Category Archives: Computer Problems

Windows 10 Default Settings Issue

Microsoft has responded to Windows 10 users’ privacy fears by insisting that it does not scan emails, messages or files for advertising purposes.

When Windows 10 launched some users complained that Microsoft had compromised their privacy due to its default settings.

It was later revealed that even when all data collection settings were turned off Windows 10 still sent identifiable data to Microsoft.

Now Microsoft has moved to clarify the types of data it collects. Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Windows and Devices said: “

No matter what privacy options you choose, neither Windows 10 nor any other Microsoft software scans the content of your email or other communications, or your files, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you.”

Myerson explained that Windows 10 collects two types of data. The first is designed to help Microsoft and third-parties identify bugs or problems in software – items such as crash logs, system information and other diagnostic data.

“This doesn’t include any of your content or files,” says Myerson. “And we take several steps to avoid collecting any information that directly identifies you, such as your name, email address or account ID.”

Behavioral data for Cortana and personalization

Windows 10 also collects information on user habits in the name of personalization. Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana collects the most, but it and other settings that remember preferences such as favorite sports teams and commonly typed words can be disabled.

This type of personalization and behavioral data is commonly used by other platforms for digital assistants and other machine learning processes that adjust to the user, such as Google Now, Siri and autocorrect software for keyboards.

However, when all personalization features were turned off Windows 10 was found to send personally identifiable data associated with Microsoft’s OneDrive and an unknown content delivery network.

Microsoft has been under fire from privacy advocates with some describing Windows 10 as the most invasive Windows yet. It has also seen issues with compulsory automatic updates, and has been seen to download itself onto user machines without permission, but is considered to be the best Windows version yet.

What Is A PC Driver?

Your computer contains all kinds of hardware, such as disk drives, DVD/CD-ROM drives, network adapters, and sound and video cards, as well as external devices, such as printers, keyboards, monitors, and USB drives. When you install an operating system (OS), such as Windows or Linux, that OS needs to be able to talk to the hardware in your computer to display items, play sounds and videos, and write data to and read data from an external drive, as well as other tasks.

That’s where drivers come in. A driver is a small piece of software that acts as a translator between a device and the OS and programs that use the device. The driver tells the OS, and installed software programs, how to talk to the hardware in your computer. For example, when you buy a printer, it usually comes with a driver on a CD (or, in recent years, a URL for download the latest driver software from the internet) that tells the OS how to print information on each page. Without the driver, the printer will not know how to interpret the data sent to it, if the data even makes it to the printer.

NOTE: Many drivers such as keyboard drivers and mouse drivers are already installed with the OS when you buy a computer.

The drivers installed in your system to talk to the devices are managed using the Device Manager. To access the Device Manager in Windows 7, enter “device manager” (without the quotes) in the Search box on the Start menu. Click on the Device Manager link under Control Panel.

All your hardware device categories, such as Display adapters, DVD/CD-ROM drives, and Mice and other pointing devices, are listed and the specific devices are listed below each heading.

If you are having trouble with a device, it’s helpful to know the version of the driver currently installed in your system. You may need to email this information to the manufacturer, or tell them over the phone. It’s also helpful if you are trying to find a solution yourself on the internet on various sites and forums.

  • To find out the version of a driver, right-click on the driver in the Device Manager and select Properties from the popup menu.

On the Properties dialog box, click the Driver tab. The Driver Provider, Date, Version, and Signer are listed. You can find out more information about the driver using the Driver Details button. Notice that you can also update the driver from this tab, disable the driver, uninstall the driver, and even roll back the driver software to the previously installed version, in case an update caused a problem with the device.

 

Reinstall Windows Media For Free

Sooner or later, you’ll need to repair, refresh, or reinstall Windows — a task that will require your original Windows installation/setup files.

But most new PCs no longer come with classic Windows setup discs; the vital recovery files are typically stored on the hard drive — where they are vulnerable to loss or damage.

Some PC manufacturers include a small utility on their new machines that lets you create setup/installation discs. But these factory images often put back the adware, co-marketed software, branded tools, and other crapware that originally came with the systems.

Fortunately, there’s now a better option. Because of changes in the way Microsoft distributes Windows setup files, all Windows 8 and Windows 7 users — and some Vista users — can now download copies of the full, free, official, 100 percent legitimate Windows install/setup files.

These “virgin” Windows setups are free of OEM add-on software. Moreover, their installation files can be burned to DVDs or copied to flash drives, which can then be used to repair or refresh a Windows system — or, if needed, do a total, from-scratch reinstall of Windows on an empty hard drive.

Windows setup medium doesn’t replace making regular backup images of your system — it is, however, a vital component of your PC-maintenance toolkit.

