Tuesday, November 23, 2004

AdAware may be best spyware blocker

Bryan Powell reports that a recent study concludes that AdAware is the best spyware blocker.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Eccentric Babelizer translations

We told you about a few odd Babelizer translations on today's show. Babelizer takes a phrase from one language and translates to another. But usually the results aren't exact. It's possible to set up a loop so that the translations go back and forth several times until mutual unintelligibility is reached. Here are some results, alternately amusing, poetic and baffling, of running common "Help Desk" phrases through the process.

Babelizer translations:

Welcome to the Help Desk:

Chinese: Welcome to inquire the station.
French: Welcome with the service PLEASE.
German: Welcomely for support the desk.
Greek: Reception in the office of help.
Japanese: The help section should be welcomed.
Korean: Inside help desk illusion.

You are on the air:

Korean: It is an air which outside spreads out at the outside.
Japanese: There is an air.
Greek: You are in air.
German: They speak in the broadcast.
French: You are on the line.
Dutch: You are on air.
Chinese: You broadcast.

May I help you?:

Chinese: Perhaps we help you?
Dutch: We can be aid you possible?
French: Can we help you?
German: Can we help you?
Greek: Can help?
Italian: We can help them?
Japanese: Perhaps us who that can help somewhere thing?

You really need help:

Korean: Help with the realness which spreads out in necessity (partial translation).
Japanese: Actually help is necessary.
Greek: Need really the help.
German: They really need support.
Dutch: You really need aid.
Chinese: You really need to help.

Got a problem with your computer?

Chinese: Obtains has a your computer question?
Dutch: Did a problem with your computer get?
German: Did a problem with your computer receive?
Greek: It took a problem with your computer?
Italian: It has obtained a problem with your calcolazione?
Korean: Work it of high formation force inside comfort comforts it inside depiction possessing, inside the doesn' which is easy and,; Does the t under seizing boil it does respect the doesn' which to it to it in inside problem Anuikacikoiss funeral service and above on it it internal on inside Anui your computer kacikoiss internal it gets in inside,; It strengthens the t?

Windows shut-down problem

From Bryan Powell, here is an article about Windows shut-down problems, and here is another.

Article on spyware

Many of our Help Desk calls these days are related to problems with viruses and spyware. Please refer to the WMUB Help Desk page for our FAQs on this and other topics. Also, thanks to Guy Moore, here is a recommended article on spyware.

Remember that Help Desk recommends Spybot Search and Destroy, version 1.3. Bryan Powell also says take a look at SpywareBlaster, and comments: "Prevents spyware from being installed, but MUST be manually updated on a regular basis to be effective. To get automatic updates, you need to donate."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Virus checker for Macintosh

Here's a free and small virus checker for the Macintosh. Thanks to Don Moeller for this tip.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

URLs from 10/19/04

Dell Power Adapter Recall

New Apple iBooks

New Bargain Buddy Removal

Video Compression Tutorial

Removing Bargain Buddy

There is a nasty virus going around called variously Bargain Buddy, Cash Back, Navisearch, and Bull's Eye. At this point standard virus removal techniques do not work. Here is information about removing it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

More on Window XP SP2

Here are some links for information on Windows Service Pack 2 for Windows XP.:


Help Desk adivses that you run the SP2 upgrade from the free Microsoft CD (see an earlier Blog entry) rather than trying to download it.

New Firefox Browser

Mozilla has released a new web browser called FireFox that Bryan Powell recommends.

Possible security hole in WXP SP2

A Dutch website has identified a possible security hole in Windows XP, Service Pack 2. We have not checked this out, but here it is.

New Windows security hole: JPEG files

This is from the latest issue of the Internet Tourbus:

"Microsoft released a series of patches earlier this week that [hopefully] closes a rather nasty security hole in how Microsoft products process JPEG images. Over a dozen Microsoft products are affected, including:

- Windows XP and XP SP1 [but not SP2]

- Internet Explorer 6 SP1

- Microsoft Office XP [Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, FrontPage, and/or Publisher]

- Microsoft Office 2003 [Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, FrontPage, Publisher, InfoPath, and/or OneNote]

Long story short, if you have a new-ish computer running any of a host of Microsoft's newer software applications, your computer is probably vulnerable to attack through this JPEG processing vulnerability...even if you have a firewall and an up-to-date antivirus program."

