March 2010 - Q & A
Q: Before installing a program I decided to back up what I had and the back up program said that your "disk is about to fail" and it would not do the backup. I went into the setting and it said "allow damage clusters" and did that backup, now what do I do with the backup part that fail and can I try to move the backup that have on to different disk? I rather not go back and reinstall again. The primary drive has the disk errors.
A: What you want to do is not turn on your computer again, seriously. Almost all of you have to take into a repair shop -- either another or ours. What we would do is take out your hard drive and you would get another hard drive, same size or bigger, and we would try to do this before it fails completely. You need to make a clone, or an exact copy of the drive. If enough clusters have died that Windows is not operating correctly when we are done, which is possible, then we will have to do a repair, but hopefully we can save the drive's contents. When you get the message that the drive is about to fail, it has already started failing. Like when you drive the car down the street and its starts missing, but you keep driving thinking "Well it will get better," but it will not nor will your computer. The more times you spin that drive up and down the more the sectors will disintegrate and greater the damage there will be and less chance of being able to resurrect the setup.
Incidentally, this is also true with laptops and for desktops. We do more on laptops than for desktops because those little 2.5" hard drives on the laptops are far more fragile and they are more banged around. Get it into a shop real fast so someone can do a clone.
Q: What happened is that the person wound up with Yahoo toolbar installed in both browsers and could not find a way to uninstall it. It is not listed as a toolbar as a remove program. I went into IE manage add-ons and found it listed there, clicked on the highlighter, click on install and it allegedly uninstalled itself. It was also installed in Firefox, but I have not found a way to uninstall on Firefox.
A: Here is what you do - get a copy of Spybot Search and Destroy go to Advanced, select Browser Helpers (BHO) and remove all items that reference Yahoo. That will kill it in the registry because that is where it is regenerating.
Q: Referring back to the earlier question regarding hard drives and let us say the motor is not spinning can you have a clean room?
A: Facilities with clean room are expensive. The cheapest we know of starts at $500 and we use to refer people to them, but after three months they lost one of the drives, so we do not call them anymore. The next cheapest one starts around $1,000.00. If the drive will not spin, you are into a very expensive resurrection job or you do without the data.
Michael: - There is one company we deal with that is $1,000 minimum, but the good news is that the maximum is $4,000. If you are running a business and all your client's data is on that drive that is not spinning, $4,000 to recover all data is worth it as opposed to going out of business.
A: For home users, mostly we cry and do without the family album. We have talked about backing up your data so often and yet we still get computers with dead hard drives and no adequate back up. One example is a company's QuickBooks file with their name on it and the last backup of the data was May 2009. I know there are people in here who have neglected backing up sometimes for years and then when your hard drive dies, you sit in my shop and cry.
Q: Recently I increased the RAM on my XP machine, putting the maximum on it, but it will not recognize more than a bit over 3GB. I read about Paging and it will recognize more.
A: Most of us were around when there was extended memory and you were limited to 1MB on the old XP's, but because of video use, etc. using up to 340 KB, you only got 640 maximum. They came up with extended RAM and what they did was RAM paging. They would page the RAM out to the extended memory, bring it back in, and use that. Then when you needed the RAM that was paged out, it would throw this out and bring that back. It was a paging operation RAM in the useable memory and then it stores it as if it was a cache drive. Yes, you could use it, but do not expect to use it rapidly because you are doing three RAM resets for one activity. There is a solution for you. You can install the 64-bit XP. It would wipe out your hard drive. So, after backing up first, use the File and Settings Transfer Wizard to back up all your main data, wipe it out, and install the 64-bit version. Restore your data and you can access as much RAM as your hardware will allow. But be careful. A lot of software only runs on 32-bit platforms. For example, Palm Pilots only do 32-bit.
Q: Going from XP 32-bit you purchase XP 64-bit and it installs but would you not need to get new hardware drivers, 64-bit driver in place of a 32-bit driver. Therefore, if you had older hardware some may not fit the 64-bit available, right.
A: That is true. Generally, you can find drivers, but you might not. If you are very mainstream, you should be able to find drivers. You do not have to buy the 64-bit Windows. You can use 32-bit code on the 64-bit setup.
Michael: There is a new exploit going around. If any of you are using Internet Explorer 6 or 7, be sure to upgrade and then make sure you have the latest patches to 8. Hackers are figuring out how to watch you access your email and then use your email account to attack others. They keep track of your contacts as well, so they can use one person to target another.
Toby: I will give you an example. Most of you know that I am an officer in the district of the Lion Club. Another committee person in the Club had a Google e-mail account hacked. I received an e-mail from her and it said something like "I had to make an emergency business trip to a relative in Scotland and my bags and all of my things were stolen and I really need $1,000, can you help." First off, the person whose e-mail account was compromise is Filipino, which stood out, and I thought she did not know anyone in Scotland or have relatives or friends there. I know this person quite well and she never mentioned going to Scotland. A day later, she sent an email explaining that her email account had been hacked and that the message was a frauf. As far as we know, no one sent monies to Scotland. We sent out to everyone an e-mail notifying them not to send any monies, that this was a bogus e-mail. She contacted Google and had her e-mail account changed. This stuff is going around and it is big bucks for people who are doing this type of deception. If you who have an e-mail account with a simple password like "1-2-3..." or such, please change it now, unless you want all your e-mail friends to receive an e-mail asking to bail you out.
Q: Instead of IE, what should you use?
