There wasn’t a person with Microsoft Surface Pro 3 device in our London Mac and PC Repair service, who would not shed some tears over this investment. People alway complained about the performance, keyboard, responsiveness, but most of all battery. Because it was impossible to use Surface Pro 3 without a power cord being constantly plugged in.

 

Using Surface Pro 3 on a battery was barely impossible.

Multiple users have complained about battery issue in Surface Pro 3. Consequently, Microsoft officially acknowledged it in July. They have confirmed that short battery life is not a fault in accumulators, the actual problem lies in firmware. The firmware prevented the device from charging fully. Is it was detected, that at some point of charging operating system would try to obtain some information about battery status. Seems like this enquiry would for some reason stop the battery from charging.

 

Microsoft finds the solution.

Yet we did not have to wait too long. Just a couple of days ago Microsoft released an update that resolves the issue. The new firmware update allows the battery to charge to its full capacity. Therefore, after a few complete load cycles, the battery regains its ability to hold the charge and Surface Pro 3 becomes usable. You do not have to keep the device plugged in all the time anymore.

 

In order to get this update, you will not need to do anything excessively complicated. It made available through Microsoft Update system. Just go into Settings > Update & security > Windows Update, select Check for updates, and all the latest updates will be installed on your device automatically. You may need to restart your device to complete the update.

A lot of security on your computer happens in the background, without you being aware of it. Midnight Windows security updates, background anti-virus scans, malware resistance, processes monitoring – so-called silent security. Don’t you want to be in control? Don’t you want to know what your computer does to protect you?

The recent studies show that you do not.

A few weeks ago INFORMS, the largest professional society in the world for professionals in the fields of operations research, management science, and analytics, have published an article on a research conducted by Brigham Young University, USA, in partnership with Google. Series of experiments were conducted. The results show that almost 90 % of participants ignore security warnings and other alerts, while we’re busy performing a task. Specifically, 74 % of users ignored security warning that popped up while closing a web browser window, 79 % ignored messages when they were watching a video, and 87 % ignored a pop-up concentrating on a predetermined task.

Researchers claim that our brain does not handle multitasking well. So in order to complete the task things that are irrelevant to the task are being filtered out. If the warnings become increasingly persuasive it will not necessarily result in dedicated user’s attention. Yet, it does result in reduced neural activity, which means loss of concentration and slower performance.

As a result, you are not only failing to complete your task as efficiently as you could. Security that relies on your approval is being disabled as well, as you disregard its notifications.

So next time you curse Windows silent security and its midnight updates – blame yourself. Or, here is a better suggestion: don’t blame yourself. Call us, Bits and PCs, London Computer Repair and IT Support service, and we will take care of your security.

Recently we talked about new USB Type-C interface and conjugated with it hesitation from manufacturers. Yet we see the pioneers who put those fears and hesitations aside and say “Hello, tomorrow!”. One of them is Transcend, who releases a new line of products, USB storage devices with USB Type-C connectors.

 

A leading manufacturer of storage and multimedia products, Transcend, has announced the release of new products. Those products include a wide range of devices: USB flash drives JetFlash 850S and JetFlash 890S, external hard drive StoreJet 25MC, and card readers RDC8K and RDC2K. All devices are equipped with symmetrical USB Type-C port.

 

JetFlash 850 and JetFlash 890S USB Flash Drives

Sealed in metallic casing USB flash drives are well protected from dust and splashes (not quite waterproof yet). Both devices allow data transfer up to 130MB/s. JetFlash 850S is equipped with USB Type-C connector only. However, JetFlash 890S is equipped with reversible USB Type-C connector and a standard USB 3.1 Type-A connector. It is a sensible decision, taking into account the reluctance with which new devices are implementing this new USB Type-C interface. USB Type-A is compatible with virtually any computer or a laptop that has been released in the past two decades and it won’t be going away soon. Most importantly, JetFlash 890S is an OTG  flash drive. OTG (On-The-Go) functionality makes this device usable even on smartphones and tablets.

StoreJet 25MC Hard Drive

Just like JetFlash 890S the new hard drive comes with a reversible USB Type-C and USB 3.1 Type-A connector. The hard drive is packaged into three-stage shock resistant casing. This feature offers a superior protection compliant with U.S. military standards.

