Snohomish Computer Repair – Fall Newsletter

These tips are brought to you by:
www.nomadcomputerrepair.com

Home Computing Tip-of-the-Month:

“How to Make the Most of Internet Radio”

Printing HomeUnderstanding Internet Radio

Internet radio stations (or web radio) are defined as real-time or archived broadcasts of public radio stations, which an individual can listen to and enjoy on their own time. However, there are other web radio programs such as iHeartRadio, ChoiceRadio and SHOUTcast that are intended to be directly used in correspondence with the Internet.

Installing a Player onto Your Computer

In order to listen to the radio online, you need to install or download a player, such as Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and QuickTime. Windows Media Player provides immediate access to a number of radio “stations”. Some of these stations include genres such as Latin, Christian Hits, Jazz, Americana and Roots, or Rap & Hip Hop.

Cost of Internet Radio

Internet radio, for the most part, provides free music to users. The stations available through Windows Media Player are free, and in addition to Windows Media Player, Pandora offers free music as well, after you sign up and provide your e-mail address. Some companies offer premium services for music through payments and fees, which provide users with better quality music, exclusive content, and commercial-free listening.

Internet Radio on the Web

The web provides many Internet radio websites such as the following:

  • Live365.com
  • Pandora.com
  • Bing.com
  • iHeartRadio.com (also available as a free Smartphone App)

Pandora is unique in that it allows the user to tell the site what their favorite musician, composer or song is, register for free, and then Pandora develops a radio station, similar to a playlist, specifically tailored to the individual.

Additionally, individuals can access most of their favorite “traditional” radio stations through the Internet. Currently, major music stations provide websites where users can listen to music and a broadcast in real time, no matter what the user’s location is. Bing provides individuals with the ability to type in their station’s call sign(Example: 100.7), open the station’s website, and then click on a link that says Listen Live or Streaming, which allows the user to hear the station in real time. iHeartRadio is owned by Clear Channel and allows users to access their favorite Clear Channel radio stations from anywhere in the world on their computer and smartphone.

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How to replacing missing windows files.

target audience: power users, technicians (If you don’t understand the following, don’t try it. You could do further damage to your installation.)

Replacing critical .dll files in windows can be a bit tricky. Chances are you can’t boot windows properly without the file intact. To fix this you’ll need the correct installation CD for your version of windows. ( I can’t recommend a TechNet subscription strongly enough if you are a technician). Recently I replaced the file “SHLWAPI.DLL.” The following instruction are from Microsoft’s support site. Substitute whichever file(s) you need to replace for the ones listed here .

To resolve this problem, you must restart your computer in the Windows XP Recovery Console, and then replace the damaged DLL files. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Use the Windows XP Setup start-up disks or the Windows XP CD-ROM to start your computer.
  2. At the “Welcome to Setup” screen, press R, and then press C to start the Recovery Console.
  3. Type the number for the appropriate Windows XP installation, and then type the Administrator account password.
  4. Type the following commands, and then press ENTER after each command:

    cd \
    cd windows\system32
    ren winlogon.exe winlogon.old
    ren msgina.dll msgina.old
    ren shell32.dll shell32.old
    ren shlwapi.dll shlwapi.old
    cd..
    cd servicepackfiles\i386
    copy MSGINA.DLL c:\windows\system32
    copy SHELL32.DLL c:\windows\system32
    copy WINLOGON.EXE c:\windows\system32
    copy SHLWAPI.DLL c:\windows\system32

    Note: If the DLL files are NOT in the Servicepackfiles folder, you must expand these files from the Windows XP installation CD-ROM and copy them to the System32 folder. To expand these files from the Windows XP installation CD, follow these steps:

    1. Put the Windows XP installation CD in your CD-ROM or DVD drive.
    2. Type the following commands, and then press ENTER after each command:

      expand CD_Drive_Letter:\i386\MSGINA.DL_ C:\windows\system32
      expand CD_Drive_Letter:\i386\SHELL32.DL_ C:\windows\system32
      expand CD_Drive_Letter:\i386\WINLOGON.EX_ C:\windows\system32
      expand CD_Drive_Letter:\i386\SHLWAPI.DL_ C:\windows\system32

  5. Type exit, and then press ENTER.

 

Notes:

  • Follow these instructions to get to the Recovery Console
  • There may very well not be a “servicepackfiles” folder so the second half of the above directions apply.
  • You should REALLY do a DIR to look for the file on the CD before starting the replacement procedure. Just remember, the extension is appended with an underscore (e.g. .ex_ or .dl_) because the files are packed.

