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Category Archives: Computers

10 things you can do when Windows XP won’t boot

When your computer hardware appears to power upokay, but the Windows XP operating system won’t boot properly, you have tobegin a troubleshooting expedition that includes getting into the operatingsystem, determining the problem, and then fixing it. To help you getstarted on this expedition, here are 10 things you can do when Windows XP won’tboot.

#1: Use a Windows startup disk

One of the first things you should reach for whentroubleshooting a Windows XP boot problem is a Windows startup disk. This floppydisk can come in handy if the problem is being caused when either the startuprecord for the active partition or the files that the operating system uses tostart Windows have become corrupted.

To create a Windows startup disk, insert a floppy disk intothe drive of a similarly configured, working Windows XP system, launch MyComputer, right-click the floppy disk icon, and select the Format command fromthe context menu. When you see the Format dialog box, leave all the defaultsettings as they are and click the Start button. Once the format operation iscomplete, close the Format dialog box to return to My Computer, double-clickthe drive C icon to access the root directory, and copy the following threefiles to the floppy disk:

  • Boot.ini
  • NTLDR
  • Ntdetect.com

After you create the Windows startup disk, insert it intothe floppy drive on the afflicted system and press [Ctrl][Alt][Delete] toreboot the computer. When you boot from the Windows startup disk, the computerwill bypass the active partition and boot files on the hard disk and attempt tostart Windows XP normally.

#2: Use Last Known Good Configuration

You can also try to boot the operating system with the LastKnown Good Configuration feature. This feature will allow you to undo anychanges that caused problems in the CurrentControlSet registry key, whichdefines hardware and driver settings. The Last Known Good Configuration featurereplaces the contents of the CurrentControlSet registry key with a backup copythat was last used to successfully start up the operating system.

To use the Last Known Good Configuration feature, first restart the computer by pressing [Ctrl][Alt][Delete]. When you see the message Please select the operating system to start or hear the single beep, press [F8] to display the Windows Advanced Options menu. Select the Last Known Good Configuration item from the menu and press [Enter].

Keep in mind that you get only one shot with the Last KnownGood Configuration feature. In other words, if it fails to revive your WindowsXP on the first attempt, the backup copy is also corrupt.

#3: Use System Restore

Another tool that might be helpful when Windows XP won’tboot is System Restore. System Restore runs in the background as a service andcontinually monitors system-critical components for changes. When it detects animpending change, System Restore immediately makes backup copies, calledrestore points, of these critical components before the change occurs. Inaddition, System Restore is configured by default to create restore points every24 hours.

To use System Restore, first restart the computer by pressing[Ctrl][Alt][Delete]. When you see the message Please select the operating system to start or hear the singlebeep, press [F8] to display the Windows Advanced Options menu. Now, select theSafe Mode item from the menu and press [Enter].

Once Windows XP boots into Safe mode, click the Startbutton, access the All Programs | Accessories | System Tools menu, and selectSystem Restore. Because you’re running in Safe mode, the only option on theopening screen of the System Restore wizard is Restore My Computer To AnEarlier Time, and it’s selected by default, so just click Next. Then, followalong with the wizard to select a restore point and begin the restorationprocedure.

#4: Use Recovery Console

When a Windows XP boot problem is severe, you’ll need to usea more drastic approach. The Windows XP CD is bootable and will provide youwith access to a tool called Recovery Console.

To boot from the Windows XP CD, insert it into the CD-ROMdrive on the problem system and press [Ctrl][Alt][Delete] to reboot thecomputer. Once the system begins booting from the CD, simply follow the promptsthat will allow the loading of the basic files needed to run Setup. When yousee the Welcome To Setup screen, shown in FigureA, press R to start the Recovery Console.

Figure A

You’ll then see a Recovery Console menu, like the one shownin Figure B. It displays the foldercontaining the operating system’s files and prompts you to choose the operatingsystem you want to log on to. Just press the menu number on the keyboard, andyou’ll be prompted to enter the Administrator’s password. You’ll then findyourself at the main Recovery Console prompt.

