Category: Software

Recent Update Causes Problems with Office 2010 Starter Edition

Recent Update Causes Problems with Office 2010 Starter Edition

The only time Microsoft ever offered a free version of Office was when they offered Office 2010 Starter Edition. It was only available on new computers. It was supposed to be a limited version of Word and Excel and it was going to include advertisements in it. However, it didn’t really work out for Microsoft and since then they have not offered a free version of Office.

If you have Office 2010 Starter Edition, then due to a recent update from Microsoft, you may have difficulty opening your Word and Excel files. If you double-click on a Word or Excel file to open it, you may get a window telling you that you have to purchase Office. It makes you wonder if Microsoft did this on purpose to try and rake in some lost income on that free version of Office. Luckily, this is a very easy problem to fix.

What has happened is that you have both the Starter Edition of Office, and the free trial of the full version of Office. The recent update told Windows to open Word and Excel files with the full version instead of the starter edition of office. But your free trial of the full version of office has expired, so when you try to open it, you get a window telling you that you have to purchase Office. To fix this problem, all you have to do is tell Windows to use the Starter Edition of Office instead of the full version. You’ll have to do it twice. Once for Word, and once for Excel. Here’s how.

Find a Word file. Any Word file. Instead of double-clicking on it, right click and choose “Open With” and then click on, “Choose default program”. You will get a window listing programs. Click on “Microsoft Office Client Virtualization Handler”. Your Word file will now open. Now find an Excel file, any Excel file, and do the same thing. From now on, when you double click on a Word or Excel file, it will open using the Starter Edition, as it should.

Office 2013

Office 2013

Recently, Microsoft released Office version 2013. In case you forgot, Office is the name of the set of programs that includes software like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and so forth. Office comes in different editions that include different combinations of these programs.

Microsoft office does not come with Windows. So if you are planning to purchase a new computer, you should be aware of that. If your new computer has Windows 8 on it, then you can use Office version 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013. If you are interested in purchasing Office 2013, you should be aware that it will only work on Windows 7 and Windows 8. It doesn’t work on Vista or on XP.

What’s new in Office 2013? For starters, it has a look and feel similar to Windows 8. No surprise there. Microsoft has been changing everything to have that same look and feel. In addition to that, the biggest change is that Office is more cloud oriented. It wants to save your documents online instead of your local computer. Of course it will save them on your local computer. But it prefers to save them online. As an example, if you have Microsoft SkyDrive installed on your computer and you create a new Word document, when you go to save it, it’s going to want to save it on your SkyDrive. You can, of course, tell it to save it on your computer.

Another difference concerns how Outlook accesses email accounts from MSN.com, Live.com, Hotmail.com, and Outlook.com. Prior to this version, you had to install the Outlook Connector so that Outlook could access these email accounts. The Outlook Connector worked, but it had problems. Now that functionality is built-in to Outlook and works much better.

Although the fixed a few problems, they created a few as well. The biggest problems seem to be with Outlook. Specifically, when you delete an email the display in Outlook often gets messed up. In addition, there are some problems when you are tying a reply to an email. These problems are pretty annoying. If you are an Outlook user, I would recommend that you hold off upgrading to Office 2013.

Should you upgrade? In a word, no. Unless you want or need the more cloud-centric features, stick with your current version.

Purchasing Software

Purchasing Software

When you purchase software, you either purchase it on CD or DVD, or you download it from the Internet. No matter how you get the software, it’s important to keep your media, purchase information, and licenses in a safe place where you can find them because you never know when you might need to reinstall the software.

The hard drive on your computer might fail or you might get a new computer. In those cases, you’ll need to reinstall the software. And for that, you’ll need your media, order info, and license info. When you purchase software on a physical media, it’s pretty easy to save. Keep all of that kind of stuff together in a box, bag, file folder, large envelope, or drawer.

