February 2013 - LUG

flipenergySoftware and s/w Development

Oct 30, 2013 (4 years and 8 months ago)


The ASCIIriber



• Issue



February Meeting: You


own your own

February 3 I will be heading down to Raleigh for a corporate

I won’t be back until the next weekend and will
have to miss the meeting.

Something you may want to look at during the meeting is:

http://www.e ms is oft.com/en/software/eek/

It’s a free utility that does a great job cleaning up an infected
machine. You can run from your hard drive or a USB stick.

Check out the command line function. Using switches you
have very granular control over
what drives, files and folders
are scan
ned as well as what infections the program looks for.
The command line also includes a switch for
updating the
definition files.

Using batch files you can build any kind of custom search
you want.

Another program worth looking at is RogueKiller.

http://www.ble e pingcomputer.com/download/roguekiller/

This utility kills malicious processes that fire up when you
go to the wrong we
b page and something bad starts up.

One last tip:
Create a second log in on your computer.
Most malicious software writes to your profile. Log in with
a different account and you use a different profile,
preventing the malicious app from starting and giving you a
chance to do some cleaning.

See you
on Sunday



February 3
, 2


Lots of good info from Jim McGorry that can help you
and your computer.

Let your PC start the new year right

Menu Uninstaller

MS Messenger going away

Facebook Privacy Controls

Remove Java
from your browser

Windows 8 doesn’t really turn off


find your biggest files

YTD Video downloader and converter


The Desk of Jim McGorry

Excerpts taken from the Windows Secrets Periodical



A little time spent now on preventive maintenance can save hours of PC troubleshooting later

and provide
better computing all year long.

Use the following steps to give your PC an an
nual checkup

and ensure it starts 2013 as healthy as possible.

Undo a Year's Worth of Wear and Tear

Consider what your PC has been through in the past 12 months: Windows Update added dozens of patches to
operating system; you've likely installed some new third
party software, uninstalled other programs, and upgraded or
patched apps and utilities; and you've probably altered, tuned, and tweaked various aspects of your system's user interface
and softwa
re settings. And you've undoubtedly created and deleted myriad new emails, documents, photos, MP3s,
videos, spreadsheets, and such.

All during that time, your hard drive spun hundreds of millions of revolutions and the system fans rotated

for hundreds of
hours. Heat, dust, and chemical degradation did their inevitable damage, reducing the remaining physical life of your
system's components. In short, just as we're a year older, our PCs are not the same machines they were a year ago.

To ensure your system runs smoothly for another year, now's a good time to perform some extra maintenance. It'll help
prevent new errors from piling on old ones and keep your system fundamentally sound.

Preserve and Protect System Da

Take 1

As with all significant changes to a PC, start any serious system maintenance with a full system backup

if anything
goes awry, you can recover quickly. (An up
date backup is good insurance against all manner of ills t
hat might bring
down a PC: power spikes, hard
drive crashes, malware infestations, cockpit error, and many other calamities.)

All current versions of Windows provide the means to make reliable backups, though each new generation of the OS has
added enhancements to its archiving capabilities. Here's a quick list of resources:


For the best information on XP's servic
eable backup tools (plus other essential maintenance tips, techniques, and
free utilities), look up the Aug. 12, 2010,
Top Story
, "Preparing Windows XP for the long haul," and the Nov. 11, 2010,
Top Story
, "Windows XP: Looking back, looking forward."


Check out Microsoft's Vista backup/restore

or the Vista "Back up your files"
. Many of the techniques
cited in the May 12, 2011,
Top Story
, "Build a complete Windows 7 safety net," also apply to Vista.

Windows 7:

The "Build a com
plete Windows 7 safety net"

walks you through the entire process of setting up and
using Win7's built
in backup tools, providing near
total data safety. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1.

Take advantage of whatever backup options your Windows version provides. Win7's (shown) are
especially robust.

Windows 8:

Microsoft's latest OS tries to be all
new, so instead of

it calls its archiving system


Microsoft provides a Win8
specific how
to (including a video demonstration) on its "How to use File History"

Check the Hard Drive's Physical/Logical Health

Traditional hard drives are possibly the hardest

components in PCs. Their spinning platters can rack up
hundreds of millions

of rotations per year, and their read/write heads chatter back and forth millions of times, moving
chunks of files in astronomical quantities.

It's a testament

to hard
drive technology that they work as well, as long, and as reliably as they do. But as sure as death
and taxes, all drives eventually wear out. Take a few minutes to check your drive's physical health via the
Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting


(aka SMART) subsystem built into most current hard drives. Free
software can help you do so; see the Sept. 6, 2012, LangaList Plus
, "Using and understanding SMART hard

Although SMART tools monitor the


of drives, Windows' built
in tools check on the

health of the
files on the drive.

