New Win2PDF 10.0.39 Update – available now!

We just release a new updated version of Win2PDF and Win2PDF Pro (version 10.0.39) that includes bug fixes and stability improvements as well as a couple of new features.

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Screenshot of Win2PDF’s new compression option

First, for both Win2PDF and Win2PDF Pro, the new version will support JPG2000 compression. When the “Optimize Image File Size using JPEG2000” option is enabled, color images in the PDF are compressed using the JPEG 2000 format. This can result in significant reductions in file size, but it can also reduce the quality of some types of color images and can slow the conversion process. The option is disabled by default.

JPG2000 file sizes

PDF files created with Win2PDF’s JPG2000 compression can be significantly smaller than the default file size.

Win2PDF 10.0.39 also improves text quality for the “PDF Image Only – monochrome” format.

Second, for Win2PDF Pro, the new version supports the strongest level of 256-bit AES encryption available for PDF encryption.  Previously, Win2PDF only supported 128-bit AES encryption.  [Note:  The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a specification for the encryption of electronic data established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001, and has been adopted by the U.S. government and is used worldwide.]

The 256 bit AES encryption is compatible with Adobe Reader 9.0 and above. For best security, the 256 bit encryption option is recommended.

The Win2PDF 10.0.39 release is a free update to registered Win2PDF users (versions 7 and higher). You can download this free update from our web pages here:

https://www.win2pdf.com/download/download.htm

Standard Win2PDF users should only download and install using the “Download Win2PDF” button.  Win2PDF Pro users should only download and install using the “Download Win2PDF Pro Service Pack” button. 

If you have any questions or encounter any issues with this new version, please contact us through our support page.

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Is your PDF Reader up-to-date?

Just a reminder to anyone receiving or opening PDF files: keep your PDF Readers up-to-date with new patches.  Adobe Reader announced an update to address 86 security vulnerabilities.  Similarly, Foxit Reader announced an update to address 118 vulnerabilities.

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As this article from ZDNet explains,

“Adobe’s scheduled October update for its Acrobat and Reader PDF software addresses 85 vulnerabilities, including dozens of critical flaws that allow arbitrary code execution … Users and admins nonetheless should install fixed versions, according to Adobe…”

Halloween is still almost a month away, so make sure you keep the scary stuff away from your computer until then.

Adobe’s security bulletin (with link to update).

Foxit Reader security bulletin (with link to update).

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What’s up with all of the revised privacy policies I’m getting these days?

Have you been getting a lot of email notices for updated privacy policies? Well, it’s not a coincidence. Many companies are updating or clarifying their online privacy policies to be compliant with the new European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will technically take effect on May 25, 2018.

What is the GDPR?

GDPR was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, protect EU citizens’ data privacy, and to regulate the way organizations approach data privacy. There are a total of 99 articles that the regulation covers and you can read more about the details of this regulation through the EU GDPR Portal.

In essence, these are a series of regulations that control what information a company can collect about an individual (who reside in the EU), what they can do and how they store that information, and penalties for those companies if they violate the regulations.

Who is affected by GDPR?

From a user perspective, the protections cover any resident of the EU. Although, many companies are voluntarily extending their changes and privacy policies to include all users for simplicity.

From a company perspective, it applies to any organization who collects data on EU residents.

What should you know about GDPR, encryption, and your PDF files?

There are many more thorough sources of information on this topic (just Google ‘GDPR’), but one thing that may concern our Win2PDF customers is that the regulation restricts sending personal information unsecured. Encryption isn’t explicitly mandated by the regulations, but it is suggested several times as being part of the the compliance solution. For example, as this article points out:

…of the 261 pages of GDPR, the word ‘Encryption‘ appears just 4 times;

“…implement measures to mitigate those risks, such as encryption.” (P51. (83))
“…appropriate safeguards, which may include encryption” (P121 (4.e))
“…including inter alias as appropriate: (a) the pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data.” (P160 (1a))
“…unintelligible to any person who is not authorised to access it, such as encryption” (P163 (3a))

Does the term ‘may’, ‘such as’ and ‘as appropriate’ indicate that Encryption is mandated by GDRP, as some are suggesting? I don’t believe it does.

Do these terms suggest that Encryption is an OPTION and a good idea? Then yes, it does.

If you are sending a customer’s personal information in a PDF file, you should seriously consider encrypting the PDF.

What can you do to being compliant with GDPR?

First, here is a 12-point PDF available that gives a broad 12-step overview to achieving compliance with the GDPR.

Second, you may wish to review your current processes involving customer data that may be included in PDF files that you generate.  How are they disseminated?  Is the data secured?  If you do not currently encrypt PDF files, now may be a good time to do so.

Our Win2PDF Pro software has strong encryption included, and it is available as an upgrade if you currently have standard edition licenses.

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Celebrating 10 years as a BBB accredited business

Hooray!  Even though we’ve been in business over 18 years, we just received our official 10-year certification as an accredited business from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  Our company — Dane Prairie Systems (the creator of the Win2PDF software) — has an A+ rating.  To be an accredited BBB business we have to abide by this code of business practices.

