Category: Tech Tip

Tips on using computers, other technology and devices.


Tech Tip: How To Remove Spyware & Adware [Windows]

By SeizerStyle Designs Team,

Adware & Spyware are programs that gather information about you while you use your computer. This could be advertising in a program you downloaded or a malicious program running stealthily in your computer’s background. They can cause many inconveniences to a computer user. Besides using up system resources they also pose a security risk because they transmit potentially private information without user knowledge or intervention.

Removal

You should first try to remove spyware using Add or Remove Programs in Windows (click Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs). Once there you can uninstall any suspicious program. To help you we have compiled a list of common spyware below.

Some free tools for removing adware and spyware are Ad-Aware 2007 Free and Spybot Search & Destroy.

You may also want to clean your registry using RegCleaner.
Note: This is a simple tool, but can cause damage to your computer if you delete something that is needed by the system. Please ensure that you are certain what you delete is not needed.

Warning: Whenever making changes to the registry it is recommended that you make a backup first in case something goes wrong. All the programs linked to here are capable of making backups.

Preventative Measures

To reduce the chances of getting spyware on your computer you should do the following:

  • Do not install suspicious programs or plugins onto your computer. You can always search for more information about a program before installing it.
  • Scan regularly using both your antivirus and antispyware programs.
  • Keep your operating system updated either by turning on automatic updates or updating manually on a regular basis.
  • Use an alternative browser like Mozilla Firefox or Opera since most spyware and adware is targeted at Internet Explorer users.

Some Common Spyware/Adware:
180 Solutions
CoolWWWSearch
Fun Web Products
MyWebSearch
NewDotNet
Spy Falcon
WebHancer

Tech Tip: Beware Of Email Spam And Scams

By SeizerStyle Designs Team,

Email is a convenient form of communication which has been blighted by an abundance of unwanted and unrequested mail messages known as spam. Spam is basically any form of unsolicited mail and it is usually sent to multiple recipients. Besides cluttering your inbox, spam can also be dangerous as many scams use it to lure victims.

Nigerian bankers, dead relatives etc…
Beware of email scams from “Nigerian bankers” or other people asking you to invest money in obscure schemes. These email scams are infamous for their shady methods and it is very unlikely that you will get any money from them. It is more likely that you will lose whatever money you send to the individual(s).

MSN is closing, send this to save a child etc…chain letters
These chain letters do not ask you for money but ask you to forward an email to many people to avoid something bad from happening. First of all, no email company will beg you to forward emails because forwarding emails uses bandwidth which these same internet companies have to pay for. Secondly, companies do not pay for email forwards and would need privileged access to email accounts to even track who has forwarded an email to a certain number of friends. With the large amount of email traffic on the internet this is neither trivial to accomplish nor economical to attempt.

How to deal with spam
When you receive spam i.e. unsolicitated email it is best to delete it immediately without opening it. The reason for this is that spam may include a virus or by simply opening a spam email a spammer may be able to determine that your email address is active and send you more spam. This technique usually involves images included in the email so it is advisable to disable the loading of images in emails from people you do not know.

Tech Tip: Reading RSS Feeds Using Prism

By SeizerStyle Designs Team,

I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds that are frequently updated. To read these I use a web reader (Google Reader) but I prefer to keep my RSS feeds separate from the many websites I usually have open. My email client (Mozilla Thunderbird) supports RSS feeds but it would have to remain open all the time to check for new items or else it would miss some. Futhermore unlike email, there is no IMAP for RSS feeds so there would be duplication when I use Thunderbird on one computer and then another – read items may just be downloaded again without being marked as read.

As a compromise I decided to try out Google Reader with Mozilla Prism. Basically what Mozilla Prism does is allows you to run web applications from your desktop in a stripped down browser. This allows you to use the web application independently from your browser (in a different process) so it does not interfere with browsing. Also because of this a crash in the browser will not affect the web app or vice versa.

It should be noted that Mozilla Prism is still in development so you should use it only if you are comfortable with better software. Also some aspects of getting it to work may be a little tricky and require following instructions in the wiki linked to above. If you do get it working however you could have the benefits of a web based RSS feed Reader with the convenience of separation from your main browser.

Update: Google Reader and Mozilla Prism have since been discontinued.

