Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Windows security hole called 'extremely critical'

UPDATE: microsoft has released a patch for the vulnerability described below. Find it here.


URGENT: December 31, 2005: a 'severe' security flaw has recently been discovered in Microsoft's Windows operating system. Microsoft has not yet released a patch. According to the Washington Post,
"A previously unknown flaw in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system is leaving computer users vulnerable to spyware, viruses and other programs that could overtake their machines and has sent the company scrambling to come up with a fix.

"Microsoft said in a statement yesterday that it is investigating the vulnerability and plans to issue a software patch to fix the problem. The company could not say how soon that patch would be available."

Find out more in this Washington Post article from December 30, 2005, and a similar article in PC World.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

URLs from 12/27/05

Here is a link for a tutorial to install the Sony Cybershot driver (to allow mounting of camera on desktop):
Also, to check to see if the machine has not been assigned a drive letter, do the following:
1. Right click "My Computer."
2. Select "Manage."
3. Click on "Drive Management."
4. Look in the local drive list and see if it is showing up and has a drive letter. If it is showing up but has no letter assigned to it, right click it and select "assign drive letter."

Uninstalling Norton 2004

Problems importing CDs into iTunes

Worst computer related ideas of 2005:
New security ID law
CNet's Top 10 Worst Ideas
PC Magazine's 10 Worst Products
And let's not forget Sony's disastrous CD encryption scheme

Aspi corrupt in Windows XP


Earthlink SMTP Server #1
Earthlink SMTP Server #2

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

URLs from 12/20/05

Happy Holidays from the Help Desk!

Quicktime to fix the Mac OS 9 Classic Mode Quicktime:
If the computer will boot in OS 9 and has a broadband connection. I would boot into OS 9 and run the software update control panel. If that does not work I would try downloading Quicktime from this URL.

If this does not work send us an email: helpradio-AT-wmub.org -- Guy Moore

Mac OS X 10.3.9, the following message comes up when booting

"The volume for 'Serial Port Monitor' cannot be found"

The Serial Port Monitor is part of the Palm desktop in Classic mode. Probably is coming from Classic mode that is starting when booting. Try turning classic off using classic System Preference and make it so that it does not start when you boot. If that makes the problem go away when you boot then we know it is coming from classic mode. If you are not using the Palm software I would just remove it. Here is the URL for removing the Palm software.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Finding help via user groups

Users groups are great to help you with your computer. Here are some in WMUB's listening area:
  1. Cincinnati PC users
  2. Dayton MicroComputer Association
  3. AppleSiders

URLs from 12/13/05

Christmas Lights display in Mason (now inactive)

BandwidthSpeedTest and InternetFrog.com speed test

Firewall information for OS X


Users groups are great to help you with your computer. Here are some in our area:
  1. Cincinnati PC users
  2. Dayton MicroComputer Association
  3. AppleSiders

Spyware error message concerning DSO Exploit (from Bryan Powell):

What is DSO Exploit?
If you use Spybot Search and Destroy or another spyware removal tool, it may find an item called DSO Exploit. This exploit is a bug in Internet Explorer that under certain circumstances would allow untrusted software to run on the computer. In other words, its a hole in Internet Explorer that hackers could use to gain access to your system.

However, if you are running the latest version of Internet Explorer and have all your Windows Updates installed, the bug has been patched and is not a threat to your computer system. Even though Spybot may still show it as a threat.

How do I Remove DSO Exploit?

If you have the latest Internet Explorer version and all your Windows Updates, you can safely ignore the DSO Exploit as a potential problem when Spybot Search and Destroy or other spyware removal tools discover it. However if you would rather fix the exploit so it does not show up again, follow these steps to edit your Windows Registry. Please be careful however, incorrect changes to the Windows Registry can cause Windows to not boot.

1) Make a note of the location of the exploit shown in Spybot, something similar to:

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-1614895754-73586283-725345543-500\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\0\1004!=W=3

2) Click on Start, Run, and type REGEDIT and Press Enter to open the Windows Registry Editor

3) Find the location of the exploit above in the registry by clicking on the pluses(+) next to each title

4) After opening the Zones section and clicking on '0' look to the right window, under 'name' is the key '1004' and the type is REG_SZ simply right click and delete this REG_SZ value.Then right click and create new>DWORD Value, name it 1004, then right click on that and goto modify, give it the Hex Value of 3, Click ok.