Every version of Windows, from XP on, has

(as in "check disk") for exactly that purpose. The basic version of
chkdsk is a simple point
click operation. In Windows Explorer, right
click the drive that you want to check and
select Properties. Click the Tools tab and then, under Error
checking, click the
Check now

button (shown in Figure 2).

Figure 2.

All versions of Windows allow for easy, basic, disk error checking, via Windows' drive properties dialog

Check now

works for routine maintenance, but there's a much more powerful alternative


accessed from a command line and that offers many more options for advanced users. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. The command line


is more powerful than the one
click version in Properties.

Chkdsk's com
line options vary significantly from Windows to Windows, but
chkdsk c: /f

works in all versions for
basic error correction of the

drive. (Change the drive letter to check and correct other drives.)

To see the version
fic chkdsk commands available in your copy of Windows, open an administrator
level command
window (right
click Command Prompt and select
Run as administrator
). Type
chkdsk /?

and press Enter. You'll see a
complete list of all available


Patch and Update All Software and the OS

Now that your hard drives are checked and (I presume) healthy, build on that foundation by making sure all software
updates are installed

especially security
related patches! Star
t by opening Windows Update and clicking
Check for

then review the list of patches Microsoft wants installed. (Not all Windows patches are necessary or problem
free. Susan Bradley's Patch Watch column provides a list of potentially problematic upd

If you need help with Windows Update, Microsoft has more info for
, and
. With Windows fully up
to date, it's time to check your other software. Although most applications let you check for updates manually (via menu
options such as Help, Help/About, or Help/Update), it's easier to use a general
purpose updating app or service

such as
those discussed in the July 26, 2012,
Top Story
, "Software that updates your other software."

While you're checking your software, look for programs you haven't used for a while. Removing applications that no
longer serve an
y useful purpose can help make your system leaner and cleaner

and easier to troubleshoot if the need

Do a Thorough Review of Your PC's Defenses


As PCs have become more powerful, passwords that

were once virtually uncrackable might now fall to
various free, easily used, and surprisingly fast hacker tools. Verify that your most important passwords are still secure by
testing them (or a variant of them) on any of the many good password
checking si
tes, such as:

How secure is my password?

Gibson Research Corporation's
How big is your haystack?

Password Meter

Microsoft PC Security

If you need to upgrade your passwords, see "How to build better pass
words," an

I wrote for another publication
some time ago. (The information is still current.)


Put your firewall through its paces to ensure that your PC is not visible or potentially accessible to Internet
based hackers.

The following sites offer free, easy
use, firewall
testing tools and services.


Port Scan

Gibson Research Corporation's

Figure 4 shows some of what you might
see after running ShieldsUP

Figure 4. This partial output of ShieldsUP firewall tests shows the tested PC is invisible and inaccessible to
internet snoops and hackers.


Verify that your system is free of worms, viruses, Trojans, and other malware by running a full scan with a
standalone security tool such as ESET's Online Scanner (
), Microsoft's Safety Scanner or Trend Micro's HouseCall.

Fi Router:

Many current Wi
Fi routers contain a flaw in their implementation of
Fi Protected Setup

Hackers might easily breach your Wi
Fi defenses, regardless of what encryption and password you use. To see whether
your router is a

and what to do if it is

check out the Dec. 13, 2012,
Top Story
, "Routers using WPS are
intrinsically unsafe," and the Dec. 20, 2012, follow
, "Putting Wi
Fi router's security to the test."

Take Out A
ll the Trash Accumulated in Windows

Windows is something of a packrat (as are most PC users when it comes to their systems); it can accumulate truly
astounding amounts of digital debris, including

that sometimes become all too permanent.

Fortunately, there are many excellent disk
cleanup tools available. Windows' own

is one

if you know how
to access its hidden settings. They're documented in
an April 4, 2002,
, "Sageset unlocks CleanMgr's power." The
to instructions in that ancient story still work perfectly in all current Windows versions

including Win8!

Some third
party cleanup tools

can do even more, as explained in the Nov. 10, 2011,
Top Story
, "Putting

cleanup apps to the test."

Defrag (or optimize) Data on Hard Disks

A major hard
drive cleanup often results in

files and pieces of files scattered across the hard drive that
can waste drive space. Defragmenting can improve drive performance on all spinning
platter drives, but it's not needed
(or wanted) on solid

Microsoft has online instructions for using the Windows disk defragmenter tool in
, and
. Win8 takes a
somewhat different approach: instead of a simple disk
defragmenter tool, Win8 has
Optimize Drives

(see Figure 5
which adds automated SSD support.

Figure 5. Windows 8's version of hard
drive defragging tools.

The changes in Optimize Drive are explained in a Microsoft TechNet
; a Win8
support page

gives more how
to information.

Preserve and Protect Your Data

Take 2

Once your system is updated, cleaned, defragged, and otherwise optimized, make a new full backup or system image to
preserve your new setup
. This way, if anything goes wrong in the coming months, you'll be able to return your PC to its
fully cleaned and optimized condition in just a few clicks.

