Saturday, April 26, 2008

Top ten Cyber security tips

For Teens, their teachers and families

Be a responsible cyber citizen-

  • If you use the Internet, you're a citizen of a global community—a cyber citizen. Just like being a citizen of your local community, being a cyber citizen has responsibilities. Use the Internet to share knowledge that makes people's lives better. Keep safe, use good manners and respect the laws.
Use anti-virus software

  • A computer virus is a program that can invade your computer and damage or destroy information. Anti-virus software is designed to protect you and your computer against known viruses. But with new viruses emerging daily, anti-virus programs need to be updated regularly. Check with the web site of your anti-virus software company to see some sample descriptions of viruses and to get regular updates for your software. Stop viruses in their tracks!
Do not open email from unknown sources-

  • Delete email from unknown sources. Watch out for files attached to e-mails, particularly those with an "exe" extension—even if people you know sent them to you. Some files transport and distribute viruses and other programs that can permanently destroy files and damage computers and Web sites. Do not forward e-mail if you are not completely sure that any attached files are safe.
Use hard-to-guess passwords and keep them private-

  • Do not write passwords down on small pieces of paper taped to your computer. You would be surprised how many people are sloppy about keeping their passwords private. Passwords that are easy to-guess are a bad choice. In other words, if your name is "Dan" do not make your password "Dan." Change your passwords regularly and don’t give your passwords to anyone! Tell your family that combinations of letters, numbers and symbols are harder to crack than just words.
Protect computers with firewalls-

  • Install firewalls for your family-it is not difficult. A firewall helps prevent hackers from breaking into your computer or the computers that belong to your family. Firewalls help prevent thieves from stealing and using private information including your phone number and credit card numbers, which may be stored on a family computer.
Do not share access to your computers with strangers. Learn about file sharing risks -

  • Your computer operating system may allow other computers on a network, including the Internet, to access the hard-drive of your computer in order to "share files". This ability to share files can be used to infect your computer with a virus or look at the files on your computer if you do not pay close attention. Check your operating system and other
    program help files to learn how to disable file sharing. Do not share access to your computer with strangers!
Disconnect from the Internet when not in use-

  • The Internet is a two-way road. You get information and also send information. Turning off the Internet makes sure that someone else on the Internet can’t enter your computer and cause harm. Disconnecting your computer from the Internet when you are not online lessens the chance that someone will be able to access your computer.
Back-up your computer regularly-

  • Help your family back up all household computers onto external media such as CD’s or diskettes.
Regularly download security protection update “patches”-

  • Security flaws are regularly found in operating systems and application software. Companies that make software release quick fixes called "patches" that you should install to correct the latest software flaw. It is a good idea to check for security updates on the publisher's Web site for all the software you own.
Help your family to check computer security on a regular basis.-

  • Evaluate computer security at least twice a year. To help remember, do it when you change the clocks for daylight-savings time! Check for all of the items listed previously.

How you can add a Shortcut Key to Your Internet Connection?

This basic and common way to dial the internet connection using giving path:

  • Click on Start Button > sittings then click on Network and dial-up connections option, here you can dial your internet connection.

  • Another way to dial your internet connection if you have a shortcut to your internet connection on your desktop. Simply boot your system and dial your internet connection from your desktop shortcut.
  • A new cool tip to dial internet connection with out using the mouse, simply add a shortcut key that will allow you to do this.Just right-click on your Internet connection and go to Properties option. Click in the Shortcut Key box and then press a key combination that you would like to use here like (Ctrl-Alt-I). When you have a combination you like, click OK. Next time no need to use mouse to run your internet connection simply use this shortcut from your keyboard, you can just press your shortcut key combination (Ctrl-Alt-I) to launch your Internet connection.

A Quick way to print a Document

There are many ways to prints a document, but you can print a document quickly if you put a shortcut to the printer on your desktop and drag a document icon to it, no need to open file for printing just drag a file to printer icon and get your print.

To do this, first click Start button, Settings, then Printers ( first make sure you installed your printer driver). When the Printers window opens, hold down Ctrl and drag the printer icon to your system desktop.

Now you can drag a document icon and drop it in printer icon on your desktop. Here you will get a print quickly and with out open a file.

Computer Tips and Tricks

Computer training is possible through formal education like online Computer tips, Networking Tips , Hardware Tips , Registry Tricks and other computer science programs also.

It is no great mystery that major shifts in cultural and societal processes are marked with new advances in technology. This is also true of information technology. The printing press, the camera, the telephone, the computer, the Internet and the cell phone, are all inextricably linked to major changes in human culture. The printing press is linked to the rise of social movements. The photograph and telephone are linked to the birth of the Industrial Revolution. The advent of early computers and television coincides with the first steps towards global consortiums like the League of Nations. Information media changes how we perceive the world around us. The following profiles are two examples of current media that are expected to make a difference in how information is generated and perceived. has been designed as a free introductory level, online computer related website, providing tutorials on computer hardware, software, operating systems, and basic troubleshooting, IT glossary, IT certifications and IT interview questions and answers.

If you just want to learn more about your computer's hardware, networking, Certifications and other IT related information, here's a good place to start! Read the tutorials, then try the exercises and computer Tests provided. If you have trouble with the review questions, tutorials or any other please let us know.

The computer computer tips, Interview questions, networking and Free tests may also be helpful for those preparing for Certifications exams, preparing for the interview of computer related jobs, and for students, teachers and the IT professionals. intended to help all the students, teachers, & other computer / IT professionals of the Computer Science & Computer Technology Field. We have sorted out much information to help them all.

We are continuously updating our website. If you have any questions, suggestions and feedback please let us know.

We can improve our website in a very progressive way with your help. Your feedback is always welcomed.

Computer Science and Computer Technology has become the vital part of the education throughout the world.

Computer training is possible through formal education attending one of the many colleges or university offering both IT and computer science programs.

The study skills lesson plans should be so structured that it is dynamic and capable of being altered to suit the student’s growing and changing needs. This helps to make the students more focused in their approach, as they are continually involved in the process of change. After all the students are the ultimate beneficiaries. This however does not mean that the content can be ignored. There should be adequate coverage of any topic so that a certain degree of mastery is indicated.

Whatever study skills lesson plans are drawn up, remember there is no end to it. All plans have only beginnings, for human beings are unique, and it is this uniqueness, which is conceptually infinite. Whatever plan we draw up will be inadequate, but we do require a basic framework from which to operate.

Restore Show Desktop on taskbar

It's a common issue when you are dealing with spyware or other software unistallation on Windows XP your favorite Show Desktop icon to disappear from taskbar. Here is one relatively simple way how you can restore this useful icon:
  • Create file named: Show Desktop.scf
  • Open notepad and paste this content:
  • Save the file
  • Go to C:\Documents and Settings\your_username\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
  • Paste the file there.

The Great Browser Question - Which to use?

