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Also: Conspiracy of Silence Video

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> System Rescue Software, because meltdowns do happen....

a pyroclastic surge o' Love
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Posted: Mar 12 2005, 10:41 PM
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Hi Danbones,

Thanks for that info, Mrs Ganesh loves you.

BTW, if you're ever in Australia, give us a hoy. We need someone really good to mix our tribute band (most guys don't have a clue)

(This of course depends on whether you can put up with Zappa material)

I'm not a full-time member anymore, but do guest guitar spots.

Woops, just checked for the Petulant Frenzy website to give you the link and it's disappeared.
Maybe the band's finally imploded after 8 years !

Anyway, thanks again for that...check my website at the bottom of this post
I've put some of MagIndi's phenomena pics there...and they're the real deal !


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Posted: Mar 16 2005, 03:56 PM
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Hi, everybody! The bad news is my computer crashed Saturday night. The good news is I'm back up. Four days getting the system set up to where it works enough to access the web, e-mails, and files. I didn't have to reformat, which is a relief. I couldn't get to the desktop to do anything...just got a bright blue screen and could only shut down.

Called Microsoft. All the techs had to work with was the emergency startup disk, and it worked. End of story. It sure beat reformatting or spending a lot of money to recover the files, which would have made me VERY SAD to lose.

I've had computer problems, but nothing ever like this! I've got to learn how to use back-up floppies! I need another good antivirus program and a good firewall, too, but this Win\Me doesn't cotton to some downloads, so it's a case of wondering which ones?

Thus ends my tale of woes. Happy to be back.



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Posted: Mar 16 2005, 10:31 PM
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Hi BJ, Peer Guardian was recommended to me.

You should be able to download it here from a thread pinned above.

"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

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  Posted: Mar 18 2005, 03:42 AM
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This is all i have on spyware defence, if we can keep it clean tis 1/2 the batle


Spyware and Security:

Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition 1.05
Ad-aware SE does an excellent job of quickly finding and removing most adware and spyware components.

Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.3
Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove a multitude of adware files and modules from your computer. Spybot also can clean program and Web-usage tracks from your system

SpyHunter 1.1.30
This spyware-removal software provides free weekly updates of new spyware and adware. It cleans registry keys, system files, and memory-resident parasites. Definitions are updated regularly and the product is fully supported.

ZoneAlarm Security Suite
ZoneAlarm Security Suite 5.5 protects Internet users against hackers, spammers, viruses, spyware, worms, identity theft, and much more.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 7.289
AVG Free is easy-to-use and will not slow your system down (low system resource requirements). Highlights include automatic update functionality, the AVG Resident Shield, free Virus Database Updates for the lifetime of the product and more.

Avast Home Edition 4.5.523
Avast Home Edition is a free antivirus software for home, non-commercial use. It scans for viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. Avast scans on demand - with skinnable simple interface, during boot time, and on access. It protects e-mail, instant messengers, and P2P clients.

Sygate Personal Firewall
Sygate Personal Firewall is more than an advanced, user-friendly personal firewall - it is a bi-directional intrusion defense system.
Sygate Personal Firewall ensures your personal computer is completely protected from malicious hackers and other intruders while preventing unauthorized access from your computer to a network.

Browsers and Internet:

Mozilla Firefox 1.0
Mozilla Firefox is a fast, full-featured browser for Windows that makes browsing more efficient than ever before. Firefox includes pop-up blocking and a tab-browsing mode that lets you open several pages in a single window.

Netscape 7.2
In addition to high-speed browsing and instant-messaging capabilities, Netscape features one-click searching from the address bar; Quick Launch, which reduces the browser start-up time; and click-to-Search, which allows users to select a word within a Web page and search.

Opera (Java) 7.54
Opera is an Internet browser with a pop-up blocker, multiple-windows navigation, mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, e-mail client with Spam filter, and integrated search all for user security and speed.

Trillian 3.0
Without stealing your home page and with no other included software, pop-ups, or spyware, Trillian provides unique functionality and is a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC.

Yahoo Messenger 6.0
Yahoo Messenger, like Trillian, is a free service that allows you to see when friends come online and send them instant messages. It also can alert you to new e-mail in your Yahoo Mail or Yahoo Personals account, or when you have upcoming events recorded in Yahoo Calendar.

MSN Messenger (Windows XP) 6.2
MSN Messenger is an instant-messaging program that notifies you when your friends are online so you can send messages or chat with several friends at once.


Java 2 Runtime Environment Standard Edition 1.4.2
The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) provides the libraries, the Java Virtual Machine, and other components to run applets and applications written in the Java programming language.

The 16 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

There are a lot of great freeware products out there. Many are as good or even better than their commercial alternatives. This list features my personal pick of the "best of the best."

