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.

Strange calls about Windows problems from Microsoft Technical Support

June 28th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in security, Windows XP No Comments »

I have Windows XP installed, including “Defender” and Trend Micro 2012 internet security.

I am getting frequent phone calls from the “Windows Technical Support” offering me online help to fix the “very many security issues on my PC” by remotely accessing my computer and for a fee guaranteeing to keep it clean of all malware, spyware,etc etc.

Are they for real or have I been scammed by talking to them and running their “scan” which showed “1000′s of problems”. Meanwhile my com[puter seems to be running normally. Grateful for your advice. Many thanks, Tom

Hi Tom,

Unfortunately these calls are scams. If you’ve been taken in by one, contract your credit card provider to have any charges reversed and change all your important passwords and other logins.

It would also be a good idea to follow our Removing a Trojan instructions to make sure nothing untoward has been installed on your system.

You may also want to remove Trend Micro and install the free Windows Security Essentials on your system.

Moving data to Windows 7 from XP

June 11th, 2012 Paul Wallbank Posted in Buying a computer, Windows 7, Windows XP No Comments »

I have Windows XP, Outlook for emails and buying a new PC with Windows 7. Have you instructions to save emails address’s in outlook to transfer to new PC with Windows 7 and Outlook…?

Probably the easiest way to do this is to use the Easy Transfer Wizard for Windows 7. This copies all the user setting from Windows XP into Windows 7.

You’ll have to download the Easy Transfer Wizard software from Microsoft and install it on your Windows XP machine. Then connect a USB hard drive – buy a new one if you haven’t already one for backup – and run the wizard. Tell it to save the files to the external USB drive.

Once the Easy Transfer Wizard is complete, connect the external drive to the new Windows 7 computer and run the Transfer Wizard. Microsoft have instructions how to run the Wizard on Windows 7.

Remember you’ll need a copy of Microsoft Office on your new computer so you can run those Outlook files. Make sure you’ve installed Outlook and run all the Windows 7 and Microsoft Office updates before running the file transfer wizard.

fwcore.sys problem stops my windows computer from starting

December 4th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in software, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

I keep getting an error message fwcore.sys driver_irql_not_less_or_equal I think the problem is with the on board sound card.

The fwcore.sys driver is part of the eAcceleration StopWall firewall product which is a program we wouldn’t recommend.

Removing it could be a problem. If you can, start the computer in Safe Mode and follow our instructions for removing a program to uninstall anything associated with eAcceleration.

If you are able to uninstall it, we’d also recommend running a check to remove any viruses or trojan horses.

Should you be unable to run the system in Safe Mode, you could try to use Window’s Last Known Good Configuration feature then remove the eAcceleration program.

Failing that, you may need to call your local IT support company who should be able to disable fwcore or restore the system to an earlier date.

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.

Windows XP system won’t start

November 17th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Hardware, Windows 7, Windows XP No Comments »

My superseded XP PC tower will no longer fire up. When I switch it on all I get is an intermittent beep. Someone suggested that my RAM is kaput. Any comments? Alternatively is it possible to load my new Windows7 PC with XP as well as I have programs that will not run on Win7?

The Intermittent beep is what’s called a POST (Power On Self Test) error. When you turn the computer on it runs through a set of tests before trying to load up the operating system, in your case XP.

Because the computer has found an error before the video system started, it has to use beeps to communicate what the problem is and your motherboard manual should tell you what the POST error codes mean.

Often an error like this is due to something like the RAM modules or one of the expansion cards working itself loose so it’s worthwhile getting the local computer tech to have a look or – if you’re confident – pop the box yourself and make sure all the cards are firmly seated in their sockets. Remember to ground yourself first.

It is possible to run most XP programs on Windows 7, a service for this is Windows Virtual PC.

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.

McAfee security center keeps asking to renew

September 16th, 2011 Paul Wallbank Posted in Spyware, Virus, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP No Comments »

Hi, I have McAfee Security installed on my computer and it is now asking me to buy a new version. Should I do this?

We’re not great fans of the McAfee computer security and anti virus products and for most Windows users there’s plenty of free options. We recommend you don’t upgrade and instead replace it with one of the free online security problems.

First, you’ll need to download the McAfee Removal tool and the free antivirus you want to replace it with. Generally Microsoft Security Essentials is the easiest of the options. We look at them at our Which Free Antivirus is Best post.

Then, once you’ve downloaded the removal tool and the replacement anti virus, disconnect from the Internet and uninstall the McAfee products by going to Add/Remove Programs and uninstalling all the listed McAfee products.

Once you’ve uninstalled the programs (you may have to reboot a few times), run the McAfee Removal Tool you downloaded earlier.

Having run the removal tool, and possibly been asked to reboot again, you can then install the new antivirus by running the program you downloaded earlier.

Reconnect to the Internet and let the anti virus progam update and scan your computer before surfing the net and downloading email.

Without McAfee on your system, you should find it running far quicker and more reliably.