Kaspersky Internet Security licence renewal instructions

These are the instructions to follow when renewing the licence on Kaspersky Internet Security. I’ll presume that you have a new licence key to hand from a recent version and that the product is the same (eg not Kaspersky Pure etc). If you don’t have a new licence yet, you’ll find them for sale at discounted prices here [Hint: search for ‘kaspersky internet security 3 user’ or however many computers you need to protect]

You can buy the new licence in advance of your current product expiring, but you don’t need to wait until the existing licence has expired to install it any more. Kaspersky now seems to add on the remaining days from your current licence to your new licence, providing the product is the same.

First, open Kaspersky. The quickest way is to double click the icon in your system tray (bottom right of your desktop screen). If you can’t see it there, use the little arrow on the left to expand the icons and find it. It’s a red letter K like this one below:

 

kaspersky-internet-security-1

 

 

Now, look in the bottom right of the Kaspersky window and click on ‘License: xx days remaining’ (where xx is your actual days remaining).

 

kaspersky-internet-security-2

 

 

Now click on the ‘Enter activation code’ button.

 

 

kaspersky-internet-security-3

 

 

Finally, type in your activation code, or copy and paste it if you received it by email. Be careful to get EXACTLY the right code as some letters do look similar! You can copy and paste the whole of the new licence key into the first entry field, it will separate them for you.

 

 

kaspersky-internet-security-4

 

 

Press the ‘Save activation code’ button and you’re done. Give the PC a restart, open Kaspersky again and you should be able to see your licence has the correct amount of days remaining.

I sell full versions in my shop here at discounted prices that are often much cheaper than renewal. Grab the code from those and you won’t need to install anything, just follow the method above.

 


Reset Windows Server 2012 Administrator password

server 2012 password resetTo reset the Administrator password on your Windows server 2012 installation, you’ll need to do the following:

Boot from the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 DVD

  1. From the Windows setup menu, click “Next”
  2. Select “Repair your computer”
  3. Click on “Troubleshoot”
  4. Under Advanced options, click “Command Prompt”
  5. Type “diskpart” and hit Enter
  6. Type “list volume” and hit Enter. This will show you your (current) drive letter allocated to the drive where Windows is installed. Note  – if you don’t see any volumes listed and this is the first boot cycle for a new Server 2012 installation, then I have seen this on a few HP servers and you’ll need to go and run the setup again from within the Intelligent Provisioning area.
  7. Make a note of the drive letter and type “exit” then press enter to leave diskpart (but stay in the command prompt window)
  8. Presuming the letter is d, then type “d:” and press enter to change to this drive
  9. Now type  “cd Windows\system32” and press enter which will take you into the system32 folder
  10. Type “ren Utilman.exe Utilman.bak” and press enter
  11. Type “copy cmd.exe Utilman.exe” and press enter
  12. Close the command prompt and then click “Continue”
  13. The server should now reboot to the logon screen. Press the Windows key + u to open a command prompt
  14. At the prompt you can change the password by typing “net user administrator xyz” where xyz is your new super-secure password!
  15. Now, for security we must do one last thing. Once we are back in Windows, open Explorer, navigate to Windows\system32 and rename Utilman.bak to Utilman.exe

 

Hopefully this gets you out of a sticky situation, leave me a comment if it has helped.

 


Crash Plan backup software full review

CrashPlan has been around for a while now and is looking like one of the best solutions out there for business and personal backups.

With no storage size limits, bandwidth caps or file-type restrictions, Crash Plan really has lots going for it. On top of this, there’s enterprise-class hardware and military-grade security with no extra fees payable.

What I particularly like about Crash Plan is that there is free backup to an external drive and any trusted, internet-connected computer. You can also subscribe to their robust cloud-based destination, “CrashPlan Central” and this is certainly worth the extra money. It’s as quick as any cloud-based backup we have tested and the interface is functional and quite slick.

See what Crash Plan can offer here


crashplan online backup


Kaspersky Pure replaced by Total Security

Since I am getting a lot of questions on where Kaspersky Pure has gone and how to upgrade, I’ll try to clarify a few things. Yes, the main Kaspersky.com website has now dropped Pure as a product, seemingly without notification. The localized websites (such as .co.uk etc) have followed too. It seems that Kaspersky Pure has been phased out in favour of ‘Total Security’. There are a lot of Pure installation CDs out there so what to do?

OK, so here comes the terminology first:

  • KTS stands for Kaspersky Total Security
  • KIS stands for Kaspersky Internet Security
  • KAV stands for Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  • Changing from one installed product to another is called ‘migrating’

If you have an active or expired Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or 3.0 license, you have special options of migrating to Kaspersky Total Security. You can also migrate to Kaspersky Total Security from Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Anti-Virus or vice-versa.

Who can’t upgrade to Kaspersky Total Security?

