Tech Talk: Bits and Bytes

Keeping Windows 10 running smoothly and securely

By David Shinn

Google security

Google has implemented security standards that help keep hackers from accessing and using your Gmail account. Many clients have reported they can no longer access their Gmail account through Microsoft Outlook. There is a “Less secure app” setting in Google that by default is turned OFF. To get Outlook to work again, follow the instructions below.

  • Go to https://myaccount.google.com and login to your account
  • Click the Security option on the left menu
  • Scroll down the page to “Less secure app access” and change the setting to ON
  • Your Outlook software will not require any changes—just click Send/Receive and it should work 

 

Windows 10 feature update 1903

In May 2019, Microsoft released its latest feature update, version 1903. With Windows 10 each major feature update has a version number. To see the updates that version 1903 include, visit the website below.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/whats-new/whats-new-windows-10-version-1903

To find out what version number you are at:

Click on the white Windows icon in the bottom left of your screen
Type winver and press the Enter key
Look for the version number: e.g. 1709, 1803, 1809, 1903

Normal Windows 10 updates for security patches and feature patches can be released every few days. Major feature updates come out periodically and are loaded separately from the general updates. To check and see if a major feature update is awaiting you:

Click on the white Windows icon in the bottom left of your screen
Type windows updates and press the Enter key
Look directly below the Check for Updates button for a feature update notice 

Windows 10: Active hour update settings

Have you ever been working, and your computer just slams the door on you and restarts to install a Microsoft update? This is a common complaint from users. Here is how you can define your active hours so that future Windows 10 updates will only restart after normal business hours.

Click on the white Windows icon in the bottom left of your screen
Type windows updates and press the Enter key
Choose Change active hours
Under active hours set your start time and end time (not to exceed more than 18 hours)
- I usually do 5:00am to 10:00pm

“Set active hours to let us know when you typically use this device. We won't
automatically restart it during active hours, and we won't restart without
checking if you're using it”. 

Windows 10: Controlled folder access

With all the malware and ransomware threats in today’s world, here is a Windows 10 feature that can enabled to protect your data folders. If a malware program attempts to make changes to files defined in your settings, a message will appear on screen notifying you of the attempt. CFA will allow no changes to be made.

NOTE: Ransomware programs attempt to encrypt all known data file types and then hold you ransom for a payment using Bitcoin. After payment, the hacker with forward you a decryption key. This can be costly.

To enable the feature:
Click on the white Windows icon in the bottom left of your screen
Type controlled folder access and press the Enter key

Switch the setting to ON

You can view the default protected folders by clicking Protected folders. The default folders are
Desktop, Documents, Favorites, Pictures, Music and Videos. From here, you can click the
Add a protected folder icon to add any other folders you deem important. This does not take the
place of doing a scheduled backup to an external hard drive device to protect your data.

Sometimes a local software application will cause a message to appear. You can choose
Allow an app through Controlled folder access and exclude a program when it attempts to change a file. This is needed periodically. Exclusions I’ve defined on my computer include: Quickbooks 2019 and Adobe Acrobat DC. 

Disaster Recovery: mock restore testing

We’ve mentioned having a good backup process in place many times in our articles. An important element of the process is performing periodic test restores. By doing a mock restore, you can make sure your backup device is functioning well and your data is valid. We suggest running through this process at least 4 times per year. Also, we suggest replacing external hard drive units every couple of years as they’re mechanical devices that will eventually fail.