Sunday, 26 February 2012

Setting Up a Live Broadcast on the Internet

By Geoff Leff

Broadcasting live content over the Internet isn't as difficult as people would think. In fact, it's extremely easy. All you need is an audio or video source, a way of getting the audio or video to the PC, a free software program supplied by Microsoft, and enough upload bandwidth to cover the broadcasting of the content.

In this tutorial, I'll attempt to teach you what you need to know so you can broadcast your content over the Internet. I'll primarily show you audio only, but you'll see how easy it is to do video as you progress through this tutorial.

As this is a text only tutorial, you will want to download the free software from Microsoft, and go through the configuration while you read this tutorial. Don't panic though. It's really easy to do. Don't let the length of this tutorial scare you away. The rewards of having your live broadcast up and running should keep you motivated to stick with it.

The only slightly complicated part of this tutorial is to do with your firewall. Due to the number of firewalls out there, I'll be very generic in my approach to telling you what you need to do. I'll explain this in further detail later in the tutorial.

Let's Start

First things first. You need to set up your audio source. In this example I'm using a radio scanner to broadcast Live Police from a radio scanner.

I basically have the radio scanner plugged into my PC's sound card with a cable roughly 2 metres (7 Feet) in length with a 3.5mm mono plug on each end. Of course the length of cable is up to you. Note: if you are broadcasting music, you'll want to use a cable that has stereo plugs instead of mono plugs. You'll also want to ensure your plugs on the cable match the audio device, Some devices may use a 2.5mm plug instead of 3.5mm. If you are broadcasting voice only, mono plugs are better as it ensures sound comes out of both speakers for the listener.

Plug the cable in so that one end plugs into the headphone socket of your audio device, and the other end plugs into the Microphone socket of your sound card on your PC.

Now go to the Microsoft website and download the Windows Media Encoder 9 software. It's free. It's approximately 9.5MB. The link to the software is located at the bottom of this article.

Once you've installed the software, go ahead and start it. You'll be presented with the setup wizard. Highlight the option named Broadcast a Live Event and click OK.

You'll now be in the window where you can choose your audio source and/or video source. If you were setting up video, you would leave both items ticked, however in this example, we're just going to do audio so go ahead and untick the video option. Under the audio option use the drop down box and choose your sound card from the list. Then click the configure button.

In the audio properties window the only thing you really need to change is the option called Pin Line. In the Drop down box, choose Microphone. Of course you can also use Line In, but you need to ensure you've plugged the cable into the Line In of your sound card.

So far it's pretty easy right? Believe it or not, there's not a great deal more to do.

Let's continue shall we

Just click OK and then Next.

If you've followed the tutorial so far, you should be in a window where you can choose a broadcast method. Click on the radio box next to Pull from the encoder and click on the Next button.

In the field labeled Http Port, pick a common port like 8080. You'll thank me later. Many firewalls on routers have rules already set up for port 8080 and it makes it a lot easier to configure. It also allows maximum availability to the masses due to it being a common proxy port number. Go ahead and click Next.

Next we need to configure the encoding options. Go to the drop down box and choose Multiple Bit Rates audio (CBR). In the Bit rate section, choose 19kb/s. Note: Ensure you untick all the other bit rates. The only bit rate you want ticked is 19kb/s. This bit rate should be a good compromise between quality and bandwidth consumption for streaming voice quality. If you want to stream something like music, you may want to choose a higher bit rate. MP3 audio tends to be around 128kb/s but remember the higher bit rate you use, the more upload bandwidth will be required.

For an idea of bandwidth usage, you can have roughly 40 concurrent listeners on a 1mb/s upload bandwidth using 19kb/s. This will leave you with about 250kb/s for doing other things on the internet. The more concurrent listeners you have, the more powerful CPU you'll require, but from experience, you don't need a high powered CPU. The Live Police scanner at my website has a maximum of 40 concurrent listeners on a 1.7GHz CPU with 1 gig of memory and runs beautifully. And yes, I have reached 40 concurrent users at once.

Let's continue

Click the Next button, and then click it again so we skip the Archive section.

Here we'll type in some text about the audio. When people listen to the stream using their Windows Media Player, it will scroll this information to the listener.

Once you've typed in the Display Information click the Finish button instead of the Next button. You'll get a pop up dialog box that tells you about IP blocking. Just ignore this for now and click OK.

That wasn't that hard was it. Believe it or not, we're done. Well, almost.

Windows Media Encoder only allows a maximum of 5 concurrent listeners by default, so if you want to have more than 5 you can make a small windows registry change on your PC which will allow up to 50 connections.

Warning: Changing the registry can be hazardous to your operating system if you change or delete the wrong thing. If you aren't confident doing this yourself, get someone that knows what they're doing to help you out. I can't be held responsible if you mess it up, and can't boot back into your operating system. Now, having said that, it's a very easy to make the change so you shouldn't have a problem. Follow the instructions at the end of this document, only if you want to allow more than 5 concurrent listeners. If you're happy with 5 listeners, then we're almost done.

If you've followed the tutorial up until now, you will have an audio source with a cable going from the headphone socket to the Microphone socket of your sound card in your PC. You will have your Windows Media Encoder totally configured and be raring to go. Just ensure you save the configuration on the Windows Media Encoder so you can load it at any time.

