Office Service Packs

Manually check your version of Microsoft Office for any updates at Microsoft Download Centre.  Or by using Windows Updates, Office products can be automatically updated.

Office 2010, 2013 and 2016 are the only ones that come in 64bit versions.

Office 365 is subscription based and uses the updates found in Office 2013/2016.






Office 2003 support ended 8 Apr '14
Office 2007 ends 10 Oct '17
Office 2010 ends 13 Oct '20
Office 2013 ends 11 Apr '23
Office 2016 ends 14 Oct '25


More info on Microsoft's lifecycle support on all their products can be found here.
 
 
 
Windows Service Packs

Use Microsoft Update for the 'hands free', automatic approach to keeping your computer up to date.  To find a particular update, try looking on Microsoft Download Centre.







More info on Microsoft's lifecycle support on all their products can be found here.
Virus Information

Symantec, the makers of Norton's Antivirus, constantly update their site with the latest virus information.  It is a great reference place to get all the details on current and past viruses.
 
USB Storage Devices

There are two main types.  The external hard drive or a USB Flash Card, also known as a Flash Stick or Memory Stick.

USB hard drives
These are external housing boxes used to accommodate either the hard drives found in desktops or the much smaller hard drives found in laptops.  Personally I prefer the small 2.5 inch laptop drives as they are more portable.  These are connected to your PC via a USB cable and do not need a separate power supply.  Their storage capacity is only limited by your budget.
This medium is VERY useful for backups.
    

USB memory sticks
These are lipstick sized 'sticks' that can fit in your pocket or on your key ring.  Typically storage capacities are 4, 8, 16 & 32gigs.  128gig and greater sizes are now appearing.  Prices are high for the top end devices and the dollar per megabyte ratio is much higher than the USB hard drive option.
These are excellent for files that need constant transferring, eg; reports, accounting data, homework, projects etc.
 
PC Maintenance

This is a list of very useful FREE programs.  Apart from the anti-virus products, they are all reactive rather than proactive.  In other words, they need running regularly to remove anything that may have snuck onto your PC.

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
Anti-adware & spyware protection.  Searches for intrusive, malicious programs.  The free version is reactive, not proactive.  Updates and scans must be manually initiated.

AVG or Avast
Anti-virus protection.  Automatic updates.  Has full email scanning.  Unlike the paid-for software, they don't expire so don't require subscription renewal.

Defraggler
Simple, little program that does a better job then the Windows version.  Good way to keep your hard drive compact and responsive.

CCleaner
Goes through your system looking for crap.  Also customisable in what extra folders/files you can include.  Can also edit the Startup program list and fix Registry errors.

ADWCleaner
Removes malware, toolbars, potentially unwanted programs (PUP) and browser hijackers.
 

Select a Topic to see the description
 
Windows
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Win10
Latest Update
SP4
SP3
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SP1
8.1u1
ver 1703
Office Edition
2002
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2013
2016
Latest Update
SP3
SP3
SP3
SP2
SP1
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Solid State Drives

These lightning fast drives need some extra care and attention to ensure their longevity.  Read this arcticle to find out what and how.


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HOSTS file

This can get really geeky, really fast.  So I'll avoid all that and simply say the HOSTS file is like a very simple firewall.  It lists connections between domain names and IP addresses and provides a very effective layer of protection.

For example, the domain name www.google.com.au has one IP address of 74.125.237.184 and www.bing.com has one of 204.79.197.200

However, in the HOSTS file, if we have the entry;

204.79.197.200  www.google.com.au

When going to Google we would instead be redirected to Bing.  This is what malware tries to do, they setup these mappings to redirect you away from where you were trying to go and instead take you to some ad-riddled, infected, or sponsered site.

So, you can be proactive and load up the HOSTS file with known malicious domain names and have them mapped to never leave your PC.  Your own PC has the pre-allocated IP address of 127.0.0.1


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