Tupelo trees on a sanbar
Complete Index
Virus Protection
Windows Updates
Desktop Background
Turning off the Computer
Safe Mode
Home Page
System Restore
Search Engines
Surge Suppressors
Email and Spam
Re-sizing Pictures
Attaching Pictures
10 Codes
Signal Codes
Phonetic Alphabet
Morse Code
North Florida Frequencies
Aircraft Animations
Trucking Animations
Fantasy Animations
Various Animations
Big Shoals
Florida Caverns
Steven Foster State Park
Suwannee Lake
Suwannee River State Park
Suwannee Springs
Spirit of Suwannee
Hillsborough River State Park
Antique Tractor Show -2006
Antique Tractor Show -2007
Critter Cam
White Oak Rat Snake
Baby Goats
776 Tactical Airlift Squadron
American Legion Post 107
Painted Oaks Transport
Preparing For Hurricanes
Read Guestbook
Sign Guestbook

Safe Mode

At times you may have to start your computer in safe mode. Starting in safe mode only loads basic systems and will allow you to make changes or corrections to your system without most of the programs being loaded. There are a couple of methods to get into safe mode.

Note - Set a system restore point before making any changes. If your changes make things worse, you can always go back to the starting configuration.

One way is from a cold boot, to press the F-8 key as the system boots up. Pressing it only one time may not work. The F-8 key must be pressed at just the right time. Pressing it repeatedly as the system boots should put your computer in safe mode.

Another method, much easier, can be used with WindowsXP. With the computer booted up, click on Start / Run . A small window will open. In the box of the small window type msconfig and click OK. The configuration utility will open. Click on the BOOT.INI tab at the top. Find the SAFEBOOT box and place a check in it. Click on the OK button then choose to restart the computer. The computer will shut down and restart in safe mode.

Note - If you need to have a network running in safe mode, click the NETWORK button on the SAFEBOOT line, otherwise leave the MINIMAL button checked.

After completeing the repairs in safe mode, open the configuration utility again, and remove the check from the Safe Boot box. Also look under the General tab to be sure Normal Start Up is selected.

Home Page

When you open Internet Explorer it will automatically go to a web site on the Internet. The web site which Internet Explorer goes to on opening or any time you click the HOME icon on the tool bar is known as your home page. Most new computers are set with MSN as the home page, but this can be easily changed. You can select your own home page and set Internet Explorer to open on it each time.

Before selecting your home page there are a few things to consider. Pictures take much longer to load than text. A cluttered home page with a lot of pictures will load slowly. This might not be a problem with DSL, but if you are using a dial up connection it is very important. Choose a simple, fast loading home page. Many web sites may have a clickable box to make them your home page. Don't click it! If you do, you are allowing them access to your settings and they will reset your home page. This may be OK, but you could have trouble changing it in the future, depending on how they set it up. There are also programs, known as home page highjackers, which might be included in something that is downloaded. A home page highjacker will change your home page without your permission and place instructions on your computer to keep you from changing it back. The highjacker must be removed before you can keep your home page where you want it. See the spyware section on page one for more information.

To set your home page, select the web site which you wish to use as a home page and get it on screen. Next click the TOOLS option on the tool bar at the top of the screen. Now click on Internet Options on the list. A small Internet Options window will open. Under the GENERAL tab you will find the box for home page. If you click the Use Current button, the web site now on your screen will become your new home page. If you click the Default button your home page will be set to the original location, probably MSN. There is also a button for Use Blank . The Use Blank button will not select any home page and you will get a blank screen each time you start up or click on HOME.

System Restore

System Restore is an option available on WindowsXP and some earlier versions of Windows which allows you to go back to a Windows configuration you had before a change was made. Most Microsoft updates will automatically set a system restore point for you before installing a change. Many other installations will not set a system restore point for you. You can set a system restore point yourself at any time. It is a good idea to set a new system restore point before installing any software on your computer or making any changes to the configuration. You could then return your operating system to the pre-install configuration if something goes wrong.

The easiest way to get to system restore is to click Start / All Programs / Accessories / System Tools / System Restore . The system restore wizard will open and give you the option of restoring your computer to an earlier time or setting a new restore point. Just follow the directions on the system restore wizard.

Another method to launch the system restore wizard is to click Start / Run then type msconfig in the box that opens and click OK. Under the GENERAL tab of the window which opens will be a button to launch system restore.