Microsoft’s new source for Windows ISOs

IT professionals can acquire ISOs via a pricey (around U.S. $700 and up) MSDN subscription, which includes downloads for Windows and other MS software such as Office and Windows Server. And in the past, everyone else could download Windows ISO images via a relatively low-cost TechNet subscription or from online services such as Digital River. Anyone with a legitimate Windows product key could use these ISOs to create a full, complete Windows setup.

But in late 2013, Microsoft shut down its TechNet subscription service; then, last month, it pulled its ISOs from Digital River.

So, what’s a Windows user to do? This article will show you where and how to obtain full, legitimate setup files for Vista, Win7, and Win8.

First requirement: A valid product key

None of the download methods I’ll discuss lets you upgrade from, say, Win7 Home editions to Win7 Pro — or create a bootleg copy of a Windows edition. In some cases, you’ll be required to enter the key before the download step even begins. (Losing product keys can be costly; always keep them in a safe place.)

So before you do anything, find and make note of your current Windows product key. You’ll usually find it on a sticker affixed to the PC, or on the original installation medium (or its packaging), or on ordering info or the receipt.

If you’ve lost records of the key, or if you have one of the newer Win8 PCs that store the product key in the BIOS (not the Registry, as do previous Windows versions), you can use a key-finder tool to dig it out.

 

 

Discover The Powerful Software To Keep Your PC Safe

If you want to enhance the security of your PC or to get rid of any existing adware and spyware in it, it is highly recommended that you download a protection and removal software to handle this problem. This is one of the most common issues that PC users have to handle these days, especially for people whose computers are constantly connected to the Internet.

  1. What is Adware and Spyware and What Can They Do?

Adware are malicious type of software that installs itself into the system automatically. Once it is inside, it can start downloading from its source and displaying advertisement pop ups on the screen. Adware is also known as advertising supported software.

Another common type of malware is called the spyware. They are mainly used to spy on the user’s activities for the source of the spyware. It can record keystrokes and remember the websites that you have visited. The worse case scenario is if the spyware steals confidential information like a password and sends this information to a hacker.

  1. How to Deal with Adware and Spyware on Your Computer Fast?

It is important that all PC users know how to handle this problem, which is very likely to happen to all computer users. Otherwise, it can potentially cause a lot of other harmful effects that will be too late to remedy if the protection software is not downloaded earlier. Protection software are able to scan and delete any erroneous and malicious files that it finds, as well as prevent any future intrusion of adware and spyware from the Internet.

Spybot:

Spybot is a more in depth spyware and adware removal tool. You can find download links for your free copy by visiting the Spybot website. It is relatively user friendly, and has a couple of neat features. One of the features is it will create a backup of your registry system as part of the installation process. This is a good idea from the standpoint that if you happen to delete a file during a removal process, and needed that file, you can restore your registry.

Another useful item is that Spybot will allow you to ‘immunize’ your system. What this means is that you can help prevent future attacks and installations of spyware by ‘immunizing’ files that are common attack points. This doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get future spyware / adware, but it does help!

This has about 63,000 known trojans, spyware, and adware programs and files that it scans for, and I’m sure you will find that there are a lot of things on your computer that you had no idea were there when you first scan.

And there are many more out there, just Google it. Plus, some of the major antivirus companies will let you download a free, trial version for 30 days before you have to purchase, just check around for those.

Don’t Be Tricked With Online Money Launderers

Email message sent to different product providers and companies asking the recipient to send them back a message containing the details of products available with views for further orders.

Short Analysis

This kind of email is also a part of what experts called “money laundering” scam. The moment the recipient of the said email also send reply to the sender along with the details of the requested information, the scammers will now place orders and will also request the recipient to pay through credit cards. The scammers will ask you to send payment higher than the price agreed. They will then request you to wire the additional amount of payment for “shipping agent” or another third party individual. The credit card used for the said transaction will now be stolen. This kind of scheme is just a way of converting proceeds of crime to untraceable amount of money.

Detailed Analysis

Businesses who used to sell items online are the ones who often receive email messages with this scheme. Scammers often regard themselves as interested customers and will usually ask more information regarding a particular item which they offer. The message usually contains request about the pricing details as well as the payment option.

Although some of these emails may also be real customer enquiries. But, most of them serve as an opening gambit to money laundering scam.

When the vendor replies to scam messages like this giving the requested details, scammers will now place their orders using emails. They will then ask you to pay the order with your credit card. Usually, the orders are quite convoluted and complex. Scammers will now insist of dealing directly to the vendor itself instead of making the transaction with the ordering system used by the vendor online.

What comes next is that scammers will now instruct you to pay with an extra amount than the exact amount of orders since the vendors will need that extra amount for paying the courier service or the “shipping agent”.