Note that free migration to Kaspersky Total Security is not possible for the oldest versions of Pure. These were the original ‘version 1’ programs but are called:

Kaspersky PURE
Kaspersky PURE R2 (note that this is NOT the same as Kaspersky Pure 2.0)

They can’t be upgraded because their activation codes are incompatible with Kaspersky Total Security.

Now we know what versions can’t be upgraded, let’s upgrade those that can…

Free upgrades to Total Security

Successful upgrading depends on the current status of your license:

  • If you have an active licence for Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0, you can simply use your current activation code for migration (upgrading) to Kaspersky Total Security.
  • If your license for Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0 has expired, you can visit my shop here to buy Total Security at a cheaper price than renewal, then install it which migrates the licence for you automatically.

Migrating the Pure licence key to Total security

If you have Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0 installed on your computer, do the following to upgrade to Kaspersky Total Security:

Download the Total Security package here (opens in a new window for you). This is what you should see:

kaspersky download total security

Grab the top one in my screenshot above, Total Security, and download it. Now we have 2 options, either installing over the top of Pure or removing Pure and installing your downloaded KTS. I have listed both below:

Option 1 – Install Kaspersky Total Security without removing Kaspersky PURE

When you install Kaspersky Total Security on top of Kaspersky PURE 2.0 or Kaspersky PURE 3.0, the following data is preserved:

  • License information
  • Quarantined objects
  • Product settings (config settings including Backup tasks)
  • Encrypted containers (including all data)
  • Password Manager databases for all user accounts. All data that was available when working with Password Manager, such as passwords to programs and accounts, identities, notes, etc.
  • Anti-Spam databases (if the Anti-Spam component was previously used)
  • Backup stores

This makes it the easier option for most users. If you are not experiencing any issues with Pure then do this. If you have slowdown issues, configuration problems or just want a fresh install (which is always nicer) then jump to Option 2 below.

Screenshots of the installation process when installing over Kaspersky Pure:

install-kaspersky-total-security

installing-total-security

finish-restart-total-security

This took about 3 minutes for us to complete including the restart, just accept the defaults.

Option 2 – Install Kaspersky Total Security, removing Kaspersky PURE first

CAVEAT – You must have your licence key available which can be found on the card inside the product case.

CAVEAT 2 – You will lose any saved passwords in the Kaspersky Password Manager. Not everyone uses this and it won’t affect other password managers such as LastPass, Roboform, Keepass etc.

CAVEAT 3 – You will lose any quarantined files, backup stores, encrypted containers and spam databases (if used) which are again specific to Kaspersky Pure

  • Fully uninstall Kaspersky Pure via your control panel.
  • Reboot your PC
  • Install Total Internet Security from the file you downloaded earlier or from a packaged CD

If you have never installed a program before, here is some help how to do it:

 

I hope that this helps answer your questions on installation, upgrading and compatibility. Kaspersky remains the most effective of all the antivirus and Internet security suites that we have tested in our workshop and Total Security is a worthy replacement for Pure.


Norton 360 family retires with a confusing rebranding exercise

norton security rebrandThe owners of the Norton software brand, Symantec, have embarked on a strange rebranding exercise. Let’s face it, the antivirus company that doesn’t move with the times is going to get left behind. So what is this replacement for the products “Norton 360”, “Norton Internet Security” and “Norton Antivirus” going to be called? Something cute like “Poppy” or brutal like “JackHammer” perhaps? Maybe a more purposeful name like “Virus Obliterator”? Err no… meet… wait for it…

Norton Security

There’s a new Sheriff in town (and his name sounds very much like the old one).  For me, Norton needed to move away from that name. The early versions were absolute resource hogs (I’m going back to pre 2009 or thereabouts) but they tidied their act up and started to present versions that were slick, had low CPU/RAM usage and made use of a pretty decent user interface. All in, it became a well rounded product. It was then that they should have rebranded in my eyes. Ask most people who used the old security suites if they recommend Norton now and they’ll say “Nah, bloated rubbish”. Bad reputations are harder to shake if you keep the same name. Shit sticks it seems…

Do users of the old Norton products still get updates?

Well let’s see what the new business model is then. According to Symantec:

As a current customer of a Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security or Norton 360 product, you can continue to renew your subscription at this time, receive protection updates, and support for the product you have been using. If you are currently enrolled in Automatic Renewal Service, renewal of your enrolled product will be processed until further notice. During the renewal process, you may also have the option to upgrade to a different product. Choose the renewal or new product with the features that best meet your needs and you will continue to receive the latest in security updates during your subscription.

So, basically yes, they will offer support and updates for old products but will be pushing users to upgrade to the new family of products.

Norton security with Backup

This is the alternative to the plain Internet Security version. Cloud backup is something they have offered since Norton 360 came along, but now there is a move towards the ever-increasing synchronising of mobile and tablet data, Norton are unsurprisingly jumping on this.