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

By SeizerStyle Designs Team,

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

A good way of increasing productivity is to know your windows keyboard shortcuts. A list of these shortcuts can be found below or at Microsoft’s Site.

General Windows keyboard shortcuts

Press To
CTRL + C Copy
CTRL + X Cut
CTRL + V Paste
CTRL + Z Undo
DELETE Delete
SHIFT + DELETE Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.
CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected item.
CTRL + SHIFT while dragging an item Create shortcut to selected item.
F2 Rename selected item.
CTRL + Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.
CTRL + Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
CTRL + Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.
CTRL + Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.
CTRL + SHIFT + or or or Highlight a block of text.
SHIFT + or or or Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.
CTRL + A Select all.
F3 Search for a file or folder.
ALT + ENTER View properties for the selected item.
ALT + F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program.
ALT + Enter Display properties for the selected item
ALT + SPACEBAR Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
CTRL + F4 Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.
ALT + TAB Switch between open items.
ALT + ESC Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
F4 Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
SHIFT + F10 Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
ALT + SPACEBAR Display the System menu for the active window.
CTRL + ESC Display the Start menu.
ALT + Underlined letter in a menu name Display the corresponding menu.
Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu Carry out the corresponding command.
F10 Activate the menu bar in the active program.
Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
F5 Refresh the active window.
BACKSPACE View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
ESC Cancel the current task.
SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.

Dialog Box Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Press To
CTRL + TAB Move forward through tabs.
CTRL + SHIFT + TAB Move backward through tabs.
TAB Move forward through options.
SHIFT + TABtd> Move backward through options.
ALT + Underlined letter Carry out the corresponding command or select the corresponding option.
ENTER Carry out the command for the active option or button.
SPACEBAR Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box.
or or or Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons.
F1 Display Help.
F4 Display the items in the active list.
BACKSPACE Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box.

Natural Windows keyboard shortcuts

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts with any keyboard that includes the Windows logo key and the Application key.

Press To
Windows key Display or hide the Start menu.
Windows key + BREAK Display the System Properties dialog box.
Windows key + D Show the desktop.
Windows key + M Minimize all windows.
Windows key + Shift + M Restores minimized windows.
Windows key + E Open My Computer.
Windows key + F Search for a file or folder.
Windows key + CTRL + F Search for computers.
Windows key + F1 Display Windows Help.
Windows key + L Lock your computer if you are connected to a network domain, or switch users if you are not connected to a network domain.
Windows key + R Open the Run dialog box.
Application Key Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
Windows key + U Open Utility Manager.

Accessibility Windows keyboard shortcuts

Press To
Right SHIFT for eight seconds Switch FilterKeys on and off.
Left ALT + left SHIFT + PRINT SCREEN Switch High Contrast on and off.
Left ALT + left SHIFT + NUM LOCK Switch MouseKeys on and off.
SHIFT five times Switch StickyKeys on and off.
NUM LOCK for five seconds Switch ToggleKeys on and off.
Windows key + U Open Utility Manager.

Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

Press To
END Display the bottom of the active window.
HOME Display the top of the active window.
NUM LOCK + * on numeric keypad Display all subfolders under the selected folder.
NUM LOCK + + on numeric keypad Display the contents of the selected folder.
NUM LOCK + - on numeric keypad Collapse the selected folder.
Collapse current selection if it’s expanded, or select parent folder.
Display current selection if it’s collapsed, or select first subfolder.

Tech Tip: Unfreeze Windows Explorer [Windows]

By SeizerStyle Designs Team,

Sometimes Windows Explorer freezes and your computer becomes unresponsive. The taskbar may disappear or clicking on an icon may appear to do nothing. This may be caused by an error in Windows Explorer and you may need to restart the explorer.exe process.

To restart the explorer.exe process:

  • Press Alt + Ctrl + Del simultaneously to bring up the Task Manager or right click on the taskbar and click Task Manager.
  • Click on the Processes tab then search the list of processes for explorer.exe. Tip: You can sort the processes alphabetically by clicking on the Image Name heading.
  • Right click on explorer.exe then click End Process (your taskbar may disappear).
  • Click on the Applications tab in Task Manager then click on the New Task button at the bottom right. In the dialog box that pops up type explorer.exe (your taskbar should reappear).