Figure B

#5: Fix a corrupt Boot.ini

As the Windows XP operating system begins to load, the Ntldrprogram refers to the Boot.ini file to determine where the operating systemfiles reside and which options to enable as the operating system continues toload. So if there’s a problem rooted in the Boot.ini file, it can render WindowsXP incapable of booting correctly.

If you suspect that Windows XP won’t boot because Boot.inihas been corrupted, you can use the special Recovery Console version of theBootcfg tool to fix it. Of course, you must first boot the system with theWindows XP CD and access the Recovery Console as described in #4.

To use the Bootcfg tool, from the Recovery Console commandprompt, type

Bootcfg /parameter

Where /parameteris one of these required parameters:

  • /Add–Scans the disk for all Windowsinstallations and allows you to add any new ones to the Boot.ini file.
  • /Scan–Scans the disk for all Windowsinstallations.
  • /List–Lists each entry in the Boot.ini file.
  • /Default–Sets the default operating system as themain boot entry.
  • /Rebuild–Completely re-creates the Boot.inifile. The user must confirm each step.
  • /Redirect–Allows the boot operation to beredirected to a specific port when using the Headless Administration feature.The Redirect parameter takes two parameters of its own, [Port Baudrate ] | [UseBiosSettings].
  • /Disableredirect–Disables the redirection.

#6: Fix a corrupt partition boot sector

The partition boot sector is a small section of the harddisk partition that contains information about the operating system’s filesystem (NTFS or FAT32), as well as a very small machine language program thatis crucial in assisting the operating system as it loads.

If you suspect that Windows XP won’t boot because thepartition boot sector has been corrupted, you can use a special RecoveryConsole tool called Fixboot to fix it. Start by booting the system with theWindows XP CD and accessing the Recovery Console as described in #4.

To use the Fixboot tool, from the Recovery Console commandprompt, type

Fixboot [drive]:

Where [drive] is the letter of the drive towhich you want to write a new partition boot sector.

#7: Fix a corrupt master boot record

The master boot record occupies the first sector on the harddisk and is responsible for initiating the Windows boot procedure. The masterboot record contains the partition table for the disk as well as a smallprogram called the master boot code,which is responsible for locating the active, or bootable, partition, in thepartition table. Once this occurs, the partition boot sector takes over andbegins loading Windows. If the master boot record is corrupt, the partitionboot sector can’t do its job and Windows won’t boot.

If you suspect Windows XP won’t boot because the master bootrecord has been corrupted, you can use the Recovery Console tool Fixmbr to fixit. First, boot the system with the Windows XP CD and access the RecoveryConsole as described in #4.

To use the Fixmbr tool, from the Recovery Console commandprompt, type

Fixmbr [device_name]

Where [device_name] is the devicepathname of the drive to which you want to write a new master boot record. Forexample, the device pathname format for a standard bootable drive Cconfiguration would look like this:

\Device\HardDisk0

#8: Disable automatic restart

When Windows XP encounters a fatal error, the defaultsetting for handling such an error is to automatically reboot the system. Ifthe error occurs while Windows XP is booting, the operating system will becomestuck in a reboot cycle–rebooting over and over instead of starting upnormally. In that case, you’ll need to disable the option for automaticallyrestarting on system failure.

When Windows XP begins to boot up and you see the message Please select the operating system to startor hear the single beep, press [F8] to display the Windows Advanced OptionsMenu. Then, select the Disable The Automatic Restart On System Failure item andpress [Enter]. Now, Windows XP will hang up when it encounters the error and withany luck, it will display a stop message you can use to diagnose the problem.

#9: Restore from a backup

If you can’t seem to repair a Windows XP system that won’tboot and you have a recent backup, you can restore the system from the backupmedia. The method you use to restore the system will depend on what backuputility you used, so you’ll need to follow the utility’s instructions on how toperform a restore operation.

#10: Perform an in-place upgrade

If you can’t repair a Windows XP system that won’t boot andyou don’t have a recent backup, you can perform an in-place upgrade. Doing soreinstalls the operating system into the same folder, just as if you wereupgrading from one version of Windows to another. An in-place upgrade willusually solve most, if not all, Windows boot problems.

