How do I get Office if I’m on dial-up?

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Leo, I’m still on dial-up and I’m quite happy with it for all I do on the net or with email. However, I recently bought a new desktop for my wife and this one comes with Windows 8.1 in 64-bit so most of the programs we use with Windows XP, 32-bit, do not work anymore with a 64-bit version of Windows 8.1. My wife mostly needs Microsoft Word and Excel, which is incorporated into the Windows Works program which we are willing to buy.

However, this program is about 800 MB large and to download it on dial—up would take about a week. The computer store told us that Microsoft would be selling this program on a CD and they gave us a telephone number to call. We called Microsoft; they’re telling us that they do not have a CD for this program. Now, what’s someone living in the sticks with only dial-up supposed to do? The store would not do the downloading and put it on a CD either. I never thought about the possibilities about 32-bit versus 64-bit when I bought the PC. Would you have any idea how to get around all of this?

There’s a little bit of confusion in the question and I want to clear up as much of it as I can.

I think that the problem has nothing to do with 32 versus 64-bit. Most 32-bit programs actually run just fine in 64-bit Windows. I use many 32-bit programs myself on my 64-bit installation of Windows 8.1.

The problem really might be some confusion around the program called Works.

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Is My ISP’s Router Safe to Use?

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Hey, Leo. I recently changed my wireless router to that of my ISP’s provided router. Is this recommended with respect to privacy and monitoring issues? I can go online and see which devices are connected to my router and I can change certain settings and the SSID but I cannot take all the security measures you describe like disabling logging and remote management. Can they monitor my internet activities easier now? What if I use a VPN? Or should I just buy my own router? Does it matter?

The short answer is that it doesn’t really matter, and that I recommend using your ISP’s provided equipment, unless you come across some compelling reason not to. I don’t see one here.

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How do I reinstall software if I don’t have the installation discs or download files?

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I’d like to reinstall Windows XP on one PC and Windows 7 on another. Both have become very slow and I’ve done almost everything written about to speed them up. I have the original discs for them. However, what I don’t have are the discs for much of the software. I read your articles on that so I’ll be getting discs in the future. So, how can I reinstall Windows as well as the software on the PCs? On the XP PC, I really only want to keep Office 2007.

On the Windows 7 PC, however, I have the disc for Office 2007 Pro but not for several software packages that I bought and downloaded. One in particular was actually expensive – Dragon Naturally Speaking. I installed Macrium as you suggested. I wasn’t sure from your articles if I could somehow use the backup from Macrium to reinstall just the software. I found some freeware that allowed me to obtain the keys to some of the Microsoft software on the PCs but for no other legitimate third party software. Mainly, I want to keep Nitro PDF Pro, Wondershare Video Converter and Dragon Naturally Speaking. Everything else I can probably live without even if I bought it.

The very short answer to your dilemma is that strictly speaking you can’t do what you are trying to do. I’ll review how to prevent this in the future at least, and throw out a couple of ideas or straws you can grasp at.

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Can I Isolate Windows XP in a Virtual Machine to Stay Safe?

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Dear, Leo. All of my legal forms are made with a program called Perform. Unfortunately, the company closed a long time ago so there are no updates and it works only in Windows XP. Now I’m now on Windows 8.1 so I use VMware to run XP, SP3 in a virtual machine. And Perform is the only program that I run in it. There is no network connection between the virtual machine and the host system. My question: Since I do not need to connect to the internet in the virtual machine, if I uninstall IE from it, will I be immune to any malware for the virtual machine, of course? Also, is uninstalling IE the only thing needed to isolate XP from the internet?

Unfortunately, there are a number of issues with what you are proposing. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong, per say, but I don’t think you’ll end up as secure as you think you might be. For example, there’s no way I’d ever say you’d be able to make that XP virtual machine immune from malware.

Running XP in a virtual machine is indeed one of my recommendations for those who are required to use XP for otherwise unsupported legacy software – exactly like you are. So far, so good. But as I said, there remain issues.

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Is It Safe to Let Websites Remember Me?

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Leo, you’ve made a big deal about how insecure it is for an internet browser to remember your login information because it can be viewed by anyone using that browser. However, what about websites that offer to remember your login information for you? An example of this is Google. When you are logging in you can simply check a box that says, “Stay signed in” and unless you actually physically log off, you’ll remain logged in. If you don’t check that box, simply closing the browser will log you off.

Let’s say I’m taking my neighbors laptop on a business trip for several days. If I stay logged into Google with the “stay logged in” button for the duration of the trip and I physically log off before I return the laptop, will my neighbor have access to my account information like he would if I had Chrome remember any of my passwords? This is assuming that I don’t delete any sort of browser information. All I do is log off.

The good news is that as long as you remember to log out, you’re relatively safe. The bad news (besides my having to use the word “relatively”) is of course what happens when you forget to explicitly log out.

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