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Category Archives for Internet Explorer

Pc Booster Review

PC Booster is a popular computer optimization program that will help you speed up your computer to it’s fastest possible speed. Just startup PC Booster and let it go to work speeding up your computer.

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Requirements:

Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP in 32bit versions

Pros: PC Booster does these tasks very well

– Fully automatic tune up of your PC with just a few mouse clicks.

– Eliminate and Prevent most PC crashes by optimizing resource usage.

– Auto recovery of Memory that Windows steals from your computer.

– Boost and optimize your Internet speed for faster surfing.

– Clean hundreds of unwanted garbage files from your hard disk.

– Protect your privacy by deleting up ‘cookies’ which are IDs left over from your Internet surfing.

– Make your CD-ROM run at a faster speed. Enhance your enjoyment of multimedia, VCD’s, DVD’s and game play.

– Add/remove Windows Start Menu Options. Customize your default ‘My Documents’ folder, remove ‘Favorites’, ‘Windows

– Update’ options and more customizations.

– Enable Fast Shutdown and auto close of non-responding applications.

– Real time memory usage monitoring graph.

– CPU Stability Test to make sure that your system is stable.

– Fully configurable for power users.

– Extensive documentation and instant context help.

Improve the performance of the following software on your PC:

Outlook Express

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel

Internet Explorer

AOL Browser

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Front Page

Windows Media Player

Cons:

No cons to list. The software can be very beneficial to the stability of your system by providing improved performance.

Guarantee: PC Booster comes with a NO RISK Love-It-or-Leave-It 60 Day Guarantee.

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PC Booster is published by Inkline Global

Back To Work

Does anyone else find it hard to pick up work after vacationing? Having completed a weeks worth of vacation I am back to the grind….well….sort of.

I am using this day to read up on new stories and technologies for new content on the site. Please bare with me while I compose myself and get my head out of the vacation cloud. Of course this is not easily done…

As you can see from the last post we are now taking posted questions to better serve our users. As well I would like to add if there is a new technology or concern you would like for me to address please post a comment to this blog. I would be happy to research and address topics for our users.

After all….It is you the end user for which we create the content.

Identifying the differences between DB and program errors in Outlook

Microsoft’s Outlook and Outlook Express can experience many issues. The problem when addressing such issues is figuring out whether the problem relates to a program problem or user database problems.

There are many programs available that can address issues internal to Outlook and Outlook Express. Be aware that most programs that are designed to fix an issue internal to the program will not address issues related to user databases.

Determining which category your issue falls under is critical when deciding what software to buy for addressing the issue. Typically (But not Always) if you experience a program error which references a particular.exe file this would be an issue internal to the program itself.

If you experience a message which relates to the message store, email messages stuck in the outbox or address book not loading then your issue is most likeley related to a user database. You can verify this by creating a new duplicate account and testing the features.

Search the Internet for information related to your issue. This may give you a better idea of what the problem relates to. Once you have an idea of what may be causing your issue then research for a program that can address the issue.

A quick note to all. Any error internal to the program that can be addressed by a “fix it” utility can generally be addressed by the user researching information on Microsoft.com. This is not necessarily true for user, message or address database errors.

Vista Parental controls

Finally Microsoft added a feature that is much easier to use than previous utilities to help parents monitor youth activities.

Although features such as this have previously been embedded into the Windows operating system it is not until now that they have been so easy to use. If you have ever configured the Internet Explorer content adviser you know what I am talking about. Another aspect to these utilities that were previously not available are the reporting features.

Microsoft has embedded all the previously available utilities into an easy to use interface and added some new unique features.

With the release of Vista you now have the following abilities to monitor and control how your children interact with the computer and the Internet.

Web restrictions.

 You can restrict the websites that children can visit, make sure children only visit age-appropriate websites, indicate whether you want to allow file downloads, and set up which content you want the content filters to block and allow. You can also block or allow specific websites.

Time limits.

You can set time limits to control when children are allowed to log on to the computer. Time limits prevent children from logging on during the specified hours and, if they are already logged on, they will be automatically logged off. You can set different logon hours for every day of the week.

Games.

You can control access to games, choose an age rating level, choose the types of content you want to block, and decide whether you want to allow or block unrated or specific games.

Allow or block specific programs.

You can prevent children from running programs that you don’t want them to run.

Finally you don’t have to purchase a third party application to monitor and control access to content. Being a father myself I can definitely say I will be interested in learning more about how well parental controls work. I hope Microsoft continues to develope this new utility.
 

