Well, after last time I confessed to being an idiot (one or two people were kind enough to disagree!) this time I feel like maybe I’ve been some kind of evil genuis… You see, in the last newsletter I mentioned I’d re-written the page covering security/anti-virus software for Android tablets to use a different app. But I didn’t mention which one.
But it wasn’t a sneaky method to try to get everyone to buy the book, Android Tablets One Step at a Time (or to buy it again, if they had one of the earlier version that covered Norton). I wasn’t being an evil genius, I just didn’t think to mention the name!
So here you are: I used Avast Mobile Security. I’m not saying you should necessarily switch – if you’re happily using one of the others (even Norton, the one I said had become more confusing), then you might as well stick with it. (Which is why I didn’t think to mention which I’d changed it to). But if you haven’t got a security app on your Android tablet and you want to get one, I’d probably go for Avast as it seems to make a bit more sense than some of the others.
Is your Windows out of date… and does it matter?
I’m actually typing this on a PC running Windows 7 – and it does everything I need. So I’m by no means one of these techies who thinks you should upgrade everything as soon as possible.
But recently, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 8 – and this is important because that means they’re no longer bringing out automatic updates for it. And some of these automatic updates were really important because they fixed “holes” that a virus could use to attack your PC.
It’s not a big cause to panic, because it’s only Windows 8 that’s no longer supported – Windows 8.1 is still fine (and chances are if you had Windows 8 it’s already updated to Windows 8.1 anyway).
Some people aren’t happy that Microsoft aren’t continuing to bring out updates for Windows 8 – if you have Windows 8 you need to update to Windows 8.1 (or Windows 10 if you prefer) to continue to get updates. But another way of looking at it is that Windows 8.1 is an update to Windows 8 – so they’re really just saying if you want the updates, you have to have this particular one, or the future ones won’t work.
Anyway, if you’re still using Windows 8 and you haven’t let it update to 8.1, now’s the time to let it go ahead. (And if it hasn’t happened automatically, here’s how to tell your PC to do it)
And if you’re not sure what version of Windows you have, I’ve put together a simple webpage that (for most people) will tell you what version is on your PC. I say “for most people” because if you have certain settings turned off on your PC, it won’t be able to tell you. But if you’re not sure whether you have Windows 8 or 8.1, try this webpage.
What about your Internet Explorer?
Several newspapers have been up in arms, recently, that Microsoft are also stopping supporting old versions of Internet Explorer.
Some papers have even said they’re stopping supporting Internet Explorer completely, in favour of their new browser Edge (this isn’t true at all).
It is true that Microsoft will now only be bringing out updates to the latest version – version 11.
If you have one of the earlier versions, it won’t get updates. And just like with Windows 8, that matters because it means they won’t be fixing problems that could let viruses and the like in.
So if you have an earlier version of Internet Explorer, you need to update it to version 11 so you carry on getting the updates – if it hasn’t already updated itself (most will have).
Again, some people aren’t happy about it and I can see why – but on the other hand, Microsoft’s point of view is that if you want the updates, you have to have the important updates that makes the others work properly – and moving to version 11 is the most important update.
To check whether you already have the newest version of Internet Explorer, start it up, click on the cogwheel over near the top right of the screen and then click on About Internet Explorer. It’ll tell you what version you have – you want version 11.
If you do need to update Internet Explorer because it’s an earlier version, look for a little box in that window that says “install newer versions automatically” and tick that.
That should get you the newest version, which will carry on getting the security updates.
Phew, it’s been a bit of a dry email this week, I’m afraid. Important, though. Better to read one slightly dull email than have to worry about clearing up after a virus!
I’ll try to talk about something a bit more interesting next time – there’s lots going on…