• rc primak

    rc primak


    Viewing 15 replies - 4,066 through 4,080 (of 4,121 total)
    • in reply to: Update Firefox 3.6 #1206089

      Nice catch, JoeP. Getting mine this weekend.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: What e-mail client are you using? #1206088

      I have used Eudora since Version 3, and now use the Thunderbird version of it, which is now Eudora 8, Beta 8. This is only a skin of Thunderbird, and under the hood, it is Thunderbird 3.0, Beta 3. Works well for me, but I miss the old-style Eudora Mailboxes. There’s spam filtering, a DOM filter (prevents certain exploits through e-mail attachments, including the current round of infected PDFs) and many Thunderbird plug-ins are compatible with this Eudora. I use this client with Yahoo MailPlus and G-Mail, and can send outbound mail through the G-Mail SendMail Servers. This product is no longer independent of Thunderbird, but it is very much alive and well and under development. Much easier to set up and configure than Outlook, but fewer features for power-users.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Avast version 5 impression #1206087

      Folks, I was wrong about the Avast Tray Icon colors. I have revised my earlier post.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Imaging / Backup Software for Win 7 #1206018

      Acronis has released True Image 2010 for $40.

      That $40.00 no longer includes the interim updates or support. Those options now add $12.00 and $9.00 respectively, raising the total to nearly $69.00. That’s the full and honest price of TIH 2010.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Backing up AppData files? #1206007

      Any good partitioning program, I use Partition Wizard to do partitioning from within windows, and it’s FREE. The built in Win 7 partition app works to create partitions as well, but is not nearly as powerful as a third party app such as Partition Wizard.

      The built-in Wndows 7 Partition App does not resize partitions. For this, you need a third-party app. I don’t mind using free software, but I trust the programs I named. I have use Norton (Partition Magic), V-Com/Avanquest (Partition Commander) and Acronis (Disk Director), and I know how these programs work and they cause few problems. If Partition Wizard is free and works for you, go for it!

      For that matter, if Macrium or Shadow Protect floats your boat better than Acronis True Image, go for it! Some people prefer DriveImage or the Paragon family of backup software and disk utilities. Just do the backups, that’s all.

      Nero is not a complete Image Backup solution. You cannot restore to a bootable recovery of Vista or Windows 7 using Nero, last I heard. I would not recommend it for anything other file backups, which can be done straight out of Windows.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Backing up AppData files? #1206006

      Bob, I like your idea, but I have two problems with it:

      1) My two-month-old computer already comes with a D drive, FACTORY_IMAGE.
      2) As I said, I’ve already had this computer for two months. How do I partition it now?

      The D: Factory_Image Drive you refer to is a Hidden Recovery Partition. Do not touch it with any partitioning utility! This is your lifeline in case of total disaster. What you may be able to do, is get into your computer’s Recovery Mode (usually a function key on your keyboard — consult your computer’s instructions for just how this works in your computer) and select (if available) the option to burn CDs or DVDs of the Hidden Recovery Partition. This will give you a set of Recovery Disks in case you ever need them. In addition, you should make a backup image of the entire hard drive (all partitions) before changing the pertition structure, as data can be lost when shrinking the C:Windows partition.

      Once you have the initial backup, it is OK to add partitions to your internal drive in any allowable number (20, including your original partitions, under Windows). Just start with the letter E:, and all should be well. So you would shrink the C: partition and add an E: partition (NTFS format) for your data. Very simple. Then back up the C: partition (You cannot rebuild the D: Factory_Image partition, so don’t bother backing it up.) and you’re on your way. How long you have had the computer makes a difference only if you have to go to the manufacturer’s tech support people to get Recovery Disks, if you are not offered the option of burning your own from the Recovery Environment. Even then, most companies will let you order the disks. There may be a nominal charge for this service, but it is worth it.

      Note: Shrinking the C: partition is not possible with the built-in Windows Disk Manager. You need third-party software to do this.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Avast version 5 impression #1206001

      JoeP —

      Thanks for moving this to a new thread. There’s a lot of interest in this topic, and I am glad to expand on my observations here.

      Bobprimak – you say ‘(My Avast Icon is orange, due to the fact that I do not do automatic updates.)’.

      I am not sure where you got that impression, as far as I know the icon is always orange and shows some additions if there is a fault, ie if the AV is disabled. The help file says nothing about changing the colour.

      I upgraded yesterday and it seems to work fine. The only problem I had is in the user interface that if you enable the ‘shield traffic’ display my computer grinds to a halt when this pane is displayed. And I am not sure I really like that orange icon, the old blue one was far less intrusive.

