Tag Archive | "Windows"

Windows Cannot Search For New Updates Problem

Code 8024402C

The frustrating error Code 8024402C is popping up on many Windows 7 installations. If your “Try Again” button simply results in the same error message repeating itself, try the following.

Instead of click the “Try Again” button, click the link at the bottom to “Check online for updates from Microsoft Update”.

Windows Update Error message link to check Microsoft Updates

This usually results in a few seconds of “green bar” and then a window that shows you that updates have been found.  From here you can install updates as normal.

Windows Update Found Updates to install

Posted in Operating Systems, Quick Tips, WindowsComments (1)

How to control a Mac from a Windows PC

Are you looking for a way to login and control your Mac from your Windows PC? Well Mac OS X has the ability to allow you see your Mac’s desktop on your PC. Follow these simple steps to enable VNC access to your Mac.

First  you’ll need to go to your Mac’s System Preferences and turn on Sharing.

Enable Remote Management

A series of options will drop down – you don’t need to check any  of these options at this time. Just click “OK”.

Make sure to click on the “Computer Settings” button once you dismiss the above dialog box.  Also be sure to make note of your IP address listed.  You’ll need that later.

Once you click on the “Computer Settings” button, you’ll see a check box for “VNC viewers may control ….”.

Enable that checkbox, and be sure to set a password to make your connections a bit more secure.

Click “OK” after making the changes. We’re done on the Mac side. Now off to your Windows PC.

On your Windows PC, download and install TightVNC.  You can get it at TightVNC.com.

When you run the install, you can uncheck to install the “Server” portion. We won’t need it to connect to the Mac.

Once installed, run TightVNC and enter the IP address for the Mac you enabled remote management for above.

Enter the password you configured on your Mac and your in.

You may have to change the screen resolution of your Mac to get the best fit to your PCs screen.

You now have control of your Mac – you can do anything you would normally do as if you were sitting at the Mac.

Posted in Networking, Operating Systems, Software ToolsComments (0)

Windows 7′s ‘GodMode’

Apparently, if you really want to, you can enter a “GodMode” in Windows7 which will allow you to all the system controls by opening one folder.

The article goes on to say:

The trick is also said to work in Windows Vista, although some are warning that although it works fine in 32-bit versions of Vista, it can cause 64-bit versions of that operating system to crash.

Check out the full story on CNET’s site @

Understanding Windows 7’s ‘GodMode’ | Beyond Binary – CNET News.

Posted in Operating Systems, Quick TipsComments (0)

How to Enable Telnet in Windows 7

Do you need telnet on your Windows 7 box?

Follow these simple steps to add the telnet command to your command line tools.

Click on “Start Button”

Click on “Control Panel (menu item)” in “Start menu”

Click on “Uninstall a program (link)” in “Control Panel”

Click on “Turn Windows features on or off (link)” in “Programs and Features”

Click in “Windows Features” box and find the “Telnet Client” check box

Allow the system to install the appropriate files – should take only a few seconds to a minute or so.

To test the functionality:

Click on the “Start button”

Click on “Search Box” in “Start menu”

Type “cmd” in the “Search box” to bring up a command prompt

Type “telnet” and hit “enter”. You should now see the Microsoft Telnet> prompt

There you go.  Easy enough.

P.S. If you can’t find the “Telnet Client” check box in your programs list, you may need to upgrade your version of Windows 7 to get these features.

Posted in Quick TipsComments (47)

Paranoid About Your Sensitive Files – This Utility May Help You Sleep At Night

Most of us have file on our computer that should not and are not for public consumption.  However, that bank account file, password file, confidential report, or sensitive exposé newspaper article that is for your eyes only, has to live somewhere.  How do you keep these file from being opened, read, or even visible to anybody?  Encrypting the data is one way, but that can be cumbersome and even confusing to some of us.

Easy File Locker (Windows Only)

Easy File Locker is a small utility that can help you protect your sensitive files. Easy File Locker allow you to select files or folders and decide what kind of permissions to set.  You can choose to allow read, write, delete, and even decide whether you want the file to appear in a file listing (meaning it won’t show up in explorer or by doing a directory listing using the DOS Command Prompt). You can even set a password to prevent users from opening the utility where you can view the files.