One more minor speed bump to get over and you'll be broadcasting to the world. This is the part that can be a little complicated though. I'll attempt to give you the basics you'll need to get your live broadcast up and running. We'll break this down into two parts. Configuring your firewall, and working out your IP address so you can give it out to your listeners.

Configuring your firewall

If you are using a software firewall such as Zone Alarm, it's dead simple to configure. Basically, you just run the Windows Media Encoder and click the Start Encoding button. When you do this your firewall should prompt you asking if you will allow the connections. Just choose YES to all the questions. It needs access to the Internet, as well as needs to run as a server.

If you have a hardware firewall such as one that is built into your ADSL modem/router, then it gets a little more complicated. What you need to do is go into the configuration of the modem/router, and find the section labeled Firewall. In that section you'll be able to configure firewall rules to either Allow and Deny connections. The section may be called something similar to packet filter. Consult your manual to find out exactly where you need to make the changes.

Once you've located the correct section, you'll need to configure it so that the source ports range from 0 to 65535. The destination port range should be 8080 to 8080 if you followed my tutorial. Ensure Inbound and Outbound traffic is also allowed.

Note, some modem/routers might already have port 8080 configured. If your modem/router does already have this configured, then ignore the above because it sounds like you're already configured to allow the necessary connections.

How to connect to the broadcast

The URL to give to people is mms://:8080 where is whatever your public IP address happens to be. You need to ensure it's the address your ISP gives you, since people from the Internet will be connecting to it. If you aren't sure what your IP address is, you can get your IP address by visiting a site on the internet such as As soon as the site loads, your IP address will be at the top of the page in huge print. Simply replace with the actual IP address and your done.

Ensure you don't use the brackets in the URL though. It should look like mms:// except use your IP address.

That's it. I hope your head didn't explode

The only thing left to do now is adjust your audio source levels so that the audio meter stays mainly in the green. You can experiment by connecting to the stream yourself, and by putting the mms URL above into your browser's address bar and pressing enter. Your Windows Media Player should open and try and connect to the broadcast.

Note: If you aren't able to connect to the broadcast, only play with the firewall settings, and not the encoder. Ensure you have the START ENCODING button pressed on the encoder to ensure its running. If all has gone well, you should be listening to your broadcast over the Internet. Give that URL out to your visitors.

To increase the maximum number of direct connections

1. In Registry Editor, use the tree view to navigate to the following subkey:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSoftwareMicrosoftWindows Media ToolsEncoderMaxClientConnections

2. Edit the subkey so that it reflects the maximum number of direct connections you want to allow. The maximum possible number is 50.

Caution Incorrectly editing the registry can severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Top 4 Tools Tools For Free Removal of Spyware

By Dawn Smith

Spyware is one of the most notorious threats ever to have been posed to computer systems. A number of people around the world are affected and have suffered due to this threat. The solution is simply to get spyware removed from your system and as there are a number of tools for free removal of spyware, you get a lot of choice as to which software to install.

Windows Defender

First of all, you should consider Windows Defender which is a product of Microsoft. Since Windows is a product of Microsoft and Windows is the main target of spyware malcontent, Windows Defender gains an edge over almost all other anti spyware tools. This is also one of the few stand alone anti spyware tools that comes with free real time protection and free updates. It is available only to the users of Genuine Windows and you would need to make it through the WGA check to get this tool.

SpyBot: Search and Destroy

Your second option is SpyBot: Search and Destroy. Of all the free spyware removal tools, this is the one which provides the best detection rates. At the same time, it is also one of the lightest tools and cone complete the scan at a rapid pace. This is primarily because the manner in which this tool operates is different in comparison to the manner in which other anti spyware tools operate. But, when you install this software, do read its license, you would find a cute little surprise in there.

Spyware Doctor

The third option that you have is Spyware Doctor Starter Edition . This software is brought to you by Google and is a part of Google Pack. It comes with most of the features that you would get in Spyware Doctor. Incidentally Spyware Doctor is also one of the most effective commercial anti spyware tools in the market. You only get the basic features and email based support but whatever you get with this software is really good and gets the job done really well.


AdAware from Lavasoft is another remarkable option when it comes to tools for free removal of spyware. There was a time when this was the best anti spyware tools you could have. Even now it is one of the best. AdAware has both a commercial and a free version and the free version does not come with a real time scanner but save that it features every single main feature that you can get in any anti spyware tool.

Other than this there are a number of completely free as well commercial tools with free versions. You can look for alternatives but the prize winners have been discussed here. If you want your computer to be safe, you can choose any of these tools for free removal of spyware. All of them would protect your computer from spyware threats and more.
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Friday, 24 February 2012

How to Start Internet Radio - The Essentials and Platform

By Mehr Virk

Online audio streaming is the way to go in this day and age - it frees you from the limitations of traditional radio broadcasting. Here's why it's a good idea to start internet radio broadcasting:

1) It does not matter where you are situated in the world. You can reach people in Beijing from as far away as California.

2) The costs of broadcasting over the internet are lesser than traditional radio.