All these utilities in this list have been featured in past issues of of my free monthly newsletter "Support Alert" More freebies are featured in every new issue. If you are interested in great utilities and freeware you really should consider subscribing.

Last updated February 21, 2005.

Gold Award Trophy The Best Freeware List

Best Free Web Browser Updated
Internet Explorer is a good browser but it has become such a target for malicious exploits that it is now a major security risk. Quite separately, the browser itself is now looking dated with most alternative products offering tabbed browsing and other productivity enhancements. There are several excellent alternatives but Mozilla Fire Fox is the stand-out pick. It's much safer than Internet Explorer, so safe in fact that many users have reported no spyware infections since they started using the product. It's also browses faster than Internet Explorer and since the release of version 1.0, it's stable and reliable as well. It loads a little slower than IE but once running, it zips along at lightning speed. With tabbed browsing and more free extensions than you could ever want, it offers a major upgrade in your browsing experience. Unlike IE, it's also standards compliant. FireFox is now my everyday browser though occasionally I have to fire up IE to browse a site designed around IE's non standard features. (4.7MB) / <= Free FireFox migration guide

Best Free Anti-Virus Software Updated
There are two equal recommendations in this category. First there is AVG Antivirus 7.0 Free Edition. This product has been continuously refined since it was first released in 1991 and now offers very impressive protection capabilities. Additionally, it's relatively small, light on resources, has regular automatic updates and handles email scanning. There is a free and a pro version, the only difference being that the free version has a few non-critical features disabled and has no direct technical support. Even so, it's an impressive package and offers the financially challenged a real alternative to the major anti-virus suites. Equally impressive is the free Avast! scanner though its funky media player style interface is not to everyone's taste. Avast! also required periodic re-registration while AVG does does not. (5MB)

Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover Updated
I used to recommend SpyBot Search and Destroy but I'm afraid its detection rate has fallen off recently. I now recommend Microsoft's free Antispyware program which is currently available as a free beta to users of Windows 2000 and later. It' s based on the Giant Antispyware product that Microsoft purchased late in 2004 and has impressive detection. It also has excellent real time protection against the current plague of browser hijackers, auto-dialers and other surreptitiously downloaded scumware products. My second choice in this category is Ad-aware SE. It's free too and works with all versions of Windows though the free version lacks the active protection offered by Giant. However you can add active protection by using other free products (see below) I use both Giant and Ad-aware as they tend to find slightly different things. If possible, I suggest you use both as well. ( 6.4MB) / (1.7MB)

Best Free Anti-Scumware Utility Updated
There's a scumware plague at the moment. All it takes is a visit to a pushy web site or a loaded shareware install and next minute your Internet Explorer homepage has been changed, your default search setting altered, unwanted ads pop up on your screen and worse. SpywareBlaster is not a scanner like Ad-Aware rather a stand-alone inoculation program that prevents the initial infection. It provides active protection for Internet Explorer users against thousands of malevolent products that use ActiveX based exploits and offers defenses against unwanted cookies as well. A companion program to SpywareBlaster is SpywareGuard. Again, this is not a scanner like SpyBot. It is a protective program that works like an anti-virus suite by checking programs before they are executed. Both products are well executed, regularly updated and work well with each other and your spyware scanner. (2.2MB) (1.96MB)

Best Free Firewall New
Two things need to be said about firewalls. First, the number and quality of free products is remarkable. Second, no other single product category seems to cause as much angst to average users in their installation and day-day-use. That's why my choice for "best" goes to Kerio Personal Firewall, the product that seems to cause the fewest problems for users. Don't get me wrong, it is also a brilliant firewall. More adventurous users and the technically inclined may however wish to consider ZoneAlarm and Sygate. The most technically advanced firewall of all is possibly the latest Tiny version. However it is so fiendishly difficult to install and setup that I can only recommend it to network specialists and masochists. Note: The free and paid versions of Kerio are the same. If you don't buy the product some advanced features are automatically turned off after 30 days. (7.3MB)

Best Free Trojan Scanner/Trojan Remover
Ewido is the best of a new crop of anti-Trojan programs. On my recent tests over at it emerged as was one of the few products that could reliably detect polymorphic and process injecting Trojans that were totally missed by anti-virus products like Norton and AVG. No, it's not as effective as TDS-3 or Trojan Hunter but these are shareware products. As ever, you get what you pay for. In particular the free version of Ewido doesn’t have a memory monitor but the on-demand scanner is however, excellent. The free version download is actually the same as the paid version but after 14 days the memory monitor becomes non-functional. I recommend that all average PC users download the product and scan their PCs weekly. I suspect you may be surprised at what you will find. High risk PC users such as P2P file sharers and frequenters of hack sites, should however consider the industrial strength protection of TDS-3 or Trojan Hunter both of which offer the enhanced protection they need. / (2.2MB)