Friday, September 10, 2004

Windows XP SP2 now on CD-Rom

This is forwarded from Patrick Douglas Crispen's very useful Internet Tourbus of September 9, 2004.

"I mentioned back on August 9th that you can get Windows XP Service Pack 2 [XP SP2] either by downloading it from Microsoft or ordering it on a free CD-ROM. The catch was that the CD wasn't yet available.

"But it is now. To order a free copy of XP SP2 on a CD-ROM, just hop on over to either




"Both addresses take you to the same page, and that last address needs to be on one line. The English language version of XP SP2 is available today, and versions written in other languages will be released over the next three weeks.

"Even if you plan to download [or have already downloaded] XP SP2 directly from Microsoft, I strongly recommend that you also get XP SP2 on CD-ROM. Why? Well, if you ever have to erase your hard drive and start from scratch, having a copy of XP SP2 on CD-ROM will speed up your computer's recovery. Why wait for it to download again when you can just as easily pop in a free CD-ROM?

"I also recommend that you order the XP SP2 CD-ROM today and then put it away until Halloween. DON'T install it. Yet. As I've mentioned in my last few Tourbus posts, you really should wait a few weeks before you upgrade your computer to Windows XP SP2. Why? Well, there are bound to be problems with XP SP2 that no one expects--like, for example, 40 different programs that "seem" to stop working once you install XP SP2 [see http://tinyurl.com/4uvng ]--and I would MUCH rather these problems happen to someone else's computer instead of yours. By waiting a few weeks [or even months], you give Microsoft and the other software vendors time to fix these unforeseen problems.

"You need XP SP2. Just not until Halloween. And when Halloween comes around, I promise to send out a post telling you everything you need to know in order to [hopefully] make your upgrade as painless as possible."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Norton for Macintosh Virus Definitions

A listener reported that Norton for Macintosh Virus Definitions were not automatically updating. We suggested that perhaps the caller had let her subscription to Norton lapse without realizing it. See this Symantic page.

Cakewalk Music Creator

A listener reported problems with Active X and Cakewalk Music Creator. Try this.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Boot disks to help trouble shoot

Boot disks to help trouble shoot: start here.

Spybot/DSO Exploit

Q: Spybot reports a DSO Exploit but cannot remove it, what should I do?

A: Check here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Turbo Tax custom dialog.dll problem

Try this.

Removing Side Step

Go to the bottom of the page.

Stepwise Regression software at sas.com or jmp.com.

Or search Google and check out the items found.

Windows XP Service Pack 2

Windows SP 2 Information

Important: Back Up data first!

Check out possible issues with XP Service Pack 2.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Mozilla versions

A caller asked about Mozilla for Mac OS 9.1. Be warned, this is an old version (this is a direct link to the installer).

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Missing Turbovbf.vxd

A caller reported a message about a missing file called Turbovbf.vxd. Guy Moore suggestst this resource.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Printing from DOS-based applications

A caller wanted to print from Harvard Graphics, a DOS-based program, on an HP printer running under Windows.

Reading the info about the 1010 on HP's website, under Spec's it says:

*Optional compatible operating systems:
Download available at http://www.hp.com. Printing from DOS-based applications is possible in compatibility mode. "

*Software included:
Drivers In-box: Microsoft® Windows® NT 4.0, 3.1x (PCL 5e only), 9x, 2000, Me, Macintosh™ System 7.5.5 and above. Drivers on the web: Windows 3.1x (PCL 6), IBM OS/2 and UNIX/LINUX. Download available at http://www.hp.com. Printing from DOS-based applications is possible in compatibility mode. Software disk replication utility for attended or unattended deployment of custom drivers. HP internet installer can automatically update printer drivers during installation. HP Web Jetadmin printer management software for network configuration and management from a common web browser. Download available at http://www.hp.com

That being said, it sounds like HP knows about these printers and printing in DOS mode, so they would easily be able to help you out! HP's phone number is: Hewlett Packard (800) 752-0900.

