Computer Information: Hardware, Software, Anit-Virus Programs, & Help

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Table of Contents for Computer Information

A. Security
  1. Information about Virus and Hoaxes
    1. Link Hoax Encyclopedia -
    2. Link List of hoaxes - Wikipedia
    3. Link Symantec
    4. Link McAfee
    5. Link Vmyths
    6. Link Urban Myths - Snopes
    7. Link DOE-CIRC provides the U.S. Department of Energy with incident response, reporting, and tracking, along with other computer security support. Has bulletins on computer security vulnerabilities and recommended actions.
  2. Anti-Virus Programs
    1. Link The best antivirus software for Windows Home User by AV-TEST Institute - the leading international and independent service provider in the fields of IT security and anti-virus research.
    2. Not Free
    3. Link PC Magazine review for free and not free Anti-Virus software as of 9/2013
    4. Link Independent comparatives of Anti-Virus software
    5. Link PC World Top 10 Internet Security Suites as of 1/2012
    6. Link Norton Internet Security (I use this program) Link Symantec Virus List Link Intelligent Updater
    7. Link McAfee Virus Recent Threats LinkVirus Glossary LinkTest Security and Virus Check Free
    8. Several Security Companies have 30 day trials
    9. Free On line Scan or Download
    10. Link Symantec Security Scan and Virus Detection (Use Internet Explorer w/ ActiveX)
    11. Link Panda ActiveScan 2.0 - Free Antivirus
    12. Link BitDefender Online Scanner
    13. Link Trend Micro's FREE online virus scanner
    14. Link Virus Total (free) analyzes suspicious files and URLs for detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and malware
    15. Free Program (I recommend buying a good AntiVirus program and firewall)
    16. Link PC World ranking of Free anti-virus software (read this first) as of 4/2012
    17. Link List of free anti-virus software, spyware, firewalls etc
    18. Link PC Tools AntiVirus Free Edition 3.1.2
    19. Link Avira AntiVir Personal - Free
    20. Link Comodo Firewall - Free
    21. Link Avast Free Home Edition 4.7.1001 (not rated anywhere as good as Symantec, etc)
    22. Link AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition Link AVG (not rated anywhere as good as Symantec, McAfee, etc)
    23. Link BitDefender 8 Free Edition (not rated anywhere as good as Symantec, McAfee, etc)
    24. Link Anti-Virus Guide (No idea of quality of site)
  3. Check to see if a Web site is safe
    1. Link Norton Safe Web - Check to see if a Web site is safe
    2. Link AVG - Check to see if a Web site is safe
    3. Link McAfee's SiteAdvisor tests websites for spyware, spam and scams as you use a search engine
    4. Link Robtex - see if host name, URL, is black listed (a bad site)
    5. Link Web of Trust (WOT) is a website reputation and review service (enter website in box at upper right)
    6. Link Sucuri SiteCheck scanner will check the website for known malware, blacklisting status, website errors, and out-of-date software
    7. Link Check Short URL Link is a short URL expander and URL safety checker
  4. AntiSpyware
    1. Note: The programs I have tried are in italics. The actual files I downloaded may have newer versions when you download them. If you do not like them running all the time on your system, just exit them or unstall them until the next time you want to run an antispyware program. I just run one at a time and have no other anti-spyware program in the background.
    2. Link How to Remove Malware From Your Windows PC by PC World
    3. Link Ad Aware (antiTracking software) (Free) You download Ad-Aware96Install.msi During install, choose advanced option and unselect "Install Ad-watch Live! with required driver" if you want the program loaded each time you run the computer and it checks files as they come on your computer. (I unselected because I want to run it only when I choose.) I did not install the browser add-on Link Also here.
    4. Link SpyBot Search and Destroy (Free) finds protection against ad-serving software, Trojan horses, and other means of tracking your surfing habits. You download spybotsd162.exe (close ad-aware first if you have it running) The Resident TeaTimer is a tool of Spybot-S&D which perpetually monitors the processes called/initiated. I did not install this since I did not want anything added permamently to the system. Link Also here.
    5. Link Super Anti Spyware (Free) It downloads SUPERAntiSpyware.exe I did not install the toolbar. Link Also here.
    6. Link Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (Free) It downloads mbam--setup- Choose the free option. Link Also here.
    7. Link Spy Audit (by Webroot) examines PCs on your network for thousands of known spyware programs (Free)   
    8. Link McAfee Security Scan Plus - Actively checks your computer for anti-virus software, firewall protection, and web security, and threats in your open applications (Free)   
    9. Link Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Free for now Link Microsoft Security Essentials guards against viruses, spyware, and other evil software. It provides real-time protection.
    10. Link Hitman Pro offers you a Free Scan. It is designed to check if your security measures work. If nothing is found, then you will never need a license. When a virus is found, then you will receive a free 30-day license to remove the threat. if needed, $20
