Free Microsoft EBooks

Last year I posted about a great Microsoft Free Ebook giveaway.

Well it’s happening again! I have updated the script that can download all the books for you. There seemed little point in changing the instructions as they are the same as before and so below this short intro you will find a link to last years posting that has full instructions.

Free Microsoft EBooks

Eric Ligman – Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager – puts his collection of Microsoft books online for anyone to download. These are PDF’s of the full books that would cost a small fortune to purchase.

This is from an official Microsoft Blog and is sanctioned by Microsoft.

No tricks, no catches.

Click here for instructions how to get the books

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Easily Control Automatic and Unwanted Windows 7 & 8.1 Upgrading to Windows 10

How to Block Windows 10 Upgrades

Steve Gibson is a well know, sometimes controversial, technology commentator and producer of some great tools and freeware. He has produced a tool that will prevent your PC from upgrading to Windows 10. I have copied the words from his website, but I suggest you go to the source for the tool.

It can be found here….

Never 10 is an easy to use utility which gives users control over
whether their Windows 7 or 8.1 will upgrade itself to Windows 10.

The name “Never 10” is a bit of an overstatement, since this utility may also be used to easily re-enable Windows operating system automatic upgrading. But the primary reason for using this is to disable Windows’ pestering insistence upon upgrading Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10.

Many users of Windows 7 and 8.1 are happy with their current version of Windows, and have no wish to upgrade to Windows 10. There are many reasons for this, but among them is the fact that Windows 10 has become controversial due to Microsoft’s evolution of their Windows operating system platform into a service which, among other things, aggressively monitors and reports on its users activities. This alone makes many users uncomfortable enough to cause them to choose to wait. In line with this, a few months into 2016, Windows 10 started displaying unsolicited advertisements on its users’ desktops. Others dislike the changes Microsoft made by merging their failed “tiled” smartphone user-interface into the Windows UI. And, finally, some object to being force-fed whatever Microsoft wants and simply wish to choose for themselves.

In July of 2015, responding to the significant user backlash, Microsoft added features to its Windows Update facility which allow it to be configured, on a machine-by-machine basis, to not forcibly upgrade qualifying Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems to Windows 10. However, Microsoft did not make this configuration simple. It requires the use of the group policy editor (which is not present in some qualifying systems) and/or the system registry. In other words, they created some deep internal configuration options but chose not to provide a simple user-interface to give their users the choice. “Never10” provides that choice.

The elegance of this “Never 10” utility, is that it does not
install ANY software of its own
. It simply and quickly
performs the required system editing for its user.

If the system being configured has a version of Windows Update which is older than the required July 2015 release—which would mean that the required “upgrade disable” options are not yet present—this utility will notify its user (see the sample display screens above) and offer to download and install the required update to Windows Update so that Windows can then be configured not to upgrade itself to Windows 10.

Since this utility simply updates and/or configures the system to prevent or allow, OS upgrading, it may be deleted after it has configured the system appropriately.

Using this utility, inexperienced users will be able to easily use Never10 themselves, while advanced users will likely appreciate that fact that no additional software is installed and will be able to refer friends and family, whom they support, to this easy-to-use utility.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Huge collection of Free Microsoft eBooks

Eric Ligman – Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager – puts his collection of Microsoft books online for anyone to download.  These are PDF’s of the full books that would cost a small fortune to purchase.

This is from an official Microsoft Blog and is sanctioned by Microsoft.

No tricks, no catches.

Just go to this link and fill your boots 🙂

Huge collection of Free Microsoft eBooks

The link on this page lets you download the books individually or download a file with links to each book.  This is a bit of a pain as there are over 200 of them, so I have written a script (nothing clever just a bunch of wgets) that will download the whole lot (one by one).

The script is available here

Right click on this link and select “Save as”.  Make sure the name you save it as ends in .CMD NOT .TXT (Just remove the .TXT I have added).

You will need to either use a machine (Linux or Mac??)  that already has wget or install it on your Windows PC (it is actually a really useful tool).