RDC8K and RDC2K Card Readers

RDC8K card reader has 4 slots and supports wide variety of memory cards:  including SD cards, microSD cards, CF cards, and Memory Stick (MS) flash cards. Equipped with a reversible USB Type-C and USB 3.1 Type-A connector it is perfect for any desktop and laptop application. Equipped with OTG functionality RDC2K card reader, on the other hand, is designed for use on mobile devices. Additionally, the latter has a USB Type-A port, which makes connecting any USB flash drive and even some devices such as keyboards and mice possible.

 

Recently Microsoft released so-called Anniversary update for Windows 10. For many people, it is still a mystery, as the update is not installed automatically. You will need to fiddle with your computer for a bit to get it. But before we would like to tell you what all fuss is about.

 

What’s new?

You all have probably leant over your laptops and shouted “Hey, Cortana!” in the microphone, asked her about the weather, time, and a couple of other questions. Then you realised that Cortana is rather helpless in anything else apart from telling you time and weather. And that likely was the end of your interaction with this digital personal assistant. However, it is not in Microsoft’s plans to give up on this feature yet. The new update comes with major improvements in Cortana. Now she can perform certain tasks such as sending a person you’ve just finished or a report you wrote last night. It can also add important dates and notifications in your calendar from your recent mail. Or you ask her to add an appointment yourself. If it overlaps with anything you have planned before, she will notify you.

Another feature is that Windows will fetch notifications from your Android phone and display them on your desktop. You will also get notifications if the battery on your phone is low. You can ask Cortana to locate your phone – she will be able to do that as well. All you need to do is to install Cortana Android app.

 

We talked previously how Apple was going to implement fingerprint authentication into their pending upgrade. Well, Microsoft has done it first. Moreover, apart from your fingertips, it may also use a “companion device” for authentication, such as your phone or Microsoft Band.

 

Here’s more. Windows Defender now does not fight with your existing antivirus program and may provide additional protection for your computer. The Start menu has undergone some changes. It has a different design and more space for advertisements on your live tiles. You get more options for visual customization of Windows 10. And finally, Edge now supports add-ons and extensions.

To get the anniversary update you will need to make a couple of clicks

Go to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update then click  Learn more.

From there you’ll be taken to a support page on Microsoft.com that will allow you to download the upgrade assistant, which will take things further in its able hands.

Should you need more advice? Call or visit us at our London Computer Repair Service, Bits and PCs.

CryptXXX Ransomware, probably one of the most dangerous malicious software programs, became even more dangerous. Now it scrambles file names and extensions of encrypted files. Making it impossible to distinguish the files.

CryptXXX has been rampaging since April 2016, attacking Windows operating systems. Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 were targeted. The malicious software encrypts your data. After the encryption is complete the program changes your desktop wallpaper. Instead, a message notifying you about the infection and “kindly” offering you assistance. The assistance in decrypting the files will cost you slightly more than £1000 (2.4 bitcoins).

CryptXXX is not yet able to scan your network for all available shares. However, it will locate mapped network drives and encrypt them. The program does not have an ability to “multiply” and spread all over your network, but will encrypt everything that it can access from an infected computer.

CryptXXX Ransomware recent upgrade allows to scramble file names and extension, killing the last hope of restoring your files for free.

It is known that CryptXXX attempts to delete all shadow copies after infection. Yet this operation is not always successful. The chance is slim, but you could restore your files using shadow backup. Now it may take you ages to locate this file in the first place. This tactic also complicates detection of infection on the early stage, since the filenames are constantly changing. Previously, some security programs were able to look for certain file extensions and file names typically created by CryptXXX in the past and identify the infection. Now this approach is no longer valid.

Unfortunately, there is no way of getting your files back without paying the ransom if you were infected by the latest version of CryptXXX. That is unless you have previously set up a backup of your system. You didn’t have a backup on the moment of infection? We recommend to make an image of your hard drive, format your computer and reinstall Windows, and wait for better times. Refer to your local professionals, such as London Laptop and Computer Repair Service, Bits and PCs, for assistance in setting up  backup, creating an image of a hard drive, or reinstalling Windows on your PC.