Keep The Thugs Out !

Test Drive IE version 7

Internet Irritants...

Easy Surfing For PC Novices

Keep the thugs out!

A friend recently took a broadband connection like many others, and surfed merrily at the speed of light. Till the bill came – Rs 80,000 was what she was slapped with as extra download charge. The cost of downloading stuff worth 57 GB on a PC with a hard disk space of 40 GB! All she did was a little chat and surfing. She did not download any music, movies or programs. So how did this happen?

A broadband connection can be a hair-raising experience for a novice computer user and you realise that you have to fend for yourself. The first point to remember is that just visiting web sites involves uploading and downloading data into your computer. This too counts towards your download/upload limit. Broadband is a pretty good service if only you take a few precautions to avoid fighting a losing battle against your computer vendor, who will want to reformat your hard disk when he cannot solve the problem, or, your service provider, be it BSNL Reliance, Sify, Tata Indicom, and the ubiquitous menacing force of spyware, trojans and viruses.

Buy original software

If you are planning to take a broadband connection, first make sure you buy the original Windows software. Don’t settle for a pirated copy to save costs. Go for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and check for the hologram. After you buy it do not forget to register your copy with the Microsoft site. Having this licensed version on your PC will ensure that you are always up to date with the latest patches and safe from the hackers and crackers roaming the web. This is done through a neat feature called Automatic Updates. Make sure you turn it on. Go to Start >Control Panel >Automatic Updates and put the check mark in the required field.

When you turn on Automatic Updates, Windows routinely checks the Windows Update Web site for high-priority updates that can help protect your computer against attacks. High-priority updates include security updates and critical updates.

Get a robust firewall

Second, you must have a firewall. A firewall is like a nightclub bouncer on your computer. It allows in only those you want. It prevents people from taking stuff out of your computer and keeps out persistent advertisers bent on learning your surfing habits. It also keeps a record of unwanted intruders. Windows XP Service Pack 2 does have a built in firewall, but it is better to go for standalone firewall software. This will also ensure that your passwords, bank account information are safe. Your PC can be used without your knowledge to launch an attack on other computers and even whole networks by generating spam. Remember your Internet service provider charges you for every extra megabyte downloaded or uploaded. So what my friend had unknowingly done was pay the bills of a host of gatecrashers to her computer.

Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite is one of the best firewalls in the market if you are ready to pay about Rs 2,500 extra for your peace of mind. This firewall comes bundled with antivirus software, anti-spyware and email security. You can buy it off the Net from

If you are unwilling to shell out this extra amount here is a tip. Go to where you will get an amazing collection of freebees. From here download the Mozilla Firefox browser. Infinitely better than Internet Explorer, it is safer and much faster.

Go for an anti-spyware

Next pick up Adaware SE Professional from the Google pack. This is an anti-spyware utility. Spyware is any software that surreptitiously gathers information through a user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. It gathers the information about your surfing habits and transmits it in the background to someone else. These invariably slow down your Internet connection.

The Google Pack also has the Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition. But the catch here is that it is free for just 6 months. After that you will have to pay to renew the subscription. What is better still is the AVG 7.1 Free Edition. It also offers you free updates. An easy to use program, AVG features resident protection, an email scanner and "automatic healing" of infected files. The freeware version of this program is available from

So if you are thinking of switching to broadband because you are sick of your old dial up just remember a few thousand rupees extra at the outset will save you a drain on your bank account.

Source from  The Telegraph, KnowHOW / TECHFILE, Monday 27 February 2006

Test drive IE version 7

 Vendors tend to push the cheaper cracked version of Windows, but then you are unlikely to ever get a problem free computer

Slow connection

I have a 3.3GHz Pentium 4 with Windows XP, 80 GB hard drive and 512 MB of memory. Most of the drives are practically empty. The computer starts up very fast, but slows down when opening programs or using my broadband connection.

Mohie Tikari

A computer can slow down for a variety of reasons. To avoid this you need to take a few basic precautions so that your computer is not exposed to every virus, worm, Trojan Horse and spyware lurking on the Internet. Get yourself a good Internet security suite. I would recommend ZoneAlarm Security Suite 6.0. It can be downloaded from . This one-in-all program will protect you from viruses, spammers and spyware. You will see a marked improvement in the speed of your computer after you clean up your machine with this.

