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Peter Greene's Tips and Favorite Applications
This list is for providing you with easy access to these "useful" applications and tips that I like to use. Please visit WEBHITZ® for access to our Web menus!
Use of the products and services offered on any of these Web pages is at your own risk! E-Mail me and give me your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the volume of email I get I cannot possibly reply to every message!
(*)Useful Table for approximate digital picture storage on Memory Cards - such as SD [Secure Digital]:
1 megabyte (1MB) = 1 million bytes; actual memory capacity may vary.
Example: a 6 Mega Pixel camera would store 330 "6 Mega Pixel format-size" pictures on a 1GB "SD - Secure Digital" card
Fact: The higher the Mega Pixel of a camera you use - if you enlarge the pictures up to 8" x 10" - they will not look "grainy"
Fact: a 7 Mega Pixel digital camera can be purchased today - 6/2007 - for under $125!
Picture File Type
|2 Mega Pixel||142||284||569||1138||2276||4551|
|3 Mega Pixel||107||213||427||853||1707||3413|
|4 Mega Pixel||64||128||256||512||1024||2048|
|5 Mega Pixel||51||102||205||410||819||1638|
|6 Mega Pixel||41||83||165||330||661||1321|
|8 Mega Pixel||38||75||151||301||602||1205|
Here are my recommendations with regards to the "Top Online Blunders as reported by Consumer Reports":
(1) Keep your security-Anti-virus software up-to-date; pay attention to those renewal and update messages and stay current. Remember no one is protected 100% - and it gets worse if you don't keep it updated. (2) Do NOT ever go to any of your online accounts (financial, banks, shopping sites, etc....) via an email message that you received - could be a phishing email! [You can almost always tell that you did this [that you goofed!) because you will launch a separate Web browser window with that new link. (3) Vary the use of your password - don't make it too difficult for you to remember and use upper and lower case in it as well as 1 or 2 numbers. (4) Be very careful downloading software - use reliable and reputable sites such as Download.com and Simtel.com. If you are not experienced at downloading .... look for some online tutorials that step you through the process. It is very easy to download files infected with Spyware and viruses. (5) If it sounds too good to be true or sounds too inviting ... then stay away from those emails - ignore them - these are Phishing scams and these are worths many millions of dollars to those oversease entities that try to take advantage of us! (6) Do NOT click on pop-ups! This can have a domino effect .... and they just keep popping! Stay away from messages such as .... analyze your PC or you have 62 errors that we can fix! (7) If you shop online then use a credit card and do not use your debit card. Alerting your credit card company if you are new to online shopping is also helpful. (8) Do NOT share your info! Like your passwords and even your user name .... (9) Look for the security key or secutiry lock when you are making online purchase from a secure Web site (1) Turn off the send/receive your email right when you log into your email software such as Outlook or Outllok express (and any other email software that you might be using) - always observe the send/receive to see you if are sending email messages that you didn't create! (11) Be careful about posting online - do not leave your email address behind! This will help cut down on the SPAM!
Protecting your privacy and dealing with Internet Virus/worm threats. Yes, being online can be hazardous, especially if you are unprepared. What I recommend doing is having at least one, if not two, virus protection programs/services. Some viruses when they infect your system actually compromise the effectiveness of the popular anti-virus software and services such a McAfee and Norton. If you visit the "InfoStar.com Virus Info Center" I have listed some free products and services near the top of the page (look for ActiveScan, AVG, Avast!, Spybot, etc ...) plus you should take a look at my "Security and Privacy Outline".
Keep in mind that these viruses/worms not only want to survive but also replicate themselves. Some but not all viruses will try to "defeat" or "compromise" the anti-virus programs/services on your system if they can. Additionally, pay attention to your email system and see if it is reacting properly - does it seem okay or has it become slow and almost unmanageable; you might be sending out virus infected email messages to people in your address book - these are the kinds of processes that will slow your system down. If you are using Microsoft Outlook Express (OE) you should download and upgrade your system to the latest version (version 6.x as of 2/2003); earlier versions of OE have security flaws that are exploited by virus programs (also Microsoft Internet Explorer should be kept current as well).