Unlimited Wireless Broadband?

An associate of mine recently signed up for so called unlimited wireless broadband access with a major provider. They installed their hardware and configured it for broadband access.

After a day of using the service they noted that they kept losing connection once every 30 minutes so they decided to contact the service provider for assistance.

After three days of troubleshooting the connection problem the service provider concluded it may be a tower problem that was at the root of this issue. They suggested waiting a couple of days for the engineers to review the information and they would contact them back.

After waiting an additional day past the set time frame my associate decided to contact the provider back. Of course they apologized for the lack of communication. They reviewed the case file and this time concluded that the issue was not a problem, but rather by design.

They explained that their towers are set by default to log users off automatically regardless of activity. Well this causes problems for users who work through wireless broadband for hours on end. Especially if accessing information remotely.

I think they should rename their “unlimited Internet access” plan to something more precisely descriptive…..such as the unlimited Internet for a brief period of time plan.

Be sure if you are looking into wireless broadband that you ask as many questions as possible about connectivity and speeds before you decide on a particular plan or you will end up where my associate is………trying to get out of their two year contract.

Best security practices for PC users

When you purchase a new computer and install it out of the box you hunger to get operational and active.

What you don’t know about security can be your downfall.

In today’s computing environment including but not limited to Internet browsing you must consider security measures to protect your data and your computer.

Vulnerabilities can include email, communication ports, wireless networking, spy ware, viruses, and securing the computer from local access.

We will review each in detail in this series. This article is designed to help protect you and your computer in hopes your computing experience will be a more pleasurable and safer one.

1. Email

As a rule when dealing with incoming email regardless of what email client you use you should generally never open an email if you do not know the party the email was generated from.

Your email client should be set to prevent attachments from being displayed or opened unless confirmed by you. Attachments can be set as executable and malicious software can be installed on your local machine.

A good way to prevent some of these entities is to have in place a good Spam blocking utility. Spam blockers can detect most types of spam that are used to either gain entry or used in phishing scams. You may ask yourself: What is phishing? Phishing is a practice used to gain information you may not consider valuable. In many cases this information can be used by the entity to obtain more valuable information about you for the purposes applying for loans, credit cards and other financial gains in your name.

Another practice to keep is anytime you use your email client you should not send valuable information such as drivers license numbers, user names or passwords for accounts(of any type). One practice that is widely used by scammers is to send an email that looks as though it is from a financial institution requesting that you update your account information. Once the information is sent you have now granted them access to the proposed account.

Setting rules to your email client can help prevent these as well. Rules are a way for your email client to detect certain words, domains or email addresses in the email and a subsequent action being taken by the email client such as deleting it automatically. Rules must be configured manually by the user for each email account. The configuration must be monitored and adjusted accordingly as tactics constantly change.

2. Internet communication ports

There is no basic way for you as a computer user to know which ports are open and dangerous on your computer. In order for you to protect yourself from these types of entry you will need to implement a firewall whether it be a hardware or software firewall. When using a firewall: remember they require constant monitoring and configuration.

Firewalls are only configured for basic prevention out of the box. Unless you purchase a monitored firewall software that receives frequent updates and rules. You must constantly stay updated on what ports are being used by hackers, viruses and other malicious code.

One of the easiest ways to keep your computer safe from entry is to use the Windows automatic update feature. Microsoft is constantly patching and reconfiguring the Windows operating system to block vulnerabilities. You must insure your Windows version is set either to automatically retrieve these updates or you need to check the Microsoft update site at least once every two weeks to insure your version is up to date. Remember if you reinstall Windows for any reason all past updates received will need to be reapplied.

You can check your version of Windows to insure you are receiving automatic updates by opening the control panel. Select the system icon and double click the icon. Select the automatic updates tab and review your current settings. If you have scheduled your system for automatic updates and installation make sure you set this action for an appropriate date and time your computer will be in use.

3. Wireless networking

Wireless networks are considerably vulnerable to entry. If not configured properly your wireless network can be used to obtain information and gain access to your local computer.

When configuring your wireless router or access point the easiest thing to do is to disable SSID broadcast. This prevents other wireless network cards from detecting its presents.

You should always change the default user name, password and SSID set by the manufacturer on your wireless unit. The default information is shared by other hardware produced by the manufacturer. This is an easy way to gain access if the information is not altered.