Best Free Intrusion Prevention and Detection Utility for Home Use New
These days all users face a real risk of malicious programs secretly installing themselves on your computer. Anti-virus and anti-spyware products dramatically reduce the chance of infection but you can enhance your protection further by installing an additional layer of defense with an intrusion detection program. For advanced users Prevx is a stand out recommendation. It's so good I made it my Free Product of the Year for 2004. However it's talkative nature and sometimes cryptic messages make it only suitable for experienced users. For other users (but not beginners) I recommend WinPatrol. Like Prevx it provides a vital "last ditch" defense layer by telling you when a product is trying to change any of the critical settings on your PC such as the registry and auto-start areas. WinPatrol simply throws up a dialog asking whether you want to allow the change or not. Of course being warned is useless unless you have some idea how to respond to the warning. That's why neither Prevx nor WinPatrol is suited to inexperienced users. (7.5MB) / (880KB) <= Brief survey of IDS software

Best Free Anonymous Surfing Service Updated
There are lots of reasons folks have for wanting to surf anonymously, ranging from simple paranoia to possibly being murdered by a malevolent foreign government. Whatever the reasons, commercial services that offer anonymity are doing real well. However one of the best services JAP, is totally free. In fact JAP is perhaps a little too good. That's why the German Government recently insisted that a backdoor be put into the product for possible national security use. This should not be of much concern to normal users but the truly paranoid may want to consider another system called Tor. Both JAP and Tor offer a level of secrecy that is better than many commercial systems. However expect your surfing to slow down as you'll be relayed through a chain of servers. You'll also need to change your browser settings to work through a proxy. /

Best Free Software Suite Updated
The Open CD site offers for free a wonderful collection of just about every application software product you need to run a PC. Many of these substitute admirably for expensive commercial products. There is Abi Word as an alternative for MS Word, OpenOffice for MS Office XP, ThunderBird for Outlook, The Gimp for Adobe Photoshop, 7-zip for WinZIP are many more. If you then add to this collection some of the other utilities from my "46 Best-ever Utilities" collection you will have all the software you'll ever need without spending a cent. Note: All of the Open CD utilities can be downloaded for free as a CD ISO image. If you have a slow connection you can purchase the CD for a very modest cost. /

(Sponsored Links)

The Best Windows Backup Software
At this site sixteen data backup products were reviewed and rated but only one get "editor's choice." /

The Best SpyWare Detector
If you use Ad-aware or SpyBot you will be surprised just how more effectively SpySweeper detects and protects your PC from Adware, Spyware, Trojans and other malicious products. That's why it won the prized "Editor's Choice" award in PC Magazine's massive March 2004 survey of anti-Spyware products. Try the free evaluation copy and see for yourself. Use this link for direct download =>

The Best Remote Access Software
Our reviewer had given this product category away as "too slow, tool clumsy and too unreliable" but after reviewing this product he's changed his mind; "at long last a remote access solution that actually works! Quite frankly we agree with him, it's an impressive product. Read the full review here:

The Best Anti-trojan Scanner
Most users are not aware that their anti-virus scanner can only provide a moderate level of protection against trojan programs that try and take control of your PC. To really protect your computer, you need a dedicated anti-trojan program. Our editor's have reviewed every major product on the market and have concluded that two scanners stand head and shoulders above the other contenders.

Best Free File Manager
Windows Explorer is fine for simple file management activities but when you have some serious work to do, you need a two pane file manager. I use Directory Opus which is excellent but costs $59. Recently I discovered xplorer≤. It offers most of the functionality of Directory Opus and is totally free. As a bonus, its user interface is very similar to Windows Explorer, so most users will find this tool easy to learn and use.(575KB)

Best Free Email Client New
Thunderbird, the free open source POP and IMAP email client, has been finally released after a long period of gestation. It was developed by, the same folks who brought you FireFox. Feature-wise it sits somewhere between Outlook Express and Outlook which means that it offers an upgrade to Express users and a downgrade to those who use the more advanced PIM features of Outlook. All Outlook Express users should seriously consider switching. You’ll be rewarded with a more advanced product including built- in spam filtering, built-in RSS reader, better security, message color coding, fast email search and the ability to view your mail in conversational threads. On top of that, the product is more secure than OE and, unlike the latter, is still being actively developed. The transition is made easier by the fact that Thunderbird looks and works similar to OE. Tools within Thunderbird also allow you to easily import OE account settings and stored email. Outlook users who aren’t reliant on calendaring, Microsoft Exchange or Outlook plug-ins should also consider switching. (5.8MB)

Best Free Notepad Replacement
There are lots of text editors and Notepad replacements. Some of these aspire to be programming editors while others try to be word processors. What I love about EditPad is that, unlike the others, it concentrates on simply being a better plain text editor and it succeeds brilliantly. It has a Notepad like interface combined with tabbed document windows and the ability to open as many documents as you like with no file size limitations. I use it every day for tasks as diverse as writing Support Alert Newsletter to examining my web log files. Some of the latter can be up to 100MB, yet EditPad handles these huge files with ease. (849KB).

