Online Computer Tips Monthly Newsletter - September 2011
Latest Virus/Security Alerts:
Be careful of fraudulent emails and websites related to Hurricane Irene
Reports of phishing scams and malware campaigns that relate to topics that are of high interest to the news media or Government, like Hurricane Irene, tend to increase during and after the event occurs. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued an alert to all Americans saying they should take extra caution while clicking on electronic mails about Hurricane Irene. Clicking on the emails could cause keyloggers, remote access tools and other malicious software to be downloaded onto the user's computer, DHS warned.
Cyber criminals masquerade as trustworthy entities and use phishing in an attempt to acquire your usernames, passwords, and credit card details. Social networks are the prime target of phishing. Criminals are also using certain search engine optimization techniques to corrupt search engine results to return malicious sites for certain keywords as well as place malicious posts on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter pushing out links.
It's also important to be aware that phishing attacks that appear to come from charities and organizations may be a cyber scammer. Also be aware that there will most likely be many 9/11 phishing scams this month.
Precautions you can take include: Don't click on unsolicited web links that in email messages, Make sure you have up to date antivirus software on your computer, be cautious of email attachments and do regular spyware/malware scans
August's Poll Results:
What Do you listen to your music on?
Tip of the Month:
Create and open zip files in Windows
Zip files are compressed files that contain other files and folders. They allow you to combine multiple files and folders all in one file making it easy to do things such as email the files or keep many files that need to stay together in one place for transferring to another computer for example. Zipping or compressing the files will also make them take up less space which helps a lot when sending them via email. The amount of compression you will get depends on the file type since some types of files compress more than others.
Windows allows you to create your own zip files as well as open zip files created on other computers. Many people use the popular WinZip program with their zip files because it offers more advanced features compared to the built in Windows feature. But for most people, Windows will work just fine.
To create a zip file simply select all the files and folders you want to add to the file, right click on one of the and choose Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder. Windows will create the zip file and name it after the last file you selected when you were choosing the files to be zipped. You can rename the zip file after you are done to give it a more appropriate name.
To open a zip file simply double click on it. This will open the contents of the file but will not extract the files and folders within it. You don't necessarily need to extract the files to open them but sometimes things like software won't run properly until it's extracted out of the zip file. To extract the files go to the File menu and choose Extract all and choose a location to put the files. If you check the box that says Show extracted files when complete it will open up the location you extracted the file to.
Hot Product of the Month: Buffalo Technology MediaStation 6X Portable Blu-Ray Writer
Buffalo's MediaStation 6x Portable Blu-ray Writer is Iideal for laptops and netbooks. It is the smallest portable Blu-Ray writer on the market. It offers fast Blu-ray read and write speeds in a small, lightweight portable package. Powered by USB, it offers optimal burning and playback performance of Blu-ray discs, DVDs and CDs on laptops and netbooks.
Slim and Compact: Ultra small form factor makes it the perfect travel companion
USB Bus Powered: Ideal for notebook and netbooks
Easy Video Upscaling: Make your home videos look like they were recorded in HD
Cyberlink PowerDVD : Video burning and playback software for a rich Blu-ray and DVD experience
Important Windows and Office patches:
15 Microsoft bug patches planned for September
In a rather light Patch Tuesday, Microsoft will release patches for 15 vulnerabilities but fortunately there will be no critical flaws to deal with. These vulnerabilities cover a wide range of Microsoft software such as Windows, Office and Server software. Out of the 15 patches, 5 are rated "important.
2 bulletins address operating system issues, including 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2008 R2, Vista, and Windows 7. 2 bulletins fix bugs in Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 as well as Office 2004, 2008 and 2011 for Mac, Groove, SharePoint Workspace 2010 and the Excel Viewer. The last bulletin is for a SharePoint fix.
Microsoft updated all supported versions of the Windows operating system earlier this week to revoke all five DigiNotar root certificates. With the update, Internet Explorer would automatically block sites claiming certificates from the compromised Dutch certificate authority.
Grooveshark.com is an online music service that allows you to search for, listen to and share music with others. It's perfect for having a variety of music to listen to at work or at home. Groovehsark lets anyone upload music, so you can find many obscure, unknown, or upcoming bands on the site. It also offers features such as a skinnable interface and the ability to create playlists.
Reader's Question of the Month:
Internet Explorer Keeps Crashing
Jim writes in with a software question Question: Sometimes, usually when I am on the Internet, A window pops up that says, "Windows Explorer has stopped working". Then another window will pop up that will read "Windows Explorer is restarting". What is causing that to happen? Sometimes it happens quite frequently. Thanks.
Answer: Getting a message about Windows Explorer stopping working can be caused by things such as file corruption or a virus/spyware infection. Windows Explorer is used to provide a graphical user interface for accessing the file system on your computer. It is also part of the operating system that presents items such as the taskbar and desktop to your display so when it crashes you will notice that your desktop and taskbar will disappear until it starts back up again or until you manually restart it.
You can begin by running the Windows System File Checker to see if it can find and replace any corrupt system files. You will most likely need a Windows CD in the drive in case it needs it.
I would also do some spyware scans preferably in Safe Mode. There are many free and effective programs such as Malwarebytes and Spybot.
Another thing you should do is check your startup items and uncheck anything that looks suspicious or that you don't want running with your computer that may be causing the problem.
Seagate Announces World's First 4 Terabyte External Hard Drive
Seagate has just announced the first 4TB external hard drive in the market. The new GoFlex Desk 3.5 inch external hard drive will run $249.99, and will be available from various online retailers later this month. The new 4TB GoFlex Desk supports USB 3.0 with an included adapter. It also works with other adapters to support other peripheral connection types, such as eSATA and FireWire.
The new GoFlex drive also includes a lit gauge to show users how much unused capacity the drive has left. It also includes the typical automatic backup software that can encrypt your files supplied by Memeo. The GoFlex Desk drive can also be utilized with the GoFlex Home adapter so you can use it as a network drive.
To put 4TB of storage in perspective, Seagate claims that the drive should allow users to store over 2,000 HD videos depending on their size. 4TB of storage is equivalent to about 160 Blu-ray Discs' worth of storage space and the entire Library of Congress, if digitized, could be contained on 1TB of capacity. The GoFlex is preformatted using the NTFS file system but still accesable via Mac OS 10.5.