Tag Archives: PDF

TweakGuides.com – A Tweakers Paradise?

imageComputing is more or less all about generics – a sort of, one size fits all approach. But, if you’re like me, the last thing you want is a machine that’s configured to run with settings which don’t take into account your specific requirements. Luckily, there are more than a few free tweaking apps available, which help average users apply the most common system tweaks.

But, if you’re considering customizations beyond the basics – tweaking your games, browsers, video card, or overclocking your CPU for example, you’re going to have to to dig a little deeper on your own. Unless you’re aware of TweakGuides.com, that is.

If you’re looking for a site that covers tweaking the way it should be covered – detailed, suitable for both novice and advanced users, and written in plain language, then TweakGuides.com is the place for you.

Just some of the goodies available at TweakGuides:

Firefox Tweak Guide

Google Customization Guide

The Gamer’s Graphics & Display Settings Guide

Game Tweak Guides

But, I’ve held onto the best for last – TweakGuides Tweaking Companion – a terrific compilation of Windows customization, optimization and troubleshooting advice for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

From the site:

The TweakGuides Tweaking Companion (TGTC) is the complete system customization and optimization guide for all Windows users. Designed for novice and advanced users alike, it is written in plain English to help you genuinely understand all key aspects of Windows and your PC.

The guide covers every major topic, from the correct installation of critical drivers and software, through to simple explanations and recommendations for every significant Windows setting and feature, all the major performance and convenience tweaks and customizations, as well as detailed troubleshooting advice.

Also provided are links and instructions for a large number of reliable free applications which can enhance your system and give you viable alternatives to purchasing commercial software.


In all cases, the regular system specific edition of TweakGuides Tweaking Companion (PDF) is free.

Once downloaded, first extract the PDF file from the .ZIP archive using the built-in Windows compression utility, or the free 7-Zip utility. Then use the free Foxit Reader software to read the PDF file.

To round out the free offerings, the site provides a very active forum – the place to go for questions, answers, and advice, on operating systems, software, and hardware.

A big shout out to regular reader Michael F., for introducing me to this super site.  Thank you Michael.

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Filed under downloads, Firefox, Freeware, Google, System Tweaks, Technicians Advise, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download Microsoft’s Free Ebook – Windows 7 Troubleshooting Tips

Microsoft offers a ton of freebies, including –

Productivity applications – Paint.NET, Photo Story 3, Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, Windows Live Essentials, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Live Writer.

System utilities – SyncToy, Process Explorer, SysInternals.

Security applications – Microsoft Security Essentials, RootkitRevealer, Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer.

You can read more on Microsoft’s freebies on this site – Download A Bagful of Free Microsoft Software.

Microsoft goes well beyond this sampling of freebies I’ve mentioned here, and carries the “free” concept into technical support – through their Support Solution Center.

Sure, you have the option of searching through blogs and forums for an answer to a nagging operating system problem. But, a more practical solution, it seems to me, is to go to the source – the product developer.

If you’re a Windows 7 user, Microsoft has created a neat little free ebook –  “What You Can Do Before You Call Tech Support”, put together by Mitch Tulloch, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and lead author of the just-published Windows 7 Resource Kit.

This 11 page resource, which has been designed to help users diagnose and deal with some common technical issues, is available for download in both PDF and XPS document format.

The opening paragraphs:

Your sound card has stopped working, your computer seems sluggish, the network is down, your hard drive is clicking, you can’t view a website, your monitor is hard to read, your new webcam isn’t working, your favorite program won’t run, and a funny burning smell is coming from your computer. What can you do on your own to try to troubleshoot the issue before you pick up the phone to call tech support?

If you’re running Windows 7, quite a lot. Microsoft has included a lot of self-support tools in Windows 7 that you can try using before you seek the help of others, and we’ll examine these in a moment.

Download What You Can Do Before You Call Tech Support in XPS format here, and in PDF format here.

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Filed under Computer Tools, downloads, Free ebook, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

“Here You Have” Worm Alert – The Incompetents Take The Bait

image In Chapter One of, Internet Security 101, the following is the first point made – “Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.”

OK, I’m stretching the truth a little, since I don’t actually know of a book with the title “Internet Security 101”. But, the truism “Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin”, remains valid.

Despite constant warnings NOT to run this type of file, many users continue to disregard this critical advice. The success of the email delivered “Here you have” worm that clogged email systems on Thursday, despite the usual misspelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors in the email, leaves little doubt.