Best Free Desktop Search Utility New
In early 2004 there were no contenders for this title. Today we have a wealth of choices. In a close race I would have to say the Free Desktop Search from Yahoo comes out in front. It's powered by the well established X1 local search engine and can index the contents of 200 different file types including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, Outlook, Outlook Express, HTML, text, ZIP and Adobe PhotoShop. At the moment it will only handle email files from Outlook and Outlook Express and although it will index html files, it can't index your web browsing history. In effect, it offers most of the benefits of the full $75 X1 search product for zip. Unfortunately though, to run it you'll need Windows 2000 or later. If you are stuck with earlier version of Windows then try the free Copernic Desktop Search. It offers many of the same features as the Yahoo product though the presentation of search results is not quite as elegant. (7.9MB) (2.3MB)

Best Free Hotkey Utility
Hotkeycontrol XP is a free utility that allows you to define your own hotkeys so that a single key press can launch an application, insert commonly used text, change your volume, or just about anything else. Hotkeycontrol works with all versions of Windows from 98 onwards, though some features will only work with Win2K or XP. (0.91KB)

Best Free Registry Cleaner
To keep the registries on my PCs in top running order I use Fix-It utilities This is a commercial product but I must admit that Toni Helenius' Easy Cleaner performs almost as well and is totally free. As a bonus, it will also detect duplicate files and help you clean up temp files to make more disk space. Remember though, as with every Registry cleaner, to back up your Windows Registry before use. (2.64MB)

Best Free BitTorrent Client New
It's amazing how quickly BitTorrent has become one of the major download formats. With good reason, too: it's fast, equitable and efficient. If you haven't yet installed a BitTorrent client on your PC, you should as there are some great free clients available. I recommend the Open Source program Azureus. It's beautifully implemented, well supported and, being Java based, is available for multiple platforms. Of course the Java code will eat up your CPU cycles so you need a reasonably fast PC. Those with older machines should check out BitTornado. It's also cross platform and is fast and highly configurable as well. Both products are adware and spyware free. / (4.4MB) (3.3MB)




So go tell me DOGS

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Posted: Mar 21 2005, 01:32 AM
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I've found a great security solution -- I switched to Linux. I'm running Shorewall firewall and Clam AV....I feel naked without all of my security apps hogging all of my system resources! Even the few things that I'm running, from what I've heard, are unecessary for a home computer (they're there mostly to protect servers).

Spent the past couple days configuring, poking around under the hood and marvelling at my system's newfound ability to compile programs from the source code smileNew4.gif

Anyways, I know that this isn't really an option for most...but if anyone's been thinking about it, it's nowhere near as difficult as people say it is -- the most difficult part is learning to stop expecting your system to behave like Windows.

So far, anything that's gone wrong has been entirely my fault -- and the nice thing is that it actually tells you what's wrong and where, so you can actually go about fixing it. It's a welcome change from "Error code 'blah0010011564', send error report, reboot, reinstall, contact your PC's manufacturer"

Anyways, just thought I'd share that smileNew4.gif

BJ1, sorry to hear your computer's giving you grief. The best advice I can offer is to keep backups of everything you have that's important to you, and put them on another hard drive (or any other storage method that meets your needs)

When Windows goes wrong, I've always found it easier to reformat, reinstall and put everything back in its place than to go around chasing various error messages.

If another hard drive isn't an option, partitioning your current one is also a good idea. Keeping everything on a single partition isn't safe, what I do is make a partition for the OS and another one for all of my important things. That way, if Windows dies, I can reinstall on the main partition while all of my important things are kept safe and happy smileNew4.gif (Linux actually does this by default, which made me quite happy!)

My little system rescue disk has a nice tool called QtParted with which you can manage, resize, delete and create partitions without damaging your data (it's actually an Open-sourced clone of PartitionMagic, but I find that I like QtParted much better. More options, I trust it more and to top it all off, it looks nicer too!)

As for anti-virus, Avast is fantastic. It's free, it's small, and it works very, very well.