What is a browser? Simplest possible terms it's the program that allows you to surf web pages. For most people that use Windows their browser of choice is Internet Explorer, but why? Well, simple answer to that is that it comes built in with your Windows system and it's highly integrated (perhaps too much so) into the Windows operating system. For most people IE is just fine and you don't really need another browser, but did you know that there are other browsers out there? Did you know some of them have really cool features? Well, there is this brave new world of browsers out there and it's time that you take a look and test drive other browsers, after all, just because you have Windows doesn't mean that you have to use IE. Here is the breakdown of what's out there at the moment

Mozilla - Oh, you gotta love open source, it sometimes produces the best programs out there and Mozilla is a happy result of this open source community. So, let's do a brief little history on Mozilla...many years ago in a galaxy far far away there was a browser that competed with Dark Empire (also known as Microsoft)...this brave browser was called Netscape Navigator. Well, years of struggle, and finally Netscape on deaths door does something that few expected, it gave away its source code and made it open source and asked a band of rebels to take the challenge of making a better browser than IE...lo and behold MOZILLA was born...yes Mozilla, the first distribution of it basically made this loud thudding sound...oh god was it bad, but still it kept growing, getting better, and soon became THE BEST BROWSER. Yes, it's grown so big now that it will be stepping on Tokyo soon and the cries of, "Mozilla is coming, Mozilla is coming" will be dubbed with an out of sync English accent. Seriously though, Mozilla is faster than any browser out there, it meets almost all the internet standards perfectly, and it's a very stable browser. For my money it's the best value, oh and it's free, yes I mentioned that right? Yes, well it is free. You can download Mozilla here . Many Linux users will be familiar with this browser since it comes as standard fair in most of the Linux distributions now.

Internet Explorer - Okay, so, this is the one most people use. Internet Explorer has come a long way and it's in many ways one of the things Microsoft succeeded with by paying attention to the internet standards that are currently out there. I find that Internet Explorer meets many of the HTML, CSS, XML, ASP, PHP, and pretty much any other webpage standard you want to throw at it...why is this good? Well, it means that the webpage will be displayed as the author intended it to be displayed. So, it is a very good web browser, however, I find on older systems like Win 95, 98, ME, if you screw up your IE, you screw up your whole damn operating system. This is where IE is just too integrated into the operating system and this is where you could end up in a little bit of trouble.

Opera - The innovative little browser that could. What makes this browser interesting is the features it adds beyond the basics of web browsing. One thing I like is the popup blocker included in the program. Yes those annoying popup ads are bye bye and they stay that way. It's a small, relatively fast browser, and generally I like it. It is web compliant, umm, mostly compliant, okay so I have used it and gotten some funky looking pages from time to time. The Con's of this browser - It costs, umm, $30 the last time I checked...if you don't pay you can have a freeware version that's supported with advertising. It sort of makes me cringe to pay anything for a web browser, mainly because the best browser is free, but I can't fault Opera for wanting to make money, not every program can be open source. I think Opera will have it's market in Palm devices because of it's ability to render pages small and to still make them look like web pages. Give it a download here if you want to give it a try.

Avant - This is more of an add-on to Internet Explorer, so it won't get really that big of a write up. Originally it was called IE Opera, umm, yeah good name considering there was already a browser named Opera, but anyway, so they became Avant. Pluses about this browser, it has a very effective popup blocker and some quick mouse gesture things, so it's more of an add-on to IE and it does work rather nice, but, it's still basically Internet Explorer.

Netscape Navigator - I put this browser last, because, well, basically Mozilla and Netscape are indistinguishable at the moment. Netscape is basically Mozilla only they make you register to use the browser, which isn't that bad, but still it's basically Mozilla or is Mozilla basically Netscape. The line is getting blurred a bit. The positives about Netscape, well, I used them loyally for years, so I'll always have a bit of loyalty towards them. Second, I liked that they knew when they needed help and opened their source code. One other pro is that their email client that comes attached with the browser will accept AOL mail, so if you want an email client for you AOL account this is the way to go (AOL bought out Netscape a few years ago). Basically Netscape is Mozilla that you have to register to use...but still, it is a good browser and has some interesting integrations in it, like ICQ, AIM, etc.

So that's the list, did I miss some browsers, umm, yeah, probably I did, but I'll make this list longer as new browsers come out. Which browsers do I use, I like Mozilla, it is the fastest most stable...that would be my choice, but any of the browsers listed will do a good job, you just have to pick a browser that's best for you. Mozilla is coming...oops, sorry, I couldn't resist.

Closing Error Reporting (Win XP)

Error reporting, what is it and why does Microsoft want you to have it on? Basically whenever your computer crashes Win XP makes a little report of what went wrong and then sends it to Microsoft so they can improve the Windows Operating System. Generally it sounds like a nice idea, but do you really want to be sending reports about your computer to Microsoft? I personally don't and they allow you to shut off this feature. Here's how you do it:

  • Open your control panel
  • Click on Performance and Maintenance
  • Then click on System
  • Go to the Advance Tab
  • Click on the Error Reporting button at the bottom
  • Select Disable Error Reporting
  • Click the "But notify me when a critical error occurs"
  • Click Ok Twice.

You can leave out step 7, but I like my operating system to tell me when its had a major error, mainly because I can look up the cause of the error and hopefully find a solution to it on the net or at Microsoft. There you have it, error reporting to Microsoft is off and you don't have to worry about sending a report to Bill Gates.

Work in On-screen Keyboard

This might seem like a silly tip or even a silly function, but I've already found a use for it once and I'm sure that you'll be able to use it at some point. Windows XP comes with a built in on screen keyboard. Basically a graphic of a keyboard comes up and acts like your keyboard, you can use your mouse to hunt and peck around. What uses does this have and what did I use it for? Well, it's good for people with disabilities, where it would be easier to use a mouse than trying to type or it's great to use when your keyboard goes loco on you. Yes, we've all had our keyboard go nuts. Here is how you launch it:

  • Go to start
  • Go to run and type OSK
  • Then the keyboard comes on

It's just that simple. It's best to make a desktop icon for it or a shortcut, because if your keyboard should go out on you, it would be handy to have it. All you do to create the shortcut is to:

  • Right click on the desktop
  • Click the new shortcut button
  • Type osk, click next twice, and there you have it.

Moving The Taskbar

I bet you didn't know that you could move your taskbar if you wanted. Mostly I leave mine at the bottom, like the rest of the population, but occasionally I feel like going wild and have the taskbar at the top of my computer. The Taskbar is that thin bar at the bottom where you can see all your open programs, the start menu, the clock, etc. Now, in WinXP they made it very nice to move it. This is how:

* Right Click on the Taskbar
* Click, Lock the Taskbar, until there is no check there
* Left Click on the task bar and move it to where you want will always rest up against an edge, so top, left or right.
* Then click, Lock the Taskbar, again and it won't move from that spot.