Preserve and protect, Part 1,

at the top of this article, for
links and more info.

Dust You Must, for a Truly Clean PC

We think of our PCs as electronic devices

and they are

but they're also mechanical systems. Most PCs have cooling
fans that constantly draw in room air. Over time, the inside of your PC can
become astonishingly choked with dust,
resulting in poor air flow, higher temperatures, and shorter component life.

The Oct. 13, 2011,
Top Story
, "Take your PC's temperature

for free!," shows how to check whether your PC is
running warmer than

it should

and how to clean it, if it is.

There's additional cleaning information in the July 1, 2004,
, "Right and wrong ways to de
dust a PC," and in a
, "Getting the grunge out of your PC," that I wrote for anothe
r publication.

You're now ready for another year
of computing

Congratulations! Your PC should now be good to go for the new year. Here's hoping 2013 is free from bugs, crashes, and
other PC misfortunes.

Weekly Download Section

from Jim McGorry

Welcome members and visitors alike to this new section I hope it will be of interest and use to you.

Each month I will try and have interesting and useful programs for you to download and try on your systems as you see

Some are fr
ee and some may have a nominal fee.

A brief write
up and link to download page will be displayed here so you can determine if you wish to get it and use it.


Some web addresses may not be a direct link. If not, then just copy and paste the addre
ss into the
“Address Location” window and hit enter.


Here’s the scenario: Dan is going through his start menu, when he comes across some applications that he doesn’t

He decides to uninstall them, but since he’s too lazy to navigate all the way to the Add/Remove Programs
window, He leaves it for another day and moves on.

Does this story sound Familiar?

For people who like to try

out a wide range of apps, there’s nothing more annoying than constant trips to the
Add/Remove Programs window. Not only does the process involve too many clicks, it’s also presented in an unfriendly
format and most of the time doesn’t list all the program
s that are installed on your machine.

The second conventional way to Uninstall a program is to locate the ‘uninstall.exe’ for that particular program, however
that often is an even

tedious process. Well, what if I told you that you could

install any program just by right
clicking on its icon ? Follow along

First of all you will need to install
Menu Uninstaller
. This little program is godsend for all windows users. It does just
one simple thing: it puts the “Uninstall
” option in the right click context menu. This means that you can right click on any
shortcut or program icon, select uninstall and

the software is gone!

How handy is this? Give it a try right this moment! Go through your software list and uninstal
l any apps that you don’t
use. Not only will you free up valuable Disk space, your system will run much smoother because of it .

Now you have no more excuses for cluttering up your machine.Go here to download:


the Free

Weekly Download Section

from Jim McGorry

Welcome members and visitors alike to this new section I hope it will be of interest and use to you.

Each month I will try and have interesting and useful programs for you to download and try

on your systems as
you see fit. Some are free and some may have a nominal fee.

A brief write
up and link to download page will be displayed here so you can determine if you wish to get it
and use it.


Some web addresses may not be a direct link.

If not, then just copy and paste the address into
the “Address Location” window and hit enter.


Yesterday Microsoft Messenger sent me an email telling me I had to “update to Skype” or lose my account. I
me, therefore, that I will also lose my Hotmail account and everything in it. I’m concerned that Skype is a
social networking service (none of which I trust for security reasons). I have not been able to find answers to
these concerns by searching online,
and I was wondering what you and your readers know about all of this.

Microsoft announced at the consumer electronics show that their popular Windows Live Messenger application
was being retired. Messenger, for those who don’t know, was an
application for Windows Live and Hotmail
users which allowed people to communicate from computer to computer via text and video. Microsoft has
started informing all of its Messenger users to use Skype, a Microsoft owned company, to continue

Skype, which was purchased by Microsoft in 2011, offers free instant messaging, voice & video chat and file
transferring between its over 250 million users. Skype also allows calling to landline phones & calling and
texting to cell
ular phones from your computer for a much lower per
minute fee then a traditional phone
company. Microsoft has been making extensive back
end changes in the Skype service to make the transition
as painless as possible for Windows Messenger users.

If you are a current Hotmail or Windows Live user you can download Skype here:


and sign
in with your Microsoft account and you’ll go guided through a brief process of moving your contacts
and information to Skype. This change only affects Windows Live Messenger, the other Windows Live
services such as Hotmail, Live Mail, SkyDriv
e and others are unaffected and will remain working as they

always have.

For more information visit Microsoft’s Live Messenger page by clicking here:



The Desk of Jim McGorry

Excerpts taken from the Windows Secrets Periodical


With over a billion active users recording the
minutiae of their activities, purchases, travel plans, and other
personal information, Facebook is a potential treasure trove for hackers and marketers trolling for data.