Insufficient memory

After installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 (a pirated version) my computer has become sluggish. I have a Pentium 3 with 128MB RAM and 40 GB hard disk. My friends have suggested that I increase my RAM. How much RAM should I buy? Also, I have got over 2000 songs on my computer. Would you recommend that I increase my hard disk size? Is there a newer and faster version of Internet Explorer and where can I download it from?

Kaushik Belani

First, 128 MB RAM is not enough to run Windows XP. You need at least 256 MB RAM, but 512 is even better. Since you keep downloading songs a 80 GB hard disk will serve you well. A beta version of Internet Explorer 7 is currently available and it can be downloaded from . Two of the features are particularly good. One is tabbed browsing where you can view several sites in a single browser window. You can quickly switch from one site to the other through tabs present at the top of the browser. The other is printing where web pages are automatically scaled to fit into the paper you are printing on.

Free antivirus

What is your idea about Avast! antivirus? Can Mozilla Firefox browser and Internet Explorer be used simultaneously?

Biswajit Das

Avast anti-virus software is a pretty good program that is free for home use. It can be dowloaded from . The company even provides support through email for the free version. There is also a standalone free virus cleaner in case you do not want to load the entire program. The tool will help you get rid of certain worm infections. Sure, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer can be used simultaneously without any problem.

16 bit program

Whenever I switch on my computer a message pops up saying, ‘Insufficient memory to run this application. Quit one or more windows application and then try again.’ Please suggest a way to fix it.

Ved Prakash Roy

A 16-bit program that was designed to run on Windows 3.1 is trying to run on startup in Windows XP. Such files are sometimes inserted by Trojans or worms. You need to identify the program and remove it. Go to Start and Run and type in ‘msconfig’. Next click on the ‘Startup’ tab. Here you will get a list of programs that are trying to run on startup. If you can spot the file uncheck it. If you can’t, you have to figure out by a process of trial and error by unchecking and checking files one at a time and restarting your machine. Once you have identified the program you can easily remove it.

Seeing red

Recently after servicing my Compaq monitor in Guwahati, I found that the colour red is not being displayed properly. How can I rectify this?

Dr N.N. Chowdhury

Most probably, the plug that goes into your computer from your monitor has a bent pin. Put off your computer and take out the plug. If one of the 20 or so pins is bent you should be able to see it clearly. This needs to be straightened out. Be very careful while trying to set it right; it can snap very easily. If you are not sure send your monitor back to the service centre immediately. Do not attempt to fix it yourself.

Genuine or cracked

My vendor has convinced me that there is no basic difference between a cracked version and a genuine version Windows XP as it can download all available patches, hotfixes, security updates and malicious software removal tools from Microsoft's official site.

Shibnath Mukherjee

Most vendors will usually tell you this so that they can quote you a lower price for the PC. A higher price usually scares away customers and they do not get business. In a cracked version of Windows the system files are tampered with to bypass the Windows activation process. When this happens you are unlikely to ever get a problem-free computer. Programs will not load properly and, if they do load, they will not run smoothly. It is true you can download security updates from the Microsoft site with a pirated version, but for other non-security downloads you will have to go through an online validation process that confirms your software’s legitimacy. A genuine version of WIndows is available with all reputable computer dealers in the Chandni Chowk area of Calcutta.

Source from Page 7, The Telegraph, KnowHOW / TECHFILE, Monday 13 March 2006

Internet irritants

How should you safeguard against unwanted pop-ups? Where should you go for genuine registry cleaners? 
Bluetooth software

q+a I have a Bluetooth device and software. But the software is in evaluation version and only 5MB can be transferred. Can you tell me where I can get Bluetooth software on the Internet?

Sourav Purohit

Bluetooth is a radio technology that enables data to be transferred between mobile phones, computers, printers and other devices, like household appliances, without the use of cables. This works typically in the range of 10 metres. It is a better and more convenient way to transfer data compared to infra-red and cable.

