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Small Business Saturday 2016

For Small Business Saturday 2016 we have a great deal for you…

Small Business Saturday 2016Small Business Saturday 2016 is our first ever Black Friday/Small Business Saturday event ever!  Here’s what we have for you this year…


Webroot Antivirus

As you may have read in our recent blog post and brief informational page, we have partnered with Webroot to bring you the best possible antivirus solutions.  And now, it’s on sale, for a short time!

Small Business Saturday 2016 Deal

Visit our Small Business Saturday 2016 deal page for a limited time only to get all the details and take advantage of this offer!

Antivirus Software – A Computer Security Article

There’s hundreds and hundreds of choices for antivirus software, which should you choose?

Antivirus SoftwareMost people have heard of antivirus and have the basic understanding that it keeps you safe – but how?  Not only that, but we’ve all been told we need antivirus software – but why?  Let’s look at a few scenarios and factors and help you (and your data) stay safe.

What does antivirus software really do?

Most antivirus programs work by getting daily updates of programs that are known to be bad or malicious – these are known as ‘definitions’.  The definitions use what is essentially the program’s fingerprint to identify it.  When antivirus software does a scan on your computer (usually scheduled once a day overnight) it compares every program and file on your computer against this definition list.  If there’s a match it will notify you and remove the threat.  On top of those scans, some antivirus programs perform what’s called ‘real time scanning’.  Real time scanning scans every program you run and every file you open on-the-fly against the same definition list.

By combining these two scan methods most antivirus programs can keep you pretty safe, but it’s not perfect.  We’ll be covering more Computer Security topics in the coming weeks.

What do you mean ‘pretty safe’?

Well, just that.  There’s other things we’ll be covering soon but specifically to antivirus: these two scanning methods aren’t always enough.

New threats come out daily, even hourly, and the definition files simply can’t be updated all the time.  Remember that the definition files use a programs fingerprint, so if a new threat appears then someone has to be the guinea pig and get infected.  Unfortunately it can take thousands of infections before the threat is even realized.  From there the antivirus company then has to identify the threat, add it to the definitions, and push out an update.  This all takes time, all the while the infected users are completely unaware, and the threat is doing it’s work stealing data and corrupting your important information.  Sometimes, depending on the threat, by the time an antivirus provides sends out an update the damage is already done.

You may have heard the term ‘zero-day threat’ – if not, then you now know what it is.  It’s a threat that has had no fore-warning, no prediction – but the designer has found a weakness and is exploiting it as quickly as possible to do as much damage as possible before the weakness is corrected.  Real time scanning cannot protect against this, as it’s all dependent on definitions which only get updated after the threat has been identified.

The big names in antivirus

The first thing that comes to mind is probably Norton and McAfee.  Sorry to say, but they’re not all that great.  One or the other probably came pre-installed on your computer, or you can get it for free from your Internet provider or work.  But that doesn’t make it good!  For the most part they do their job, yes, but at what cost?

First, they can be very intense on your computer.  The program files are usually VERY big which means they use a lot of memory while they’re running – which means your other programs will most likely run slower.  This slows down whatever you’re doing for the name of security – but this sacrifice isn’t necessary.

Second, they can be quite annoying.  As part of their tactic to show you how much you need them they tend to alert you to every little hiccup.  While this may give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing that the antivirus software is doing it’s job, it can get annoying and be intrusive.

Finally, as we humans are a visual species, we tend to like shiny, pretty things.  A lot of antivirus programs have flashy colors, big popups, fancy symbols and logos – all these bells and whistles to make it look appealing.  Sorry, but a fancy interface doesn’t affect the protection it’s providing.  Not only that but, as mentioned above, all these extras just slow your computer down and get in the way.

You get what you pay for

As with most things, you get what you pay for.  There’s a few great free antivirus solutions out there that I’d recommend if your budget calls for it, but good antivirus is actually pretty inexpensive.  I won’t even mention them here because I’d really really advise against them at all costs.

Recommended antivirus software

I always recommend Webroot.  I don’t recommend them because I’m partnered with them – I’m partnered with them because I recommend them.  Webroot still uses definition-based scanning BUT it adds a whole new aspect… If Webroot sees a program on your computer that it doesn’t recognize it will allow it to run, but it watches it like a hawk and tracks everything it does.  If it sees something fishy going on it will lock down the program, alert you, and undo any changes.  This process makes you the most protected against zero-day real time threats.

Not only that, but the definitions it uses never need to update because they’re all managed in the cloud.  When Webroot releases new definitions you have them immediately, so you’re always protected.  Best yet, Webroot installs and scans, typically, in under a minute or two.  It’s so small and so lightweight you won’t even know its there.  Speaking of not knowing it’s there, most remediation is done silently, behind the scenes.  No pop ups, no questions, no prompts (unless you choose to turn them on, or Webroot isn’t 100% sure).