Facebook's privacy settings seem to be a constantly moving target, so

it's important to review them from time to time.
Here's what you need to know.

The Challenge of Understanding Facebook Privacy

Since its inception, Facebook has been

and often still is

criticized for its privacy controls. Well
ublicized hacks of
Facebook pages belonging to founder Mark Zuckerberg and the French president back in January 2011 didn't help. For
many users, Facebook privacy controls were either lacking or too difficult to wade through.

unately, Facebook's latest privacy
control enhancements are more accessible to the social site's users. Unfortunately,
many of the controls are disabled by default or set at their lowest threshold. And there's still a bewildering array of
privacy settings,

scattered in different locations, that determine who can access information you've posted.

There's one other frequently misunderstood fact about Facebook privacy: Because friends of your friends can see some of
the things you post
and tag

even if you've set more restrictive settings

you're never sure just who is seeing what.

Review and Change Privacy via Privacy Shortcuts

Reviewing your Facebook privacy settings is important for underst
anding and controlling what personal information



can access on your page. The basic privacy settings are now easily accessed via
the new Privacy Shortcuts tools, found under the lock icon to the right of your sign
in na

Click the lock, and you'll get a drop
down list of options, starting with one of the most basic settings:
Who can see my

Click its down
arrow, and the first configuration option is
Who can see my future posts?

The de
fault (or current) setting is clearly displayed. If you want to change it, just click the down arrow and choose Public,
Friends, Only Me, a custom setting, or other listed choices

Although it's not well explained, selecting the "Custom" option (see Figu
re 3) lets you choose specific people or lists of
people who

be able to see your postings. You're also reminded that anyone tagged in your photos will be able to
see those postings, regardless of the privacy settings you have in place.

if you want to change the audience for all of your old posts, you have to go to the Configuration menu,
accessed via the gear icon next to the Private Shortcuts icon.

Managing Your Timeline Posts, Likes, Tags, etc.


next item under
Who can see my stuff?

Where can I review all my posts and things I'm tagged in?

this option takes you to the Activity Log page. (You can also access the log from the Privacy Settings option under the
configuration menu.) Facebo
ok's activity log lets you scan your likes and postings as well as photos in which you have
been tagged. In each case, you can see who is able to see these items by hovering over the people icon next to the item.
Click the pencil icon, and your options dep
end upon the type of item.

Figure 4. As you work with Facebook's privacy settings, popup dialog boxes can walk you through the log

For example, if the item is something you

clicking on the pencil icon will let you

it. For posts, the pencil
lets you delete the posting. For photos in which you're tagged, options include hiding it on your timeline or requesting
that the aut
hor of the tag or the photo remove it (see Figure 5). If it's a status update or a photo that has been posted to
your wall by someone else, you can delete it, hide it on your timeline, or highlight it.

Viewing How Your Timeline Looks to Others

The last option under
Who can see my stuff?

What do other people see on my timeline?

Click it, and your timeline
pops up with a black bar across the top and a control that states:
This is what your timeline looks like to:

by "Vi
ew as Public" or "View as Specific Person." A Tip box also pops up, stating, "Remember: Things you hide from
your timeline still appear in news feed, search, and other places on Facebook." Confused? Me, too! One of the most
daunting features of Facebook is

trying to keep track of all the places your information can be seen.

Controlling Who Can Send You Messages

The next section of the Privacy Shortcuts menu

Who can contact me

has two options. The first


messages do I want filtered into my Inbox

offers Basic Filtering (Mostly your friends and people you may know)
and Strict Filtering (Mostly just friends

you may miss messages from other people you know). The use of the terms
"mostly" and "may" leave m
e wondering who is really in charge here.

Next, you can choose whether to receive friend requests from any Facebook user or only from
friends of friends

shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Facebook's friend
request control

Locking Down Access to Your Previous Posts

The third item on the Privacy Shortcuts menu,
How do I stop someone from bothering me?,

is simply a quick way to

someone. J
ust enter the individual's name or e
mail address, and that person can no longer initiate conversations
with you or see your timeline.

See More Settings

at the bottom of Privacy Shortcuts takes you to the Privacy Settings and
Tools screen, which
is also accessible by clicking on the configuration (gear) icon next to the Privacy Shortcuts lock.

You'll find a lot of repetition here. As with Privacy Shortcuts, you can specify who can see your future post
s, and you can
access the Activity Log. However, an additional option

Limit Past Posts

restricts who can see previous posts. It
changes posts shared with the public or friends of friends to


and to people who are tagged plus their
. (Gee, it's still kind of hard to know who is actually open to seeing what, isn't it?)

The next item specifies who can look you up using your e
mail address or phone number

everyone, friends of friends,
or just friends

and wh
ether or not search engines can link to your timeline (see Figure 7).

Figure 7. The
Who can look me up?

control also lets you control search
engine access to your Facebook timeline.