These are the same instructions for Windows 98, ME, 2k, only you don't have to unlock the taskbar, you just left click on it and move...this was easier, but also you sometimes accidentally moved the task bar when you didn't want it to move, ugh. Well, there you have it, now put your taskbar to the top and see if you like it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Adsense tips and tricks

Adsense tips and tricks
Many webmasters have made very successful websites by using Google's Adsense and for some, it is now their sole job. When you are running a large site, a small change in the way that the Adsense code is placed on your site can make a substantial difference in your income.
The best way to find out where to place your Adsense banner, what colour and what type of banner to use is to try different combinations. Though it does not harm if you start out with the methods that another webmaster find good.

Never click your own Adsense Banner
If you can see the Adsense banner, it will work. Do not test if it, as Google is quite against this.

Never explicitly encourage Adsense Banner clicking
Do not ask friends or family to click your ads. Google not only dislikes it, but it can sometimes confuse the intelligence used to select advertisements.

Ad placement
The best location for the ads are within the content, but still visible without scrolling down the page.

Adsense banners perform better when the border and background are the same colour as your page.

Blend with navigation
As an alternative placement, Adsense ads do well if they are blended in and look like your normal site navigation.

The large 336x280 rectangle banner or 160x600 wide skyscraper seems to perform best.

Drawing the eye
Placing images next to ads or above ads helps in attracting user attention.

Ad overload
It is often said that more is less, and the same goes for placing ads on websites. If a website has too many ads, the user just ignores them and they all perform poorly. If a website has a few well placed ads, they can get a better click through.
Adsense banners perform better when the border and background are the same colour as your page.

Search Box
If you are going to use the search box, place it on the top right corner of every page. This is where people expect it to be.

Focus on content
Don't forget why users are visiting your site. They are there for the content and only the content. Why spend a week improving your Adsense click through then you can spend a week improving your site content and number of clicks as a result.

Be different
If your site is similar to many other sites, users will be used to ignoring your Adsense banner.

Moderate to low priced keywords
Do not create a site that targets the highest paying keywords as they often have the worst click through rates. Find a niche topic and don't care if your ads are getting $0.03 or $0.50. It all comes down to getting more traffic and a better click through rate, not more per click.

Make sure that your site is not cluttered and there is sections of your site with clear space. This can be achieved just by having a wide margin between page items. With skill, whitespace can be used to guide the users eyes to the Adsense banners.

One topic per page
If you have only one topic per page, it will help Adsense find the best ads to show

Simple design
Keep the design of your site simple. It will give the user less design elements or eye candy to look at.

No moving / blinking page elements
All moving and blinking pages elements attract the users eye and stop the user from seeing the Adsense ad. No matter how small it is, if it moves it will attract the users eye.

Monitor your website statistics
Watch your website statistics to see what pages are attracting the users and what is not. Create more pages similar to your high traffic pages.

Try many different styles and methods of placing your ads. Never settle on just one style until you are sure it is the best.

What to do next
Create more content. Content is the biggest key to create a site that earns good money with Adsense.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Backing Up Your Data - Easy As USB

Why is it that simple steps often are overlooked? A great example is backing up all that data on your hardrive. From flash drives to external USB drives, backing up gigabytes of your most important files, digital photos, mp3 music, etc… has become easy and cost effective thanks to USB.

Why USB?

Because it's simple to connect and easy to drag and drop directories or files to the USB drive. When you're finished, just unplug the drive and keep it in a safe place. No more excuses NOT to backup your data.

You just can't beat the price. From 1GB flash memory to 250GB of storage, prices can range from $20 - $250. A small investment that will pay dividends when you discover your PC hard drive just died.

High speed connection. USB 2.0 data transfer speeds are blazing fast, as much as 450Mbps (mega bits per second). Gone are the days of the slow moving flying folders across your monitor.

Portability. From storing 1byte to hundreds of Gigabytes, you now have no more excuses that the dog ate your report.

Plug and Play. USB drives are fully compatible with Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems. Depending on the format of the drive, the possibility exists to copy data from one OS and connect to another without needing to be a Computer expert.

Simple. Ahhh yes, we as human love simple things. So why is that we never have time to backup what we consider important data. If you took inventory of the type data you keep on your PC, it will probably surprise you. Losing that data is like losing everything if your house burnt down to the ground. Sure, your USB drive will also be gone, but you probably take precautions with important paperwork by keeping them in a fireproof safe or at another location. Isn't time that you add digital data to that same thinking?

Pop-Ups Something To Be Worried About

Pop-ups are the annoying ads and other things on the Internet that open on your monitor as you're surfing the web. Their main goal is to either get you to visit a certain website or to collect your name and email address for marketing purposes.

These pop-ups are usually caused by something called Javascript, which is a simple programming language built into the web page you're visiting.

Sometimes these pop-ups can be useful. It may ask you for your login information or something else to log you into the website, or it might give you more information on something without taking you away from the page you're looking at. Music sites, for example, often use a pop-up for their players. These reasons are all legitimate uses and are quite a bit more acceptable than some of the advertising pop-ups.

The Javascript language can set the size of the window, where it's displayed on the screen and even whether or not the close button gets displayed. If the menu bars and close button are hidden, it can be next to impossible to get rid of the pop-up, unless you either enter what it's asking for or close your browser completely.

Some of these pop-ups can cause other problems as well. They may be poorly programmed, or they may be intentionally malicious and can cause many windows to be opened. And when you close one, several more open to replace it. When this happens, the only way to get rid of them is to close the browser.

A recent type of pop-up is created using software called Flash and can even be made to follow your mouse around the screen as you move it.

One of the more notorious uses of pop-ups is in adware, which often opens pop-ups related to the web pages you're looking at, even if it's not from that website. This adware is supported by advertising, which is why it uses these pop-ups to get your attention. It usually comes along with some other program, which may actually be useful, and gets installed at the same time. If you don't read the license agreement closely when you install it, you might miss the fact that this is going to happen even though they tell you (although it's usually hidden somewhere in the middle of the agreement, where most people never see it).

Another form of pop-up is called the pop-under. It opens a window behind the main window and you won't see it until you close your main browser window. These types are less annoying, but can still be a pain.

The main problem with pop-ups is the nuisance they cause, and almost every web browser has some kind of pop-up killer included these days.

You can also get specialized pop-up killer software that will catch most of the pop-ups that the browsers miss, giving you an almost 100% pop-up free internet experience.

Secure A Home Wireless Network - 10 Tips

Just as you secure your home by locking your doors and windows, you should also take precautions of securing your home wireless network. For the average home user this can be frustrating and confusing to say the least. To help make the process simple, the following 10 tips will help you with securing your home wireless network.

Remember no network will be completely secure, but following the recommendations and providing multiple layers of security, will lessen the risk from someone breaking into your network. Some of the tips include technical terms. Always consult your wireless router vendor documentation or website support as needed. Before making any changes, backup the router configuration or write down all configured settings.

All tips are for home use. If you are connecting to your Company network with your wireless router, contact your Company I.T. department for assistance.

