It is hard to believe that a new year is just around the corner. It seems like just yesterday that we were ringing in 2015. The year brought us a lot of changes in the computer world, especially with the release of Windows 10. Microsoft says that Windows 10 will be the last operating system that will be released. All updates from here on in will be built around the Windows 10 protocol.
In addition to a new OS, malware has risen to new heights as well. The year 2015 brought us much more sophisticated ransom ware like cryptowall, which encrypts most of the usable files on your computer. The only way to get access to your files is either through paying the ransom (not recommended) or restoring your computer from a backup.
In addition to ransom ware, PUP’s (potentially unwanted programs) also have been a huge problem this year. Programs such as these are not always classified as malware but they can create lots of problems if you have one of these programs installed. They usually come bundled with other free software such as free games or utilities. In almost all cases, this type of infection is totally preventable by watching for third party downloads when installing new software.
Looking ahead to 2016, one of the big topics will be Windows 10. Windows 10 is going to get more aggressive at trying to get you to upgrade. If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 it is likely that Microsoft will try to install Windows 10 automatically without your consent. You will still see a “confirm” button pop up but many folks just hit the button without checking what it is for. If you do upgrade, you will have 31 days to return to your old operating system.
The new Microsoft Edge that is included with Windows 10 has been blasted by many for it not being a very functional browser. The browser should soon support add on extensions to make the browser more like its competitors such as Firefox and Chrome.
Windows 10 remains a free upgrade to most Windows 7 and 8.1 users. This will not be the case forever. Starting at the end of July, users will have to purchase a license in order to use the new operating system. Once that happens it is unknown if the nag screens to upgrade will still be present.
If you are still a big fan of Windows 7 like I am, your time to get a Windows 7 PC will be coming to an end. If you still want to try and get a PC with Windows 7 installed on it, you will have to do so before the end of next October. After that time, all new computers will be required to come preinstalled with Windows 10. If you build your own PC, you should be sure to buy a copy of Windows 7 now while you still can. That way if you buy a barebones PC sometime in the future, it will ensure you are able to install Windows 7 on that machine. That is exactly what I did a few months ago.
What will 2016 bring us in the way of malware? That question still remains unanswered but new and more aggressive strains of the crypto locker type of infections will likely get more sophisticated as well as more aggressive. We will likely see more infections of the nuisance variety such as pup’s and scare ware. It will be more important than ever to keep your computer clean and to have it checked for infections.
AS you can see, lots of changes are in store for the New Year but with regular computer maintenance, you can keep your system running as good as possible throughout the New Year. Have a Happy New Year everybody!!