Fix Your PC With a USB Stick

Fix Your PC With a USB Stick

PC Help

Do your family and friends always turn to you when their computers go wrong? Below I will tell you how you can fix a PC with a few good portable programs on a USB Stick.

If you are having problems with your computer you will properly turn to a trusted suite of programs, like CCleaner or CPU-Z ,and your antivirus software. But what do you do if the problem is on a friends PC or a laptop with precious little RAM? Easy, Just run your trusted suite of programs from a USB stick. CCleaner is a well-established Desktop program that can also be run from a storage device like a USB stick. Simply plug in your USB stick in to any computer and double-click on the program’s EXE (.exe) file to run the program.
That way there is nothing to install, and now junk will be left behind. Skype, LibreOffice and Firefox all have a portable version, but it’s the PC-fixing tools I am most excited about. While running Skype from a USB can be handy, running CCleaner from a USB could bring a friends PC back to life.

Find and kill viruses

The first step in troubleshooting a computer is to check for viruses and malware. McAfee Stinger is a free portable (standalone) antivirus from the same people that make McAfee Internet Security. Stinger’s tabbed window contains as many tools as you would find on any dedicated antivirus suite. You can scan a specific file or folder like the Registry or even the USB stick it’s located on. If Stinger does find any dubious files, you can kill them or quarantine them just like the full version of McAfee.

Panda Cloud Cleaner Portable (click the second blue Download button) will also let you specify directories to scan and clean. It’s not as powerful as Stinger but it will verifie the results in the clould to help avoid false positives. Trend Micro’s Portable bug identifier HijackThis will look for any unauthorized settings or modifications, as they can be evidence of malware, and log them in a report. It can also scan for data, like metadata that is embedded in files, and not visible in Windows Explorer, this can often get missed by other malware scanners.

Just keep in mind that sometimes-portable programs can be flagged as malware by some antivirus suites. The irony is that portable programs are often more secure as you can run them with out having to connect to the Internet or installing files hackers could exploit.

Diagnose the problem

cpu-z-01-557x535After you have ruled out viruses or malware, you can use CPU-Z portable to get real-time information about any computer its run on, like temperature to the status of any drivers (click Tools, then “Check for Driver Updates’), you can save the report as a text file (simply click ‘Save Report as .TXT from the tools menu) or print it if you need to go shopping for new parts. You could even give a copy to the owners of the PC for their own reference.

When you are on the CPU-Z download page, make sure you only click on the purple “Download Now!’ button as everything else is an advert. Once downloaded, extract the Zip then double click on the 32but or 64bit EXE (depending on the system you are running it on) to run the program.
The portable version of Speccy will generate a less comprehensive but easier to follow report then CPU-Z, and the latest version will now let you see the computers MAC Address.

The new USB auto-installer version of Memtest86+ is a tiny program that can check PC’s RAM. It’s extremely easy to run but it’s a little more complicated to set up than Speccy or CPU-Z. The EXE file is actually the installer, and it will only install the program on a USB stick. You will want to make sure you have a USB stick plugged in before you double-click on the EXE file, when the installer runs you will want to ‘Select your USB Flash Drive’, then click on Create to install Memtest on the USB stick.

Remove hidden junk

CCleanerA hard drive clogged with software is one of the most common causes of PC performance problems. So you will want to completely remove stubborn programs and make sure there are no left overs and the prortable version of CCleaner will help. When you first run CCleaner it will offer to scan ‘intelligtly’ for cookies that you want to keep (this is a good thing if you want to clear out the cashes and other browser related junk but keep your logins.)

If you find you ever accidently delete any important files when clearing out junk or accidently deleted a load of family photos the Recuva is the program you need. Its especially useful for recovering files from a computer that won’t let you install software on its hard drive.

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Has Shellshock made the Internet unsafe?

Has Shellshock made the Internet unsafe?

There is a new security vulnerability that has affected more computers than the Heatbleed bug and it allows hackers to steel your information from banks, routers and security cameras.

Shellshock

Security experts have for the second time this year discovered a flaw that can place your online safety and personal information at risk.

This new vulnerability is called Shellshock, and it has affected more devices than the Heartbleed virus, the Shellshock virus is so serious the US National Cyber Security Division has rated it 10 out of 10 for “exploitability” and “potential impact”. It is such a big threat because it takes advantage of a flaw that lets hackers take control of software we all use.

The threat goes beyond websites and homes. The UK government have said that Shellshock could affect “critical national infrastructure” like Power and hospitals if companies don’t respond quickly.

The software to blame for this flaw is called Bash, which is a Unix Shell, used by Linux, Apples OS X and less popular operating systems. Like the Command Prompt windows use, Bash will let hackers take control of your PC using nothing more then text commands. The Windows OS does not use Bash, so hackers are not able to exploit this flaw, but that still does not mean Window users are safe. If the hacker exploits the Bash flaw on a web server they can still steal your personal information that is stored on it, if this were to happen to a bank, the hackers could do serious damage if they wanted to. The rewards for the hackers can be huge, and until companies fix this flaw we are all at risk from this.

Many companies, including Apple, have now patched the flaw in their software, but there are still millions of routers and security cameras and other devices that still use the Bash code.

Virgin, TalkTalk, BT and Sky routers were unaffected by this flaw as their firmware uses BusyBox which is an alternative to Bash. You can always contact your routers manufacture to see if the Shellshock bug affects it.
So are you still at risk everytime you go on line? Yes if you are still using a router that not been patched to secure it from the Bash bug. If you are using a patched router then your safety will depend on the security of the web server you are accessing, but that is something you really should not have to worry about. Like so many security threats this is unnerving because it makes you feel powerless. It’s a stark reminder you will always be in the hands of security and tech companies.

If things are going to improve things need to be updated faster, to stop the flaws and the government and security company’s need to show more support for these internet functions if we are to try and stop further flaws that could jeopardise out online security.

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Cancer E-mail Scam

Cancer E-mail Scam

Cancer E-Mail Scam

Cancer E-Mail Scam

A shocking new e-mail scam has targeted thousands of computers in the UK, This horrifying hoax email poses as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the subject line would be ‘Important blood analysis results’. The e-mail would then go on to say a recent CBC (complete blood count) test has revealed the recipient had a very low white blood cell count, which is often the early sign of cancer. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence call centre was flooded with panicked callers of this hoax. The chief executive for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Sir Andrew Dillion said: “This malicious email is not from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police”. The hoax email try’s to trick you into opening an attached zip file so you can view the test results. Doing this will install a Trojan on you PC. In reality, the NHS would never send this type of news by email. People should be particularly wary of attachments in suspicious emails, which often contain malware just waiting to infect your machine.

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