Saturday, December 24, 2011




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to Remove Malware From Your Windows PC

I am today bringing you a very useful article, (from PCWorld), that will help you to handle a problem that sooner or later will make you lose your patience when using your computer:

Is your computer running slower than usual? Are you getting lots of pop-ups? Have you seen other weird problems crop up? If so, your PC might be infected with a virus, spyware, or other malware--even if you have an antivirus program installed on it. Though other problems, such as hardware issues, can produce similar symptoms, it's best to check for malware if you aren't sure. But you don't necessarily need to call tech support or the geek across the street to scan for malware-- this article will show you how to do it yourself.

Go to:

You'll find the information easy to follow and after you tweak with it, you'll thank PCWorld for it.

happy Thanksgiving to you all.

George Freire

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Today I'll discuss another issue that is also important for a good computer management and safety:

-How to keep track of drivers for all your computer components and peripherals:

Drivers can get outdated in a hurry. If this happens you have a choice: go to the Webpage of your component or peripheral manufacturer and download the latest drive available for the product. This can be somewhat time consuming, therefore I am going to let you know about a free utility that will help you out: Double Driver 4.1

PCWorld describes the Double Driver utility as follows:

One of the main reasons why you would want to collect installed drivers is if you don’t have the Driver CD that came with the computer or they are unavailable online. This comes in quite handy if you purchase a computer and want to backup the initial set of drivers. It can be quite difficulty for example to find drivers for hardware installed in a notebook if the operating system has to be setup again. Luckily Double Driver can now lend you a hand with that and save you a lot of time.

Double Driver is a very simple and useful tool which not only allows you to view all the drivers installed on your system but also allows you to backup, restore, save and print all chosen drivers.

Double Driver analyzes your system and lists the most important driver details such as version, date, provider, etc. All drivers that are found can easily be backed up the application and easily restored at a later point in one go.

Double Driver is freeware. Feel free to use and give this program to anyone you know. Your donation or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

To download this utility go to:

See you again soon

George Freire

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Hi again,


First things first: in order to have a complete and safe back up of your hard drive, it is obvious that doing the back up in a separate folder in your hard drive is not the way to go; why? if your hard drive fails, there goes your back up too.

So, what should you do?

Get an external hard drive or another internal hard drive that you can install in your computer. The first option is by far the best because all you have to do is connect it to your computer via an USB terminal.

The second option, with due respect, can be a little difficult for those who are not very familiar with the computer internal components.

External drives are not expensive anymore. You can buy a 500 GB external drive for less then $100.00, (they used to cost #200.00/$300.00 in the past), and it is an absolute must to have.

How to do a complete back up? it is not that difficult. If you have Windows 7, it is really quite easy.

Click Start, go to control panel/ system security/backup and restore.

This will open a window, "Backup or Restore your Files". There you will be able to set up a schedule for regularly back up you files, (I am nor going into details, just read the instructions), but before you do that I strongly recommend that you create a system repair disk and a system image of your hard drive. All you have to do is click each title on the left column of the window and follow instructions.

A system image is an exact copy of a drive. By default, a system image includes the drives required for Windows to run. It also includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or computer ever stops working. When you restore your computer from a system image, it's a complete restoration—you can't choose individual items to restore, and all of your current programs, system settings, and files are replaced with the contents of the system image.

Although this type of backup includes your personal files, we recommend that you back up your files regularly using Windows Backup so that you can restore individual files and folders as needed. When you set up Windows Backup, you can let Windows choose what to back up, which will include a system image, or you can select the items that you want to back up and whether you want to include a system image.

If your computer contains several drives or partitions, you can create a system image that includes all of them by following the steps in Back up your programs, system settings, and files.

There is a very good free utility that does all this, perhaps more efficiently : Macrium Reflect Free Edition. You can download this very good program by clicking the following link:

I think I have given you plenty to work with for the week-end. Of course I am talking to those of you who do not yet have taken care of your computer back up procedures. I hope most of you have already done it if so great.

See you soon.

George Freire

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Hi again,

For those who did not read our last three posts of September, please read them before you read this post.

Today let's talk about drives fragmentation, registry disruptions and how to uninstall programs no longer used, but still using a lot of space in your hard drive.

Because hard drives capacities have greatly increased in the last couple of years and storage is now relatively inexpensive, most computers now come with 1GB hard drives. High capacity hard drives even if somewhat fragmented, do not cause great problems and do not really need to be defragmented every few days as it is the norm with smaller capacity drives, 250 GB to 500GB and the like.

HOWEVER, it is always advisable to defragment your hard drives, (less frequently for larger ones and more frequently for smaller ones). All version of Windows for the last 10 years have a defragmentation program, (control panel/system and security/administrative tools/defragment your hard drive), but this program takes forever to defragment the whole drive, so if you want to use it, schedule it for a time you are not using your computer, such as late evening.

