Best Laptop

How to Find the Best Laptop in 2015

Best LaptopThis article offers some helpful pointers in discovering the best laptops of 2012. While there might be certain brands that you prefer, because some companies have improved considerably over the years, it is good to be open to other possibilities. Because you can’t really compare a computer that costs over a thousand dollars to one this costs a couple of hundred it is important to limit your browsing to those within your budget.

If you are considering an compact notebook, the ultra-compact Samsung NF310 might be what you need. This netbook features an Intel Dual-Core-Atom processor which is up to 50% faster than the usual single core processors found in this type of machine.

The performance you will find in this netbook, including the sharp images and colors on the LED-backlit LCD display is one that is normally found in larger, more expensive laptops. This model also comes with Samsung’s True2Sound, which maximizes your enjoyment of sound effects by providing enhanced bass and clear dialog. With a battery life of over nine hours, this netbook also has a Fast Start feature so it can boot up quickly. Considered one of the most advanced netbooks on the market, at around $400, the Samsung NF310 can be considered a bargain. If you’re looking for a computer on a budget, around $500, you will probably appreciate the HP Pavilion g6x. Even though this computer does not cost that much, this notebook has the look and feel of a more expensive model because of its outside casing. This hard drive is 500 GB, and it also runs on a Core i3 processor which will allow you to run many different programs that more expensive models can. You will have the ability to plug in headphones jacks, and SD card reader, and also use the Internet via the ethernet connection. So if you’re looking for a compact package with a lot of power, the HP Pavilion g6x is a great buy for the money.

There are some good choices in high performance laptops for gamers. One laptop is the Maingear EX-L 15 which has Nvidia GTX-485M mobile graphics and an Intel Core i7 CPU. domain fungi . It has many useful ports as well like two USB 3.0 ports, as well as for ethernet and HDMI. Gaming laptops do cost a lot more than a conventional one, and the Maingear EX-L 15 is close to $2500 so probably only the really serious games will probably consider it. At almost seven pounds, like many gaming machines, this is bulkier than your average laptop.

There are hundreds of laptops and notebook computers available today, and new ones are being introduced every month. People also worry about missing the next newest flashiest model that is going to released “soon”. The new frills and extras while nice aren’t always essential because most people only use a handful of features on their computers.

Best Firewalls Of 2012

Best Firewalls Of 2012 – Pick The Right One

Best Firewalls Of 2012The only defense that your computer has from potential threats is a firewall. You need to use one of the best firewalls of 2012 for proper protection. Even though Windows has a firewall program built-in, it may not be able to stop every attack that comes your way. To install a more robust security system on your computer makes sense, as will provide you with the added protection that you will need.

You can get a firewall with Online Armor Free, and also security that is basic will be provided to your computer. If you want something more extensive, you can choose one of the paid versions, Online Armor Premium or Online Armor ++. Most people who use a computer can get by with the free version, because it will protect their computer from most of the malicious programs. If you want more protection, when doing banking online, you will get a Banking Mode feature with the premium edition, along with other features. There is a problem that the free edition doesn’t take care of, while the premium edition does, and that is phishing. If you are looking for the program which has the best protection, that would be Online Armor ++, because of its features for anti-malware and antivirus. You may want to look over the full list of features offered by these three Online Armor products, as one of them is likely to meet your needs. Protecting your computer is of utmost importance, which is why many people decide to use Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper 2012. If you didn’t know, you can protect your computer doing several things. Trying Spy Sweeper 2012 from Web Root Antivirus to protect your computer may be beneficial. Your computer, or laptop, will definitely be protected with Spy Sweeper and its ability to remove spyware that it detects. You will definitely not be harmed by malicious software, especially when using the antivirus feature that is available. This software is so good that PC Magazine in 2010 gave it the Editor’s Choice award for excellence. Depending upon what your needs may be, and what is appropriate for your system, Webroot has a variety of applications that will certainly help you out. For those of you that would like to encrypt everything, and this includes passwords, files, documents, and credit cards, Secure Anywhere Complete from Webroot is your best bet for security.

