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Online Security Check

Go to Gibson Research.com (http://www.grc.com/) and follow the Shields Up links to test your ports for security holes - Click on the Shields Up logo to go directly to the port probe page:


Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows

While the Mouse is certainly a useful input device in computing, there are numerous keyboard shortcuts that can dramatically improve your efficiency using all versions of Windows. In many cases, the keyboard shortcuts are faster and easier to use than the mouse equivalents. These tips apply to most versions of Windows since Windows 95.

Most people aren't even aware of the Windows Logo key on their keyboard. This is standard for the last several years and you will find it between the CTRL and ALT keys (either side of the SPACEBAR). Try these combinations:

Windows Logo Key Shortcuts

  • Windows Logo: Start menu
  • Windows Logo+R: Run dialog box
  • Windows Logo+M: Minimize all
  • SHIFT+Windows Logo+M: Undo minimize all
  • Windows Logo+F1: Help
  • Windows Logo+E: Windows Explorer
  • Windows Logo+F: Find files or folders
  • Windows Logo+D: Minimizes all open windows and displays the desktop
  • CTRL+Windows Logo+F: Find computer
  • CTRL+Windows Logo+TAB: Moves focus from Start, to the Quick Launch toolbar, to the system tray
  • Windows Logo+TAB: Cycle through taskbar buttons
  • Windows Logo+Break: System Properties dialog box

Windows System Key Combinations - use these from anywhere in Windows

  • F1: Help
  • CTRL+ESC: Open Start menu
  • ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs
  • ALT+F4: Quit program
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently

Windows Program Key Combinations - use these within running applications

  • CTRL+C: Copy
  • CTRL+X: Cut
  • CTRL+V: Paste
  • CTRL+Z: Undo
  • CTRL+B: Bold
  • CTRL+U: Underline
  • CTRL+I: Italic

Mouse Click / Keyboard Modifier Combinations for Shell Objects

  • SHIFT+right click: Displays a shortcut menu containing alternative commands
  • SHIFT+double click: Runs the alternate default command (the second item on the menu)
  • ALT+double click: Displays properties
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Deletes an item immediately without placing it in the Recycle Bin

General Keyboard-Only Commands

  • F1: Starts Windows Help
  • F10: Activates menu bar options
  • SHIFT+F10 Opens a shortcut menu for the selected item (same as right-clicking an object
  • CTRL+ESC: Opens the Start menu
  • CTRL+ESC or ESC: Selects the Start button (press TAB to select the taskbar, or press SHIFT+F10 for a context menu)
  • ALT+DOWN ARROW: Opens a drop-down list box
  • ALT+TAB: Switch to another running program (hold down the ALT key and then press the TAB key to view the task-switching window)
  • SHIFT: Press and hold down the SHIFT key while you insert a CD-ROM to bypass the automatic-run feature
  • ALT+SPACE: Displays the main window's System menu (from the System menu, you can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the window)
  • ALT+- (ALT+hyphen): Displays the Multiple Document Interface (MDI) child window's System menu (from the MDI child window's System menu, you can restore, move, resize, minimize, maximize, or close the child window)
  • CTRL+TAB: Switch to the next child window of a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) program
  • ALT+: Opens the menu
  • ALT+F4: Closes the current window
  • CTRL+F4: Closes the current Multiple Document Interface (MDI) window
  • ALT+F6: Switch between multiple windows in the same program (for example, when the Notepad Find dialog box is displayed, ALT+F6 switches between the Find dialog box and the main Notepad window)

General Folder / Windows Explorer Shortcuts
For a selected object:

  • F2: Rename object
  • F3: Find all files
  • F4: Selects the Go To A Different Folder box and moves down the entries in the box (if the toolbar is active in Windows Explorer)
  • F5: Refreshes the current window.
  • F6: Moves among panes in Windows Explorer
  • CTRL+X: Cut
  • CTRL+C: Copy
  • CTRL+V: Paste
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Delete selection immediately, without moving the item to the Recycle Bin
  • ALT+ENTER: Open the properties for the selected object
  • CTRL+G: Opens the Go To Folder tool (in Windows 95 Windows Explorer only)
  • CTRL+Z: Undo the last command
  • CTRL+A: Select all the items in the current window
  • BACKSPACE: Switch to the parent folder
  • SHIFT+click+ Close button: For folders, close the current folder plus all parent folders

To Copy a File
Press and hold down the CTRL key while you drag the file to another folder.
Also, try right-clicking and dragging the object. When you release the mouse button, you will be presented with options for copying or moving the file.
To Create a Shortcut
Press and hold down CTRL+SHIFT while you drag a file to the desktop or a folder.



Frisco Computer Solutions Advisory on XPSP2

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (XPSP2) should be installed as most current software requires XPSP2 to install such as AVG. Service Packs should only be installed by knowledgable and or qualified people. Serious damage can be done to your computer while installing a service pack if you do not follow the directions explicitly and understand what is being asked of you in each step.

