Isnin, Mei 09, 2005

Three Things Which You Wanted To Know About Windows

What is "Safe Mode"

Safe mode is a Windows maintenance mode where only the bare minimum of drivers are loaded. You don't have access to CD ROMs, printers, or other non-essential devices.

It's helpful to use this mode when you are having problems with your PC. For example, maybe you just installed an awesome new video card, but in all the excitement loaded the wrong driver for it. This in turn caused your video display under windows to be nonexistent. If you go into Safe mode, you can fix it.

I also use it to help find problems with programs. If I get lots of "illegal operation" messages, I try running the program in safe mode to see if the program itself is the problem. If the program runs fine in safe mode, I can assume I have another program or driver that's interfering with the program's operation and causing the error. (Note that not all software runs in Safe mode - especially more robust programs, but it's still worth a shot).

To get to Safe mode, press the F8 key when Windows starts to boot. You have to do this BEFORE you see the first "Windows" screen. I start tapping away at mine when as soon as I get by the BIOS startup screen or the manufacturer's splash screen. Experiment and you'll get it.


Windows XP Repair Install

I know it's hard to believe, but Windows can sometimes stop operating properly—even the amazing XP (note sarcasm). When this happens the instinct is often to wipe out the operating system and do a clean install. Yeah, you could do that, but before you get that drastic, try a few other options.

With Windows XP try a System Restore

Run Error Checking (formerly known as Scan Disk)

Try to repair from the installation CD. What's that? You heard me. If your computer came with the actual installation CD you can use it to repair Windows before starting all over on a clean hard drive.

A Repair Install will replace the system files with the ones found on the CD but will leave your applications, files and settings where they are. You will, however need to redo your updates. Another advantage is that any files corrupted by adware/malware will be replaced.

Before we start: it is always a good idea to have important data backed up onto disks. This is especially true whenever doing maintenance.

First, you need to boot the computer using the installation CD. You may need to change the boot order in BIOS so the CD boots up before the hard drive. Check your owner's manual to find out how to do this. If you're a novice, then I wouldn't suggest messing around with BIOS.

Next, you'll see a "Welcome to Setup" screen with a few options. You want the first one: "To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER"

So, press ENTER to start the setup. DO NOT choose the second option, "To repair..."

You'll be asked to accept the licensing agreement then it will search for any existing Windows installations. Pick the one you want to repair from the list and press "R" to start the repair.

Don't panic. Don't press any keys. It will look like a clean install, but only necessary files are being copied to the hard drive. Windows will then begin to load.

Your computer will then reboot. It will notice that the CD is in the drive—don't press any keys, let it bypass the CD.

If your installation disk came out before Service Pack 2 you'll need to go back out and get it. You should also go to Microsoft and get scanned for updates. These are removed during the Repair Install. Here's a tip about updates...

Don't forget to go back into BIOS and change the boot order back to hard drive first.

Hopefully this will get you back on your feet and running smoothly.


Fake Windows Update Email

Well Microsoft believes that the grace period is over and wants everyone to jump on board and get Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed. I know everyone has an opinion on the Service Pack—some good some not so good—but it really is only a matter of time. Do you know anyone without SP1 on his or her XP machine? I hope not.

As you may also know, Microsoft has picked the second Tuesday of the month to run their new security patches.

These two issues have really set the stage for a new attack on windows users. Hackers have decided to try and slip one by your defenses with a Phishing/Trojan scam. You may get a spoof emails that link to a bogus Microsoft site where the hackers get you. If successful in their efforts, the ambushed PC will be infected with the TrojDSNX-05, a back door Trojan that attempts to gain control over your system. With control of your system the hacker will more than likely use you (of course unknowingly) as a spam server to mail out huge amounts of spam in your name. If a network PC happens to get infected, then a denial of Service, exploitation of network shares, and further infection are something you may look forward to.

The TrojDSNX-05 is not the newest virus on the block and can be controlled if you have decent anti-virus software that is up-to-date. The Trojan isn't the biggest issue here—I thought it was important to remind and inform that...

Microsoft will never send you an email reminding you to update.

Very similar to the fact that companies will never send you an email asking you to reply with your credit card and account info in order to fix some discrepancy with your account. In fact, if you ever receive any emails that seem "Phishy" to you, try going directly to the company web site (not the link in the email) and see for yourself what's going on.

As far as SP2 goes, if you haven't installed it yet I suggest doing it on your own terms—backup all your important data (pictures of the family, documents, whatever is important) set a system restore point. Go out to the manufacturer's site of your favorite programs and see if there are any known issues, FAQ's, or patches. If so, follow the instructions to properly install any necessary components and follow any necessary procedures in the exact manner in which the instructions describe. After this you should have all your bases covered, and feel comfortable installing SP2.

Stay safe out there.

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