29Dec15 – DoctorLaptop’s Tech News and Trends

Please remember, I am working thru the holidays and available for repairs and services, except New Years Eve night after 6pm!

Patch now! Adobe releases

Emergency Security Updates

for Flash Player

The Hacker News

The Adobe Flash Player just said goodbye to the year with another bunch of vulnerability patches. Adobe released a security update on Monday to address 19 vulnerabilities in its Flash Player. The programming loopholes could be abused to execute malicious code (from a malicious Flash file on a web page) on victims’ computers in order to hijack an unpatched PC or Mac entirely. If you are running the Flash Player plugin on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Chrome OS, it is time for you to upgrade your system as soon as possible. Upgrade your machines to the following patched versions of Flash Player:

  • Flash Player versions and for Windows and Mac users.

  • Flash Player version for Google Chrome

  • Flash Player version for Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10

  • Flash Player version for IE 10 and 11 on Windows 8.x

  • Flash Player version for Linux

Flash has been plagued with stability and security issues for years which is why it has a poor reputation with developers. This is the reason Adobe plans to kill Flash Player and re-brand it as Adobe Animate CC. This will become Adobe’s premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content as that replaces Flash content.

Full article at: http://thehackernews.com/2015/12/adobe-flash-security-update.html


Amazon’s Fire TV Stick

This is a great little device. Plugging into an available HDMI port on most TVs, it makes available the growing world of IPTV services. However, Amazon’s little device has a trick up its sleeve. Being Android based, Fire TV Stick can run a much wider array of apps and services than Amazon offers through its regular on-screen interface. Of particular interest is Kodi, which together with a vast array of plugins offers access to all the latest movies, TV shows and live sports most people could ever need.

News of just how special the Fire TV Stick/Kodi combo can be has been traveling fast in the past few weeks, particularly in the UK. The first signs that something might be going on came in early December when even for Prime customers Amazon started advising that delivery for Fire TV Sticks was not the usual ‘next day’, but was actually nearer two weeks.

In case you missed it, Amazon banned Kodi from its store in the summer over piracy concerns but with the official APK plus adbFire and a loader like FireStarter, the software runs like a dream on Amazon Fire TV Stick. Read full article here: https://torrentfreak.com/did-pirates-clean-out-amazon-fire-tv-stock-in-the-uk-151229/


Pirate Bay Taken Down, Again

The Pirate Bay lost all of its active “Hydra” domain names this morning. ThePirateBay.LA, .GD, .MN and .VG were suspended by their registrar, alongside several other TPB related domains. The domain troubles make the site hard to reach through the usual channels, but The Pirate Bay still has some backups… Read more at: https://torrentfreak.com/registrar-shuts-down-pirate-bay-domain-names-151228/


Windows 10 Mobile tablets are really something.

Yes, you read that right — Windows 10 Mobile tablets.

Chinese manufacturer Sunty World has made these new devices official, and they come in screen sizes of 7 and 8 inches. Going by the name of Q72 and Q82, these are low end machines with modest specifications, and are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, with 4G LTE connectivity.

Imagine a video chat using these! (Heads up: WhatsApp is introducing Win 10 Mobile video chat very soon! Info link below.)

Anyway, here are the hardware specifications for the Q72:

  • Screen: 7-inch IPS LCD with 1280×800 resolution
  • Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 (MSM8909) processor
  • RAM: 1GB/2GB
  • Storage: 8GB / 16GB onboard (plus microSD support up to 32GB)
  • Cameras: 2MP rear, 0.3MP front-facing
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G LTE, USB 2.0
  • Battery: 2800mAh
  • Colors: Grey, blue and pink

The dual SIM Q82 offers the same specifications as the Q72, except for some minor changes:

  • Screen: 8-inch IPS LCD with 1280×800 resolution
  • Camera: Optional 5MP rear
  • Battery: 4000mAh

    These are not the only two devices that Sunty has announced. The company showed also off a new 5-inch Windows 10 Mobile smartphone with a 5MP rear camera and interchangeable rear shells, complete with a number of different color options.

All these three devices will become available before the end of the month, though pricing and availability details have not yet been revealed.

See more on Win 10 Mobile Tablets: http://www.windows10update.com/2015/12/7-and-8-inch-windows-10-mobile-tablets-are-here/

See more on WhatsApp video calls here: http://www.windows10update.com/2015/12/whatsapp-video-calling-coming-to-windows-phone/

Happy New Year Y’all!!!