You can get wget from here…
Or here

Once it is installed make sure that you have the location of the wget.exe in your machines search path and then create a new folder.  Put my script in it and then click on it.  It will open a Dos box up and start to download the files one, by one.  Depending on your internet speed this may take some time.

It is not a clever script and so, if you stop it and re-run it, don’t be surprised if you get the odd error, because files already exist.  Also you may find that the Microsoft server may say that you already have a connection (just leave it for a while and try again).

If you have any issues, drop me an email.  But this really is as simple as it looks.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

5 passwords you should never use


Create strong passwords and protect them. Get tips
for managing your kids passwords too.

Security for Home Computer Users

5 passwords you should never use


updates for September 9, 2014

Learn how
to get security updates automatically

Get updates from
Microsoft Update

Watch a video about the updates




I run more than one antivirus program?

should never run more than one antivirus program at the same
time. The two programs could slow down your computer, and they
might even identify each other as a virus, which could lead to
file corruption or other conflicts and errors that make your antivirus
protection less effective—or not effective at all. 


Get our
recommendations for antivirus protection




Top Stories

HOW TO: Remove the MS Removal Tool

TO: Remove the MS Removal Tool

step-by-step guidance on how to identify and remove the “MS
Removal Tool,” a type of malicious software that restricts
you from accessing your desktop. 

What is a trusted device?

What is a trusted

trusted device is a computer, smartphone, or other device that
you’ve identified as belonging to you. On trusted devices, you
don’t have to enter security codes to access sensitive

Back-to-school checklist: Clean up my digital life

checklist: Clean up my digital life

you or your kids go back to school, learn how to #Do1Thing to
manage your online persona and help set yourself up for digital
success this year. 

Why do I have to update my email account information?

do I have to update my email account information?

help protect your personal data, we ask everyone who has a
Microsoft account to make sure that the security information
associated with their account is correct and up to date.




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New variation on an old scam

This seems to be becoming a bit of a recurring theme, there’s a new scam out there.

This one is actually not a new scam, it’s an old scam that simply uses a new script.

The proposed victim gets a phone call saying that they (the scammers) are from Microsoft and that…

  • There are 5 other people using the victims Windows licence key.
  • That it is unsafe for the victim to use internet services; for example Mobile Banking.
  • That the victims Windows licence key could be cancelled by Microsoft.

How’s that for a scare tactic?

The scammers then want the victim to go to and download the remote admin software they have there.

Ammyy have a warning on their site saying that their software is being used by people purporting to be from Microsoft to ‘fix’ the computer using Ammyy Amin, it’s definitely a scam.

At least they are aware of the problem.

We at UATS have seen occurrences of (or variations of) this scam and have experienced it ourselves.  Ultimately the scammers just want you to download and run a ‘fix’, which is where the real pain begins.

Word has spread about the earlier version of this scam and so they have changed the script (but are still using basically the same underlying technology) to try to ensnare the average user.

As always I will refer you to our Keeping Safe on the Internet page and leave you with the thought…  If you are not sure then just do not click on it!  Go and ask someone who is sure.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Avoid tech support phone scams

It appears that an old spectre has reared its ugly head again.

Fake tech support phone scams

We had thought that they had slowed down as we have not had one reported to us for quite some time, but it appears that the scammers are still going strong. We will not go into chapter and verse here with advice and information, so much has already been written.

These links are from Microsoft, but it apply equally well to other callers. In fact the call that was received today identified itself as being from BT

The same advice as always applies – Keeping Safe on the Internet

In essence, don’t click on it unless you are 100% sure it is legitimate, never click on it if it was unsolicited etc… (The callers try to get you to go to a website where they have you download and run some software that will “protect” you or will “scan” your machine. What they are really doing is using you to infect your own machine).

The links above are legitimate Microsoft sites, but please don’t take our word for it. Try Googling “Microsoft avoid phone scams” or “Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently“

Treat calls like this as you would if you bumped into a person on the street with a Microsoft or BT hat on. Would you give a total stranger your credit card information? No? Of course not. So don’t do it on the internet unless you went looking for the service and you are as confident as possible that the provider is who they say they are.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Think before you click

The following is from a Microsoft informational email – We thought you would find it interesting and useful

Security for Home Computer Users

Think before you click


Security updates for May 13, 2014

Learn how to get security updates automatically

Get updates from Microsoft Update


How do I recycle my computer?