3) You can offer more than audio - text, images, as well as interactivity in the form chat rooms, for example.

4) There are a range of genres available to you, especially with music.


The things you will need to start internet radio broadcasting include: CD player; mixer, assorted recorder/editor; ripper; microphones; dedicated computer with encoder; digital audio card; outboard audio equipment and streaming media server.

Delivering Audio

Here are the steps involved in sharing audio over the internet.

1) With the help of a sound card, the content is provided to an encoding computer which translates it to make it suitable for streaming. The encoder works by compressing the incoming info to make it fit for passing over the internet.

2) The audio is forwarded to a server that uses a high bandwidth connection.

3) The audio is then provided to the player/plug-in by the server. The player converts it into sound.

Audio is delivered online by two methods: streaming and downloading. With streaming, the encoding system makes the audio streamable; the server makes sure that it is available and the player retrieves the file(s). In a live broadcast, both the encoder and streamer are at work at the same time.


Take your time in choosing a platform to start internet radio. There are several things to consider while selecting an audio streaming platform. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

- Number of Stations: The first thing to consider is the number of stations you want to broadcast. This may be an easy thing to do if your are just looking to create a personal station where you share your music with the world. But, it may need more thinking if you are looking to create different types of stations on a tight budget.

- Storage Space: Estimate the amount of storage space you will need.

- File Size: File size is important if you are looking to upload large-sized files. You may have to spend money on getting a plan that enables uploading of large files.

- Streaming Playlist: Do you want to buy a plan that allows playlist streaming?

- Advertising: Think about the opportunity to profit through advertising.
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Thursday, 23 February 2012

How to Download Free Virus Removal Software

By Gaurav Srivastava

The article describes the procedure for downloading free virus removal software to your computer. The methods described here are meant for normal to advanced users. However, we still advise you to follow them carefully to avoid facing problems. Doing so can save you a great amount of time.

There are various free online virus removal software available on the internet that allow users to easily remove virus or other such infections from their computer. You must have heard of a few of them and in fact want to download one for your computer. There is a possibility that you are unaware of the right procedure for downloading and running any such tool. Here is your free virus removal software guide that will tell you how to download as well as run such a program.


Since there are umpteen free online virus removal tools available online, you may first need to decide which tool to download for your computer. Once you have concluded on a tool, visit its official website and check for its latest downloadable version. You should not download the tool from a torrent website as doing so may bring a virus infection to your computer. Below we have described the procedure for downloading Anti-Malware, a free virus removal tool, from Malwarebytes. The procedure will remain the same for other tools also.

Visit Malwarebytes' official website ( Click on the Products section and choose Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free. If you want you can watch demos of the tool. Otherwise, click on the Download Now button. It will take you to another page showing specifications like the version, product ranking, and total downloads etc. The default language of the program will be English. If you want you can change the language from the drop-down arrow. When done, click on the Download Now button to initialize downloading.

Wait for the automatic prompt to come up. It will show a dialog box displaying mbam-setup- Click on the Save File button to save the file. When done, close the browser window. Look for the mbam-setup- file in My Documents or some other location and open it. By default, all the files go to the Downloads folder where these can be opened from. When prompted, hit the Run button to initialize the installation of the tool. Follow the onscreen prompts and complete the installation. When done and if prompted, reboot your computer.

Once the computer has rebooted, look for Anti-Malware's icon and open it. Highlight the Update tab and initialize updating. You must regularly update the tool and/or your antivirus software to keep viruses away from your computer. Similarly there are other tabs also like Scanner from which you can perform a full virus scan or a custom one, Quarantine, Logs, and Settings etc. You can customize your tool as desired. So, this was the complete procedure for downloading a free virus removal program. As mentioned above, all such software programs have the exact same procedure for downloading but a different one (still more or less the same) for them.

McAfee also has different free virus removal tools available on its website. These tools are virus-specific removal tools. These include McAfee Avert Stinger tool for the removal of Sasser, Bagle, Mydoom, Zafi, and Lovsan/Blaster; Bugbear Removal tool for Bugbear removal; and Klez Removal tool for Klez removal. Thus if you have any of the abovementioned virus on your computer, you can download its specific free online virus removal tool and remove the infection from your machine.
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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Why Are Laptop Repairs More Difficult?

By Jeremy A Keene

Anyone knowledgeable enough about computers would tell you that laptop repairs are much more challenging and time-consuming than the corresponding repair procedures for a desktop machine. Which can definitely sound discouraging if you've got a laptop that's suffered some damage and needs to be repaired. Why does it work like that though, and what is it that makes laptops so much more challenging to repair than desktops?

It's all about their architecture - as well as the way their devices work and are manufactured. The first problem is the dismantling process - taking apart a regular desktop computer is easy and straightforward, you just lift the cover of the box and the internals are exposed to you, ready to have you working on them. All the devices and components are conveniently laid out in front of you, making it easy to reach what you need and modify the parts that bother you. A laptop, on the other hand, has to be opened up in a very specific way - this is different for each manufacturer and model, so you can't simply know what you have to do to get yours opened up - you need to be familiar with all the unique models there are and their intricate differences in their designs.