It is a good idea to look for the best firewall solution for your computer, but consider a few things first. Choosing the right firewall protection comes down to deciding to pay for it or use a free version to protect your personal computer. It is essential that you do not use a bootlegged copy of any security program to protect your PC from harm. Doing this is not legal, and also not logical, in that the free software could have viruses built-in that could infect your operating system. The best thing to do is go with trusted brand names that you are familiar with which will more than likely provide you with excellent software. What you never want to do is download software from a website you do not trust as it may be malicious software designed to steal your information and harm your computer. Many people today spend a lot of time on their computers, and security is becoming an ever more critical issue. It is important to protect your computer from viruses and malware, especially since they can shut your computer down and still your identity in one fell swoop. This article, hopefully, will help you locate and install the right security software for your computer. Good luck in using the best firewall and security products of 2012!

Best Antivirus

The Best Antivirus Options for 2015

Best AntivirusHaving the latest protection for your computer is paramount therefore it is really worth your time to look for the most optimal antivirus software of 2012. There are many good programs to choose from, and while some might serve your needs better than others, the most important thing is to install some kind of effective antivirus program on your computer. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for an array of different issues.

Anyone searching for a free antivirus solution will definitely be happy with the AVG Anti-Virus software. This program provides you with automatic updates on a regular basis to make sure you’re protected from the latest threats. Gamers will be very happy to know that the software actually operates while they are playing online games so they are protected while they play. This company, AVG Technologies, has been providing virus protection for many years making it one of the more reputable antivirus software companies in the world. This program is also capable of removing spyware and malware that infiltrates your system. It is true that Apple is usually impervious to virus attacks, yet the possibility is still there. Although Mac operating systems usually don’t get viruses, the popularity of Apple has spawned more viruses to target these systems. What happens is Mac owners will switch to run on Windows. It is at this point that viruses can infiltrate if you don’t have virus protection already installed. Macintosh computers can use a software program called ProtectMac AntiVirus that will solve the problem. The best thing about this software is that it will block Mac and Windows viruses. There is a free version of this type of protection available called Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition that has high praise from users.

Antivirus software can protect you, but only up to a certain point. Antivirus software is not perfect. This is something you need to understand because once you install the program, it can only protect you from so much. While such software is good at detecting viruses and malware, there are some things it can’t do, so you still have to be vigilant. Your computer may be at risk if you are downloading a significant amount of files, files that might be harboring viruses that your software does not know about. Never download anything from a person that you do not personally know. Especially today where people can impersonate friends and family very easily, you should never open anything that seems suspicious, especially if it is from Facebook or another social network.

Most of the time, people that get antivirus software don’t think about it until they have a problem on their computer. Security threats online are more than an annoyance. You can actually have someone steal your identity and destroy information on your PC due to this malicious software. You really need to think about protecting your computer today using the best antivirus solutions of 2015.

Hard Drives

How to Find the Best Desktop Hard Drives on the Market

Hard DrivesThe most desirable desktop hard drives have enough room for you store data and then have space on your computer for other things. This is a good piece of information to know about because no one can predict when something will go wrong with your computer hard drive. If you have a good external hard drive, you most probably don’t have to stress out about losing good files. So let’s see if we can locate the greatest desktop hard drives that can not only keep your files safe, but also provide enough storage space.

One of the least expensive hard drives available that has a solid reputation for quality is the Seagate Expansion portable hard drive. There are actually quite a few different Seagate models to select from and it wouldn’t hurt for you to take a look at all of them. The Seagate Expansion, however, is good for anyone on a budget who wants an external hard drive that they can just plug in and start using. Additionally, the device is energy efficient, which saves on utility costs. This device comes backed by Seagate’s reputation for excellence and a one year warranty. If you want to find a really durable external hard drive, the IoSafe Rugged Portable hard drive is one that you really need to consider. This drive is stylish, tough and made to withstand a great deal of punishments of all types. It’s really useful if you live or work in a damp environment because it was built to be water resistant and continue working even if it gets totally submerged in water whether that water is fresh or salty. The IoSafe Rugged Portable has a USB 3.0 connection and offers you 750 DB of storage capacity. This means that if you only have USB 2.0 compatibility you’ll need a separate cable to get it to work. Beyond this, the only real disadvantage is that, as rugged as it might be, it isn’t meant to work in extremely hot conditions.