My documents are hidden!

Target Audience:Techs

Lately I’ve been seeing infections of rogue anti-viruses that are hiding people’s files in their”My Documents” folders, and warning them that there hard drive has critical error. Here are the tools I used to  fix the problem:

Process Explorer & Autoruns from Microsoft’s Sysinternals: To identify the rogue processes, terminate it, and prevent it from running again at start-

UnHide.exe from bleepingcomputer.com: This program unhides user files and is supposed to keep system files hidden.

SuperAntiSpyware: to clean up remaining bits of malware.

AccRestore v2.0:  On one system the Accessories Folder wasn’t just hidden it was deleted. I used this simple tool from Ramesh Srinivasan to fix it.

The final part is to educate users on safe browsing habits, and to offer anti-virus solutions.

I hope this has been useful in the battle against Malware.

-Nomad Computer Repair

Security Add-ons for Firefox

Firefox is my browser of choice. The number one reason for this is the add-ons that can be installed for increased functionality. Some of these add-ons are useful for making Firefox more secure. These are some of the add-ons that I recommend:

Adblock Plus
While I have some reservations about blocking ads, because they are so useful to businesses for bringing in new customers, they have also been a growing avenue of attack. Cyber-criminals have found ways of hacking ads that get posted on otherwise ‘safe’ websites. The website of The New York Times is a great example. Adblock Plus uses constantly updated lists to block ads from loading. This should theoretically stop some maliciously hacked ads from loading as well.

NoScript
What about malicious elements that aren’t ads? Well you can use NoScript to block all active elements from running in your browser. This will certainly add security to your browser, but it will make a lot of websites look much different. For convenience, you can set-up rules on a per-site basis.

Web of Trust
Web of Trust or “WOT” places color-coded dots next to results on major search engines, and one in your toolbar for your current page. Furthermore, it blocks poorly rated websites from loading with a big warning screen. These ratings are community based, and if you have this add-on you can rate and comment on sites yourself. The comments can be very useful for evaluating others’ experience with a specific website/company.

Long URL Please
This simple add-on will automatically lengthen any shortened URLs from services such as bit.ly. This way you can tell at a glance where they go.

PassIFox
PassIFox integrates the KeePass password management tool with Firefox. KeePass is a great program for generating and storing complex passwords. KeePass deserves its own blog post so look for one in the near future.

Better Privacy
This may be more privacy related, but the borders between privacy and security overlap. Better Privacy deletes Local Share Objects. Excerpt from the creators:

Why are LSO’s harmful?
  • they are never expiring – staying on your computer for an unlimited time.
  • by default they offer a storage of 100 KB (compare: Usual cookies 4 KB).
  • browsers are not aware of those cookies, LSO’s usually cannot be removed by browsers.
  • via Flash they can access and store highly specific personal and technical information (system, user name, .).
  • ability to send the stored information to the appropriate server, without user’s permission.
  • flash applications do not need to be visible to the user
  • there is no easy way to tell which flash-cookie sites are tracking you.
  • shared folders allow cross-browser tracking, all browsers use the same LSO folder
  • the company doesn’t provide a user-friendly way to manage LSO’s, in fact it’s incredible cumbersome.
  • many domains and tracking companies make extensive use of flash-cookies.
  • flash-cookies are used to re-create data of deleted traditional cookies.

Qualys BrowserCheck
This one is new to me, but very handy. It checks to make sure your browser and its plug-ins are up-to-date. This can be particularly useful for techs.

In conclusion Firefox add-ons not only add functionality, and personalized touches to the browser, they can also help increase your security. If you do not have Firefox try it out now, and find out how amazingly customizable it can be.

-Be safe out there,
Nomad Computer Repair