Once you've managed to expose the laptop's internals, it gets even trickier - while a desktop computer is built pretty much like a LEGO toy, with each part coming in its own place and being detachable afterwards, a laptop is made in a more rigid way. Laptop repairs are dependent on what parts have broken down - sometimes it may turn out that it's not possible to simply replace them. For example, many laptops have their video cards not as a discrete separate device, but rather as part of the motherboard. This means that you can't simply take out the video card and replace it, you need to outright replace the motherboard itself - and with it you'll also find yourself taking out the sound card, network adapter and many other components. In the end, you may find that it costs less to buy a new laptop than to pay for a repair.

Laptop repairs are especially problematic when the display is concerned - to put it simply, having to replace that is a nightmare with most models, and you're going to get a serious sigh of frustration from any repair shop you take your machine to, no matter how much you're ready to pay. Because in most cases it won't be about the money for those people, it'll be about the hard labor involved in getting your job done.

Don't lose hope from all this though - laptop repairs are still possible given the right expertise and set of tools, so if you ever have a problem with your machine, don't be quick to start looking for a new one - instead, start looking around for the best deals on laptop repairs in your area, and comparing what different repair shops can offer you.
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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

What Can a Malware Do?

By Sanjay Sakariya

Many of my friends and students ask me the question, "What a Malware Can Do?" Or "Is it really so harmful for our computers?" I laugh at this question. They might do not have asked the question if they have faced the havoc caused by the malware. I am sharing with you the danger of a malware so that you may keep your computer safe and may enjoy hassle free computing.

The malware may it be a virus, spyware, Trojan or adware; it is much competent of capturing your sensitive information about the credit cards, your bank account information and other sensitive data stored on the hard discs of your computer. It may leave you vulnerable to phishes, cheaters and frauds. You may have to face a lot financial loss.
The malware may make expensive phone calls using your computer and you will have to pay for these call charges. It may start sending spam emails which will ruin your reputation in the online community and you will find it hard to run any online business. Sometime malware like MalwareAlarm will pop up fake security warnings to make you afraid and to keep away you from browsing the websites. These popup may demand you money to be sent to some specific company or individual.

The worst effect of malware is placing hard core porn links on your desktop. You can't keep your computer locked for your children all the time and deprive them of their favourite Webkinz. The nasty adware like zlob.PortAdvertiser may easily infect your computer and may place such links on the desktop. These porn links sometimes execute at their own leaving you helpless. You may imagine the loss. Another example of such malware is IEMonster.

The IEMonster adware may mar your browsing experience by prompting fake security warnings. It will mislead you by telling that your computer is infected and you need to buy special software to keep your computer safe. Are you ready to throw away your hard earned dollars on these scrap of software. Chances are that the same company that demands your money have created this malware to infect the computers to earn some easy money.

The pop ups by the malware much resemble the original built-in security warning box in Windows. They are created so to dupe you easily. So always be cautious before spending money on such downloads. These may not be helpful for you in anyway. They are not capable of resolving any problem and are only created to exhort money from you.

Then what should you do to keep your computer safe from such monster malware. I always suggest some authenticated popular resolution for the problem. The resolution may be in using good antivirus or good anti-malware. You should update it regularly for complete protection. Online solution is always preferred. You may find the effective online computer repair solution on Internet that may relieve the entire hassles of installing the required software, scanning your computer and removing the malware. You may continue your computing experience.
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Monday, 20 February 2012

3 Lies You Should Know To Save Money On Computer Repairs

By Hector Sommers Kleinn

The notion that what you do not know cannot hurt you is quite obsolete when it comes to having your computer repaired by a technician. In fact, it can really hurt you a lot financially if you are not aware of the common practices of computer technicians in order to rake some money into their vault. These are common practices by some technicians and their targets are often those that have little knowledge on computers. If you are one of the people who paid hundreds of dollars and waited for a month or so in order to have a computer repaired, you will learn a lot from this article.

Lie Number 1: It Takes Weeks to Repair a Computer

You have probably experienced being told by a technician that it would take 5 weeks to repair your damaged computer. The reality is that it only takes about a day at the most to repair a computer even if it has some major problems. What really happens is that your computer will be sitting on a corner on a shop, waiting for a technician to take notice of it and troubleshoot the computer to determine its problems.

What you can do to avoid this is inquire at a computer shop how long will it take them to repair your computer once you bring it to their store. Get assurance from the shop that your computer will be repaired on schedule. The time you waste waiting for your computer to be repair could cost you a lot of money especially if you are using the computer in running your business.

Lie Number 2: You Need to Update your Operating System and Applications

For an additional fee, a computer technician will usually tell you that you need to update your Operating System and your applications in order for your computer to run properly. While regularly updating your device drivers is really important in maintaining your computer's integrity, you do not really need to update your software and OS if you do not want to. What you need to do is to tell the technician that what you want is to simple restore your computer to what it was before it got damaged, nothing more and nothing less.