Bluetooth devices in the market usually come with associated software that limits the transfer of data. Do not install the software that came with your device. Just plug in your Bluetooth dongle into the USB port of your computer and Windows XP will take care of the rest. Your Bluetooth device will not work properly if you install the drivers or the software from the CD.

Net settings changed

q+a For last couple of weeks I have been having a strange problem. From time to time (say at an interval of 10 minutes) a windows popup appears, saying ‘your current activeX setting doesn’t allow this page to show properly’, but no Web page opens. This happens every time, whether I am connected to the Internet or not. I used Spyware Stormer but it did not work out. How do I get rid of this? Secondly, I have 256MB RAM installed on both my desktop and laptop. But the laptop shows 248MB RAM installed, and the desktop shows 256MB RAM installed. Why this discrepancy?

Diana Klein

ActiveX controls and other Web browser add-ons are used extensively on the Internet. They can make browsing more enjoyable by providing toolbars, tickers, animation, and more. Your Internet Explorer settings have somehow got changed. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools-->Internet Options and click on the Security tab. Next click on Internet and then on Custom Level below. Reset this as Medium. Similarly, do the same for Local Intranet, Trusted Sites and Restricted Sites, resetting them to Medium-Low, Low and High respectively. This should help you get rid of the problem. For protection in the future from such irritants please install Ad-aware SE Personal. You will get it free from if you just follow the links.

Quite a few laptops use integrated graphics processors that share memory with the main system memory. This reduces the actual amount of memory available to the rest of your computer. There is no way to prevent this from happening other than installing a graphics card with dedicated memory. I would not bother too much about this.

Fake registry cleaner

q+a My Pentium 4 computer with 40 GB hard disk and 256MB RAM has been running very slow. When I checked for errors from it detected 460 of them in my PC! When I clicked to fix the errors the site demanded $39.95. Is there any other way to repair my computer for less money or for free?

Atreyee Biswas

It is a complete mistake to go to such sites and allow them to scan your PC. These programs typically use a popup to tell you that you have errors on your computer. They offer a free scan, which confirms the presence of errors. Many readers have complained to me that even after paying up, it continues to find the original errors. First get a firewall. The Jetico Personal Firewall Software is free and good. You can get it from Second, get a good anti-spyware program and have it clean your PC. Finally, if the speed of your computer has not improved, get the registry cleaner from http:// This will clean up your registry.

Fixed username

q+a I have taken a BSNL broadband connection. Can I change the username in the startup kit?

Samrendra Narayan

Unfortunately, you have no choice but to live with the username provided by BSNL. However, you are free to change your password and you should do so frequently.

Usage page error

q+a I cannot understand why lately my browser cannot display the Dataone usage page at It says “error in page” and displays nothing.

Dwaipayan Chatterjee

When you try to access the site, you probably get the error message that says your cookies are not enabled and that you should enable your cookies and try again. To solve this problem delete “nocookie.jsp” from the address bar and press Enter. Also, in Internet Explorer you should go to Tools-->Internet Options and click on the Advanced tab. Scroll down to “Microsoft VM”. Here, make sure that only the “JIT complier for virtual machine” is enabled. The other two should not have any tick mark beside them.

No system sound

q+a My computer does not produce any system sound. Is it a virus that is affecting my computer.

Preetam Chakraborty

Go to Start-->Settings-->Control Panel. Here open the icon for Sound and Audio devices. Click on the Sound tab. As you Sound Scheme choose Windows Default.

Unwanted websites

q+a Whenever I connect to the Internet several unwanted websites open up by itself. I have tried blocking them in Internet properties but to no avail. Please help.

Manish Gupta

Get an anti-spyware. Go to and download the free version.

Source from The Telegraph, KnowHOW / TECHFILE, Monday 24 April 2006

Easy surfing for PC novices 

Here’s how you can start navigating your way through the software jungle

Here’s how you can start navigating your way through the software jungle

The computer has become such an integral part of our lives that it has become imperative that we know how to work it well. From such diverse activities as household accounts to computer games or planning our holidays and buying airline/rail tickets online, most of us spend much of our working hours and leisure time in front of the monitor. Here are some tips and tricks for beginners that will make life a lot easier.

