The most common password used on the internet is “password”. And sad to say, people use the same password on several sites. You have access to one, you have access to all. This allows cybercriminals to build up a database on you and can lead to fraud.
So what is a good password? First, take a look at this list. Don’t use any of those passwords. Next, read Kaspersky Antivirus’s 6 bad ideas for a password. However, ignore Kaspersky’s rule for developing a good password. View full article »
This entry has been updated for the 7th time. Last update was 10/22/2013. I addressed Windows 8.1.
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Now this is a difficult problem. I have a customer with Windows 8 who could not activate Windows. The primary problem was a HP computer with the product key embedded in the UEFI. (Which means, of course, no product key sticker. One of my many reasons to hate Windows 8.) Everything I tried to activate Windows failed. I even used a Magic Jellybean keyfinder to recover the product key.
Before you start the repair process, be sure you have the Windows 8 product key.
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Recently I had a problem with PDF’s in IE10. The only thing I saw when opening a PDF was the no symbol, a circle with a line through it. After looking through many posts on adobe.com and other sites, after uninstalling and reinstalling Adobe Acrobat Reader 11 several times, I finally found this message board post that fixed that fixed the problem: http://forums.adobe.com/message/5262172. That foum post referenced this page: http://superuser.com/questions/561036/unable-to-open-ie-10-in-32-bit-mode.
The answer that worked for me, and found in the links above, was to set the registry key value HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\TabProcGrowth to 1. After restarting Internet Explorer, PDF’s opened just fine.
You will also want to make sure the Adobe Reader ActiveX add-on is enabled. If the above solution does not work, then disable IE10′s protected mode under the security settings. Worst case scenario is to revert to IE9 or, ideally, use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. It is a good idea to use Firefox or Chrome anyway.
A printer is something almost everybody needs. This post is a reference for my customers to help them purchase the right printer for their needs. Printers come in many types: standalone and all-in-ones; laser and ink and impact and thermal; black and white and color. Some copier machines also double as a printer. Before you decide, you should know the advantages of each.
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As I have told my customers, I hate the cloud. But businesses looking for a new revenue stream love the cloud. And they want you to love the cloud too so that you will be stuck giving them money each month. Because of this cloud fad, a new wave of acronyms has appeared: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. These stand for Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. Closely related to these is MaaS, or Malware as a Service.
The most important thing you need to know about all these is that it is just a way to make you pay for a very long time. The only one relevant to home users is SaaS, so we will start there. View full article »
I installed a D-Link DWA-162 Wi-Fi adapter and it keep dropping the connection. Now it was not losing the signal, but communication between it and the router would stop after about 10 seconds. Very frustrating. Especially since the router was 20 feet away. What was happening was there was interference in the room causing the problem. I had to change a driver setting to fix that problem. But here is a checklist to fix possible Wi-Fi problems.
- In the Device Manager, check the driver settings to see if there is something related to interference. This should be your first step if no other wireless devices are having trouble. In the example of the D-Link device, there was a setting that fixed the problem. I cannot remember the name of the setting (I think it was roaming interference), but it had 6 levels: highest, high, medium, low, lowest, and none. I first set the level to highest and had no problems, but quickly noticed the internet speed would speed up and slow down. So I set the level to medium and the internet worked fine for 30 minutes with no slow downs.
- Also in the Device Manager, check to make sure the power settings for the driver is properly set. Do not let Windows power down the hardware.
- Update your driver and device firmware.
- Rename the SSID (broadcast) name.
- Change the frequency channel used. Try several different channels.
- Increase the channel bandwidth. If that doesn’t work, lower the channel bandwidth.
- Switch to WPA encryption. And if that doesn’t work, switch the WEP. And if that still doesn’t work, switch to no encryption.
- If the problem still persists, then you might have to start tinkering with the router settings. At this point, if the equipment is old, it is probably better to replace.
Sometimes in Windows when you log in, you will get this message: “Windows cannot load the user’s profile but has logged you on with the default profile for the system”. The cause of this message is one of the user specific files has become corrupted. Chances are good that user’s registry hive is corrupted. There are several hidden files in the folder c:\users\[username]\ folder (Windows Vista and later) or c:\documents and settings\[username]\ folder (Windows XP and earlier). Hereafter in this blog post we will call these directories [old user].