If there is only a DWORD Value for the key (in this case 1004), then double click on the key and change the HEX value to 3 and click Ok.

5) Close the Registry Editor and Reboot your computer

6) The DSO Exploit should now be removed and it should no longer appear in the Spybot Search and Destroy log as a problem.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

URLs from 11/29/05

Apple Broadband Tuner

Testing your network speed

Programs that allow you to securely delet files and securely erase the hard drive
--Listeener Steven from Dublin, IN had this followup: "There is a free program called "Darik's Boot and Nuke" available from sourceforge.net. I am not an expert but have been told this is very good. . . it is available in versions that boot from either floppy or CD-ROM. One problem with this type of program is that a doing a complete erase takes a long time. Normally this is not an issue unless there is a need to get rid of the PC immediately."

Used Macintoshes for sale

Used Mac prices

Monday, November 21, 2005

'Gifts for Geeks and Others' + URLs from 11/22/05

Bryan Powell's suggestions for holiday gifts:
X-Box 360
Moto Razr V3i (RAZR with iTunes software)

Wayne Stone's suggestions:
1) TiVo video recorder for your TV or cable
2) Upgrade your TiVo with a much bigger hard drive; they even tell you how to find your model -- pretty cool
3) Build your own PC! -- or a gift certificate
4) CNet's holiday gift site is a favorite

Cleve Callison's suggestions:
1) Mini flash memory drives by Cruzer and other makers
2) Recommend Canon cameras, Pixma series printers, and camcorders for quality & value
3) iSkin protective coverings for the iPod line (also other manufacturers)
4) Multi-format (memory stick, Compact Flash, etc.) USB card reader for under $10
5) Westinghouse digital big screen (DVI interface only) for around $229 (recommended by MacWorld). Note Bryan Powell's suggestion to buy a DVI monitor even if your computer has the older VGA output; you can buy a VGA-to-DVI converter, and your monitor will still work when and if you upgrade your computer.
6) iTrip LCD FM converter for iPod -- broadcast iPod tunes to your car radio
7) EyeTV EZ USB 2.0 TV receiver -- convert cable TV signals to your Mac
8) Stocking stuffer: can of compressed air to keep keyboards clean
8) QX5 Computer Microscope -- USB interface to your computer to view and control images ($80, recommended by MacWorld)

From Guy Moore:

Finding the right memory:
http://www.ramjet.com/
http://www.techworks.com/
http://www.crucial.com/

Recording your cassettes and LPs:
http://aroundcny.com/technofile/texts/tec060803.html
MAC - http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,116507,00.asp
Windows - http://www.cyberwalker.net/columns/feb02/150202.html

DVD Regional Coding

Countries that use PAL

Geek Gifts
Portable XM Satellite Radio
Sandisk Cruzer USB Flash Drive

Lots of stuff at the following URLS:
http://www.extremetech.com/category2/0,3971,720064,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/category2/0,4148,11182,00.asp
http://www.computergear.com/
http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2004Dec/fea20041217028321.htm

Question about how to play European (French) DVDs on an American computer or DVD player: region-free software DVD player for your computer, or hardware-based for your TV

Recommended by John from Cincinnati: SIMA CT-200 converts NTSC to PAL and vice versa for video and DVD incompatibilities between North American and European standards.

Herbert from Oxford says: Most of Europe used PAL, but France has a different standard called SECAM. One way to play European DVDs is to buy a region free DVD players. You can find some them on the internet in the $20-$200 range. Those units also have PAL/SECAM to NTSC converters built in, so you can play the DVDs on a regular American TV.

World's smallest XP computer

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

WMUB podcasts

WMUB is now podcasting! The Help Desk podcast as well as podcasts of our other talk shows are now available, generally within 24 hours of first airing. For more information, visit our Podcasting page.

You could click on the Help Desk XML link -- however, not all browsers display XML properly.