To me the best antivirus is the one you don’t even know is there – no popups, no bells and whistles, no computer slow-down.

Webroot Antivirus Software

Please contact us for more information if you’re not already protected!

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How to get Internet Explorer in Windows 10

The new Microsoft Edge browser is great, but you can still get Internet Explorer in Windows 10.

Internet Explorer in Windows 10Some websites and programs require you to use a specific browser for various reasons.  I see this most commonly with banking and college or university websites.  It’s hiding, but yes, you can still get Internet Explorer in Windows 10.  Here’s how!

Why the change?

Internet Explorer came pre-loaded on most Windows computers starting Windows 95.  Over the last 20 years it’s grown and evolved as most things do and they’re now on version 11 which was released in 2013.  Internet Explorer was often shamed and disliked due to some performance issues, slow load time, and lack of features.  It’s because of this track record that, with the release of Windows 10, Microsoft built an all-new browser, Microsoft Edge, from the ground up.  Microsoft Edge features a fresh look, some great new features, and – most importantly – it’s much more responsive than Internet Explorer.  But, as you’re about to read, Internet Explorer still has it’s place.

Internet Explorer 1
Internet Explorer 1.0, circa 1995. Credit: Wikimedia
Internet Explorer is still needed

Most websites recommend a specific web browser to ensure the content displays correctly.  Believe it or not, but it is possible for the exact same website to look completely different from one web browser to the next.  That said, according to HTML5test.com, Internet Explorer is only about 56% with most current websites.  But, it’s still needed by a lot of people, especially in the business world.  Why?  I’m glad you asked.

The Microsoft Windows operating system is, and has been, the most common PC operating system – currently accounting for about 90% of all computers.  As we just learned Internet Explorer has come included with Microsoft Windows since 1995.  So, this is why: Website developers and computer software programmers wanted to make things that would just work and display correctly to as many people as possible.  Since 90% of people have Windows-based computers, all of which have Internet Explorer, then programming for Internet Explorer made the most sense.

There’s another reason for it though, and this is one of the main reasons it’s still needed today.  Internet Explorer is essentially part of Windows and built-in, so it can do things other web browsers simply can’t.  Through Windows, Internet Explorer has direct access to most of your computer’s physical hardware.  The most common need for this I’ve run into myself is with businesses that have check scanners to deposit checks to their bank from their own office.  When the user logs in to their bank’s website the website needs to directly access the check scanner for security – in most cases, this can only be done with Internet Explorer.

Alright, so how do you get Internet Explorer in Windows 10?

As I said, it’s still there, but it’s hiding – Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get to.

  1. Open your Start menu and, without clicking anything else, simply start typing “iexplore”.
    • Alternatively, you can use the Cortana search bar if you have it enabled.
  2. You’ll see a search result with the Internet Explorer icon with the option “Run command”.  Click it, and voila, there’s Internet Explorer.
    Internet Explorer in Windows 10
  3. If you plan to use Internet Explorer frequently, you can right-click it’s icon in your taskbar and choose “Pin this program to taskbar” so it will always be at your fingertips.
    iexplorepintotaskbar
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How to get the Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10

Nothing against the new Windows 10 Photos app, but the classic Windows Photo Viewer is a lot better.

Windows Photo ViewerThe Windows Photo Viewer from Windows 7 and 8 is my favorite photo-viewing program ever.  It’s fast, easy to use, and sleek.  When I upgraded to Windows 10 I discovered it was no longer available, so I set out to get it back.  Here’s how you can too!

If you upgraded from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1
  1. From your start menu choose “Settings” (the gear icon) – this will be near the bottom left edge of the start menu by default.
  2. On the settings screen choose “System” – this should be the first option.
  3. On the left-hand menu choose “Default apps” – this should be near the bottom.
  4. Under the “Photo viewer” headline you will see your current default photo viewer.  Click this to see a list of options to choose from to change the app.  If you upgraded from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 you will see Windows Photo Viewer listed here.
    Windows Photo Viewer
  5. Close the Settings screen and that’s that!  Photos should now open in the classic Windows Photo Viewer.
If you purchased a new computer with Windows 10 pre-installed

(…or if you performed a complete reload from scratch and went straight to Windows 10)

Windows Photo Viewer is still there and lurking in the background, but it’s hidden.  This process takes a little more work to make it available, but it can be done relatively quickly.