The next step of keeping your system protected is to check your system's vulnerability to attack from the outside. Again, go to the InfoStar.com Virus Info Center page, near the top of the page look for the Gibson Research Corp - check out those links and learn about and use ShieldsUp! to do a security check; see what it takes to protect your system from Internet Hackers. I have also listsed a number of Port Scanners right below the Gibson Research Links .... so you can do very extensive security testing on your system.
There is still more work to do ... to learn about protecting your privacy online by going to my techlinks page - http://www.infostar.com/techlink.htm and scroll-down to "Privacy Protection" ... or the many other programs that I have listed towards the bottom of this Tips page. Run the software for "spyware removal" on your system on a regular basis [and make sure you check for updates frequently!] to keep your system clean. "Trojan Horse" type of programs can also compromise your system. Some of the Trojan Horse programs that may have infiltrated your system are either considered Spyware [Malware or Adware] or computer viruses. You should use Spyware removal software along with Anti-Virus software [or services] to rid your system of them. For Windows XP - Microsoft offers a special Malware & Virus Removal Tool. If you go to the "InfoStar Virus Info Center page" - and go to the section called AV Help: - you will see listed a number of links for these kind of programs and services that you can download to help you.
Next, pay attention to manufacturer's security bulletins ... especially if you are using Microsoft's Operating system - they have a special page to visit called "Microsoft Security and Privacy" (it is also listed on the techlinks page along with other sources for help), and, keep your Windows Operating System updated by visiting "WindowsUpdate" on a regular basis.
Finally, go down to the link on this page that starts "You can block SPAM or email senders ..." and learn about protecting yourself from SPAM - unwanted email ---> and if you use Juno or AOL or any other online service consult with them about what they are doing to block SPAM as well. I've have also listed below some of my favorite applications for keeping my systems working in top form .... so browse through the rest of the tips page and check-out what else I've listed. If you find some handy application that you use ... let me know via email - click here to email Peter Greene.
- (*) I call it "self-help" and here are the resources to use: "Groups at Google.com", "Experts Exchange", "Microsoft Newsgroups" [access the Microsoft Product Support Newsgroups; useful resource to know and utilize], "Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Program" and their "MVPS Big List of Web Sites", "Midtown Computer Systems Enterprise [MCSE.ms]" and "Internet Gurus Central".
- Dealing with File Maintenance on Windows Operating Systems: [startup problems, defrag] (1) Running ScanDisk and Disk Defragmentation and it restarts before completion - Error Message: ScanDisk Has Restarted 10 Times Because Windows - understand the problem [disk defrag problems, disk defragmentation], know the potential cure; close all programs except Explorer and Systray [or search the "MS-knowledgebase" for Article ID: Q222469], and article on "Drive's Contents Have Changed: Restarting..." Message When You Use the Disk Defragmenter Tool"; also visit this resource to understand what you should have in your "System Tray" when your computer starts up. [Also visit my "Techlinks Page" and go to the links called "Microsoft Windows - Troubleshooting help & Backing-Up System Files" and "Windows Startup" for many more useful tips and information. Also if you use Windows 2000 then you'll need this link to help you get "msconfig".
- Microsoft Windows XP "Upgrade" Advisor for some assistance with upgrading/migrating your system to Windows XP operating system. Also visit their chart about "Upgrading from Previous Versions of Windows".
- How to run the "Windows XP Windows File Checker" [you will need your Windows XP CD in order to do this]. What this does is "scans all protected system files and replaces incorrect versions with correct ones". The Procedure: (1) Start Windows to a normal desktop; (2) Select "Run" from the Start menu; (3) Type "sfc /scannow" [do not use quotes and leave a space after sfc] and click OK. Your system will run the "Windows File Protection" program and scan your system files for any necessary corrections (why you will need your XP CD).
- CCleaner [does lots of useful file management + cleans registry and is free] - a Windows utility you'll want to check out. I especially like to use it to clean my Windows Registry. Here's a TechBuilder article [#159907051] titled "Clean The Windows Registry To Keep PCs Lean & Mean" that you may find useful. Other programs to consider for cleaning-up your "Windows Registry" include: "ERUNT", "Windows Registry Repair Pro" [for XP, Me, 98, NT and 2000], "RegSupreme" and "Advanced Administrative Tools" [by G-Lock; full-functional trial for download that includes a lot more than just a Windows Registry cleaner]. You should make sure you know how to backup your Windows Registry - "read this article by Symantec", "MS Article #Q256419 - Win ME, 98 and 98SE", "MS Article #Q322754", and "MS Article #Q183887 - all about Microsoft's Scanreg.exe". If you own Windows XP here is reference on "How to backup the Windows XP Registry".