There could be a time when you may wish to turn off the system restore function. If you had a virus or malware on your operating system and deleted it, you would not want to restore it. Tech services or instuctions might ask you to turn off your system restore. To turn it off click Start / Control Panel / System. Under the System Restore tab there is a check box to turn the system restore off. Put a check in the box and click OK on the bottom. Don't forget to turn the system restore back on after your chore is completed. Use the same method, but remove the check from the box instead. You should keep the system restore turned on during normal operations.

Search Engines

When you first get on the Internet, you will probably be clicking on links to find web sites. There is a better way. You can use one of the many search engines available, for free, to conduct the searches. There is a search box available on many web sites. Some of these search boxes work well, but may include ads in the search results or return search results with their choices listed first. Many of the search functions present a cluttered screen and it is difficult to make sense of the information presented. Try several different search engines and choose one which suits your needs. Google is a very good search engine and is used by many people. It is simple to use and presents the results in a clean, uncluttered manner. It is my personal choice and I also use it for my home page. It loads quickly and presents an uncluttered appearance.

Putting only one word in the search box and hitting enter may give the results you want, but you can narrow the search down. Put several words in the search box. The words do not need to make a sentence or even make sense. They only need to be key words for your search. The words do not need to be capitalized and should be separated by a space. Click on the help link of your search engine for more tips.

Your chosen search engine should be easily available in Internet Explorer. Using the search engine as a home page is one way. Another way to make the search engine easily available is to place it on your Internet Explorer links bar. If you cannot see your links bar, right clicking the IE tool bar and then placing a check mark on Links will activate it. To put the search engine on the links bar, just place the URL(Internet Address) in the Links folder of your favorites.

All links current on 1-15-2006

Surge Suppressors

As the components are added to your computer system, you will need more places to plug things in. If you need more than two receptacles to plug your components in to 110 volt power you will probably use a power strip. This is a device which has one male plug and provides 6 or more receptacles for your components. Don't just assume that a power strip provides surge suppression. A power strip which provides surge suppression will be clearly marked. It must be marked, "UL Listed Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor", (or TVSS). It may be marked, "In Compliance with UL 1449". If it is not marked as a surge suppressor, it is just a multiple power outlet and will give no protection to your equipment from voltage spikes which may occur. Even if you only need one or two plugs a surge suppressor should be added. Surge suppressors do not protect the equipment from a lightning strike and equipment should be turned off and disconnected during a thunderstorm. Surge suppressors can protect equipment from most minor power line surges. They also limit the surges caused by other appliances in the home starting up or shutting down. The wall plugs in a home are rated for 110 volts, but due to increased demand at the start up of appliances like washers, dryers, or refrigerators the voltage may drop momentarily, then spike beyond the 110 volts. Lights dimming, then suddenly becoming brighter is an indication of variations in voltage, but small fluctuations may not be noticeable. Computers, monitors, and other components are very sensitive to voltage spikes and can be damaged by them. All computers and accessories should be plugged into a UL approved surge suppressor. The standards for surge suppressors were changed in 1998 and if your surge suppressor is an older model, it may not meet the more rigid standards that are now in effect. Power surges can also occur in telephone lines. The better surge suppressors have phone line connections, which are important if your computer uses a dial up Internet connection. A good surge suppressor power strip is much more expensive than a simple multiple outlet strip, but the protection it can provide for your expensive computer and components makes it a worthwhile investment. You can buy surge suppressors in hardware, electronics, and most chain outlets. They might also be available from your local power company.

MRU Blaster

MRU stands for most recently used. Windows keeps track of what you used recently and stores this information in several places on the computer. The most recently used list will be presented at several points when you are choosing a program. The may be helpful to some people, but is just an annoyance to others. The most recently used programs list could also be used by spyware which might get on your operating system to report your activities back to a home base. This should not be a problem if your computer is kept free of spyware and there is a good firewall installed. JavaCool has a freeware program which will keep the MRU lists on your operating system cleared. It is called the MRU Blaster and it can also keep your cookie file clean. Some of the cookies in your cookie file are useful and keep you from having to log in every time you visit certain websites. Other cookies, called tracking cookies, are used to monitor your Internet activities. Windows does not know the difference between these cookies and stores them all in the cookie file. The MRU Blaster lets you choose which cookies you wish to keep in your file and deletes all the rest. The program can be set to run at a pre-determined number of minutes or hours. It gives the user control over which cookies are allowed to remain in the cookie file and which MRU lists are allowed to remain in memory. Cookies can be deleted manually using the Internet Options under Tools on the browser, but this deletes all the cookies. The good cookies get deleted with the bad ones and you have to sign back in on several websites after cleaning out the cookie file. With the correct settings in place, the MRU Blaster will keep all cookies out of the cookie file except the ones you place on an ignore list. This is a very useful program. It makes you wonder why such a system was not included in Windows. The MRU Blaster is freeware. You can download it and use it free. If you find it useful, you can send a donation. MRU Blaster can also be set to keep the temporary files in check. If you download the MRU Blaster, take a few minutes to learn how it works and set it up.

