Should I use the Windows 10 upgrade icon in my system tray?

Alright, lots of Windows users have seen a new icon in the System Tray, lately. Recognize this little fella?

Clicking that brings up the offer from Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, beginning July 29th. So that sounds great. But… should you do it?

First things first, my rule of thumb: if you’re interested in Windows 10, then by all means, go ahead and upgrade! But for people who don’t necessarily like change, here’s my advice: if you have Windows 7 and you like it, ignore the upgrade (I will link to an article, below, to help you ‘hide’ and ignore the upgrade icon). If you have Windows 8 or 8.1? I would say go for it! Even if you don’t like change, I think you’ll appreciate the enhancements Windows 10 offers over 8/8.1. But, there are still some caveats.

Most importantly, WAIT. Go ahead and “reserve” your Windows 10 upgrade, but wait to install it (it won’t be available until July 29th at the earliest, so you have time to finish reading this article). Windows 10 is “free for the first year” – which means you can reserve your copy now, and after July 29th, you have until July 29th of 2016 to go ahead with the installation at no charge. After that, you’ll have to spend at least $119 to buy the “home edition” and $199 “Professional” edition. But, just because you have it reserved does NOT mean you need to install it right away. This “enrollment program” or “reservation program” will simply download all of the bits to your computer so that it is ready to be installed, and it will pop up a notification letting you know it is ready, but you will have the option of ignoring or delaying the installation. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to wait until, say, September or even all the way until January of 2016, just to make sure any installation errors get the kinks worked out. I think it is important to note that I genuinely believe it’s going to be the most reliable upgrade in Microsoft history, this is the first time Microsoft has been in full control of the upgrade path. No more OEM upgrade, no more worrying about HP or Dell releasing a new version and mailing you a CD, it’s Microsoft actually taking the reigns. However, Windows 10 is going to have a learning curve, certain applications and devices might not work right. It is, after all, a brand new version of an Operating System. Drivers could go missing, or there could be other hardware problems you’re unaware of such as a failing drive, etc…

So what should I do?

I’m going to provide additional articles for creating backups of your Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. If something in the installation process goes wrong, you will need to be able to restore your computer to working order. Stay tuned to this spot for links on how to handle the upgrade from Windows 7, 8/8.1, or how to get rid of that icon if you’re happy where you’re at and you DON’T want to upgrade to Windows 10!

Why are there “HOT NEW” stickers on some Dreamcast games?

The Sega Dreamcast – a beloved piece of gaming history. It was ill fated from the beginning, unfortunately. Several games were rushed to meet the launch of the console itself, and because of that, were found to have glitches. Mostly, the games from Midway in particular. This included games like Ready 2 Rumble, Mortal Kombat Gold, NFL Blitz, and Hydro Thunder.

The “HOT NEW” edition typically included bug fixes, but there are rumors that they also included feature enhancements Continue reading

Microsoft Fastlane on future Lumias?

Microsoft Finland (in other words: formerly Nokia) filed a trademark on the name “Fastlane.” Fastlane is described as “computer software for mobile phones, smart phones and mobile tablet computers for enabling a user to customize the user interface and to quickly locate, access, retrieve, use and/or share device features, applications, information and files.” It was just recently moved in to the “published for opposition” phase to see if anyone else has a problem with Microsoft using a name that could be used by many other businesses. To me, it sounds almost like a version of Continuum that would allow you to send your current configuration to someone else’s device. I’m likely all wrong, it may just be a new version of the “share” button inside Windows Phones and Windows 10, but whatever Fastlane is, it will be interesting to see if it makes it to other products, or stays within the Lumia product line.

When I first saw the name, I speculated it would be a Windows-based “Waze” competitor based on Nokia’s HERE Maps. Unfortunately, the description means I’ll have to keep dreaming.

Sorry, Star Wars: Battlefront won’t look as good as the trailer

Last week, an absurdly, painfully gorgeous trailer for the upcoming game Star Wars: Battlefront was released to the internet. If you haven’t seen it, view it here before continuing to read:

So then, everybody said “oh man, this game looks awesome!” The beginning of the trailer even states that this is in-engine footage. Here’s what we learned: the Frostbite engine is powerful and beautiful. What we should learn from watching this trailer? The game isn’t going to be that nice.