According to Symantec’s Message Labs Intelligence, the worm is delivered in a  standard email that directs the recipient to click on a link pointing to a malicious file that’s disguised as a PDF. Clicking on the link installs the worm on the victim’s machine.


Graphic courtesy of Symantec.

Regardless of the fact that the delivery method and the worm itself are not particularly sophisticated, this attack affected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, and then went on to spread through the following – instant messenger, mapped drives, and email, by taking contacts from the victim’s address book.

While doing the background work on this attack, I came across the following forum comment – “This hit one of our affiliated corporate networks today around 12 pm eastern. It was a mess.”

As one pundit put it – the attack was designed to “prey on the incompetent”. I find it hard to argue with that observation.

For additional information on this scam checkout Malware Operations Engineer Tony Millington’s Blog post over at the Symantec Hosted Services Blog.

About Message Labs Intelligence:

Symantec’s Message Labs Intelligence is a respected source of data and analysis for messaging security issues, trends and statistics. MessageLabs Intelligence provides a range of information on global security threats based on live data feeds from our control towers around the world scanning billions of messages each week.

About Symantec:

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.  Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available here.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, MessageLabs, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

Stay On Top of Malware – PandaLabs Second Quarter Malware Report

Courtesy of Panda Labs

Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, announced yesterday that PandaLabs, Panda Security’s laboratory for detecting and analyzing malware, announced the findings from its second quarterly report of 2009 and determined that Trojans accounted for 70 percent of all new malware between April and June 2009. The full report can be downloaded from Panda Security.


One of the most notable findings of the report is the 6.25 percent drop in spyware, which now represents just 6.9 percent of all new malware. In contrast, adware rose dramatically over this period, from 7.54 percent in the previous quarter to 16.37 percent.

This is largely due to the increase in fake antivirus applications, a type of adware that passes itself off as a legitimate security solution. As for worms, their percentage has also risen slightly, now accounting for 4.4 percent of all malware.

Trojans were also responsible for more infections than any other type of malware over this period. This type of malware was behind 34.37 percent of all infections detected by PandaLabs, an increase of 2.86 percent with respect to the previous quarter.


Adware infection levels remained stable, accounting for 19.62 percent of the total.

Worms increased slightly (0.89 percent), staying in the picture due largely to the effectiveness by which they spread. Dialers, at 4.48 percent, stubbornly refused to disappear despite the overriding trend for broadband instead of dial-up connections.

In terms of specific strains of malware, the number one ranked specimen between April and June 2009 was Downloader.MDW, a Trojan designed to download other malware on to computers. The Virtumonde spyware and Rebooter.J Trojan were also among the malicious codes that caused most infections.


When broken down geographically, Taiwan continues to top the list with 33.63 percent of computers infected with active malware. Turkey and Poland come next, with just under 30 percent. Three Scandinavian countries, Sweden (14.2 percent), Norway (12.48 percent) and Finland (12.17 percent), are the countries with the lowest number of computers infected by active malware during the first half of 2009.

Malicious use of Twitter

A worm appeared in April which used a cross-site scripting technique to infect Twitter users when they visited the profiles of other infected users. It then infected the new user’s profile to continue propagating. New variants appeared, and finally the creator’s identity was revealed: an individual named Mikey Mooney, who apparently wanted to attract users to a service competing with Twitter.

In early June, Twitter was the focus of other attacks, this time using different techniques, most predominantly, BlackHat SEO. Twitter has a feature called “Trending Topics”, which is a list of the most popular topics that appears in the interface of all Twitter users. When users select a topic through this feature, they  see all ‘tweets’ published that are related to this issue.

In this case, malicious users were writing tweets about the topics listed in Twitter Trends with links to malicious Web pages from which malware was downloaded. The first attack focused on just one of the topics, but just a few days later the scope of the attack increased and all popular topics contained malicious links.

When the actor David Carradine died, there were hundreds of malicious tweets in just a few hours, and the same thing occurred with other popular issues on Twitter.

The second anniversary of Collective Intelligence, a detailed analysis of the Waledac worm, trends regarding the sending of malware via spam and the evolution of BlackHat SEO techniques are just some of the other issues covered in the PandaLabs Quarterly Report.

If you have a serious interest in keeping up with prevailing trends in malware, this report is a must read.

Download at: Panda Security.


Filed under Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Malware Reports, Online Safety, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Tech Net News, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools, worms