Zone Alarm's a decent firewall, but I've never liked their free version...I'll poke around a little and see if I can find something lean and mean and Windows compatible amongst the Linux geeks


You start out with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before emptying your luck.
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Posted: Mar 21 2005, 01:58 AM
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Here's a couple, I don't know much about the first one, but the second link takes you to a list of free Windows firewalls

It's strange, finding commercial software that's compatible with Linux is next to impossible...but finding open source software for Windows seems to be just as difficult huhNEW.gif

You start out with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before emptying your luck.
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Posted: Mar 21 2005, 08:28 AM
Quote Post
Hi, Nightshade!

You wrote:
"If another hard drive isn't an option, partitioning your current one is also a good idea. Keeping everything on a single partition isn't safe..."

Another hard drive was not an option for me UNLESS it would have been impossible to recover my files. There are just too many goldies that couldn't be replaced.

To start the story of my computer crash: For some time I found files, written by a guy named Creg, when looking under the hood for strange files. I wondered how he got in, but just deleted his stuff. The last deletion took the computer down. It appears that he wrote something to the hard drive to do this, maybe in retaliation. Anyway, after shutting down, on reboot the last screen was bright blue and I couldn't get to the desktop. All that could be done was the Ctrl/alt/del thing to shut down. Microsoft techs had to do some fancy programming using the boot disk, but they got me to the desktop where we could go forward.

Had to install IE5.5 SP2, and IE6.0 SP1, a rascal of a job. All of my files were saved except for those in Outlook Express, which I hope to get recovered soon, as there is a treasure trove of info in the Folders, especially Drafts that weren't saved to My Docus. It's been a week of hard work, but progress, with only another call or two to the techs in India...very capable men, and dedicated. They have my heart-felt gratitude.

The crash may have been a blessing because the computer works better now than when installed right out of the box. I believe that this computer was compromised from the very beginning, having a built-in backdoor for uninvited guests who don't have to come in as Trojans, Keyloggers, or some nasty Virus, and don't need a password. They have a key to that backdoor and use it, that is, IF they can find your address. Some ISPs give it to researchers and/or their business buddies. The files are generally harmless to your computer because of the intended invisibility, being of classroom work, etc., but it's just the idea that an uninvited intruder is using the computer YOU paid for, with access to your files.

Nightshade, I don't have a clue as to how to "partition" the hard drive. What does that mean and how do you do it? Seeing that the files were recovered, maybe the partition already exists as none were lost?

Thank you for sharing what you know and giving suggestions. I will look into the links you gave for firewalls, a necessity, but you have to be very careful as many freebies come with spyware. I went through that yesterday! Spybot downloaded perfectly this time around. Voila! That means that downloads will finally complete. My nephew says that Win\Me sucks and that I should get Win\XP. Linux sounds even better; however, switching means $$$$$$. Only need to get this present one secured.



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Posted: Mar 21 2005, 09:18 AM
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HI all

I am using avast pro, I have nothing but compliments for it.

Here is a very good free fire wall for windows:
Kerio personal fire wall.....FREE, well tested, installs easily also.
down load 4.1 here:

PMEmail Poster



Posted: Mar 21 2005, 02:02 PM
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Thanks, Danbones, for the link to the Firewall you are using personally! I will download it, hopefully, today! In the meantime, this MAY be the first answer to the puzzling question of why Spybot will not delete the DSOExploit off of our computers. I found this accidentally while doing a search for an item in my computer. Spybot hid not only the Exploit, but also AlexaRelated files in zip packages!

You can find it doing a search using *.zip in My Computer. You'll see it's in
C:\WINDOWS\Allusers\Application Data\Spybot - Search & Destroy


Now it remains to be seen as to why Spybot would conceal the files, and up to us to determine if Spybot is a Spy! I want an explanation for this as it is almost impossible to find these files doing a simple search for Spybot! Of course, everytime you run Spybot, it just pops up even if you think you have deleted it. Spybot isn't going to delete its own files. Same with the AlexaRelated zips. Ad-aware will take Alexa out of the registry...I think! At least it doesn't appear in the results scan anymore. It might be that our spyware stuff doesn't include zip files.

Removing Spybot doesn't completely remove. I just took out an old file dated early 2004, that lingered from a bad download that resulted in using the remove program.

Does anyone else have any info? This is serious stuff and we have to make a decision as to keep or remove it and move on. So far, no answers on the net. sadoriginal.gif



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Posted: Mar 21 2005, 04:37 PM
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hi BJ
I am not familliar with your specific problem, but most scan type progs have a setting for scanning inside .zips. The default is usually not checked.
Check your sweepers's settings for this switch.

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Posted: Mar 21 2005, 06:20 PM
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I'm nt sure about the Alexa, but Spybot hides the DSOExploits because WinXP SP2 fixed the problem, but Spybot wasn't aware of this for quite some time.

