All posts in 'Microsoft'

22 Feb

Microsoft Doesn’t Want To Talk To You

Don’t take it personally, but they really don’t want you to call.  Who does want you to call are online scammers that are trying to gain access to your computer.

Over the past two weeks, a few of our clients have been duped into “doing the right thing” by responding to a notification they receive on their computers, stating that a “serious problem” has occurred and that they need to call into Microsoft for assistance.

The above image is what a Windows “blue screen of death,” or BSOD, looks like.  When this happens, Windows is having a problem with a program, the computer, or maybe even itself.  Now this image..

.. was captured from a Windows PC that visited a web site and opened up a web page that mocked a BSOD closely, except for one important distinction: this warning wants you to call for help.

Once an end user calls the number displayed on the fake error message, the person on the other end of the line will walk you through the process of allowing them access to your PC and performing one (or more) of the following nefarious acts:

  • Install viruses in the hopes of getting the end-user to purchase either software or services to “clean” the PC
  • Install a trojan that monitors and reports private information back to the bad guys
  • Record user names and passwords in order to gain access to your other online services, such as email or online banking accounts
  • Encrypt and hold your data hostage in the hopes that you will pay a ransom

If you find yourself face to face with this “error,” or anything similar that asks you to call a number for assistance, go through the following steps:

  1. Close all browser windows until the “error” goes away
  2. Reboot your PC

The above steps should remove the “error” from memory and allow you to continue using your system normally.  If the “error” comes back on reboot, then you may have either already been infected or you may have a not-so-reputable program running that should be uninstalled and removed.

It is at this point where you can give US a call at 866-976-9136 for assistance in cleaning up your PC.  We’re not Microsoft and we do want to talk to you!

24 May

4 Things To Consider Before Upgrading to Windows 10

88aefce8-c6e9-42e2-8b77-e612179319a1Even though PCSDesk can provide assistance in upgrading your personal and business-class systems to Windows 10, there are some who are hesitant to pull the upgrade trigger.  This type of thinking is understandable and they’re not wrong: an upgrade to Windows 10 can change how users work with their systems and how they get things done.

In speaking with clients regarding this subject, we’ve come up with a list of “points to consider” when planning for (or preventing) this upgrade.

  • Question: Will Windows 10 work with my hardware?
    Answer: More than likely, yes
    Long Answer: We won’t know until we try.  The Windows 10 installer does a pretty good job of vetting a system before the upgrade process moves forward; however, there are some older Windows 7 systems where graphic cards and certain CPUs aren’t compatible and an upgrade won’t be possible..
  • Question: I’m running Windows 8/8.1 – should I upgrade?
    Answer: Yes
    Long Answer: Yes.  Windows 10 runs better than Windows 8/8.1 and if you’re used to using Windows 8/8.1, you’ll slide right into using Windows 10.
  • Question: My office uses specialized programs in order to do business. Should I upgrade to Windows 10?
    Answer: Ask your software vendors
    Long Answer: PCSDesk would be happy to investigate and ask your vendors if their software works with Windows 10.  As of this writing, we are seeing a 50/50 split of software vendors that support Windows 10 and others that flat-out reject it.  Keep in mind that these vendors will update their software soon, because Microsoft will drop support for 7/8/8.1 whether the vendors like it or not.  “Microsoft leads those who will, and those who will not, it drags.”
  • Question: My system is less than 2 years old and it came with Windows 7/8/8.1.  Should I upgrade?
    Answer: Yes
    Long Answer: Yes, again.  If you have a newer system with one of these operating systems on it, chances are that your hardware is compatible with Windows 10.  The other thing to consider is that Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020.  Does that sound like a ways away?  It’s not – it’s 3 and a half years off! If you’re wanting to get 3 or more years of use out of your current system, upgrade to Windows 10.  If you plan on replacing your system in the next 1-3 years, don’t bother with an upgrade.  Anything new you get after July 29th of this year (when the free upgrade offer expires) will already have Windows 10 on it.

Hopefully the above points help in coming to a decision regarding a move to Windows 10 on your computer and your business network.  As always, if you have questions or need further assistance, we’re ready to help.

28 Jul

Should You Windows 10?

