Windows 8.1 Update 1, which I first blogged about in late January, is a relatively small update to Windows 8.1, which itself is the major update to Windows 8 that was released last October. [Confused yet?]
Anyway, the latest gossip is out on this update, and it looks even more certain that we'll see this update included in Patch Tuesday on April 8, 2014. It's not official yet, but seems likely.
Most of the changes in Windows 8.1 Update 1 (which, by the way, is still not officially the name of this update) continue the pro-keyboard-and-mouse-user changes seen in Windows 8.1
You can read all the details in Mary Jo Foley's Microsoft releases Windows 8.1 Update 1 to manufacturing piece out yesterday.
- How to Update to Windows 8.1
- How To Clean Install Windows 8 & 8.1
- Where Can I Download Windows 8 or 8.1?
- How To Start Windows 8 & 8.1 in Safe Mode
Windows Icon Image © Microsoft
Microsoft Office 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) was just released by Microsoft. Service packs are big updates, usually a combination of new features and up-to-this-date, previously individually available, security and stability updates.
See my Latest Microsoft Office Service Packs page for direct links to both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office 2013 SP1. You're welcome to manually update starting right now via those links or via Windows Update. Beginning near the end of March, Office 2013 SP1 will be pushed as an automatic update.
If you're using Office 365, the subscription based version of Office 2013, the changes included in Office 2013 SP1 will be included in the next update to your software.
Tip: If you're really interested, you can download this spreadsheet of all the fixes included in Office 2013 SP1. It's a really big list, but might be handy if you're looking to see if SP1 solves a specific issue you've been seeing in one of your Office 2013 programs. Microsoft's Office Blogs also posted about Office 2013 SP1 with some generic information.
Image © Microsoft
A simple hardware troubleshooting step when your computer is locking up or spontaneously restarting, especially during the boot process, is to reseat the expansion cards in your computer.
Reseating, which is just another way of saying "remove-and-reinsert," assures that the card is making a good, clean connection with motherboard.
Expansion cards can work loose and get dirty over time so the simple act of removing and reinserting them in their slots on the motherboard will often clear up what might have looked like a major issue.
Reseating the expansion cards in your PC is pretty easy, even if you've never been inside your computer before. It's certainly worth a try before buying new hardware or hauling your computer in for service.
Macs have a gray screen and since I know some of you Windows users, who I normally cater to, also "know people" who own Macs, I thought this excellent troubleshooting guide by our own Tom Nelson, About.com Guide to Macs, might interest you:
So yes, some rumors are true: your... I mean your friend's... Mac can crash. No, probably not as often as your PC, but it happens.
If you do own a Mac, please check out Tom's other stuff on About.com: Macs. His site is next to none in his area of expertise and should be your first source for any Mac related tutorials and news.
I've blogged several times, and written more articles than I can count, about wiping a hard drive and how important it is to do prior to selling or disposing of a computer.
Maybe you've heard stories on the news about shady recycling center workers that take old hard drives home and pull off credit card numbers and social security numbers? While not a national emergency, yes, it does happen.
So, needless to say, you knew (or now know) that properly erasing a computer hard drive is important so your personal data can't be discovered on it later by someone else. Great!
...but did you ever have similar thoughts about your phone?
In your phone you may have email and other service passwords, private phone numbers, personal data about family and friends, text logs, stored credit card numbers, private photos... you name it. In fact, I doubt there's much on your traditional computer that's any more sensitive than data on your phone.
Which leads me to this:
How to Erase Your iPhone's Data Before You Sell It, by Andy O'Donnell.
Andy O'Donnell writes the Internet / Network Security site here on About.com and he put together that excellent tutorial I just linked you to. If you have an iPhone and you're looking to upgrade or sell it, don't forget to get your data off first!
Image © Apple Inc.
CrashPlan is one of my favorite online backup services. I know I've sent a lot of you to their service over the years and I continually hear good things about them. If you're just learning about them, I have a great overview in my CrashPlan Review.
CrashPlan recently updated the program that runs on your computer that facilities the backing up of your data. Some of the changes in v3.6.3 include:
- Improved translations
- One-step installation for Mac users
- Update to the Java version used in Windows & Linux
Sign up for CrashPlan for just $5.99 per month, or as low as $3.96 per month with a 4-year prepayment. A "family" plan is also available that supports backup from as many as 10 computers, all on the same account.