      The Avast Tray Icon actually is supposed to show orange (my bad from earlier version of this post). It shows a yellow triangle with a black exclamation point (again, my bad earlier) if there is a fault in your coverage, or if there’s something seriously wrong (also my bad from earlier). Not like the Norton Antivirus tray icon, which changes colors if anything is not quite right (My bad from earlier). My Avast Tray Icon shows the triangle because I do not have automatic updates turned on. This action in Windows Security Center (turning off Automatic Updates) turns the MS shield in the tray red. You do not control the color or the triangle icon — the program does it to tell you at a glance if anything is wrong. Hovering over the Avast Icon shows either “system secured” or “system not fully secured” pop-up messages, just like previous versions. (Edited from earlier post.)

      At log in to any active account there will be a delay, maybe a long one for some users (30 seconds is an underestimate on my older, single-core laptop), before all the Avast Shields start up and you are fully protected. The old Tray Icon would only show you this if you hovered the mouse over it, in which case you would see a pop-up saying “7 Shields — 4 active” or something similar. Until all seven of the shields showed up as active, you were not fully protected. The new version shows this through the same sort of pop-up (my bad in earlier post), plus the yellow triangle. It’s normal to have a delay. You need only worry if the shields never get going. This could indicate a conflict with something else on your computer, or just a bad log in. Log out and in again, and often these errors will resolve themselves.

      The first time you enable logging and reporting, including the Traffic Pages, Windows may hang badly. The solution is to close the Avast Program Main Window and reboot your computer. This gets the logging and reporting going, and system performance should return to normal.

      As I said in my First Impressions, my Registration went through automatically in seconds during the upgrade installation. No need to re-enter or apply for a new code. Great change!

      I had to edit this post due to revised observations. My Limited User Acount shows the same behaviors as my Administrator Account for what I have seen so far.

      What I have not yet seen is any indication that Avast is still building and maintaining a Recovery Database of critical system files. This may no longer be a feature of the program.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Extend the life of your laptop's battery #1205997

      As for using Windows Safe Mode for routine maintenance, I take a different approach. I shut off my Internet connection. Then I shut down each of my security programs through its Tray Icon, leaving on only the one I’m using for scanning. And I exit my sound manager and a couple of other background tasks. Whether I am doing backups, deep scans, or defrag runs, this is enough to allow me to get the maintenance work done without having to respond to pop-up nags or have hangups or lengthy delays in executing mainetnance tasks. I also employ this strategy when burning CDs or DVDs. Any background process can interrupt a burn and create a coaster. And backup archives can be ruined by background processes. Again, I never go into Safe Mode (unless my antispyware program detects a rootkit, which has only happened four times in six years), but instead use the Tray Icons or the Windows Task Manager shut down unnecessary processes for a nice, quiet maintenance environment while staying within Windows Normal Mode. Screen Savers and power management time-outs also should be shut down during maintenance.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Browser forensic tools find malware entry points #1205990

      Great tools (from NirSoft), but most of these tools do not have equivalents for Firefox, Chrome, and other browsers. Also, many of us routinely clear the browser cookies, caches, and other locations where the data would be stored. Any help for us?

      One more tool users often overlook is in your firewall or web shields (security program). These programs also may include their own logs and reports. Sometimes, these logs and reports contain information very similar to what was lin this article, if you learn where and how to look. In the new Avast 5, for example, each of its Web Shileds has a log and a running graph of activities being monitored and significant security events. Instructions vary from product to product, and so does the quantity and quality of data logged. In some programs, you need to turn on logging and reporting to get data.

      Scan logs also may provide important clues as to how your computer got infected. Don’t overlook tthis valuable resource.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Extend the life of your laptop's battery #1205988

      Also in this article is the Ready-Boost story. Originally, Ready-Boost was designed to allow computers with only about 2 GB of RAM to run Vista more smoothly, especially when running very CPU and RAM intensive applications. Since even the lowliest laptops running Vista or Win-7 these days seem to come with 4 GB of RAM, newer, more efficient Core i3 and Core i5 processors, and 64-bit Windows, I doubt seriously that Ready Boost will offer any advantages to most users today. It was a bridge technology whose time has come and gone. Ready Boost can even SLOW performance on PCs with a lot of RAM.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Extend the life of your laptop's battery #1205986

      Batteries can and do act as capacitors, to an extent absorbing voltage spikes depending on their properties. But it also occurred to me that unless you have a separate UPS, you lose the inherent ability of a laptop to survive a power outage.