    11. Link Emsisoft Anti-Malware Scanner - full version including all protection features for 30+3 days for free. Afterwards the unpaid software switches to a limited freeware scanner mode that allows you to scan and clean your PC whenever you want, but does not include the protection features against new infections. if needed, $40
    12. Link Spy Sweeper (Webroot) $30    
    13. Link Spyware and Adware Removal Help
    14. Link Anti-Spyware Guide
    15. Link List of Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites Is Sony's invasive DRM software running on your Windows PC? Choose Run from the Start menu, then type cmd /k sc querry $sys$aries If the response is STATE:4 RUNNING, you have the software running. If you see The specified service does not exist as an installed service, then the software is not running. If the XCP software is running, use your antivirus software to remove it.
  5. Anti-Rootkit
    1. Link Rootkit Revealer - free
    2. Link Sophos Anti-Rootkit - free
    3. Link Kaspersky Lab's TDSSKiller utility that removes rootkits - free
    4. Link Panda AntiRootkit - Free
    5. Link Strider GhostBuster by Microsoft detects API-hiding rootkits by doing a "Cross-View Diff" between "the truth" and "the lie"
  6. Other Security Tests and Programs
    1. Link Adobe Flash Player - Global Storage Settings panel - CAREFUL you are acutally in your Flash player Link Read PC World article before making any adjustments. - If you want your computer to prompt you for permission to proceed whenever a site wishes to store a Flash cookie on the PC, move the Global Storage Settings slider bar all the way to the left (from ‘100KB' to ‘None').To delete all existing Flash cookies--good or bad--click the Website Storage Settings tab at the far left of the Flash settings interface, and click the Delete all sites button at the tab's base. To delete them individually, highlight an entry and click Delete website.- For Firefox use the add-on Better Privacy Link Check to see if you have the latest version
    2. Link Hotspot Shield protects your entire web surfing session; securing your connection at both your home Internet network & Public Internet networks (both wired and wireless) (found in PC World)
    3. Link Secunia PSI is a FREE security tool designed to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs and plug-ins which expose your PC to attacks.
    4. Link The Belarc Advisor (free) builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, network inventory, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, security benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser.
    5. Link ZoneAlarm Free Firewall blocks hackers and prevents viruses & spyware from stealing your personal data and sending it out to the Internet. (Recommended by PC World)
    6. Link Microsoft Web site that offers the same downloads that are available from Windows Update
    7. Test websites for spyware, spam and scams
      1. Norton Internet Security tests websites for spyware, spam and scams as you use a search engine
      2. Link McAfee's SiteAdvisor tests websites for spyware, spam and scams as you use a search engine
      3. Link AVG LinkScanner- It scans the pages behind the link you’re interested in to see if it leads to a genuine site.
      4. Link Norton Norton Safe Web - Heartbleed Check
    8. Web-based PC vulnerability tests:  Link Shields Up     Link Sygate Online System Link Robtex - find you IP address, check if you are blacklisted (will be in red)
    9. Link Check your password — is it strong? - Microsoft Online Safety Link another checker - How secure is my password - days required to break password Link Password Meter (analysis of password) Do not use your real password in these checkers
    10. Link PwnedList you to check if email address or username for an account has been compromised Link Read about it on MSNBC
    11. Internet Protocol address (Your IP address is one way Google etc track you.)
      1. Link Find IP address of a website Link PC Find host by IP address
      2. See your IP Internet Protocol address: Link ippages Link showipaddress Link plotip Link IP 4 and 6 add Link IP 4 add
      3. Link IP-Lookup finds Your current IP address and related details
      4. Link Find your City Zip Latitude Longitude ISP from IP address or any other IP address
      5. Link Gives better Lat/Long
  7. Security Information
    1. Link How to Protect Against Ransomware (PDF)
    2. Link Message Labs Virus Information
    3. Link Security Watch Newsletters by PC Magazine
    4. Link Guard Privacy & Online Security
    5. Link How to Guard Your Privacy Online
    6. Link How to Manage Online Tracking Programs
    7. Link How to read email headers - learn who sender really is
    8. "There are only two types of companies, those that have been hacked and those that will be." "The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Mueller, struck an ominous note about the threat of digital attacks on corporate America. 'There are only two types of companies,' Mr. Mueller said in a keynote speech at the conference, 'those that have been hacked and those that will be.'" Reported by the NY Times March 5, 2012. Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation spoke on March 1, 2012 at the RSA computer security conference in San Francisco.
  8. Privacy on the Web
    1. Link Google - Clear history
    2. Link Google - Ad Preferences - Opt out of ads directed at you specifically
  9. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