Just under the Privacy option in the left
hand navigation panel, you'll find an entry for
Timeline and Tagging.

screen, too, repeats much of the controls available in the Privacy Shortcuts. You can, for example, specify who can view
your posts. But th
ere are some additional tools; for example, the
Review posts friends tag you in before they appear
on your timeline

option. Although that sounds useful, it won't prevent your tagged image from appearing on other
people's timelines.

At t
he bottom of the Timelines and Tagging Settings page, you'll find three options for configuring how tags are handled.
With the first option, you can opt to review and approve or reject tags others want to add to posts in your timeline. The
second option de
termines who else can see a post you're tagged in. (This one seems really confusing.) The options are the
usual Friends, Only Me, and Custom.

The final setting in Timelines and Tagging Settings (shown in Figure 8) is
Who sees tag suggesti
ons when photos that
look like you are uploaded?

The only two options are you or your friends. (Does your head hurt now? Mine does.)

Figure 8. Facebook's Timeline and Tagging Settings

The last privacy
settings category (in the left
hand navigation panel below Timeline and Tagging) is Blocking. The first
blocking opt

Restricted List

lets you create a list of friends who can see only those posts you make

There's also a note that "Facebook does not notify your friends when you add them to your Restricted list." This might be
a good option for business con
tacts and others with whom you're only


There are four other blocking options, shown in Figure 9. For each, you just type in the names of those you want blocked.
You can block users, application invitations, event inv
itations, and applications. The last item will prevent applications
from contacting you or collecting nonpublic information. Unfortunately, the onus is on you to manage the lists.

(Of course, the best Facebook privacy policy is to r
efrain from downloading and using Facebook applications in the first

Figure 9. The blocking controls include the ability to restrict applications from using your personal information.

Finally, it's wort
h noting that, although Facebook has added many privacy controls and simplified some existing ones, it
has recently removed a major option: users can no longer hide themselves from Facebook searches. Small wonder some
Facebook users have decided to unfrien
d themselves from the world's largest social network.


The Desk of Jim McGorry

Excerpts taken from the Windows Secrets Periodical


With nearly every news


along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

calling for its
removal from PCs, who

worry about running Java on their computer?

ely, there are steps every Windows user can take to lessen the chances of being bitten by a Java

Why Everyone Should Be Concerned About Java

In the computing world, Java is very nearly ubiquitous. As noted on Oracle's Java FA
, it runs on lots of
PCs, but it also runs on "billions of devices worldwide, including mobile and TV devices." Java is not
JavaScript, as Susan Bradley notes in her companion
, "Java: More than the usual cup of coding coffee,"
about what Java i
s and isn't.

In this article, I focus on one task

disabling Java in your Web browser(s). It's the most effective way to
protect yourself from most Java
based threats. Yes, some PC users still need Java in their browsers to work
th specific websites. But most of us have little to lose and much security to gain by keeping our browsers
free. (And yes, Mac users should block Java, too.) Java in browsers has been a malware magnet for years

it's unlikely that fact will change an
ytime soon.

I'm not going to review the most recent round of Java exploits, their patches, or new exploits built onto the
backs of Java fixes. Java updates are routinely covered in the twice
monthly Patch Watch column. Brian Krebs

an interesting
Krebs on Security


detailing the latest war between Java security and hackers.

Scorched Earth: Remove Java from All Browsers

These days, it's common for PC users to use multiple browsers. Most versions of
Windows have Internet
Explorer installed, and many

if not most PC users

are running Firefox or Chrome

or both. On any PC
with multiple browsers, the most effective security policy is to disable Java in

browsers; then see what, if
anything, breaks
. Most likely, you'll never miss it.

Websites requiring Java are on the decline, but if you hit one, you can just move on to a different site. On the
other hand, if your bank, brokerage company, or some other critical site requires Java
, then you need to limit
your Java exposure. (I've been running Java
free for about six months now, and I haven't missed it one bit.)

Here's how to disable Java in all your browsers simultaneously. (Note: some of this information w
as provided
in the Jan. 17 Patch Watch column.)

Step 1. Make Sure You Have the Latest Version of Java.

My personal preference is to run Secunia PSI (see Fred

Langa's July 26, 2012,
Top Story
) and automatically
keep up to date on all sorts of software, including Java.

If you
don't have PSI installed, go to the main Java

and, under the bright
red "Free Java Download" button, click
Do I

have Java?

link. Now click the
Verify Java Version

button. You should be running Java 7 Update
11 (or later, depending on when you read this column and whether Oracle has its act together). If you don't
have Java 7 Update 11, go back to the main Java page

and click the Java download button.

Step 2. Crank Up the Java Control Panel.

It's typically found in the Windows Control Panel. If you don't see it, try typing "Java" into the Control Panel's
search box (upper
right corner of the CP window). In some unusual circumstances, you might have to go
directly to the Java Control Panel appl
et by navigating to it

Program Files (x86)

Program Files

(or something similar)

and clicking

Step 3. Disable Java in
all browsers.