The result was many people (myself included!) trying desperately to remove a DSOExploit that Spybot reported every single time you ran it, while there really wasn't any problem at all. So now Spybot automatically adds that particular problem to its Ignore list, which is why it was hidden.

If you also run Ad-Aware, it should delete all of Spybot's backup files for you smileNew4.gif

I will look into the links you gave for firewalls, a necessity, but you have to be very careful as many freebies come with spyware.

Very true...that's why the freebies that I download tend to be "open source," which means that every single piece of code that makes up the program is released to the public.

With every piece of code revealed to the world, there's no way that they can hide spies in there...

Partitioning the drive just means dividing it. I tend to think of it like rooms in a house.

Say you have a 40GB hard drive, and you put two partitions on it.

You have 10 GB in the first section where Windows is installed
You have 30 GB in the second section, where you keep all of your files
(The numbers could be anything, I'm just using this as an example)

Your computer gets a terrible virus and there's no hope of recovery. The only solution is to wipe the drive clean and reinstall Windows.

A disaster?

One would think, but your files that you've stored on the partition are safe and sound in another room smileNew4.gif You can safely reformat the 10GB partition containing Windows, and when you reinstall, you'll still be able to see, access and use everything that you've saved in the second partition! In fact, you should even be able to see, move and use them from various recovery disks and any other operating system you might choose to install.

This would be good if you were to switch to XP (your nephew's right, WinME does suck! It's notorious as one of the worst operating system's ever released).

I've found that the "upgrade" installation can be very hit or miss, and often leaves me an unstable (sometimes unusable) if your hard drive was divided into two sections, you could do a "clean" install of WinXP but still retain all of your files.

It boggles my mind that Windows doesn't set itself up this way by default...

Windows XP would be a bit of a punch in the wallet, but Linux is free. If you're going to try Linux out, I'd highly advise trying it on an old computer first, or on a new partition of your hard drive so that you can still use Windows. While switching to Linux isn't nearly as hard as people say it is, it still isn't easy and there's a lot of learning to do.

If you're at all interested in learning to use it, there's several versions out there that run entirely off of a CD and don't actually need to be installed on your computer. Knoppix is one that I've used, and it's quite good!

How they recover the data from your computer actually has a lot to do with how hard drives work. Your hard drive is a form of magnetic memory. Files are stored in binary code using the magnetic polarity instead of 1's and 0's. Interacting with the hard drive requires electricity, and work from your CPU.

Programmers like to try and minimize the work that the CPU has to do so that you can do more things at a time on your computer, so, to minimize the work for your computer, when you delete files, it doesn't actually remove the code from your hard drive. Instead, it marks it as "available" and it sits there....and sits there...and sits there....until some day, when you're putting more things on your computer, it gets overwritten.

When you eventually sell or trash your computer, it's always a good idea to keep or destroy your hard drive, because everything that you've deleted is really still there, your computer's just ignoring it.

You start out with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before emptying your luck.
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Posted: Mar 21 2005, 09:21 PM
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Thanks for popping in, Nightshade.
You wrote:
"Partitioning the drive just means dividing it. I tend to think of it like rooms in a house."

OK. How do you do that?

As for Spybot, it loads Cookies in its program. You cannot delete them, but you can read the who's who list.

Search using *.zip
Right click on the file, right click on the containing folder, right click on the file, then right click on the explore choice, then right click on Cookies and open in Note Pad to see the list of "advertisers". I would like to know what kind of info they are looking for.

Spybot has an interesting index where you can read about AlexaRelated, all dressed up in fancy words, that really tell you something is going through Microsoft to the "advertisers", most likely your browsing preferences. If I am wrong concerning a bad feeling about this, it would be nice if someone who knows more than I do would please explain why the 2 zip files are "harmless".

As for the DSOExploit, it pops up every single time Spybot is run. None of this came with my first download on the 18th, but started up on the 20th (yesterday) with the update. My thought is that if AlexaRelated and the DSOExploit files weren't needed to do the first scan, why have they suddenly become necessary now? Something isn't right here. Possibly cookies under a different name. There are many files you CAN'T open, either, which is suspicious. (All your files are belong to us.)

I'm used to Ad-aware and BOClean that are open to viewing except for the code used to operate the program, which I can't read, but it's there. No cookies. I'm getting ready to delete Spybot and get an honest (hoo boy!) download of some other spy eradicator. It would be nice to just spray the bugs with Real Kill.

Now, tell me how to partition. Ha. I have a few more things to do before I ask you guys how to delete stuff in regedit and make it permanent. All deletions are back on the next boot. Sigh. BTW, working in regedit from search is much less intimidating.