      Most UPS units also regulate voltages, which is also important if you are like me and run your laptop on AC power with the battery out. Do not try running with the battery out unless you are connecting through a UPS.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Extend the life of your laptop's battery #1205984

      Another part of this article made mention of the Windows 7 “God Mode”. Actually, there are a number of “God Modes” in Windows 7. An article in CNet News gives a rundown on several of them. These modes may be convenient for people like myself who heavily customize Windows, but unless you like to really get under the hood of Windows, these modes are not particularly useful, and harmful changes can be made using these modes. If you want to create these folders, be very careful about getting the corresponding ID Strings (hex-codes) correct.

      http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10426627-56.html?tag=mncol;mlt_related “Windows 7 Has Lots of God Modes” by Ina Fried (“Beyond Binary” column)

      Fascinating stuff, but definitely beyond what most users will ever need to know.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Backing up AppData files? #1205750

      To reduce the size and time required time to back up my 100-Gb internal hard drive to a USB 2.0 backup drive with Acronis True Image, I have partitioned my internal drive. Using Partition Magic or Partition Commander (or the Acronis Disk Director Program), the C:Windows partition of Windows XP Professional needs only 40 Gb or so for the OS and the prograams in a typical installation. So allow 50-60 Gb, just to allow for defragmenting. (Vista and Windows 7, especially the 64-bit versions, take up much more disk space and take longer to back up.) Thus, I only back up about 13-16 Gb of used disk space each time I make an Acronis Full Image Backup. And I do not use a backup program for my Data Partition. I just use Windows Copy/Paste to a Data Partition on the external drive. Thus, I only recopy data files which have changed each week.

      Using these methods, Acronis takes 20 minutes to make a 10 Gb backup archive, using Normal Compression. That’s a Full Backup of C:Windows. Only the C:Windows partition ever needs to be restored, unless there’s a catastrophic hard drive failure. In that case, my 15Gb of data can be restored from where I keep them on the external drive as a second operation if necessary. I once restored my Windows Partition from a backup archive, and the whole process took about 45 minutes, start to finish, using the Acronis Rescue Media, since Windows would not boot.

      My point is that with careful planning and execution, there’s no need to back up every bit and byte on your internal drive in order to get a full restore in the event of disaster or virus infections. Time and effort are saved by separating your data from your OS and Programs, using partitioning methods. Just remember to make your first backup of Windows BEFORE shrinking the C:Windows partition, as this operation can destroy data. Full Image Backups can be restored to a partition whose size does not match the original partition — this is NOT true of so-called Ghost clones of the entire hard drive! And partitioning an external drive, to give your backup program its own dedicated space for backup archives, is a good idea in my experience. If any software comes with the external hard drive, delete it by formatting the drive to NTFS partitions. My opinion of pre-bundled backup and hard drive packages is that they cause more problems than they prevent.

      So, as to the time involved, it is trivial — much shorter than a typical antivirus deep scan. And external hard drives are very reliable, but I have used Windows copy/paste to copy the Acronis Archives and data backups to a second external drive — this takes about ten minutes per archive, plus about a half-hour to select and copy important data files each week. A year’s worth of backup archives (for Windows XP, done monthly) can easily fit on a 500 Gb hard drive, which costs $50 to $100 at any of my local computer stores. True Image Home 2010, with full support and interim updates, costs $69.00 direct from Acronis. (Support and updates are sold separately from the program now.) The program without support or updates costs $39.00 direct.

      I hope some of this information will help make folks more efficient and less hesitant about doing regular system and data backups. It really is in your better interests to get comfortable doing this.

      Note about times — I don’t have a modern, dual-core computer. So my backups are nowhere near as fast in raw speed as PaulB’s backups. So for me, efficiency in what to back up and keeping backups as small as possible is critical to success.

      PaulB — the differences in I/O speeds are partly due to the data structures. OS and Programs structures often consist of fewer files, but each file is larger, than typical non-media data files. More folders = slower I/O rates, as new folders must be created and entered into the File System on the target drive before actual data transfers can occur. e-SATA does have a faster throughput than USB 2, but this is trivial compared with the problem of re-creating the File Structures on the target drive.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Upgrade from Windows 7 RC to the retail version #1203432

      Threatfire is known to be incompatible with all Norton products. Choose one or the other. Also incompatible are AVG and Super Antispyware. There may be others, including Kaspersky.

      -- rc primak

    • in reply to: Upgrade from Windows 7 RC to the retail version #1199764

      Threatfire is known to be incompatible with all Norton products. Choose one or the other. Also incompatible are AVG and Super Antispyware. There may be others, including Kaspersky.

      -- rc primak

    Viewing 15 replies - 4,066 through 4,080 (of 4,121 total)