Sunday, April 13, 2014

Replace Windows 8 with Windows 7 or a look-alike

You can make Windows 8 behave very much like Windows 7. With far less work than it takes to reinstall an alternate operating system, you can create a reasonable facsimile of Microsoft’s best user interface.

 First, you need a third-party Start Menu program. There are many
out there, but my favorite is the free Classic Shell. It creates a very close approximation of the Windows 7 Start Menu, with all of the features in the right places.

Monday, February 17, 2014

How to format a write-protected USB flash drive

Some memory cards and USB pen drives have write protection switches, which allows you to prevent files from being deleted, or any new files being written to the device. It also prevents the drive or card from being formatted.

Occasionally, you’ll find that a USB flash drive will refuse to format and Windows will tell you that it is write protected, even though there is no switch.
Here are a couple of methods you can try to format the drive and remove the write protection. Bear in mind that there is no guarantee that they will work for you: your drive or memory card may be corrupt or broken and no utility or low-level formatting tool will make it work again. The only solution in this case is to buy a new drive.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Preventing ransomware and Malware infections

Avoiding ransomware is much the same as avoiding other types of other malware.

Always run a good antivirus utility and keep Windows and browser-related components (Java, Adobe, and the like) updated. Keep your browser clean to prevent adware invasions that could lead to malware infections. Always, always be wary of unexpected email attachments and spam. (CryptoLocker spreads via .zip files sent as email attachments, for example.)

And just to beat this dead horse one more time: Always have a good backup system in place, just in case your PC does become infected and you can’t recover your files. Yes, it’s that important.

Rescue your PC from ransomware

With the nasty CryptoLocker malware making the rounds—encrypting its victims’ files, and then refusing to provide the unlock key unless a payment of $300 is made via Bitcoin or a prepaid cash voucher—ransomware is back in the spotlight.

You can remove many ransomware viruses without losing your files, but with some variants that isn’t the case. In the past I’ve discussed general steps for removing malware and viruses, but you need to apply some specific tips and tricks for ransomware. The process varies and depends on the type of invader. Some procedures involve a simple virus scan, while others require offline scans and advanced recovery of your files. I categorize ransomware into three varieties: scareware, lock-screen viruses, and the really nasty stuff.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Back up Your Data

Your computer is not invulnerable. Hard-drive failures happen, as do floods, fires, earthquakes, thefts, and other calamities. The hardware in your computer is replaceable, but the data inside—whether critical business documents or precious family photos—might not be. If you don’t want to face the gut-wrenching realization that you’ve lost something important, you need to have a backup plan. Here’s how you can protect yourself, right now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to avoid Malware meltdown

Will YOU lose the internet on Monday?

  • Hundreds of thousands of PCs still at risk worldwide
  • FBI 'ring-fenced' the virus late last year - but protection ends on Monday
  • See below for advice on checking if your computer has been infected
Tens of thousands of Americans whose computers are infected with malware will lose Internet service on Monday - but the meltdown is preventable by following a few simple steps.
The impending crash will affect those whose computers have been infected with the nasty 'Alureon/DNS Changer bot' when the FBI takes down the servers at 12.01 a.m. on Monday, July 9.

To avoid the meltdown, users need to determine if their computer is infected with DNS Changer. Antivirus software will not have offered protection, and Mac computers are also at risk.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Windows 8 is a major OS overhaul

Here's a look at Windows 8's new security tools and features, but some of the most important additions might be the ones you can't see.

When Windows 8 comes out later this year, the new Start screen and Metro-style apps will likely be the first changes you'll notice, but those aren't the only things that are new. Microsoft is also making some serious security enhancements to help keep your system safer and to improve Windows' ability to combat viruses and malware. It just may be the biggest improvement to Windows security yet.