System Restore; Possibly Your Computer’s Best Friend

I have spent the better part of the last 24 hours trying to repair a friend’s computer. Actually, not quite a repair; seems he got a few viruses and malware on the computer while downloading shared music through Limewire. Suddenly he was getting all sorts of popups, then it wouldn’t let him open any programs except the one offered to fix everything; if you’re computer savvy you know where this one’s going.


by blisschan

Since it’s still on XP I went and pulled out trustly ol’ Combofix, which has never failed me in the past. And this time… it failed me! It wouldn’t load, consistently saying some file had crashed and asking if I wanted to send it to Microsoft for review. Sometimes I do that, sometimes I don’t, but this seemed somewhat suspicious. So I looked it up on my computer and found that if I’d clicked on it more malware and nasty stuff would have been allowed onto the computer; ick.

I went through a litany of things; after all, I had just cleaned and fixed this computer about 2 months ago. Nothing was working, including going through the registry trying to track down this one particular virus. There were some programs that said they’d fix it for a price, but I wasn’t having it, especially for someone else’s computer.

Finally, I decided it was time to go back to square one. Okay, maybe not quite square one, since I didn’t start with that, but it was time to go to the WABAC Machine for this particular computer; it was time for System Restore.

System Restore is a program on your computer that allows you to reset your computer to a time and place before you added something new to your computer. If you’d downloaded songs and the like it won’t touch those, but if you’d loaded any programs whatsoever it would eliminate anything you’d done that affected the registry since the last time your computer had a system restore point. There are some folks who recommend turning this off to speed up your computer performance but trust me, it’s worth a slight decrease in speed to keep this sucker open.

I opened the program and went back about 4 weeks, which I figured was a safe enough period of time where this computer was running better, and I loaded it. The sucker took almost 30 minutes, but that’s okay because I knew when it was done almost everything would be fine.

And I was right. When it had completed its task all his icons were back, his wallpaper was back, and I opened a few programs just to make sure they were back as well; they were. I could have said I was done at that point, but nope, it was time to add more stuff.

There was no antivirus on the sucker, so I downloaded and added AVG, which is not only free but looks for a few other things than just viruses. Then I added a firewall, Zone Alarm, which still works great on XP computers. I ran a full scan on his system and found some minor virus that must have been residing there some time ago, and got rid of that. Otherwise the computer was now totally clean and, after telling tons of things that he and his wife had starting up automatically and sitting in the background to beat it, loading much faster.

System Restore just might be your best friend; whew!

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Firefox, I Love Ya But…

Firefox and I have always had a love – less love kind of relationship. I left Netscape for Firefox and I never looked back; I often thought that maybe I killed Netscape (no, we all know who killed it), but it didn’t matter. Firefox was better than IE, and that’s all that used to matter.

There are just so many things to love about Firefox. I love the add-ons. I love how I can change the look. I love how I can go into the config.about settings and change stuff if I really want to (don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing). I love how it’s just a bit more protection than IE. I love the tabs. Frankly, there’s not much I don’t like about it.

And yet, there is something I don’t like, something that’s irked me for years, the one thing that I just can’t overcome. Sometimes Firefox hangs, and when it does, that’s it. By hangs, I mean that it just suddenly stops. You can’t do anything because it’s pretty much said it’s had enough. You can’t even go into the task manager and turn it off; I mean, how many programs do that?

I have researched this issue for years and tried to find a workaround. It was suggested to remove Zone Alarm because they don’t play well together; I tried that. It was suggested that maybe it was AVG; I tried that. It was suggested to change your profile; I tried that. Nothing has worked. There have been some suggestions that I don’t have the technical knowledge for, so those I haven’t tried. However, my thought is that someone at Mozilla, the group that makes Firefox, would have addressed the issue at some point.

You know what? Never. Now, that’s a strange one, isn’t it? Through all the forums they have, with this issue coming up often enough, not a single Mozilla person has ever chimed in with a fix. They won’t even acknowledge that there’s a problem; isn’t that weird? I mean, even Microsoft eventually came clean on the dog that is Vista (which I’m still stuck on). And folks, it’s not Vista that’s hanging Firefox, because I had the same issue under XP.

So, I’m stuck. I’m not crazy about Opera, even though it’s never hung on my system, and I’m not a major fan of Chrome. Don’t even try to talk me into, what, IE 8 or 9 now? I guess I’m stuck in “bootup loop” city, and I’m not overly happy about it. There just has to be a solution, right? Someone? Anyone?

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8399 UltraClub Adult Cool-N-Dry Sport Color Block Tee








Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Zone Alarm Issues You Should Know About

I’ve always liked Zone Alarm a lot. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, it’s a firewall program, free or paid, that blocks signals from activating nasty things on your computer, as well as hides your ports. It also prevents programs that get onto your computer that you don’t know about from loading without your knowledge. I mentioned it in my post on Best Free Software almost a full year ago, along with Comodo, another free firewall program.

I hadn’t been able to use it ever since I got this computer last December because the computer was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm hadn’t decided if they were going to go that route. Lo and behold Windows 7 came out, was 64-bit, and Zone Alarm, knowing it was coming, saw the writing on the wall and came along into the future. Still, I didn’t immediately load it. I decided to add it two weeks ago when, for whatever reason, Comodo, which I’d been using, stopped updating itself. I went to the forums, and it seems the only thing I could do was unload it and load the updated version. I decided if I had to unload it I might as well pop Zone Alarm on.

I loaded Zone Alarm and it was a snap. I saw that they had added some goofy toolbar, and I’m not one of those people who likes adding all those stupid toolbars from all these programs so I told it I didn’t want it. Unfortunately, it seems that if you tell the program you don’t want it that it loads it anyway, just doesn’t show it. I didn’t know that at the time, and only learned about it this week.

Why did I learn about it this week? For whatever reason my Palm suddenly wouldn’t sync with the computer. Also, Firefox started acting really goofy as well. At times it would suddenly stop working, and when I closed it, seems it wouldn’t fully close. Then I would try to reboot the computer and that wasn’t happening either. I was getting this message saying “forcefield.exe” was preventing the shutdown.

Forcefield? You know I started wondering which alien force had invaded my computer, or whether there were some superheroes battling bad guys. I finally looked it up and it seems that’s the program Zone Alarm loads onto your computer as the toolbar. And, for whatever reason, it messes things up drastically. I went into “msconfig” and told it not to load anymore, yet when I rebooted, there it was again. I finally thought to check my Programs area in control panel, and there it was, all the way at the bottom. I uninstalled that, and things have been great ever since. My main concern was that Zone Alarm would still work, and it seems to be working just fine.

Since I’ve recommended the program I figure it’s time to remind you of the underline. If you see a blue underline, that means it’s a link to a product. Zone Alarm is free as a firewall, but you can also purchase the product as it also has an antivirus and anti-spyware program that’s part of the paid product. And, of course, there are some other products; gotta take advantage of those special words here and there, right?