In the Java Control Panel, click the Security tab and uncheck the
Enable Java Content in the

box (see Figure 1).

There's a small problem with this setting's labeling: The checkbox should say "Enable Java Content in

browsers." Once unchecked, this setting should disable Java in every
browser installed on your system.

Figure 1. Unchecking the
Enable Java content in the browser

box disables Java in all installed browsers,

Step 4.

Click OK and Close the Java Control Panel.

A couple of important notes on this process. Java is still installed on your PC; it's just disabled in browsers.
With Jav
a disabled, the Java site will no longer be able to verify the installed version of Java.

You're ready to start surfing the Web with Java reliably turned off in all your browsers.

Turn Off Java in Each Browser Separately

If you must use a site that depends on Java, the best way to limit your Java
exploit exposure is to leave Java
enabled in just one browser. Use that browser for sites that need Java, and use a browser with Java disabled for
general Web access

That means you'll have to leave the "Enable" box in the Java CP checked and manually disable Java in specific
browsers. It's easy to turn off Java in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, but it's unbelievably difficult to turn off Java

Internet Explorer. (Don't shoot me

I'm just the messenger.)

In a perfect world, it's best to turn off Java in IE and Firefox but leave it enabled in Chrome, which is smart
enough (and polite enough) to explicitly ask you for permission

to run a Java program whenever it encounters

But as I said, turning Java off in IE is difficult

so difficult, it isn't worth the effort. Here are the steps for
disabling Java in Chrome and Firefox

and, if you're feeling lucky, IE.


In the browser's address bar, type

and hit Enter. Scroll down to the entry
Java (2


(or, and click the Disable link. Restart Chrome and you're done.


By d
efault, Firefox disables outdated Java plugins. If you have an old version, it might not show up
on the Firefox Plugins list. To check, click the
Check to see if your plugins are up to date

link at the
top of the Plugins list.

To disable Java,
click Firefox's Tools menu option and select Add
Ons. Select the
Plugins tab ("plugins" and "add
ons" are used somewhat interchangeably) on the left, and scroll down to
Java(TM) Platform SE 7 U11.

Select it and click Disable. Repeat for any add
ons you see

that refer to Java,
then restart Firefox. Easy.

Internet Explorer:

I've looked all over the Net and talked to several of my security
enhanced friends, and I've
not found a better way than the one documented by (gulp!) the Departme
nt of Homeland Security/Carnegie
CERT site

With the CERT approach, you download and run a Registry
altering file that zaps almost 800 possible Java
entry points in Internet Explorer. You then delete two files which you have to find manually. It's ugly. More to
the point, nobody's absolutely certain

that the CERT approach (or Microsoft's method, given in
KB 2751647
will protect IE from future attacks. So running through this process is not only difficult; it might be

So now you know why I recommend that you disable
Java for all your browsers and take your lumps.

I have no idea why Microsoft made it so hard to disable Java in IE, particularly when it's such a simple process
in Firefox and Chrome.


The Desk of Jim McGorry

Excerpts taken from the Windows

Secrets Periodical


Win8's default shutoff and startup processes are unlike those of any previous Windows version.

Completely shutting Win8 down

doing a truly cold boot

requires a few extra steps!

Why Win8 Doesn't Fully Power Down by Default

Reader Pete was surprised he couldn't access the BIOS in his new Win8 notebook by restarting the machine.

"I ju
st bought a new laptop with Windows 8 on it and ran into quite an interesting problem that I thought Fred (and the
rest of the Windows Secrets gang) might find interesting. The machine in question is an Acer V5 Aspire laptop.

"I wa
nted to get into the BIOS. The instructions and posts on the Acer forums both said to tap the F2 key repeatedly
when the Acer logo screen appears during power
up. No matter how quickly I began tapping the F2 key after a cold
restart, I could never get into

the BIOS. I called Acer tech support and they described how I could boot to the BIOS from
within Windows. Although this worked, it didn't solve the problem of getting into the BIOS at power
up. I then spoke
with a Level 2 technician who was quite knowledg

"Acer's shutdown icon lets you select Sleep, Hibernate, Restart, or Shutdown. According to the tech, you must hold down
the Shift key while clicking the shutdown icon

and continue to hold Shift until the machine fully powers off
. I was
then able to enter the BIOS during system startup.

"The tech stated that Windows 8 doesn't really shut down when you click the shutdown icon (or go to Power via the
Charms bar/Settings). Instead, Win8 goes into a sort of 'deep sl
eep' mode, similar to hibernate. This is one of the
techniques the OS uses for fast boots. However, when booting from this 'deep sleep' mode, you can't enter the BIOS via
F2. You can get into the BIOS only after a 'hard' shutdown (for lack of a better term

"I then tried the shutdown command Fred used to create a custom shutdown tile [Nov. 1, 2012,
]. That command also
performed the necessary 'hard' power
down needed to access the BIOS.