Performing a Windows XP in-place upgrade is prettystraightforward. To begin, insert the Windows XP CD into the drive, restartyour system, and boot from the CD. Once the initial preparation is complete,you’ll see the Windows XP Setup screen (shown earlier in Figure A). Press[Enter] to launch the Windows XP Setup procedure. In a moment, you’ll see theLicense Agreement page and will need to press [F8] to acknowledge that youagree. Setup will then search the hard disk looking for a previous installationof Windows XP. When it finds the previous installation, you’ll see a secondWindows XP Setup screen, as shown in FigureC.

Figure C

This screen will prompt you to press R to repair theselected installation or to press [Esc] to install a fresh copy of Windows XP.In this case, initiating a repair operation is synonymous with performing anin-place upgrade, so you’ll need to press R. When you do so, Setup will examinethe disk drives in the system. It will then begin performing the in-placeupgrade.

Keep in mind that after you perform an in-place upgrade orrepair installation, you must reinstall all updates to Windows.

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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Computers

 

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Delete print job in Windows XP and Vista

Have you ever run into the situation where you sent a job to the printer, but it just refused to print? You check the print job queue and everything looks fine, but nothing is happening?

So either nothing happens or the print job ends up failing and USUALLY just goes away. If not, you then have to go into the print job queue and manually delete the print job, otherwise it will hold up all the new jobs coming to the printer.

However, there are those few print jobs that really mess with you and simply refuse to delete! You Cancel, Delete, Remove the print job, yet it still remains in the queue. If you cannot delete a print job in Windows, you have to completely stop the print spooler service, delete the print job, and then restart the service.

print error

Note that when you stop the print spooler service and delete the print jobs, you will have to delete ALL of the current print jobs as there is no way to tell one print job from another.

Step 1: First go to Start, then Run and type in services.msc. Scroll down to the Print Spooler service, right-click on it and choose Stop.

cannot delete print job

Step 2: Now that the print spooler service is stopped, we have to go into the Windows folder where all of the print jobs are spooled and delete them. Navigate to the following directory:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS

And delete everything inside this folder. DO not delete the folder itself, just everything inside of it. This will remove all print jobs currently in the print queue.

Step 3: Now go back to the Services window and right click on the Print Spooler service and choose Start. Go back to the Print Job queue and refresh it. You should now see that all print jobs have been removed and you can start printing again normally.

“Stalled Printer Repair” very useful. It does the same thing, but without having to remember how to do it manually! Works fine on XP and Vista, and can be carried around on a USB stick. It’s here: http://www.fantasticfreeware.com/applications/stalled-printer-repair/

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2011 in Computers

 

Windows 7 Product Key Checker 1.0.1

Here is a very useful utility Windows 7 Product Key Checker which lets you to check and verify your Windows 7 Product key. Windows 7 Product Key Checker is an easy to use application designed to offer you a full description of the every fields of the product key, Product ID, Extended PID, Activation ID, Edition ID, License Type, License Channel, and Crypto ID.

Windows 7 Product Key Checker 1.0.1

Windows 7 Product Key Checker

Download Windows 7 Product Key Checker 1.0.1.

The PID is the product id assigned to each oem manufacturer by edition (ie Home Premium, Ultimate, etc.). You can find the PID for a product key by using the online PID checker: Windows PIDchecker.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Computers

 

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Turn on Remote Desktop in Windows 7 or Vista

Turn on Remote Desktop in Windows 7 or Vista

Remote Desktop is disabled by default in Windows 7 or Vista, but it’s easy enough to turn it back on. If you need to access your Vista PC from another box, it’s an essential thing to turn on.

Important note: Remote desktop is only included in the Professional, Business, or Ultimate versions of Windows. Home editions do not have remote desktop.

To get to the configuration page, you can either right-click the Computer icon and choose properties, or you can type in system into the start menu search box, and then find the entry for System.

Now you’ll want to click the Remote Settings link on the left hand side:

Now you can finally turn it on:

To connect from another Vista / Win7 PC on the same network, click the bottom radio button. If you need to connect from an XP/2k machine, click the “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop” radio button.

Don’t worry about setting up firewall rules, Vista or Windows 7 does that for you automatically.