Easy File Locker is free and easy to install. Simply download from Easy File Locker and run through the install wizard.

easy file locker setup
Once installed, you need to run the application to open the interface and choose to start protecting files.
Add files or folders to protect by clicking on the “plus” signs in the toolbar.

easy file locker ready

easy file locker settings

Select the type of protection and click on the “OK” button.

easy file locker set password
Don’t forget to set a password before exiting the program. This give you an added level of protection by not allowing anybody to open and modify the permissions of the files you are protecting.

Once files are protected, users will get a permission denied message if they try to modify the file when they access levels are restricted.
A very nice feature of Easy File Locker is that it also stops access to file even when the computer is booted into safe mode.

easy file locker delete file via explorer

easy file locker delete file denied

Even files access from the Command Prompt is protected.

easy file locker dos denied

The system is not foolproof of course. You do have to remember to set a password, and if you forget it, then I’m not sure you have any options but to recreate the files from scratch (that is if you have not hidden them and can remember all of the file you tried to protect).  The same can be said for encryption tools like TrueCrypt, so don’t let that discourage you.

For those of us who have a few files that need to be kept from prying eyes, Easy File Locker is the perfect little utility.

Posted in Software ToolsComments (2)

Greeting Card Virus

A computer virus has been circulating as a “Greeting Card” email message. The message title contains the words “Greeting Card”, “E-Greeting”, “Christmas Card”, “Online Greeting”, “Greeting for you” or some variance thereof. When the link is followed to view the greeting card, the computer then becomes infected with a virus or trojan (see below for more about what this is) by running ecard.exe.

Please don’t click on any links one of these emails.  Especially if you do not know the person that supposedly sent you the greeting card.  Once again, if you receive an email that meets the above criteria, please delete it.


As a matter of principle, I don’t believe in sending E-Cards as they (the companies that provide the e-greeting service) can be used to collect and sell “valid” email addresses to other companies.  Please take a look at my 9 Tips to Less Spam post for more info on how to avoid getting spam like this.

Cleanup Info

Symantec has some info on how to cleanup the trojan.  Basically disable system restore, update your virus definitions, do a full virus scan, and cleanup the registry.

Trojan Info

A trojan is a malicious program that collects information about your Internet activity and send that info to other websites where the information is collected.  Some are very sneaky and collect keystrokes, password and bank login information.  Bottom line is, don’t get a trojan.

Posted in Anti-virus, Internet, Software Tools, Web BrowsingComments (4)

USB Thumb Drives Can Pose a Threat To Your Machine

Have you ever found a USB stick in the lobby of a hotel?  Perhaps there are two or three in a pile or on a display that asks you to “take one”.  Maybe you work at a company and someone has dropped of a pamphlet or flier for a product and left a USB thumb drive behind with “literature” about the product.

Bad guys do this kind of thing all the time.  Security experts will tell you that it is an easy way to get infected with a virus, or have a trojan program spread to your or your company’s network.

This exploit works by utilizing the AutoRun feature that is triggered by inserting a thumb drive in an available USB port (Windows only).  Those drives that have programs on them are told to run via a configuration file that has been placed at the top level of the drive’s file system.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let’s look at how this might work:

  • The executable program that the bad guys want to have run is placed on the thumb drive (say the file is called “install_bad_software.exe”).
  • A file is created called “Autorun.inf” with a few lines of text indicating which file to run.
  • The USB thumb drives are distributed in various ways – i.e. left at company or hotel lobbies.
  • Once you place the USB thumb drive into your PC, the file is executed and you are well on your way to installing malicious software.

Here is an example of an Autorun.inf file.  They can be quite simple.


Another trick that is used is to direct you to a website that will install a virus or trojan.



You can prevent AutoRun from kicking off any programs by simply holding down the <SHIFT> key while inserting the drive in your computer.

Just beware of those “free”, flashy looking USB drives that you may find lying around. They could be dangerous. Just remember to use the <SHIFT> key when inserting.

Photo by inya.

Posted in Hardware, Quick TipsComments (3)

AVG Anti-virus Kills Critical Windows XP User32.dll File

AVG anti-virus recently released an update to their virus definitions file which incorrectly detected a critical Windows file as being a Trojan horse program.

Both AVG 7.5 and 8.0 (free versions and pay versions) incorrectly identified “user32.dll” as being a malicious Trojan program called PSW.Banker4.APSA (according to their forum post).


AVG Forum Post

Depending on the configuration settings chosen for AVG, the detection could result in the removal of user32.dll and the inability to reboot the PC.  User32.dll is a critical file which allows for API calls to the Windows Graphical User Interface.  If the file is missing during  boot, the computer will Blue Screen.