  1. Change Your Router Default Password - A must in the first line of defense. Create a strong password with a mix of numeric, alpha and symbolic characters. Password length should be between 8 and 15 characters, or longer in length, and should not be obvious to you (such as kids or wife name, birthdays, favorite cars or sports teams, etc). If your wireless router includes a user name, it's a good idea to change it to another name other than the default name.
  2. Rename and Disable SSID Broadcast on your Wireless Router - SSID (Service Set Identifier) is the network name or identifier for the wireless router. SSID's broadcast a beacon signal (usually about 10 times each second) which announces to the world that the network is live and ready to go.
    With broadcasting off, wireless clients must first know the SSID before they can connect. If you have multiple PC's on your home network simply type the new name in your wireless client's setup to connect to your router when SSID is disabled.
    Remember to always change the SSID name to something other than the default.
  3. Enable Infrastructure Mode - When using the "ad-hoc" mode, which lets clients set up peer-to-peer networks, rogue users will be able to connect to your network through a legitimate wireless client. This setting configuration can be found on your PC wireless network card.
  4. Use MAC Addressing Filter On Your Wireless Router - Many routers let you restrict access to known MAC (Media Access Control) addresses. Each network device, such as a computer network card (NIC) has a unique MAC address. By allowing access only to pre-defined MAC addresses you can reduce the risk of rogue clients connecting to your home network.
  5. Change the Default Router IP Address Setting - Router manufacturers set every router with an IP address. For example, Linksys routers are configured with an IP address of These address settings are well known and published, and can be easily discover by hackers if they know the router manufacturer and type.
    Changing the IP address during the setup process, for example to does not secure the router, but will make any attackers guessing for the IP address. Changing this setting, will automatically change the DHCP IP addresses handed out by your router to PC's allowed on your network.
  6. Use WPA or WPA2 PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access with Pre Shared Key) Encryption - When possible use WPA or WPA2 PSK over WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). Both Windows XP and Mac OS X support them, along with any access point manufactured within the past few years. WPA and WPA2 both have a mode called the PSK mode that will allow you to use a password in lieu of using a full-blown 802.1X setup, which is perfect for the home user.
    If your hardware does not support WPA2 use WPA. Creating a strong shared key (PSK) will lessen the chance of attackers successfully breaking in to your network. If you router only supports WEP, and your concerned about security, considered upgrading to a new router along with your PC NIC cards.
  7. HTTPS, Firewall and Remote Access Settings On Your Wireless Router - Make sure HTTPS is enable for connecting to the router administration setup over your local network. Verify the firewall is enabled and all incoming ports are blocked. Disable remote access over the Internet setting.
    If for any reason you need to provide remote access via the Internet, enable it only when needed and change the default management port setting to something other than 8080.
  8. Enable And Monitor Your Wireless Access Logs - Check your logs frequently for rogue access points (AP) or clients attached to the network. If you spot unknown clients or AP's connected to your network, change your WEP or WPA code, and do a little detective work in identifying unknown connections to your network.
    Also check the status screen that shows the MAC addresses of all clients currently connected to the network and verify they are known devices.
  9. Backup Your Router Configuration Settings - Although, not considered a security setting, backing up the router configuration before making changes will allow you to easily restore the settings in the event you make a mistake. This will prevent your router from being vulnerable if you are unsure about any changes you have made.
  10. Turn off Your Wireless Router When Not In Use - Why would you want to do this? When your router is powered off, your network cannot be compromised. Consider doing this when you go on vacation or you will not be using you network for extended periods of time. Just turning off your PC may prevent the PC from being attacked, but it will not prevent someone from breaking into your network via your router if it is powered on.
Bonus Security Tip - Get in the habit of changing your router password every 30 to 60 days. Also change your PSK several times a year. Changing these two settings may just kick that un-detected guest off your network (take that neighbor!). Limit the maximum number of DHCP users allowed on your network to just the known number of PC's in your house. Limiting this setting can be an indication of someone on your network to you if one of your PC's cannot obtain an IP address from your router.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Site map

Site Map

Tips and Tricks about GMAIL

Gmail shortcuts

  • C: Compose new message.
  • Shift + C: Open new window to compose new message.
  • Slash (/): Switch focus to search box.
  • K: Switch focus to the next most recent email. Enter or "O" opens focused email.
  • J: Switch focus to the next oldest email.
  • N: Switch focus to the next message in the "conversation." Enter or "O" expands/collapses messages.
  • P: Switch focus to the previous message.
  • U: Takes you back to the inbox and checks for new mail.
  • Y: Various actions depending on current view:
    Has no effect in "Sent" and "All Mail" views.

    • Inbox: Archive email or message.
    • Starred: Unstar email or message.
    • Spam: Unmark as spam and move back to "Inbox."
    • Trash: Move back to "Inbox."
    • Any label: Remove the label.
  • X: "Check" an email. Various actions can be performed against all checked emails.
  • S: "Star" an email. Identical to the more familiar term, "flagging."
  • R: Reply to the email.
  • A: Reply to all recipients of the email.
  • F: Forward an email.
  • Shift + R: Reply to the email in a new window.
  • Shift + A: Reply to all recipients of the email in a new window.
  • Shift + F: Forward an email in a new window.
  • Shift + 1 (!): Mark an email as spam and remove it from the inbox.
  • G then I: Switch to "Inbox" view.
  • G then S: Switch to "Starred" view.
  • G then A: Switch to "All Mail" view.
  • G then C: Switch to "Contacts" view.
  • G then S: Switch to "Drafts" view.
Our Recomendation for Free Email service (It can replace Gmail. Try it your self).


Gmail now has the capability to save "Drafts" of your messages! If you are in the middle of composing a message, but want to finish it later, just click on the "Save Draft" button now located between the "Send" and "Discard" buttons. This droops the message in a new view located on the left side called "Drafts" located under the "Sent Mail" link and above the "All Mail" link. Later, you can just click on the message, complete it, and then click "Send" normally.

Cleaning Your Contacts

One of Gmail's "features" can leave you with extra entries in your Contacts list. Gmail has a (debatably) nice feature that automatically adds to your Contacts list the email addresses of those to whom you send emails. While this can be helpful at times, just remember that EVERY unique email address you send to gets auto-added.
Log into your Gmail account and click on the "Contacts" link at the top of any Gmail page. A window will open displaying any Contacts you may have. Any you have manually edited will typically have a "Name" and possibly a "Note" associated with it. By default, any Contact Gmail auto-adds and is unedited will not contain any "name" or "note" information, just the email address. Visually scan down the list and look for any that fall into this category. If you find one, determine what to do with it: Delete is, Edit it, or leave it alone. Obviously what you do with it is up to you,