Note: This should work for both Windows 7 and Vista.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Computers

 

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Modern Replacement for HijackThis

OTL by OldTimer – A Modern Replacement for HijackThis

OTL by OldTimer is like HijackThis — on steroids. OTL scans your system for malware, and produces detailed logs. It’s primarily a malware diagnostic tool, but has advanced removal abilities. It is used alone, or with other tools to remove malware completely.

OTL is a flexible, multipurpose, diagnostic, and malware removal tool. It also has some curative ability.

Modern malware will hide all, or most of itself from detection in a HijackThis log. HijackThis (HJT) is very popular, and if malware can hide from it, it has a better chance of survival. But mostly HJT fails to detect malware because, with the exception of some bug fixes and minor updates, it has not been updated in a long time. A brief history lesson… Merijn Bellekom is the creator and developer of HJT. He sold it to Trend Micro in March, 2007. Trend added an “Analyze This” button to collect data, updated HJT to be compatible with Windows Vista/7, and fixed a few bugs. While malware has evolved much since March 2007, HJT has not. The need for a more powerful diagnostic tool that is updated often spurred developers to create their own pseudo versions of HJT. Among them DDS by sUBs, RSIT by random/random, and of course OTL by OldTimer Of them, OTL is the most robust, and has the most advanced ability to remove malware. The most common use for OTL is to post a log in a malware removal forum for analysis by an expert. However, it’s also a good idea to run an OTL log as a baseline before running any advanced removal tools. In the event those tools don’t completely remove the malware, the OTL log can offer valuable information to remove the remainder. A complete and detailed OTL tutorial has just been made public. It has been available to experts and forum helpers for some time. While most people will never use all the features of OTL, or only use it to create a log, others will find all the information offered in the tutorial helpful. One of the most powerful features of OTL is its ability to run custom scans. This allows the log output to be modified very easily, and quickly adapt to the latest malware threats. An always up-to-date custom scan recommendation can be found in our Malware Cleaning Guide. Following is a “Quick Start” Guide to creating an OTL log:

  1. Simply Download OTL.exe (alternate mirror) to your desktop, download folder, or other convenient location. In the event malware is blocking OTL.exe from running, alternate versions are available as either .com (mirror), or .scr (mirror).
  2. OTL doesn’t need to be installed, simply run it by clicking the icon (approve any UAC warnings on WIndows Vista or 7).
  3. First paste custom scan information (if any). Second, click the “Quick Scan” button.

4. When the scan completes, it will open two windows in Notepad. OTL.txt, and Extras.txt. They are saved in the same location as OTL.exe. Copy the contents and paste to a forum for help, or if you’re an advanced user and have read the tutorial, analyze the output.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Computers

 

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New P2P Trojan Discovered

Once launched, the malware will install itself in the WINDOWS directory where it installs a registry key to ensure that it loads on startup.

Security researchers at Arbor Networks researchers have discovered a new botnet that compromises machines infected with the Heloag Trojan that is specifically designed to manage the downloading and installation of a spectrum of additional malicious software.

“Upon detailed inspection, this bot does not appear to have any DDoS capabilities built into it, it appears to only manage downloads on the infected PC,” say researcher Jose Nazario.

The way it works is that the trojan is downloaded from either 7zsm.com or elwm.net. Once on an infected PC, it then install itself in the WINDOWS directory.

Names observed include:

  • C:\WINDOWS\csrse.exe
  • C:\WINDOWS\ThunderUpdate.exe
  • C:\WINDOWS\conme.exe

The malware then installs a registry key to ensure that it loads on startup:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon = [filename]

(Where [filename] refers to the installed filename from above)

It then makes a connection to the C&C server for the botnet, often on TCP port 8090, to register itself and await commands. Traffic is usually preceded by a single byte to indicate the message purpose:

  • 01 – initial hello
  • 02 – keep alive, idle message
  • 03 – download the named file
  • 04 – connect to other peers
  • 05 – send hostname to server
  • 06 – clear
  • 07 – close connection

Trojan.Heloag infected hosts often download other malcode over HTTP from a central server, and can also connect to other bots over TCP, often using ports 7000-7010.

Nazario said that the Trojan not only calls out to the command-and-control server in order to download new EXEs to load onto the infected PC, it will also connect with other infected machines over TCP.