Buying storage space is something that many people do not worry about until the need arises, but they really should make the purchase today. Getting an external hard drive would be a good thing to decide, even if you just bought a new computer that has good storage space. Experiencing hard drive crashes happens all of the time, but a warranty will only protect your computer and not your files on that computer. It is imperative that you back up all of your work so that it is not lost due to a hard disk failure. By having the additional storage space, your older model computer will run more effectively.

In conclusion, today’s external hard drives have a lot more space than ones that were available even a few years ago. They’re also quite a lot faster, smaller and more portable. If you choose a high quality desktop hard drive that’s compatible with your computer, your data will be a lot more secure.

tab

Samsung Galaxy Tab – An In-depth Review

tabComputer tablets are a going trend for a lot of enjoyable reasons and we will pointing some of those out in this article. Today, just about every company that produces personal computers also has at least one tablet on the market, and Samsung is no exception. Most of the tablets available on the market these days have the Android in common, as what runs them. What follows are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

If you want to use your Samsung Galaxy Tab for business or school, you may find that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the most appropriate choice.

You could think that a tablet may not give you enough size to be efficient, but it actually offers a screen and keyboard that are more than adequate for most all tasks you may need to perform. This device is compatible with widely used programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, so it’s easy to transfer anything you’re working on to other machines or to send them off to colleagues in emails. You will also have the option to generate and send in PDF format. For your protection, the Galaxy Tab is installed with a security suite that helps keep you safe from possible danger on the internet.

You will find several apps already installed on the Samsung GT and many more that are available to download. If you’re a lover of music, you will be thrilled with Slacker Radio. You will be able to listen to millions of songs featuring a wide variety of artists. Whatever genre of music you prefer, you will find your favorites with over 100 stations available on Slacker Radio. You can customize Slacker to your own preferences by telling it what you like and don’t like. There are also many reviews of albums and biographies of bands and artists so you can learn more about your favorite music. There is a paid version, for a small monthly fee, called Slacker Radio Plus which is ad-free.

You will find many apps available for the Samsung tablets – both from Samsung and Android. However, sometimes these aren’t enough for everyone. In particular, people who are used to downloading apps for an iPhone or iPad may find that the number of available apps on the Galaxy are limited by comparison. Do you think that this is a serious limitation to the effectiveness of these tablets? The debate is ongoing. In a typical day, however, you can only use so many apps out of the millions that are available. Nevertheless, new apps are being written every day for the Android OS. Still, if apps are important to you, it’s a good idea to take a look at what’s available for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and see if it’s sufficient for your needs.

The capabilities of these Samsung Galaxy mid-range tablets are numerous. These tablets are good choices to research further whenever you are in the market for a tablet. domain server . You should realize that the Galaxy 7.0, 8.9 and 10.1 are all a little different, so make sure you get the one that’s most suitable for you. Keep an eye open for upgrading of the Samsung Galaxy Tab whenever there are upgrades to the Android OS.

Using Group Policy Preferences to populate Local Administrator Groups

Administrator Groups

Curtsey of http://www.grouppolicy.biz

One problem I see all the time is IT administrator never being able to control who is a local administrator of any particular computer. The problem is that when you give someone local admin access to a computer (because they legitimately need it) you cant stop them from giving admin access to someone else on the same computer. When this does happen it is also its almost impossible to discover as you have to run a query every computer to see who is in the local admin group and then figure out which account should be a member. Once solution to this is of course following Microsoft best practice and not give your users local admin access to their PC or Server and in an utopian environment this would be possible but we all live in the real world where managers have admin access to their PC’s and developers are allowed to install any software they want. So how do you give a users full admin access to a computer but stop them from adding more people to the local admin group on a computer? Use Group Policy Preference of course.