19Dec15 – DoctorLaptop’s News and Tips

Be sure to tell your friends to subscribe to my blog to stay well informed. Thanks!

Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 nag screen: Upgrade now, or upgrade tonight

By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for Hardware 2.0 , with [edits by DoctorLaptop in brackets]

Microsoft is at it again with the Windows 10 upgrade nag screens, with the latest one giving users of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 the option to “upgrade now” or “upgrade tonight.”

I like Windows 10 and I think users should seriously consider taking advantage of the free upgrade while it’s on offer, [but only if they are absolutely sure their computer is Win 10 capable and all drivers are available, check the manufacturer’s website for info regarding their model’s Win 10 status and also do some research on Google regarding other user’s attempts to upgrade that model]. But what I don’t like is the aggressive (or at the very least, overzealous) way that Microsoft is pushing the upgrade to users.

InfoWorld has a screenshot of the latest upgrade prompt being presented to users.



To the average user it looks like they only have two options available: Upgrade now, or tonight. However, the more tech savvy users would probably assume they could use the “X” in the top-right of the box to dismiss it without making a choice, and they would be right. In fact, this is advice that Microsoft offers Windows users on its Safety and Security Center portal.

This is the latest in a series of Windows 10 upgrade nags that Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers have been subjected to. This is the sort of nag screen I’d expect from a shady website or sketchy adware installer , not an operating system, and it makes me uncomfortable to see Microsoft going down this road.

If Microsoft were to add a “not now” and a “no thanks” option to this prompt then I’d be fine with it, but in its current format it has clearly been designed to push users into upgrading by not offering them a clear way to opt out. It’s an older-than-dirt sales trick (known as The Assumed Sale), that makes out that the deal is done, and all you have left to do is choose the color of the car you’ve bought.

I’m at a loss to explain why it’s being used. Is it a company being overenthusiastic about its new product? Is it the marketing people being given too much say in how the upgrade is being pushed? Or is it desperation arising from the fear that bold targets set before Windows 10 was released won’t be met

Users who want to get rid of the Windows 10 upgrade nag screens can use the third-party utility GWX Control Panel to block these prompts. [You will need to check the GWX settings after all Win 10 updates as some will reset all your Security Settings!]

How to switch from PC/Windows to a Mac as painlessly as possible

Planning to make the switch from a Windows PC to Mac over the holidays? Here’s what you need to know.

-Before making the move

-Windows apps won’t run on a Mac

-Moving your data across from your PC to the Mac

-Accessories and non-Windows style connectors

-Learn a few keyboard shortcuts and new keys

-Right-clicking on a Mac

-How to CTRL + ALT + DEL on Mac

-Running Windows on your new Mac

-Backing up your data (frequently) on Mac, manditory on Macs as many repairs require an OS re-install!

Read the full article here: http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-switch-from-pc-windows-to-a-mac-as-painlessly-as-possible/

How bad sellers on eBay (and elsewhere) get great reviews!

You can buy great reviews online! For $5, people will review (in any way you want) a product/book/etc. See it here: https://www.fiverr.com/categories/online-marketing/writing-reviews/#layout=auto&page=1

Changes to UK copyright law will soon mean that you may need to take out a license to photograph classic designer objects even if you own them.

That’s the result of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which extends the copyright of artistic objects like designer chairs from 25 years after they were first marketed to 70 years after the creator’s death. In most cases, that will be well over a hundred years after the object was designed. During that period, taking a photo of the item will often require a license from the copyright owner regardless of who owns the particular object in question.

Read more here: http://www.newsforage.com/2015/12/uk-citizens-may-soon-need-licenses-to.html

Windows 10 Trends and Tips

If you are using a 3rd party backup program on Win 7 or 8, be sure to keep a backup copy of that program’s installer. Some of these backup programs have updated to new versions THAT CANNOT READ THE OLD VERSION’S BACKUP FILES!!! When it comes time to move data from those old backups to a new system you can install the old backup program you saved (in Win 10 you may need to use Compatibility Mode to do this) to allow the transfer of the old backups as a new version of the backup program may be unable to do this.

-I am seeing a lot of comments on the techie blogs that persons who have done the Windows 10 Upgrade have found their old data deleted! It is supposed to automatically be copied onto the System Drive (usually the C: drive) in a folder named windows.old. Yet this sometimes fails. So be sure to have complete backups of your data onto an external memory device before doing the upgrade.