If you have a podcast aggregator (Apple's iTunes, for one, is free for Windows and Mac -- you need 4.9 or above), copy and paste the following link in the podcast address field: http://www.wmub.org/rss/HelpDesk.xml

We'd like your comments as we roll this out, so go to our Feedback page.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

URLs from 10/18/05

IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL Stop Error in Windows:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/ or

http://www.techspot.com/


RealPlayer: you can get the free version from Download.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

URLs from 9/27/05

Problem with IE visual c++ runtime library error:
Try uninstalling Google Toolbar

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

PC speed test

The InternetFrog PC speed test will give you a graphical snapshot of your computer's upload and download speeds.

Monday, August 29, 2005

URLs from 8/30/05

InternetFrog PC speed test

Elite Toolbar -- this is Spyware. See Symantec's article

Two more Elite Toolbar removal tools: Peeniewallie and from Softpedia.com

Friday, August 26, 2005

Spyware update

SPYWARE UPDATE 8/26/05: Some users have posted their recommendations in the form of comments to our Sypware article. While some or all of these may be perfectly fine, the Help Desk gang (the Dukes of URL) has NOT reviewed these products and cannot certify them as acceptable. Some insidious spyware actually masquerades as anti-spyware tools. Frankly, the language on some of the web pages recommended by our commentators below is a little suspect, especially when they are trying to sell you software. Caveal emptor ("let the buyer beware"). We stand by our recommendations to use AdAware, Spybot Search & Destroy, and Microsoft's anti-spyware tool (now called Windows Defender) and urge caution on anything else. See the full article elsewhere in this blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pretty neat Google stuff

You may not want Google to know your cell number, but if that doesn't bother you, here are some Google text message tricks:

Send a text message to 46645 (that's GOOGL). In the body type (for example)

pizza 12345

where 12345 is your ZIP code. Google will call you back with information about 3 or 4 pizza places in your ZIP.

You could also type

lastname 12345

where 'lastname' is one you're trying to find. Google will call you back with a directory listing for that name.

Google maps. Close in on a segment you want (say your street) at 1 inch = 2000 feet, and click the HYBRID button in the upper right. You'll see a street map, with names, over the satellite image. Can you find your house?

URLs from 8/16/05

Recent Windows update

Resetting a Palm Pilot

hpcmpmgr.exe will not end when the computer is shutting down. This is part of the Hewlett Packard Multimedia software

Recovering/Fixing damaged Macintosh disks:

Disk Warrior from Alsoft
Tech Tool from MicroMat
Data Rescue from Prosoft
VirtualLab from BinaryBiz

Running OS X maintenance tasks:
MacJanitor

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

URLs from 7/19/05

Bendable screens on the way?

The Dayton Microcomputer Association Linux Users Group meets at 7 pm the 3rd Thursday each month at Wright State University.

The Firefox extension GreaseMonkey may present a serious security vulnerability for both PCs and Macs. This is a fairly detailed technical argument that will not apply to everyone, but for now the Help Desk recommends de-activating GreaseMonkey if you have it installed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

URLs from 6/21/05

Printing a Windows Exporer folder list

We had two URLs submitted by Dave Lundy:
http://snurl.com/fq7l and
http://snurl.com/fq7o

Bryan Powell sends along another solution:

"Windows Alt Prt Scr

"Now, for those who have read this far, we are going to share another neat little feature of the Windows Print Screen Key. Pressing these keys...

"Alt + Print Screen

"...will take a screenshot of the currently selected window, not the entire screen like the normal screenshot function. This allows you to target that specific window that you have open and nothing else. No more cropping those screenshots to grab the content you were after!"


Mary C. recommends a freeware program to print window contents in a Mac

Troubleshooting your mac

Don Moeller recommends this site.

File System Check: This can be done in two ways. If you can do method 1, then that is preferred over method 2 below. Do a File System Check and permissions repair by one of these two methods below.

1. Boot up to your full OS X Install CD 1. To do this, restart the machine with the Mac OS X Install CD in the CD drive, holding down the "C" key until you see the OS coming up on screen. You will come to an Install Dialog window. From the Installer menu, select Disk Utility. Next, click the First Aid tab. Select your hard drive boot partition whose file system you wish to check, click on the First Aid tab, and click the "Repair Disk Permissions" button. Repairing permissions may take a couple of minutes as it restores "permissions" of Mac OS X system files and Apple-installed software to their default configuration. When it completes, click the "Repair Disk" button.