We get the following from Computer World’s report:avg

AVG released a follow-up signature update to correct the problem, but that solution only worked if the user had not turned off his PC, or rebooted it, after installing the buggy update and then deleting user32.dll.

AVG’s support website has some details on how to recover user32.dll in their support section.

Posted in Anti-virus, Software ToolsComments (0)

Telnet Client on Windows Vista

For those of us out there that have been missing the telnet command on Vista, here is how you enable it on MS Windows Vista.  No reboot is required.

Telnet isn’t your only option though.  If you prefer to log in to hosts via ssh, you can simply download Putty which is a free terminal emulator that supports ssh and telnet.  I use telnet more for a troubleshooting and don’t recommend that you use it for remote log in.  It’s just not as secure.

To Enable Telnet on Vista

First step is to open your Vista Control Panel and then click the “Progams” icon.


Click on “Start”, then “Control Panel” to bring up this screen…

Next, click on “Turn Windows Features on or off”.


Click highlighted area…

Find the “Telnet Client” item and make sure it is checked before clicking “OK”.


“Telnet Client” is checked…

You will then see a progress window that won’t seem to be doing much for a minute or two,  but it will eventually start moving, so be patient.


Progress bar – wait a few minutes indeed…


Finally – we’re done…

Once the installation is finished, you now have access to the telnet command.  Just type telnet <host> in the search bar of Vista, or if you prefer, run in it from a command prompt.


The shell now doesn’t complain about not finding telnet…

I hope this was helpful. Don’t forget to check out all the other features you can turn on and off while you’re enabling telnet.

Posted in Quick Tips, Software ToolsComments (2)

UPS Virus

A Computer Virus Warning
Click here for the latest updates, including other variants of the zip file…
A computer virus has been circulating as an email attachment. The “From” address indicates that the email came from a UPS representative. The virus is a zip file attachment with the names of “ups_invoice.zip” or “ups_tracking.zip”, or some variance thereof. The email is usually found to have the title of “UPS Tracking Number xxxxx” and states that a package you sent was not able to be delivered and that you are required to print the attached invoice to collect the package at your nearest UPS office.

virus_image If you receive email that meets the above description, please delete it. Do not attempt to open the attachment or forward the email to anybody.  Simply opening the attachment will release the virus and infect your machine.

UPS has issued the following statement regarding the email.

Attention Virus Warning


We have become aware there is a fraudulent email being sent that says it is coming from UPS and leads the reader to believe that a UPS shipment could not be delivered. The reader is advised to open an attachment reportedly containing a waybill for the shipment to be picked up.

This e-mail attachment contains a virus. We recommend that you do not open the attachment, but delete the email immediately.

UPS may send official notification messages on occasion, but they rarely include attachments. If you receive a notification message that includes an attachment and are in doubt about its authenticity, please contact customerservice@ups.com.

Please note that UPS takes its customer relationships very seriously, but cannot take responsibility for the

unauthorized actions of third parties.

Once again, if you receive an email that meets the above criteria, please delete it. Do not attempt to open the attachment.

Even if you have just sent a package, and think the email could be relative to you, please go to the web site http://ups.com and check the status of your packages online.

Virus Removal

Both Symantec and McAfee have released new virus definitions which detect and remove the virus (per their web sites).

There are basically two steps to removal.

  • Stop/Suspend System Restore (WinXP)
  1. Click Start.
  2. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  3. On the System Restore tab, check Turn off System Restore or Turn off System Restore on all drives.
  4. If you do not see the System Restore tab, you are not logged on to Windows as an Administrator.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. When you see the confirmation message, click Yes.
  7. Click OK.
  • Download your latest virus definition and run a full scan.

Here is the info from McAfee and Symantec

McAfee Info

Symantec Info


9/1/2011- A new variant has surfaced with the subject of the email being “Your package has arrived”. There is no attachment, but instead a link to view the shipping invoice which contains malware.

7/24 – A new variant of this virus/trojan has been reported.  The email subject status “Your parcel is in the customs office” and the attachment name is “Tax_Invoice.zip”.

7/29 – Another variant is also in the wild now taking on the form of an “Airline” Invoice or e-ticket.  The attachment has the name: E-ticket_xxx.zip.

Photo Credit Nils Geylen

Posted in Anti-virus, Email, InternetComments (23)

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