B. Software (suggested by PC World, newspaper)
  1. Utilities
    1. Link System File Checker is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files.
    2. Link Need more Memory? - Scan your computer to find out what is already inside your system and get recommended upgrades.
    3. Link Team Viewer - Remote PC Control And View Presentations- Link Team Viewer (free) - Download "Full Version" for yourself / "Join a Session" for partner
    4. Backup
      1. Link Acronis True Image - complete PC-backup solution (I use this program)
      2. Link EASEUS Todo Backup (Free) PC World
      3. Link Folder Match and Folder Clone for file backup (not free - I use these programs)
    5. Help with Files
      1. Link yCopy - a utility that helps you copy files from one place to another.
      2. Link Unlocker - solves problem with Cannot delete file: Access is denied
      3. Link Recase - folder and filename case-conversion tool - Highlight one or all of the files--whether upper-, lower-, or mixed case--and Recase will change them to the case that's just right for you.
      4. Link Eraser (free) - good for deleting files from an old computer before giving it away.
      5. Link Recuva Portable - Undelete program which lives entirely on the USB drive
    6. Link McAfee Tech Check - Perform a quick scan of your computer to identify software or hardware issues that might impact your PC's performance
    7. Link PC Decrapifier attempts to remove all of the crap on your new PC that you never asked for or wanted
    8. Link Mouse Jiggler - Keeps your PC from suddenly goes to sleep and keeps you logged on a site (works great)
    9. Link WizMouse - Scrolls windows under the mouse without having to click first (free) PC World
    10. Link Stalled Printer Repair is a free utility that purges any stuck jobs it finds, meaning you should be able to resume printing again right away. (PC World)
    11. Link HP Smart Web Printing - Free - improves upon IE's ability to print what you see on the Web page, combine pages, saves paper
    12. Link Disk imaging software - Macrium Reflect - free
    13. Link AOMEI Disk Partition - free (PC World)
    14. Link Driver - Lost a DLL file? . Find it here Link Backup your drivers - Double Driver (PCWorld)
    15. Link Activity Indicator Windows tray hard drive led like indicator with keyboard lights support - free (PC World rec.)
  2. Portable diagnostic programs to keep on your flash drive (PCWORLD)
    1. CCleaner Portable:Aside from finding and deleting broken items in the Windows Registry, the portable version of Piriform's Registry cleaner and repair tool cleans out bits of Internet Explorer that can compromise your privacy (such as the cache and cookies), deletes chkdsk file fragments, manages restore points, and does an assortment of other tasks.
    2. Revo Uninstaller Portable: Windows' own program uninstaller does nothing except launch the uninstall routine that came with the program you no longer want, and those uninstall routines are notoriously sloppy. This portable freebie is much smarter--it also removes what the program's uninstall routine left behind. But Revo has an important limitation: It can't uninstall 64-bit applications. From the VS Revo Group.
    3. EasyCleaner: This free collection of tools from ToniArts overlaps CCleaner in many ways, but it's clearly the better choice for one particular chore: emptying an overloaded hard drive. The Space Usage tool scans your hard drive (or a selected folder) and gives you a breakdown and a pie chart of how much space each folder is taking up. You can drill down to see the size of a folder's subfolders.
    4. SUPERAntiSpyware Portable Scanner portable version of a malware scanners. Oddly, it comes in the form of an MS-DOS program (with a .com extension). Launch it, and it loads the familiar Windows interface (and yes, it works in 64-bit environments). It's updated every day or so, so if you download the latest version just before running it, you'll get something reasonably up-to-date.
    5. HijackThis: This malware fighter from TrendMicro doesn't actually fix anything, but it produces a very thorough, and for most people, thoroughly unreadable report. Click here for a list of online forums where you can upload your report and likely get a helpful answer.
    6. Recuva Portable:Undeleters should be portable, since installing a program lowers the chances that you'll successfully recover that lost file. Ffree portable file recovery program that comes from Piriform, the folks who make CCleaner.
    7. Rescue CD: If your computer no longer starts due to malware corrupting the operating system, or you suspect the security software has been compromised, you can use the F-Secure Rescue CD to securely boot up the computer and check the programs installed.
  3. Graphics, Images, Photos
    1. Link XnView - view and convert graphic files, 400 graphics formats - free (I have never use it)
    2. Link IrfanView - graphic viewer - free (I have never use it)
    3. Link VisiPics - finds and deletes all your duplicates photos (free)
    4. Link Video Compatibility Matrix Chart - outlines the most popular types of connectors found on modern Home Entertainment and Computer equipment and allows you to look up what other types of connectors are compatible with one another.
    5. Link Photoshop Help and Support
    6. Photo editing tools (online)
      1. Link PhotoFunia is an online photo editing tool - it automatically identifies the face in the photo and let's you add cool photo effects and create funny face photo montages.
      2. Link Photo505 (like PhotoFunia)
      3. Link Aviary - Photo-editing, logos, web templates, filters, color palettes, screen capture
      4. Link Splashup is the only full-featured, free range, image editor online. Create new images, edit existing images and manipulate layers with filters.
      5. Link Citrify - enhance your personal photos.
      6. Link Pixlr Editor is a free online photo editor (PC World)
    7. Link Google Picasa to organize and edit your photos and videos (free)
    8. Link TinCam - Create a webpage with live pictures or video from your webcams. TinCam can upload pictures to your webserver or serve them directly from your own computer.
  4. Audio
    1. Link Audacity is free software for recording and editing sounds. LinkOn-Line help
    2. Link NaturalReader is a text-to-speech software can read to you any text such as Microsoft Word files, webpages, PDF files, and E-mails. Free (paid versions can do more, but most of the time not needed.)
  5. PDF
    1. Link Adobe Reader - Adobe Reader is a MUST HAVE program on your PC. It lets you read Adobe PDF files that most companies and the government uses to distribute documents that will print correctly on your printer. Be sure to choose the correct version for your operating system (Windows Vista or XP, etc). (Unless you need them, I would suggest you uncheck Adobe Yahoo! Toolbar and Adobe Photoshop® Album Starter Edition.)
    2. Link Cute PDF - Creates PDF file Free
    3. Link NaturalReader is a text-to-speech software can read to you any text such as Microsoft Word files, webpages, PDF files, and E-mails. Free (paid versions can do more, but most of the time not needed.)
  6. Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation
    1. Free word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software Link IBM Symphony Link Open Office Link Kingsoft
    2. Link Zoho - Online Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation (Free)
    3. Link Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc
    4. Link Older Word, Excel and Power Point can open Word etc 2007 documents with Microsoft's Compatibility Pack
    5. Link Word Viewer - View, print and copy MS Office Word documents, even if you don't have Word installed.
    6. Link PowerPoint Viewer 2007 - lets you view full-featured presentations created in Microsoft Office PowerPoint 97 and later versions.
    7. Link Microsoft Office Diagnostics - provides comprehensive testing and repair capabilities of Office products.
    8. Link NaturalReader is a text-to-speech software can read to you any text such as Microsoft Word files, webpages, PDF files, and E-mails. Free (paid versions can do more, but most of the time not needed.)
  7. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

