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Windows 7 troubleshooting matures

Windows 7 support is ending in 2015, but that doesn't mean troubleshooting is going with it -- in fact, Windows 7 troubleshooting is easier than ever.

Even though Microsoft will soon be ending mainstream support for Windows 7, the operating system is still the first choice for many organizations.

The release of Windows 7 still feels like a recent event to many, so it may come as a shock to hear that Microsoft's support for Windows 7 will be ending in January 2015. As with XP, many IT shops have chosen to stick with Windows 7 for the near term. Some have moved from Windows XP to the popular OS, while others may plan to skip Windows 8 and wait for Windows 10. So, although official support will be ending, that doesn't mean Windows 7 won't keep on trucking. Here are some answers to common questions about Windows 7 troubleshooting and support.

What tools are available for Windows 7 troubleshooting?

Windows 7 has a lot of built-in utilities, but not all of them are equally effective. Luckily, Microsoft provides a downloadable tool named Sysinternals Process Monitor, which is designed to log process-related information. Process Monitor can give users insight into what an application is doing through details such as the process name, process ID, the operation's path, the result, the offset, the length and the priority of the operation.

In addition, you may not be aware of several other tools worth looking at. Command-line tools like Netdom and IPconfig can help you gather information or troubleshoot a system in a simple and straightforward way. GUI-based tools like Event Viewer and the Admin Tools Folder provide an easy method to view app errors and see all admin tools in a single location, respectively.

What tools do I need for Windows 7 security?

The answer depends on what types of Windows 7 security tools you're talking about. There are tools for malware protection, vulnerability testing, security management, etc. Your needs will vary depending on your role. Windows Sysinternals contains several useful tools, including the previously -mentioned Process Monitor and Process Explorer, which allow you to perform a security analysis or malware scan.

Windows 7 includes four built-in security features that you should have turned on: Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, User Account Control and a disabled administrator account. If you're unsure that these settings are correct, check rather than leave them to chance.

Maintaining security in Windows 7 means knowing best practices, too. Use Windows Update. All computers should have an Internet security suite, which should be scheduled for automatic updates. You should also ensure that Windows 7 backups are scheduled appropriately, that the backups are actually taking place with no system or media errors, and that they remain validated by signatures.

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