- Google's Toolbar - [for Microsoft's Internet Explorer] a very nice add-on search utility. Also check out the new "Google Desktop Search [GDS]" and an article about "GDS and security". Pick up your "GoogleBar" [for the Mozilla browser]; Internet Explorer users already have their own "Google ToolBar". Other useful toolbars that you may enjoy are from "Alexa [also uses Google's search; an Amazon.com product/service]", "A9 [also an Amazon related product/service]", and "MSN". If you like Google, then you may be interested in this new book called "Google Hacks" - that's how I found out about the Mozilla version of the Google Toolbar] and the new "Google Pocket Guide"; and if you like to shop then also check out "Froogle" by Google [beta version]. Also see Copernic below.
- Copernic - even using their free version is better than just using Yahoo or AltaVista alone.
- HD Valet - [hd valet] this is also another useful Windows utility - look for it on this Web page under "primary utilities". Run the software in the Test Mode and look at the report to see what will be deleted from your system. In order for HDValet to remove the files that it found --->> make sure you DO NOT have the Test Mode Box checked ... otherwise all the files will still be on your system. Also, I modify/add to the standard HDValet setup - I include another group of files to look for called "Virus Types - add the file extensions .vbs, .vir, .hta., .kak, and .shs for removal/deletion.
- Acrobat Reader - your system needs this in order to look at certain documents that are published with Acrobat.
- DBXtract by "OEHelp.com" - every now and then after a system crash I've experienced a case where my emails also get trashed. I have found this software to be extremely useful as an email message extraction "utility" program to assist you with email data/message recovery (for Outlook Express 5 and 6). Also visit these resources about help with Outlook Express [setup, back-ups, etc...]: considered an OE "MegaSite" you'll want to check out --> "Inside Outlook Express" by "Tomsterdam" [Tom Koch, Microsoft MVP], and more "How to Backup Your E-Mail". The "eMailMan" resource might also be useful to know. A backup utility called "Genie Backup Manager" and also "Outlook Express Backup Wizard" are worth checking into.
- Window's older "Windows 3.1" file manager exists on your system as "winfile.exe" in your Windows folder.
- Use the latest version of Mozilla[Mozilla 1.5 as of 10/2003] - an OpenSource Web browser project that is free to download; use it instead of the Netscape Web browser [or any Web browser] - it is more flexible, faster and easier to download (smaller); includes some nice features such as "tabbed Web pages", advanced bookmarking, email filters, pop-up ad blockers and more. Also you can get a "Google Toolbar" and more info from "MozDev".
- You can block spam [junk email] or email senders that you don't want to receive email from using Outlook Express 5 or 6 (OE) by simply clicking on the "Message" of your OE and then click on "Block Sender", or visit this page for a guide on "how to set-up message rules", and "how to use Auto-Reply". A free email program to help clean-up your email and to block SPAM is called "MailWasher" [mail washer; email washer, mail wash, junk email], "Knowspam.net" [for POP email accounts; trial available] or also try "ChoiceMail". Other suggestions include: using "disposable" email addresses so you can get rid of them when you start getting too much spam and keep another email address reserved for friends and family (free email address providers include: "Hotmail", "Yahoo", "Postmark.net", "FastMail" and others). Other products and services (fees may apply depending upon which one you choose) include: "Mailblocks", "Qurb" [for Microsoft Outlook & Outlook Express; access a "review about Qurb"], "GoodByeSpam" [works with Outlook Express], "Motino" [works with Outlook] and "Cloudmark's Spamnet" [Microsoft Outlook add-in]. Here is a PCMagazine list of "anti-spam tools". I also like to access my email with "Mail2Web" [you can access your email from any PC that is hooked-up to the Internet] which lets me screen incoming email, however, it does not have the same spam-fighting features as MailWasher that I listed earlier. If you find others that I should list here please email me at the address at the bottom of this Web page; thanks!
