repairs within your company, or even just someone you know and trust, to talk to companies you are considering. If they are ‘talking the talk’ and clearly understand what is being said, companies will feel much less able to try and full any sort of fast one with you, whether that’s including repairs that aren’t necessary or saying a job will take longer than it will.

Have a company lined up to carry out any laptop repairs in advance instead of waiting for a problem before finding one. This means that you will have more time to find a company you trust and feel comfortable as well as check for references, instead of being in a rush to find someone, anyone, to get your laptop going again; you won’t be held to ransom on time.

Cyber Criminals looking for Ransomware “Kit”

Computer Security Firm Sophos have suggested that cyber criminals might be looking to produce Ransomware kits En Masse.

Ransomware is traditionally a piece of software that will lock down your computer and then charge you money for it to stop. It’s very hard to remove but it can be done by professional computer technicians.

It’s a form of extortion as people who are unaware of the intricacies of their computers will fall prey to this by installing software that they think is something else? An example of this is when people are trying to watch videos online and are prompted to download software to watch the videos.

These websites are malicious and are simply trying to get you download the software any means. Then, once the software is installed, it will take control of your computer and you won’t be able to use it.

They’ll then prompt you to visit a website and buy an anti virus or an unlock code or whatever they want to name it. Until you do this you won’t be able to use your computer.

The good news is that Tek Squad are experts in this type of removal as we’ve demonstrated with the infamous U Kash scam. This is one of the more prominent scams that has been in the news over the years.

These new “Ransomware Kits” are a bad sign then as anyone will be able to get one of these kits and install it on your computer. You’ll need to invest in some antivirus software to make sure you’re protected.

 

Is advancing of technology better or worse for computer repairs

Technology moves at an intimidating speed, and it can be very disconcerting to find that as soon as you’ve become proficient in a kind of standard software, that it’s been updated and you have to learn how to use all of the new features. You can see the speed of development just by thinking about the kind of computer games that were popular 5 years ago compared to now; games are more complex, graphics sharper, images more realistic, and there are systems that can detect your movements and record them as well. Most technology is moving at this speed even if it’s less obvious, including desktop computers and laptops.

Laptops were once baby computers and so whilst they were very mobile they were an additional piece of technology alongside a desktop computer. Mobile technology and internet is one of the fastest developing areas of technology, and so it is for this reason that a laptop is now a fundamental piece of technology, often able to do everything a desktop can. Desktop computers are now able to do more as standard, instead of only carrying out the most basic of functions, with anything more complex only being on the bigger more expensive computers. Processors are faster, memories are bigger, and there is much more choice available, but what does this mean for computer repairs? Does the additional complex nature of computers these days mean that computer repairs are harder and/or more expensive?

Not necessarily, because as computers have advanced, as has the usability; it is much harder to break your computer these days with the press of one button. Computers are designed for everyone these days, and so they are designed to be fool proof. They are also designed to be durable and so they are not nearly as fragile as they once were; screens are tougher and parts more protected, making it harder to break the exterior parts of a computer.

There are also more ways to protect your computer, specifically against viruses. There is free, easy to download virus protection software available on the internet, as well as affordable ones on a disk. You can keep your computer safe much more easily, eliminating the need for a repair to start with.

Computer repairs can be carried out by yourself more, due to the sheer amount of information out there. The internet is full of guides on how to fix simple issues with your computer or laptop, and there are literally hundreds of books as well as loads of short affordable courses.

The more elaborate nature of computers may make you think that repairs will be harder to carry out, but technology also gives you a helping hand.

Windows XP Support will End in April 2014

Windows XP was, in its day, the best operating system out there. It was speedy, safe, productive and seemed such a solid piece of software. In fact, in October almost a third of all computers were still using Windows XP.

As ubiquitous as it was loved, Windows XP has been one of the most popular Windows systems of our generation and will probably go down as one of the most well liked of all time.

When Windows Vista came out, which was meant to be a more advanced version of XP, it just didn’t cut it with Windows fans. Compared to the solidity, speed and security of XP Vista just didn’t work out.

Alas, technology moves on and Windows XP, despite being every inch as dependable and secure as it used to be, was eventually overtaken. It was Windows 7 that eventually took over from XP as the banner bearer of advanced operating systems.

Microsoft repaid their faithful fans with the speedy and responsive Windows 7 after the poor performance of Vista. Windows 7 became very easy to use, with such features as windows that “snap” i.e. fit exactly half of the screen if you move the windows to the left of the right.

It was the success of Windows 7 that really started to drive out Windows XP. With Windows 7 doing so well, less and less updates were released for XP and soon, will cease completely.

On the 8th of April 2014, the eldest member of the Windows Operating system will have it’s support system turned off. That’s not to say that XP will stop working, but support will be dropped for it.