A: Michael likes Chrome, I like Firefox, and Opera is an excellent browser although right now, it is having vulnerability concerns, but they will patch that. One of the nice things about Opera is it is pretty much below the radar -- there are no hackers out there writing for them because there are so few Opera browser to attack. Firefox is starting to make it into the mainstream. Internet Explorer ActiveX scripting is just horribly buggy and there's nothing really that Microsoft can do about it. It is a fundamental architecture of Windows Update. They keep slapping band aides on top, but it does not fix the problem. Probably the most buggy browser is Safari. Every year when they do this conference in Canada, the first browser that is hacked is Safari. It has been every year and was this year. The reason why they are not hacked very often is because who wants to write one for three percent of the market. No one is interested in that, but if you wanted to, it is easy. If Apple ever got a significant market share, the Apple operating system at this point is much more vulnerable in Windows 7. Incidentally, there was a user satisfaction survey done by Bloomberg of Windows 7 and Leopard, the latest Mac operating system. For the first time over the past ten years, Windows had a higher rating than MAC.
Michael: Built in modern browsers such as IE, Chrome, and Firefox there is something called "private browser." In Firefox, it is in Tools; IE it is in Safety, Private Browsing; and in Chrome, it is Tools, New Incognito Window. What it means is when I finish and close this browser nothing will be remembered.
Q: It was widely reported that Firefox 3, 3.5 3.6 and there might have been other versions had a vulnerability that was discovered just before the White House conference at which IE was hacked in about two minutes. Firefox has patched the vulnerability in the latest version which 3.6.2 (as of this writing now 3.6.3). Those of you who have automatic update in Firefox should have the latest version installed and should have it already. In addition, Michael mentioned that the one-quick-fix shuts off scripting. Would Michael show us how to do that within the browser so you do not need to go to Microsoft to get the one-quick-fix?
A: In IE go to Tools, Option Security Custom Level scroll down most of the way you come to Scripting - disable scripting.
Q: What is a good free program to convert video formats? [I have V0V and I want to convert to MP-4???]
A: "Aves" video converter.
Q: Is it still true that you have to use IE to get Microsoft updates.
A: Windows updates does require IE, the only thing that does. If that is a problem for you and you rather stick with Firefox or you have some site that requires IE, you can go to Firefox, to IE tab, which is under Tools, go to Add-ons, and in the Search box put in IE tab.
Q: My wife has AVG on her computer and it keeps putting out messages to update. When I do go to update it goes off to other AVG paid programs.
A: I just had that happen yesterday with someone. When you go to the AVG site, you will see Download tab, which sends you off to the larger text AVG paid programs. In small letters is the free program updates. It is there you just have to look harder. We have talked previously about using Microsoft Security Essentials, which is a great, free security program. That is what I would use. Just switch over from AVG.
Q: Do we want to do the Java updates automatically?
A: Yes. In fact, you should turn off Java script in Acrobat Reader and you do this by going Edit, Preferences, Acrobat Reader, Java Script, and x out enable. There is no reason you need Java Script and by turning if off you prevent bad people from sending you a PDF file that is infected. Adobe has stated this all along that until we come up with a patch; disable Java Script in Acrobat Reader. Also, while you are there check for updates.
Another reason Firefox is preferable browser is that it has an add-on something called Flashblock so that you do not have to see flashing ads. With Flashblock you do not get the jumping monkeys or the flashing eye in the corner of your screen that are distractions, but if you want to see it, you can click it on. Yes, Firefox has a slower start with all the add-ons you can install, but the add-ons connect you to many utilities that the extra time to start up is not meaningful. Once you load up the add-ons you want, (there are over 10,000 to choose from) it provides all the functionality you want and is just as fast opening pages. There are some add-ons I have no idea what it does. Before installing, read over an add-on's description first to determine if its purpose would be useful for you.
A: Again, at the computer conference in Canada they reported that because people using Windows Update, which looks at all the software on your computer and sees what versions you are running and if there is an update for it and it will install the update in the background. People who have been using it and sharing their information, the statistics stated that most average computer users have 75 times a year they need to update some program on their computer and they do not know it. Some of the updates are not as crucial as others, but people are not updating their software a lot.
Q: On the scripting for Adobe Acrobat, does that also apply to Adobe Acrobat Professional, which is what some of us, use?
A: Yes, edit, preferences, remove Java.
Q: Is there a program that finds duplicate files on your hard drive.
A: Yes, and it is Duplicate Files Finder, available at SourceForge.net. You will not get any viruses from SourceForge. It is a safe, fast and secure. They sponsor Open Source applications and currently have over 100,000 projects registered. You can go there with impunity, but their search engine is terrible. Therefore, you go to Google site and put in - "site:sourceforge.net" and it will only look for SourceForge and then you do whatever you want, get whatever program you are looking for and it will give you the hit right there. You can do specific searches at any site by including "site:domain.extension" in the search. Only hits on that site will come up. It's a good idea for Microsoft.com, too.
Announcement of recent scams Here is a spear-fishing e-mail that someone reported stating - "I write this with tears in my eyes. My family and I came here from Wales for a short vacation and unfortunately, we were mugged in the hotel parking lot. All of our cash, credit cards were stolen; lucky for us we still have our passports. We have been to the embassy and police but they are not helping us at all, and our flight leaves three hours from now. We are having problems paying our hotel bill and the manager will not let us leave. I am freaking out. Please send money."
Another - "Hi, I am in Canada and in jail. The person who was driving had a little bit of drugs and I cannot get out. Please do not tell my parents because I am embarrassed. Can you help me with my bail?
Note of Caution - If you have grandchildren, scammers will even get on the phone and try to sound like your grandchild begging you to send them money.