"Have you heard of this po
down mechanism

where power
down is really just a form of hibernate/deep sleep? Do
you suppose this is something unique to Acer machines or common to all Windows 8 machines?"

It's normal behavior for Win8, Pete. By default, that oper
ating system's core never shuts down all the way! It's part of a
new feature

fast startup.

When you issue a standard power
down command to Win8, it carries out a
hybrid shutdown

Win8 first closes and
terminates all user sessions in the expected way. Next, it copies what's still running in RAM (primarily, the live core of
the operating system

the system
) onto the hard drive. It then turns off the system hardware.

When Win8 starts up after a hybrid shutdown, it performs a
hybrid boot

As soon as the hardware's ready, the core of the
OS reloads from the hard drive; Win8 then picks up right from where it left off. Thus, the OS itself is up and ready t
o go
in a flash. You still have to reload your apps and data the normal way, from scratch.

For more info on Win8's Fast Startup hybrid shutdown/hybrid boot, see the MSDN
blog post
, "Delivering fast boot times
in Windows 8."

That's how it works on most current hardware. However, on some of the newest systems, Win8 can employ an even
faster option via a new kind of low
level firmware

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI; Wikipedia
The UEFI replac
es the traditional BIOS that's been a part of every PC since the first IBM PC shipped in 1981.

Simply put, the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) boots and runs the PC until an operating system (Windows, Linux,
etc.) wakes up and take
s over. The BIOS has worked well for over 30 years, but with new hardware and software, it's
showing its limitations.

UEFI acts like a BIOS for operating systems that expect to see a BIOS, but it also adds new functions for UEFI

OSes, such as Win8.

equipped PC, Windows 8 can have astonishingly fast startups

especially if the system is also equipped
with a solid
state hard drive. How fast? Check out this YouTube
Microsoft video
, which shows a Win8
laptop booting
from dead
off to Start Screen in about
seven seconds

(For a more detailed explanation of Win8/UEFI technology, see
the MSDN
blog post
, "Designing for PCs that boot faster than ever before.")

As you discovered, Pete, yo
u need to take an extra step to fully shut down Windows 8. There are actually several ways to
do so:

To bypass the hybrid shutdown/boot process, do a command
line shutdown (e.g.,
shutdown.exe /s /f /t 00
). Or embed the
command in a custom tile, as I descr
ibe step by step in the Nov. 1, 2012, LangaList Plus
, "Add custom tiles to the
Win8 start screen."

Use Acer's Shift
key trick

other vendors probably provide something similar to trigger a complete shutdown.


fast startup via the Shutdown settings in Win8's Power Options menu.

Open the Win8 Control Panel and click Hardware and Sound/Power Options/System Settings. Scroll to the bottom of the
dialog box and deselect
Turn on fast startup

(highlighted in Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Disabling Win8's fast
startup option will let the OS shut down completely.

New technologies often require some rethinking and/or relearning of the traditional ways of doing things. You're among
the first to run into this, Pete, but many of us are right
behind you!

Fi Acronym Soup: WPS, WPA, WPA2, etc.

John R. is understandably bothered by some confusing Wi
Fi terminology.

"In reference to the Dec. 12, 2012,
Top Story
, 'Routers using WPS are intri
nsically unsafe,' I'm surprised to see there is
no reference to the WPA protocol."



sound similar, but they're entirely different technologies that perform entirely different tasks.


Fi Protected Access) and

Fi Protected Access Version 2) are security protocols that use
encryption for secure access and ongoing communication between connected Wi
Fi devices. WPA is mostly obsolete
because it uses an older encryption technology that's now relativel
y easy to crack. WPA2 uses a stronger encryption
technology that's immune to most forms of hacking.


Fi Protected Setup) is technology designed solely to automate the
initial setup

of a Wi
Fi connection

WPS doesn't use encryption

and can actually bypass whatever encryption might
otherwise be in use!

That's the problem addressed in the Dec. 12 story. It doesn't matter what encryption technology you use or how long a
strong your passphrase is

if WPS is active, it can let devices

and hackers!

connect anyway.

That's why the safest Wi
Fi setup is one with WPS entirely disabled.

Another Outlook/Android Synching Question

Alan F. asks:

“Does Fred's Nov. 15, 2012,

on synching email to an Android device apply to

POP3 email

or just to

Android devices typically come with a Gmail
specific app (called, not surprisingly,
) and a separate, generic email
app, typically called

Between them, your Android device can use either Gmail or just about any non
POP3/SMTP or IMAP service you wish.

But the Google Sync tool (
) is specifically for synching Gmail to PC
based email clients such as Outlook or
Thunderbird. It also lets you use Gmail while offline.