I don't use this Windows program. There are several defragmentation programs available on the market some you have to pay for, others are totally free. My favorite, (which is free to download), does an excellent job and can be scheduled to operate whenever the computer is not being used. Since it operates continuously, the end result is that your hard drive is always in a very low status of fragmentation. To download and install this program, "Smart Defrag 2", click on the following link and follow the instructions:

Registry disruptions possibly cause the most problems in your computer. Some registry files can be corrupted, half empty, no longer in use etc.. This happens because when you install just about any program or download stuff from the Internet, registry files related to such programs or downloads are created in the Widows registry. When you uninstall a program using Window Uninstaller, some files related to that program, most of the time remain in the Windows registry. These registry files can accumulate and after a while you have a big mess, that causes considerable slowdowns in the operation of your computer.

There are two ways to get rid of such files: use an uninstaller program that leaves no file remnants in the registry and use another program that cleans the registry.

I use a wonderful free uninstaller program that when started, opens a window which includes and shows every program and other software that are installed in your computer! Is also great just to show you all the software you have in your hard drive, (new, old, stuff you haven't used in ages etc.etc.).

All you have to do is click on the icon of the program you want to uninstall, select the uninstall button, click and presto, uninstalling starts immediately. At the end of the uninstallation, this program shows you all the remnant files left over in the registry and gives you the choice to delete them. Here you have to be careful, because only the files shown in bold are safe to delete. This little jewel of a program is called "REVO UNINSTALLER". It can be downloaded free by clicking the fol.lowing link:

Registry cleaning programs are in most cases included in utility software programs designed for good computer maintenance such as "Registry Mechanic", "Ashampoo Win Optimizer", "Advanced System Care" and others, but these are my favorites.

You may download these and test them free, (Google the titles and you'll be directed to the Web sites where you can do it), however in order to take full advantage of their capabilities you must buy the full premium program. You really do not need to have them all; download the free trial versions, try them and then decide which one you like the best and buy it. Cost for these is normally less than $20.00 but really well worth it.

This is it for today. Soon I'll discuss the other subjects of interest such as drivers updates, back up your computer, keep your computer booting as short as possible AND OTHER SUBJECTS THAT YOU MAY WANT TO DISCUSS. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS POST YOUR QUESTIONS.

See you soon,

George Freire

Friday, September 30, 2011


Hi again,

Before reading this post, please review the two previous posts of September 26 and 27.

Let's start with the most important subject of security: protection against viruses, spam, phishing and other disrupting attacks all computers are subject to.

Most of you I am sure, have some kind of protection through an antivirus, anti spyware and other similar programs. The problem is that many of you, (I know because I come across it all the time when friends call me for help), do not keep or forget to keep these programs updated on a regular basis, or forget to pay the annual fees that many of these programs require.

Those of you who have Windows 7 are in better shape than those who have earlier versions of Windows, because this version has quite a lot of built in safety programs such as a much better firewall , spyware and popup blockers. Also, both Internet Explorer 8 and 9, come with good malware and phishing built in protection. Regardless of all this, you still will require a good anti virus program.

If you just bought a new computer or you are planning to buy one, most likely it comes with some form of anti virus program, such as Norton or other similar programs already installed. HOWEVER, such programs are try-outs that will expire normally within 90 days at which time you must sign up and pay the annual fee, otherwise the program will stop working.

Here is my advice:

I myself use in my 3 computers my favorite security program NORTON 360. The license fee is about $69.00/year but you can use the program in as many as 3 computers, so you can install this program in two other computers owned my family members, friends etc. and share the cost with them...

NORTON 360 is a very complete program because it includes many exceptional features other than just virus protection such as security protection for web browsing and email, identity protection, computer back up protection, PC tune up including disk optimization, files clean up, registry clean up, diagnostic report, start up manager improvement and many more other useful features.

There are a few other programs that are excellent and free to use. My favorites are :

-Microsoft Security Essentials anti virus utility.

-Avira AntiVir Personal Free Antivirus.

Avira free version is one of the best available and will take care of most daily problems confronting computers that browse the Internet, however they also have the premium version, ($29.00 fee/year), which is very much on top of the class.

You can find all the details for the above mentioned programs by checking the following links:

Enough for today. I think I have given you plenty of info for you to browse the above, download the programs and start giving your computer the best protection available today.

This week-end we'll explore other subjects such as drives fragmentation, registry optimization and how to back up your hard drive in such a way, that you will be able to recover all your installed software, (including the operating system), and all your files, should your hard drive fail or die from old age.

See you soon.

George Freire

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


As promised, here we are again on the subject of my last post.

First let's outline most of the disrupting situations that can get the good operation of ANY computer totally out of control, not necessarily by order of importance:

-Virus, phishing, spam and pop-up attacks.
-Fragmentation of drives.
-Registry disruptions.
-Software installation gone wrong.
-Program deleting errors.
-Remnant files, temporary files, trash files left on the hard drive.
-Poor cooling of main components especially the CPU, hard drive, RAM memory package
and GPU unit.
-Poor back up of your computer hard drive where all your important files are located.
-Accumulation of internet downloaded and browsing history files.
-Not updating Windows and other software programs on a regular basis.
-Not making sure that all your program drivers are the latest available.