-Some Win 7 & 8 users are claiming they awoke to find the Windows 10 Upgrade installed on it’s own, even after users had declined or delayed the offer. Other users claim this happened to them despite having installed special programs to prevent the Win 10 Upgrade. What’s worse is that many of these computers now converted to Win 10 had either failed to fully complete the process and became unbootable, or were missing drivers for essential functions like USB, wifi and Bluetooth. Even worse is if the video driver fails, that essentially bricks the unit forcing you to manually re-install the old operating system.

-If you have Win 10 installed and change any security settings,or use a 3rd party program like GWX to control all the security settings in one window, be aware that any new Win 10 updates you do may reset the security settings to their default despite the program you installed. You will need to open that program and restore all the settings to the way you wanted them.

Beware when buying memory cards and USB flash drives on-line.

On-line stores, and especially E-Bay sellers, have been reported for selling counterfeit memory cards and drives. These will be labeled as major brands (Toshiba, Kingston, etc.), in large sizes, 32 to 128Gb; in reality you get 2 Gb.

Happy Holidays To All, and remember, I will be working thru the holidays, available to do setups, installs or otherwise solve your tech issues!

Reminder, my Clean and Tuneup any computer for 30euros Special runs thru the end of December. Does not apply to heavily infected units, those with hardware problems or showing error messages.

Feliz Navidad









12Dec15-DoctorLaptop’s Tips + Specials

I repair what others can only replace!
I repair what others can only replace!
12Dec15-DoctorLaptop’s Tips + Specials
-Angry IP Scanner, a free program allows you see all the devices on your wifi, including moochers. It can’t stop them but then you know it’s time to change the wifi password. Find video tutorials on YouTube for changing wifi passwords on specific models of routers/modems. Ex: search YouTube for “change wifi password Cisco-WN1200 router”. Remember you are changing the wifi logon password, not the router/modem login passsword. Use WPA or WPA2 security, and not WEP in the Security Settings.
Get Angry IP Scanner here, for Win and Mac: http://angryip.org/download/#windows
-Special Deal, December 2015 only
Clean, tuneup and optimize any computer, 30euros. Does not apply to heavily infected units or those with hardware problems or displaying error messages. Those require a repair.
-New Service! Test drive Win 10 on Your Computer Without Losing Your Current System!
I now have a bootable USB2 external hard drive with Windows 10 installed. If you want to see if your computer is Windows 10 capable and what it will look and feel like, bring it over and we will boot your computer from my external drive and see how well it handles Windows 10 without disturbing your current system. This is the most reliable way to see if your computer will run Windows 10 successfully, and if you need any 3rd party drivers (some do, some don’t). Then we check to see if those drivers are availabe yet. For older Win 7 original comps, many times the USB3/Wifi/Bluetooth drivers for Win 10 are not available yet, or possibly ever. 20 euros, takes about 40-60 mins. to set up and check all features are working.

06Dec15 – DoctorLaptop’s News

The End of Flash Player

For many years Adobe Flash facilitated slick graphics and animation on games, websites and applications, but it has grown old and is being retired. Of course, Flash has been plagued with various stability and security issues, which is why developers grew to hate the technology. So now it’s time to say goodbye to Adobe Flash, and welcome Adobe Animate. However, on closer examination we find the new replacement, Adobe Animate, very similar to the old Flash, and still prone to security breeches. Adobe has officially announced that “over a third of all content created in Flash Professional today uses HTML5,” so the company is acknowledging the shift in formats with the new name. Animate just looks like an update to the Flash Professional software. It will still support Adobe Flash (SWF) and AIR formats, along with other animation and video formats, including HTML5 canvas, 4K and WebGL output.

Free Windows 10 Security Settings Control Tool

Win 10 security feature settings are distributed in many different places making it a huge chore to turn off all those you don’t want running. This tool places all the settings in one easy to navigate screen making this chore much easier.