C. Startup Applications - What's running on your PC
  1. Link Autoruns - shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. (I use this program)
  2. Link Soluto Beta allows you to understand your boot, discover which applications are slowing it down (and keep running later in the background, affecting your ongoing experience), and allows you to significantly improve it.
  3. Link pacs-portal
  4. Link Process Free Process Information
  5. Link Startup Application Knowledge Base
  6. Link WinTasks Process Library - The WinTasks Process Library contains information about all common Windows processes and is continuously updated with new information. On this page you can find a subset of the most popular processes listed in WinTasks Process Library. The categories available online are: Security Risks, System Processes, and Applications.
  7. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

D. Web Browsers
  1. Link Web browsers listing for Windows
  2. Link Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer are the most popular browsers (See Percentage Use)
  3. For Each Browser - Which Version or Release Is Being Used the Most - Link Internet Explorer Link Firefox Link Chrome Link Safari Link Opera
  4. LinkFirefox Link Keyboard Shortcuts
  5. LinkFirefox Add-Ons - Extensions - Ones I Use
    1. Adblock Plus -- Blocks Ads
    2. Better Privacy -- "Super-Cookie Safeguard"
    3. Context Highlight -- Lets you highlight words on the page via the context menu.
    4. Down Them All -- The mass downloader for Firefox.
    5. Download Helper -- Download videos and images from many sites
    6. Easy Youtube Video Downloader -- Add easy to use video download links in FLV, 3GP, MP3, MP4 and 720p HD and Full-HD qualities on Youtube pages.
    7. Error Zilla Mod -- Implements a useful error page when a website cannot be reached.
    8. FEBE -- Backup your Firefox data
    9. Firefox Showcase -- Easily locate any browser you've opened in Firefox
    10. Ghostery -- Ghostery identifies and allows you to block the 3rd parties (web bugs) that are hidden on the current page you're visiting. Web bugs include ad networks, behavioral data collectors and web analytics providers.
    11. Highlight All -- Highlights all occurrences of the selected text
    12. Html Validator -- Adds HTML validation to the View Page Source of the browser. The validation is done by Tidy or a SGML Parser from W3c.
    13. Image Zoom -- Adds zoom functionality for images
    14. Lazarus Form Recovery -- Recover lost forms with a single click
    15. List All Images -- List url, size and dimension properties for all images in a page.
    16. Microsoft. NET Framework Assistant -- Adds ClickOnce support and the ability to report installed .NET versions to the web server.
    17. Multi Links lets you open, copy or bookmark multiple links at the same time rather than having to do them all individually.
    18. NoScript -- Extra protection for your Firefox: NoScript allows JavaScript, Java (and other plugins) only for trusted domains of your choice (e.g. your home-banking web site). This whitelist based pre-emptive blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even unknown!) with no loss of functionality.
    19. PDFDownload -- Allows you to choose what to do with a PDF file: download it, view it with an external viewer or view it as HTML.
    20. SaveImages -- Save images in open page.
    21. ScrapBook -- Helps you to save Web pages and organize the collection.
    22. SessionManager -- Saves and restores the state of all windows.
    23. TabMixPlus -- Tab browsing with an added boost.
    24. Table2Clipboard -- Allow to copy to clipboard an HTML table rows/columns selection correctly formatted
    25. UnhidePasswords -- Shows contents of password fields in cleartext.
    26. Print Edit -- Editing the web page prior to printing can compact the layout and remove unwanted content such as adverts, sidebars and blank pages. Any element can be formatted, hidden or deleted.
  6. Link IE7 Open Last Closed Tab is a plug-in for Internet Explorer 7 that reopens the closed tabs
  7. Link Timer, Alarm and Stop Watch as a tab in browser
  8. Link Disable and Enable Java - Launch the Windows Start menu, Click on Programs, Find the Java program listing, Click Configure Java to launch the Java Control Panel. In the Java Control Panel, click on the Security tab. Deselect the check box for Enable Java content in the browser. This will disable the Java plug-in in the browser. Click Apply. When the Windows User Account Control (UAC) dialog appears, allow permissions to make the changes. Click OK in the Java Plug-in confirmation window. Restart the browser for changes to take effect. Link Windows - find Java
  9. Link Panopticlick shows how easy it is to uniquely identify your browsers. When you visit a website, you are allowing that site to access a lot of information about your computer's configuration. Combined, this information can create a kind of fingerprint — a signature that could be used to identify you and your computer. Some companies use this technology to try to identify individual computers.
  10. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

E. Online Email
  1. Link Yahoo Mail Link Yahoo! Mail blog - Tips and Tricks for Managing Your Email - Now has Dropbox and YouSendIt for large files
  2. Link Fast Mail
  3. Link Hotmail (MS)
  4. Link Gmail (Google) reads mail to send ads
  5. Link How to read email headers - learn who sender really is
  6. Link Cookienator - cleans bad cookies (PC World)
  7. Link Report Spam - Forward unwanted or deceptive messages to the Federal Trade Commission at Be sure to include the complete spam email.)
  8. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

F. Helpful Information
  1. Link NY Times - David Pogue on Computers etc Link Calling via the Net
  2. Link WSJ - Walt Mossberg's Personal Technology, and buying guide
  3. Link Criteria for purchasing a monitor s
  4. Link What to Do With a New PC
  5. Online Tech Support Services
    1. Link 5 Star Support
    2. Link Tech Support Guy - free
    3. Link Ask Me Help Desk
    4. Link Protonic
    5. Link Cyber Tech Help - free computer help
    6. Link Suggest A Fix Support Forums - free
  6. Link Windows Keyboard Shortcuts
  7. Link Excel 2007 Keyboard Shortcuts
  8. Link Master Control Panel - GodMode - PC World Link PC Magazine
  9. Link Net Lingo - definitions of internet and texting terms
  10. List of File Extensions
    1. Link List of file formats
    2. Link Image file formats
    3. Link Windows commonly used file types.
  11. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

G. Services for Home or Organizations
  1. Online cloud sync storage and file delivery services
    1. Link MS SkyDrive - 7 gb of free storage
    2. Link DropBox - 2 gb
    3. Link SugarSync lets you pick folders all over your computer to sync - 5 gb
    4. Link Google Drive - 5 gb
  2. Top Cloud Services for Sending Large Files - PCWorld to see limits in all these services
    1. Link You Send It - 50mb free
    2. Link Send Space - 300mb free
    3. Link Rapid Share - unlimitedMB free
  3. Link Free Fax - Ad on the cover page, Fax 1 document - max 3 pages, Max 2 free faxes per day (or $2 for 15 pages)
  4. Link MailChimp free newsletter service - Store up to 2,000 subscribers. Send up to 12,000 emails per month. No expiring trials, contracts or credit card required
  5. Link Schedule a meeting/conference call - free
  6. Link Meeting Scheduler - When Is Good - free
  7. Link Legally sign a document - free
  8. Link Encrypt to protect sensitive data on PC, Hard Disk or Flash Drive - free (I use Cypherix PE, a more powerful version)
  9. Link TrueCrypt - Free open-source disk encryption software
  10. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

