It's a quick IT round-up this month with a couple of topics to cover:
Windows XP has been a big subject this month with the big "switch-off" at the beginning of April. This has left most users largely un-affected although my phone line has been swamped with concerned users. The advice is still to sit-tight and see what happens in the coming months. Sadly some business users have been forced into an early upgrade with some accountancy packages dropping support for XP. This includes IRIS and some other software suites too, so this has caused a headache to a few accountants and bigger retailers and wholesalers.
I have secured a limited number of upgrade licenses to Windows 7 at a cost of £65 each, so if your PC is new enough to upgrade successfully then I can offer this as a DIY upgrade pack or I can perform the upgrade for you. I was only able to buy a dozen and I have eight left at the time of writing, so if you're considering an upgrade then don't hang around as the retail price is still over £100 and availability is very poor.
Dell and HP are still selling new Windows 7 PCs direct to the user. If you're browsing their sites then you'll need to look in the Business section to find the Windows 7 machines. Argos are also selling Windows 7 machines from the UK Built ZooStorm brand and these are very well priced from £240 but steer clear of the AMD chips. I've got a range of refurbished machines in stock from £150 upwards.
Another hot-topic in Ottery is the upgrade to the BT exchange to support FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet.) I'm sure you will have seen the BT Openreach vans in town; they are installing the new fibre-optic cable from the data cabinets back to the telecom exchange in Franklea Close. The upgrade should be complete by June which means you'll be able to pre-order BT Infinity services from late May.
Not all the cabinets in town will be upgraded to start with, so some homes won't be able to get Infinity until later in the year. I understand that some West Hill cabinets will also be upgraded but we won't know full details until the update is complete. You can tell if your cabinet has been upgraded because it will make a whirring noise, which is the cooling fans on the broadband hardware (and they often get a big 'BT-Infinity is here' sticker too!)
Also on the topic of internet access, I've had a few customers in the past month with routers getting infected with viruses. They have mostly been TP-Link devices and the virus gives the router a rogue configuration that sends the user to hijacked websites in an attempt to infect their computer. If you get a strange message about Flash Player when visiting google or other big-name sites then you might have an issue. Some customers have needed new routers (which I keep in stock here) whilst with some I've been able to format and reset the old TP link router to clear the fault.
The problem occurs because the routers still have the default factory passwords set for the admin account, if you've got a TP link router then please check now to see if the config password has been changed. This is good advice for all types of router.
I hope you find this information useful. If you would like to see particular subjects covered then please feel free to ask at www.alfindlay.com.
Al Findlay | Freelance IT & AV Support Consultant | Website design and Hosting | www.AlFindlay.com | 01395 542500