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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

What you need to know about the Conficker Worm

What You Need to Know About Conficker and How to Avoid Being a Victim | Maximum PC

This article (link above) contains a lot of useful information about the Conficker Worm.

Basic things you need to know:
- If your computer is running Windows (modern versions), it is possible for your computer to become infected
- If you have been getting regular Windows Updates and you have the latest (March 2009) updates, you should be safe.
- Make sure to keep your anti-virus program up to date
- If you cannot get Windows updates, and you cannot visit real anti-virus sites, you may be infected (as the worm blocks these things)

[UPDATE: for an easy test to see if you are infected, go to this infection test link.]

Here is the Microsoft site with specific security patches (which you should already have via Windows Automatic Update, unless you were infected a while ago) for this worm:
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067 – Critical

Am I Infected (and if so, how do I get rid of it)?
Here are 2 detection and removal tools:
If you can't get to these sites to get these tools, then there is a good chance you are infected. Download these tools using another computer and copy them onto your infected computer.

1) The latest Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool
You can get this from Windows Automatic Updates, or, download it on another computer from here , and then copy it onto your computer and run it.

2) Symantec's (Norton) removal tool
W32.Downadup Removal Tool

When done, if you were infected, re-connect to the Internet and see if you can get Windows updates again - if so, make sure you get all the critical updates.

More information on the Conficker worm here:
Protect yourself from the Conficker computer worm
Virus alert about the Win32/Conficker.B worm
DHS Releases Conficker/Downadup Computer Worm Detection Tool
Conficker Doomsday Worm Sells Out for $49.95

Monday, 30 March 2009

nvlddmkm.sys BSOD

nVidia BSOD nvlddmkm.sys - Vista Hardware Devices

I was running an Asus laptop with an Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT video card (with a driver from April 30, 2009 obtained via the Asus Update utility) in it running Windows Vista Home Premium. Everything was fine. Suddenly it crashed and i got a BSOD msg referring to

Looks like some glitch with the Nvidia display driver and Vista.

I found this forum with the solution.
What worked for me was:
- Boot into Safe Mode
- Run, cmd, sc delete nvsvc
- restart computer
- In the Display properties, change it back to Aero.
- Done

Everything seems fine after this fix.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Toddler/cat-proof your computer

Toddler keys

This program will let you disable the keyboard, mouse, cd drive door and power switch.

Mac anti-virus programs

iAntiVirus - Free AntiVirus for Mac

There are more and more threats being created for Mac computers. iAntivirus is a free anti-virus program that may be suitable for most Mac users. It only targets Mac-specific threats (so, if you are not sharing files with a PC or dual-booting to Windows, then this should be sufficient).
The free version of iAntivirus comes is full-featured and only lacks the support features - updates are automatic and free.

One other drawback to this free software - it doesn't cover OS versions prior to 10.5

For other programs, check out these reviews at It seems the most comprehensive anti-virus (in these reviews) is the paid Norton Internet Security for MacIntosh program.

If you have other recommendations, please leave them in the comments.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Downloading embedded on-line videos

If you want to download an embedded video, here are a couple of options:

For YouTube videos, there is the easy to use bookmarklet that enables you to download the video in MP4 format:
Download YouTube Videos as MP4 Files
You can use the Orbit YouTube Downloader - more complex:
Orbit YouTube Downloader

For a variety of embedded video formats, there is the full Orbit Downloader
Orbit Downloader

All of these are free.

Sure, there are Firefox extensions that enable you to download embedded videos, but they don't always work. When they don't, try the above downloading methods.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

AVG Free v8.5 - Anti-virus and Anti-spyware

AVG has released a new version of their program, but you have to download it and install it to get it (you can't update to it via updates in 8.0).

To update to version 8.5, download the new version here at Filehippo.
Then, run the file - choose Repair Install when asked which installation.
Make sure to un-check the Security Bar and un-check daily scans (if you don't want these options).
When done, reboot the computer and manually run the updater to immediately get the latest updates (or you can let it update itself the next day).

To get rid of the notification ads, make sure your settings allow you to see hidden files and extensions, go to Program Files\AVG\AVG8 and look for
avgfree_us.mht and rename to avgfree_us.mht.bak
Also add .bak to

Works fine in Windows 2000 to Vista (x32 and x64)


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Opt Out of Google targeted ads

Privacy: Opt Out of Google's Targeted Ads

There are some links in this article to different ways to opt out of the new Google ad-targeting system.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Facebook - Interface Improvement part 2

Want to fix or modify ways that Facebook looks/works?

(This post assumes you are using Firefox - You might be able to do these things in IE, but I haven't checked it out.)

You can do a lot using Greasemonkey and Greasefire.

Greasemonkey allows you to run special user scripts on specific websites.
Greasefire lets you see what scripts are available for a site.

These can be used for all sorts of sites, but I'm going to focus on a couple of basic scripts for Facebook here.

Install Greasemonkey from here.

Install Greasefire from here.

You will need to restart Firefox to enable them.

Once you have restarted, go to your Facebook home page.
Right-click on Greasemonkey and choose the top line that shows a number of scripts available.
Look for these 3 scripts (you can type them in the top to find them more quickly):
- Facebook Poke All
- Facebook Layout Ad Killer
- Facebook Friends Checker

Poke All - if you get a lot of pokes, this is a useful script. It puts a poke-all button above the pokes. It also ads a poke selected button so you can select some (by checking them off) and then click the button to poke only the selected people. Sometimes this script doesn't show up or work, so you have to do things the old way. But, when it does work, it is a time saver.

Ad Killer - gets rid of the Facebook Sponser ads and ads in the news feed.

Friends Checker - Do you have lots of friends and does it bother you when it seems someone has de-friended you but you can't figure out who it was? With this script installed, you will receive a notice of who de-friended you.

There are lots of other useful Facebook scripts out there. Check it out.

If you don't like the Highlight column in the new Facebook layout, check out the script called Delete Facebook Highlight Column