But first a bit of History… Since Group Polices were first introduced with Windows 2000 there was an setting called “Restricted Groups” which allows you to control the membership of a group. This option had two modes one called “Members” option which I also call the “Iron Fist” mode and the other “Members Of” option which is much gentler. The “Members” option removes any groups or users that are not explicitly specified and the “Members Of” option just adds a specific group which out removing any existing groups. The “Members” option was really good at cleaning up those rogue members of the local admin group but its was also really hard to setup as you had to have a new group policy every time you wanted a different list of members in local group on a computer. The “Members Of” option was a lot easier to maintain as you could layer multiple group policies on top of each other but this normally resulted in just adding another layer of group to the pile of groups that were already in the local administrators group. The other problem was the “Members” option would override the “Members Of” option so there was really no way of mixing the two modes.

BUT…  Group Policy Preferences can use Variables which enabled you to be very extremely granular in controlling you local admin group while still having “Iron Fist” control. Muuhhaaaahahahahah!!!

 

How do I setup a restricted local administrator group?

The following steps will need to be applied to a GPO that is applied to the computer objects you want to control the local administrator groups. Note: You must make sure you don’t have any other Group Policy “Restricted Groups” settings applied to your computers as they will always override the group policy preferences settings.

Step 1. Open the Group Policy Management Consol and edit the group policy that is applied to the scope of computers that you want to control.

Step 2. Go to the Computer Configuration > Preferences > Control Panel Settings > Local User and Groups option (see Image 1.).

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Image 1. Local User and Group

Step 3. Now click on Actions > New > Local Group

Step 4. Now you will be need to select “Administrators (built-in)” from the group name as this always selects the built-in administrators group even if you have renamed it to obfuscate the name of the admin account.

Step 5. Tick both “Delete all member users” and “Delete all member groups”. These two options will automatically remove any users or groups that are not explicitly being added to the group. You only need to do this on item number 1 in the list of settings as that setting will be processed last.

Step 6. Now you will need to make sure you have added back in the Domain Admin’s and Local Administrator groups so that you don’t totally lock yourself out of the computer. To do this click the “Add…” button to bring up the “Local Group Member” dialogue box (see Image 2)

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Image 2. Local Group Member

Step 7. Now type “BuiltIn\Administrator” in the Name field and click OK (see Image 3.)

Note: The image below is wrong… it should be “BUILTIN\Administrator”

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Image 3. Local Administrators group added to the local administrators group

Step 8. You should also add “DOMAINNAME\Domain Admins” as it is a good practice to have the DA account as a member of the local admin group on all computers in the domain.  To do this we are going to use the DomainName variables. Click “Add…” again and now click in the “Name:” text field and then press F3. This will now bring up the “Select Variable” dialogue box (See Image 4.). Click on the “DomainName” field and press “Select” and then “OK”. (alternatively you could type %DomainName% in the name field and just press OK.)

Note: The image below is also wrong… The bottom image should be “BUILTIN\Administrator”

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Image 4. Selecting the DomainName Variable

You should now see the following which will restrict the local administrator group to only have the Domain Admins and the local administrator.

Note: The image below is wrong. It should be “BUILTIN\Administrator”

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Image 5. Basic local administration group setting

So what you as? I can do this already with the “Restricted Groups” Group Policy setting. Well only having the local Administrator and Domain Admin’s in the local admin group is not not much use unless you are willing to give everyone the local admin password or give them all Domain Admin’s privileges (Like that ever happens) when ever they needed admin access. Well again this is where Group Policy Preferences can help.

 

 

How to add individuals to a single computer?