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Posted: Mar 23 2005, 01:28 AM
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No problem at all, I swallowed a piece of my mom's computer when I was a little twerp (putting it in my mouth and jumping on the couch seemed like a good idea at the time...), so this stuff is second nature to me smileNew4.gif I try to help whenever I might have an answer, because I know how frustrating Windows can be!


The very fist thing you should do before doing any of this is defrag your system, as this should shrink your drive and help to protect your files by putting them in their proper place. It's unlikely that anything would happen to them, but it's always best to err on the side of caution.

Most people use "fdisk," which should be on any of your Windows floppy disks...

However, fdisk will delete all of your data, so I wouldn't recommend it for your purposes (it works nicely if you want to erase a drive and start fresh, or have a new drive that needs to be partitioned)

Buying or *ahem* aquiring Partition Magic would be a good option, as it allows you to resize partitions without deleting them. Just pop the CD in, reboot the system (your BIOS must be set to look in the CD drive before going to the hard drive, or else it'll ignore the CD and boot to Windows.) If you're not sure how to access the BIOS, it should tell you which key to press on the first screen you see when the computer boots up, it's usually the DEL key (not the backspace, but the 'delete' key near Home, End, Insert, etc.) With some computers, the timing's tricky...for example, my hubby's gives me ample time to sip my coffee, while with my computer, by the time I see the instructions it's already too late to get in there!

Once you're in, scroll around until you see something along the lines of "device priority," and make sure that the CD is the first on the list (or at least before your hard drive, which should show up as "IDE")

Throw the CD in, then save and exit the BIOS.

If it doesn't seem to be working, then your computer's probably like mine and accssing the BIOS is a major test of reflexes!

Anyways, Partition Magic should give you a nice interface to work with.

QtParted is even better, as it gives you more options...but most of those options are primarily for Linux systems. The major benefit is that QtParted is free, and it comes on the disc from this topic's first post smileNew4.gif It's also available as a standalone program, but unfortunately, not for Windows...

Both of these will show you graphics representing your drive and its partitions. What you'll need to do is resize your 1st partition (currently taking up your entire drive) to the size that you'd like it to be. Then you need to create an "extended" partition in the empty space that was left behind when you resized the 1st one, and inside the extended partition, you'll need to make a "logical" partition that can fill up the extended (extended partitions are like a container in which you place "logical" partitions)

Here's some screenshots to give you an idea of what it looks like (it won't look quite so nice when you boot from the disk, all of these shots are within Windows....but booting from the disk would be the safest way to go about doing this as you'll have to resize "C:") :

A lot of this stuff will make a lot more sense when you're actually in the program, it's one of those things that sounds complicated but really isn't too bad when you actually get to doing it smileNew4.gif

There's no need to be afraid of making a mistake, either, because nothing actually happens until you comit the changes, so you can play around with lots of different configurations without harming your computer.

Last but not least, seeing as you're using Windows ME, be sure to format your new partition as FAT32. You might need to reboot a couple times before the whole thing's over. If my memory serves me correctly, last time I had to resize and create new partitions, it resized the first but wouldn't let me create a new one until after I'd rebooted, so it it doesn't seem to be working, this is probably why.

When it's all said and done, Windows should show you a new drive letter "D:" This is your partition. The quickest way to access it without creating any shortcuts is to hit Start-->Run... , type d: and hit enter. You should be able to transfer files into here just like you would with any other folder. Your CD will be renamed "E:"

As for the Spybot, I've never had any problems with it, but my policy when it comes to these things has always been "if you don't trust it, delete it."

I'm not sure about the reocurring deletions, but have you tried killing them in Safe Mode? It's not a surefire solution, but I've found that from time to time, it really does work to take care of the little pests (or anything that claims to be write protected...or "in use by another person or program"....

You start out with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before emptying your luck.
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Posted: Mar 23 2005, 08:44 AM
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Nightshade, you are a jewel! After reading your most recent post, I got to thinking about this "partition" business. It came to me that somehow the computer must be already partitioned for saving programs/files because all files have been saved to some unknown place in C drive. I didn't lose one file! Only Windows was knocked in the head where I had to install IE5.5 SP2, then update to IE6.0 SP1.

The only files yet to be brought back can be exported to the current running Outlook Express program. Those files include files that I stored in Drafts for reasons of convenience when needed to post/repost, like items researched. I had created a file called Saved, reserved for jokes my brother sent me. Of course, I would like to have all files saved. They are all stored as there are e-mails as old as 2001 in files, with many being encrypted.