Prior to installation, the following MUST be done:

ALL AntiVirus applications must be disabled and removed from memory.
All viruses must be removed.
All spyware must be removed.
Any non-windows applications must be disabled and removed from memory


AVG Pro Configuration

  • After installation, and performing the "Update" action, go through the following configurations:
  • From the main screen (Basic Interface) click on the icon labeled "Control Panel".
  • Click the "AVG Resident Shield" line item and then click the "Properties" button in the lower right-hand corner.
  • Check ALL boxes Except On-close scanning and click OK.
  • Click the "Shell Extension" line item and then click the "Settings" button at the bottom.
  • Click the "Scan details" line and check all the boxes in the "General" section to the right.
  • Click the "Scan all files" button under "File extensions".
  • Make sure "Scan inside archives" is checked and click OK.
  • Click the "E-mail Scanner" line item and click the "Properties" button.
  • Click the "Configure" button.
  • Place a check in the "Use heuristic e-mail message filter" box.
  • Click "OK" both times.
  • Now click the "Test Center" icon on the left.
  • From the menu, select "Tests" > "Complete Test Settings"
  • Make sure all boxes under "Scanning Properties" are checked.
  • Select "Scan all files" under "File Extensions" and click OK.
  • From the menu, select "Tests" > "User Test Settings"
  • Make sure all boxes under "Scanning Properties" are checked.
  • Select "Scan all files" under "File Extensions" and click OK.
  • Now click the "Complete Test" icon and AVG will scan your computer for viruses.
    >> You need to check occasionally to see if any viruses are being detected (and hopefully removed) from your system. To do this:
  • Periodically (at least once a week) launch AVG by double-clicking the icon either on your desktop or in the System Tray (lower right-hand corner of your screen) -- then click the "Test Center" button.
  • Click the "Results" menu item. A drop-down list will appear with a record of the last 20 tests. Green icons indicate no virus(es) were found. A red icon indicates a virus was detected during the scan. Any time there is a Red icon without a subsequent Green icon, this means your computer is still infected and AVG cannot remove or heal the infected file automatically. If you click on the red icon you will see the full results of the scan. Any time this happens, contact us with the details and we will advise you.
  • Any time the System Tray icon for AVG appears in Black and White, there is something wrong and your should double-click the icon to investigate. Either your virus definitions are out of date, your email scanner is not functional (OK if you use webmail or AOHell) or there is a problem with the installation. Any problems need to be corrected immediately or you are not fully protected.
  • When you see two AVG icons in your System Tray, AVG is performing its daily Complete Scan of your computer. If you are using your computer at the time you may experience some performance degradation. You can Right-Click the Complete Test icon and Cancel Scanning if this is causing problems. We recommend allowing AVG to complete AT LEAST ONE full test per week as a safeguard.