As I was writing this article, Google
, "Starting Jan. 30, consumers won't be able to set up
new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function." (It will continue
to be part of Google Apps for

Business, Government and Education.)

So, if you have any interest in using Google Sync,
set it up within the next month!

After that, you won't be able to set
up new sync connections for free.

For more info on using Google Sync, chec
k out a Google
help page

Reader Tip: Tracking Email Sources Using Gmail

Will P.'s tips tie in nicely with some recent mentions of Gmail in this column, including the preceding item.

"I take full advantage of Google's Gmail features and generous accounts policy to limit my exposure to spam, phishing,
or email account

hacking attacks:

"I have separate Gmail accounts for different purposes: commercial transactions, onli
ne forums (for posting) and blogs
(for comments), personal blogging (for reader contacts), business correspondence, and personal correspondence.

"I use Gmail's
email address alias

feature to

email addresses I use for on
line forms. T
hat way I can track the
source of an email address

(i.e., an address that has been shared without my permission). I do this by expanding my
address name with a

and a custom phrase.

"For example, if my email address is

a branded add
ress might be


"Unfortunately, not all form fields for email addresses allow the

character. Still, I find that I can use this about 75
percent of the time."

Weekly Download Section

from Jim McG

Welcome members and visitors alike to this new section I hope it will be of interest and use to you.

Each month I will try and have interesting and useful programs for you to download and try on your systems as
you see fit. Some are free and some ma
y have a nominal fee.

A brief write
up and link to download page will be displayed here so you can determine if you wish to get it
and use it.


Some web addresses may not be a direct link. If not, then just copy and paste the address into
the “
Address Location” window and hit enter.


Find Big Files Wasting Space

Tis the season to make New Years resolutions,

and one of the most popular is to lose those extra pounds
you’ve put on during the holidays. But have you considered making a resolution to put your computer on a
diet? Get rid of all of those bloated files and space
sucking programs that you never use?

WizTree is a fantastic program (
available here free of charge
) that lets you see the location and size of your
directories and files

it’s easy to set up, too. Once the program is installed and opened, you’ll see selections to
pick the hard

drive to scan and a scan button. You’ll also be shown the used space, free space and total space.
Once you press scan, the program will read your drive and show you the directories, the percentage of your
HDD the directories are using; size, and number of

files and folders.

If you click on the
Top 1000 Largest Files

tab you will be shown a list of your top 1000 files, the percent of
drive, size, last modified date and the attributes of the file. The attributes column has letters: H is hidden, S is
system and A is achieve. You can right click any file to go directly t
o the file in an explorer window, delete the
file, open a command prompt at the file, and a host of other useful commands.

This program does what it promises. I’m going to spend a few minutes seeing what kind of diet is in order for
my computer,

and I recommend you do too.


If you’re unsure of what a directory or file is, try Googling the name of the file and you’ll often find out
more information. For example, hiberfil.sys is a hibernation file required for Wind
ows to go into
hibernation/sleep mode.

Weekly Download Section

from Jim McGorry

Welcome members and visitors alike to this new section I hope it will be of interest and use to you.

Each month I will try and have interesting and useful programs for

you to download and try on your systems as you see
fit. Some are free and some may have a nominal fee.

A brief write
up and link to download page will be displayed here so you can determine if you wish to get it and use it.


Some web addresses
may not be a direct link. If not, then just copy and paste the address into the
“Address Location” window and hit enter.

YTD Video Downloader and Converter

YTD Video Downloader is a feature
rich freeware tool that can be of help w
henever you’d like to download videos from
YouTube to your computer. It also supports dozens of other video sharing networks online. It even offers a quick video
conversion utility, enabling you to swiftly change the downloaded file types, such as MP4 and

Let’s get down to the nitty
gritty by visiting the following web address and downloading the software.

Start by double
clicking the file to begin installing the application on your computer. By default, the program will be
installed on your C drive

but of course, you c
an easily change the installation folder.

The next window will ask whether you want to use ASK as your main search engine, as well as setting your homepage to
its address. You can skip this part simply by un
checking the boxes. Click Next to move on to th
e next section.

If you are interested in checking out the PC Tools Registry Mechanic, leaving the check box selected will add that tool to
the installation. Otherwise, leave the box empty and click Next.

The YTD Video Downloader is now installed on your system, and if you want to start using it right away, simply click

Working with the application is a piece of cake. Simply copy and paste the YouTube video URL into the address bar, and
if the
video clip is presented in several resolutions with various file qualities, choose the one you prefer. At the end,
choose the location in which the video will be stored on your computer. Finally, click the Download button.

Another cool fe
ature of the program is the conversion option, placing the downloaded files into several standard formats.
For instance, you can convert the MP4 files into 3GP in order to view the videos on your cell phone. Choose the Convert
tab from the menu and then, s
elect the video file to convert. Choose the new format, and click on Convert Video.