Set up shortcuts

Your computer is usually cluttered with scores of programs. It is tedious going to the Start menu and then scrolling endlessly to find the program. All you need to do is set up shortcuts for your commonly used applications. Say, you want a quick way to launch Notepad. Go to Start — Programs — Accessories. Right click on the icon for Notepad and click on Properties. Under Shortcut keys use your desired letter combined with Control and Alt. I get to Notepad quickly by pressing Control+Alt+N. Similarly, use this procedure to set up shortcuts for your other often-used programs.


Do you have to navigate often to a folder that is hidden deep down under several sub-directories? If so, right click on the

Start menu and click on Explore. Navigate to the folder or sub-folder of your choice. Once you are in there, click on Favourites and Add to Favourites. The next time you want to get there quickly just click on the folder name under Favourites. This works exactly in the same way as your web browser’s favourites or Bookmarks.

You can also force Windows Explorer to always open in the folder of your choice. Navigate to Start—Programs—Accessories. Right click on the icon for Windows Explorer and click on Properties. Under the Shortcut tab find Target so that it reads as follows: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /, /e, z:\foldername. Here z:\foldername is the directory you want explorer to always open. The next time you open Windows Explorer from the Start—Programs—Accessories menu it will always open in the folder of your choice.

If you are used to browsing for files through My Computer, you can force it to open in Explore mode. In My Computer, click Tools and then Options. Next click the File Type tab. In the list of file type highlight “NONE folder”. Click Advanced and in the Actions box highlight Explore choose ‘Set Default’. Now My Computer will open as if you were using Explore.

Magic key

The Windows logo situated in the bottom row of your keyboard is a little-used gem for a faster way to work. Use these commands. Windows denotes the Windows logo key.

Windows: Display the Start menu

Windows + D: Minimise or restore all windows

Windows + E: Display Windows Explorer

Windows + F: Display Search for files

Windows + Ctrl + F: Display Search for computer

Windows + F1: Display Help and Support Centre

Windows + R: Display Run dialog box

Windows + break: Display System Properties dialog box

Windows + shift + M: Undo minimise all windows

Windows + L: Lock the workstation

Windows + U: Open Utility Manager

Windows + Q: Hold Windows Key, then tap Q to scroll through the different users on your PCmuch faster.

System restore

During your long association with the computer you will be downloading, deleting, installing and uninstalling , tweaking programs at will, often on a whim or just to experiment. Before Windows XP came into the market if you really messed up your computer there was little else to do but to format your hard disk and start afresh. Now you have System Restore with Windows XP. Before you carry out any experiments with your computer go to Start—Programs—Accessories—System Tools and click on System Restore. Here select Create a Restore Point and click Next. Give it a name and click on Create.

What this does is that the computer takes a snapshot of your last good Windows configuration. So if after installing a program you find that Windows is crashing at the slightest excuse you can go back to System Restore and get back you last good settings of your computer. This program works in the background and periodically takes snapshots of your settings. It does so even when you install or uninstall programs. When you restore your computer it deletes the applications loaded after the restore point was created and removes the offending registry entries. However, all your personal files remain intact.

Renaming a group of file

When you download pictures from your digital camera you will encounter filenames beginning with “DSC...” or some other unrecognisable names.

You will, of course, want to rename them, but they run into hundreds. Use this simple procedure to rename a group of files. Go to the folder of your choice using Windows Explorer. Next select a the files you want to rename. If they are not adjacent to each other press Control and click on the files to select them. Then go to the File menu and click on Rename. If you named it ‘Anniversary’ the first will be called Anniversary and the subsequent ones Anniversary1, Anniversary2, etc. To specify the starting number of the Anniversary series type the starting number in brackets after the filename.

So if you type Anniversary(10) the subsequent files will be renamed Anniversary(11), Anniversary(12), etc.

Windows messenger

Often you will find that you have two versions of Messenger running in your computer. One is the MSN Messenger and the other Windows Messenger. To get rid of Windows Messenger. Go to Start — Run and type gpedit.msc. Open up Computer Configuration and then Administrative Templates and Windows Components. Click on Windows Messenger and disable it.

Source from The Telegraph, KnowHOW / TECHFILE, Monday 26 June 2006



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