AVG Internet Security Configuration

  • During installation, you will see a dialog box for the Installation Type.
  • Select "Custom" and click "Next"
  • Put in the License # your received from Grisoft and click "Next"
  • Accept the default settings all the way through the installation dialogs, EXCEPT:
  • IF your computer will be connected to other computers and share / access files or printers, you MUST change the firewall settings.
  • At the dialog that asks for the firewall options, there are 3 check boxes with the first one (standalone computer) checked.
  • You MUST uncheck this box and check "Computer in Domain" before continuing.
  • If you miss this step, your computer will not be able to communicate with other computers on your network.
  • You will have to uninstall and reinstall AVG to correct this problem.
  • After installation, and performing the "Update" action (as many times as necessary), go through the following configurations:
  • From the main screen (Basic Interface) click on the icon labeled "Control Panel".
  • Click the "Firewall" component and click the "Configure" button at the bottom.
  • Click the second tab (Profile Switch)
  • In the network interface window, click each item in the list with a red X and select "Computer in Domain"
  • In the default profile window. select "Computer in Domain" and click "Apply"
  • Click the top check box for disabling detection and click "Apply"
  • Click OK.
  • Click the "AVG Resident Shield" line item and then click the "Properties" button in the lower right-hand corner.
  • Check ALL boxes Except On-close scanning and click OK.
  • Click the "Shell Extension" line item and then click the "Settings" button at the bottom.
  • Click the "Scan details" line and check all the boxes in the "General" section to the right, EXCEPT: cookie detection / Exclude extensions.
  • Click the "Scan all files" button under "File extensions".
  • Make sure "Scan inside archives" is checked and click OK.
  • Click the "E-mail Scanner" line item and click the "Properties" button.
  • Click the "Configure" button.
  • Place a check in the "Use heuristic e-mail message filter" box.
  • Click "OK" both times.
  • Now click the "Test Center" icon on the left.
  • From the menu, select "Tests" > "Complete Test Settings"
  • Make sure all boxes under "Scanning Properties" are checked.
  • Select "Scan all files" under "File Extensions" and click OK.
  • From the menu, select "Tests" > "User Test Settings"
  • Make sure all boxes under "Scanning Properties" are checked.
  • Select "Scan all files" under "File Extensions" and click OK.
  • Now click the "Complete Test" icon and AVG will scan your computer for viruses.
    >> You need to check occasionally to see if any viruses are being detected (and hopefully removed) from your system. To do this:
  • Periodically (at least once a week) launch AVG by double-clicking the icon either on your desktop or in the System Tray (lower right-hand corner of your screen) -- then click the "Test Center" button.
  • Click the "Results" menu item. A drop-down list will appear with a record of the last 20 tests. Green icons indicate no virus(es) were found. A red icon indicates a virus was detected during the scan. Any time there is a Red icon without a subsequent Green icon, this means your computer is still infected and AVG cannot remove or heal the infected file automatically. If you click on the red icon you will see the full results of the scan. Any time this happens, contact us with the details and we will advise you.
  • Any time the System Tray icon for AVG appears in Black and White, there is something wrong and your should double-click the icon to investigate. Either your virus definitions are out of date, your email scanner is not functional (OK if you use webmail or AOHell) or there is a problem with the installation. Any problems need to be corrected immediately or you are not fully protected.
  • When you see two AVG icons in your System Tray, AVG is performing its daily Complete Scan of your computer. If you are using your computer at the time you may experience some performance degradation. You can Right-Click the Complete Test icon and Cancel Scanning if this is causing problems. We recommend allowing AVG to complete AT LEAST ONE full test per week as a safeguard.
  • View the full AVG Internet Security Manual online (in pdf format)
  • CAUTION: You now have a full-fledged Firewall running at all times. You will see dialog boxes from time to time when a program tries to access the Internet for the first time after firewall installation. This is the AVG firewall asking you to decide whether or not a specific program should be allowed to access the Internet now and in the future. If you are not CERTAIN of the nature of the question, copy the Application name and Google it to determine if it should access the Internet in all situations. Once you have determined an action is OK, select the "Safe the answer..." check box and click "Allow". If you are prompted to decide on an application you do NOT want to access the outside world (or one trying to get IN from the outside, click the same check box and click "Deny." This is critical, as "deny"ing access to an application that needs Internet access and is a legitimate application, may render it non-functional.

Windows Performance Tweaks

The default settings in Windows are designed for aesthetics - not performance. There are several settings that have a dramatic effect on performance:

Single-click. Turned off by default on most computers, this setting can dramatically slow down your computers response time and cause some major inconveniences when trying to select multiple files for copying, CD burning, email attachments, etc. To turn off this feature, open Windows Explorer and select Tools > Folder Options. Click the bottom Radio Button "Double-click to open an item" and click OK.

For an overall performance boost In Windows XP you can go to the Advanced > Settings page (Right-click on My Computer and select "Properties") and under Performance settings select the "Adjust for best performance" box. Your system will look more like Windows 2000 than XP and will be much more responsive. As much as a 25% performance boost is not unusual.

Getting rid of those cute screensavers that display a slideshow of your favorite pictures or art can also speed things up quite a bit. A large number of 'free' screensavers contain spyware, which causes substantial speed degradation. Use one of the default Windows screensavers if you have an LCD screen (flat-panel). If you're still using a conventional CRT monitor you don' really need the screensaver at all. Simply turn off the monitor when your'e not at the computer, saving energy and keeping your computer running at peak performance.

Defragging your hard drive is largely a waste of time unless you've recently deleted a lot of files or uninstalled several programs. THEN it's helpful to fully defrag your hard drive.

Using the Disk Cleanup feature is NOT recommended. Every time someone mentions to us they've used it, they're in the process of explaining the sequence of events that led up to their computer no longer booting. Manually delete temp files if you're intimately familiar with the inner workings of Windows. If not, leave it to a professional.


Windows Vista

We don't like it and you probably won't either!

Time-Warner Cable was at the top of our list until Windows Vista came out and kicked it out of the #1 spot.
Windows Vista looks like a Mac - but without the immunity to viruses and spyware. While Mac's OSX is fast and efficient -- and gets better and faster with each new version, Windows Vista is quite the resource hog. Many current PCs lack the hardware requirements to run the advanced features (the Mac-like look and feel functions) of Windows Vista.

It's interface is unfamiliar to existing Windows XP users and the security features are just plain irritating. If you like being nagged to death over everything you want to do, then you will definitely want Vista. If not, we advise you to stick with Windows XP.

Numerous compatibility issues with AntiVirus products, iTunes, existing software, printers, scanners, wireless adaptors and the need for massive computing and memory power make Windows Vista highly undesirable for most current PC users.

Apple has issued an advisory for iPod users regarding loss of data and permanent damage to iPods connected to Windows Vista-based computers.

 

 

   
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