This week in the field…

Jim had an HP Dv8000 laptop – a nice dual core machine with lots of media extras that make it worth keeping.  It was out of warranty (of course!) and Windows XP  would not boot past the XP splash screen.  Let me say here when you get a new laptop or computer immediately CALL THE MANUFACTURER AND REQUEST A RESTORE DISK. This is a disk that has your Windows operating system on it, as well as all the drivers for the particular system. Once the machine is out of warranty it can be impossible and expensive to get a copy of that disk and without it you have to purchase Window$.

     The hard drive or Windows was corrupted.  Fortunately that model has 2 hard drives so XP can be reinstalled on the other one. We switched them from their original configuration so the D drive became the C drive – preserving the files on the original C drive in hopes of accessing them later. So – let’s install XP! But wait the install says the computer has no hard drives! Into the Bios! ( the “setup” option when you first start the machine) The bios is set for modern SATA drives and XP does not know what they are. Thanks to my instructor Greg Rehm at Bellingham Tech – where I just received my Associates in Applied Sciences in Computer Networking, I was taught how to give XP the driver it needs to install on a SATA drive. In this case the bios can be set to “legacy” mode and allows XP to get started.
    39 minutes later….. Windows is installed but the machine has no drivers for networking or wireless. While we were waiting we went to the HP support site (on another computer) and downloaded the drivers onto a flash drive. Once the drivers are installed the computer can communicate with the outside world and let the updating begin!!! LET THE MACHINE UPDATE WINDOWS UNTIL IT WILL UPDATE NO MORE! This process, if allowed to run automatically and the computer is left on, will take about 3 days. Yes – three days. You can sit with it and keep updating – takes about 4 or 5 hours. This is essential because the Windows install has to catch up with all the updates from Microsoft from the last few YEARS.
     Next is AntiVirus. Do not go anywhere else on the web until antivirus is installed or all your hard work may be for nought – lots of nasty bugs out there on the Intertubes! I have been using Microsoft Security Essentials with great success lately – it is FREE, works great and is super easy to install. Some great free alternatives are AVG and Avast. The best store bought antivirus software is ESED, Kaspersky, and Nod 32 – but they run from $79 to over $100 and I have never had the need to purchase antivirus software.
    So – now Jim’s laptop is functional and his son can continue his quest to be the first in his 2nd grade class to complete the subtraction section of XTRA math after being the first to complete the addition module.
All this for $35 – what a deal! Contact me if your computer is not cooperating and you can be like Jim!!

Browser Speed Tests: Chrome 19, Firefox 13, Internet Explorer 9, and Opera 11.64

Here is a follow-up on our last post about browsers. The numbers speak for themselves and we will be trying out the Opera 12 browser today.

Beware Internet Explorer Zero-Day Hack: Microsoft /

Beware Internet Explorer Zero-Day Hack: Microsoft /

“If you run Windows and haven’t installed Tuesday’s batch of security fixes, you should stop whatever else you’re doing and run them now,” Goodin said. (Source:

This is caused by Internet Explorer – which should be called the “Firefox and Chrome browser downloader program”. Please, Please, do not use Internet Explorer unless you absolutely have to – for a work application or the like. This browser has been the source of many of the major security breaches in modern computing. It is slow, ad-ridden (think Bing, msn, Windows Live) and less than user friendly. 

How to remove XP Security Tool 2010, XP Defender Pro, and Vista Security Tool 2010 (Uninstall Guide)

How to remove Win 7 security 2010, XP Defender Pro, and Vista Security Tool 2010 (Uninstall Guide):

This worked this morning on a client’s computer to remove “hostage ware” that masquerades as anti virus and wants your money to “fix” the problem though it is the problem. Be sure to run the FixExe.reg first – it shuts the program down temporarily so you can install Malwarebytes. The virus is so nasty it will not let you on the internet to download the very tools you need to remove it. Bring the software to the computer on a thumbdrive or cd – but beware! The virus will offer to “scan” the thumbdrive for viruses. CLICK NO! Then follow the instructions from the above link. I had to do it all twice (a common occurence) to remove it. If this doesn’t work you can try ComboFix – or call me! $35 flat fee to fix any computer.

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