Earth Day was last month, but it’s not too late to recycle your old computer. If you use a Microsoft Certified Refurbisher, they’ll help you remove your personal information and donate your equipment to people in need around the world. 


Learn how to recycle old computers and devices.

Top Stories

Privacy in Windows Phone 8.1

Privacy in Windows Phone 8.1  

Learn more about the privacy and security settings for mobile web browsing, apps that can determine your location, and features like Cortana, the new personal assistant for Windows Phone.


Security improvements in Windows 8

Security improvements in Windows 8

Did you know that antivirus protection is built into the newest version of Microsoft’s operating system? Read about other features that can help keep you and your family safer online.


malware that keeps coming back

How to get rid of malware that keeps coming back

Some viruses, spyware, and other malicious software can be hard to get rid of, especially if they’re designed to make your security software stop working.

Available now: Security update for Internet Explorer

Available now: Security update for Internet Explorer

Review a recent update for the Microsoft web browser-available for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.


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New Vulnerability Found in Internet Explorer

You may have already read about new vulnerability found in Internet Explorer (All versions). Microsoft does not yet have a fix for this issue. Here are two things you can do to stay safe in the meantime: – If you have an alternative browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome, use it. – This exploit works primarily by luring you to infected sites. So practice safe surfing when using IE: do not click on links in emails unless you are certain they are safe. Do not click on links in unexpected pop-ups

This may also be time to think about working as a Standard (Restricted) user as opposed to an Administrator.

Below are links to the Microsoft Security Advisory and some commentary by Gizmodo

Microsoft Security Advisory 2963983

New Vulnerability Found in Every Single Version of Internet Explorer

And last, but not least…

Steve Gibson, from GRC, has just posted the following mitigation. I cannot attest to how good it is, or what effect it will have, but Steve is usually very good about such things (why is why I am posting it here.

A quick mitigation for Internet Explorer’s new 0-Day vulnerability

As always…

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Free Microsoft Anti-Virus Tools

  1. Introduction
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials
  3. Microsoft Safety Scanner
  4. Microsoft Windows Defender Offline
  5. Summary


There are many tools about that promise to keep your pc clean from viruses and malware. Tools such as AVG, Avast!, Sophos and others make great promises, that are (probably) impossible to keep. They all have paid and free versions, the main difference being (in our opinion) that the free ones cause a performance hit on your PC.

It is beyond the scope of this report to make any real, meaningful comments about the effectiveness, or otherwise, of the tools. Suffice to say “you pays your money, you takes your choice”. Caveat emptor.

While it is true to say that the best cure is prevention, it is also true to say that it is no longer the case that YOU must have done something to get infected. These things come at us from all directions and the most innocent of things (websites usually) can be compromised. So what do you do once you are infected?

Below are 3 Free Microsoft Anti-Virus Tools, one a standard virus scanner and two offline tools, that you can use to start to clean up your computer. These tools may not clean your pc 100%, and you may still end up doing a system restore, but they will get you on the way and may clean things up enough for you to recover your data.


Microsoft Security Essentials

This first tool is Microsoft’s attempt at an online virus scanner. While I am sure many people will argue that there may be better tools about it has a few things going for it. It is truly free (for home users and companies with up to 10 users). This is not a hobbled free version of a paid tool. It is not intrusive, it only makes it self known whan it thinks there is a problem. It is from Microsoft, so it does not seem to slow you PC down. We have been running it in UA since it’s initial availablility and have remained virus free.
The Tool can be downloaded here. Microsoft Security Essentials
Install it, update it, run a scan. Simple


Microsoft Safety Scanner

Do you think your PC has a virus?

The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It works with your existing antivirus software.

Note: The Microsoft Safety Scanner expires 10 days after being downloaded. To rerun a scan with the latest anti-malware definitions, download and run the Microsoft Safety Scanner again.