What Happens To Sent Messages
When you "send" a message, two things happen to it:
  1. it gets copied into your "All Mail" view, and
  2. it is visible in the "Sent Mail" view.
Many email clients and Webmail services let you optionally delete all sent messages by default, but Gmail doesn't offer this feature. Here's why...
One of Gmail's intentions is to get you out of the "trash everything" mindset. This is one of the reasons why they offer 1GB of storage.
About Labels
You can add a Label to a message in one of two ways:
  1. If you are viewing a message listing, you can just click the checkbox next to the message, click on the "Apply label..." dropdown, and select the Label you want to apply. Gmail will display the Label just to the left of the message's Subject.
  2. If you are viewing a message, just click on the "Apply label..." dropdown, and select the label you want to apply. Gmail will display the new label to the right of the Subject line.
OK, you assigned a Label to a message, but at a later time, you want to remove it. How do you do that? Just select the Label view from the Labels box on the left, "select" the specific message by clicking the checkbox next to the message, and then click on the "Remove label 'xxxx'" button at the top of the listing. Your label has now been removed!
Reading Messages
Note a couple things: First, no external graphics are displayed. By default, Gmail disables displaying externally referenced graphics. The reason is that many spam messages contain externally referenced graphics. When they are displayed, the email sender can use this to track that you opened the message thus validating your email address for future spam. Clicking on the "Display External Images" link will display the images if you want.
There is one glaring problem: If the original email is HTML or Rich Text formatted, Gmail will strip out ALL formatting including links, fonts, and images. ie: you can only reply in plain text.
One of the first concepts that you have to get used to with Gmail is that of "Archiving". The overall power of Gmail is in its message management, searching and archival capabilities. With 1GB of storage, the average email user will have enough storage space to hold several years worth of emails. Yes, there will always be emails that you simply don't want to keep.
Archiving a message simply tells Gmail to remove the message from your Inbox screen and keep it in your "All Mail" screen. All emails will remain in your inbox until you specifically "Archive" them. Archiving simply removes the message from your inbox screen.But what happens to it? Don't worry, all messages are always accessible through the "All Mail" screen. Archiving simply cleans up your inbox. Once a message has been archived, should you ever want to, you can easily move it back to the inbox, but there really isn't a need for that.
Cleaning Your Contacts
One of Gmail's "features" can leave you with extra entries in your Contacts list. Gmail has a (debatably) nice feature that automatically adds to your Contacts list the email addresses of those to whom you send emails. While this can be helpful at times, just remember that EVERY unique email address you send to gets auto-added.
Log into your Gmail account and click on the "Contacts" link at the top of any Gmail page. A window will open displaying any Contacts you may have. Any you have manually edited will typically have a "Name" and possibly a "Note" associated with it. By default, any Contact Gmail auto-adds and is unedited will not contain any "name" or "note" information, just the email address. Visually scan down the list and look for any that fall into this category. If you find one, determine what to do with it: Delete is, Edit it, or leave it alone. Obviously what you do with it is up to you,

Import Contacts
For the best explanation of just how to Import Contacts, log into your Gmail account, click on Contacts, and click on the new "Import Contacts" link at the top of the Contacts screen.
But what can you import and how do you import? Gmail will let you import address books into Contacts from Yahoo!, Orkut, Outlook, and pretty much any other service by uploading CSV (Comma Separated Value) files to your Gmail account. You can even manually edit and create CVS files for importing using Microsoft Excel.
Just remember that currently, Gmail's Contacts fields are limited to just "Name", "Email Address", and "Notes". According to the Help screen, all other fields will be imported into the Notes field.

Mozilla Firefox Configuration Tips and Tricks

Mozilla Firefox Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + Tab or Ctrl + PageDown: Cycle through tabs.
  • Ctrl + Shift + Tab or Ctrl + PageUp: Cycle through tabs in reverse.
  • Ctrl + (1-9): Switch to tab corresponding to number.
  • Ctrl + N: New window.
  • Ctrl + T: New tab.
  • Ctrl + L or Alt + D or F6: Switch focus to location bar.
  • Ctrl + Enter: Open location in new tab.
  • Shift + Enter: Open location in new window.
  • Ctrl + K or Ctrl + E: Switch focus to search bar.
  • Ctrl + O: Open a local file.
  • Ctrl + W: Close tab, or window if there's only one tab open.
  • Ctrl + Shift + W: Close window.
  • Ctrl + S: Save page as a local file.
  • Ctrl + P: Print page.
  • Ctrl + F or F3: Open find toolbar.
  • Ctrl + G or F3: Find next...
  • Ctrl + Shift + G or Shift + F3: Find previous...
  • Ctrl + B or Ctrl + I: Open Bookmarks sidebar.
  • Ctrl + H: Open History sidebar.
  • Escape: Stop loading page.
  • Ctrl + R or F5: Reload current page.
  • Ctrl + Shift + R or Ctrl + F5: Reload current page; bypass cache.
  • Ctrl + U: View page source.
  • Ctrl + D: Bookmark current page.
  • Ctrl + NumpadPlus or Ctrl + Equals (+/=): Increase text size.
  • Ctrl + NumpadMinus or Ctrl + Minus: Decrease text size.
  • Ctrl + Numpad0 or Ctrl + 0: Set text size to default.
  • Alt + Left or Backspace: Back.
  • Alt + Right or Shift + Backspace: Forward.
  • Alt + Home: Open home page.
  • Ctrl + M: Open new message in integrated mail client.
  • Ctrl + J: Open Downloads dialog.
  • F6: Switch to next frame. You must have selected something on the page already, e.g. by use of Tab.
  • Shift + F6: Switch to previous frame.
  • Apostrophe ('): Find link as you type.
  • Slash (/): Find text as you type.

About URLs Tips

Guys! There are a few special URLs, which begin with about:, that you can type into the Location Bar of Firefox.

  • about: — The same page as "Help -> About".
  • about:about — Lists all these about: URLs (Mozilla Suite only).
  • about:blank — A blank page. Useful for setting as your homepage.
  • about:buildconfig — Reveals details about your Mozilla build options.
  • about:cache — Displays cache statistics.
  • about:cache?device=memory — Lists memory cache entries.
  • about:cache?device=disk — Lists disk cache entries.
  • about:cache-entry — Shows information about a cache entry. Used in about:cache links. Requires parameters.
  • about:config — GUI for modifying user preferences (prefs.js).
  • about:credits — The list of contributors to the Mozilla projects.
  • about:logo — Displays the Mozilla logo (Mozilla Suite only).
  • about:license — shows the Mozilla Public License and the Netscape Public License for the piece of software. ( Only in products based on Gecko 1.8 ).
  • about:mozilla — The famous Book of Mozilla.
  • about:plugins — Lists all your plugins as well as other useful information.

Advanced Tips for Tabbed Browsing
Home Page as tabs : Instead of just one web page as your homepage, you can make your home page several pages. Select your favorite web sites and open them in a set of tabbed windows. Go to Tools -> Options and select 'General'. Under 'Home Page', press the 'Use Current Pages' button. Now when you hit the Home button on the Navigation toolbar, your favorite web sites will load with just one click.
Bookmarking a set of tabs :You can bookmark a set of tabs when selecting 'Bookmark This Page' or Ctrl+D Check the 'Bookmark all tabs in a folder' checkbox to store all the tabs in the current window into a Bookmark Folder.
More shortcuts : While it's easy to select tabs with a mouse, you can also cycle through tabs using the keyboard: use Ctrl+PgUp (or Ctrl+Tab) and Ctrl+PgDn (or Shift+Ctrl+Tab). You can also select the first tab by pressing Ctrl+1, and so on up to the 9th tab with Ctrl+9. If you have a middle mouse button, click it on a tab to close the tab.
Some more Tips about Firefox
We always backup our Favorites in Firefox, so that whenever we reinstall the browser we can safely restore them without ne problem. (If u don't know how to backup favorites? Goto: Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks..., It'll open Bookmarks Manager. Then goto: File -> Export... & save them.)

