A perfect example of Support Advice you should avoid.

Recently, I had a problem with a software package we use here which is absolutely critical to the operation of our office. So I contacted the Support Department of this “rather large” Australian Software Developer who deals mainly with Accounting Firms and received what I considered to be absolutely insane advice to resolve the problem.  In a nutshell, they basically advised me to turn off a Windows 7 built in security function.

Huh??

To avoid any possible legal ramifications, I will not name the software company in question so if you want more detailed info, (Accounting Firm subscribers to this newsletter in particular) simply contact me directly for one on one communication about this matter and I’ll be more than happy to elaborate.

Click this link >  Poor-Support-Advice.pdf  to see the process I was told to follow in order to resolve the issue I was having using the software with Windows 7..

So they’re basically telling anyone who runs their software on Windows 7 to totally disable an excellent Windows 7 built in security feature, that being UAC (User Account Control)

The Windows 7 User Account Control (UAC from here on) security feature they’re instructing people to disable has been designed by Microsoft to protect users by preventing the automatic installation of Virus’s / Trojans and many other forms of Malware which can occur from opening a malicious email, or visiting a malicious and/or infected website.  Many of which most Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software cannot prevent – hence the additional protection provided by Windows 7’s default UAC configuration and functionality.

UAC warns you if something is trying to install itself without your knowledge and gives you the option of stopping that installation dead in its tracks, thus preventing you from getting infected.

If you have been advised by anyone to turn UAC off and followed their advice, I would strongly recommend you switch it back on to its default settings – immediately.

It’s an excellent feature (though poorly implemented in Vista, but one that Microsoft finally got right in Windows 7) and it’s there for a very good reason. Turning it off when there is such an easy alternative to resolve a problem is just plain silly, and dangerous.

Here’s an easy and far more sensible solution to making problematic software run if affected by Windows 7’s UAC protection..

If your favourite software package is prevented from running with UAC enabled, try following these simple steps;

  • Right click the Launch Icon for the software in question and select “Run as Administrator” – you may be prompted to confirm you want to run the program in Administrator mode, in which case you simply click on the “Yes” button.

That’s it – problem solved.

No disabling of an excellent security function built into your operating system and no reboot of your computer required. How hard was that?

I contacted the support company I dealt with detailing the flaws in their advice (about a week ago) and asked for comment in order to give them a chance to respond with their reasoning behind offering such poor support advice, but at time of writing, they have yet to show any care about their end users security being compromised in such a fashion to bother with a return comment or reply.

So that’s it.. If you are unsure whether or not you have UAC switched on, or if you would like assistance in fine tuning your copy of Windows 7, don’t forget our affordable Remote Connect Assistance option – I’ll be happy to help you ensure the default security function in your Windows 7 installation is not in a compromised state.

Windows 8 – It’s not April Fools, but surely this must be a joke?

I’ve been working with all versions of Windows since it first came out, so I’m certainly no anti-Microsoft zealot.

That said;

Reliable IT newsletters and Support Forums I subscribe and regularly contribute to advise that the very first public RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system is due to start appearing, pre-installed on computers in late July or August of this year.

This also means that it will also soon start appearing pre-installed on new computers in local Computer stores and outlets – my advice is to avoid this first release of Windows 8 like the plague, especially for Business users.

If you plan on purchasing a new computer in the not too distant future, insist the computer comes pre-installed with Windows 7 and shop elsewhere if the store has opted to take any incentives they may have been offered by Microsoft to try and promote this new, so called, “Operating System”.

I have watched and experimented with a few versions of the Windows 8 Release Candidates and I think I can sum up my feelings on their latest effort by simply quoting my 18 year old son, who made me laugh, but used words which accurately described my experience..

“It’s like they got a computer and nailed a very poorly designed & dysfunctional IPad to the top of the screen!”

Initial releases of almost every new flavour of Microsoft Windows in the past have always, without exception, appeared riddled with problems until patches and Service Packs have been released – this can take a year or more – not only should that be expected with Windows 8, but also a learning curve on how to do the simple everyday tasks you’re used to doing in Windows XP or Windows 7, to be as high as Mount Everest when you try to do the same thing in Windows 8.  Yes folks, it’s that different!  Fair warning.

But don’t just take my word for it..

If you want to see some demonstrations of Windows 8 to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, check out the following Google search results, watch some of the video’s and make up your own mind..

Google Search Example on Windows 8 Previews

My final take and opinion on this matter..

Forcing such a radical change onto the computing world in one fowl swoop like this can only mean that Microsoft developers must be losing their mind(s).

A far more gradual implementation is required if this type of computing interface is ever going to become mainstream. Changing Windows from what it is today to this clunky and barely usable incarnation is like committing Corporate Suicide and bound to drive people away – I suspect Apple Macintosh Corporation shareholders will be jumping for joy in anticipation of Windows 8 being released on the general public. If my suspicions are correct, their sales figures will soon start to sky rocket. 🙂

Till the next time..

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