Protect your email from viruses with Virus Eraser (Mac & Windows)

Viruses can take down both Macs and PCs.  They can be downloaded from the web and sent by email.  Sometimes this is by nefarious people, but sometimes it’s unintentionally by friends and work colleagues.

Virus Eraser is a new antivirus product that works on all versions of Windows and on Macs too.  On top of the real-time protection and massive database of viruses, it also stops you being that person distributing the viruses unintentionally (and, of course, scans your incoming mail to protect you too).

Virus Eraser is said to scan your mail and attachments, and work with all mail clients on a Mac.

We’ve not had a chance to put the software through its paces yet, but the company is an Intel Software Product Partner, which gives them some good credibility.

Check them out here Virus Eraser

Answered: Do I need anti-virus software for Windows 10? [Updated for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition]

Updated for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition (12th August 2016)

Back in January of this year we wrote about the anti-virus capabilities of Windows 10 (available to download at this link if you don’t yet have a copy).  Since then Microsoft has released the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition which updates Windows Defender so that:

  1. If you chose to run your own antivirus (such as McAfee for $9.99) then Windows Defender will no longer be disabled.  It will periodically check your PC and also perform all its other security functions.
  2. Windows Defender is tied into the better notification system in Windows 10 so that, if a problem is found, you will be notified immediately.

If you want to read more about Windows Defender’s own capabilities without additional antivirus then carry on reading below…

Original Post (also at this link)

Those that have been Windows users for a long time will be familiar with buying antivirus software. For a long time it has been essential, and potentially considered irresponsible to not use it (you can distribute viruses to others without knowing about it, for example). Apple Mac users used to look on smugly as their Windows using counterparts suffered attack after attack.

Windows users regularly installed software such as Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky etc. However, Windows 10 has is now here and stable. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for most, however if this isn’t the case for you or you are installing it onto a new computer you can buy a copy of Windows 10 Home on a USB stick from Amazon (click here for a direct link). Does it get rid of the need for anti-virus software? No, of course not. There are still plenty of viruses, malware and other nasties kicking around the web. However, Windows 10 comes with a comprehensive set of built in security tools that will more than address your needs. These all come under the umbrella of Windows Defender.

Windows Defender is a robust set of tools that automatically scan your computer for viruses, malware, spyware and more. It does not get in the way of your everyday use of the computer, letting you get on with your tasks at hand, but it does keep running in the background keeping everything secure.


A major point is that, whilst you can have the best antivirus software in the world, if its knowledge of current viruses is out of date then its performance will suffer. It needs up to date definitions to know what to look for, so you have to keep your software update date. This is where Windows 10 with Windows Defender really wins. Windows 10 is now an operating system as a service, which means it is updated in the background without you having to do anything (especially if you are on Windows 10 Home… Pro users have more responsibility to manage updates). New virus definitions are updated along with all the usual Windows updates, which you don’t need to take control of. The upshot is that your system will be as up to date with the latest virus definitions as it can be, without you needing to take any action.

With Windows 10 there is little need for additional security software (unless, of course, you are the type of person who prepares for doomsday) given what Microsoft have made available for free. Of course, you have to trust Microsoft to get it right, but that’s another story. 🙂

How to backup a Windows 10 PC; time machine for Windows

A good backup strategy is critical. Your personal files, documents, photos and more are all stored on your PC, and you certainly don’t want to lose these. In this article we walk you through how to use the built in tools on Windows 10 to back up your files and automatically keep revision histories.

Apple’s OSX has had a backup utility as part of the operating system for some time now. This is actually a really good system that tends to just work. For a while Windows was lacking a simile tool, although 3rd party tools went quite some way to addressing that.

Windows 10 has a very effective backup solution built in, which is now comparable to Apple’s time machine. For most people Windows 10 is a free upgrade, click here to find out more.

File History is a Windows backup application, that comes as standard in Windows 10, and can be found in the Control Panel (search for Control Panel in Cortana, once in the Control Panel just search for File History in the top right search box).

File History does two things:

  1. Keeps a backup of your files – this is necessary incase your hard disk catastrophically fails.
  2. Keeps a revision history of your files (every hour or so) – this is important because it protects against you accidentally deleting files or making changes that you want to undo.

When you open up File History for the first time you will need to select a secondary hard disk to back your files up to. We’ve had success with two different options:

  1. A small hard disk that plugs into a USB socket. This is probably the fastest option but not great if you move around the home a lot. We use this in our office. It is worth selecting a good reliable brand. click here for the Western Digital USB drive we recommend.
  2. A network hard disk. This option connects to your network so that your laptop can back up over your wireless network. Most often you put the hard disk next to your router and plug them in together. We do this at home so we can move about the house. We like the Western Digital disks as they are reliable, but also if you want to use them as a media server then this is possible too. Click here for the Western Digital network drive we recommend.

The File History control panel allows you to select which files you want to backup (or exclude from the backup). Once you have configured your backup disk, File History will do an initial backup. From that point on (assuming your backup disk is plugged in or on the same network) it will monitors your files for changes and keep them backed up too.