After that, they will then make excuses on why they can’t pay the shipping charges directly. And if the vendor doesn’t agree with the additional fee and send it to its delivery agent, the scammers will now threat you of withdrawing back your orders. They will now convince you to just send the shipping payment through money transfer services like Western Union. But their ultimate goal here is to convert the funds from the stolen cards to untraceable cash.

 

Money Laundering Tricks

Outline

Email message sent to different product providers and companies asking the recipient to send them back a message containing the details of products available with views for further orders.

Short Analysis

This kind of email is also a part of what experts called “money laundering” scam. The moment the recipient of the said email also send reply to the sender along with the details of the requested information, the scammers will now place orders and will also request the recipient to pay through credit cards. The scammers will ask you to send payment higher than the price agreed. They will then request you to wire the additional amount of payment for “shipping agent” or another third party individual. The credit card used for the said transaction will now be stolen. This kind of scheme is just a way of converting proceeds of crime to untraceable amount of money.

Detailed Analysis

Businesses who used to sell items online are the ones who often receive email messages with this scheme. Scammers often regard themselves as interested customers and will usually ask more information regarding a particular item which they offer. The message usually contains request about the pricing details as well as the payment option.

Although some of these emails may also be real customer enquiries. But, most of them serve as an opening gambit to money laundering scam.

When the vendor replies to scam messages like this giving the requested details, scammers will now place their orders using emails. They will then ask you to pay the order with your credit card. Usually, the orders are quite convoluted and complex. Scammers will now insist of dealing directly to the vendor itself instead of making the transaction with the ordering system used by the vendor online.

What comes next is that scammers will now instruct you to pay with an extra amount than the exact amount of orders since the vendors will need that extra amount for paying the courier service or the “shipping agent”.

After that, they will then make excuses on why they can’t pay the shipping charges directly. And if the vendor doesn’t agree with the additional fee and send it to its delivery agent, the scammers will now threat you of withdrawing back your orders. They will now convince you to just send the shipping payment through money transfer services like Western Union. But their ultimate goal here is to convert the funds from the stolen cards to an untraceable cash.

Phone Call Scam Modus

Phone call scam is very popular today as many computer users become new victims every day. But one thing that you should be worried about is the gradual increase in the number of victims for this type of scam. So it’s best to know how these scammers work and how their mode of operation is in order to gain more awareness and become more vigilant. Here are just some of the phone call scammer’s “modus operandi”:

Wield Drama Of Phone Scammers

Scammers often have various kinds of modus operandi to trick their victims. Each of them has its own drama and style of scamming ordinary computer users. After talking to the user over the phone and telling them that virus is present inside their system, the scammer will then suggest helping you eliminate the said virus. They will offer you system scan to track down and eliminate the harmful viruses in exchange of a specific amount of money for the repair service rendered. Usually, the repair service fee is quite cheaper than the actual payment on most on-site computer repair shop. Thinking that they saved a lot from the repair fee, the innocent computer user would now accept the deal. The caller will then ask to gain remote access on the user’s system, or if not, they would instruct the user to do a couple of steps to complete the procedure.

The truth about this drama is that Windows operating system has its own built-in program that can be used to scan the entire system, eliminate viruses and other malicious software, repair system errors, and fix any problem inside. All of this are for free and is already included the moment you first purchase the operating system. So you are paying the scammers with huge amount of money for software services which are supposedly free of charge.

Windows Processes

Tech support scammers sometimes make use of various Windows processes on their scamming operations. There are instances wherein the scammers will instruct their victim to execute DOS commands to show the unique ID of the user’s computer system. They will then let them verify that it was the correct system that was infected by a dangerous virus. They will then instruct the PC user to check if the unique ID matches with the one that shows up in front of their screen. What you didn’t know is that you are already exposing your entire system to the scammers unknowingly, providing the scammers with great chance to steal any of the user’s personal information like bank accounts, credit card number, account password and usernames, and many others for their own use.

 

Microsoft Support Scam Tactics

Cybercrime is now a growing trend anywhere in the world. Different kinds of Internet scams and frauds are prevalent but there’s really one hoax that’s rising nowadays; and that is Microsoft Support scam.

This is a supposed call from a fake Microsoft support specialist, offering you help to fix your computer. The computer user will receive calls informing them that there ISP discovered a serious virus attacking their system; thus Microsoft support specialist was being contacted to tackle and reach out the issue. The security professional from Microsoft will usually run a scan on your system to identify what kind of computer virus present in your device. And once the scan is done, and the serious problem is now on hand, the tech support will then offer to solve the problem for one $250 and sometimes even more and you have nothing to do but to sit comfortably in front of your computer waiting for the repair to finish.