- An article about "Wireless Home Networking" and "Wireless Security"; also "Teaching Windows XP to Share - Part I" and "Part II" - that you may find useful; and here's a place to test your "Internet Connection's Speed". Here are some other useful resources: PracticallyNetworked.com - "how-to" information for setting up Internet sharing; "World of Windows Networking", "NetworkingNext.com", Troubleshooting Reference", "HomeNetHelp.com", "CableModemInfo", "CableModemHelp", "FireWallGuide", "SpeedGuide.net", "SecurityAdmin FAQ", and "WinProxy" (software). I'd also visit the "DSL Research Resources" listed above. Internet Access Sharing software products to check-out: "WinGate", "WinProxy", and "ComTun" by LinkByte.com .
- For understanding how to backup your system I've assembled a group of links on the "Techlinks page" - [approx.] #229 - Microsoft Windows - Troubleshooting help & Backing-Up System Files.
- [An important note: the information in this particular tip is useful for trying to get rid of "spyware-type" [spyware, trojan, adaware, adware, malware] programs that may be on your system - see also tip #28 below.] Also Techlink [approx.] #348 - Windows Startup - check list of what is and is not required to be in your Windows startup [at a minimum keep - systray, scanregw, and statemgr] - you should also visit all of these useful reference resources - , , ,  and  to help you find out what everything means; another item to deal with is: if the system has Internet Explorer version 5 or later - Mdm.exe can still be configured to start at the startup of Window 95\98 or Windows ME, if the script debugging feature in Internet Explorer is turned on. You can turn off this feature within Internet Explorer. 1) On the Tools menu, click Internet Options. 2) On the Advanced tab under Setting, make sure that Disable script debugging is selected. Also visit the main page at "Resource Management". [delete programs running in start up]
- MyCorkBoard - an interesting utility to maybe organize your computer "life"? Free version available for you to try.
- RegCleaner - get rid of obsolete registry entries created by software that you have already removed from your system; or download Microsoft's "RegClean" utility.
- Tuning Windows 9x/ME - an ExtremeTech article that discusses lots of ways to streamline these versions of the Windows OS.
- [Computer Shopping] The following are excellent resources to check for tech reviews prior to your next computer [digital] product purchase: ComputerWorld IT Buters' Guide(s) plus company links; "130+ Product Buying Guides" [by PCMag.com], "VR-Zone.com", "ZDNet" [reviews - plus their "Comparison Shopper"], "C/Net" [reviews - plus their "Computer Shopper"], "WindowsMarketPlace", "Epinions", and "HardwareCentral".
(*)List of Computer & Tech related Shopping Resources - Order listed is not a recommendation!:
- Google Monitor - is a simple application that allows you to find and track the ranking of your Web site or any given URL in Google search results.
- AbsoluteShield Internet Eraser - Web/Internet users can protect their privacy by completing cleaning up all the records left by Internet browsing and various computer activities.
- Download the "Belarc Advisor". This neat program builds a [very] detailed profile of your system, including installed software and hardware;it displays the results in your Web browser. Your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any Web server.
- RoboForm - is a password manager, Web form filler, and password generator that does not contain any "adware" or "spyware".
- File Scavenger - an inexpensive shareware program for "file undelete and data recovery" for NTFS disk volumes on Windows NT®, Windows 2000®, and Windows XP®. Also visit this long list of "File Maintenance and Repair Utilities". You may need to consider data recovery specialists such as "IntelliRecovery" and "Ontrack"; or check for others in the "DataRecoveryGuide".
- MyIE - is an Internet Explorer based web browser that adds a lot of new features (tabbed Web pages, cookie and history cleanup, content filtering and a popup window killer). Also check out: "Mozilla" [why switch?], "NetCaptor", Apple's "Safari", "Avant Browser", "Crazy Browser", "SlimBrowser", "Opera", and "PowerPad Explorer" [by EzTools].