If I was to be totally cynical, I’d say that it is a great business plan to offer cloud backup, even at cost price. Why? Well if the Internet Security software subscription is due and the user doesn’t renew, then they lose their online data. Who would want this? Guaranteed renewals makes sense for vendors and reduces the risk of jumping ship to sail with another vendor like Kaspersky, AVG or McAfee to name but a few.

We shall be reviewing the new software suites and doing comparative real-world tests but, until then, rest assured that the old Symantec Norton products are supported and will continue to receive updates.

 


Tresorit pushes security above and beyond

TresoritI am certainly impressed by the way that Tresorit seems to be handling security and also the openness of their company about methods they use and reject.

Their recent blog post shows that they are really trying to excel in the online backup industry by pushing current protocols beyond the standard ‘accepted’ limits.

When we designed Tresorit, we were faced with two contrary options: using widespread, well-tested, standardized, industry standard protocols and creating (or implementing) new, stronger protocols. We decided to combine the best of these approaches: we use the strongest standard one, and extend it with our protocol on a way that if our protocol fails, it fallback to the standard one.

I worked for many years in the computer security and penetration testing arena and most encryption methods I previously struggled to get past are now easily cracked by anyone with a laptop, some free software and some common sense. Times move on and you can’t presume something is safe because there are no current published exploits for it.

Tresorit is a relatively new but forward-thinking company that seem to have got their security levels right rather than waiting on the day they are compromised to address this. Keep up the good work Tresorit and keep pushing the boundaries of encryption.

https://tresorit.com


Windows 7 dvd

The Windows 7 DVD can upgrade your PC to Win 7. Prices are a little keener than Windows 8 at the moment it seems. You can go the upgrade path, eg buy a Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade disc, but I would always recommend backing up all your files and then doing a fresh installation as your PC will usually be quicker as a result. For this you will need to purchase a Windows 7 OEM or Retail DVD.

[phpbay keywords=”windows 7 dvd (oem, retail)” num=”9″ siteid=”1″ sortorder=”EndTimeSoonest” templatename=”columns” columns=”3″]


Free Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, InDesign, Acrobat, Audition, GoLive

adobe-photoshop-free-cs2Do you want a free licensed version of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, InDesign, Acrobat, Audition, GoLive, Acrobat, InCopy, or Elements? Well Adobe have done a very strange thing and put direct download links to the CS2 versions of this excellent software online WITH the activation serial key. Why would they do that I hear you ask? Well apparently Adobe have problems with their licensing server and older software is not validating correctly. To combat this and in a gesture of goodwill (or long-term customer baiting) they are making older versions like CS2 run, without requiring validation, on these keys.

Windows and Mac versions can be downloaded free from the Adobe website here

So why give away Adobe CS2 for free?

Supposedly, these licences are for existing customers, although the software is now coming up to 8 years old so it would be understandable if it was given away to tempt people to upgrade to later versions. Because of the high prices that Adobe has previously charged for this software, my guess is that it would possibly be perceived as putting a finger up to previous customers who bought this suite if they released it free of charge. Hence some mystery surrounds this ultra discreet release of serials and downloads.

I’m not sure all programs are Windows 7 or 8 compatible. There are Mac OSX downloads in there too, again I’m not sure what version of the OS it will go up to. What I do know is that the original minimum spec for CS2 was

  • Mac OS X v.10.2.8–v.10.3.8. PowerPC® G4 or G5 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® 2000/Windows XP. Intel® Pentium® III or 4 processor

I’d recommend that you go for the complete CS2 download listed at the start as it contains all the individual software programs. If you manage to get a copy and install it, please let me and others know what operating system you’re running it on by dropping a quick comment below.

 


Bot blocking tool Spyder Spanker review

Websites are plagued with bad bots and often come grinding to a halt without the aid of a bot blocking tool. Here, I’ll review the latest kid on the block, Spyder Spanker.

Bot blocking plugin wordpress

First off, Spyder Spanker is a WordPress plugin, so if you don’t have a WordPress powered site then you’re out of luck. If you do however, then read on, it’s pretty impressive. Here’s a video that shows its merits:

 

Seen enough? Get Spyder Spanker Pro now at the best price or continue reading the review.

 

Spyder Spanker full review

Initially installing the tool is as simple as uploading your provided zip file to your server via the WordPress plugin page. Once uploaded and activated, Spyder Spanker installs itself as an admin menu item. There, you can add your licence details and you are straight in to the interface, a very neatly styled area where each component is separately presented to you.