Now, I need to sound off this morning because I AM ANGRY! Remembering how I had been deleting files, written by a guy named "CREG", the last deletion taking out access to the desktop, I discovered that "CREG" is the backdoor keyword to Microsoft programs/files, allowing the remote computer access to your hard drive, where Note Pad and Word Pad are utilized for purposes of Research, Student use, etc., through SHARED FILES! How do I know this? The "CREG" file that took my computer down was written on MARCH 5, 2005! To me, this is an outrageous intrusion of our privacy, let alone ownership of our computers! Microsucks is right! "CREG" is a permanent Trojan/applet that is used to download Microsoft programs and updates, and there is not a thing we can do to remove it.

When I mentioned the entity called "CREG" to the techs who got the computer up and running again, there was silence. They can't tell us why our computers are being compromised and how, as they are monitored. But they know. If I found out the secret, you know they know! My opinion is to have the BEST firewall available, configuring it so that Microsoft, et al, has NO way of slipping in the backdoor. Finding one is priority #1 now.

BTW, I deleted Spybot. Every one of the Zipped filed are applets designed to capture your surfing habits. Nuts! I will post a most excellent program that is superior in every aspect to other programs. Linux users were the first to benefit. It is F-Prot, by a German wizard who knows his stuff! And it's free for us little guys.

In some respects, this computer crash has had its benefits. I have to smile at what I've learned and can pass on. smileNew4.gif Stay tuned.

My thanks to you, PuPP, for making Computers and the Internet a separate catagory.



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Posted: Mar 25 2005, 12:54 AM
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A funny thing I noticed while researching Linux before wiping Wndows from my system is that typing the name of any major linux distro (mandrake, debian, SuSe, Redhat, etc) into Google brings up a Microsoft propaganda page in google's "sponsored links." Heh heh...

At least, it does so on'd imagine it does on as well, but I can't verify because it always redirects me to the Canadian page.


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Linux more expensive than Windows.
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Safeway chooses Windows Server 2003? Maybe that's why they're such an expensive grocery store?

I'm not sure where they get that from, seeing as Linux is free and the corporate versions are much cheaper than Windoze...from a corporate perspective, regular users shouldn't need any retraining, and any System Administrator worth what they're paid should understand linux to a certain extent.

Now home computers are another issue, as the user also needs to play the role of administrator...I've been on a powertrip since I installed it.

Another strange thing I've noticed is that it seems to fix itself! I was messing around with it and hosed my sound, didn't feel like fixing it and left it for later. This was a couple days ago, and I still hadn't touched anything when I turned the computer on this morning, and lo and behold, the sound was blasting through the speakers. Spooky, but nice!

Anyways smileNew4.gif

Hmm, I'm not sure exactly how your programs were saved (does Windows ME have a "system restore" feature like XP?), but if it was in C drive than its definitely not a partition...if it was, it would have been assigned a new drive letter.

Whether it makes sense or not, the important thing is that they were saved smileNew4.gif

System meltdowns, while terrible and frustrating, can be incredible learning experiences.

Yes, M$ has a rather nasty and disturbing habit of spying on its users...they claim that its in our best interest huhNEW.gif

One example is Windows98...after you install it, it asks if you want to send information to Microsoft. Most people naturally hit "No" and forget about it...but they might as well have hit "Yes," because both buttons execute the same script! Microsoft was confronted on this, and claimed that it was in the customer's best interest because it would aid in troubleshooting and support.


Then there's the whole Windows XP activation thing...which makes the Win98 approach look nice. Rather than sending information without you knowing, their latest incarnation forces you to ask them for permission to use the system, or else it won't run! The price for permission? "WE WANT...INFORMATION!!" bartborg.gif

While I usually prefer that things be direct, rather than hidden and sneaky, I see this as an excersise in and desensitization to compliance.

It doesn't stop at installs either...if you upgrade your hardware, you need to reactivate it.

They don't need my information, and no, it hasn't done anything to stopped Windows from being pirated.

Ahem...I think I'll stop myself here, because I'm starting to ramble and I know how long I can go on about the evils of Micro$oft.

Another curious thing is XP's built in makes absolutely no effort to stop OUTGOING connections. While its inability to successfully stop many incoming things can be summed up in it being a bad program...the only reason I can think of for its inability to even attempt to stop outgoing connections is because all of those little Windows spies that are built in to the system need to be able to phone home.

Or maybe I'm just paranoid.

I'm just glad its off my computer!

Good luck with the firewall searching, whichever one you decide on, be sure to test it out with a port scan! All ports should not only register as being "closed," but should be stealthed. If pinged, it should drop the packets and not respond.

If they can't see you, they can't hack you winkNEW.gif

I'm off to go check out F-Prot, thanks for the suggestion!

You start out with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before emptying your luck.
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