A caller suggested converting Harvard Graphics into PowerPoint. There is further help at this web site.

To release/renew IP address in Windows XP

From Bryan Powell: Click Start, and then run

Type cmd and a DOS window will open

Type ipconfig /release

Type ipconfig /renew

This should refresh your IP address.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Wireless video home monitoring

Listener Dave from Beavercreek writes: "...a fellow asked about installing a video camera so he could monitor his home on his PDA. This doesn't specifically address the PDA issue, but if he can already receive e-mail & browse the Internet on his PDA, he's half way there. This article describes the process of installing a wireless video camera with motion detection and e-mail alerting capability."

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

USB Device Stops Working or Won't Resume

WinXP by Default turns off USB Root Hubs to Conserve Power causing some devices not to resume correctly after Windows resumes from sleep, hibernation or computer inactivity

In the Device Manager > Universal Serial Bus Controllers > USB Root Hub > Power Management, Uncheck the box per the illustration below. Uncheck all boxes on all root hubs.

What hardware is on your machine?

One solution for Windows XP, from Bryan Powell:

1. Right click on my computer and select "properties"
2. Click on the hardware tab
3. Click on the button that says device manager

A caller suggested the program Advisor, available from Belarc.com.

Disabling ports in Windows XP

A caller wanted to disable port 25, used for email purposes but subject to malicious attacks. Try working with the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) as described here.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Stinger virus protection

Stinger is an alternate virus scanner/checker. Find it here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Swap files on an external drive

A caller asked about using an external hard drive to store swap files (temporary files used by browsers and others). This can in theory increase speed and efficiency by slowing fragmentation of the main hard drive. Here are Guy Moore's references for swap files for Windows Swap files and Mac OS X Swap files, version 1 and version 2.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Outlook Express problem

Two callers report problems with Outlook Express. The program halts and presents this message: "Outlook Express has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience."

There is a discussion and possible fix available from Microsoft.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Problems with Internet Explorer.exe

Nancy reported a particularly nasty problem today when her Windows machine began telling her about problems with Internet Explorer. Here is one possible solution, and here is another.

If those don't work: listener John passed along this recommendation (we have not tried it, but here it is. Always exercise extreme caution when working with the registry):

system restore is found here :

start/programs/accessories/system tools

This should be done in safe mode!!!

also there is a dos option....

boot to DOS...

go to c:\system
type : scanreg /restore


if this fails, try : scanreg /fix

This is another option. If the scanreg/fix FAILS then there is a fatal registry error. Must run regedit to manually fix (probably will not work) or do a clean install of the O/s

Online definitions of computer terms

Try these sources for basic information: Webopedia, or HyperDictionary.com.

Windows update CD

For dial-up users, downloading an update to Windows may not work. Here is the source for a free Windows update CDs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Running DOS games on a newer operating system

Zach from Richmond writes: "Saw a discussion about this recently - one suggestion was DOSBox."

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Fat32 vs. NTFS file structure

Here's an article Bryan Powell found.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

FAQ for Spybot automation issue

Josh of Oxford had a problem with ad blocking software not working properly. Try this FAQ.

How to edit, clean, and backup the registry

Information from the Microsoft support area. Be very careful when working with the Registry lest you delete a needed file.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Multiple sends in Outlook

Jim calling from I-70 had a problem with MS Outlook sending multiple copies of documents. Some settings of Outlook will send when you quit the program, and require the program to verify that the message has been delivered. If you send, then quit, then start up again it's possible the program does not recognize that it has been sent because it has not yet received a return receipt. Try adjusting the settings or preferences of Outlook, and wait a bit after you send before quitting.