Now we are going to go thorough how to add a uniquely named domain group to the local administrators group without having to set up multiple group policies objects. This scenario is very helpful if you want to grant a single user or group local administrators access on computer but still ensure that no other users or groups can be added without explicitly being approved. In the steps below the computer name is DESKTOP01 and the domain name is CONTOSO, we want to add the group “CONTOSO\DESKTOP01 Administrators” to the local administrator group but we also want the same to happen on DESKTOP02, DESKTOP03 and so on, each with their own uniquely named group based on the computer name.

Update: Having a unique group for each computer allows you to easily grant permission to for a single users to a single computer as there is a one to one mapping of domain groups to local administrator groups.

Step 9. Now go back and repeat steps 3 to 6 until you get to the Local Group Member dialogue box again (see Image 6.).

Note: This creates a second local administrator group entry in the list to work around an issue.

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Image 6. Add Local Group Member

Step 10. Type “%DomainName%\%ComputerName% Administrators” in the Name text field and click “OK” (Image 7.)

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Image 7. Configuration to automatically unique group to local administrators group

Now this will now automatically add a domain group called “DOMAINNAME\COMPUTERNAME Administrators” to the local administrators group on the computer to which the policy is applied and your group policy should look like Image 8.

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Image 8. Two local administrator group settings

Update: There are two separate local administrator group setting in the policy, the first one is the setting you see in image 5 and second one is the setting you can see in image 7.

However the “CONTOSO\DESKTOP01 Administrators” group will only be added to the local administrators group on the computer DESKTOP01 if that group is already exists. Therefore you do not need to create the group until the need arises to add an individual user or group to just a single computer.

Update: This policy will not create the group in your Active Directory called “DOMAINNAME\COMPUTERNAME Administrators” and you don’t have to create it unless you want to use it to grant permission to the computer. Once you have created the group you can then add a single user to the domain group… or multiple user accounts and groups. The other advantage of having this domain group is that it is the only place where you can grant admin access to the computer without it being automatically removed there fore it makes auditing who is a local administrator on a workstation much easier as you only have to audit the domain groups. This means that you can even report on who has access to the computer when the computer isn’t even connected to the domain.

This group policy setting combined with the other setting made earlier (see Image 5.) will mean that the local administrator group on the computer DESKTOP01 in the CONTOSO domain will have the following members automatically added to the group:

  • CONTOSO\Domain Admins
  • DESKTOP01\Administrator
  • CONTOSO\DESKTOP01 Administrators

But ANY other users or groups will be automatically removed after the next group policy refresh. This does mean there is a slight window of opportunity for someone to slip in an un-authorised account into the local administrators group but they will get removed at the next policy update.

Side Note: I have found that users almost never complain that they cant add un-authorised user to the local admin account on computer. Go figure…  :)

AWSOME!!!! I hear you say… but wait there is more…

How do I add additional broader groups to the local administrators group?

Now that you are able to granuarlly add a single user or group to the local administrators group on a computer you might run into problems id you have more than a 1000 computers due to AD Token Bloat Issues . So to get around this we can setup some more broadly applied administrator groups to the computer that will give admin access to only a subset of computers such as all workstations or only the SQL Servers in your organisation.

Workstations Admin Groups

To apply a Workstation administrators group to the local administrators group on all workstations make sure you have a group policy only targeted to your workstations. This is normally pretty easy as most companies isolate their workstations computer accounts to one (or a select) number of Organisational Unit.

Step 11. Go back and repeat steps 6 and 7 but this time add the group “%DomainName%”\Workstations Administrators” in the name field. This will added the additional group “CONTOSO\Workstation Administrators” to the local admin group on all the workstations in your domain which will allow you to easily add all the Desktop Administrators in your organisation access to all the workstations without having to give them the local admin password or domain admin’s privileges.

Server Role Admin Groups

It gets a little tricker when you want to grant access to a server based on its role as server are sometime configured for multiple roles. So in these steps we are going to automatically added a domain group called “CONTOSO\SQL Server Administrators” to all the servers you have that have SQL Server installed on them. This will be very handy to making sure SQL service accounts or database administrators have admin access to all the servers that have Microsoft SQL Server installed. You can however make multiple version of these admin group for other roles (e.g. Exchange,SCCM,ISA) you just need to know what the best way to target the setting.