The trailer shows what the engine is capable of, it does not show what the game is going to look like when we play it. This is only different from the old days of showing high-res cutscenes in commercials for games, only to have the game look far worse, in that these videos are being rendered in the same engine that the game will use. But these probably are not the same models, textures, animations, etc… that will be used in game. It is a joy to watch this trailer and see how movie-esque it is, but unfortunately, it’s just not going to look that good once you’re the one in control of the characters.

My Wii U has a virus, how do I clean it!?

Good news! Your Wii U is CLEAN.

Let me explain… my website recently received a search query asking how to remove a virus from a Nintendo Wii U. I did some digging and see that people have pretty much been asking questions about Wii U viruses since the system launched. I was able to put the pieces together and figure out what’s going on!

People state that they are receiving messages from Nintendo that their machine is infected. What you have received is a FAKE message. It may have either appeared in your web browser, some thing similar to this image:

Or it may have been delivered by a system message, like this one:

It’s important to know that both of these messages are fakes. One is a pop up ad on the internet, designed to trick computer users into buying fake antivirus programs, or downloading things which normally would infect a regular computer. These are just advertisements on the websites you are visiting, they are not genuine messages from the system itself. The second, “message type” warning is no different than a chain-letter, or forwarded email. It’s spam! It’s just a person with nothing better to do with their time than send these messages to random “friend codes” out there. This is a mean spirited prank and nothing more, I promise you.

First, it is generally accepted that there are no viruses on the Wii or Wii U because not enough is known about the Wii and Wii U architecture to exploit it with some kind of virus. Even if you visit a web page that would infect your computer, it can’t infect the Wii U because they are designed to behave completely differently. While it is true that the same things that allow for homebrew applications to be installed on it, or pirated games downloaded to the old Wii are of course things that could potentially be used for evil. We should never say it’s completely impossible to get a virus, but it is just completely undocumented. There is no evidence of an actual virus being installed on one of these game consoles – only evidence of a message showing up on people’s screens. That is not cause enough for concern.

If you’re still convinced that you do have a problem, check out Nintendo’s online support documents. A search for the word “virus” didn’t return a single result – but to ultimately put your mind at ease, you can contact support as well.

Every Windows XP “Windows Update” in one download

As we well know, Microsoft has stopped support for Windows XP – so much so that you can no longer connect to Windows Update and download updates for Windows XP computers. If for some maniacal reason you need to run a Windows XP computer, I would hope you at least get it secured as best you can with the updates. How you ask? I have compiled all of the updates using the tool, and assembled them here Continue reading

What is DHCP Lease Time and how long should it be?

When you’re initially setting up a router, one of the things you might skip over is the DHCP Lease Time setting. It’s typically measured in minutes, but how long should it be set for? What are the advantages or disadvantages of longer or shorter lease times?

In the average home router, your lease time is set for about 24 hours. Some people set 8 hour leases, some prefer up to a week! The DHCP lease is how long a device reserves an IP address on your network. The DHCP reservation is the key. The device can leave the network, but the reservation can still be in place, depending on how long you set the lease time.

It’s a little confusing, so let’s use a few real world examples Continue reading

How to play .264 video files solved, player here!

I recently came across the need to play video files saved as .264. After much digging, it seemed I wasn’t alone – and the most common users of these files were people who recently purchased security cameras and were trying to open the video files saved on Micro SD cards from their cameras! You would think an H.264 video codec wouldn’t be so hard to find, but for some reason nothing I tried allowed me to play the file. After some additional research, I found that the company Zmodo is the most common camera manufacturer to do this, and they provide a download of their Zmodo Player software. On the page I link to, as it appears currently, you don’t need to choose an analog or a network product, just look below at the list of “popular tools” and download the ZMD Player / ZPlayer software.

Just in case they change their website and my link is dead, you can try to search the web for ZModo’s latest version – but if it is needed, the current version as of the time of publication on this article, ZPlayer_1.0.15.0_Setup.exe, is mirrored here on our website.