2. Open Disk Utility, located in /Applications/Utilities. Select your boot partition, click on the First Aid tab. Click the "Repair Disk Permissions" button. Next, to run fsck, restart the computer holding command-S at startup (where command is the Apple logo key on your Apple keyboard), then at the prompt typing fsck -y and hitting the Return key. Continue to run fsck -y until no errors are found. If your hard drive is journalled, you will need to run fsck -yf. (Attempting to run fsck -y on a journaled drive will result in a message reminding you of this.) Repeat running of fsck till you are getting no errors, type shutdown -r now and hit the Return key to reboot your Mac OS.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Firefox vulnerability

A potentially serious vulnerability has been discovered in Mozilla's Firefox browser. Mozilla has released the following
Firefox security vulnerability workaround

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

URLs from 3/15/05

Version Tracker is a source for all sorts of software.

Defective Hotmail password:
Forgotpass@hotmail.com can sometimes help with recovering lost Hotmail passwords. You'll need to send from another account since it is the email that has the defect.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

URLs from 3/8/05

Listener Mort had a problem with attachments in Outlook Express. Here is a possible fix. It sounds as if Mort may have a virus or have some as attachments, so we recommend looking at our comments about Stinger on our Viruses page.

Upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)

Warning: long post.

Here, in its entirety, is Patrick Douglas Crispen's advice of March 6, 2005, concerning upgrading Windows XP to Service Pack 2. Patrick is one of the co-gurus of the invaluable Internet Tourbus.

Here's his advice:


From: crispen [AT] NETSQUIRREL.COM
Subject: Tourbus - 6 Mar 05 - Safely upgrade to Windows XP SP2
Date: March 6, 2005 3:25:42 PM EST
To: TOURBUS [AT] LISTSERV.AOL.COM
Reply-To: TOURBUS-Request [AT] LISTSERV.AOL.COM

---------------------------------------------------------------------- TOURBUS Volume 10, Number 53 -- 06 Mar 2005 Tourbus Home - http://www.TOURBUS.com Tourbus Forums - http://forums.TOURBUS.com [ For best results view this with a monospace font like Courier. ]
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Today's Tourbus Topics: How to safely upgrade to Windows XP SP2

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, which should be refrigerated after being opened.

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road.

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+-------------------------------------------------------------------+

The deadline for upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 2 is *rapidly* approaching. So, I thought it would be a good idea to take another look at how to safely make the upgrade so that you computer doesn't fall down and go "BOOM!"

By the way, an abbreviated, HTML-ified version of today's post is available at

http://www.netsquirrel.com/articles/xpsp2.html

and you are more than welcome to forward either that link or today's Tourbus post to whomever you think it may help.

On with the show...

----------------------------------------------------------------
How to safely upgrade to Windows XP SP2
Audience: Every XP user who hasn't yet upgraded to Window XP SP2
----------------------------------------------------------------

If you have Windows XP Home or Professional Editions, I have a favor to ask of you. In XP, go to Start > Run. Type in the word

winver

and then press the enter key on your keyboard. This opens something called "About Windows" that tells you exactly what version of Windows you are running. For example, on my desktop, my "About Windows" screen shows the following:

Microsoft (R) Windows
Version 5.1 (Build 2600.xpsp2... : Service Pack 1)
Copyright (C) 1981-2001 Microsoft Corporation

I want you to pay particular attention to the end of the second line of text on your "About Windows" screen. If you see the words "Service Pack 2," stop reading. Your version of Windows has already been updated to Windows XP Service Pack 2 [SP2]. There is nothing else you need to do...except, possibly, running Windows Update [in Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Windows Update] just to make sure your computer isn't missing any critical updates released over the past couple of weeks.

+-----------------------* * * ZipBackup * * *----------------------+
As a Tourbus reader, you know you need to be careful about viruses and other nasties, but being careful is not enough! ZipBackup's Wizard makes backing up to CDs or DVDs a snap for beginners and ZipBackup is a powerful tool for experts. Download ZipBackup and try it for free. You won't want to use a computer without it. Get 25% off the ZipBackup regular price at http://www.zipbackup.com/partners/tourbus
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+

However, if the second line of text on your "About Windows" screen *DOESN'T* end with the exact words "Service Pack 2," your life just got a little more complicated.

