Computer Stuff

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Ten year old back door to your computer:

The Intel Advanced Management Technology "feature" is actually in the hardware of your Intel computer, and is accessed through a driver. The main reason for this technology is remote management of your computer, normally in a business network. Unfortunately there is a back door that has existed for a long time, to log into this "portal" to your computer, it takes a login name and password. Recently it was discovered that if you login with no password the system allows you in. There's easy ways to get in trouble via web sites, and there's really no protection.

Here's an article to disable this interface to your computer:

https://mattermedia.com/blog/disabling-intel-amt/

Do it.

Basic software:

Get yourself the following tools and USE THEM:

Antivirus - I've use AVG for a long time... lately it AVG has started adding junk by itself, and lots of popups. I disliked the fact that the tray icon always showed a yellow exclamation point because Identity Protection was not enabled. I don't want it, so long story short, could not get rid of it, and could not install, and kept getting install error code: 0xE001F94E. I did all the removal and other AVG tool stuff. OK, that's it, no more AVG.  I'm using Avast free now, gets better reviews and more lightweight. Installation tip: be SURE to do the  custom installation, and you will a whole bunch of check boxes. I only use two: the file and email ones. If you don't turn the rest of the crap off, then, well, you will have a bunch of crap on your computer.

Registry cleaner - CCleaner is good and free, get from www.filehippo.com Installation tip: Be sure to turn off the monitoring in the options menu. Don't mess with the other default settings unless you know what you are doing.

Disk defragmenter - there are a couple of free ones, but I pay for Raxco's PerfectDisk, there's a big differenece in speed and capability, if you need it free, Defraggler is good. Go to www.raxco.com to get PerfectDisk trial, www.filehippo.com for defraggler. Don't bother defragging SSD's no matter what hype you read.

Backup - I use Macrium Reflect, it will do files and complete disk images and will restore an image to a new, blank drive, there is a free version, but it will only do the image, not per file backup. Buy it. Go to www.cnet.com to download

Malware - I use Malwarebytes, run it once a week. Installation tip: Be sure to uncheck the "start free trial" box at the end of the installation. BE SURE. Otherwise, you have 30 days and then it starts bugging you to pay and it stops working. Worse, you now need to use thier special uninstaller, found on their site, and then re-install the free version.

My Weekly PC software regimen/ testing

windows update - watch for weird stuff, if in doubt research before running that update, note that  different versions of windows have different methods to find "windows update".

check computer manufacturer updates or their updater (if you have it), be careful, often it will recommend a driver older than what you have, or inappropriate, like way older version of Java. This is usually great when a computer is a couple of years old or newer, but after that, these"updates" usually do nothing but cause trouble.

check drivers - I used to recommend PerfectUpdater from Raxco, but now I recommend Driver Booster 3, from IoBit, it seems to have more drivers, and the interface is easier to use to check the driver offered. NEVER just take all the drivers offered, right click each one and select "details". BE CAREFUL when updating a driver that changes the "author" or has radical change in version. Back up drivers first, do a system restore point, and preferably do an image backup if really concerned. Be CAREFUL! If in doubt DON'T DO IT!

browser update, you should have IE and another browser kept updated. IE will be updated through windows update. Be sure you DO have a second browser, and I recommend strongly it is your primary browser, not IE.

flash/shockwave updates (Adobe) - control panel updater no longer works in 8/8.1/10, go to www.adobe.com with EACH browser. Note flash updates are built into IE at Windows version 8 and above. I do a search for "test shockwave player" from the home screen, and then test shockwave, and then there is a link to test flash player.

Java - update, and test for older versions with their test pages, find in control panel. Sometimes you cannot find the update tab in the Java control panel. when this happens, just go to java.com, and click the "do I have java" link. Also run the "remove older versions" test to be sure you only have one installed.

scan and repair outlook pst file - (if you run Outlook) run scanpst.exe (from microsoft included with the office package) - run over and over until it says nothing to repair

ccleaner - keep that registry clean, get it from filehippo, run the cleaner and registry cleaner. Be careful to not delete cookies from your browsers if you don't want to, that's in the check boxes on the registry cleaner.

scan for viruses - actually force a virus scan with rootkit detection at least weekly, DO go and look at the log files to see if it found anything.

malwarebytes - run a full scan

chkdsk /f - all your hard drives, This test for file allocation table issues is rarely done, but you can fix problems before they become big ones. A little known fact.

defrag disks - (including boot time defrag) (don't defrag a SSD unless you have a defragmenter that recognizes them) Defraggler is free, I use PerfectDisk, from Raxco)

BACK UP! - I do an "image" backup weekly. This means the entire disk as an image, not just files. If my whole disk goes to hell, or a terrible virus, I just "turn the clock back". I also save my data files separately. I've not had a catastrophic loss since 1975, when I started using PC's... does this tell you something?

My PC hardware testing regimen

check hard drive for actual bad sectors, read write issues: spinrite

dram test - mdsched.exe - built in windows memory test, there are others for xp

Performance testing / hardware firmware listing

A suggestion is to keep an inventory of your computers, and what is in them. There are tools to do this like CPU-Z,

Also, performance testing is a good idea. First to know how fast your computer is running, to make decisions on upgrades or buying a new computer. Novabench is a free one that works well.

The other facet is to have a benchmark for the computer to see if it is still running right.

Lastly, if you upgrade processor, ram, hd, video, etc, you can see the effect and amount of improvement.

Show Hidden Files on your Mac

This changes the default setting of Mac OS X so that Finder always shows all files. Launch the Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities) and enter these commands exactly as shown. The first command activates the ability to see the hidden files:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Hit Return, nothing happens yet because you must relaunch the Finder for the changes to take effect. This is done by ‘killing’ the Finder process, which is also done through the command line with the following string:

killall Finder

Cool site with very small embedded computers http://www.ewayco.com/

The vulnerability affects Adobe Download Manager on Windows (prior to February 23, 2010).

The Adobe Download Manager, which is used to push security patches to Windows computers, is intended for one-time use and is designed to remove itself from the computer after use at the next computer restart.

However, Adobe is recommending that users verify that a potentially vulnerable version of the Adobe Download Manager is no longer installed on their machine.

Here are the instructions from Adobe’s security advisory:

  • Ensure that the C:\Program Files\NOS\ folder and its contents (”NOS files”) are not present on your system. (If the folder is present, follow the steps below to remove).
  • Click “Start” > “Run” and type “services.msc”. Ensure that “getPlus(R) Helper” is not present in the list of services.

If the NOS files are found, the Adobe Download Manager issue can be mitigated by:

  • Navigating to Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > Adobe Download Manager, and selecting Remove to remove the Adobe Download Manager from your system.

OR

  • Clicking “Start” > “Run” and typing “services.msc”. Then deleting “getPlus(R) Helper” from the list of services.
  • Then delete the C:\Program Files\NOS\ folder and its contents.

We all love computers, don't we?

Just some tips on computer problems/fixes and some stuff on Internet forums.

If you have ever had a bad day on the computer, then the video below has some easy, quick fix solutions:

httpv://youtu.be/OPeiuNmxPkM

My computer history...

In 1985 I purchased a Kaypro 2000 laptop, one of the first laptops ever made.

http://www.oldcomputers.net/kaypro2000.html

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