So, if there was a widespread virus affecting XP computers, there would be no update from Microsoft to fix it. You could remove the virus, but your computer will forever remain vulnerable until you upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

So make sure you upgrade your computer before April.

 

Precaution measures to take when outsourcing laptop repairs

The modern laptop is a great business tool, as these days you can carry out most of the functions that you can on a desktop computer but with the added bonus of being able to use them on the move. Choosing the right laptop, as with everything, is vital to ensure you can use it for everything you want to, but the effective running of it means regular maintenance. Even if you take all the precautions that you can such as virus prevention software and carry out regular cleaning both inside and out, your laptop will inevitably run into problems at one point and you will need to source a laptop repairs company unless you have someone in house trained to do so. Sourcing a company to fix something you don’t understand, and few people know the inner workings of their beloved laptops, can be intimidating in the same way as buying a car; how do I know if their taking advantage of my ignorance, so there are a few precautions to take when outsourcing laptop repairs:
Ask around for recommendations. Nothing beats first-hand experience and so even if this is your first time outsourcing laptop repairs, you may well know someone who does this already or has done in the past. Ask about companies they have tried, and get an idea of which you should consider and which you should avoid like the plague.

Get the person with the most knowledge of laptops and laptops repairs within your company, or even just someone you know and trust, to talk to companies you are considering. If they are ‘talking the talk’ and clearly understand what is being said, companies will feel much less able to try and full any sort of fast one with you, whether that’s including repairs that aren’t necessary or saying a job will take longer than it will.
Have a company lined up to carry out any laptop repairs in advance instead of waiting for a problem before finding one. This means that you will have more time to find a company you trust and feel comfortable as well as check for references, instead of being in a rush to find someone, anyone, to get your laptop going again; you won’t be held to ransom on time.

Common Computer Repair Tips

Almost everyone owns their own computers these days. As day follows night, the more computers you have, the more likely you are to experience a problem with one of them. A lot of people new to computing and computers can fear the worst as they have little experience with laptops and can think their device beyond repair.

Do not despair though, there are plenty of common computer repairs you can make yourself. These simple tips can help you repair your own laptop computer.

Turn your Computer Off and On again.

This is the oldest and by far the most effective way of applying a quick fix to your computer. If your computer is running slow and applications keep crashing, then restarting your computer could help. Reason being, when you restart your computer you restart everything. So if an application has crashed, causing your computer to run slow, this will also be restarted and your computer will be fine when you load it back up.

Run a Memory Test

A littler trickier to pull off but definitely worth it if you’re running into problems with your computer. Beware though, executing a memory test can take some time so make sure you have a cup of tea handy. To run a memory test open your start menu on Windows and search for “Diagnose Windows Memory Problems”. A window will pop up and you can run a memory test from there. You may need administrator access for this. This will then run tests on your Hard Drive and RAM modules. It should be able to fix most errors but if not then you could need a laptop repair.

If you’ve tried these common computer repair tips and still experiencing issues with your computer or laptop, Get in Touch.

Can you Only Get a Virus on Windows?

Whenever you’re embroiled in a debate about software, hardware, brands or any one of the myriad subjects of computers, there is one point that always seems to crop up.

“I don’t use Windows, I can’t get a virus.”

You might have heard this yourself from one of your friends who uses Linux of uses MacOSX. You might even have used the platforms yourself and it is indeed rare to hear of a machine running one of those pieces of software, encounter a virus.

But is it a virus? Do you need your laptop repaired? Or is it a false alarm and you simply need to restart your computer? Lets explore:

MacOSX

Pretty much all viruses and other malware is designed with Windows in mind. That’s because Windows enjoys a hefty market share, so there are a lot more computers you can infect with your software. As Windows has always retained a pretty straightforward system, before the revolutionary Windows 8, the structure hasn’t changed enough to discourage people who want to design malware from specifically targeting Windows.

In reality however, Macs have a host of security features that stop you from infecting yourself. For example, you will have to manually disable a security feature that stops you downloading suspect software, to download potential viruses. This is most common when downloading pirated material.

The main security feature of Macs is the App Store. Programs are apps just as much as apps are programs. The fact that Apple have added them all to their servers and verified them before letting them be downloaded from the app store ensures that no malicious software actually exists in the app store itself.

Macs also have a feature called Xprotect. This software application is present on macs to specifically monitor viruses and malware. It does this by having access to a constantly updated list of blacklisted software. If any of the software on the blacklist tries to be downloaded, then Xprotect will step in and stop it. A nifty feature.

Despite all these protective measures and the air of invulnerability, Macintosh computers can still get infected on a large scale. Up to 650,000 devices became infected by malware known as flashback. Proving that even if you do have a Mac, you aren’t invulnerable and could need a virus removing from your system.