If you're reading this, chances are you're using Microsoft software. Here is some information you might find useful.



Microsoft Windows will constantly fix and patch itself. Your PC, if configured correctly, will use the Microsoft Windows Update service to check and download any critical updates automatically at 3am each morning.

NOTE: Some versions of Microsoft Office may also require updates and may not be automatic. To check for updates and install them manually, just click here: office.microsoft.com and follow the instructions on the Microsoft Office web site.

NEW: Microsoft has come out with Service Pack 2 for WindowsXP. Known as SP2, it includes many important security fixes and also includes a new Security Center program which has a Windows Firewall. It is part of the Windows Update. Make sure you have it.

NEW: Microsoft has come out with software to help to remove and prevent spyware, which should eliminate the need for other anti-spyware software. It is currently in BETA testing, but you can download and run it here: Microsoft AntiSpyware.



The Microsoft Windows operating system is currently available in two editions. Home Edition is for home and/or small networks of up to about 5 computers. The Professional Edition is recommend for larger networks, and has a few extra security and remote access features. The Professional Edition is required for any computer that must connect to a Windows server in a Windows domain. Here are some approximate prices.

Full Upgrade With new PC *
WindowsXP Home Edition $179 $99 included
WindowsXP Professional Edition $269 $239 $79
* It is usually less expensive to purchase the software pre-installed on a new computer.


Microsoft Office is made up of several different programs. Certain editions will come with different programs. Here are some approximate prices.
word processing
email & calendar
With new PC *
Basic Edition**       n/a
n/a $129
Standard Edition     $369
(list price $399)
(list price $239)
Small Business Edition   $419
(list price $449)
(list price $279)
Professional Edition $399
(list price $499)
(list price $329)

*   It is usually less expensive to purchase the software pre-installed on a new computer.
** Basic Edition is only available pre-installed on a new PC from certain manufacturers.

Special note for PowerPoint Presentations:
If you receive a PowerPoint presentation and you don't have the PowerPoint software on your PC, you can use the free PowerPoint Viewer, which you can download from Microsoft's web site here:
Download PowerPoint Viewer

Microsoft Office Viewers
Microsoft offers free viewer programs to enable people who don't have MS-Office installed to view Office documents. Click here (or here) for more information.


Software can be expensive, but the cost of using illegal software can be even higher. Forget about the costs associated with fines, which is unlikely anyways, but consider the time and expense you would incur when you run into trouble with your software. That can turn out to be much more than if you bought the software to start with.

And don't assume that if you buy your software from a consultant that you are getting legal software. There are too many people that sell copies of software, sometimes charging the full price and making a handy profit. Or often someone will walk away with your purchased software and/or disks after they've been installed.

When you purchase software, demand to see and KEEP the original CD's and/or the COA (Certificate of Authenticity). We recommend storing them in a locked cabinet or a safe.

Don't waste money buying inexpensive and possibly illegal software.

Click here to find ways to ensure your software is genuine: How To Tell

If you suspect that you unknowingly aquired illegal software, click here: Reporting Illegal Software

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