If you want to access files from the backup, File History allows you to scroll back in time to find the version of the file you are after. You simply select this file and restore it to your primary hard disk.

It’s also worth noting, that this backup solution is often used in combination with cloud services such as Microsoft Onedrive. It is not one or the other. These give you a good option for off site backup, but you are not in control of it. We would recommend running both a cloud backup for smaller, important documents, but also keep your own backup for peace of mind and big files.

If you want to understand more about antivirus software for Windows 10, check out this post: Answered: Do I need anti-virus software for Windows 10?

Python development on Windows 10

So, speak to most people in the Python community and they are going to be Mac users or Linux users. Python is baked into these operating systems and everything works nicely (most of the time). But, there are some of us who work on Windows (or, more precisely, all platforms) so how do we fair?

In the past, Windows has been a bit of a pain for the Python developer. What should be simple never was; if it wasn’t a build script failing, or a compiler not present, then it was lack of support for awesome tools such as virtualenv, easy_install and pip. Things just weren’t as simple as they were on OSX or ‘nix.

But here we are with Windows 10, and more importantly Visual Studio 2015. Now, Visual Studio was always a good development environment if you were writing for .Net. It was fully featured and had many happy users. With Visual Studio 2015 there are three important things to note:

  1. It is free. Yes, the community edition (with the Python tools) is 100% free. If you’re part of an organisation and you the want the Pro edition, there’s the usual Microsoft fee: Visual Studio 2015
  2. It has the brilliant Python tools for Visual Studio built in which gives you virtualenv management, with pip, requirements.txt, etc.
  3. It installs all those pesky compilers that you always had to hunt around for.

So, you download Visual Studio 2015 and go to install it.. make sure you select all the Python tools! This is a complete set of tools (you can also get them separately from GitHub here: https://github.com/Microsoft/PTVS if you miss this, but it’s just easier to install it all at once). When you install all these tools, you’ll find that the compilers that are needed for pip to be able to build your Python packages are installed to. Bye bye build errors.

When using Visual Studio 2015 with Python tools, you have to change your mentality a little bit from the OSX/Linux world. Much less is done at the shell, instead you click on things. You get all the Python syntax highlighting you would expect, and Visual Studio lets you manage your interpreters too. If you want to use a virtualenv you simply click on a few menu items and Visual Studio will build it for you – it has a rather cool feature too: if you have a requirements.txt file in your project, the env will automatically be built with pip setting up all your dependencies from the requirements file.

When you are in full coding mode, you’re going to need a decent debugger. Visual Studio give you a sturdy debugger which gives all the usual analysis – and it doesn’t feel like a bolt on at all. You even get a the ability to quickly pop open an interactive python shell for some quick hacking.

For further reading checkout the excellent Python Tools for Visual Studio on Amazon Kindle or Paperback (click here)
by Cathy Wong.

Of course, there are other IDEs out there that are good too. We particularly like PyCharm and use this across multiple OSes. The only issue here is that you have to install the compilers in Windows yourself (and we’ve been burned by this before).

Ultimately the choice of IDE is a personal one. However, Python development on Windows is finally coming of age and should not be written off!



Answered: Do I need anti-virus software for Windows 10?

Those that have been Windows users for a long time will be familiar with buying antivirus software. For a long time it has been essential, and potentially considered irresponsible to not use it (you can distribute viruses to others without knowing about it, for example). Apple Mac users used to look on smugly as their Windows using counterparts suffered attack after attack.

Windows users regularly installed software such as Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky etc. However, Windows 10 has is now here and stable. Windows 10 is a free upgrade (click here to find out how) for most, however if this isn’t the case for you or you are installing it onto a new computer you can buy a copy of Windows 10 Home on a USB stick from Amazon (click here for a direct link). Does it get rid of the need for anti-virus software? No, of course not. There are still plenty of viruses, malware and other nasties kicking around the web. However, Windows 10 comes with a comprehensive set of built in security tools that will more than address your needs. These all come under the umbrella of Windows Defender.

Windows Defender is a robust set of tools that automatically scan your computer for viruses, malware, spyware and more. It does not get in the way of your everyday use of the computer, letting you get on with your tasks at hand, but it does keep running in the background keeping everything secure.

A major point is that, whilst you can have the best antivirus software in the world, if its knowledge of current viruses is out of date then its performance will suffer. It needs up to date definitions to know what to look for, so you have to keep your software update date. This is where Windows 10 with Windows Defender really wins. Windows 10 is now an operating system as a service, which means it is updated in the background without you having to do anything (especially if you are on Windows 10 Home… Pro users have more responsibility to manage updates). New virus definitions are updated along with all the usual Windows updates, which you don’t need to take control of. The upshot is that your system will be as up to date with the latest virus definitions as it can be, without you needing to take any action.

With Windows 10 there is little need for additional security software (unless, of course, you are the type of person who prepares for doomsday) given what Microsoft have made available for free. Of course, you have to trust Microsoft to get it right, but that’s another story. 🙂