(*)A list of most of the Web browser add-ons:
- Spyware Removal (spy) [spyware, trojan, adaware, adware, malware] - this task can be a real pain. It includes such items as annoying pop-ups, spyware or parasite-type programs [some are even classified as Trojan Horses] that run in the background on your computer - there are now 100,000's known suspect spyware culprits [aka: malware, scumware, adware] and 100,000+ computer viruses or worms that can invade or infect your system. Here is a recent online article from PC Magazine called "SpyStoppers" that reviews a whole bunch of removal tools. I use Microsoft XP Professional for my computer's Operating System (OS) and have been using (since early 2005) with very good success "Microsoft Defender (Beta)" that you can download for free [it requires that you are using XP Pro, XP Home, Windows 2000 or check their site for requirements]. You should also check out "Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Newsgroups". I have also used with fairly good success ---> "Spybot SD [Search and Destroy; 2003 PCMag's Editor's choice and 2004 runner-up]" (spy bot); and it's free. You should also check out "Spy Sweeper" [2004 "PCMag Editor's Choice"], "Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner" [by Kephyr], "DoxDesk" and their [parasite] "spyware checker", "PestPatrol" and try their free scan for Spyware at "PestScan", "SpywareInfo's Xscan", "Xblock.com", "Freebies Bank", "Darnit", and here's another "Known Spyware List". And, also check-out the HackFix Project which helps people stay informed about trojan horse programs [and their "Anti-Virus List"] plus "Mike's Virus Info Page". Visit my "Virus Info Center" page for more virus related information. Another resource that I have also found useful is Sysinfo.org and their online database called "Startup Applications List" to see if you can locate and disable any of the spyware programs on your system. [You should also review Tip #15 above].
- Looking for some useful utility programs for your PC - check out "PC Magazine's Utilities From A-Z" - browse through their alphabetical list from the past 5 years (HDValet is listed here too). [looks like PCMag charges for access to them now]
- Disable Hibernation Support for your XP desktop [on your notebook/laptop this saves all the settings to a file called "HIBERFIL" but it will occupy as much space on your hard drive as you have RAM]. So how to disable hibernation:
1) Right click an empty spot on the desktop and select Properties, 2) Click the Screen Saver tab, 3) Click the Power button at the bottom of the page, 4) Click the Hibernate tab, 5) Uncheck the box that says Enable hibernation, 6) Click OK twice to exit the dialog boxes.
- Microsoft's [Windows XP] "Fast System Startup for PCs Running Windows XP" (driver utility and information) - instructions on how to [tweak] Windows XP for faster start-up times. Also visit Microsoft Windows XP Downloads (all XP versions), plus download link to "Microsoft PowerToys for XP including TweakUI and others" - keep current with the latest fixes, enhancements, and drivers straight from Microsoft.
- (*) [ Lots of excellent tips can be found by visiting these resources and articles: ] "PCMag.com's Tip of the day" - plus access to their other tip categories. Also check-out: "Windows: 68 Tips & Tricks", "Microsoft Office: 106 Tips & Tricks", "Where has Scan Disk gone? [Windows XP, NT and for 2000]" [ - you an get the improved CHKDSK process], Techbuilder's article [#59201471] "23 Ways To Speed WinXP Without Defrag", "Langa Letter: Ten More Ways To Make Windows XP Run Better", "The Trouble-Free PC: Tune it up. Back it up. Ramp it up." including "Page 6: Backing Up To Happiness" and also visit "Mirra".
- (*)Microsoft's Internet Explorer's Homepage changes and you cannot change it to what you want - [Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 320159; hijacked] - here's their solution but be careful it requires editing the Windows Registry [visit my section on my "Techlink's Page" ----> "Microsoft Windows - Troubleshooting, Operating System (OS) Maintenance help & Backing-Up System Files"].
- Use "FILExt" to figure out what the file extension means.
- Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional - Common Stop Messages for Troubleshooting - have you ever experienced the infamous "Blue Screen of Death" in while using XP; this resource gives you some help figuring out "what the codes/messages actually mean".
- Some interesting Windows commands that you can use to configure your system or get to know it better while troubleshooting OS (Operating System) errors: "msconfig", " winmsd", "sfc & sfc /scannow", "IPConfig" plus "a list of XP/2000 commands & tools" to explore!. [Note: these commands do not work with all versions of Windows; typically they are for Windows XP or 2000. Also, in order to run them you should have made backups to your system, your data files and of course, the system's registry. To use the commands, click "Start", then "Run" then type in the command that you want to use.]