Lie Number 3: Your Computer Comes with a Warranty

This is not actually a lie but a misconception. When you purchase a computer in a shop, they will usually tell you that it comes with a warranty. If you are happy with that and you swiped your credit card and excitedly went home to assemble your brand new computer, you are in for trouble. There are many types of warranty coverage, some allow parts and services for a certain period of time and some only offer parts or services. You may be surprised when you bring in your computer for repairs at the shop where you bought it and told that the warranty does not cover repairs or that it was only valid for 2 weeks. Make sure to read and understand the warranty coverage when purchasing a computer in order to avoid this.
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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Which Is Best For You? Desktop Vs Laptop

By Balazs Pinter

Due to our technological advancement in today's era, people are faced with an endless list of possible options when it comes to purchasing a personal computer. If you're choosing between a laptop and a desktop, you could definitely use this article.



* Less likely to get stolen or to get lost. Desktop computers are quite inconvenient to carry. Thieves are more likely to steal gadgets that are portable, such as a tablet or a laptop.

* Easier to upgrade or repair. It is always easier to add or remove components to a desktop which makes it very flexible. Components can be replaced when they are broken.

* More durable... In general, desktops last longer than laptops.

* Less expensive. These days, there are many affordable laptops out there but if you would look at the specifications, it's usually no match to a full desktop's speed and memory size. There are some really good laptops that are already dual core and the memory is about 320GB or more but they're far from being cheap.

* The screen resolution of available monitors for desktops is higher and far better than most portable devices. A high resolution screen can consume a large amount of power. It's not ideal for most portable computers to have high resolution screens because it can easily drain the battery.

* Come in various shapes and sizes with some of the latest models being very sleek.

* Excellent for those who are very serious about their gaming - can add lots of customizations including increased power, excellent graphic cards and sound cards.


* Not portable. You can't carry it around with you.

* Totally dependent on electricity. If there's a power outage, you won't be able to use it unless you have an alternative source of power like a UPS or a power generator...

* Not as stylish and trendy as laptops and tablets.


Though laptops still don't challenge all the benefits of a desktop computer, the gap will continue to narrow, and for mobile workers a laptop is the way to go. Whether a laptop can replace a desktop depends on the kind of work you do.


* It's number one advantage is its portability. It can easily be carried around which makes it perfect for those who are on the go. Also excellent for working with on the couch, kitchen bench, coffee shop etc.

* Powered by rechargeable batteries. You can still use it even when there is a power outage.

* Stylish and trendy. They look more attractive compared to desktops. They come in different styles and colors.

* Comes in all shapes and sizes... and now colours so your laptop can be a reflection of your personality.

* Compact design. A laptop is a space saver. It doesn't occupy a big amount of space unlike a full desktop.

* Can attach external screens, mouse, keyboard, speakers etc., whatever you like.


* Higher risk of being stolen. Compared to a full desktop, laptops are more vulnerable to theft. Countless laptops are stolen everyday so you need to be cautious.

* While it's unlikely that a desktop computer will fall off the desk, the same can't be said for a laptop, which runs the risk of being accidentally dropped.

* Limited battery life plus the battery's life deteriorates after prolonged use.

* Not easy to upgrade or repair. Laptops have components that are specifically customized for a particular unit. If one of the components is damaged, you might have to replace the whole laptop.

* Screen resolution may be not high quality. For high-end graphics work, a laptop's LCD screen and graphics technology is not a viable alternative to the better colour representation of a large CRT monitor and a dedicated graphics card.

* Some people find that the keyboard is not as comfortable and functional as a full keyboard that comes with a desktop PC.

As you could see, desktops and laptops both have their own advantages and disadvantages and in reality also are in many ways very similar in their capabilities to the average user. Choosing between them would depend on what points are more important to you and what purpose the computer will serve you.
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Saturday, 18 February 2012

5 Things To Avoid When Attempting Data Recovery

By David John Hughes

As a company that specialises in data recovery for some time, we have dealt with numerous customers that have attempted to recover their own data and caused even more damage in the process, or have told us horror stories about bad experiences they have had from sending their drives away to be recovered. Here are the five biggest problems that you need to try and avoid if you are trying to recover data from a failed hard drive:

1) Never Open Up Your Hard Drive - they are constructed inside class 100 clean room environments which means there are fewer than 100 particles (<o.5 microns) per cubic foot of air. Open up your hard drive outside of a clean-room environment and you will allow damaging particles onto the hard drive platter which is extremely sensitive and easily damaged by even the smallest piece of dust.

2) Never Install Data-Recovery Software Onto The HDD You Are Trying To Recover - This is unfortunately very common where someone desperately wants to recover important data, rushes out and buys expensive data recover software which they then install on the same system. If you install anything onto the drive from which you have lost data then you run the risk of overwriting your valuable data. Make sure you remove the drive in question, hook it up to another machine and install the data recovery on that machine!

3) Be Careful Freezing Your Drive! - Once of the more popular remedies which you can find on Google is the so-called freezer trick where you are advised to pop your drive in the freezer overnight which will then allow your data to be recovered in the morning. Firstly I should point out that this method has very limited success - probably one out of 100 drives we examine might work with this method. More importantly if you are going to try and freeze your drive, make sure you put it inside a Ziploc bag - this is vital, no Ziploc back means water droplets inside your drive. Water droplets = trouble!!