W10Privacy is without doubt one of the most comprehensive privacy-focused tweaking tools for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. Recent updates introduced new tweaks and support for changes introduced in the November 2015 update of Windows 10. The program creates a system restore point on start, and displays tweaks in tabs named privacy, telemetry or OneDrive that reveal their focus and are color-coded for easier access. Green preferences are recommended and have no side-effects usually, while yellow and red tweaks need to be checked out individually before they are applied as they may have side-effects and may even affect the system negatively. Read more and get the program for free at: http://www.winprivacy.de/english-home/

Love Chrome Browser But Hate The Targeted Ads, Data Collectors and Trackers? Want A Fast Browser For Secure Daily On-Line Purchases/Banking? Then EPIC Browser Is For You!

I have been testing out the new version of the EPIC WEB BROWSER, and am quite pleased. Very secure and free, the way the internet was supposed to be. It is Chrome with all the bad Google data tracker stuff removed and several premium security features added in. “One-click to surf via Epic’s encrypted proxy” to hide your IP address and to encrypt your browsing. It also serves as a USA based VPN. Your searches are private in Epic. When you visit any of the world’s leading search engines in Epic, your searches are automatically routed via proxy to prevent search engines from saving your searches by your IP address. This provides privacy protection against network snoops like your employer, your ISP (internet service provider), and governments. Please note that while installing Chrome plugins is possible, these may leak your actual IP address; for stronger IP protection, either don’t install any plugins or set them to “click-to-play” in Epic’s settings.

Visit the Epic website for more info:


New Ransomware Steals Your Passwords Before Encrypting All Your Files

Introducing the new upgrade to the World’s worst Exploit Kit – Angler, which lets hackers develop and conduct their own “drive-by attacks” (tech talk for “when a website infects you”) on visitors’ computers with relative ease. Often these traps are hidden in pictures in adverts on an infected website, and you don’t even need to click on them to be infected, simply visiting the site can activate them. So now many poorly-secured websites, or those selling advertizing space to unscrupulous clients, are targeting Windows users with a new “Cocktail” of malware that steals users’ passwords before locking them out from their machines for ransom.

Here’s How the New Threat Works:

Once the Angler exploit kit finds a vulnerable application, such as Adobe Flash, in a visitor’s computer, the kit delivers it’s malicious payloads, according to a blog post published by Heimdal Security. The First Payload infects the victim’s PC with a widely used data thief exploit known as Pony that systematically harvests all login usernames and passwords stored on the infected system and then sends them to servers controlled by hackers. This allows attackers to obtain working logins for a number of websites, e-commerce sites, and even corporate applications, from which the hackers could steal more data. The Second Payload drops the widely-used CryptoWall 4.0 ransomware that locks user files until the ransom is paid.

The campaign is “extensive” and originates from a secure hosting environment located in Ukraine, the researchers say. Over 100 web pages in Denmark have been “injected with the malicious scripts…” Ransomware attacks hit thousands of Internet users every week, and costs them a total of $18 Million in losses, according to the FBI. Moreover, a recent report dated back to last month suggested that the Cryptowall family alone has managed to raise over $325 Million in revenue in the past year alone.

Once your system gets affected by Cryptowall 4.0, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do, as the encryption the ransomware uses is very strong.

So, the only options you are left with are:

-Format your hard drive, re-install system and restore your data from the backup.

-Pay the Ransom money for the decryption key. 300-1500 euros (in Bitcoin e-money only) is typical.

However, I don’t advise anyone to pay ransom as it doesn’t guarantee that you will actually receive the decryption keys. These are criminals after all, and besides, it only encourages them.

Where Does It Come From?

Most malware and viruses are introduced by clicking on links usually contained in spam emails, or by opening attachments from unknown sources. So, DO NOT CLICK on any suspicious link provided in the emails and attachments from unknown sources.

How Can I Avoid It?

Simple answer: The easiest to use program that provides any real degree of protection from this threat is Hitman Pro Alert with Cryptoguard. This easy to install program recently went thru a transitional updating, and while there were some stability problems earlier this year and I recommended avoiding it, it is once again stable and reliable. But it is no longer free. Get it here: http://www.surfright.nl/en/cryptoguard

Malwarebytes Anti-malware (MBAM) claims their “pro” version can offer some protection against Cryptowall, yet I have worked on PCs running MBAM that were still infected with Cryptowall. They all had failed to get this additional tool Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit (MBAE). So while MBAM remains a great malware removal tool and anti-virus, I would not consider it a Cryptowall blocker unless you are running both MBAM + MBAE.