Allow trusted bots

Setting up the plugin is very easy because all of the major trusted bots are whitelisted. By trusted, I mean the ones you actually WANT to come to your site such as GoogleBot, BingBot etc. Without these, the search engines wouldn’t know your site content and you would never get listed in the search engine results pages. This is something that is a welcome addition to the software, other packages leave it up to you to select your own trusted bots.

Disallow bad bots

You don’t even need to add any bad bots either because these are also setup when the plugin installs. Bots such as Baidu (Chinese search bot) and Yandex (Russian search bot) are unneccesary on many English language sites as they steal bandwidth to add you to their results pages, regularly returning to your pages to re-crawl them and taking valuable bandwidth.

Allowing individual bots

OK, so we have a good setup straight out of the box, but let’s dig a bit deeper and see what we can modify. Let’s take the scenario where an English language website sells products to China. If this is the case then it would make sense to allow the Baidu bot to index the website.  To do this is a simple 2-click operation, tick the Baidu bot and then click on ‘Remove selected’. Very slick and no messing about with CSF firewall rules or .htaccess country-blocking or IP address blocking rules.

The differences between Spyder Spanker and other tools

I wanted to point out that Spyder Spanker is predominantly a bot blocker and doesn’t do a lot of what tools like WP Better Security does such as secure admin areas, make files ineditable etc. What it does excel at is blocking the bots that use your resources on a daily basis and it can throttle back the good bots when they spider your site aggresively too.

WP Better Security comes with a basic list of bad bots for .htaccess (which I use) but they’re a bit more devious these days and use new names. Here is an example of a logfile entry in Spyder Spanker:

This is a bot you won’t generally find on many htaccess blacklists but it’s a ‘rule-breaker’ for sure. SS responded by blocking it and will pass the rule to my other sites and the community network.

Let’s be honest, a bot with a gmail address probably shouldn’t be trusted that much anyway!

Spyder spanker review – the verdict

I’d thoroughly recommend you buy this tool, you’ll recoup any outlay back in a short time with reduced bandwidth fees, time saved and more sales if you run any type of ecommerce or affiliate site. One thing though, go with the Pro upgrade that is presented as a “One Time Offer” when you have paid for the basic version because Spyder Spanker Pro integrates beutifully with Project Honeypot. This means that it can be run ‘hands-off’ and will be updated against the raft of ever-increasing spammers and bad bots out there. Add this to the community update facility and you’ll be protected for years to come across ALL of your domains.

Purchase Spyder Spanker at the current best price online


Can I install OEM software on Mac Boot Camp or Virtual Machine?

Well, it seems there are lots of people asking about this installing OEM Windows software on Mac desktops and laptops. This is a grey area that I’d like to clear up (or make slightly off-white). I’ll present the facts and you can make your own decision.

OEM versions are, in theory, to be used by system builders. It is generally accepted now, although unwritten, that people can readily purchase these and install them. Just look at the plentiful supplies on major ecommerce sites and you’ll see that the OEM software is not just for system builders. Effectively, someone who installs an operating system on a PC is doing the job of a system builder, it’s just the component assembly part they are missing, and many system builders actually buy whole machines now anyway.

The thing to note with OEM software, is that if your computer dials out for licence verification then it needs to be installed on just one piece of hardware to be classed as genuine. That’s the only check. Since Retail versions are much more expensive than OEM, people are naturally drawn to them.

There are a few things to be aware of for OEM installation which I’ll clarify here:

1)  Retail versions come with both 32-bit and 64-bit installations as an option. OEM versions are one or the other, so you will want to make sure you’re ordering the right version. For your Mac, check that it is a 64 bit machine and go for this if it is. If you do have 64 bit then choose a product like Windows 7 as it’s stable, well rounded and I have seen Windows 8 splutter and complain a few times. Something like this would be perfect:

Cheap Windows 7 OEM (opens in a new tab)

The differences in 32 and 64 bit operating system software can often be marginal unless you are really pushing the computer hard, but for a small price difference 64 is a better operating system when on full load. Many software programs are 32 bit so they don’t take advantage of the extra ‘word architecture’ but when you run something like Adobe Photoshop 64 bit that is resource-hungry, it can be noticeable.

2)  OEM versions are tied to the hardware they are installed on and cannot be moved. This will only be an issue if you are planning on using virtualization software as well as your bootcamp (dual boot) installation, since the virtual machine “hardware” looks different to the real hardware.

3)  OEM versions do not come with telephone support from MS, although if you try to talk to a Microsoft representative about issues you are getting on a Mac then you may be fighting a losing battle as they are known to pass them back to you.

To summarise, I would go with an OEM dual-boot installation (64 bit if possible) OR run a virtual machine. You may even be able to run a cheaper XP licence as a virtual machine and this may suffice. If it is to run an older program such as MS Money this could work well as it may run more happily too.

64 bit architecture explained on Wikipedia

Drop me a comment below if this helped you or please click the social buttons to help others save a bit of money too.