Step 12. First make sure you are editing a group policy that is applied to all your servers in your organisation.

Step 13. Repeat Step 9 and 10 and then we open the properties of the new policy setting and specify the group but this time we type “%DomainName%\SQL Server Administrators” in the name field.

Step 14. Click on the “Common” tab and then tick “Item Level Targeting” and click the “Targeting…” button.

Step 15. Click on the “New Item” in the menu bar and select the option you want to use to target all the SQL servers in your organisation and select the “File Match” option to look in the Program Files folder and see if a sub-folder exists called “Microsoft SQL Servers” (See Image 8). This is normally true for any server that has Microsoft SQL Server installed and so it will then automatically apply the SQL Server Admin group to that server if it was installed.

Note: In this example we tested that the “Microsoft SQL Server” folder exists but we could also make rule to test for the existence of a particular file or registry key.

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Image 8. Testing to see if Microsoft SQL Server is installed.

Now any computer that SQL Server, MSDE or SQL Express installed will get the group “CONTOSO\SQL Server Administrators” automatically added to the local admin group.

This nice thing about this is that if SQL is installed on the server at some point in the future the SQL Admin group will be added automatically at the next group policy refresh without you having to do a thing.

Finally.. now you have tight control of the local administrator groups on all the computers in your domain it is now important to monitor and secure the domain groups that are being added to the local administrator groups as they now control who has admin access to all your computers.

Windows 7 Tips

Windows 7 Tips – How To Boost Speed and Performance

Windows 7 TipsWindows 7 is the fastest Windows operating system to come down the line but you might not have your computer set up correctly to allow it to run at its complete potential. There are quite a few factors that will slow down your computer from viruses to allowing unnecessary programs that run in the background. By making a few simple changes, such as we’ll be covering in this article, you can make Windows 7 run as fast as it was meant to.

If you have spyware, viruses or other programs that are destructive they could be really slowing down your computer. More importantly, such issues could cause real harm to your computer, so it’s best to find out about them and remove them as soon as possible. It’s easy to acquire these problems, especially if you download many files online.

You need to choose a good anti-virus program and scan your computer with it on a regular basis. Programs like Spybot are good at removing spyware from your computer. There are a lot of anti-spyware programs that are actually spyware themselves so make sure that you are only using anti-virus programs that are trustworthy and reliable. You can avoid a lot of these sorts of problems by being as cautious as possible when you are downloading files and programs with which you aren’t familiar.

Sometimes Windows 7 can’t run as well as you’d like it to because the computer you have doesn’t meet the hardware requirements dictated by the operating system. This is a possibility especially for older computers that get upgraded from an older Windows version to Windows 7. If your computer came with Windows 7 pre-installed, this shouldn’t apply to you. Your computer needs to have at least a gigabyte of memory and a processor with a minimum of 1 GHZ and at least 16 GB of available disk space. Even if your computer does have enough memory to run Windows 7, it will run better if you add more memory. This means that even though it can run on just a GB of memory, when you upgrade to 2GB of memory, you’ll help it run a heck of a lot faster.

Windows 7 provides you with a large number of fonts, many of which you’ll probably never use. The total number of fonts is over 100, however you will only use a handful of them at best. The fonts can actually cause software programs to stall like Microsoft Word for Windows. It also has an impact on booting up time when the computer has to load many fonts. Additional fonts are usually added by people who do not realize that it will slow the computer down. Overall, by removing these fonts, your boot time and system processing time will be enhanced. Make sure you do not remove fonts that are continuously used by you or others that are on your computer. You should also be careful not to delete fonts that you may want to use at some point. Windows 7 can go faster if you do the right things. It is possible that Windows 7 on your computer is running optimally, however, by using a few simple steps, you can increase its speed. It really is not a problem to remove programs that are seldom used. Your computer should be running faster if you implement the suggestions presented in this writing.