Free Windows Utilities Suites

A Windows utility Nirsoft maker offers its suite of apps as a single download with a new application launcher that makes picking and running a utility quick and easy.

The suite covers everything from an application-crash reporter to a Windows updates viewer — over 100 titles in all.

The nice thing about these utilities is that you can load them onto a USB stick and carry them with you. The apps can be run from the USB stick so you do NOT have to install them into Windows to use them. To make selecting and running the apps as simple as possible, the company includes the NirLauncher app, which lists all the utilities in the suite and gives brief descriptions of what each does.

These utilities work on Windows versions from Windows 2000 up to the current Windows 7.

Get NirLauncher here.

Another Windows suite of free utilities is now owned by Microsoft itself. I know, FREE software, from Microsoft, that WORKS!

System Internals or SysInternals Suite has always been a very handy collection of free tools & utilities but now is even more convenient since they have rolled it all up into a SysInternals Suite.

Download SysInternals Suite here.

Always make a backup of your system before any major work or trouble shooting is done.

I have videos on backing up, newsletters where I have nagged you and other posts. If you have any questions, find out about backup here.

The Future of Cable TV (and Satellite TV)

While on the board of my local telephone company I pleaded with the other directors not to allow the digital video service (a money pit) to ruin the company. It’s bad enough that people are ditching land lines and the company would have nothing to do with selling cell phones.

Broadband is the future, of course they wanted no part of the stimulus money there, either (too many strings). Give me a million or two dollars to save my company and I’ll provide the lanyard for the strings, thank you very much.

This was posted today over at Yahoo! Finance, I won’t post the link because the links always go dead in a few weeks.

“SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google Inc. believes it has come up with the technology to unite Web surfing with channel surfing on televisions.

To reach the long-elusive goal, Google has joined forces with Sony Corp., Intel Corp. and Logitech International. The companies unveiled their much-anticipated plan for a “smart” TV on Thursday during a Google conference for about 5,000 software programmers.

The TVs are expected to go on sale in the fall. Pricing wasn’t immediately announced.

Google wants to turn televisions into giant monitors for Web surfing so it can make more money selling ads. The company generated nearly $24 billion in revenue last year, mostly from Internet ads displayed on computer screens.

The demonstration of the new technology didn’t go smoothly, though.

So many people in the audience were using the conference’s Wi-Fi network that Google ran into repeated problems showing how its technology is supposed to toggle seamlessly between the Web and television programming. Google finally had to plead with the attendees to disconnect their smart phones from the Wi-Fi network.

Once it got enough bandwidth, Google was able to conduct a series of Internet searches in a drop-down box that appears at the top of television programs. The search results pointed to Internet videos and other content related to the television program on the screen.

A telecast of a sporting event can be shrunk into a small “picture-in-picture” box so a viewer can look at the statistics or other material about the game on TV.

Viewers can also make search requests by speaking into a remote that runs on Google’s Android operating system.

Sony will make the TVs, which will rely on an Intel microprocessor. Google will provide the software, including Android and the company’s Chrome Web browser. Logitech will supply a special remote control and wireless keyboard.

Other companies have tried to turn televisions into Internet gateways with little success during the past decade.

But Google and its partners believe they have developed a system that will make Internet TV more simple and appealing.”

This is the future and I actually think it’s better (as opposed to drinking soda pop out of a can instead of a bottle, which is NOT better; and a plethora of other ways life is not as good as it once was).

More choice is good; the satellite companies are now running ads in place of one line of an already limited show guide, and cable companies are raising prices into the stratosphere.

Are you old enough to remember when paying for Cable TV meant no ads at all, that was the point in paying for it?

Fortinet Fortigate Internet Traffic Halts – CPU At 99%

Ran into a wonderful situation yesterday on a Fortinet Fortigate 100C where, every hour on the half hour the internet traffic would cease passing through the router.

The solution was to reboot the firewall.

Turns out, there was a bug in the 4.2 firmware (4.0 build 0272) with the NIDS signature. I believe it was triggered when our Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security Advanced server would try to update (hence the every hour on the half hour).

This was diagnosed via the CLI command:

Diag Sys Top 1

Let that run for a few seconds, then hit CTRL-C to stop.

IPSEngine was using 90+ % CPU (the first decimal number in the 2nd to last column is CPU usage, the last is memory usage)

Fortinet support sent me the newer NIDS signature manually, which should be automatic later today.

Fun times.

How To Clean Your PC From Malware When Nothing Else Works

Ordinarily when I go to clean a PC infected with malware I will head over to malwarebytes.org and grab the free version of their software.

Many malware infections will prevent you from going to their site so you may have to download on a different PC or do so in safe mode with networking. If using a different PC, then transfer the malwarebytes setup file via USB stick.

Then you need to boot Windows in “safe mode with networking” so that you can install malware bytes and download updates.

The other day, though, I had a real badly infected PC where malwarebytes cleaned and fixed over 1000 problems but the machine was still infected. It was easy to determine it was still infected because it would not allow me to go to Windows update.

So I called out the big gun – ComboFix.

ComboFix comes from a website named bleepingcomputer, whose name might scare away the uninitiated.

I ran ComboFix on the malware infected PC, it cleaned the last remaining malware and the customer has been happy ever since.

The good news is that both of these PC infection cleaning utilities are FREE.

Once your PC is clean, protect it with one of my recommended internet security suites.

Here is a video I did highlighting these utilities:

ComboFix download & tutorial

Here is a link to Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus as seen on BleepingComputer.com

Recommended Internet Security Suites

The innovative nature of recent email scams (like the one shown in this video of the fake Amazon email) highlights how important it is to have your computer protected by a reputable internet security suite.

I have NEVER recommended McAfee for anything other than their free SiteAdvisor program (which is free, and not perfect) and the recent debacle they had with a bad signature file that caused untold thousands of computers to go into a reboot loop just recently helps me feel justified on that.

Similarly, I have been hard on Symantec’s Norton products due to performance issues primarily but I want to emphasize here that those issues have largely been corrected.

As such, here is a list of computer internet security suites that I currently recommend and even use for my clients; many offer a great 3 for 1 deal meaning you can install on up to 3 PC’s for hardly any more money than 1 – ideal for homes with more than 1 PC or a small office:

Symantec Norton Internet Security is very mainstream and is easy to tell your friends is the one you use.

Eset is said to be the best antivirus by many, sort of a boutique firm. Firewall is optional purchase.

AVG has a free version, but the paid software is an upgrade.

Panda internet security is highly acclaimed.

Trend Micro has been a reliable option over the years for many of my clients on their home PC’s.

ZoneAlarm has always been known for their software firewall product that was pretty much the first of its kind. I have used this product in many small office situations.

Cannot Connect To WiFi – Don’t Overlook The Obvious

Yesterday a client had an issue with a fairly new Dell laptop unable to connect to the office wireless LinkSys access point use WPA2 encryption.

He tried deleting and recreating profiles; double checked the WiFi key; and still he could not connect to the WiFi network.

Knowing he had already double checked everything, I walked back to the LinkSys WiFi access point and unplugged it – waited about 30 seconds – and then plugged it back in.

Problem Fixed.

Don’t Get Blue Screened Over 977165

Many computers experienced BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) or continuous reboots after applying security update 977165. Often this was an indicator that the PC was infected with a rootkit virus.

Microsoft has a free “fix it” tool that will scan your PC and let you know if they think you will have a problem installing 977165.

It does not FIX anything, just let you know if it’s probably safe to do the fix.

Find the utility here:

Microsoft Fix It for 977165