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Windows Vista « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC

Install Those Windows Updates

I had customer last night who was experiencing issues with a few websites not working correctly.  Some of the pages would not display correctly or just give a white screen.      Sometimes this can be the sign that you may have an infection.  With a quick examination, it was determined the PC was infection free.    Norton Security was installed,updated and current on it's subscription status.  As a test to determine if it was Internet Explorer that was the problem or something else, I installed Firefox.  The websites worked fine in Firefox so I had narrowed it down to something with Internet Explorer.  I also noticed the Windows Update Icon was showing with updates ready to be installed.   I clicked on the Windows update icon and discovered that this Vista machine had not been updated in quite some time.    The update was Service Pack 1 for Vista which came out over 1 year ago.   I then checked the version of Internet Explorer that she was using and discovered it was Internet Explorer 8 BETA.  These two factors would explain why the viewing of the websites was not working.

Beta versions are test versions-this means that they are not official releases and may contain bugs or things that do not work.  In this case some of the functions of the websites the customer was looking at were not supported by this Beta of IE 8.   Do not install Beta versions of Software unless you plan on testing it out and do not care about software with bugs in it.  When Beta testing is complete a finished product is released.

Simple solution to this problem was to download all Windows Updates and Voila, the websites were now working.  Install those Windows Updates when Prompted. If you are using XP and see the Yellow Shield Icon click on it and Install those Updates.  For Vista and Windows 7, the icon will be Blue Rectangle with an orange line around it.  Be sure to click on these and install those updates.  The updates are vital to Windows not only for Security Fixes but also for Windows to run properly.




The Dreaded Looping of Windows

The Looping of Windows or Boot-Looping as it is sometimes called is a problem that can be related to a variety of issues.    It could be new hardware, a virus or other infection, a corrupted boot file, a bad sector on the hard drive itself.    Fixing the problem is sometimes very easy or could require a Repair or Full Install of the Operating System  (XP, Vista, Windows 7).

The first thing you should do is try to figure out what is causing the problem.   Were you infected with a virus before it happened?   Did you recently add a new piece of hardware such as a camera or other device to the PC?     Has your Hard Drive been making strange sounds?   Have you been getting any other strange or weird messages recently.   Your answers to these questions should help you diagnose the problem.

The first easy fixes to try are booting the machine into Safe Mode or Last Known Good Configuration.    To get to these options, Press the F8 key repeatedly when you first turn on the PC.  You have to be quick as you only get about 7-10 seconds at the most to do it.   When it works it will take you to a different menu called Windows Advanced Start Up Options.  (terminology will be different depending on your OS).  From this menu use the Arrow Keys on your keyboard to highlight Safe mode or Last known Good Config.     If the machine boots into Safe Mode but not normal mode, it could be the sign of an infection present.  It could also mean something that is causing the loop doesn't run in Safe Mode.  Safe mode runs a bare bones version of Windows, with minimal drivers.    If Last known Good Config works and you can get into Windows, you should immediately scan your machines for infections or errors.  Run  your Security Software and run a Chkdsk on Windows itself.    If your system continues to loop, you can check the easy fixes off of your list and move on to the more involved fixes.

The following fixes listed are probably for more technical savvy users as the average home user may find this a bit difficult to follow.   If you are not sure what you are doing after the easy fixes, Do Not Attempt these other fixes unless you are sure you know what you are doing.   This is something you don't want to try to do unless you are very confident in your skills.   Vista and Windows 7 have additional Repair features that are accessible on this screen as well.   Once you choose them, read very carefully or you could restore your system to the Factory Defaults wiping out everything.   Within the Repair features, there should a line for Start up Repair.   This is what you would want to try for Vista or Windows 7.      There are additional Options to run commands in Vista and Windows 7 via a Command Prompt.    Going into Command Prompt on Vista and Windows 7 , you want to run a ChkDsk on Windows, this can scan your system for errors that could be preventing Windows from starting normally.    Chkdsk /?  will give you additional options to use.    You will most likely use Chkdsk /f or Chkdsk /r (includes f).

For Windows XP users, you need to access Recovery Console via a Windows CD or have previously installed or downloaded it.    If you have the CD, insert the CD into your looping system and reboot it via the CD.  Some machines may need to be told to boot from a CD, so you may have to go into your Boot menu to change it.     When prompted choose to use Recovery Console to Repair your Computer.  Be very careful when making decisions in these screens.   Recovery Console will boot into a Command prompt style environment from which you can run commands such as Chkdsk /P.     If these additional fixes still fail to boot the machine properly, then you can try a few additional steps.

You can try to Restore the System to an earlier date by using System Restore.   You may lose some data from your last Restore point but it may fix the problem for you.   You may have to do a Repair install on Windows.   This will save your data but replace all of your Windows system files.    Some infections will target the Boot file or WinLogon file for Windows and modify it.  If you can access or replace these files via  a Command prompt, that may also get the system to boot normally.     Again these later fixes are not recommended for the average user.  If you are unsure of yourself then do not try to fix it as you could potentially wipe out everything on your PC.  There are some issues that are best left to the professionals.