I. Build a Web Page
  1. Link W3Schools - Web-building tutorials Link HTML
  2. Link HTML Code Tutorial helpful guide to creating web pages
  3. Link EPA's Web Guide
  4. Special Characters in HTML Link Web Monkey Link Degraeve Link W3 School Link Natural Innovations
  5. Link KompoZer - web authoring system with WYSIWYG web page editing.
  6. Link The SeaMonkey - Internet browser, email & newsgroup client with an included web feed reader, HTML editor, IRC chat and web development tool,
  7. Link Dreamweaver help
  8. Link Website Templates (free)
  9. Link Footnotes, endnotes, and sidenotes on Web pages
  10. Link Wiki program and site - create your own Wiki
  11. Link Google's ranking algorithm (the method by which the search engine orders results)
  12. Link WebImage icon library
  13. Link Web icon library (Free Icons
  14. Link Clip Art, Photos, Animations, Sounds (MS Office Online) - Click on the down arrow next to search to find more than 150,000 free images and sounds
  15. Link Digital Images of Yale’s Vast Cultural Collections Now Available for Free Link Page with more filters
  16. Button Generators Link My Cool Button Link Cool Text Link Da Button Factory Link Form Style Generator
  17. Spam
    1. Link Hide your email address on websites from spam
    2. Link Create a Graphic Email address for your web page to help keep spam down. (Used by webmasters - You do not need this if you don't have a webpage) Link also try this plain one.
    3. Link Encoder transforming your ascii email address into its equivalent decimal entity
    4. Link The Complete Guide to Spam.
  18. Website Monitoring Services - Know if your website is UP - Free
    1. Link JaGuard
    2. Link InternetSeer
    3. Link ServiceUptime
    4. Link Site24x7
    5. Link My Server Alert
    6. Link SiteUptime
  19. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page

  1. Bandwidth Speed Test Link Bandwidth Place Link Link AT&T Internet Speed Test Link Cox Internet Speed Test Link Ookla - Rise Broadband Speedtest Service Link MegaPath Speakeasy Link MegaPath Speed Test Plus Link Link Spectrum’s Internet Speed Test to Durham Link Speed test by OoKla - only Spectrum service Link Link TechRadar Speedtest Link BROADBANDNOW - has good details Link DSLReports
  2. Link Website Speed Test by Pingdom - Enter a URL to test the load time of that page, analyze it and find bottlenecks
  3. Link will tell you when a website is experiencing trouble
  4. Link down or up right will tell you when a website is experiencing trouble
  5. Link Outage Report - See if your provider or web service is having an outage
  6. Link Is The Service Down? - tracks communications/mobile services, internet providers (ISPs), gaming services/networks, instant messaging services, video/audio streaming services and more.
  7. Link downrightnow monitors the status of your favorite web services
  8. Link TaskList displays all running applications and services with their Process ID (PID) example: tasklist /m > tasklist.txt (for output to text file) Link Another info site
  9. Link Networking home computers running different versions of Windows
  10. Link Small Net Builder - Info on choosing a Router - very detailed
  11. Link Wallpaper - Places & Landscapes - Microsoft
  12. Link The Best Free Software of 2017
  13. Link USB Connection Type Reference Chart
  14. Link Return to Table of Contents at the top of this page



How to Avoid Malware

Malware is easier to avoid than it is to remove. Avoiding malware involves a two-part strategy. Follow these guidelines for staying safe.

By Justin Phelps, PCWorld    Nov 16, 2010 8:42 pm

Malware is a term used to describe a broad category of damaging software that includes viruses, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, and adware. The effects of malware range from brief annoyance to computer crashes and identity theft. Malware is easier to avoid than it is to remove. Avoiding malware involves a two-part strategy. Follow these guidelines for staying safe.

Prevent Malware With Smart Online Behavior

The single biggest factor in preventing a malware infection on your PC is you. You don't need expert knowledge or special training. You just need vigilance to avoid downloading and installing anything you do not understand or trust, no matter how tempting, from the following sources:

From a website: If you are unsure, leave the site and research the software you are being asked to install. If it is OK, you can always come back to site and install it. If it is not OK, you will avoid a malware headache.

From e-mail: Do not trust anything associated with a spam e-mail. Approach e-mail from people you know with caution when the message contains links or attachments. If you are suspicious of what you are being asked to view or install, don't do it.

From physical media: Your friends, family, and associates may unknowingly give you a disc or flash drive with an infected file on it. Don't blindly accept these files; scan them with security software. If you are still unsure, do not accept the files.

From a pop-up window: Some pop-up windows or boxes will attempt to corner you into downloading software or accepting a free "system scan" of some type. Often these pop-ups will employ scare tactics to make you believe you need what they are offering in order to be safe. Close the pop-up without clicking anything inside it (including the X in the corner). Close the window via Windows Task Manager (press Ctrl-Alt-Delete).

From another piece of software: Some programs attempt to install malware as a part of their own installation process. When installing software, pay close attention to the message boxes before clicking Next, OK, or I Agree. Scan the user agreement for anything that suggests malware may be a part of the installation. If you are unsure, cancel the installation, check up on the program, and run the installation again if you determine it is safe.

From illegal file-sharing services: You're on your own if you enter this realm. There is little quality control in the world of illegal software, and it is easy for an attacker to name a piece of malware after a popular movie, album, or program to tempt you into downloading it.

Remove Malware With the Right Software

Chances are that no matter how careful you are, you will be infected some day. That's because malware is designed to sneak onto your computer in ways you can't possibly foresee. Enlist the help of the following software:

An updated operating system: Use Windows Update. Take advantage of its ability to automatically notify you of updates, or better yet, to automatically download and install updates.

An updated browser: No matter which browser you use, keeping it current is vital to preventing infection. Take advantage of your browser's pop-up blocking, download screening, and automatic update features.

Antivirus software: You must run an antivirus program to be safe. Keep it updated, turned on, and schedule a scan to run at least once a month. (Don't run two antivirus programs; they will interfere with one another.)

Anti-malware: Also called anti-spyware, many antivirus applications include an anti-malware component. If yours does not, install and use a standalone anti-malware program that does not conflict with your antivirus program. Keep it updated.

Firewall: If you aren't running a third-party firewall, use Windows Firewall. (Don't run two firewalls at once; they will interfere with one another.)

Spam filter: If your e-mail program is not adequately filtering spam from your in-box, consider additional spam filtering software. If your security software is a security suite, spam filtering may be a feature that you need to switch on.