But when you purchase online and download software, it’s not quite as strait forward. I used to print out order info and license info, burn the software to a CD and put it all in a file folder in the filing cabinet. But I don’t do that anymore. Now I have a folder on my hard drive called Software. Under that, I create a sub-folder for each piece of software I purchase. I put everything that has to do with that software purchase in that sub-folder.

When I purchase software and download the installation file from the internet, I copy it into that sub-folder. After I have placed my order, I save it to a text file and save that in that same folder. To do that, all you have to do is click on File and then Save As in your browser. Choose a file type of text. Select the correct sub-folder where you want to save the information and give it a name. Then click OK to save it. There may be some extra information in the text file from the web page, but all of the information you need is there too. If I get an email for the order, I save that into the same folder. The same procedure for saving the email as a text file is pretty much the same as it was for saving the order information.

Saving your information like this only works if you back that information up. My software folder is backed up every night so even if my hard drive fails, I can still get the information.

Microsoft Money

Microsoft Money

Users of Microsoft Money should be aware that Microsoft has discontinued Microsoft Money. As a final farewell, Microsoft released the Sunset Edition of Microsoft Money. This final release of Microsoft Money does not include any of the online features that Microsoft Money had in the past. People with older versions of Money will still be able to get online updates through January 31st, 2011. After that, everyone should upgrade to the Sunset edition. If you don’t use the online updates, you can upgrade to the Sunset edition now.

If you wish to download the Sunset Edition, please use the big hairy link below. Copy and paste recommended.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=60302e1e-207e-4710-ac80-d19c22e47488&displaylang=en

Mirror Your Hard Drive

Mirror Your Hard Drive

When you hear the word RAID, you probably think of the bug spray. Us techno-geeks, however, think of Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. Originally, RAID was invented so that you could put together several small, less expensive disks and make them work as one larger disk which would cost more than the cost of all of the smaller disks combined. Later, RAID was expanded to include other uses. One of those uses is Mirroring.

To perform RAID mirroring, you need to identical hard drives. You set one up to the primary, and one to be the mirror. Everything that gets written to or changed on the primary also gets done to the mirror. The big advantage to mirroring is that if the primary hard drive fails, you can simply boot off the mirror and work like nothing bad every happened. Then  you come back later and replace the failed hard drive and put the mirroring back in place.

Many consider mirroring to be the best type of backup because it automatic and always up to date. However, RAID mirroring isn’t without its problems. For one, it slows down writes to your hard drive a little since it now has to write it to two hard drives instead of one. In addition, some implementations of RAID are buggy. Another problem with RAID is that many computers do not support RAID. Sure you can purchase a RAID controller to install in your computer, but they aren’t cheap.

Luckily, there is an alternative. Bounceback is a software product that kind of does the same thing as RAID mirroring, but without using RAID. With BounceBack, you still have to have a second hard drive, but that hard drive doesn’t have to be identical to your primary hard drive. In fact, it can even be an external hard drive which anyone can install.

BounceBack will create a mirrored copy of your primary hard drive on a secondary hard drive. You can set it to check every few minutes, or every hour, so it’s not always updating. That’s better for performance.  Just like RAID, if your primary hard drive fails, you can boot off of your secondary drive, and continue to work.

BounceBack comes in several different editions including BounceBack Essential and BounceBack Ultimate.  If you just want to mirror your hard drive, the cheaper BounceBack Essential will do the trick. If you want to do more fancy things like synchronize folders between computers, you’ll want to get BounceBack Ultimate.

If you are interested in BounceBack, click on the link below:

http://www.cmsproducts.com/products/backup_software/bounceback/default.html

One important note about all of this. When you backup to another hard drive, or any media, that stays in the same building as your computer, you are protecting yourself against hard drive crashes, but you aren’t protecting yourself against disasters. If your computer and your backup are in the same building and that building burns down, you’ve lost your data. Hurricanes, tornados, floods, war, or burglary can also rid you of your data along with their backups. This is why we recommend that you have a remote backup in addition to having a local backup. For more information about that, see our website at www.ct-cp.com.

