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Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - July 2006

Dear Friends,

Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs. This is my customer newsletter, containing tips that I hope you'll find interesting and helpful.

This month's topics are Fraudulent Message Sent to CU Credit Union Members, Microsoft Ends Support for Windows 98 and Windows Me, and Buying a New Computer.With the end of support for old Windows products and the approach of the new school year, you might be thinking of buying a new computer. I can help you decide whether to get a new computer and to find the right one for your family's budget and needs.

If you don't want to receive this newsletter, let me know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list. Previous issues are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site. If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new one.

Please call me at 303-444-8247 with questions or to schedule an appointment. I want to help you get the most from your computer and to insure a safe Internet experience for you and your family.

Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd

Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 20 Years

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Fraudulent Message Sent to CU Credit Union Members

Members of the University of Colorado (Elevations) Credit Union are receiving E-mail messages saying that their access to "Online Banking" has been limited and asking them to click a link in the message to confirm their account information. This message is a fraud, sent by criminals who want to steal money from your account. The Credit Union never sends such messages. If you receive it, delete the message immediately. Never click a link in an unsolicited E-mail message. For more information on this type of fraud, known as phishing, click here.


Microsoft Ends Support for Windows 98 and Me

On July 11, 2006, Microsoft ended support for Windows 98 and Windows Me (Millennium Edition). Telephone and E-mail support are no longer available for those products, and there will be no new security updates for them. Existing support documents are still available through the Microsoft Support Product Solution Center web site.

If you have a computer running one of those Windows versions, the end of support doesn't mean that you have to do anything. Your computer will continue to work just like it does now. However, Microsoft won't issue fixes for any newly discovered security problems. Now that Microsoft has ended support, other vendors will probably do the same, so it will become harder to find software (antivirus, firewall, photo editing, word processing) and hardware (wireless networking, USB devices) for your computer.


Buying a New Computer

New computers have more power and features, at lower prices, than ever before. Should you buy a new one? If your old computer is working reliably and meeting your needs, the answer could be "No". But if you can answer "Yes" to any of these questions, consider buying a new one:

In early 2007, Microsoft will release a new version of Windows. I've been testing preliminary releases of Windows Vista, and it will be a major improvement over previous versions, with new features and improved security.If you buy a computer now, get one with at least 512 MB of system memory and a label saying Windows Vista Capable or Windows Vista Premium Ready. The second designation means that the computer will be able to make full use of all of Vista's features, requiring at least 1 GB (1024 MB) of system memory and a graphics processor with at least 128 MB of graphics memory.

New desktop computers are available for under $400, and laptop computers start at around $600. These basic models have less system memory and fewer included programs (such as Microsoft Word) than more expensive computers, but they might meet your needs. Desktops in the $600-1000 range and laptops in the $800-1200 range should have everything that most home computer users need. Beyond that, more expensive computers have faster processors, dual processors, more memory, multiple CD, DVD, and hard disk drives, longer warranties, and more powerful graphics processors to appeal to game players and power users.

Although laptop computers are more expensive than desktop computers, many people prefer laptops because of their portability and built-in wireless networking capabilities. Important considerations for laptops include the size of the screen and keyboard and whether you can use them comfortably.

If you get a desktop computer, consider spending a bit more to get a flat-panel LCD monitor instead of a CRT monitor.

New computers are available from retail stores (Circuit City, CompUSA, Office Depot, Office Max) and Internet stores (TigerDirect, NewEgg,Buy.com). If you can wait a few days, buying a made-to-order computer (Dell, Gateway, HP and Compaq, or a trustworthy local computer shop) can get you exactly the hardware and software features that you want.

After you get your new computer, I can help you set it up and transfer your important files (documents, pictures, music, E-mail messages and address books, Internet Favorites and Bookmarks) to it from the old one. If you're keeping the old one, I can network it with the new computer so that they can share files, printers, and Internet access.