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    15 Things Every PC User Should Know

    Whether you're a grizzled tech veteran or an uninitiated newbie, here are 15 essential facts and tricks that you ought to know.

    By Patrick Miller, PCWorld   

  • Think you know tech? If you don't have a handle on every single one of these 15 tech facts, habits, and efficiency tricks, you're not living up to your potential.

    1. Don't double-click everything. Windows 101: Double-clicking is how you open items in Windows. It's not how you open links in your Web browser, click buttons in dialog boxes, or do pretty much anything else--and if you reflexively double-click, you might accidentally zip right past something important or submit a form twice. If you don't need this reminder yourself, chances are you know someone who does.

    2. Use slashes and backslashes in the appropriate situations. Let's get it straight: / is a slash (or forward slash, if you must), and \ is a backslash. Backslashes are conventionally used for Windows file paths (C:\Program Files\Whatever), while slashes are used for Internet addresses (

    3. Record the exact error message. When your PC crashes, it'll usually try to tell you why it is doing so--albeit with a string of numbers and letters that you won't understand. Write the message down in its entirety (or take a screenshot, if possible) so you can later plug it into Google or give it to your tech support agent. If your PC didn't provide an error message, go to Action Center (in the Control Panel) and see if it shows up under 'View archived messages' or 'View problems to report'.

    4. Bring deleted files back from the dead. When you delete a file from your PC or memory card, you're not wiping it off the actual hard drive. Instead, you're simply removing the index information that tells your PC where the file is, at which point the PC is free to treat the part of your disk that contain that file as empty space that it can write something else to. If you've accidentally deleted something, undelete utilities such as Recuva can help you find those files again as long as you haven't already written over that file with something new.

    DBAN; click for full-size image.Don't leave your personal data on your old PC's hard drive. Nuke it completely with Darik's Boot and Nuke. 5. Wipe your hard drive before getting rid of it. Because your PC doesn't immediately get rid of the files you delete, you can't just reformat your hard drive before recycling or selling your old computer--because someone might be able to use an undelete app to recover your sensitive data. We have all kinds of tips for completely erasing an old drive, but the short version is: grab Darik's Boot and Nuke.

    Uncheck the boxes; click for full-size image.Want a totally worthless toolbar added to your browser? No? Then uncheck the box for that option before you install updates. 6. Uncheck the boxes before you install. Lots of helpful apps out there give you the option of installing search toolbars and other add-ons--and some of them are so pushy about being helpful that their installers are configured to install the uninvited extras unless you check a box saying you don't want them. Not only is each add-on another thing that your PC needs to load, but you have no idea what kind of data it could be sending out. They come bundled with the app because they make money for the app developer, not because they're particularly useful. So take a close look at what you're installing before you click Install--and in return, the installer won't change your search engine or install apps you don't need.

    7. Beware of viruses living in Office docs. Experienced Microsoft Office users can take advantage of its built-in Visual Basic for Applications support to automate complex tasks with macros. However, malicious coders can use those same tools to design viruses that may interfere with your work and that of your colleagues. By default, Office is set to disable all macros and notify you when a doc you're reading contains them (to toggle this setting, in Word, select Word Options, Trust Center, Trust Center Settings, Macro Settings), so you should already be safe on this score.

  • 8. Be skeptical of "cleaning" apps. Apps that make vague claims about improving your PC's performance and clearing out its clutter (Registry cleaners, I'm looking at you) will generally do more harm than good (if they do anything at all). To clean up your system, simply run Disk Cleanup (to reach it, select Start Menu, All programs, Accessories, System Tools); it comes with every Windows installation and it won't mess up your PC.

    9. Uninstall your old apps. If you regularly download and install new apps from the Internet, you should get in the habit of pruning your collection every now and then. To do so, open the Programs and Features control panel, scroll through the list, and click Uninstall to ditch items you no longer want. You may need to take a trip into your C:/Program Files/ folder to hunt down a few additional unused apps. The less stuff you have on your PC, the less things are to go wrong.

    10. Don't let a spilled drink ruin your laptop. If you keep your cool when a spill occurs, you may be able to prevent your data from disappearing and your motherboard from frying. Instead of panicking, quickly but methodically unplug the power cord and yank out the battery--don't wait for Windows to power off. Next, detach anything connected to the PC (network cables, USB devices) and pull out any readily removable components such as an optical drive. Tilt the laptop to try to drain the liquid in the direction that it spilled onto your PC, but be careful--you don't want to tilt the laptop in a direction that would allow the liquid to seep even deeper in. If you see liquid on the surface of the laptop, dab it off with a towel. At this point, unless you're comfortable disassembling your PC and cleaning it with electronics cleaner, you'll probably want to take it to a tech.

    11. Turn down UAC. Both Windows 7 and Windows Vista include a security function called User Account Control, which dims the screen and flashes a dialog box whenever you install an app or change your system settings. Though this arrangement can be useful for catching sneaky apps that are trying to install or change things without your knowledge, it can also be annoying. If you use Vista, grab TweakUAC to make it less annoying without turning it off. If you use Windows 7, the default settings aren't too bad, but I recommend that you go into the User Accounts control panel, click User Account Control settings, and change the setting to the third notch down, so UAC will still warn you but it won't dim the screen.

    12. Don't work in your admin account. Many PC users are accustomed to doing their everyday work while logged in to their PC's administrator account--especially in Windows XP. Doing so can save you the hassle of having to log in and out when you want to install apps or make changes, but it also leaves you much more vulnerable to viruses and malware--so don't do it.

    Icon View; click for full-size image.The Control Panel is far easier to navigate when you can see all the icons at a glance. 13. Keep your Control Panel in Icon View. The Control Panel's Categories view can be useful if you're intimidated by the many different options available, but it can also make finding what you're looking for more difficult (especially if you're following detailed instructions that refer to the control panels by name). Click Classic view on the left (in Vista) or choose Large Icons from the View by dropdown menu in the upper right (in Windows 7), and you'll have ready access to all of the control panels.