By the way, Cyber Tek Computer Pros is not affiliated with BounceBack or CMS products in any way. We just like their product!

Pull Those Software Weeds

Pull Those Software Weeds

Any plant that is in your yard or garden that you didn’t want there is called a weed. By the same token, any software that is on your computer that you don’t want or need, or didn’t install yourself is like a software weed. This unwanted and un-needed software takes up space on your hard drive. If that weed software starts up when you boot your computer, then it’s slowing your computer’s performance down as well.

Most junk software like this gets on your computer in one of two ways. Either it was on your computer when you bought it, or it was installed along with other software or an update to software.

Whenever you update some software or download and install new software, be very careful to read every screen and check all of the options because many times extra software is installed that you didn’t want and didn’t need. Sometimes changes are made to your computers settings you may not have intended. That extra software makes your computer boot up slower, makes it run slower, and takes up storage space as well.

For example, if you download or update Adobe Flash or Adobe Reader, if you don’t deselect the option for installing the Google Toolbar, it will install the Google Toolbar on your computer. If you download or update Java, you might get the Bing toolbar if you don’t deselect that option. Other add-on’s I have seen include the Ask Toolbar, MSN Toolbar, OpenOffice Installer, acrobat.com, Adobe Air, and many more. Thanks to this trend, I have seen people who had 5 toolbars in their Internet Explorer taking up half the screen and leaving little room to display web pages.

Instant messaging programs like AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) or the Yahoo Instant Messenger also will install similar things you don’t want. Many of these will also change your default search provider and your home page if you don’t deselect that option.

Basically, any time you install or update software on your computer, take the time to read the options during the install. Deselect any options for installing toolbars, changing your default search provider, changing your home page, or any other options you don’t want.

If you’ve got software on your computer that you don’t want, you can uninstall it. But make sure you know what you are uninstalling. You wouldn’t want to accidentally uninstall something important. Here’s how to uninstall software from your computer:

Windows XP

1.       Click on Start.

2.       XP Professional only: Click on settings

3.       Click on Control Panel

4.       Double-click on Add/Remove programs.

5.       You will now see a list of software on your computer. You can click once on one and then click the remove or change button.

Windows Vista or Windows 7

1.       Click on the button formally known as start.

2.       Click on Control Panel.

3.       Click on “Uninstall Programs”

4.       You will now see a list of software installed on your computer. Click on one and then click the uninstall or change button at the top of the screen.

Google Taking Over?

Google Taking Over?

You are probably aware that several years ago, Google unseated Yahoo as the most popular search engine. Google has some very popular software like the Google Toolbar, GoogleTalk (instant messaging), and Picasa.

Although Google’s Gmail is very popular (currently ranked #11) and gaining market share very quickly, it’s not yet number one. However, it is consistently picked as the best. And if you look at the statistics, there isn’t a long way to go to get to the top. Yahoo Mail is #1 with just under 10% of the market share , Microsoft is second with about 3.5% while Gmail is at 0.9%. But considering Gmail is still fairly new, that’s pretty good.

Last year, Google introduced their own mobile phone operating system called Android. Android phones are currently only available through T-Mobile much like IPhones are only available through AT&T. Android phones have garnered much praise and are rapidly gaining in popularity.

Last year Google also introduced their own web browser which is called Chrome. Chrome is now being used by about 6% of people when accessing websites. This doesn’t seem like much compared to Internet Explorer’s 40% share. But Chrome is new and it doesn’t come with Windows which gives Internet Explorer a huge advantage. In case you are interested, Internet Explorer is no longer the most popular web browser. This year Firefox passed it and currently has a 47% share of the browser market.

If all of that wasn’t enough, this week Google announced the Chrome operating system (Chrome OS). In case you don’t know, an operating system is the software that provides the user an interface to the hardware. Microsoft Windows is an operating system. Google’s new Chrome OS is in direct competition with Microsoft Windows. No release date has been announced yet, but this should get interesting.

