Windows Versions and support expiration.


Please note that Microsoft and Lorica no longer support Windows XP. Vista will no longer be supported in 6 months.

Windows 7 will come out of support in 4 years. I’d suggest missing out on Windows 8.

(NOTE : Windows 8/8.1 is perfectly OK, I just don’t like it! J )


Windows 10 for free


The offer of free Windows 10 from Microsoft has expired.

You Can Still Get Windows 10 for free with a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 Key

While you can no longer use the “Get Windows 10” tool to upgrade from within Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, it is still possible to download Windows 10 installation media from Microsoft and then provide a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 key when you install it.

Windows will contact Microsoft’s activation servers and confirm the key to the previous version of Windows is real. If it is, Windows 10 will be installed and activated on your PC. Your PC acquires a “digital license” and you can continue using and reinstalling Windows 10 on it in the future.

Microsoft hasn’t communicated what’s going on here, or whether it will block this method in the future. But it still works right now. Even if Microsoft blocks this trick in the future, your PC will keep its digital license and Windows 10 will remain activated.

Andrew’s opinion : I am running Windows 10 on a desktop, laptop/tablet and a phone. I find it more responsive, reliable and enjoyable to use than previous version of Windows. It seems to have all the benefits and bells and whistles of Windows 7 combined with Windows 8/8.1. I would suggest a clean install rather than an upgrade and know for many people the cost and trouble of this is not worth the return. I would not go back to an earlier version and find it frustrating when I need to use an earlier version.

How to Protect Yourself Against Ransomware

Firstly, do you know what ransomware is?

If not, find out. Here’s a possible introduction link.


Get Smart. Get Protected

The pernicious rise of ransomware is a frightening prospect for everyday users and companies alike. By the end of 2015, Trend Micro predicted 2016 would become the Year of Online Extortion—and unfortunately, that prediction has proved true. In the first half of 2016 alone, a total of 79 new ransomware families were discovered by Trend Micro—marking a 172% increase over the whole of 2015—while nearly 80 million ransomware threats were detected and blocked by Trend Micro over the same timeframe. (cf. The Reign of Ransomware, TrendLabs 2016 1H Security Roundup). Sad to say, mobile devices are now also being targeted. Android™ mobile ransomware grew 15 times higher by June of 2016 than the level it was at in April of 2015.

So, what can the everyday user do to protect themselves from ransomware? The answer is twofold: get smart—and get protected. Getting smart means understanding how you can get infected by ransomware in the first place and taking steps to prevent it from happening. Getting protected means installing Trend Micro™ Security on your computers and mobile devices to help stop ransomware in its tracks. It also means learning how to use the security software’s features, such as Trend Micro Security’s new Folder Shield, to assist in that process.

How you get infected by ransomware

Ransomware can arrive on your desktop or mobile device from phishing emails, compromised websites, malvertisements, social media, instant messages, or infected or fake apps you unwittingly install. All it takes is for you browse an infected website (which initiates a drive-by download of ransomware), unwittingly click a link in your email that takes you to a bad website or downloads a file, or that you do the same from your mobile instant messaging program. Once installed, the ransomware either locks your screen or encrypts your files, and the cybercriminal demands a fee to release the hostages. And though you may pay the fee by the designated date (never recommended)—which can be as much as $600 to $1200 or more in cash or its bitcoin equivalent—there’s no guarantee you’ll get your stuff back.

How to guard yourself against ransomware infections

You need to get smart, first of all, by taking precautions so you don’t get infected by ransomware in the first place, or can recover your precious devices or data if you do:

  • Avoid opening unverified emails or clicking on their embedded links, which can start the ransomware installation process—and be careful about doing the same on social media.
  • Back up your important files on a regular basis using the 3-2-1 rule: create three backup copies on two different media, with one of the backups in a separate location. Cloud-sync backup services can help to fulfil the last requirement.
  • Regularly update your operating systems and applications, to ensure you’re current, with the latest protections against new vulnerabilities.


The flow of emails containing malicious content continues to increase.

When an email can propagate worldwide in minutes it’s just not possible for any antimalware software to be completely up to date.

So, your best defence against infection is your user.

Common sense should prevail. Please consider the following points :

  • If you feel compelled to click a link or open an attachment think about it.
  • The apparent sender of an email may not be the actual sender
  • If you’re not expecting an email, confirm with the apparent sender before taking any action recommended in it.
  • Look carefully at the email. Any sign of being cobbled together and/or grammatical mistakes it’s probably false.
  • Subscribe to this blog to ensure you receive tips and advice such as this.

Dropbox hacked – change your password.

Do you use Dropbox? If so, we recommend you change your password now. Also, if you’ve used the same passwords anywhere else, change that too.


Strange that there’s no mention of it on the Dropbox home page but maybe they’re embarrassed.

Here’s the Guardian article.

If you want to know more try this site :

And……..why not turn on two factor authentication as well?

Wish you were here.

Forget envelopes and paper and write all your business communications on postcards and pop them in the mail.

That’s what you’re doing with email. So, don’t think for a minute that what you’re sending or receiving is in any way private and definitely not confidential and you’ve no guarantee it’s come from the apparent sender either.

Simply put – don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper.


Consider the following two attributes that would be desirable in most communications and remember you have neither with email.

Privacy – Has the email been read by anybody else?

Authenticity – Was the email really sent by this person or company? Has it been altered in any way since it was sent?

There are ways and means to obtain both of the above. As usual, contact us of you require more information but the object of this post is to remind you of the facts so you can consider them as you communicate by email.

Microsoft Accounts

Many people have a facebook account and they know the credentials for that. They may also have a Google account and have credentials for that. Possibly also a Yahoo, Amazon etc. etc.