When Windows XP SP2 was released last August, a lot of respected tech gurus [and some not-so-respected tech guru wannabees like myself] strongly recommended NOT upgrading for a while. In fact, I wrote a Tourbus post last August showing you how to download and install a free Windows XP SP2 blocker program to prevent Microsoft from automatically installing SP onto your computer.

Well, that blocker expires on Tuesday, April 12th. After that date, you're getting Service Pack 2 whether you like it or not. If you have Windows Update set to automatically check for and install any critical updates, Microsoft will automatically install XP SP2 onto your computer sometime after April 12th. And even if you don't use Windows Update's auto ‘call home and download' feature, after April 12th Windows Update will stop working until you download XP SP2. [Updates will still be available, but Microsoft won't let you get them until you first download and install Service Pack 2.] April 12th is pretty much the drop-dead date for Windows XP Service Pack 2 deployment.

And, honestly, that's not a bad thing. While I've yet to upgrade my desktop, my laptop has been running Windows XP SP2 since November with nary a problem. And I'm not alone. Millions of people have safely made the jump to SP2. And XP SP2's built-in security features are so beneficial that there's honestly no legitimate reason for you NOT to upgrade to Service Pack 2.

Reread that last sentence: There's honestly no legitimate reason for you NOT to upgrade to Service Pack 2. Your XP computer NEEDS this upgrade. The real question is whether you want Microsoft to install it for you or if you want to install it yourself. Well, the next six words are the most important six words in this entire post:

***YOU WANT TO INSTALL IT YOURSELF!***

There are 12 things you need to do in order to ensure that your computer's upgrade goes as smoothly as possible. The only way you can guarantee that all 12 of these steps are followed, in order, is if you do it yourself. And that's why I sending you this post a full month before Microsoft starts automatically pushing XP Service Pack 2 to your computer.

------------------------------------------------------
1. Get a copy of Windows XP Service Pack 2 on a CD-ROM
------------------------------------------------------

Trust me on this one, folks: XP SP2 is so large that you don't want to try to download it over even the fastest Internet connection. Besides, when your computer crashes sometime in the future and you have to reinstall Windows, having XP SP2 on CD-ROM will speed your recovery process.

How can you get XP SP2 on CD-ROM? Well, chances are one of your friends or co-workers already has a spare XP SP2 upgrade CD lying around. All you need to do is ask to borrow it. If that doesn't work, go to the computer section of your nearest big box retailer and ask for a free copy. Microsoft shipped massive amounts of free XP SP2 CD-ROMs to Circuit City, Best Buy, Office Depot, and places like that. Again, all you have to do is ask.

If you still can't find a copy of XP SP2 or, even worse, if your local tech store tries to sell it to you [something that happened to at least one Best Buy customer in Chicago late last year], hop on over to

http://tinyurl.com/6g675

This page lets you order the XP SP2 CD-ROM directly from Microsoft. Free.

------------------------------------------------------------------
2. Once you have the XP SP2 CD-ROM, scan your computer for viruses
------------------------------------------------------------------

Personal experience shows that unwanted stuff on your computer like viruses or spyware [see step 3] can wreck havoc on ANY software installation, especially a major operating system upgrade. And while you may think your current antivirus software is doing a good job of scanning your computer for and protecting your computer from viruses, over 60% of broadband users aren't running the latest version of their antivirus program. [Source: http://www1.us.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/security? c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs]

So, just to be extra safe, before you even THINK about putting that XP SP2 CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive, let's have Symantec scan your PC for viruses online. Open Internet Explorer and go to

http://www.symantec.com/cgi-bin/securitycheck.cgi.

[Unfortunately, Symantec's free online virus checker only works in Internet Explorer.] When the page loads, click on the orange Go button. This opens a pop-up window. Click on the red Start button under Virus Detection to start the virus scan. You'll be asked if you want to install and run three small plug-ins. Click Yes all three times.

The scan will take a while, but it is well worth the wait. If Symantec says your virus status is safe, continue on to step three. But, if Symantec finds a problem, expect to spend a lot of time at

http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/index.html

downloading the appropriate removal tools.