Try the easy fixes first, Safe Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, or System Restore.    If those don't work for you it is probably best to contact a professional unless you are tech savvy enough.    Looping of Windows is a scary issue as there are multiple causes and multiple cures but they don't always work and it depends on what is causing the problem.   If it is mechanical or hardware failure there isn't much you can do except to try and get as much data as possible on the Drive before it goes Kaput.    Have a good Backup of your PC is essential and can prevent even disasters like the Looping of Windows from becoming a Worst Case Scenario.

If your PC is looping and the easy fixes won't work you can always call on the Pros at ZolexPC to get your PC up and running again.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.




Interesting Article on US Cities With Highest Risks for PC Infections and Scams

Today more than every, many businesses, shops, cafes, libraries and others all have Free Wi-Fi available for their patrons to use.    While a great convenience to many, this makes these cities likely targets for malicious software or scams.   As this study suggests, the targets are cities with relatively moderate incomes.   Nobody wants to scam somebody who doesn't have any money to begin with so why bother.    Cities that are more affluent are more likely to have a higher chance of success for a Paying Fake Anti-virus Software scam.   They have a wider pool of targets to hope for a bite.    Spamming email is one trick that seems to work.   People in these cities are more likely to do Online Shopping, or Online Banking.   They are up to date on the latest technological trends and tools.     The Cyber Criminals know this and use it to their advantage.

Read the entire article here.


Cities and Businesses are going to continue this trend so what we must do as users or consumers is protect ourselves the best we can.   This means keeping your Security Software up to date and being very careful where you are surfing while on the Internet.   Watch out for oddities that don't usually happen.   These can be signs something may be amiss.    If you are suspicious, run your Security Software scans to ensure that you can take advantage of the technology and all it has to offer instead being a victim of it.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.




File Sharing Sites

This week, I have decided to take a little different approach to the usual blog.      I found an article on File Sharing sites and think it is a great article to share with our readers and everyone else.     I have covered this topic before but I feel this article by Ned Smith explains the risks associated with File Sharing in an easy and concise manner.   This articles explains the pitfalls of using File Sharing and tips for how to best manage it in your household.    I hope you enjoy it.


Be careful when using File Sharing Software as it is certainly an area well known to virus makers who take full advantage of unsuspecting users.

If you do get infected and can not remove it yourself or with your Security Software you can always call on ZolexPC to fix it for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.




Why You Should Let Windows Manage Your Wireless Network

When setting up your Wireless network, you may encounter a decision to make as to who or what program will manage your Wireless Network for you.  It is always best and easiest to let Windows Manage your Wireless Network at home.   Windows is usually pretty straight forward in User Friendliness for the average home user.  Windows will show you the Available networks it detects and you simply connect to it after entering the Key if necessary.
Now most other Wireless Network programs work the same way but they can occasionally conflict with Windows or your existing hardware.  You can only have one program managing your Wireless Networks.  If you try to use another one it will tell you that this program cannot manage your Network.   You need to go into the program that is controlling it and locate the option that say. "Let Windows Manage my Wireless Network".    Once you have applied those changes you should be able to now use Windows to manage your network.    Right-click on the Wireless icon down by your clock in the bottom right corner of the screen.    One of the options should be View Available Wireless Networks.   A Window will open and you will see a list of Wireless Network that Windows has detected.  Choose the name of your Network and click Connect.    You may be prompted to enter in a Password/Key.   Enter in your key and you should be connected and ready to surf.

When travelling abroad or near a place with Free WiFi, simply do the same thing to get connected.   Right click on the Wireless Network icon to View Available networks and locate the network, (Dunkin Donuts, Barnes Noble etc) and connect to it.    The beauty of having Windows manage your network is it's ease and simplicity.     So whether you are home or abroad Windows makes it easy to get connected to a Wireless Network.

Dell uses the Dell Network assistant.  This is designed to manage your Wireless network and regular home network.   While this may work, in my experience I find it easiest to let Windows manage it.   Dell is in the business of making computers, not Networking Software.   Would you buy a car that was made by McDonald's as opposed to Ford, or General Motors.   Of course not, now granted Dell is a related industry but let Windows do it what it does best and vice-versa for Dell.

Occasionally your non-Windows Management software could corrupt your internet settings or temporarily mix up your Router/Modem.    Though this is usually easily fixed by resetting your Router and/or Modem, it can be very annoying and disruptive, especially if you are working on something important.    There could be conflicts if you move the PC to a different network and the other Non Windows software attempts to change some settings on some hardware.

Having Windows manage your network is very simple and usually has few issues.  It shows you the Networks it sees, and you click connect to the one you want.      Almost all Wireless manufactures whether of Routers, Cards etc, enclose software to have them manage your Wireless networks so be careful when installing and make sure you change it to have Windows manage your wireless networks.   You will save yourself a few headaches and some aggravation.

To see if Windows is managing your Wireless networks, simply right-click on the Wireless icon down by your clock in the bottom right corner of the screen.    One of the options should be View Available Wireless Networks.  If your PC tells you it can't find them because Windows doesn't manage your network, then you need to go to the program that is managing the Wireless Network, Examples would  Dell Network Assistant, Dell LAN Manager, Linksys Advisor,  and change it over back to let Windows manage my Wireless Network.

When it comes managing your Wireless Networks, keep it simple.  Windows is easier, more user friendly, less bothersome, and quite reliable so make sure you have Windows managing your Wireless Networks .    Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.




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