Now come to the point.
The thing is that whenever we reinstall firefox we have to restore them by applying same process as we do 4 backing up them (use Import instead of Export). And one more thing we HIV to also backup our current bookmarks when we r planning to reinstall the browser.
So the trick is that we can define our custom Bookmark path in firefox , so that we don't need to import or export them.

Type about:config in address bar of browser, right-click & create a new String value, named browser.bookmarks.file and set its value to the path where u have backed up your favorites. Now firefox always update it automatically whenever u add or delete your bookmarks, so no need to continuously take backup.
Second trick is very useful. Many times u have noticed that when u minimize the firefox windows & again restore it, it takes some time to restore. This trick reduces this delay.

Same thing, type about:config in the address bar of firefox, right-click & create a new Boolean value, named config.trim_on_minimize & set its value to false. It'll prevent delays when restoring the window.

Gtalk -Tips & Tricks

  • Wumpus Game : - First noted by a GoogleRumors commentor, if you add the buddy you can play the classic text-based game. Wumpus is an easter egg game that came with Google Talk (unfortunately, he didn't’t accept my invitation, so I can’t play).
  • Change the font size - While holding the control key, move the scroll wheel on your mouse either up or down. This trick works while being focused in either the read or write area.
  • Insert line breaks - If you want to have a message that spans multiple paragraphs, just hold shift and hit enter. You can add as many new lines as you want to create.
  • Bold Text - To write something bold, you can use an asterisk before and after the word, like *this* .
  • Italic Text - To use italics, use an underscore before an after the word, like _this_ .
  • Switch windows - Hitting tab will cycle through open windows. It will select minimized conversations, to expand them just hit enter. If you just want to cycle through IM's and don't care about the buddy list, control-tab will do that and will automatically expand a minimized conversation if you settle on one.
  • Invitation Tips - You don’t need to say Yes or No when someone wants to add you as a friend; you can simply ignore it, the request will go away. (On the other hand, someone with whom you chat often will automatically turn to be your friend, unless you disable this in the options).
  • Show Hyperlinks - You can show your homepage or blog URL simply by entering the it in your away message (at the top of the main window). It will automatically turn to a link visible to others.
  • Google Talk Game - “Google Talk” also was the name of a word game which uses Google.
  • A message can be 32767 characters long.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + E - It centralizes the selected text, or the current line.
  • Ctrl + R - It justifies to the right the selected text, or the current line.
  • Ctrl + L - It justifies to the left the selected text, or the current line.
  • Ctrl + I - The same thing does that Tab.
  • Tab - It is giving the area to each of the windows opened by Google Talk.
  • Ctrl + Tab - The same thing does that Shift + Tab .
  • Shift + Tab - The same thing does that Tab but in reverse.
  • Ctrl + Shift + L -Switch between points, numbers, letters, capital letters, roman numbers and capital roman numbers
  • Ctrl + 1 (KeyPad) - It does a simple space between the lines.
  • Ctrl + 2 (KeyPad) - It does a double space between the lines.
  • Ctrl + 5 (KeyPad) - A space does 1.5 between the lines.
  • Ctrl + 1 (NumPad) - It goes at the end of the last line.
  • Ctrl + 7 (NumPad) - It goes at the begin of the last line.
  • Ctrl + F4 - It closes the current window.
  • Alt + F4 - It closes the current window.
  • Alt + Esc - It Minimize all the windows.
  • Windows + ESC - Open Google Talk (if it's minimized, or in the tray)
  • F9 - Open Gmail to send an email to the current contact.
  • F11 - It initiates a telephonic call with your friend.
  • F12 - It cancels a telephonic call.
  • Esc - It closes the current window.

Gtalk Emotions

  • :-|
  • :-O
  • :-x
  • :-P
  • :-D
  • ;-)
  • :-(
  • :-)
  • B-)
  • :'(
  • :|
  • :O
  • :x
  • :P
  • :D
  • :)
  • :(
  • :)

Conference Calls

What you need to do to have conference calls: Open up a copy of Google Talk on all computers with which you wish to conference. After one copy is opened make a new shortcut for Google Talk but at the end of it add /nomutex. If you installed it to the default folder then your shortcut should read "C:\Program Files\Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe" /nomutex. Open 2nd instances of the software on every user's computer. After this start a chain: User 1 should connect on one instance to user 2. User 2 will connect on his second instance to user 3. User 3 will connect using his second instance back to user 1. With this chain everyone is connected to everyone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tips and Tricks about Google

I have been quite fascinated by Google ever since they started out as a search engine. Over the time Google has become an indispensable tool for any serious geek. I will describe a few techniques that I use. They have been collected from various help pages, chat rooms and books. If you find any error please point it out.

Common queries
So how will you effectively use Google. Take this example. A friend of mine was asking me over yahoo messenger what is a blog. I told him to search on Google and find out. He tried this. blog
Alas the answer was there but lost in thousands of links. He alerted me that he can't find an answer. I told " Ok , Let me see What is wrong? ". I tried this
What is blog The answer was right there.
While formulating search queries you must be specific as far as possible. A query like Linux vpn howto can yield a different result than vpn howto. Google seems to be intelligent enough to understand some human thought chain. So while making queries be a bit descriptive and formulate a properly worded query. Google ignores some of the common words such as 'the' 'and' 'a' etc while performing a search.
How to formulate a good search string
Google uses AND logic for the queries by default. If you search linux vpn howto google searches for pages containing linux AND vpn AND howto. You can put OR logic in the search box like this
linux OR vpn OR howto
You can exclude some terms using "-"
linux vpn -installation
Try ( linux vpn - installation ) and see how it is different from the above query. You can group a set of terms by enclosing them in brackets. It is also possible to combine AND and OR operators.
It may be noted that Google is not case sensitive regarding search strings. Linux, LINUX and linux produces the same results. However the operators such as AND and OR are case sensitive.
Searching for a file
Suppose you want to search for pdf documents only. You can do this by attaching a filetype modifier to your query. A typical query can look like this
vpn filetype:pdf Google can recognize most common filetyes.
Searching only at a site
This is similar to file type modifier. Try this VPN Then try vpn site:edu filetype:pdf You can get some interesting result by trying this query linux
Searching in URLs and Page titles
You can search in urls using inurl modifier. Try inurl:smb.conf Similarly you can use intitle modifier.
Searching in Google cache
If you are looking for some old web site you can directly search in Google cache. Try and see the cached pages.
Looking for definitions
This can be handy if your school going kid pesters you for his home work. Try
define:watt It bring out definitions from around the web.
Looking at Google advanced search
I think it is one link that most people try to ignore. It is designed for commoners. Almost all the options I mentioned above are available through advanced search.
The preferences page is also worth a visit. It uses cookies to set preferences such as number of search results to be displayed, language preferences etc.
Finding the price of some geek gadget
Google has a companion site called Its interface is exactly similar. But it returns prices across various stores in the US. This feature can be very useful if you plan to buy some strange hardware. Let us hope that will appear soon.
Google Calculator
In the google search :
Type in an equation: (100+4567*10-200=)
What is the square root of 267? (sqrt(267))
Google labs
Google is very innovative and always tries to introduce new features. You can see some of the upcoming features at . Also Google conducts a puzzle champion ships annually.
Google Sets
Google sets is an interesting feature currently available at
Have a look at the page. You will see a number of text boxes. Enter some words which belongs to a set of items and search. Google will complete the set.
I typed in the names of following linux distributions " Mandrake" "Suse" " "debian" and hit larger set button. Google provided a huge list of linux distributions.