Chances are good you won’t be able to fix this problem.
- Try System Restore first, but be sure to choose a restore point several days before the problem occurred.
- If that does not work, try your backup next, if you have one.
- If that does not work, then you will need to create a new user. Below are the steps you need to take to migrate to a new user.
- Create a new user and log in to that new user. Do not open any programs just yet. And do not delete your old profile until you are absolutely sure everything has been copied.
- Browse to the new user’s folders, c:\users\[new user]\ or c:\documents and settings\[new user]\, hereafter called just [new user].
- Copy all the non-hidden files and folders from [old user] to [new user].
- After that finishes, browse to [old user]\appdata\local\ (Windows Vista or later) or [old user]\local settings (Windows XP or earlier). If you want, you can copy everything from this folder to the corresponding folder in your new user profile. It probably is a good idea only to copy folders from Microsoft or programs you currently have installed.
- Next browse to [old user]\appdata\roaming\ or [old user]\local settings\application data\ and copy those folders to the corresponding folder in your new profile.
- Log off and then log back in.
- See if your settings transferred. You might have to set up your email again. And that means you will might need to Google the location of the old email files and how to import them.
I know I do not update this blog very often. The purpose of this blog is to catalog my repair notes to help me and my customers. I tell my customers all the time that I do not like the cloud. But it seems like the cloud is a new buzzword that companies are jumping to make money on. Especially annoying is Microsoft’s tight integration of their cloud service (currently called SkyDrive, but they lost a legal battle over that name in the UK so the name will likely change).
It may surprise people that the cloud is just a fancy way of saying something that has existed since the internet began. All the cloud is data on another server.
Below are my reasons for wanting to stay away from the cloud.
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Here is a new trick of malware, booting only to the command prompt. Since malicious software changes daily to stay ahead of antivirus programs it has a one-day window to cause havoc. Further, the black hats are always two-steps ahead. They probably know Windows better than the programmers at Microsoft do. This new trick is to boot into a command prompt and not load the explorer.exe file. Most programs that start when you boot are loaded only when the explorer.exe file does. Many antivirus real-time scanners and update procedures are only loaded when explorer.exe is. By preventing that file to open, the antivirus does not update. If the antivirus does not update, it does not know about the new malware on the computer.
The fix is simple enough. You will first need to remove the file that starts the malware. Try safe mode first. Although a new trick of some malware is to cause the computer to immediately reboot when starting in safe mode so you may need to use the Windows Vista/7/8 DVD to manually remove the file in the places malware like to hide.
Once the malware is removed, open the registry editor: regedit.exe. Navigate to the registry hive HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. Look for the keys shell and ParseAutoexec. The ParseAutoexec key is probably set to 1, that is the default value. You might want to change it to 0 so that the autoexec.bat is not run by default. If you see the shell key, you should either delete it or change the value to explorer.exe. If the shell key is absent, Windows defaults to global entry. Next, check the global entry by navigating to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon hive and make sure the shell key’s value is explorer.exe.
After that, in the command prompt run the explorer.exe file and then do a malware scan to clean out any remnant files.
This is a short blog post about which smartphone type do you get. First, a small disclaimer. I have never used a Windows Phone and so I have no opinion about it and most of my list of pros and cons is based only on people who have used it. I have used Windows 8, which is the basis for Windows Phone and Windows tablets. I will do this alphabetically. View full article »
Just recently I had a laptop whose hard drive was dying. It had bad sectors on it. At first I was not sure the hard drive was bad and I was just thinking the computer needed a tune-up and needed to remove McAfee. But when Windows 7 was still slow after all that, then I figured out it was a bad hard drive. The computer still booted, and so I thought I could clone the hard drive and everything will be okay. Must of my programs for cloning/imaging drives don’t play well with bad sectors and the one I had that did work around that was painfully slow. So what to do.
Without boring you with all the time I invested, here is how I eventually copied the hard drive.
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