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

UPDATE 1: How to backup Windows 7 before upgrading to Windows 10 & How to backup Windows 8.1 before upgrading to Windows 10 articles have been published!

Original article below…

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! UPDATE 1: How to backup Windows 7 before upgrading to Windows 10 & How to backup Windows 8.1 before upgrading to Windows 10 articles have been published!

Every Windows XP “Windows Update” in one download (+2019 patches)

Update 3: In May of 2019 Microsoft released a patch for x86 versions of Windows XP and the 32 and 64-bit versions of Server 2003. KB4500705 protects against remote code execution. The patches have been uploaded locally and are hosted further down the page.

Update 2: Although I have “WannaCry / WannaCrypt” specific patches below, in June of 2017 Microsoft released an additional collection of patches for Windows XP with SP3, Windows XP 64-bit with SP2, and Windows Server 2003. I have not (yet) mirrored these updates locally, but I think it is important to link readers to these critical security patches. Microsoft specifically noted that these updates do not check Windows Genuine Advantage status.

Original post below:

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 “Every Windows XP “Windows Update” in one download (+2019 patches)”

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

Update: Almost 2 years after I wrote this article, it remains one of the most popular on the website, so I put together a brief video explaining what is written below, for the more visual learners out there. Enjoy! 🙂

Original post below:

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 (1440 minutes). 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 “What is DHCP Lease Time and how long should it be?”

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.