• WSFrank S

    WSFrank S


    Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
    • in reply to: 7-zip vulnerabilities, update to v16 ASAP. #1564853

      7-Zip was updated to v16.01 today. http://www.7-zip.org

      Two days later (2016-05-21), updated to 16.02:

      What’s new after 7-Zip 16.01:
      The BUG in 16.00 – 16.01 was fixed:
      7-Zip mistakenly reported the warning
      “There are some data after the end of the payload data”
      for split archives.

    • I use Chrome on Windows 10. I right click on the screen and select Print. At that point I can print it or save as a .pdf wherever I choose.

      Microsoft includes a virtual printer, available to all applications in Windows 10 (not just Chrome). It’s “Microsoft Print to PDF” and is readily available from the Print Setup screen where you choose a printer. In my experience, it works seamlessly; no need for third-party printer products unless seeking a particular feature like PDF-editing capability. I’ve used it in current versions of Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Edge (the latter just for the sake of completeness).

      Chrome has long offered the Save as PDF choice in the printer selection menu. For those who are using Windows versions before 10, this is a great choice. It obviously only works for web pages, though (the topic of this thread); other applications like Office will need a third-party solution like CutePDF to create PDF output.

    • in reply to: Google Drive/OneDrive password protect? #1552498

      FriscoJohn, sadly, I’m afraid you’re right. If the bad guys were able to hack into Microsoft or Google, your data would become their data. Solutions like Boxcryptor defend against stealing and using information in cloud storage, thus they protect your privacy. Because CryptoLocker-style malware doesn’t try to read and use your data, its being encrypted offers no defense. I’m sorry I didn’t focus on CryptoLocker’s being your concern.

      From what I read, CryptoLocker does not attack cloud storage; it encrypts files on local and mapped drives. Our cloud files are (presumably) not vulnerable to CryptoLocker, which is good news. Bad news, of course, is that somebody will eventually find a way to break into the cloud repository and do as you feared. Whether it’s called CryptoLocker or something else will be irrelevant…

      This brings up the sometimes-overlooked point that the cloud storage services like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are remote repositories and file syncing solutions. They are not, and are not presented as, backup solutions. Changes to local files are propagated quickly to the cloud and to other computers to which you’re syncing. A good backup solution will maintain previous versions of your files. As long as a backup was taken before the attack, recovery is possible, at least up to the time of the attack. (CryptoLocker seems to encrypt only userdata types of files like Word docs. This, presumably, is not a large quantity of data, so retaining many generations should be feasible.)

      One of the backup solutions I use (I don’t like single points of failure) is to write to a Web-accessible NAS (network-attached storage device). Because this NAS is not directly connected to my computer, it is further insulated from any attack on my own machine. Keeping mine in my office removes it from my home LAN, which I hope is additional isolation. (It also doesn’t run Windows.) I now use a Western Digital MyCloud EX 2, and have used Buffalo products in the past, but other affordable offerings are out there.

      I hope this is helpful. I recall that the most comprehensive treatment of backup issues and strategies came from Windows Secrets, which I’m sure you can find with a search.

    • in reply to: Google Drive/OneDrive password protect? #1551862

      Fred Langa wrote about this last year: http://windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/clarifying-onedrives-two-types-of-file-security/. In addition to laying out the issues clearly, he profiled the product landscape (as of last April) and tossed in some links to additional resources.

      One of the tools he described was Boxcryptor (https://www.boxcryptor.com/en). This encrypts the files on your computer, so their transmission through and storage in the cloud is safe from prying eyes. It works with all major cloud storage providers, and its integration into Windows is smooth (encrypted filenames are green in Windows/File Explorer, right-click context menu provides selective encrypting, etc.).

      Boxcryptor and Windows EFS are mutually exclusive, and the latter would be disabled if Boxcryptor is employed. I’ve found it to be easy to use, after a brief learning curve (thanks to YouTube!), and have found few limitations. One thing, a one-time annoyance, had to do with the Microsoft gem SmartDrive, where your files live in SkyDrive and you operate only on bits of them locally. (This was a clever solution to cram Windows into space-limited tablets, but…) Using Boxcryptor requires setting all targeted files to be offline-accessible, which means that a full copy is kept locally. The other limit I found, but am not personally troubled by, is that Boxcryptor-contained files cannot be operated on directly by the browser-based apps like Word Online and Excel Online.

      Microsoft’s approach to OneDrive for mere mortals (as opposed to OneDrive for Business) encrypts our data only in-flight, but apparently not on Microsoft’s servers, based on my research. While I trust Microsoft, I trust me more, so I encrypt my data before it leaves my hands. Similar questions should be asked of all cloud-storage providers.

    • in reply to: Adobe reader update adds mystery auto-start app #1480730

      I’ve learned this the hard way.

      In a nutshell, if you’re getting a product for free, then YOU are the product; expect to be bought and sold. This goes double for phone apps.