If you’re one of our Office365 clients you’ll have an Office365 account with credentials which you’ll use for all your work related Microsoft services including email, SharePoint, OneDrive and everything else.

It’s possible you may also have a Microsoft account (previously known as LiveID, this could be a Hotmail address, or

Here’s where it could seem complicated but it’s not really so please bear with me.

You may well have a Microsoft account for your personal use. Possibly another for your work.

Hopefully at some time (see link at the bottom) in the near future Microsoft will allow you to merge your work LiveID and your Office365 accounts (1 and 3 below). That would simplify things.

By way of an example, here’s how I have things set up.

I have three Microsoft ID’s and they are:

  1. My Office365 credentials (known as AzureAD credentials too)
  • Business email
  • SharePoint (companywide files and intranet)
  • OneDrive for Business
  • My page for business stuff
  1. A Microsoft account (previously LiveID) for my personal stuff
  • My Groove music
  • My family (LiveID for my children where I manage their devices, web access, phones and tablets)
  • My private email
  • My personal Microsoft purchases and subscriptions
  • My personal OneDrive storage
  • My page for personal stuff
  1. A Microsoft account (previously LiveID) for my business stuff
  • OneDrive (don’t use this)
  • Email (don’t use this)
  • Registration of company software
  • Microsoft subscriptions and service related to my business


I’d suggest you have suitable login names for each so you don’t get confused. For Fred BLOGGS working for Acme Dynamite Corp this could be :

Here are a couple of Microsoft pages to follow on if you need.

As I have Windows10 and Lorica no longer operate a server as we’re all cloud based now I can actually use my AzureAD credentials to login to my PC)


Windows 10 – Anniversary Update

Windows 10 for free is now no longer available. If you didn’t get it while it was available, you’ve missed out on a good deal.

Like any change there is a bit of a learning curve but I’ve no doubt that Windows 10 is a major improvement on previous Microsoft Operating Systems and offers real productivity enhancements to users.

For those of us running Windows 10 the Anniversary Update is being deployed. If you want to know more about the enhancements, new features and improvements please check out the This Week on Windows YouTube video.


Telephony Advice & Warnings

Some telephony advice. 118 call charges, Mobile nuisance calls and 070 scam calls.


118 Costs Just Exploded Again

Many thanks to Magenta Systems for this snippet – you can find it here

Ofcom and BT are introducing 20 new service charge bands in July 2016, SC081 to SC100, for 08/09/118 calls. The new charges mostly fill in gaps in the previous 80 bands, but include some horrible 118 bands, ranging from £8.98 to £15.98 for the first minute, then £4.49 to £7.99 per extra minute. So 118 calls to that last band will cost £96 for 10 minutes, or £16 for a misdialled number. Just because the new charge bands exist does not mean operators will necessarily use them, but most will have been created to meet specific requirements of operators like 118118, who last raised its cost in March to £6.98+£3.49/min (£34 for 10 minutes).


08/09/118 numbers are called Service Numbers. Calls costs to these numbers are comprised of 2 components the access charge set by your telco and the service charge set by the company you are calling. The service charge should be stated on all adverts. The service charges are not well publicised but they are laid out here.

The bands are designated SC01 to SC100 but the latest lists that we have found only go to SC80.

The bands are not only for a service charge, charged by the minute but also include all other combinations including the one 118118 use which is phrased as – “Prices For Calls Charged By Fixed Fee and Timed Duration (Where the Fixed Fee Is the Charge for the First 60 Seconds of the Call, or Part Thereof and the Duration Charge Applies Following the First 60 Seconds).”

Access charges from BT are around 10p per minute additionally and mobile companies charge around 45p per minute.

So for example calls to 118118 cost Calls to 118 118 cost £3.49 per call plus £3.49 per minute, (minimum 60 second charge applies) plus the Access charge.


Both of the following are from the Ofcom for Consumers website here.

(Click the images below for the News items)


Blocked when installing the Lorica RMM agent

If we need our RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) tool installing on your PC we’ll provide you with the installation file possibly with a download link.

On newer machines you may get a warning where it appears you’re unable to run the file. However, you need to click on the “More info” link and then you’ll get taken to the next dialogue allowing you to run.


Normally, this is to protect you from inadvertently running an unsigned, which usually means suspicious, file or program.

In this case, our agent is specific to each of our customers so it’s not feasible to sign each one and so you’ll have to tolerate this. As you’re fully aware of what you’re doing then it’s not a problem in this situation. Obviously, if you see this when downloading something else you should check with us before proceeding.

How to run Internet Explorer without addons

Addons are an important part of any modern browser. Using addons, it is possible to extend and modify features of the browser. In Internet Explorer, addons are implemented as special applications that start with IE and provide toolbars, buttons and handlers for various multimedia content. Some common add-ons are Adobe Flash, QuickTime, and Silverlight. Another example is the Classic IE addon, which is part of Classic Shell, which restores the caption to the title bar, and page loading progress indicator bar and security zone to IE’s status bar. If you have many addons installed, it can affect the browser’s performance and also cause stability issues. If your IE is crashing or slowing down, it is useful to run the browser in the addons-free mode to troubleshoot and fix problems with addons.

Internet Explorer has a special command line argument, -extoff, which tells the browser to start in No Add-ons mode. In this mode, all addons are disabled and the browser will notify you about this.
To run IE in No Add-ons mode, use the following command line:

iexplore -extoff

Note the hyphen before ‘extoff’. You can type this command directly in the Run dialog (press Win + R shortcut keys on the keyboard and press Enter after entering the above command).

It will work even if you don’t type the full path to IExplore.exe because Windows comes with a special run alias for Internet Explorer.