DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

December 31, 2013

The End of an Era

It was born at the end of 2001.  It was greatly received as most everyone who experienced it loved it much better than many of its predecessors.  It entered our computing lives at that time and continued on in new computers into 2010.  It was supposed to disappear from our screens several years ago.  However, due to its popularity and the love of the masses it has lasted for all of this time.  However, the sad news is that it will officially RIP on the eleventh of April, 2014.   

What the heck am I talking about?  Give yourself a minute and guess before you look down.

I am referring to Windows XP.  Yes, as of April, 2014 it will no longer be supported by Microsoft.  It terms of computers 13 years is quite old.  I do not know how to convert it to human years for a comparison. But I can tell you that is a long, long time for an operating system to remain in operation.

Windows XP logo

I encourage you to not think badly of Microsoft for doing this to you.  All operating systems have had an end of life built into them, so this is nothing new.  For instance, Windows 7 support ends January, 2020 and Windows 8, "End of Extended Support" date is January, 2023.  They do not necessarily just do this for the money since software needs to be modernized on occasion in order to keep up with advances in technology.  Computers upgrade and have new features and components which the operating systems must be able to use efficiently so they fade away. 

What does this mean if you are still using Windows XP on your computer?   First, I would suggest that you should have changed to Windows 7 a while back.  If not it will now be easiest to get Windows 8.  Seven is still available in very limited places.  Many new computer manufacturers have downgrade rights which allow you to roll back to Windows 7 Pro.  You need to investigate if that is what you want before a new computer purchase.  Next it means that even if you are running the latest security updates of your antivirus software you could still get viruses.  Windows itself updates to fight viruses but since it will be out of support it will update no more.  You could also be at a security disadvantage if you use MS Internet Explorer as your browser since the newest versions will not run on XP.   

In my opinion one of the worst things to happen to XP lovers who have not upgraded to Windows 7 is Windows 8.  The change from XP to Seven was significant but you could figure it out fairly quickly.  However, the differences in the GUI (Graphical User Interface or the way it looks and operates) is MAJOR from XP to Eight.  You will be lost for quite a while if you skipped Windows 7.

Windows 7 & 8 logo I do not believe the end of extended support will change for XP but these dates are not in stone.  XP has already been extended several times.  Vista was only supported from 2007 through 2011 so you do not always get a long time span. 

I have recently installed Windows 8.1 on one of my computers so next year you will start hearing more about it…until at least 2023.  

November 5, 2013

Should I Remove It?

We are getting to that time of year again when people are thinking about buying a new PC for themselves or someone else.  Have no fear; this column is not about "How to find the best $5,000 computer for $14.95."  I stopped writing those articles several years ago since I stopped getting emails requesting them.  I think everyone is fairly familiar with getting a new computer.  But of course, if I get countless inquiries before Christmas I would be happy to write another one.

OK, onto today’s topic.  So you get a new computer and guess what?  Every single computer you purchase new from a computer company comes with bloatware, crapware, crudware or one of its many other names.  If you have no idea what they are read on.  Bloatware is basically all of the applications which come on your new computer and those installed over time that really do not do you much good.

For instance, if you are like me you have a favorite "free" antivirus program.  When you get a new computer it will almost certainly come preinstalled with one of the big name apps.  You go ahead and register for this program, since it is free.  The problem is that it will not be free after the free "test" period is complete.  Say in three to six months you have forgotten all about that application, but you get a warning telling you that it has expired and to be protected online you need to purchase it for the next year.  I am not saying that it is a bad app but you may not need it and may also be uneasy about deleting the program. 

There can be ten or even more of these types of applications installed on a new system.  The computer manufacturers receive a fee for putting these on their new systems, so that is why they are there. 

There are many ways to remove them.  My favorite if you are techie enough is to wipe the computer clean (yes, format the drive) and reinstall a clean copy of the operating system.  I DO NOT suggest that for everyone, just for geeks who already know this.  Next, if you know which applications are unnecessary, in Windows 7 go to "Control Panel" and then "Programs & Features" and individually delete them.  OK, for Windows XP, "Control Panel" then "Add or Remove Programs." Then in Windows 8, CP again and next "Uninstall or Change a Program."  OK, there are just too many Windows OS and since "7" is the most popular I will stick with it from now on.

imageYou may also get one of the many programs that will help you with this process.  The one I like most is a free application called, "Should I Remove It?" (shouldiremoveit.com) This is a neat little utility you can easily install and use.  Once you download the app it will install a shortcut on your desktop.  Double click the shortcut and the program will start and run for a minute or so looking for applications.

It has a database built from user input like yours.  Each program listed may or may not be crudware but you can scroll through the list and check.  Click on the program’s name see the percentage of people who uninstall it, check into it or choose, "What is it?" or "Uninstall."

"Uninstall" is self-explanatory but the other button will open your browser with information they have gathered about the application and other users’ thoughts regarding the app.  If after reviewing the information you decide you do not need it, click "Uninstall" and it will uninstall it using your windows uninstall program.

This is a very slick little application which actually uses user experiences to help you make a decision. 

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