---------------------------------------------------
3. Scan your computer for spyware and other malware
---------------------------------------------------

Spyware seems to be the number one cause of problems when upgrading to XP SP2. So, in addition to scanning your computer for viruses, you also need to scan it for spyware. But you need to make sure you are using the latest version of your antispyware program when you do this.

How? Well, in Spybot Search & Destroy, go to Help > About. There you'll see the version number. The latest version of Spybot is 1.3. If you have an older version, head on over to

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

and download the latest version.

If you have AdAware, look in the bottom right corner of the AdAware screen. If you don't see "AdAware SE Personal, Build 1.05," you don't have the latest version and you'll need to download a new copy at

http://tinyurl.com/5kgsl

Once you have the latest version of your antispyware program, check for updates and then scan your computer. If you find any spyware, nuke it.

--------------------------------
4. Update your software firewall
--------------------------------

If you are running a software firewall like ZoneAlarm or Sygate Personal Firewall, you may need to update your software firewall so that it will fully work with Windows XP SP2. This usually involves downloading a simple patch that you can get from your software firewall's manufacturer's website.

-----------------------------------------------------------
5. Get the latest PC manufacturer updates for your computer
-----------------------------------------------------------

If you have a name-brand computer, check the manufacturer's web site and download any software or driver updates they recommend. For example, Dell recommends that its users update their BIOS before upgrading to XP SP2.

For a list of the XP SP2 upgrade sites for most of the major PC manufacturers, check out

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/oemlinks.mspx

If you can't find your computer manufacturer's web site, call the company or store that sold you your computer and ask them if they know of any issues with upgrading your make and model of computer to XP SP2. By waiting to install XP SP2 until today, you've given the folks in tech support enough time to figure out what computers upgrade well and what computers have issues.

Sloth pays.

-------------------------------------------
6. Backup any files you cannot live without
-------------------------------------------

If media and blog reports are any indication, you should be able to upgrade to XP SP2 without any major problems. But sometimes things go awry. That's life.

Just to be extra safe, make sure to copy ALL of the important stuff on your computer to a CD-ROM, DVD, thumb drive, external hard drive, or whatever. You can never have too many backups.

In particular, make sure to backup your:

- Bank records and other financial information - Digital photographs - Software you purchased and downloaded from the Internet - Software you didn't purchase but still download - Your illegal MP3s and legal iTunes files - Personal projects and other "My Documents" stuff - Your e-mail address book and calendar - Your enemies list - Your browser's bookmarks or favorites list

Again, you'll probably not need this backup. But you can never be too safe.

------------------------------
7. Make a system restore point
------------------------------

Yeah, I know. The XP SP2 installer does this for you automatically. Do it by hand just in case.

- Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.

- Choose Create a restore point.

- Click Next.

- In the Restore Point Description box, type something long and descriptive [like "6 March 2005 – Before I installed XP SP2"]

- Click Create.

- Once the restore point has been created, click Close.

----------
8. Restart
----------

No, I don't mean go back to step one. I mean restart your computer. It's usually a good idea to flush the decks, so to speak, before you install any major program or operating system upgrade on your computer.

Wait at least five minutes after you restart your computer before you proceed. That just gives all of those icons down in your task bar plenty of time to load and call home for updates.

You might also want to disable your antivirus program, but that's completely up to you. [I accidentally installed XP SP2 without first turning off my antivirus and nothing bad happ&%$()**NO CARRIER**]

--------------------
9. Find a local guru
--------------------

Step nine is probably the hardest step of them all.

If you follow steps one through eight, step nine is probably completely unnecessary. But, sometimes bad things happen to good people. And sometimes, although not often, XP SP2 installations go horribly awry. If that happens, you're going to want to talk to someone who can help you un-kludge your computer.

You are always welcome to send me email asking for assistance, but I have to warn you that I get so much email that it is almost impossible for me to keep up. I wish I was kidding, but it's now March 6, 2005, and I am currently working on answering the emails sent to me during the week of February 7th...FOUR weeks ago! If your computer goes kersplat during the XP SP2 installation process, you're probably going to want to speak to someone who can help you fix your computer in minutes not weeks. Hence my recommendation that you find a local guru who can help you if anything goes awry.