- Here is a way for you to shut-off the [annoying] Microsoft Windows Messenger Service to help eliminate unwanted solicitations: [Eliminating Windows Messenger Service by Jim Coates] - [Microsoft Messenger Service: Spam and More] - [Windows Messenger is new spam vector].
- Backing-up to an external hard drive - USB 2.0 [480 Mbps] versus Firewire [400 and 800 Mbps]. Here are some technology articles that discuss/review the differences between "Article #1", "Article #2", "Article #3 [Firewire 800]" and "Article #4 [PC World]". For complete external backup systems - PC Magazine offers several reviews of products - for exmaple, here is their review of the "Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition [500GB]", "Norton Ghost [backup software only]" and "External Hard Drives [for backup solutions]".
- Battery Use for Laptop/Notebook computers: (1) CPSC Releases Tips on Notebook Computer Use, (2) Tech Talk Blog on Battery Recall, (3) Sony to Initiate Global Replacement Program, (4) Lenovo and IBM Announce Battery Recall, (5) Dell Battery Recall [866-342-0011 or https://www.dellbatteryprogram.com/].
- Windows Restore: (1) Frequently Asked Questions Regarding System Restore in Windows XP [by Microsoft's TechNet]; (2) Kellys Korner's Restore for XP; (3) Windows XP System Restore Is Easy to Use; (4) Microsoft Windows XP System Restore [as detailed on MSDN].
- How to try and removal really bad spyware, malware, fake-or-scam antivirus programs [all of the programs I point you to are free - if you decide to buy any program that is your choice - not mine! Do not call me - thank you! They are not my programs!]: If you want to do it yourself .... 1st download "Malwarebytes" from http://www.malwarebytes.org/ [you actually need an advanced tool called FileASSASSIN that I will tell you about shortly - so read on!] and install it ... you could try to run but probably won't do any good - might even make it worse because the intruding software might start to do more bad things to your system ... then download and install and then use "Security Task Manager" from Neuber.com - http://www.neuber.com/ .... run that program ... then note where (location on your system) and the name of the "stealth" [????.exe] file for intruding-offending program - [it might be called something like "Antispyware Vista"] ... it should be listed at or near the very top .... make sure you write down where the "????.exe" file is located .... then run MalwareBytes software .... in the program go to the Tab that says "More Tools" and where it says FileASSASSIN ... click on Run Tool button and then navigate to that file location and delete that file (you may have to re-boot - do so if you are instructed to]. After re-booting then run MalwareBytes ... and do a scan to remove other intruders if it finds any .... that is how you can try and take care of cleaning your system. If you don't feel comfortable doing this ... then find a friend that would ... This procedure is not a guarantee but I have used this method and it worked for me. However, the damage done to your system might require additional work to repair the Operating System (OS) back to normal. Also, you should install a progam such as "Microsoft Security Essentials" [it is free for XP, Vista and Windows 7 users] if you have a Windows system to try and protect it in the future.
- Recovering your vanished PST file (Outlook users - typically). Some people have had Outlook email files simply dissappearing or vanishing after installing an AV program or an AV program update; almost like the Outlook program self-imploded and destroyed its own email file (.pst extension). I have found this method of recovery to work very well. It is unfortunate that Microsoft deems it necessary to make your damaged outlook .pst file hidden. You could try and search your system for these files but you probably won't find them - Microsoft likes to do stuff like that.:
(1) Browse to the folder where your missing PST was saved in (Usually "Outlook Files" under "My Documents", also try opening Outlook and go to "account settings" and look for the "data files tab" to locate where your .pst files are and which one is your default pst file being used).
(2) Right click on the folder containing the PST file and select "Properties".
(3) Click on the "Previous Versions" tab
(4) You should now see at least one folder that has a date close to when the PST file disappeared
(5) Click on the folder then click on "Open"
(6) Now you'll see your dearly missed PST file, just copy the file to some other folder
(7) Re-associate your email account with the PST file recovered
Peter's schedule for appearing as a guest on Larry Meiller's show can seen by clicking here.
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