DOTW Winners June 2021
19th July 2021
Whither hobby computing?
19th July 2021

Windows (formerly Windows 10*)

We were able to help Jan with a major learning experience this month – using a bootable Linux USB flash drive to recover files from a Windows computer with a failing hard drive that would no longer boot. While it’s not strictly a Windows question, it is very relevant to anyone trying to recover files and demonstrates that lack of Linux experience is no impediment to using it for this process.

Jan mentioned she’d been trying to help a friend get her laptop running again without success and had suggested the friend take it to a shop to try to recover files using Linux. We suggested Jan would be capable of doing this herself to which her response was “gulp”, but with our encouragement and guidance she was able to achieve it.

Ubuntu provides an easy guide to downloading the disc image, creating the bootable flash drive or DVD and booting from it, so we were there mainly for getting her started, moral support and answering related questions. The hardest part is working out how to boot your computer from a USB drive as how you achieve it depends on the computer being used, the rest is just trepidation in using something unfamiliar.

It took a while, possibly due to the condition of the drive, but Jan was able to copy the desired files to an external drive, including 10 years worth of e-mails. It should be noted the friend did have back-ups of her personal data but it wasn’t that recent so there were still many files that were at risk of being irretrievably lost.

Jan was happy with both the outcome and having learnt a useful skill, and her friend was delighted that her files were saved – a great example of the “members helping members” club ethos. She’s even thinking of dual-booting her old laptop to have a further play with Ubuntu so I’m sure will be back with more questions.

<https://www.yammer.com/melbpc.org.au/#/Threads/show?threadId=1290274370101248>

Despite saying Windows 10 was going to be the last ever version of Windows Microsoft officially announced a new version, named Windows 11. There has been considerable consternation over the system requirements that are currently listed to install it – a MS account, TPM 2.0 and a processor from a very limited list.

It should be noted that Win11 is in beta and not due for release until October or November – it’s thought the current restrictions will be eased somewhat for the actual release version but that’s purely speculation and firm details are sparse. If you’re keen to test there are ways and means to circumvent the restrictions – they require editing the registry so caution is required and running a Windows beta on your main system would definitely not be recommended.

<https://www.yammer.com/melbpc.org.au/#/Threads/show?threadId=1268555922726912>

* This group was originally created to provide a separate area to discuss the then new Windows 10 and has continued in that role, but with the recent announcement of Windows 11 it was decided that rather than create a new group we’d re-purpose this group to cover all versions of Windows.

Security, Scams and Phishing

The sorry tale of a netball club in SA being defrauded to the tune of $150,000 by an e-mail claiming to be from a building contractor that provided fake bank account details provides a salutary lesson for all of us. Always verify bank account details before depositing substantial sums, don’t just trust the e-mail details provided. While this should be standard practice it’s very worth the occasional reminder because it’s oh so easy to get caught out by trusting an e-mail when you’re expecting to receive one.

Likewise, don’t trust any bank account sign-in links seen in e-mails. Always log in directly via your bank’s website.

<https://www.yammer.com/melbpc.org.au/#/Threads/show?threadId=1255931849588736>

Computer Help

Helping a less than tech-savvy friend who allowed a “friendly” neighbour to obtain his router log in details has given Cedric a real headache. Said neighbour has been leaching the friend’s data and causing him to run out only half-way through the month, and also seems to have accessed the smart TV and using it to stream dubious material.

Cedric had tried to change the router password, WiFi password and WiFi SSID (the connection name) but couldn’t get them to save. He didn’t really want to perform a factory reset unless it proved absolutely necessary so further efforts to get the changes to save were called for. Telstra didn’t have a manual available online but Malcolm was able to provide a link to an unofficial guide that a user had put together and Cedric was then able to save the changes.

Rather than using WiFi to connect the smart TV Kevin (our resident cabler) also suggested using ethernet. It’s not certain how the neighbour is connecting to the TV so trying to disable all wireless connections seems a sensible approach – it uses both WiFi and Bluetooth.

Hopefully that’s cured the immediate problem of data leaching but I get the feeling Cedric’s friend will have further issues for him to deal with in the future.

<https://www.yammer.com/melbpc.org.au/#/Threads/show?threadId=1273242047619072>

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