4) Not being quick enough! - Quite often you will hook a drive up and manage to access your valuable data and if so that's great.... A word of caution though - if you are lucky enough to access a failing drive go straight to your most valuable data and begin backing up. Time can be critical and don't make the mistake of gaining access to a drive for 20 mins only to find the drive then dies and you haven't yet got to your most important files!

5) Never send your drive away without insurance / adequate packaging - If you are going to send your drive away to a data recovery specialist then make sure that a) you pack the drive securely and with adequate protection and b) you send the drive by insured delivery.

If you have any concerns regarding recovering your data then the best thing to do is consult a data recovery company so that you give yourself the best possible chance for a successful recovery. Good luck!
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Friday, 17 February 2012

How to Remove a Trojan Virus Manually

By Gaurav Srivastava

The article describes how you can manually remove a Trojan virus from your computer. The methods described here are reliable and correct to date. We still advise you to follow them carefully to avoid facing problems. It is because virus removal is a sensitive procedure and requires thorough understanding of the virus infected files and their locations in the computer.

A Trojan virus is a dangerous program that masquerades as a legitimate program and thus bypasses your security program's reach. It mostly comes embedded into freeware like weather forecast software and tray clocks etc. considering that you need help removing the bad Trojan virus from your computer; we have compiled a free virus removal guide for you to remove it manually from your computer. However, online virus removal is recommended over the manual procedure for normal users.


Before you begin removing the Trojan virus from your computer, take a backup of your valuable data to a flash drive or CD etc. Instead of relying on external backup media that are equally susceptible to catastrophic damage, you can choose a cloud storage service to store your data. Once the data is backed up, open Task Manager by right clicking anywhere on the taskbar. Alternatively, you can press Alt, Ctrl, Delete keys together on the keyboard.

If you are unable to run any of these below mentioned steps in the normal mode, restart your computer in Safe Mode with Networking. When the computer start rebooting, repeatedly press the F8 key on the keyboard until you see the Windows boot menu. Use the Down arrow key to reach Safe Mode with Networking and then hit Enter. Make sure you immediately start tapping the F8 key before the Windows logo appears.

Disable System Restore. If it is Windows 7 or Vista, click on the Start menu and browse to Control Panel. Locate System and click on it. Click on System protection. Highlight the System Protection tab, select the disk drive viz. C or D etc., and then hit the Configure button. Select the Turn off system protection option, hit the Apply button, and then OK to exit the System Properties window. if you are using Windows XP, right click on My Computer and choose Properties. Highlight the System Restore tab and disable the system restore feature. Delete all the system restore points to avoid the Trojan virus from loading itself back on to your computer after it is restored.

In the Task Manager window, click on the Processes tab and look for the virus' processes. You will see weird names such as 124hies.exe, mslaugh.exe, and ghie4562.exe among others. Once you have spotted such process, click on it and then press the End Process button. It will stop the Trojan virus from running and consuming the CPU power. If the virus has got a specific name like blaster.worm or 32heur etc., you will find processes followed by such name extensions in addition to the weird names. Close Task Manager.

If the Trojan virus has disabled Task Manager due to which you are unable to kill malicious processes, check if you can launch your antivirus program or connect to the internet. If the antivirus program opens up, update it with latest virus definitions. Wait until updating finishes. When done, run a full virus scan (recommended) and not a custom one. When finished, check for the virus infected files and their locations into your computer. Write their full path in a Windows Notepad or on a piece of paper. Prompt the security program to delete them. If it is unable to delete the infected files, close it.

Click on the Start menu and browse to C:\ drive from My Computer. Search for the Trojan virus' file using Windows Search. Type the name of the virus file in the desired field and hit Enter. When the file appears in the search results, right click on it and select Rename to change its name to something like virus_temp (you can name it anything you want). The renaming will weaken the Trojan virus. Now right click on virus_temp and select Delete to delete the file. Repeat the procedure for all the infected files.

Connect to the internet and run a free online virus scan from a website like Trend Micro or F-Secure. Download the latest version of any of the free tools and install it. When done, open the tool and launch a full virus scan and not a custom one. Wait for the scan to complete. When done, check the names and locations of the infected files. Write them down like you did in the previous step and repeat the rename and deletion procedure as mentioned above. When done exit the window.

Open the Run utility from the Start menu. Type 'regedit' in the empty field and hit Enter. It will open up Registry Editor. Before you begin making changes to the registry, make sure that you have backed up your entire data including the registry. If you wrongly modify the registry, you can lead your system to full or partial crash. Scan all the branches of the Windows registry for all such files names that were during the scans by your antivirus program and the free online virus scanner. The most popular branches to look for into include HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. However, you must scan other branches too to be on a safer side. Exit Registry Editor.

When done scanning and deleting all the malicious entries from the registry and other locations, connect to the internet and download Anti-Malware, a free antivirus tool from Malwarebytes. Visit the official Malwarebytes website (, prefix 'www.' In the front) and download the latest version of Anti-Malware. Save the file when prompted. Afterwards, run the setup file to install the tool. When done, open the tool and update it. Wait for the updates to be downloaded as well as installed. When finished, click on the Scanner tab and choose Perform full scan instead of Perform quick scan. Press the Scan button to start the scan and wait until it finishes. Afterwards, prompt the tool to delete the infected files.