    Notification Area Icons; click for full-size image.Limit the clutter in your system tray by paring down the list of icons that occupy it. 14. Clear your system tray. Apps often park themselves in the system tray (the row of icons on the right side of your taskbar) and stay open without your realizing it. Take the time to clear it out occasionally. Open the Notification Area Icons control panel, and check the box on the bottom that says Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar to get a sense of how cluttered your system tray is; then right-click each one you don't need and choose Close. Your RAM will thank you.

    15. Manage your power settings. If you're using a laptop, you'll want to know how to change your power settings so your PC doesn't waste battery when you need to conserve it, doesn't slow down when you need to go fast, and doesn't go to sleep at an inopportune moment. Open the Power Options control panel, and choose from among several presets containing different configurations for when you're plugged in and when you're mobile--or feel free to create your own. To access the advanced settings, click Change plan settings, Change advanced settings; there you'll find detailed options related to your battery, Wi-Fi radio, graphics card, and more.
    February 4, 2012

    Should Personal Data Be Personal?


    MAX SCHREMS, a 24-year-old law student from Salzburg, Austria, wanted to know what Facebook knew: He requested his own Facebook file. What he got turned out to be a virtual bildungsroman, 1,222 pages long. It contained wall posts he had deleted, old messages that revealed a friend’s troubled state of mind, even information that he didn’t enter himself about his physical whereabouts.

    Mr. Schrems was intrigued and somewhat rattled. He wasn’t worried about anything in particular. Rather, he felt a vague disquiet about what Facebook could do with all that information about him in the future. Why was it there at all, he wondered, when he had deleted it? “It’s like a camera hanging over your bed while you’re having sex. It just doesn’t feel good,” is how he finally put it. “We in Europe are oftentimes frightened of what might happen some day.”

    Mr. Schrems’s sentiment is emblematic of the discomfort sweeping through Europe about the ways in which Internet companies treat personal information. That discomfort has, in turn, prompted proposals for stricter regulation of online data across the continent. And Europe’s moves to protect Internet privacy — something Americans have not, as yet, actively agitated for — have given rise to a thorny question: How do the laws and mores of different nations manage, if at all, the multinational companies that now govern our digital lives?

    Personal data is the oil that greases the Internet. Each one of us sits on our own vast reserves. The data that we share every day — names, addresses, pictures, even our precise locations as measured by the geo-location sensor embedded in Internet-enabled smartphones — helps companies target advertising based not only on demographics but also on the personal opinions and desires we post online. Those advertising revenues, in turn, make hundreds of millions of dollars for companies like Facebook, which announced last week that it was going public in what is expected to be the largest I.P.O. in digital history. And those revenues help to keep the Web free of charge.

    But there is a price: that data about our lives and wants are collected, scrutinized and retained, often for a long time, by a great many technology companies. Personal data is valuable. In the United States alone, companies spend up to $2 billion a year to collect that information, according to a recent report from Forrester Research.

    The European media seized on Mr. Schrems’s discovery. German newspapers published instructions on how to request personal data files from Facebook. Within a few months, 40,000 people had made similar requests. The data protection office in Ireland, where Facebook has its European data center, conducted an audit of Facebook’s data retention practices; the company agreed to overhaul the way it collects data in Europe, including disposing of user data “much sooner.” German regulators have scrutinized facial recognition technology. The Netherlands is considering a bill that would require Internet users to consent to being tracked as they travel from Web site to Web site. And last month, the European Commission unveiled a sweeping new privacy law that would require Web companies to obtain explicit consent before using personal information, inform regulators and users in the event of a data breach and, most radical, empower a citizen of Europe to demand that his or her data be deleted forever.

    “Europe has come to the conclusion that none of the companies can be trusted,” said Simon Davies, the director of the London-based nonprofit Privacy International. “The European Commission is responding to public demand. There is a growing mood of despondency about the privacy issue.”

    Every European country has a privacy law, as do Canada, Australia and many Latin American countries. The United States remains a holdout: We have separate laws that protect our health records and financial information, and even one that keeps private what movies we rent. But there is no law that spells out the control and use of online data.

    It would be tempting to say that history and culture on this side of the Atlantic make privacy a non-issue. That’s not exactly the case. Privacy has always mattered in American law and to American sensibilities, but in a different way.

    Anxieties over privacy came up when postcards were first sent in the late 19th century. The advent of photography prompted Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, in an 1890 article in The Harvard Law Review, to warn of the dangers of displaying private family wedding pictures in the pages of every newspaper. And in one of the most important privacy decisions in recent years, the Supreme Court in January ruled that police officers violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car, to monitor its movements. “Europeans are much more sensitive about controlling their image online,” said James Q. Whitman, a Yale Law School professor who has written about the differences in jurisprudence between the United States and Europe.

    Social mores around privacy vary widely across the globe. In Japan, Google was criticized for being intrusive when its self-driven cars cruised the streets with a camera snapping pictures for Google Street View.

    In India, where I was a correspondent for this newspaper for more than four years, the notion of privacy seems foreign. A shopkeeper might casually ask a childless woman if she has gynecological trouble; school grades are posted on public walls; many people still live in extended families, literally wandering in and out of one another’s bedrooms. But a project to issue biometric identity cards to every Indian citizen recently set off a flurry of concern over privacy, prompting the government to draft a new law that enshrines the right to privacy for the first time.

    IN the United States, federal legislation on online privacy has languished, as lawmakers weigh the interests of consumers and companies in the battle for personal information.

    Part of the difficulty in regulating online privacy is the speed of technological innovation. Just as it becomes remarkably easy for us to share our information with others, it also becomes cheaper and easier to crunch and analyze that information — and store it forever, if necessary.

    Stewart A. Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, is among those who see enormous benefits for private companies and government agencies alike. To fight it on privacy grounds, he argued, would be largely futile. “You can’t really have a property interest in data,” he argued. “It’s going to get cheaper to reproduce it. It’s going to get reproduced and stored. It’s going to get copied.”