Use encryption on your wireless unit. This may look a little scary and prevent you from configuring your encryption as manufacturers use many acronyms to describe each security encryption type. There are several encryption types available for use. No one encryption type is 100% secure, but in conjunction with other security measures they can be used to maintain a formidable security policy. Just remember when configuring your wireless device that manufacturers publish extensive how to articles on their website for your review. As well when you purchase new hardware the user typically receives an allotted time of free support. Whether this is done through the internet or phone support the manufacturer will be willing to provide their customers the appropriate support for configuration.

Note: This should be considered and verified when selecting wireless hardware and before purchasing new hardware.

Mac filtering is a very secure way of preventing access to your wireless network. Mac address filtering pertains to the MAC address of your wireless card. Every network card has a physical address and every address is unique. Designating which MAC addresses can connect to your device prevents all others from obtaining access. The MAC address of your network card is printed on the device and may be named as “Physical address”. If you cannot find the address you may as well open the control panel and choose network connections. Right click the wireless device and select the status button. On the opened status window select the support tab and the MAC or physical address is listed.

Another security technique used is to disable the DHCP functionality or your wireless device and assign static IP addresses to each computer that will connect through wireless. This will prevent your wireless device from assigning an IP address to unknown devices.

Note: Your wireless access point may not have DHCP capabilities.

When configuring your wireless network there is an option to add a computer to the “DMZ”. The DMZ is known as the de militarized zone and leaves the specified computer unprotected (This true for all router devices). You should never use this option. If you need a particular port open to run web based software or gaming software you should contact the manufacturer of the software for the specified port and then open only that specified port if your software is not functioning properly.

Anytime your computers are not being used they have no need for Wireless capabilities. You should disconnect the wireless units power. Access cannot be obtained when the device is powered off.

4. Spyware or adware

Spyware software was originally used to track habits of Internet browsing for the purpose of aiding companies in delivering more attractive ways of driving traffic to their websites.

In more recent times this software is used for delivering pop up advertisements, tracking your movements and can be used to deliver other more harmful types of software such as viruses. These types of software are common and typically delivered as tracking cookies.

There are many sites that use more harmful types. Typically these sites offer free entry and use of their software for on line gaming or other purposes. A good practice is to avoid these types of sites and advertisements.

You should add a good spyware scan utility to your arsenal which will help maintain your security. When selecting a spy ware scan utility insure your purchase includes automatic updates of the program and definition files as well as a scheduling feature. Having the ability to schedule scans and updates will help keep user maintenance to a minimum.

The best practice would be to have a couple of lines of defense here. In my experience no one single utility has been able to identify every type of spy ware or ad ware infection. I would recommend using a free spy ware utility in conjunction with your purchased software. You should scan your system for spy ware at least once every week (dependent upon your Internet activity habits you may require more or less frequent scans).

5. Viruses

Most don’t realize how vulnerable they are to viruses. If you own a PC you should own good virus protection software. Not only own a good software title but as well the software must be maintained through updates. Most manufacturers publish updates to their virus detection database weekly. If you own virus protection software it is a must to configure automatic updates on a weekly basis. The manufacturer of your software can provide you with the date of published updates in order for to configure the date and time of your automatic update.

Setting a full system scan is very important. You should scan your PC every time an update is made available. If you decide to configure scheduled scans it should coincide with the date the published update is made available and after the update is applied. As well you should designate exactly what to scan and what not to scan. Make sure when designating what to scan if you use external drives or partitioned drives that they are included in the scan.

When purchasing your virus protection a few things need to be considered before deciding which title to buy.

1. Does it have email protection?

2. Does it protect your instant messaging software from allowing infection?

3. Does it have spyware detection capabilities?

4. Does it block against internet worm viruses?

If the virus software you are considering does not protect against of these types of infection move to another title for consideration.

Remember: Virus software licenses are typically good for one year from the date of purchase. You must renew your license in order to receive further updates and maintain protection.

6. Securing the local Computer from being accessed

The first thing to consider is implementing an account password. Most people use passwords that can be easily remembered such as a birth date. If it’s easy for you to remember it may be easily guessed by another user. Passwords should be at least eight characters and should include upper, lowercase letters as well as numbers. Implementing this strategy will prevent most software titles that can be run to obtain your passwords from completing this action easily. You should frequently change passwords as well. Not just your user account password on the local machine but as well you should alternate passwords to secure websites or passwords for internet accounts.