Additional Tips:

After having gone through all the steps, if the Trojan virus still exists in your computer, contact V tech-squad for online virus removal support service.
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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Is the System Restore Point a Backup?

By Steven Menjivar

You've probably seen various versions of system restore software on the market. Some of them are built right into your operating system. If you're on a server, there are some restore options that the server allows you to take advantage of without installing any extra software. There are some differences between these and proper backups that you need to be aware of. You cannot depend on system restore functions to provide you with a full data backup, in any case.

Restoring Your System vs. Restoring Your Files

Your system restore function is basically designed to restore your operating system. This would become an advantage if, for example, you changed your system files in a way that corrupted them and that removed certain functions from the OS. It's also handy in cases where you install a program that does unintended damage to your operating system and when you need to restore it in a speedy fashion.

Your system restore doesn't actually restore your user files, in most cases. If you delete a spreadsheet with all of your yearly sales data on it, for example, your system restore is not going to help you get that file back.

Restoring files is done from a backup. The backup files include those that are created by the user and, in some cases, some of the system files and settings. Backup systems are not designed to restore the OS in the same way that the system restore functionality is designed to do, however.

If you had a complete disaster - meaning that the OS and the files created by users were all lost or destroyed - your IT department would likely engage in a two-part recovery process. The first part would involve reinstalling the operating software and restoring the settings and the second would involve restoring the user files.

Your system restore should not be confused with your backup system. In fact, most system restore software proudly advertises that it won't alter your user file. For data backup, you need to have a copy of the user files on your server or computer made and it needs to be stored in a safe location. This is where online backup services, tape drives and other means of storing large amounts of data and restoring it to a computer come into play. Make sure you back up both your system settings and your data on a regular schedule to avert disasters.
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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Beginner's Guide to Backing Up Files

By Nat Rous

We've all heard stories from friends or family of a computer crash or a ruthless viral infection. Their woes of losing all their family photos or financial data make us worry about our own computers and the accumulation of years of pictures, documents, and other valuable files.

But where to begin? There are lots of options available, but not all of them are right for everyone. What's right for you?

Let's start with some basics.

Copying is NOT the same as a backup. What is important is where you make the copy! Copying files to a different folder on the same hard drive is virtually worthless.
You don't need to backup your entire computer! If you can identify just the files you consider 'important' you may be able to save time and money.
Don't count on data recover! While you may have heard about services that can recover data from a crashed hard drive, it is very expensive and results are NOT guaranteed.

There are a number of storage options for your data. Some require you to actively make your backups, as well as choose which files to back up (partial backup); others can be scheduled to run once in awhile; others are 100% automatic and copy everything (full backup).

Removable Storage

Removable storage is one of the cheapest and simplest methods of backing up your data. By 'removable', we simple mean that you can easily disconnect the storage device and take it with you. Depending on your needs, it may work as a full or partial backup. Three main methods of removable storage are

flash or 'thumb' drives
external hard drives
optical media (CD/DVD)

Flash Drives: 'Flash' drives are the little devices that you can plug into a USB slot on your computer, usually no installation needed. These drives are getting cheaper all the time. You can get a 32GB or 64GB drive very cheaply. They are small, and they are portable. These should not be used as long-term storage, as they are known to become corrupted over time (or get lost!)

External Hard Drives: By purchasing a hard drive enclosure and a new hard drive, you can backup the entire contents of your computer. This can become pricey if you plan to backup everything on your computer since you will need to buy a hard drive that is at least as big as the one in your computer. On the other hand, it is a very dependable method of storage that requires relatively little setup.

Optical Media: This would be best suited to a small business or someone who wants to make periodic backups of a small amount of data and take those backups to a different, safe location (in case of a fire, for example). Since a CD can only hold around 750MB, and a DVD only 4.5GB (4500 MB), you likely won't be backing up your entire computer.

Internet Backups: There are various internet services that allow you to upload your data to their servers for a fee. For example, if you've watched any tv or listened to the radio in the last few years, you've probably heard of Carbonite - although it is only one of many options.

One downside to Internet backups is that you often may have sensitive personal data you need to store. In this case, be sure to check if the data is encrypted and secure - both during the backup process itself, and while it is stored on the company's servers. If you have lots of data to store, it may take a long, long time to initially store your data. However, after the initial backup procedure, only new files or changes to files need to be uploaded and stored - a much quicker operation.

As for cost, this is often a cheap way to get going with backups. However, since there is usually a monthly subscription, after 2 or 3 years you will have paid more than if you had purchased a large, reliable, external hard drive and managed things yourself. Also beware of upgrades that add little value (Don't upgrade to the premium Carbonite package, for example, which only adds support for external hard drive backing up - you can do that yourself with various computer backup software)
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Top 10 Tips On Protecting Your Computer

By Carlos Wardlow

The one question asked most often by people these days may very well be "How to protect my computer?" People of all ages spend more time on the computer than not these days, which makes computer security-and, in particular, learning how to prevent computer viruses-an issue of paramount importance. Following these 10 tips will dramatically improve your computer security and leave you less likely to ask "How to protect my computer?" after you've suffered a breach!

