Checking for the DNS Changer Trojan

July 8th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP 2 Comments »

On Monday, thousands of computers around the world will be cut off the web as the servers behind the DNS Changer Trojan Horse are shut down.

What is the DNS Changer Trojan?

The DNS Changer did exactly what the name says – it changed a computer’s Domain Name Service (DNS) settings so that all web traffic went through servers belonging to the virus writers.

Eventually the writers were caught and the computers were seized, in order to avoid disruption the servers were left running but they will be shut down on Monday.

On Monday, those computers still infected won’t be able to surf the net until the problem is fixed.

How Do I Know I’m infected?

As part of the Shutdown, the DNS Changer working group was set up. On their site they have a  detection tool website that will tell you if your computer is infected.

How can I fix the problem?

The easiest fix is with the Microsoft Malware Scanner which will check your computer for the DNS Changer virus along with other malware. If the scanner detects a problem it will remove the virus. IT Queries also have instructions on Removing A Trojan.

To prevent further infections, it’s necessary to install an up to date anti virus. A good free one is the Microsoft Security essentials tool.

The DNS Changer Trojan was very effective malware and it illustrates why computer users need to be careful of where they go on the mean streets of the Internet.

Pictures don’t show on webpages and computer games

November 25th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

Hi, My inquiry is why don’t the graphics come up on my computer? I suspect I may have a virus ( or other bug).

Computer doesn’t load Yahoo Mail with graphics or hotmail with graphics(u know pretty butterfly etc) and on Facebook some of my friends pictures cannot be seen only the tiny red cross icon.

Also now pages of games I play won’t load. I have been using Trendmicro and yesterday did a Malwarebytes scan which initially seemes to improve, but today things are worse.

I tried using IE ( this is the worst) and Firefox  to see if that made a difference. Very frustrating.

This sounds like your system’s preferred program for showing images has changed. To fix this, you’ll need to select the right program as we describe in our Wrong Program Opens My Pictures post.

It could also be that your hard drive is full and Windows can’t store the images in the cache. You can free up disk space by following our Cleaning Up Your Computer instructions.

How do I stop my computer screensaver starting too quickly?

November 25th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Apple, Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

My computer goes back to screensaver as soon as hand off mouse within 5 seconds and need at least 1 hour before it goes back. Where do I change this setting please?

The screensaver times are controlled by the display feature settings in Windows. Go to the Control Panel, select Display and you can change the time out settings there.

On some laptops there may be differing power schemes depending on whether the system is plugged in or running on batteries, these profiles may have to be changed in the Power settings.

If you are using an Apple Mac the screensaver settings are found in the Desktop and Screensaver preferences where you can change the times to suit your needs.

How do we fix Outlook Express checking spelling in French

November 5th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, Office, Outlook Express, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP No Comments »

Can you please help me with the safest way to revert the Outlook Express spelling checker to English as it can’t be changed from French!

This is a problem that came along with Microsoft Office 2007 which changed the various spell checking and document proofing functions in Windows, Outlook Express itself doesn’t come with a spell checker.

As you can see from other sites’ posts – such as Jay Lee’s Chron site and Joe Duck’s Travel Blog this has caused a lot of angst for many computer users.

You can easily fix this by downloading the free Spell Checker For OE program we describe in our Outlook Express Doesn’t Have A Spell Checker post.

There are a number of registry fixes as well that can resolve this or you can reinstall the older versions of Office proofing tools but overall the simplest solution is to add the free program.


Outlook Express doesn’t have a spell checker

November 5th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in email, Outlook Express, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP No Comments »

I can’t check spelling when writing an email in Outlook Express

Outlook Express, the free email program that came with Windows 98 through to XP, doesn’t come with a spell checker built in. Instead it uses the Microsoft Office spell checker.

If you don’t have Microsoft Office installed then you can use the free Spell Checker for OE to add this function to your computer.

This problem can also happen when Office 2007 is installed on a Windows XP system as the newer program disables older spellcheckers.

How to stop Windows Automatic Updates from happening without permission

September 12th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, software, Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

My Windows computer keeps installing updates that take a lot of time to install which can be irritating when I’m at a client’s site. How can I stop this from happening?

Updating your computer, whether you have a Windows or Mac computer, is very important as new security bugs are found all the time. Unfortunately Microsoft’s automatic update function can be intrusive.

It isn’t a good idea to totally disable the Windows Update service as those updates and patches are important, but you can change the settings so they are downloaded but not installed until you choose to do so.

Microsoft’s Knowledge Base describes how to change the Windows Update Settings, we recommend the download updates but let me choose when to install themoption.

YouTube is not playing on my computer

June 3rd, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in software, Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

When I try to play YouTube clips, I often get a blank screen. Why can’t I play these videos on my computer?

This is usually due to problems with the Adobe Flash software on the computer.

To fix it, first uninstall all the versions of Adobe Flash on the computer. Then run a computer cleanup on the system.

Once the clean up is finished, reboot your computer then reinstall Adobe Flash Player.

Another reboot and you should have fixed the problem.

Should I use two anti-virus programs?

May 6th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in A/V, security, Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP 1 Comment »

Hi can you help me regarding internet security? I have McAfee security and also Microsoft Security Essentials? Do I need both and if not which one is best?

You don’t need two Internet security programs, one will be fine and having two or more security programs running on your system runs the risk of them interfering with each other.

On balance, we’d recommend the Microsoft program simply because it uses a lot less of your computer’s resources than McAfee’s Internet security and anti-virus programs. The computer security companies also have the habit of stinging you with expensive upgrades every year or so.

We have a list of the free internet security programs available on our Four Free Anti-Virus Programs post. All of these software packages are fine for home use.

Defrag is reducing my hard drive space

January 22nd, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware, Windows 7, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP 1 Comment »

I’m defragmenting my hard disc and I’m noticing a strange situation here! before defragging my free space was 110Gb and now when its 31% defragged the free space is 92GB and its decreasing continuously.. any ideas about what I should do now??

Mechanical hard drives store data in blocks, which are like parking spaces in a car park. When Windows saves data onto a drive it “parks” the new information in the first available space and often will break up files bigger than a single block (which are most files) across different parts of the disk. This slows down the system when you want to open or save a file.

The Windows defrag program rearranges the data on your hard drive so all the bits in each file are parked next to each other, making the process a lot more efficient.

Because defrag has to shuffle the stored data on the hard drive, you’ll see the amount of free space available grow and shrink as it goes about figuring where the best place to put data is. It’s the same as when you reorganise a cupboard or workroom.

So don’t worry about it unless you find there is substantially less free space at the end of the process. If that does happen, check your drive for bad blocks or give your drive a clean up.

Missing system 32 config file error when computer starts

December 27th, 2010 Paul Wallbank Posted in Windows 7, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

turned my computer on and this error message appeared;


system is corrupt or missing.

Have tried looking online for solutions but none of them worked. At some point the computer would not accept the commands. any ideas?

What has happened is one of the important registry files has been damaged. Without this file, Windows can’t start.
Luckily Windows makes backups of these files and Microsoft has a detailed description on their website that walks you through the repair process. While the linked document is for Windows XP, the instructions are valid for Windows NT, Vista and Windows7.
Keep in mind that the instructions require you running a Windows repair from the installation disk and involve some serious command line instructions. If you aren’t confident in following these steps, it’s probably best to call a computer technician.

Usually data isn’t affected by a damaged registry file, however the damage can sometimes be an indicator that the hard drive is failing. So it’s important to check your hard drive for errors once the computer has been repaired.