Windows 10 Comes Out Tomorrow…

…and we are being asked by our customers and friends, “Should I upgrade?” I wish there was a blanket answer that we could provide, but there are a few points to consider when making your decision:

  • Can my system handle it?
    To install Windows 10, your system must have either Windows 7 with SP1 or Windows 8.1, a 1Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM and 20GB of hard drive space free. If you don’t know what version of the Windows operating system you are running, you can check with this link.
  • Will all my programs work the same way?
    If your programs work in Windows 7 and Windows 8, the answer to this question is yes BUT there are exceptions. Depending on the industry you work in, you may be running specialized software that may not work correctly under Windows 10. Check with your software vendor to insure that the move to Windows 10 is one that you can make safely.
  • What is the learning curve in using Windows 10?
    Honestly, there’s not a very big one. PCSDesk has been evaluating Windows 10 for five months now and the best way that we’ve come up with to describe it is that it’s 80% Windows 7 and 20% Windows 8.1 with increased usability and performance. If you are a Windows 7 user now, Windows 10 will operate the way you’re used to. If you are a Windows 8.1 user, Windows 10 will provide you with an evolved interface that isn’t as jarring.

So should you upgrade? If you’re the adventurous type and you primarily use your system for emailing, social networking and web browsing then have at it! If your system is key to getting work done day-to-day, delaying the installation for a week or two would be recommended.

We at PCSDesk will be sure to keep you updated on the successes and failures of the impending Windows 10 update. Stay tuned!

31 Mar

E-Mail Client Outgoing SMTP Authentication Settings

PCSDesk is implementing changes to the security of it’s hosted mail servers in order to insure that spam is kept to a minimum and your information is kept secure.  Before you are able to send out email through our servers, it is necessary to enable outgoing SMTP authentication on your email client, PC, Mac or mobile device.

Below is a listing of common PC e-mail client programs and the instructions needed to secure this feature. If you have any problems with your configuration, please contact us and we’ll be back in touch quickly.

Microsoft Outlook® Express (PC)

  1. From the Tools menu, choose “Accounts.”
  2. Select the “Mail” tab.
  3. Double-click your company mail account (e.g.
  4. Select the “Servers” tab.
  5. Check the box next to “My Server Requires Authentication.”
  6. Click “OK”

Windows® Mail (PC)

  1. From the Tools menu, select “Accounts”
  2. Under Mail highlight your company account and click “Properties”.
  3. Click the Servers tab and make sure that “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication” is checked.

Microsoft Outlook® 2010 (PC)

  1. From the File menu, select “Info” and choose “Account Settings”
  2. Select your company email account and click the “Change” button above.Click the “More Settings…” button in the bottom-right corner of the E-Mail Accounts window.In the Internet Email Settings window, click the “Outgoing Server” tab.
  3. Ensure that the box next to “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication” is checked and “use same settings as my incoming mail server” is selected.

Microsoft Outlook® 2007 (PC)

  1. From the Tools menu, select “Account Settings”
  2. Select your company email account and click the “Change” button above..
  3. Click the “More Settings” button in the bottom-right corner of the E-Mail Accounts window.
  4. In the Internet Email Settings window, click the “Outgoing Server” tab. Ensure that the box next to “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication” is checked and “use same settings as my incoming mail server” is selected.

Microsoft Outlook® 2003 and 2002/XP (PC)

  1. From the Tools menu, select “Email Accounts.”
  2. Select “View or change existing email accounts” and click “Next.”
  3. Select your company email account and click the “Change” button on the right.
  4. Click the “More Settings” button in the bottom-right corner of the E-Mail Accounts window.
  5. In the Internet Email Settings window, click the “Outgoing Server” tab.
  6. Ensure that the box next to “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication” is checked.

Outlook® 2000 and Outlook® 98 (PC)

  1. From the Tools menu, choose “Accounts.”
  2. Select click the company email account (e.g. and click “Properties.”
  3. Select the “Servers” tab.
  4. Check the box next to “My Server Requires Authentication.”
  5. Click “OK.”

Mail for OS X (Mac)

  1. Open the Mail program
  2. From the MAIL menu, choose PREFERENCES
  3. Click the “Accounts” icon.
  4. Click on the appropriate account, and then click the “Edit” button.
  5. Click “Options”
  6. Select “Password” from the “Authentication” setting.
  7. Enter your email address as the username.
17 Jul

Office 365 Customer Preview

Last night Microsoft unveiled it’s next generation productivity suite, Office 365 (or Office 2013 if you’re a purist).  Along with this announcement Microsoft has released a Customer Preview that is available for download.  Please keep in mind that this new release does not support WindowsXP and Windows Vista operating systems.

On full release of Office 365, three versions will be available to choose from…

  • Office 365 Home Premium – designed for families and consumers.  This service also includes an additional 20GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium – designed for small businesses.  This service also includes business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD web conferencing.
  • Office 365 ProPlus – designed for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities and the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.

While pricing remains a mystery, Microsoft said Windows RT tablets on ARM (including its own Surface device) will include the Office 2013 suite for free, giving users access to new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote applications.