All these tactics are not new to us; however it continuously grows due to the presence of cheap labor and cheap calls outside U.S. Some users are even fighting back in order to record the information regarding the modus operandi of the scammer as well as its identity.

The tactics commonly used by the scammers are really intended to fool their prey and those unsuspecting users. First, the scammers or fake Microsoft support specialist will reach the user with confidence, speaking to their suspected victim using technical words informing them that they are in great threat of a serious virus attack.

Scammers will represent themselves as a specialist from a certain department of Microsoft. While both are in connection with each other through the phone call, scammer will now threat the user with different kinds of error messages that often indicates virus infection on the device. Usually, these errors are general just like log file.

Scammers will then instruct the victim to run DOS command and confirm the unique ID of the victim’s system. Although this process may sounds like an excellent proof for a certified tech support staff, the scammer will now have the chance to read the numbers displayed on the screen of the user. They will then instruct the user to confirm generic IDs for file extensions which will make your system more vulnerable to threats.

After that, you will just find yourself logging their system remotely and perform the tests instructed by the scammer. And later on, find yourself on a PayPal page paying the supposed Microsoft support specialist for the services rendered not knowing that everything is just a hoax and you are the victim.

 

The World Of Ransomware

Though our malware defenses have improved, ransomware authors are finding new ways to infect our systems. Fortunately, we have options and solutions.

It’s a computer user’s worst nightmare. You boot your PC, and a big warning box pops up on your screen. No, it’s not a Windows error; the message states that all your files have been encrypted and you’ll have to pay a ransom to get the key.

The first strain of this pernicious form of malware/ransomware was CryptoLocker. It was a profitable scheme — until anti-malware apps adapted to this new threat. But as with any successful infection, CryptoLocker soon mutated into new variations such as CryptoWall and TorrentLocker. Whatever they’re called, all these strains of malware have a common thread: they don’t destroy data but simply lock it up until you pay the ransom. Even when the infection is removed, the data remains encrypted. And in some cases, even backup files are made unusable — unless you buy the key.

Most ransomware infections arrive via email attachments or phishing attacks. They can even be hidden in cloud-based file-sharing sites such as Box, Dropbox and ShareFile. They can be .exe files, ZIP files, or fake PDF files that are in fact executables used to install malicious code. Ransomware seems to be especially adept at evading anti-malware tools. Its encryption engine is similar to those we regularly use on our PCs, and its pattern or signature can change rapidly.

 

The encryption process uses two types of keys. The public key is used to encrypt files; the private key handles decryption and is held only by the data’s owner. A CryptoLocker attacker uses the public key to lock your files. Because the thieves hold the private key, they effectively own the files. You pay ransom to have your data unlocked — you might or might not get the actual key. Again, because the attackers use standard encryption techniques, the encryption process usually goes undetected by anti-malware programs.

 

 

 

Basic Guide To Manage Error 440

Error 440 is a fairly common error that’s caused by various pieces of software on your computer being unable to process the files that they require to run. We’ve found that although Error 440 is continually showing when you run the likes of “MalwareBytes”, it’s relatively easy to fix. The way to fix this problem is to first clean out any of the problems that your software may have, and then clean out any of the issues inside the depths of Windows (most notably the registry database).

The 440 runtime error will generally show in this format:

“Runtime Error 440: Automation Error”

The way to resolve this problem, we recommend you first re-install the software causing the problem, then make sure that there are no problems with the files or settings of the application. After that, you should look to clean out any of the application issues that will typically prevent Windows from running smoothly, which typically means using a registry cleaner to scan through your PC & resolve the settings that could be corrupted inside.

How To Fix 440 Errors

Re-Install The Software Causing The Problem

  • Click “Start”
  • Click “Control Panel”
  • Click “Add / Remove Programs” or “Uninstall A Program”
  • Locate The ‘offending’ application
  • Click “Remove” next to it

This will get rid of any of the possible problems that the application may have, including the likes of the Runtime 440 Error.

Replace Any Missing Files

It’s often the case that Runtime 440 error will show a particular file that’s been misplaced or damaged. If you can see this, you should download a replacement for the missing file from the Internet, and then install a fresh copy of the file onto your system. This will get rid of any of the potential problems that you may have on your PC, ensuring that the Runtime 440 is not shown again.

Clean Out The Registry

Runtime 440 is often caused by a number of potential issues with the “registry”. This large database is a central storage center for all the options that a Windows computer will use to run. Although the registry is continually being used to help your system to run smoothly, it’s continually causing problems on your system, which can lead to everything from “Runtime” errors to DLL File errors. To fix this, you should use a registry cleaner like Frontline Registry Cleaner to resolve any of the potential issues that the registry may have, thus resolving one of the major causes of the 440 error.