Office Alternative

Office Alternative

Microsoft Office is a product that, depending on which edition you purchase, may include Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and other similar products. But if you have ever priced Office, you know how expensive it is. The cheapest edition of Microsoft Office is the Home and Student edition. It’s only available for residential customers. It generally goes for $150. The professional edition of Office generally goes for $500.

Did you know that there is an alternative to Microsoft Office? No, I’m not talking about WordPerfect Office, although that is an alternative. What I am talking about is OpenOffice.org. The best thing about OpenOfficej.org is that it’s absolutely free! You heard me. Free. OpenOffice.org includes a word processor (like Microsoft Word), a spreadsheet (like Excel), a presentation creator (like PowerPoint), and more.

The one component that is in Office that OpenOffice.org doesn’t have is an e-mail client like Outlook. But, if you don’t care about Outlook, OpenOffice.org might fit  your needs. And the price is right. One of the best features of OpenOffice.org is that it can read files from other office programs. So, for example, OpenOffice.org can open and edit Microsoft Word files.

If you are in need of Office type software and you don’t want to pay a lot of money, give OpenOffice.org a try. If you don’t like it, you can always get yourself a copy of Microsoft Office. But if you do like it, you’ve saved yourself a lot of money. For more information on OpenOffice.org, or to download it and install it on your computer, click here.

By the way, watch out for people who sell OpenOffice. They will come up with names like OpelOffice that sound like OpenOffice to trick you into paying for something that’s free.

Vipre Home Site License

Vipre Home Site License

We are always evaluating new security software so that we can recommend the best for our customers. Right now, that’s Vipre. In the past we have recommended AVG. AVG is still good and we recommend it as well. But Vipre provides slightly better protection in our opinion.

Vipre generally sells for $30/year per computer. You can purchase licenses for longer periods of time (2 years, 3 years) and get a discount. You can also purchase licenses for more than one computer at a time and get a discount. And Vipre Enterprise, for businesses with servers, is a fantastic product.

But there is also a licensing option called the Home Site License. It’s only available to residential customers. For $50/year, you can put Vipre on all of the computers in your home, no matter how many computers you have. If you have 2 or more computers, you save money by getting the home site license. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 computers or 10 computers. It’s just $50/year. A great deal!

If you are interested in the Vipre Home Site License, please contact us.

The Many Faces of Vipre

The Many Faces of Vipre

In case you don’t know, Vipre is security software that provides protection against viruses, spyware, and other malware. We currently recommend it as the best protection available at this time. If you don’t have Vipre on your system, you may want to skip to the next article.

 

If you do have Vipre, you may have noticed that the icon may change color or that a second yellow Vipre icon may pop-up from time to time. Here’s what each of the icons looks like, what they mean, and what action you should take, if any.

 

 Everything is good. No action needed.

 Vipre is scanning your system. If you don’t want it to scan right now, right-click on the green Vipre icon and choose “Scan” and then choose either “Abort Scan” or “Pause Scan”. You may want to adjust the schedule for when scans happen. On Vipre’s overview screen, click on “Schedule Scans” to set or change the schedule. We like to schedule scans during times when we know we won’t be using the computer. For most people, 1am works well.

 

 This means that either Active Protection or E-mail Protection is disabled. To fix this, open Vipre. You will be able to see what is disabled. Click on “Edit Settings” next to whatever is disabled to enable it.

 

 This icon will show up in addition to the regular icon, so you will see two icons. If this icon appears, that means that there is something that Vipre wants to alert you about. Double-click on the yellow icon to see what’s up. If you see that Vipre was not able to update it’s definitions, but later on was able to, just close it and don’t worry about it. You may see that there was some sort of error with the service, but it is now corrected. If so, just close it and don’t worry about it. This icon can also alert you that there is a new version of Vipre available to install. It may also be telling you that your subscription is about to expire, or has expired.

 

It’s very important to pay attention to what Vipre, or any other security software, is telling you. Don’t ignore it or your computer may become infected.

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