Ed had to reinstall an old version of Windows and when he tried to authenticate it, it won't let him verify with a serial number. Leo says that's probably because Microsoft has discontinued the authentication server and turned it off. So he can't activate it, and it will expire in 30 days. There's probably a workaround though if he does a Google search. Microsoft really should keep it running for people like Ed. He may be able to call them and get it authenticated, but it may just be time to move on.
Leo says that Fred is right to be concerned about the security of sending emails because the contents of the messages can be read along the way. If the email is going from one Gmail address to another, however, it would be secure. Ultimately, though, Leo doesn't recommend sending attachments at all. Opening attachments is how most people end up getting infected, and it doesn't just affect that person either. It will spread to all of that person's contacts, affecting their family, business, and the internet as a whole.
Mike reinstalled Windows 7, but it won't authenticate. He contacted Microsoft and they want him to buy Windows 10. Leo says that can happen when modifying a computer significantly to the point that Windows doesn't recognize it as the same computer. But Microsoft still supports Windows 7, and they can reassign his serial number to the new configuration, so that's odd. It may be that using reinstall disks that didn't come with his computer could be causing it.
Don recently got a used PC, but it's locked with a password. Since the password prompt comes up after the PC has loaded Windows, Leo says it's easy to wipe it and reinstall the operating system. All he needs to do is download the Windows 10 installation tool from Microsoft called the "Media Creator's Tool", and put that on a thumb drive. Then he can boot to that drive, format, and reinstall it from there.
Intel has announced that the fix for the Spectre exploit can actually cause blue screens of death (BSOD) and crash your system unless you make sure everything is updated first — especially third-party antivirus. Leo says this is why it makes more sense to use Windows Defender and not use a third party app. They really do more harm than good.
The latest exploit "Spectre" affects every single chip made in the last ten years. At first, security researchers thought that the exploit only affected Intel processors, but it turns out this hack also effects ARM, AMD, and any other processor that uses speculative prediction. The white hat hackers who found the flaw discovered that you can use it to access valuable data including passwords and other information. Leo says that Microsoft has already pushed out a fix, and Apple's High Sierra has patched the vulnerability with a recent fix. Apple has also patched the iPhone and iPad.
Ron has noticed that some of his programs autostart when he boots up. How can he stop that? Leo says he doesn't like apps running in the background. There is a way to stop it, though. There's a power tool from Microsoft called Autoruns that will enables him to turn that stuff off. It's a part of their SysInternals Suite.
Qingnan is looking to get a Windows Surface Book. Leo had one and he thought it was an interesting design, but it fell short on performance. The second version is about to drop and it's supposed to be better, though. Qingnan is confused though with the processor designation — it has two different processors claiming it's the 8th generation. Leo says that's marketing and often times that can be confusing.
Bret recently bought the Microsoft Surface Pro, which he hopes will replace his laptop. But he's found that on the tablet side of the equation, he doesn't see many apps at all, especially Words with Friends. Leo says that's not exactly accurate. There may be few apps in the Windows Store, but he can get Windows apps all over the place. However, the apps he's used may not have made a Surface app yet. Will Bluestacks work for running Android apps? Leo says that's the idea, but it doesn't really work.