Remove NTDETEC1.exe

If you’re using the Operating System called Windows, chances are that you might have already come across the ntdetec1.exe virus. Or you will, sooner or later.

Its official name is W32.Ceted and it is a worm that copies itself to all shared and removable drives and spreads when the user double clicks on it to open it. If a system is infected, it creates a folder called ntdetec1 in your System Drive which is NOT visible via Explorer or Command prompt.

Related files:

1. Task Manager closes as soon as it launches.
2. RegEdit may be inaccesible
3. Folder Options may be inaccessible

When I scanned using some anti-virus software, Nod32, Symantec AV Corporate, McAfee and AVG failed to detect the files, even in Safe Mode.

To remove it, run the following commands at the command prompt:

taskkill /im cmrss.exe
taskkill /im ntdetec1.exe
taskkill /im shell32.exe

Now, make sure you are in the root drive of your system. For example, if your Windows in installed in C:, make sure your prompt shows C:\>
Now, run the command..

attrib ntdetec1 -s -h -r /s /d
(s->system,h->hidden,r->read only)

This will make the folder visible in explorer. Now you can Shift+Delete the folder from explorer.

Also, you might need to delete the following registry key (if it is present)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer\ Run\"winlogon" = "C:\ntdetec1\run.exe"

Congratulations, this will remove all known traces of the above worm.
And remember, next time you use someone’s PD, before you access it, goto your command prompt and delete the autorun.inf file if any

Keeping the Windows XP Core in the RAM

If you have 512 MB or more of RAM, you can increase system performance by having the Windows XP 'Core' kept in the RAM instead of paged on the hard disk.

Go to Start -> Run - Type regedit and press enter - On the left hand side tree, navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\

- On the list on the right side, look for an entry called 'DisablePagingExecutive'
- Double click it
- Press 1 on your keyboard
- Click OK

- Exit regedit and reboot the computer

To revert to the default setting, follow the same steps as above, but this time, press 0(zero) instead of 1 on the keyboard.

Change STARTUP and SHUTDOWN sounds in XP

Have you ever felt bugged-up with the Start-up and Shutdown jingle of your Windows XP or Vista ? If yes, here is the solution, now you use any of your favorite voice or music or dialogue as your PC’s shutdown and start up.

It’s a simple 4 step process.

Step 1.

Choose the track which you want to play at start-up and shutdown jingles,

Limitations are

* It should be in .WAV format.
* The size of file should not be large, prefer keeping them within in 1 Mb, otherwise your startup will take a bit longer.

If the file you want to make your start-up or shutdown is not in .WAV format, you can easily convert them using Jet Audio 7, or any other converter.

Step 2.

Now rename these files as “Windows XP Startup.WAV” and “Windows XP Shutdown.WAV” respectively.

Step 3.

Now Go to “C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA”, here you will find files “Windows XP Startup.WAV” and “Windows XP Shutdown.WAV”, move them to some other locations, this step is required for, in case you need to revert back these sounds, else you can ignore this step.

Step 4.

Now the files you have chosen and renamed, just copy-paste or cut paste them in “C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA”, here you go, now you can enjoy the new Start-up and shutdown.

Add Safe Mode in Boot list

Safe mode is required when you have to fix a problem such as virus infection or uninstalling drivers in your windows XP. generally we need to use F8 Key to get into safe mode and if not timed properly you will need to restart windows xp again. Here is a small trick which lets you add Safe mode by default into your Boot list. You will see it when you restart your windows xp machine.
Steps to Add Safe Mode in Boot list

* Go to control panel > System.
* Click on Advanced Tab.
* Then click on settings under the startup and recovery action.
* Click on edit under system startup to indirectly edit your boot.ini file.
* Add the following entry “multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS=”XP - Safe Mode” /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog” without quotes .

Add safe mode to your boot list

Thats it, restart your machine and you will see another label as “XP- Safe Mode” added to the list.

PS: This option is also used for adding any other windows installation on other partition.

Hide ur drives || Lock ur drives

Open Registry (go to run command, type "regedit" and press enter)

then go to this key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Policies\Explorer

now right click in right side pane and create DWORD Value (blue color)

Rename it as "NoViewOnDrive" (for locking drive)
Rename it as "NoDrives" (for Hiding drive)

double click on it and put some numbers to lock ur desired Drive and click ok.

FOR A : 1
FOR C : 4
FOR D : 8
FOR E : 16
FOR F : 32
FOR G : 64
FOR H : 128

finally restart or log-off the computer to take effect.

Keep in mind that "0" is Default Value to Disable or remove this setting..

After locking the drive when u try to open it, u will see a msgbox like this
"This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator"

Put an image/photo as folder background

You have to have a photo in ur folder for example:sample.jpg.
After that,just open notepad and write:


Save it as desktop.ini and press F5

Caught A Virus

If you've let your guard down--or even if you haven't--it can be hard to tell if your PC is infected. Here's what to do if you suspect the worst.

Heard this one before? You must run antivirus software and keep it up to date or else your PC will get infected, you'll lose all your data, and you'll incur the wrath of every e-mail buddy you unknowingly infect because of your carelessness.

You know they're right. Yet for one reason or another, you're not running antivirus software, or you are but it's not up to date. Maybe you turned off your virus scanner because it conflicted with another program. Maybe you got tired of upgrading after you bought Norton Antivirus 2001, 2002, and 2003. Or maybe your annual subscription of virus definitions recently expired, and you've put off renewing.

It happens. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But chances are, either you're infected right now, as we speak, or you will be very soon.

For a few days in late January, the Netsky.p worm was infecting about 2,500 PCs a day. Meanwhile the MySQL bot infected approximately 100 systems a minute (albeit not necessarily desktop PCs). As David Perry, global director of education for security software provider Trend Micro, puts it, "an unprotected [Windows] computer will become owned by a bot within 14 minutes."