1.) Buy and install anti-virus software: This is the one computer security measure everyone can implement easily and quickly. Simply put, the first thing you should do upon buying a new computer is add the anti-virus software. It won't completely secure the computer, but a computer without anti-virus software is unsafe.

2.) Buy and install anti-spyware software: Spyware is software that is installed on your computer, without your knowledge, that allows outsiders to get a glimpse at your computer activities. Spyware is usually more annoying than damaging-if you've been subjected to pop-up ads, you're probably a victim of spyware-but still, buying and installing the anti-spyware software will cut out that aggravation and allow your computer to run in a smoother fashion.

3.) Password protect your home and/or office wireless router. If you fail to do so, hackers can worm their way on to your wireless and steal valuable personal information from your computers. This has the added benefit of improving the performance of your wireless Internet: Your signal will be stronger without people in nearby homes and offices stealing it.

4.) Shut off your computer when you're not using it. Many people like leaving their computers on 24/7 so that they can easily resume work after waking up or returning home. But whenever a computer is on, it is vulnerable to attacks from hackers. A computer that is shut off cannot be infiltrated by the bad guys!

5.) Be careful downloading email attachments. This qualifies as an "old-fashioned" computer security recommendation, but it's still relevant. Someone from work sent you a Word doc? You're probably OK. A spammer sent you an attachment in a bizarrely worded email? Delete, delete, delete! Also be careful with an email attachment that has been forwarded to you by someone else. There's always the chance that the attachment picked up some malicious code at some point.

6.) Change up your passwords. A simple Google search will reveal common passwords you should avoid using. Also make sure your passwords aren't obvious and predictable to those who know you-in other words don't make your passwords the names of your children and don't include the digits of your birthday or anniversary. Try, whenever possible, to have different passwords for every site, and keep a written document of your passwords in a safe spot.

7.) Regularly back up important data. This falls under the heading of "you can never be too safe." If, despite all your efforts, something should go terribly wrong and a virus or a hacker renders your computer unusable, at least you won't lose your vital files.

8.) Update all your software, from your Internet browser to essentials such as Word and Adobe Reader. These updates come with valuable patches that address any security issues that have cropped up since the software was released.

9.) When making purchases on the Internet, only buy from "secured" websites. Failing to do so leaves you vulnerable to identity theft. You can find information about a website's security level at the bottom of the page.

10.) Be vigilant! The most pivotal part of computer security is asking yourself, every single day, "how to protect my computer?" Daily maintenance of your computer is the best way to keep it safe and operating at peak efficiency!
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Monday, 13 February 2012

BIOS ERROR - Can't Find Hard Drive!

By Andrew Hockings

I remember the first time I suffered a fatal Hard Drive failure. It was 1999. The first family PC we bought.

Oh yes I remember it well. Pentium Processor, not Pentium Dual Core or P4 or P3 or for that matter P2. No, just Pentium. Ran at 133Mhz on a 66Mhz FSB. 16 Meg of RAM (yes, huge I know) and a simply massive 1.2GB Fujitsu hard disk. Ah, those were the days, when building your own PC was cool and Windows 95 looked so much better than 3.11 that we were all tricked into thinking that it was better!

After 2 years of faithful service I came down one morning, pressed the PC's power button and went to make Coffee. It was strange, I thought the Coffee machine had issues. There were funny clicking and clinking sounds emanating around the room. Because of other Kitcheny (I don't think that's a word) noises it sounded for all the world like the Coffee machine. I tapped it, bashed it, switched it off then on again initially not noticing the sound continued when it was off. It was then out of the corner of my eye I could see the hard disk LED really wasn't doing what it should and almost quicker than a Core i7 could do it my brain flipped from the prospect of no Coffee to Data loss... Arrrggghhhhh!!!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Why You Should Never Remove The Cover Of A Computer Hard Drive

By David John Hughes

Hard Drive Anatomy

In order to explain why removing the cover of a hard drive is not a particularly good idea it is helpful to understand a little about how a hard drive stores, and accesses, your data.

Inside a hard drive is a circular disk on which your data is stored magnetically and is then accessed by a read/write head which hovers above the platter (very close - only a matter of microns) and interprets the magnetic data. These disks rotate at an incredibly high speed (usually 5400rpm or 7200rpm). The circular disk (commonly referred to as the platter) is usually constructed of aluminium or glass but has a very thin special coating over the top where the data is on the platter will be stored.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Slow System Performance - How To Fix It?

By Dan Ashlery

Slow system performance is one common issue that most computers face. Due to the nature of their operation, PC's tend to lose their efficiency over time. However, it is mostly not because of the failure of the hardware, but due to the so-called "mess" inside the software parts of the computer. In order to fix this problem, some areas of the pc need special treatment.

1. Fragmented files

The first cause of slow system performance is the fragmentation of files. In other words, the information on the hard disk becomes disorganized. And when a program or application loads, it takes more time. All the files that are needed for the operation of this program, are now stored in various parts of the hard drive, instead of being in the same sector of the disk.

This problem is a natural result of everyday computer usage. During the operation of a PC, certain files are deleted and others added. This slowly fragments the data. One of the best cures for cleaning up such chaotic placement of data, is the Disk Defragmenter. It is a free tool that all windows-based computers come with.