10-gig Ethernet cabling

Chuck in Centerville writes:
In looking at a Cisco document, it appears that 10 gig will run on cat 5, 5e and 6. More specific requirements are determined by the switch selected.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Problems with Norton AntiVirus Live Update

Listener Don reports:

Having trouble activating Symantec products, such as Norton AntiVirus 2004? Symantec has taken care of the snag. Go to Symantec Supportto grab the fix.

Symantec also plugged a security hole in Norton AntiVirus's LiveUpdate feature (for retail products). Head to Symantec's Security Response page for a link to LiveUpdate 2.0.

Many versions of 2004 have a problem with security with Live Update. The fix is at

If you have any version of Live Update other than V2 this fix is required.

Speed test

If you want to check the speed of your cable, DSL or dial-up connection, go to Bandwidthplace.com. Note: you may need to sign up at this site.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Latest Mydoom Variant Can Delete Files

Several antivirus and security companies today warned that another
variant of the Mydoom worm is spreading. This one can delete files from
a user's computer. See Computerworld.com.

WARNING: eBay spoof

We have previously reported a 'spoof' on Amazon.com (that is, an email message that directs users to what appears to be an Amazon.com site but is in fact a bogus site designed to capture confidential information).

Now it appears there is an eBay spoof going around. A message might read "During our regular update and verification of the accounts, we couIdn't verify your current information. Either your information has changed or it is incomplete", accompanied by a clickable link.

Don't do it! The site will appear to be an eBay site but these are thieves trying to grab your credit card and other sensitive information.

"Let's be careful out there." -- Sgt. Phil Esterhaus

DVD formats

Dennis asked: What are the differences between various formats for recordable DVDs (i.e. DVD-R vs. DVD+R)?

Dell.com (May need to register)

Proactionmedia. com (more technical)

Dave from Beavercreek suggests DVDRhelp.com for lots of info about DVD formats, recording DVDs, etc. Of particular interest is their player compatibility list.

Microsoft updates available on CD

Chuck F. writes: Microsoft has made many Windows updates for all versions since 98 available on cd free. Anyone without a broadband connection can go to Microsoft and order it. This is an opportunity for everyone to catch up on updates.

Monday, March 01, 2004

New Windows vulnerability

Microsoft recently issued a new critical security update (MS04-007) to patch a vulnerability in most Windows operating systems, including

Windows XP
Windows 2000
Windows NT
Windows Server 2003

Computer code which exploits this vulnerability has recently been discovered. If your computer is exploited by this code you could risk damaging your computer or losing your connection to the network.

Protect yourself and your access to online services by installing the Microsoft Windows updates on your computer.

Users of Macintosh computers or earlier versions of Windows (Windows 95/98) are not affected by this vulnerability.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Resources for print-handicapped computer users (6/10/03)

Oscar from Beavercreek inquired about computing resources for blind users. Here are some suggestions we received:

Technology Resource Center in Dayton, 937-222-5222
Ohio Technology Access Project, 937-222-2755
Zoom Text, a screen reader
Job Accommodation Network, 1-800-526-7234
Microsoft accessibility project

Blaster/Lovesan (8/12/03)

Help Desk dealt with the rapidly-spreading worm variously known as Blaster or Lovesan, which exploits a vulnerability in the Microsoft operating systems first announced in July 2003. Here is a link to one of Microsoft's recommendations, and here is another.

URLs from Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Acrobat Acrobat document when web browsing the web causes an External Window Manager error. Adobe has a support document about this.

Bob from Cincinnati enquired about Popups. Here is a site about them. CAUTION: you will probably see a pop-up when you go here.

This may fix the Shell32 linked to a missing export file.

Windows Messenger Service vulnerability (10/31/03)

Windows Messenger Service (not to be confused with the popular Microsoft Messenger or MSN Messenger services) is a little-known feature of some Windows versions which is subject to security vulnerabilities. Help Desk recommends that you turn it off.

You don't need to worry about Windows Messenger Service if have a Mac, a Unix box, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, or Windows ME. But if you have Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003, you should turn it off.