Again, if you follow steps one through eight, finding a local guru is probably completely unnecessary. But, as I have said throughout today's post, you can never be too safe.

------------------
10. Install XP SP2
------------------

You've prepped your system. You found a local guru who can help you if things go wrong. Now it's time to install XP SP2. Pop the CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive and follow the on-screen prompts.

That's it.

No, really. That's it. Pretty anticlimactic, isn't it?

Once the upgrade is done, you'll be asked to restart your computer.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Windows XP Service Pack 2.

----------------------
11. Run Windows Update
----------------------

After you have successfully installed XP SP2, immediately run Windows Update. There have been more than a few critical updates released since your XP SP2 disc was pressed, and you need to download those updates to ensure your computer is fully protected from the internet nasties.

----------------
12. Tweak XP SP2
----------------

Finally, after you've installed XP SP2 and run Windows Update, point your favorite web browser to

http://support.microsoft.com/xpsp2installed

This page contains dozens of handouts and videos covering topics such as configuring Internet Explorer's new pop-up blocker, using the new Windows Security Center, and so on. Plan on spending a little time here getting acquainted with the new security features in XP SP2.

----------------------
Troubleshooting XP SP2
----------------------

What if the XP SP2 installation doesn't go so smoothly on your computer? As I hinted at earlier, that's what the local guru is for.

But, if you want to try to fix things yourself, check out

http://support.microsoft.com/xpsp2getinstall

This page has links to some of the more popular Microsoft Knowledge Base articles to help you diagnose and fix the most common XP SP2 setup and installation issues. If that doesn't help, try a Google search. Chances are you aren't the first person to have this problem.

And, if push comes to shove, you can always uninstall XP SP2 and roll back your system to that restore point you created back in step seven. You can find the instructions on how to do this at

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;875355

I hope this helps! That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.

=====================[ Tourbus Rider Information ]=================== The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238 Copyright 1995-2005, Rankin & Crispen - All rights reserved

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Outlook/Express problems

Updates to our post of 3/1/05 concerning Outlook and Outlook Express:

From Bryan Powell: "May help with corrupted to do items database- this is a useful list of apps and add-ins for Outlook."

Listener Chad L. suggests the following (we have not verified this approach):

"I heard the lady toward the end of the show talking about her email problem.

I would suggest that she create a new outlook profile and then import all of her data from the first profile, this will give her a clean slate and should fix her problems. If you don’t know how to do this please feel free to give her my email address

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Spyware

Spyware is different from viruses, worms and Trojan horses. You must protect your PC against both.

UPDATE 8/26/05: Some users have posted their recommendations in the form of comments below. While some or all of these may be perfectly fine, the Help Desk gang (the Dukes of URL) has NOT reviewed these products and cannot certify them as acceptable. Some insidious spyware actually masquerades as anti-spyware tools. Frankly, the language on some of the web pages recommended by our commentators below is a little suspect. Caveal emptor ("let the buyer beware"). We stand by our recommendations to use AdAware, Spybot Search & Destroy, and Microsoft's anti-spyware tool (now called Windows Defender) and urge caution on anything else.

Spyware is software that either takes control of your screen and presents you with unwanted pop-up ads, or more sinisterly, spies on your computer activity without your knowledge. At this point, it appears to be a problem only for PCs, but there is no guarantee that Macs will not be affected in the future.

To combat spyware:

--We recommend 3 programs. Each appears to catch different problems, and there is no difficulty with running all 3:

(1) Spybot Search and Destroy (find in download.com).

(2) Ad-Aware by Lavasoft

(3) Microsoft's AntiSpyware, now in beta

For all 3 programs:

--Run in Safe Mode (at startup, repeatedly press the F8 key until it asks if you want to boot into Safe Mode).

--Use the most current version

--Run regular updates of definitions -- daily is not too often, sad to say.

--Windows XP users should find that installing Service Pack 2 may help.

--Consider using a browser other than Internet Explorer, which is a frequent conduit for malicious software. We recommend Mozilla's FireFox browser as an alternative.

Viruses, worms and Trojan horses


EVERYONE who owns a PC
should realize the serious danger you and your machine are in from viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware. Some of these are mere annoyances to your computer. Others cost a great penalty in terms of productive time and aggravation. And some can even cause grievous harm to your computer and those of anyone in your address book, and to your personal financial and/or medical records.