      If anybody knows whether these alternatives (Foxit, PDF XChange, Sumatra) force PUPs on you without allowing opt-out (however subtly), please speak up! That would be an unforgivable offense, in my book.

    • in reply to: Adobe reader update adds mystery auto-start app #1480727

      Thanks for the posts in reply. I use Adobe Reader as my reader as I also use Acrobat for creating, and more importantly, editing PDFs, adding forms, etc. This last is a critical activity.

      There is so much animus against Adobe Reader (see this thread, and many others) that I wonder whether anyone has installed, for example, Foxit Reader, on the same machine as Adobe Acrobat. I suspect that the results would be unpredictable, to say the least. Or, do I not need Adobe Reader at all, and just use Acrobat as my reader (even bigger footprint!)?

      My wife has installed both Acrobat Reader (which she tries to keep current) and the full Acrobat product (but backlevel; v8, I think?). She has had recurring problems from the fistfights these two get into.

    • in reply to: Recommendations for secure file deletion? #1457527

      I use the Microsoft-supported sdelete command, by SysInternals/Microsoft guru Mark Russinovich. Check it out at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897443.aspx. Russinovich is someone you can trust to get it right, the first time. His SysInternals team has published many useful utilities to fill gaps here and there.

      As a hobby project, I tried to figure out how to add sdelete to the context menu in Windows Explorer file lists, so I could securely delete the same way I can copy, delete, etc. This would make it much more convenient, obviously. I’d welcome anyone’s pointing me to a tutorial on how to do this.

    • in reply to: Mixing GPT and MBR drives in one PC #1419714

      Of course, complete and current backups should be routine practice. Corollary to bbearren’s rule: “Only two kinds of people: those who have lost data, and those who will.” I would not wish on my worst enemy the experience I had when my laptop, backed up nightly to my desktop, lost its hard drive, and the desktop’s drive crashed as I started to restore. One backup is one backup too few.

      My remark was simply intended as a factor for consideration when choosing between one large and two smaller drives. Even given a perfect backup, it’s still a pain that’s more likely to occur if more drives are involved. With MTBF up to one million hours, let’s hope this discussion remains theoretical.

    • in reply to: Mixing GPT and MBR drives in one PC #1419710


      Slight problem with your math as an SSD has no moving parts. :cheers:

      I assumed that it was the 4 TB vs. 2×2 TB being discussed and, to my knowledge, no civilian can afford a 2 TB SSD drive 🙂

    • in reply to: Mixing GPT and MBR drives in one PC #1419599

      All good points. The odds of a single failure is higher with two drives vs. one drive, assuming (!) the underlying drives are equally reliable. Twice as many moving parts, as it were. Unless the larger drive is doubly unreliable, you’re more likely to experience a failure with the two-drive setup (where a failure of either drive will spoil your day).

      OTOH, only half of your data is at risk for unrecoverable failure on a smaller drive.

    • in reply to: House Call 2013 Part 2: Prepping for an upgrade #1376088

      I too was wondering why Fred chose to drive through the upgrade process instead of installing onto a freshly formatted (and tested) system disk. The teaser at the end of his Part 1 article — “A clean OS upgrade!” — suggested to me that he’d start from an empty system.

      Given that he was time-constrained, as is anyone who does such work for a living, I imagine he was frustrated by the time it took for Windows Update to bring current such a back-level system. It would have aggravated me to spend all that time updating a system, knowing that I was about to turn around and ditch it!

      The article points out that there was, effectively, no user data of any value to be preserved, so that can’t be the reason to upgrade in place.

      For me, the clincher would have been recognizing that, after all that effort, I was left with a system I didn’t trust. That’s not a base I’d be comfortable building upon.

      Fred has a long and laudable track record. I’m sure he chose the upgrade-in-place path for a good reason. Was it because Microsoft’s licensing policy insisted on an extant Windows? Did he want to report on the Windows 8 upgrade experience, as well as helping Pam into a reliable environment? I wish he’d remarked on his reasoning.

      Nonetheless, I found the two-part series to be an interesting read, and I learned a couple of things from it (the inexpensive disk adapter, the What’s My Computer Doing software), as I usually do from Fred’s columns. A great public service, and not just to Pam!

    • in reply to: What to do about bad technical support #1297917

      I’ve spoken with my share of tech support reps from the subcontinent, and some of their accents are simply indecipherable. (I’ve worked with scores of software professionals from the same world, and can sometimes “listen with an accent.” My colleagues’ grasp of English syntax and grammar is easily on a par with that of college-educated U.S. natives, but accents can be a difficult barrier.)

      My solution is to engage the tech support people through the interactive chat feature that many web sites offer. The written word is unambiguous, never needs repeating, and (depending on the software) produces a written transcript of the conversation. For all its other shortcomings in technical support, Dell provides an especially useful chat tool.

      Now, if the technician simply can’t converse in English well enough to earn a living at it (“This sentence no verb” situations), perhaps another line of work is in order…

    Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)