You can manually disable the Windows Messenger Service if you want. The University of Virginia's Information Technology and Communications department shows you how to disable it. Or you can use Steve Gibson's free Shoot the Messenger program.
(Information from Internet Tourbus).

URL Spoofing vulnerability (12/19/03)

Patrick Crispen's invaluable Internet Tourbus warns that "If you use Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook Express, or Microsoft Outlook, you're vulnerable to something called "URL Spoofing." Is this earth-shattering? No. Should you lose sleep over it? No. Should you at least know a little about it in order to protect your personal information should something strange happen? ABSOLUTELY!"

According to Microsoft, "a malicious user could create a link to a deceptive (spoofed) Web site that displays the address, or URL, to a legitimate Web site in the Status bar, Address bar, and Title bar."

Why is this a bad thing? Well, InformationWeek warns that "This flaw would make it appear to Internet users that they're visiting a banking Web site, for example, when that site is actually a front for fraudsters attempting to collect sensitive financial information..."

How can you tell if you're vulnerable? Just hop on over to Patrick's URL Spoofing site and take his simple test. You might be startled, as you humble editor was.

MyDoom worm (2/1/04)

MyDoom worm spreading rapidly
Posted February 1, 2004

On Sunday Feburary 1 the MyDoom.B worm crippled the Utah-based software firm SCO. According to the Emergency Email and Wireless Network, the Department of Homeland Security warns:

"Mydoom.B is a new variant of the Mydoom worm ... [that] attempts to perform a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against Microsoft.com. Details regarding this new worm are still emerging, but it has been validated as spreading in the wild ... To spread over the KaZaA P2P network, Mydoom.B creates copies of itself in the KaZaA shared directory with randomized filenames."

As always, Help Desk advises all users to have installed recent versions of anti-viral software and keep their definitions up to date. Do NOT open attachments sent to you, even from friendly email addresses, unless you can verify that the sender specifically meant to send the attachment to you. Even then you are at risk. This is not the only nasty critter out there, and there are likely to be more virulent strains soon. And more after that. "Let's be careful out there," as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus used to say.

For more information visit the Emergency Email and Wireless Network site.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Beagle.B worm

This worm struck machines at Miami University during the time we were on the air with Help Desk, Tuesday morning 2/17/2004. The rapidity of its spread was remarkable and gave headaches to tech support people all over the country, but it does not appear to be as dangerous as some and can be contained easily. A reminder from your pals at the Help Desk: Don't open attachments, guys. Use virus software such as Symantec or McAfee, and keep your virus definitions up to date.
And stand up straight, and wash behind your ears!

Removing MS Office plugin for Norton

A caller had problems with Microsof Excel constantly trying to scan files for virus. Here's how to remove the Office plugin for the Norton Anti-virus.
--an emailer to the show suggested going to the Excel preferences and lowering the level in the Security option to do the same thing.

Spyware and pop-up blockers

To block annoying browser pop-ups and spyware (software that secretly reports your computer activity), recently we have recommended Ad-Aware from LavaSoftUSA. Bryan Powell also recommends SpyBot Search and Destroy.

How to disinfect an infected restore file on Windows Xp & ME

How to disinfect an infected restore file on Windows Xp & ME.
Here ya go.

Help Desk Guycam

We're running a camera for the show of February 17, 2004. We call it the Guycam, though Guy Moore is not always the one in the crosshairs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Amazon.com spoof

I recently made an Amazon order and received 3 or 4 messages that purported to be from "ship-confirm@amazon.com" with the subject line "Your amazon.com order #310-419-1500 has shipped" (the number was different for each one).

These were spoofs, or illegitimate emails sent by someone who hijacked information about my order. They were ads for Microsoft products at ridiculously low prices. Clicking on a link took me to http://www.oem-expert.biz/?id. It seems to be phony. Googling oem-expert I found a thread about this at http://www.dshield.org/pipermail/list/2004-January/014143.php

This has disturbing implications. We will discuss on Help Desk Tuesday February 10, 2004.