Your computer can be accessed easily if you walk away for even a moment. If your PC is accessible by other users you should configure a screensaver password with the same guide lines as the password for your user account. This can be easily done by opening the control panel and choosing the display icon. On the screen saver tab select the item that states “on resume, display log on screen” or “require password”. Set the wait time for one minute and select apply. This will activate your screen saver after your computer is idle for one minute. The screen saver will only activate if the computer is idle or has no activity for one minute.

The same guidelines that apply for powering down your wireless unit when not in use apply to the local machine as well.

If you decide to document your passwords for accounts (of any type) this documentation should be kept in a secure location.

When considering these guidelines you must remember: Computers, security techniques and practices evolve constantly just as the strategies of intrusion do. It is a priority that you maintain your knowledge of prevention to keep your data and computer operating system safe.

 

Why are we still using 56k modems

Just yesterday I was approached by a neighbor who had a laptop that claimed it was not functioning properly. I enquired as to what the problem may be, and he stated it was extremely slow on the Internet.

Once I examined the laptop I noticed he was using a 56k modem to connect to the internet. So of course the first thing out of my mouth is “what’s the issue with it?”. He stated he was only getting about a 10k download speed (This is where I slightly chuckled).

At this point I tried to explain to him that he was very lucky to be receiving such speeds on a 56k connection, and that just because it says 56k it does not mean that is the speed you will experience. After a long conversation about communication in and out and how it relates to your overall connection speed I inquired as to why he had not looked at broadband.

I mean really here it is 2007 and with all the ways to obtain a broadband connection surely he couldn’t dismiss this as an option. He stated he needed a connection that would work at his lake house. I simply asked how he received TV channels at this location and he stated satellite. Ok not the best type of broadband to use, but it’s an option.

Next I asked if he had a cell carrier he used. He replied with the carriers name and I asked if he had contacted them to inquire about a gsm pcmcia card. Now that I had peaked his interest the conversation started to move towards a productive direction.

I explained that with todays technology if you have a cell carrier you can have unlimited access any where you can obtain a cell signal and the cost will vary from 29.99 to 59.99 per month. He was extremely delighted to say the least.

So after a ten minute conversation with his cell carrier they were shipping him a connection card and would simply add the charges to his next bill. Now isn’t that awesome? (I asked). Another satisfied customer.

Is it just that people dont know about this technology? Are the hundreds of broadband commercials not getting through to people?

I understand that you can get a 56k connection much cheaper than a broadband connection, but if you spend time at a location or as I like to call them “my working vacations” I want to get my work done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I hope anyone who reads this article (if using 56k connections) will at least take the time to inquire about broadband from their carriers. Remember if you use cable there is cable modem. If you use satellite they can provide broadband. If you have a cell phone your carrier can provide options for broadband. I think that covers it. The only remaining excuse is cost, but as time goes by this technology becomes cheaper and cheaper. Why not try it? I’m sure you will be happy with the service.

Internet Explorer 7 issues

Well Internet explorer 7 has been released for
sometime now. Unfortunately it appears once again
we are beta testers for Microsoft.

Being in the support world myself it seems to me
the biggest issues with Internet Explorer 7 are
installation issues. As with many other web based
installations of Microsoft products there are some
issues that should be addressed. Microsoft should
make this download available in a full admin version
as they did the latest xp service packs. Of course
we know Microsoft seems to follow the beat of a
different drum so to say they will do this is unlikely.

Even if you have installed IE7 and are experience one
of these wonderful issues, it is easy to revert back
to the previous version. Personally when dealing with
any new product I use a non-essential machine to test
with. I would however recommend locating the Microsoft
technical document on uninstalling IE7 for your particular
Windows version and follow those directions to the letter.

Other than installation issues the most prevalent problem
seems to be accessing secure web sites. Once again if you
are experiencing this issue you may want to revert back
to your previous version of IE. At least this will get you
operational until Microsoft addresses these issues.

This is not to say that everyone who is using IE7 is
having issues with the new browser. If you do have it
installed and it is working properly then consider
yourself blessed.

A good general rule with any new software is to allow
a testing period for other users to find the issues.
This is especially true if your computers functionality
is a business or personal necessity. Allowing several
weeks or months for known issues to be reported to
Microsoft and then repaired through a patch or update
will save you may headaches.

Just because its new software doesn’t mean it’s better.
New software is only beneficial if you can use it and
your computer.

Visit the PC911 how to section to learn how to do dozens
of different tasks on your computer. It’s one of our most
popular pages on the entire site.