Tech Notes by John Redrup

Optimizing Windows 7

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Migrating to Windows 7?

The 10 Things to Do First for Windows 7 by Bill Boswell

  • At a Glance:

  • Getting to know Windows 7

  • Dealing with the latest volume-activation requirements

  • Developing a roadmap

  • Handling new distributed-security features

  • Virtualizing desktops and infrastructures

  • Removing users' local-admin rights

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Clear a Print Job Without Rebooting

If you've ever had a print job hang, you're probably familiar with the Windows Print Spooler window. You get to this window simply by selecting the relevant printer from the Control Panel's Printers and Faxes applet (simply Printers in Vista). In the somewhat unusual event of a printer queue jam, you can go to the Print Spooler and simply delete the job. Sometimes, though, the system won't let you cut off print jobs that way: It marks the job "Deleting?" but never quite gets there, and you end up rebooting. Here's a better way to do it. Open a command prompt (go to Start | Run, then type cmd) and enter the following: net stop spooler del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.shd del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.spl net start spooler In Vista you'll need to open an elevated command prompt by right-clicking on cmd.exe and selecting Run as Administrator. For those of you who remember batch files, use Notepad to save the four commands above as a batch file.

Signs of viruses: Are you infected?

Here are some good indicators:

Do you need help troubleshooting PC problems?

Here's a link from Microsoft that will help:

XP Service Pack 3 is now available

ENS has tested this thorougly and recommends its deployment. Windows XP users can now download Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) via Windows Update or the Windows Update or the Microsoft Download Center. Windows XP SP3 includes all previously released updates for the operating system, in addition to a small number of new updates. It will not significantly change the Windows XP experience. If you are a TechNet subscriber, you will also find links to TechNet subscriber downloads, as well as SP3 overviews, updated deployment guidance, and related downloads.

Check out this webcast on the benefits of Virtualization

Check out this Microsoft Webcast to see how virtualization can save you major bucks on server costs, reduce your server room space requirements and power consumption. Most importantly, it will also provide a much, much faster server recovery plan!

Tips to a avoid spyware

  • Do not click the links in unsolicited email. These links can take you to a webpage that may look legitimate, but could actually contain hidden content that will install spyware or adware on your computer.

  • Do not go to unfamiliar websites that promise free things such as screensavers, software keys, illegitimate copies of commercially sold software, pornographic videos or pictures, and ESPECIALLY links that are indicating you have spyware and want you to click on them to repair. Many websites that fall into one of these categories use various tactics to make money, either from advertising, automated and hidden links to other sites that they get paid from, or downright stealing of your personal information, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. All it takes is one visit to such a site, and your computer will get infected unless you are extremely well protected! Most users of Microsoft Internet Explorer lack these protections, one needs to assume the worst case will happen, because it can and does happen.

  • Install antivirus software. You need to protect yourself. Think of surfing the internet as similar to having unprotected sex with partners that aren't always well known or trustworthy. A virus of any kind is always undesirable, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. And as an added benefit, some antivirus software packages are also capable of detecting some instances of spyware and adware.

  • Click on the red hyperlink and install a reputable anti-spyware program such as Lavasoft's Adaware or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Both of these programs can be obtained for free, and paid versions with enhanced features are available. Search Google or Yahoo for reviews by other users of these programs, and pick one that satisfies its users the most and gets good reviews. At the very least get yourself a free version, and think of it as a free insurance policy for your pc! (Important, see tip #7 below) Scan your pc once a week. Use the antivirus software and the spyware detection software (see tips #3 and #4 above) to do a full scan of your computer's hard drive at least once a week. If you leave your pc on all the time, you can even automate the scans by scheduling the tasks in the program's option menus.

  • Try surfing the web with Mozilla's Firefox. This is a web browser, just like Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). The difference is that Firefox has more security features in it, and is also less often targeted by virus and spyware makers than IE is. If you don't want to bother with this, at least make sure to keep your IE up to date by using the Windows XP update utility to regularly download updates from Microsoft. For older versions of Windows (98, ME, NT, etc.) just go to Microsoft's website for the relevant update packs and downloads.

  • Do not get Spyware Sheriff! This is a program that masquerades as a spyware remover but is actually another piece of spyware! Once you get it into your computer, it is very difficult to remove, although doable if you know how. It will modify your computer's desktop, and it will lock it so that you cannot change it. This happens because they want to force you to buy their paid version of the program. It also causes your pc to slow down considerably. As appealing as Spyware Sheriff may seem to be to you, this is one anti-spyware program you do not need. Steer clear, and let your friends and family know this as well.

Do you work from home?

Recently I read about an incident whereby a remote worker allowed a child to use their laptop at home, who inadvertently downloaded a keystroke logger. Soon after this, the IT department discovered over 11 Gb of "hidden" files had been uploaded to one of their server's disks. They deleted the files, then proceeded to investigate how they got there. In doing so, they realized that the worker's remote login had been compromised. At that point, IT changed all of the network passwords, cleaned up the laptop and counseled the worker regarding security. Please be careful who uses your remote computers! Keep them clean of spyware and this won't happen to you.

Quickbooks Tip

Thanks to Melissa Royer of Wealth Strategists for this one: If after shutting down your computer, Quickbooks comes up trying to install and hangs, cancel the install wizard, right click on the Quickbooks Icon on your desktop, go to properties and click browse next to find target. Browse to a file named reboot and double click it. This runs a DOS batch file which will re-register a DLL and Voila Quickbooks comes up normally.

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