Window Cleaning

Most of the other suggestions here are to keep the operating system in good working order, but what if it has already become infected with viruses and spyware? If it is badly infected, the simplest solution is to format. When you format, all the information on the drive will be lost. Anything which has not been saved to another place will be wiped out. If the system is not too badly infected, it can be saved. The first step is to isolate the operating system from the Internet. This can be done with a good firewall or by unplugging from the Internet. There may be things to download before unplugging. Using the firewall, you can block everything except the most essential services, but if you unplug be sure to download updates and any additional programs needed before unplugging. The reason to isolate your system from the Internet, many viruses and some adware use the Internet connection to continually download pop ups or more malware. If you do not isolate the system, the malware will download faster than you can delete it. Once you have isolated your computer from the Internet, turn off the system restore. If the system restore is left on, any virus hiding there can re-infect the operating system later. Your anti-virus should be updated with the latest virus definitions. Reboot the computer into safe mode. Run a full system scan with the anti-virus. Quarantine or delete any virus which cannot be repaired. If any deleted files are needed by the system, you can get them back from the system repair disks which came with your operating system. Also run Spybot Search & Destroy while in safe mode. Let Spybot delete everything it finds. Next run a deep scan with AdAware SE. Delete or quarantine everything that AdAware finds. These three utilities should be run in safe mode to keep any of the malware from activating. You will not be allowed to delete files which are in use. Running the scans in safe mode allows the scanning utilities to delete files which might be active on regular start up. There may be some problems which cannot be fixed. You will see a notification on screen giving information about problems which cannot be repaired. Write down all information about these problems. You can use this information to find a solution to the problems later. Reboot the computer and let it start up in regular mode. Hopefully this cleared out most of the problems. You may need to run a register cleaner or post a "Hi-Jack This" list. You will need to check everything out and see what problems are left to deal with. Turn your system restore back on. From this point any missing files or other problems will have to be dealt with one at the time. You might have whole programs missing. If so, do not download them again. They were infected with spyware or viruses. If you download them again, it will re-infect your computer. This is just a general outline of the procedure. You may need to do additional tasks, depending on what type of problems are present. Some systems may contain a virus which interferes with the anti-virus and will not allow it to scan. Specific problems have to be dealt with individually. If all else fails, you can format the hard drive, erasing everything on it, and load the operating system back on from the repair disks. Performing regular system maintenance and dealing with problems as they arise will keep you from ever getting to the point of taking drastic steps. Anything that was saved to disk, floppy, or another drive while the system was infected will need to be scanned with the anti-virus before it is loaded back into the computer.

Scanning Your Operating System

SFC (System File Checker) is a utility in Windows to check the system files for missing or corrupted files. A scan may be run any time you wish to check the protected system files or after a virus, worm, or spyware has been removed from the system which may have damaged or deleted system files. Before starting a scan, all open applications should be closed and any open windows closed. The system scan utility can only be used by someone with an administrators account on the computer. The files are scanned and if a protected system file is discovered which has been overwritten or is otherwise unusable, it will be replaced by a correct file from the system cache or from the system repair disks. You should locate the system repair disks and have them ready. To initiate a scan, click Start, click on Run, and type sfc /scannow in the command line. Notice that there is a space between sfc and the slash mark in the command. The space must be included. Hit the Enter key or click the OK button to begin the scan. A Windows File Protection progress display should open on screen and show a progress bar. After the scan is completed and files are verified, the Windows File Protection display will close and the scan is over. No news is good news. If your files are in order you will have no further messages. The scan takes about 20 minutes.

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Graywolf / 2004