    Privacy advocates worry about the consequences. Most people may not have much to hide. For a few, not sharing personal information may be vital. They’re the ones who need the protection of the law, argued Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at the New America Foundation and author of “Consent of the Networked,” a book about digital freedom.

    “It may be victims of domestic abuse who don’t want to be stalked or tracked, or it could be dissidents in Syria, or someone who has weird opinions and could mistakenly end up on a watch list when they don’t deserve it,” said Ms. MacKinnon. “If you have a democratic society, the point is not to say whatever is good for the majority is all we need.”

    Somini Sengupta is a technology reporter for The New York Times.

    January 23, 2012

    Europe Weighs Tough Law on Online Privacy


    SAN FRANCISCO — Europe is considering a sweeping new law that would force Internet companies like and Facebook to obtain explicit consent from consumers about the use of their personal data, delete that data forever at the consumer’s request and face fines for failing to comply.

    The proposed data protection regulation from the European Commission, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, could have significant consequences for all Internet companies that trade in personal data, whether it is pictures that people post on social networks or what they buy on retail sites or look for on a search engine.

    The regulation would compel Web sites to tell consumers why their data is being collected and retain it for only as long as necessary. If data is stolen, sites would have to notify regulators within 24 hours. It also offers consumers the right to transport their data from one service to another — to deactivate a Facebook account, for example, and take one’s trove of pictures and posts and contacts to Google Plus.

    The proposed law strikes at the heart of some of the knottiest questions governing digital life and commerce: who owns personal data, what happens to it once it is posted online, and what the proper balance is between guarding privacy and leveraging that data to aim commercial or political advertising at ordinary people.

    “Companies must be transparent about what they are doing, clear about which data is being used for what,” the European Commission’s vice president for justice, Viviane Reding, said in a recent telephone interview. “I am absolutely persuaded the new law is necessary to have, on the one hand, better protection of the constitutional rights of our citizens and more flexibility for companies to utilize our Continent.”

    Ms. Reding is scheduled to release the proposed regulation on Wednesday in Brussels. The European Parliament is expected to deliberate on the proposal in the coming months, and the law, if approved, would go into effect by 2014.

    The regulation is not likely to directly affect American consumers. For American companies, its silver lining is that it offers one uniform law for all 27 countries in Europe. Currently each country, and sometimes, as in the case of Germany, each state, has separate laws about data protection.

    Even so, many of the provisions are likely to be costly or cumbersome. And the proposed penalties could be as high as 2 percent of a company’s annual global revenue, according to a European diplomat who did not want to publicly discuss unreleased legislation.

    “Individuals are getting more rights. The balance is tilting more to the individual versus the companies,” said Françoise Gilbert, a lawyer in Palo Alto, Calif., who represents technology companies doing business in Europe. “There is very little that’s good for the companies other than a reduction of administrative headaches.”

    Perhaps for historical or cultural reasons, Europeans tend to be more invested in issues of data privacy than Americans. Certainly, the proposed regulation is evidence that European politicians consider it to be a more urgent legislative issue than members of the United States Congress. Privacy bills have languished on Capitol Hill. Those that have been proposed, by Senator John Kerry and others, have none of the strict protections included in the draft European regulations.

    For the most part, American companies have pushed for a system of self-regulation and regard European-style regulations as a hindrance to innovation.

    Ronald Zink, chief operating officer for European affairs at Microsoft, pointed to the potential difficulty of obtaining explicit consent. He gave the example of Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect system, which stores body measurements so it can visually recognize repeat players. He worried that the proposed law would require players to provide consent every time they played a game, even if the information never left the game console, requiring more time and effort on the player’s part. “We have designed the product to be private,” Mr. Zink said. “We put a lot of thought into how this controls our work in terms of privacy by design.”

    One of the most contested provisions of the European law is the so-called right to be forgotten, which refers to an Internet user’s right to demand that his or her accumulated data on a particular site be deleted forever. “When a citizen has asked to get it back, then the data has to be given back,” Ms. Reding said in the interview. “When an individual no longer wants his data to be processed, it will be deleted.”

    Critics warn that it is not so simple. Data does not always stay in one place; if it is transferred to another company it cannot easily be withdrawn. A company might license some of the data it collects to a third party to analyze market sentiments or social trends: reviews of kebab joints in Amsterdam or public opinion about burqas. Moreover, it may be less feasible to erase someone’s credit history, for instance, or employment record than to, say, do away with her shopping history on Amazon.

    “You’re not going to get a unilateral right for someone to say I want you to destroy all the information you have about me,” said David Hoffman, global privacy officer for Intel. “It would be preferable for people to be able to post something and then realize they made a mistake and have it taken down. However, if you were going to do that by law, it’s not going to apply in all contexts, because of situations where it is perfectly reasonable to expect an organization to be able to keep the data.”

    Ms. Reding sought to temper expectations when she said in a speech at a technology conference in Germany on Sunday that the law would apply to information that a user had furnished to a Web site, and was not meant to erase unfavorable content about the person online.

    “It is clear that the right to be forgotten cannot amount to a right of the total erasure of history,” she said. “Neither must the right to be forgotten take precedence over freedom of expression or freedom of the media.”

    Malte Spitz, a Green Party politician from Germany and an advocate for strict data protection laws, said the regulation should restrict how companies hold onto personal information. “Lots of companies are collecting as much information as possible, and lots of this information isn’t really necessary,” Mr. Spitz said. “The right to be forgotten will change the work of companies that are doing profiling or targeted advertising.”

    Facebook, which has been investigated by European regulators for its data retention practices, warned last year against rules that might not keep up with the pace of change on the Internet. “There is a risk that an excessively litigious environment would impede the development of innovative services that can bring real benefit to European citizens,” the company said in comments submitted to the European Commission, according to Reuters.

    The European regulation, once passed, could serve as a template for other countries, as they draft or revise their data protection policies. “There are very few countries that don’t copy what is happening in Europe,” said Ms. Gilbert, who has written a book on privacy laws worldwide.

    Kevin J. O’Brien contributed reporting from Berlin.



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