Today is Patch Tuesday. February's patches consist of 7 updates that correct 31 unique security issues across Microsoft Windows operating systems and some other Microsoft software.
What Do These Security Updates Do?
These patches from Microsoft update several individual files involved in making Windows and other Microsoft software work.
Do I Need These Security Updates?
You need these updates if you're running any supported edition of Microsoft's operating systems, 32-bit or 64-bit. This includes Windows 8 (as well as Windows 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Server versions are included.
A number of these updates correct issues so serious that, in certain situations, remote access to your computer may be possible without your permission. These issues are classified as critical, while some others this month are less serious and classified as important.
See Microsoft Security Bulletin Severity Rating System for more on these classifications.
All supported versions of .NET Framework are getting security updates this month too, as well as Microsoft Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server.
Are There Any Non-Security Updates This Month?
Yes, including non-security updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8 & 8.1. Also, as usual, Microsoft is pushing this month's update to the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.
There may also be non-security updates included this month for Microsoft software other than Windows. See the Non-Security Updates links below for details.
Patch Tuesday Problems
This blog post has become Grand Central Station for Patch Tuesday problems each month. While updates from Microsoft rarely result in widespread problems with Windows itself, they do frequently cause specific issues with software or drivers provided by other companies.
Please see How To Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC for a number of preventative measures you should take before applying these updates, including disabling fully automatic updates.
If your computer freezes during the installation of an update, see How To Recover From a Frozen Windows Update Installation for help.
If the updates installed but you're now experiencing a problem, see How To Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates for advice on how to undo the damage.
See Windows Updates & Patch Tuesday FAQ for answers to other common questions, including "Does Microsoft test these updates before they push them out?" and "Why hasn't Microsoft fixed the problem that their update caused on my computer?!"
Automatically install: via Windows Update.
Manually install: via the individual Bulletin IDs listed in the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for February 2014. See Do I Have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows? if you're not sure which downloads to choose.
Next Patch Tuesday: will be March 11, 2014.
A Note on the Comments Below:
I update this blog post for each Patch Tuesday by Microsoft so some of the comments left may be for previous Patch Tuesdays. You can tell which Patch Tuesday a comment is referring to by looking at the notation at the end of the comment. For example, comments addressing Patch Tuesday February 2014 will end with [PT: February 2014].
Mozilla released Firefox v27 this week, the latest version of their Firefox browser.
The major new feature added is the ability to run more than one social service at once. New services were added too, which you can read about here.
Also, as usual, a number of issues were corrected from v26. You can see the complete list Firefox's v27.0 Bug Fixes page.
You can download Firefox v27 here, or just watch for the update notification next time you're using the browser. Check out the Firefox v27.0 Release Notes for an overview of what you're getting in this new version.
Backblaze is one of my favorite online backup services (#1 of 40 as of this writing) and is also a favorite in my list of companies offering business online backup. Needless to say, I love the service.
With online backup services, a big part of the "service" is actually the small bit of software installed on the computer that facilitates all that wonderful, automatic backing up. Today, Backblaze released an important update to their already fantastic and easy to use software.
Here are the highlights in Backblaze v2.5.0, on the "software" end:
- Doubled the speed of the file scanner
- Changed default max file size from 4 GB to Unlimited
- Improved EMLX and ICS file backup on Mac
Unlike some of Backblaze's previous updates, this one does impact a lot of stuff on the "service" end. A huge update to the account page, the addition of email notifications, and a lot more. You can get all the details from their blog post on the 2.5 update.
Sign up for Backblaze for just $5 per computer per month, or prepay for up to two years to bring that cost down to $3.96 /month.
Piriform recently released Recuva v1.50.1036, the latest version of their free file recovery tool. For a full overview, see my review of Recuva v1.50.1036.
This update improves a number of things about how Recuva undeletes files. If you keep a copy of Recuva installed all the time (I recommend you do) then I suggest you update. All of the changes they made between this version and the last are listed in the Change log on their blog post about the update here.
As always, you can download the newest version of Recuva for free here.