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There’s a lot of concern these days about who you are doing business with online, if they are trustworthy, and how they are treating you as a customer (with good reason).  One thing that contributes to our A+ rating is the fact that we do not bundle adware, spyware, or malware — you just get our Win2PDF software when you purchase from us.  Nor do we share or sell your email address or customer information with any other companies (unless you explictly opt-in, of course, for things like online reviews).  You can review our policy policy or view our rating with the Better Business Bureau.  And if you have any questions about how we do business, please let us know.

Thanks to our customers, we’ll continue to be your trusted software source for the next decade.

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Converting a PDF file to a Word document using Microsoft Word

After our last post about using Google Docs to convert a PDF file to Word, we had a couple of reader comments asking, “Why don’t you just use Microsoft Word to convert the PDF file directly?”

Great question.  We used the Google Docs method of conversion because it was completely free and did not rely on the use of a commercial program.  But, since so many users have Microsoft Word already, we should explain how it can be used to convert a PDF file much more easily.

First, open your Microsoft Word program.  (Note:  Your interface may look slightly different depending on which version of Microsoft Word you are using).  Then, select Open and choose the PDF file you wish to convert.

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Second, once you choose the PDF file, you will get a message in Word stating the file will be converted to an editable Word document.

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Lastly, once the conversion is complete, you can just edit the file directly, or save it out as a newly formatted Microsoft Word file.

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And that’s it.  If you already have a newer version of Microsoft Word, this method seems to work better than the Google docs method we described in our previous blog post.  And, it bears repeating, if you don’t want your PDF files to be modified or converted to Word, you can encrypt the files to prevent changes using our Win2PDF Pro version of the Win2PDF software.

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Converting a PDF file to a Word Document (for free) using Google Docs

This article about Paul Manafort made the headlines the other day, and it got us wondering:  How many people know how to convert a PDF file to a Microsoft Word document?  Do you?

While there are some specialized commercial programs that do this conversion, there are also free alternatives available.  One of the easiest methods is to use Google Docs to do the conversion from PDF to Word.  Here are the basic steps:

 1. Open the PDF file in Google Drive

From a Gmail account or any other Google app, click on the Google Apps icon.  This will allow you to open another Google app associated with your account, including Google Drive.

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Once Google Drive is open, choose Upload files… from the My Drive drop-down menu.

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Then, choose the PDF file on your hard drive that you wish to convert to a Microsoft Word document.

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2. Right-mouse click on the PDF file in Google Drive, and open the file in Google Docs

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When you open with Google Docs, the PDF file will be converted to a Google doc.  And once it is a Google Doc, it can be saved as another format, including Microsoft Word.

3. Download the file as a Microsoft Word (.docx) formatted file

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And that’s it.  Currently, Google’s conversion process does seem somewhat limited and some formatting may be lost, but it will give you an editable Word document from the original PDF file.

Now, what if you don’t want your PDF files converted to Word, or modified in any way?

For that, you just need to encrypt the PDF file to prevent modifications.  And there’s an easy solution for this as well.  This can be done using our Win2PDF Pro software.

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Microsoft 10 S – What you need to know

On May 2nd, Microsoft released a special version of its Windows 10 operating system called “Windows 10 S“.

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What is it?

Windows 10 S is essentially a special version of Windows 10 that is aimed primarily at the education market. Microsoft touts that Windows 10 S is streamlined for security and performance. It is available on many newer, lower-priced devices similar to the Chrome OS devices, which is what this version of Windows is designed to compete against.  For those of you that remember the short-lived Windows RT operating system, in many respects Windows 10 S seems like an updated version of RT.

If it’s more secure, is it better than Windows 10?

Not necessarily. It depends on who you are and what you need your operating system to support. Just like the Chrome OS devices, this version of Windows locks down the ability for users to install software outside of the Windows store. In doing so, Microsoft can prevent many types of viruses and malware from being introduced on the device.  It also, unfortunately, will block out useful utilities supported by Windows 10 that cannot be installed on the Windows 10 S desktop.

The cost the user pays, of course, is that they are limited to only apps available through the Microsoft Store. If you want to use the Chrome or Firefox web browsers, for example, you will not be able to in Windows 10 Syou’ll be limited to only using Microsoft’s Edge browser. Many other types of 3rd party desktop applications will not be available either.

Microsoft has also announced that users will not be able to use any other search engine than Bing within Windows 10 S, so that’s another major limitation.

Who would use Windows 10 S?

Microsoft is targeting Chrome OS users, and the education market in particular. These types of users generally are just running simple programs and using cloud-based applications and services for their primary computer needs.  In education markets in particular, this offers a fast and easy way to deploy devices and keep them relatively secure for basic applications.

Will Win2PDF work with Windows 10 S?

No, not at this time, for the reasons listed above. Win2PDF installs as a Windows printer, which allows it to be used from any application. Since it isn’t a typical standalone desktop application, it’s not possible to package Win2PDF to be available in the Microsoft Store.

What can I do if my laptop came installed with Windows 10 S?

Some devices, including the newest Microsoft Surface laptops, come pre-installed with Windows 10 S.  If you want to run applications such as Win2PDF, you can do so by upgrading to Windows 10 Pro from the Microsoft Store for $49.95.

We’ll continue to monitor the roll-out, but currently we do not see Windows 10 S as being a significant platform for business or many home users due to its limited application compatibility.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know by sending an email to support@win2pdf.com.

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