The Microsoft Safety Scanner is not a replacement for using an antivirus software program that provides ongoing protection.

The Tool can be downloaded here. Microsoft Safety Scanner


Microsoft Windows Defender Offline

So you have a scanner, you have been careful what you download and where you download from, but you still get infected! What can you do.

There are many tools out there that will clean a PC, but many of them require that you have an idea what you are infected with, and a working pc to download them!

This is an offline tool that you can prepare beforehand and have ready in your arsenal in case it is ever required. You use this tool to create a “boot” disk that you can start your PC with. It then updates itself (this works best if you are on a wired connection) and scans your PC. The scan can take hours, depending on how much data you have, and though it does not always remove everything bad, it should get you to a position where you can get your data off. Full instructions are included on the download page.

The Tool can be downloaded here. Microsoft Windows Defender Offline



No tool can keep you 100% safe, but these tools can help in the battle against the bad guys.

As stated above, it is best to not get infected in the first place. We have written on this subject in the past and I would suggest that a quick perusal of our Keeping Safe on the Internet page is a good idea to remind yourself of some precautions to take.


I hope this helps.

Contact Us to book an appointment or to discuss your needs further.

Tips for creating a strong password

Passwords provide the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer. The stronger your password, the more protected your computer will be from hackers and malicious software. You should make sure you have strong passwords for all accounts on your computer. If you’re using a corporate network, your network administrator might require you to use a strong password.

What makes a password strong (or weak)?

A strong password:

  • Is at least eight characters long.
  • Does not contain your user name, real name, or company name.
  • Does not contain a complete word.
  • Is significantly different from previous passwords.
  • Contains characters from each of the following four categories:
Character category

Uppercase letters

A, B, C

Lowercase letters

a, b, c


0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Symbols found on the keyboard (all keyboard characters not defined as letters or numerals) and spaces

` ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ – + = { } [ ] \ | : ; ” ‘ < > , . ? /

A password might meet all the criteria above and still be a weak password. For example, Hello2U! meets all the criteria for a strong password listed above, but is still weak because it contains a complete word. H3ll0 2 U! is a stronger alternative because it replaces some of the letters in the complete word with numbers and also includes spaces.

Help yourself remember your strong password by following these tips:

  • Create an acronym from an easy-to-remember piece of information. For example, pick a phrase that is meaningful to you, such as My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004. Using that phrase as your guide, you might use Msbi12/Dec,4 for your password.
  • Substitute numbers, symbols, and misspellings for letters or words in an easy-to-remember phrase. For example, My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un’s Brthd8iz 12124 (it’s OK to use spaces in your password).
  • Relate your password to a favorite hobby or sport. For example, I love to play badminton could become ILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n.

If you feel you must write down your password in order to remember it, make sure you don’t label it as your password, and keep it in a safe place.

(Comment from UA: A better solution is to use a password manager tool such as Lastpass to keep your passwords for you.  You only need to remember one strong password (make sure it is a good one as it is the “keys to the kingdom”) and then use Lastpass to generate super strong ones for all your other needs and remember them for you.  2 Factor authentication is always a good idea when it is available.)

Creating stronger passwords using ASCII characters

You can also create passwords that use extended ASCII characters. Using extended ASCII characters helps make your password more secure by increasing the number of characters you can choose from to create a strong password. Before using extended ASCII characters in your password, make sure that passwords containing them are compatible with the programs that are used by you or your organization. Be especially cautious about using extended ASCII characters in passwords if your organization uses several different operating systems or versions of Windows.

You can find extended ASCII characters in Character Map. Some extended ASCII characters should not be used in passwords. Do not use a character if a keystroke is not defined for it in the lower-right corner of the Character Map dialog box. For more information, see Using special characters (Character Map): frequently asked questions.

Windows passwords can be much longer than the eight characters recommended above. In fact, you can make a password up to 127 characters long. However, if you are on a network that also has computers running Windows 95 or Windows 98, consider using a password that is no longer than 14 characters. If your password is longer than 14 characters, you might not be able to log on to your network from computers running those operating systems.

Links to the original Microsoft Posting

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