Today's viruses, worms, and so-called bots--which turn your PC into a zombie that does the hacker's bidding (such as mass-mailing spam)--aren't going to announce their presence. Real viruses aren't like the ones in Hollywood movies that melt down whole networks in seconds and destroy alien spacecraft. They operate in the background, quietly altering data, stealing private operations, or using your PC for their own illegal ends. This makes them hard to spot if you're not well protected.

Is Your PC "Owned?"

I should start by saying that not every system oddity is due to a virus, worm, or bot. Is your system slowing down? Is your hard drive filling up rapidly? Are programs crashing without warning? These symptoms are more likely caused by Windows, or badly written legitimate programs, rather than malware. After all, people who write malware want to hide their program's presence. People who write commercial software put icons all over your desktop. Who's going to work harder to go unnoticed?

Other indicators that may, in fact, indicate that there's nothing that you need to worry about, include:

* An automated e-mail telling you that you're sending out infected mail. E-mail viruses and worms typically come from faked addresses.
* A frantic note from a friend saying they've been infected, and therefore so have you. This is likely a hoax. It's especially suspicious if the note tells you the virus can't be detected but you can get rid of it by deleting one simple file. Don't be fooled--and don't delete that file.

I'm not saying that you should ignore such warnings. Copy the subject line or a snippet from the body of the e-mail and plug it into your favorite search engine to see if other people have received the same note. A security site may have already pegged it as a hoax.

Sniffing Out an Infection

There are signs that indicate that your PC is actually infected. A lot of network activity coming from your system (when you're not actually using Internet) can be a good indicator that something is amiss. A good software firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, will ask your permission before letting anything leave your PC, and will give you enough information to help you judge if the outgoing data is legitimate. By the way, the firewall that comes with Windows, even the improved version in XP Service Pack 2, lacks this capability.

To put a network status light in your system tray, follow these steps: In Windows XP, choose Start, Control Panel, Network Connections, right-click the network connection you want to monitor, choose Properties, check "Show icon in notification area when connected," and click OK.

If you're interested in being a PC detective, you can sniff around further for malware. By hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete in Windows, you'll bring up the Task Manager, which will show you the various processes your system is running. Most, if not all, are legit, but if you see a file name that looks suspicious, type it into a search engine and find out what it is.

Want another place to look? In Windows XP, click Start, Run, type "services.msc" in the box, and press Enter. You'll see detailed descriptions of the services Windows is running. Something look weird? Check with your search engine.

Finally, you can do more detective work by selecting Start, Run, and typing "msconfig" in the box. With this tool you not only see the services running, but also the programs that your system is launching at startup. Again, check for anything weird.

If any of these tools won't run--or if your security software won't run--that in itself is a good sign your computer is infected. Some viruses intentionally disable such programs as a way to protect themselves.

What to Do Next

Once you're fairly sure your system is infected, don't panic. There are steps you can take to assess the damage, depending on your current level of protection.

* If you don't have any antivirus software on your system (shame on you), or if the software has stopped working, stay online and go for a free scan at one of several Web sites. There's McAfee FreeScan, Symantec Security Check, and Trend Micro's HouseCall. If one doesn't find anything, try two. In fact, running a free online virus scan is a good way to double-check the work of your own local antivirus program. When you're done, buy or download a real antivirus program.

* If you have antivirus software, but it isn't active, get offline, unplug wires-- whatever it takes to stop your computer from communicating via the Internet. Then, promptly perform a scan with the installed software.

* If nothing seems to be working, do more research on the Web. There are several online virus libraries where you can find out about known viruses. These sites often provide instructions for removing viruses--if manual removal is possible--or a free removal tool if it isn't. Check out GriSOFT's Virus Encyclopedia, Eset's Virus Descriptions, McAffee's Virus Glossary, Symantec's Virus Encyclopedia, or Trend Micro's Virus Encyclopedia.

A Microgram of Prevention

Assuming your system is now clean, you need to make sure it stays that way. Preventing a breach of your computer's security is far more effective than cleaning up the mess afterwards. Start with a good security program, such Trend Micro's PC-Cillin, which you can buy for $50.

Don't want to shell out any money? You can cobble together security through free downloads, such as AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, ZoneAlarm (a personal firewall), and Ad-Aware SE (an antispyware tool).

Just make sure you keep all security software up to date. The bad guys constantly try out new ways to fool security programs. Any security tool without regular, easy (if not automatic) updates isn't worth your money or your time.

Speaking of updating, the same goes for Windows. Use Windows Update (it's right there on your Start Menu) to make sure you're getting all of the high priority updates. If you run Windows XP, make sure to get the Service Pack 2 update. To find out if you already have it, right-click My Computer, and select Properties. Under the General tab, under System, it should say "Service Pack 2."

Here are a few more pointers for a virus-free life:

* Be careful with e-mail. Set your e-mail software security settings to high. Don't open messages with generic-sounding subjects that don't apply specifically to you from people you don't know. Don't open an attachment unless you're expecting it.

* If you have broadband Internet access, such as DSL or cable, get a router, even if you only have one PC. A router adds an extra layer of protection because your PC is not connecting directly with the Internet.

* Check your Internet ports. These doorways between your computer and the Internet can be open, in which case your PC is very vulnerable; closed, but still somewhat vulnerable; or stealthed (or hidden), which is safest. Visit Gibson Research's Web site and run the free ShieldsUP test to see your ports' status. If some ports show up as closed--or worse yet, open--check your router's documentation to find out how to hide them.

Partitioning Your Harddisk With Fdisk

Partitioning involves creating logical units on your hard drive that are then addressed as different drive letters. Not only does it help to organize your data (program files on one drive, games on another, documents on another) but also to speed up your PC. This is so because the drive head has to move a lesser distance for accessing data within one partition. You can also have different filesystems and OS's on the same hard drive.

Partitioning can be done using ‘fdisk’ in DOS/Windows 9x or ‘disk management’ in Windows 2000/ NT/XP. We will describe the procedure for fdisk, since disk management is GUI driven and the basics otherwise remain the same. While several other commercial packages like Partition Magic are available, these utilities (fdisk, computer management) are bundled with their respective OSs. You need a bootable floppy with fdisk.exe,, and sys. com utilities. Before starting, decide how many partitions you want to create and their sizes. You can create one primary and one extended partition using the DOS fdisk. The extended partition can then have multiple logical partitions. Boot your machine using the bootable disk, and do the following.

Run fdisk. The utility will show you a numbered menu from where you can create, view, or delete partitions. The utility first asks you whether you want to enable large disk support. Type Y (for yes) and press enter if your hard-drive capacity is more than 4 GB. Large disk support creates a FAT32 partition, which can be greater than 2 GB
Select the first option from fdisk menu to create a primary partition. Specify the partition size in megabytes or percentage size when prompted for it.
Similarly, create an extended partition. Extended partitions by themselves do not appear as drive letters. Instead, logical partitions must be created in them, which are then assigned drive letters.

Exit fdisk and reboot the computer. Fdisk automatically assigns drive letters to all the partitions. You’ll need to format each partition in order to use it. Use for the same

Your hard drive is now ready for taking an OS.