  1. Open Notepad on your computer – the easiest way to find it is to simply open your Start menu, type “notepad,” and select it from the search results.
  2. Highlight the following code and copy it (CTRL+C) then paste it (CTRL+V) into Notepad.
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\open]
    "MuiVerb"="@photoviewer.dll,-3043"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\open\command]
    @=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\
    00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,72,00,75,00,\
    6e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,22,00,25,\
    00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,73,00,\
    25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,50,00,68,00,6f,\
    00,74,00,6f,00,20,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,5c,00,50,00,68,00,\
    6f,00,74,00,6f,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,\
    00,22,00,2c,00,20,00,49,00,6d,00,61,00,67,00,65,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,\
    5f,00,46,00,75,00,6c,00,6c,00,73,00,63,00,72,00,65,00,65,00,6e,00,20,00,25,\
    00,31,00,00,00
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\open\DropTarget]
    "Clsid"="{FFE2A43C-56B9-4bf5-9A79-CC6D4285608A}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\print]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\print\command]
    @=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\
    00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,72,00,75,00,\
    6e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,22,00,25,\
    00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,00,65,00,73,00,\
    25,00,5c,00,57,00,69,00,6e,00,64,00,6f,00,77,00,73,00,20,00,50,00,68,00,6f,\
    00,74,00,6f,00,20,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,5c,00,50,00,68,00,\
    6f,00,74,00,6f,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,\
    00,22,00,2c,00,20,00,49,00,6d,00,61,00,67,00,65,00,56,00,69,00,65,00,77,00,\
    5f,00,46,00,75,00,6c,00,6c,00,73,00,63,00,72,00,65,00,65,00,6e,00,20,00,25,\
    00,31,00,00,00
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\photoviewer.dll\shell\print\DropTarget]
    "Clsid"="{60fd46de-f830-4894-a628-6fa81bc0190d}"

    NOTE: It is crucial that you copy and paste the above code exactly and make no modifications to it, otherwise you may experience errors.
    You should now have something that looks like this:
    Windows Photo Viewer

  3. Select the File menu and choose “Save As…”  Save the file in a location that’s easy to find, your desktop would be perfect.  You can name it whatever you like, BUT you must add “.reg” to the end of the name.
    You should have something that looks like this:
    Windows Photo Viewer
  4. Save the file, then close Notepad.
    On your desktop, or wherever you chose to save the file, you should have this icon:
    Windows Photo Viewer
  5. Double-click this file.  You will get one or two pop-up windows confirming that you want to merge this code in to your Windows Registry.  You’ll want to choose to allow these prompts.
    Windows Photo Viewer
  6. Now there’s two places we need to set the Windows Photo Viewer as the default.
    1. Through the Control Panel:
      1. Right-click on your Start menu button to open the context menu (this will look different than your normal Start menu) and select “Control Panel.”
      2. Ensure your Control Panel is set to “Small icons” using the drop-down near the top-right.
        Windows Photo Viewer
      3. In the alphabetical list, choose “Default Programs.”
        Windows Photo Viewer
      4. Now, choose “Set your default programs.”
        Windows Photo Viewer
      5. Find “Windows Photo Viewer” in the list, select it, then choose “Set this program as default.”
        Windows Photo Viewer
      6. You can now close this screen.
    2. Second, you must also set Windows Photo Viewer as the default through the Windows 10 Settings menu.
      1. Follow the “If you upgraded…” process at the beginning of this article.
        • If you do not see “Windows Photo Viewer” as an option for the Photo viewer app that’s okay, you can skip this step then and close the Settings window.
    3. This third step may only be needed by some people, depending on the exact version and updates of Windows 10 you have and what other software you have installed.
      1. If you open a photo and it opens in the wrong app…
        1. Close the app that opened the photo.
        2. Right-click on the photo and select “Open with…”
          • If this opens a sub-menu, choose “Choose another app.”
        3. A list will pop up title “How do you want to open this file?”
        4. Choose “Windows Photo Viewer” from this list.  If you don’t see it, click the “More apps” link at the bottom of the list.
        5. Finally, click the checkbox at the bottom of the screen for “Always use this app to open .___ files” and click OK.
          Windows Photo Viewer
  7. This is a longer process, but, that’s it!  Photos should now open in the classic Windows Photo Viewer.
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Something Happened Blog

Something Happened BlogThe Something Happened blog is where we can share news, ideas, and recommendations with you. We’ll also cover technical topics and provide training from time to time.  Most of our blog articles will also appear on our Facebook page, so feel free to follow us there if that works better for you.

Right now it’s hard to say what we’ll be sharing, but we can say that we’d like to post a few times a week – enough to keep you up to speed, but hopefully not so much as to bug you.  If there’s anything specific you’d like to learn about or would like us to share let us know and we’ll work it in to our blogging schedule.

Thank you all for your interest and support.