Detailed answer (Danger! Geek-speak ahead): The best defensive strategy is a comprehensive approach…make sure you are running an updated anti-virus and anti-malware product, use supplemental security tools with anti-exploitation features capable of stopping (preventing) infection before it can cause any damage, update all vulnerable software and routinely backup your data. You should also rely on behavior detection programs (also called heuristics)rather then simple anti-virus definition (signature) detection software only. Most of the major anti-virus programs now incorporate this feature, but you need to activate it. Look in your anti-virus program’s settings for HEURISTIC ANALYSIS, and turn it on. Heuristics can detect when malware is in the act of modifying/encrypting files rather than just detecting the malicious files.

For example, Emsisoft Anti-Malware uses advanced behavior blocking analysis which is extremely difficult to penetrate…it continually monitors the behavior of all active programs looking for any anomalies that may be indicative of malicious activity and raises an alert as soon as something suspicious occurs. Emsisoft also has the ability to detect unknown zero-day attacks without signatures. ESET Antivirus and Smart Security uses Exploit Blocker which is designed to fortify applications that are often exploited, such as web browsers, PDF readers, email clients or MS Office components.

Ransomware Prevention Tools:

Backing up your data and disk imaging are among the most important maintenance tasks users should perform on a regular basis, yet it’s one of the most neglected areas.

Related Resources:

Note: Some security researchers have advised not to to use multiple anti-exploit applications because using more than one of them at the same time can hamper the effectiveness of Return-oriented programming (ROP) and other exploit checks. This in turn can result in the system becoming even more vulnerable than if only one anti-exploit application is running. (source, http://www.bleepingcomputer.com)






01Dec15 DoctorLaptop’s Tips #44 Computer Shopping, Win 10 Pre-installed, Tablets, More…

Rule: Always google the exact make/model number and read up on any gadget you are considering buying. Read some independent reviews and some user feedback. If the model has problems people will have posted complaints. For example, google “Toshiba C50 + problems” to see if it has known issues.
Rule: Beware “loss leader” bargain priced items. The are usually either older items that sat in a warehouse for 2yrs(a long time in computer terms), or are of low quality construction (flexing displays or keyboards, weak hinges, thin plastic frames, etc).

Windows 10 Computers Now Hitting the Market
Just in time for holiday shopping, computers with Win 10 pre-installed are available on line and in some shops. I suggest anyone shopping for computers avoid the marked down Win 8.1 units. They won’t be a bargain if the dreaded Win 10 update, that you will be pushed into, fails! Pre-installed Windows 10 is well worth any extra cost unless you plan to have a clean install of Win 10 done (wipe the hard disk of all data and start fresh) on a bargain priced Win 8/8.1 unit. The benefit of a clean install of Win 10 is the elimination of all “bloatware” rubbish programs and apps they load into all manufacturer loaded operating systems. I will now do a clean install of Win 10 (Enterprise version, top of the line) onto any computer that was originally Win 8/8.1 for 75euros, 25% off the previous rate.

First Thing To Do After You Setup Any New Computer, Win or Mac
The 1st time you start your new computer you will be taken thru the setup process. Once this is completed the next thing to do is make a Recovery USB Flash Drive. You or your tech can use this to recover from a variety of problems or to reinstall the system should that be necessary. Buy a 16Gb flash drive for this.
In Win 10 it’s easy, watch this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UzphLuk5II.

In Macs it’s a bit more complicated, directions here: http://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac-software/create-mac-flash-recovery-drive-for-emergencies-3499802/

Tablets: Windows 10 vs iPads vs Android
If you are considering buying a tablet be aware that Windows 10 tablets are available. If you are a Windows user and have never used Apple PCs or smartphones before, I suggest you stick with Windows. The Apple user must be dedicated to learning new names for functions and different ways of doing common tasks, plus the manditory constant updating and backups. Apple is more than an operating system, it is a lifestyle. Android tablets use a linux style operating system, similar to Android smartphones. If you love your Android smartphone then an Android tablet may be for you. In any case, go to some shops and have any tablets you are considering demonstrated for you. See how you find the web browser, check email, watch TV, etc. See how you connect the wifi. If it looks too confusing, keep shopping.

Change Spanish Win 10 to English? No problem!
Windows 10 supports changing the default language! You no longer need to be concerned about the default language when you buy a computer — if you prefer to use a different language, you can change it at any time. Here’s how: http://www.howtogeek.com/232659/how-


Happy Holidays to All !!!