Viruses, worms and Trojan horses are different from spyware. You need to protect your PC against both.

To combat viruses, worms and Trojan horses:

--Purchase a new (2005) edition of virus protection software from Norton/Symantec or McAfee. We also recommend the useful Stinger, which will attack certain specific viruses but is not a general protection program like McAfee or Symantec.

For all programs:

--Run in Safe Mode (at startup, repeatedly press the F8 key until it asks if you want to boot into Safe Mode).

--Use the most current version

--Run regular updates of definitions -- daily is not too often, sad to say.

--Windows XP users should find that installing Service Pack 2 may help.

--Consider using a browser other than Internet Explorer, which is a frequent conduit for malicious software. We recommend Mozilla's FireFox browser as an alternative.

URLs from 3/1/05

Reporting spam via SpamCop

Help for legacy operating systems -- such as Windows 95 and 98

URLS for Outlook express "can't open folder problem": #1 and # 2.

UPDATE: See also this post about Outlook.

To find out what various processes do on your computer: #1 and #2.

Crashing cell phone when changing tasks (rebuilding index in Outlook 2002)

Recovering corrupt Outlook Express files

ftosub.exe Information. This was a file a listener's spyware catcher had flagged. It seems to be a file needed by a genealogy program.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

URLs from 2/8/05

Problems with Windows 98 shutdowns.

New browser spoofing vulnerability

The following is from Patrick Douglas Crispen's Internet Tourbus:

New Browser Spoofing Vulnerability
Audience: Everyone who DOESN'T use Internet Explorer
----------------------------------------------------

It looks like there is a new browser spoofing vulnerability that-- brace yourself--DOESN'T affect Internet Explorer. No, really. Affected browsers include Mozilla, Firefox, Safari, Netscape Navigator, and Opera on both PCs and Macs. But NOT Internet Explorer.

The vulnerability displays fake domain names in both hyperlinks and your browser's address bar. 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!

To see this vulnerability in action, check out

http://www.netsquirrel.com/articles/mozilla_spoofing.html

Now for the REALLY bad news: There's no way to fix this problem. Yet. [Setting network.enableIDN to false in about:config doesn't work and even SpoofStick is fooled by these fake URLs, despite rumors to the contrary floating around the blogsphere.] Should you panic? As I said, no! But, until the browser gurus find a fix, you should take the following precautions:

1. DON'T TRUST HYPERLINKS IN HTML-FORMATTED EMAIL MESSAGES (emails that display images and hyperlinks and look very much like web pages) even if those email messages are from your friends or family. This is especially true for hyperlinks in email messages from Amazon, AOL, eBay, PayPal, your bank, your credit card company, or any other company you normally do business with. If any web site, financial company, or commercial entity sends you an email asking you to click on a hyperlink in that email to update your account information, DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK. Because of this new spoofing vulnerability, you simply cannot trust hyperlinks in HTML- formatted emails to point to the correct URL.

2. BE SUSPICIOUS OF HYPERLINKS ON WEB PAGES YOU HAVE NEVER VISITED BEFORE. To be completely honest, the chance of you running into a spoofed URL on a web page is pretty slim, andthe chance is all but zero on the big .com sites you visit every day. More likely than not, the criminals will be spoofing URLs in email messages, not on Web pages. But, if you are at a web page you have never visited before, exercise a little caution. If something feels wrong, leave.

3. THE BEST WAY TO AVOID BEING HIJACKED BY A SPOOFED URL IS TO MANUALLY TYPE THE URL USING YOUR BROWSER'S ADDRESS BAR. Remember, the spoof only affects hyperlinks in email messages and web pages, not addresses you manually key in to your browser's address bar. So,to be really safe, if you need to access your account information at Amazon, AOL, eBay, PayPal, your bank or financial institution, your credit card company, or any other company you normally do business with, manually enter the URL.

--Thanks, Patrick!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

URLs from 1/11/05

Today's problems and URLs:

New Microsoft Anti-Spyware tool

Toner info for Apple StyleWriter

Should Mac OSX users run Repair Permissions?; more info on permissions

How to accees System Restore in Windows XP:
start > programs > accessories > system tools > system restore