“It’s unclear what the purpose of this is, but it appears to be some form of peer-to-peer,” adds Nazario.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2010 in Computers

 

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How to Simply backup Windows 7

How to Simply backup Windows 7 with free backup software?

Why you need to backup computer?

In information technology, backup refers to making copies of data so that these additional copies may be used to restore the original after a data loss event. These additional copies are typically called “backups.” Many personal computer users have the experience of system crash or data loss, for example, hardware conflict, bad ram, hard disk drives overload, viruses attack, software conflict, etc. If your system is crashed and then you will realize that you really need backup software after suffering the great pain to sacrifice your precious weekends or dating time to reinstall your operating system

Two common problems of Windows 7 users

Firstly, low disk space problem. No matter you upgrade from old operating system or fresh install Windows 7, the original partition size is too small for Windows 7. In fact, this problem can be easily solved by professional partitioning software, for example, EASEUS Partition Master, but some people still like to backup Windows 7, reset the partitions and then restore again. To these people, EASEUS provides a Windows 7 backup freeware.

Secondly, some people’s favorite application that doesn’t compatible with Windows 7 but they have to use these applications for business work or homework. Then they may consider backup Windows 7 and restore later when new applications published.

No matter which problem you may encounter, you’d better make a backup in advance. Fortunately, EASEUS provides free Windows 7 backup software, so you can protect your system and data under Windows 7 without any cost.

How to backup Windows 7 with this free backup software?

To launch backup operation, please click “Backup” in the main window, or select “Operation” -> ” Backup” from the menu bar, tool bar or action panel to start “Backup Wizard “.

Free Windows 7 backup software main window

Follow the Backup Wizard steps to backup your system:

1. Select the system partition. (Here is Partition C:)

Case1: Select the system partition:

Select Windows 7 partition to backup

Case 2: Sector-by-sector backup Option

Sector-by-sector backup option

You may notice that there is an option of “Create image sector by sector” at the bottom. Sector-by-sector backup can be chosen if necessary. If you choose it, it means you prefer to backup all sectors to the image file even though there is no data on the source partition or disk.

Tips:

Sector-by-sector backup will be operated automatically when there is bad sector on the source partition or unused space is less than 2%. Image backup file created sector-by-sector will produce large imaged file.

2. Select backup image location

Select the destination position to save the image and input a name for the image. Please save the backup image file to different partition or hard drive, especially the removable hard drive. If you save the file on to the original place, you cannot restore the image when this original partition is corrupted.

Tips:

1. The default path is the same as the last setting and the default file name is MyBackup.pbd. If you change the path, you must input a file name.

2. The backup path should include English character or number only.

Select backup location

3. Choose Backup options:

Here are two options: “Use Default options” and “Set the option manually”.

a. Use Default options:

If you choose “Use Default options” during this step, the backup image will be produced according to you previous set state.

Choose backup option

b. Set the option manually:

If you select “Set the option manually”, you can set the Priority, Compress Level, Image protection and Image Splitting options. (This option also can be changed previously in “Tool” > “Option”)

Tips:

1. In menu “Tool” > “Option”, you can change “Temporary File Path” besides the settings above.

2. If the temporary file path is the partition that you want to backup, sector-by-sector backup cannot be achieved until the path is changed to another partition in “Option” menu.

Manually set backup option

4. Image comments:

Input image comments

You may add some comments to the backup image which will help you to find the image file faster.

5. Backup image creation summary

Backup summary

This window displays the list of operations which will be performed. Click “Proceed” to start the backup creation task. The task progress will be shown in the special window. You can stop the procedure by clicking “Cancel” or use the “Back” buttons to change the task.

6. Operation progress

There will be the process bars of current operation progress and total progress. After all the operations finished, there will be a pop-up window with the result notification.

Proceed backup

Tips:

1. If you set a password for the image file, you need to confirm this password when you check or restore.

2. Please do not save the image file to the partition which you want to restore.

3. Burning image to DVD in Windows 2000 is not available.

You can save the image archive to local hard disk, LAN computer disk or CD/DVD. Besides backing up to an image archive, you may also clone disk to replace or upgrade the old one by this free Windows 7 backup software.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2010 in Computers

 

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