The above are for sure the main causes of most computer problems, computer slowdowns and worse of all, computer failure and loss of all your valuable files.

All of you will be able to prevent most of the above situations from happening. You must prepare yourselves with a proper maintenance routine and of course install good reliable, (not necessarily expensive and some free), utility programs.

This is where I can help you by describing what I do to protect my computers which, ( knock on wood), have been operating trouble free for many years, save some exceptions now and then which can be easily resolved.

For now, just read the above list of possible problems and think hard: how many have I come across and what have I done to fix them?

It is late in the afternoon, time for dinner. We will continue tomorrow.

George Freire

Monday, September 26, 2011


Hi you all,

As you may have noticed I have been very slow in publishing new posts lately. I apologize to all of you but especially to those who are frequent visitors.

No escuses except perhaps, this is still summer, you get somewhat lazy and sometimes not being able to think or find good stuff that will keep you interested and ready to come back at a later time.

This week I just finished building the best computer I ever built... just think: I put together a machine that among other things has a six core 3.7 MHz AMD Phenon 1100T processor, a top of the line ASUS mother board SABERTOOTH 990 FX, AME+, 16 GB high speed RAM memory, a Sapphire Radeon 6770 GDDR5 graphics card, 750 watt power supply and 2 hard drives each 1000 GB SATA 6 units and of course a computer case with a superior cooling system that will last forever.

This is quite a machine and the best part is that the mother board will be capable to handle any future super processors that AMD still has on the drawing board. This means that I will be able to keep this computer up to date just by upgrading when new and better stuff comes up.

I know you are already asking, "how much did you spend in this machine, George, is it worth it?" It cost me a shade below $900.00, but please note that I am using my old monitor, keyboard and mouse. I have seen computers that are not even close in quality and capability advertised in computer magazines for well over $2,000.00.

I intend to keep this computer for a long long time, therefore I intend to keep very good care of it, the same way I always have taken care of my other past computers.

This really is the main subject of this post: " HOW TO KEEP YOUR COMPUTER IN TOP SHAPE "

You can check the archives of this blog and  you will find an endless number of posts that address this subject; that can be time consuming, however well worth it.

I'll try to explain the best I can, how I do it myself and save you some time. It is not hard but it requires some patience a a little dedication at first, however once you start the process it will become easier and easier and above all prevent many headaches in the future.

Of course  many of you already follow many of the procedures I'm about to tell you and that is great. However, hardly  a week goes  by that I don't get  calls from friends and other people asking for help because their computer froze, died, can't run some software etc.

This is all for today. I will get you all the details throughout the rest of the week, I promise. This way you'll have to come back to read the blog and find out about what I do about maintenance, virus protection, free and paid software and utilities I use, how to create a complete image of your hard drive, how to set up an automated back up system etc. etc.

See you soon,

George Freire

Monday, September 5, 2011

Microsoft Windows 8: Here's What We Know So Far

Here is a very interesting article from PCWorld concerning the latest info about Windows 8.

Sooner or later, after it is available come 2012, most of us will switch, if the hype about this new version is really for real.

This is good reading and you will know a lot more about what is coming...

Go to:

and enjoy.

George Freire

Monday, August 22, 2011

Windows Tips and Tricks: Master the Taskbar and Start menu

You Windows 7 users, this is great stuff you can use, ( that I'll bet you were not aware, and so wasn't I !!), but as always, our friends at PCWorld come to our rescue with new stuff that most of the time is there but hard to find out.

Today I got an email from PCWorld, ( I get stuff from them almost on a daily basis), that I just must pass on to all of you:

"The taskbar and Start menu are so much more than simple program launchers. Help them help you work more efficiently in Windows 7.
By Loyd Case, PCWorld Aug 16, 2011 9:13 pm

In Windows 7, the Start menu and the taskbar have become both easier to use and more sophisticated. However, they also offer a slew of additional capabilities and customization options that are not obvious when you first look at them. I’ll first walk through the plethora of options for each, and then dive into how to use them more effectively."

I spent some time reading what Mr. Loyd Case had to say, I used some of the suggestions and I am definitely a happier user of windows 7.

All I have to say is: read the stuff and dive into it. All you have to do is click on the following link and you'll see what I mean:


George Freire

Friday, August 19, 2011

Protect Infections by Viruses, Spyware and Unwanted Sneaky Software in Your Computer

We all know what "malware" can do to your computer. It can raise havoc, frustrations, sluggish operation, crashes etc., etc.

If you are like me, you of course have some good protection in the form of anti virus, anti fishing, anti everything... software installed. Sometimes though, a sneaky invader finds its way, because you possibly downloaded some suspicious program, opened an attachment to your e-mail or what have you.

Today I am going to introduce to you a simple tool created by Microsoft that scans your computer for viruses, spyware and unwanted software and removes any of the above when it is found. This tool has three levels of scanning: Quick, Full and Customized, each taking more or less time to run.

This tool, "Microsoft Safety Scanner" expires after 10 days after downloading. In order to re-run another scan after the 10 days, to include the latest anti malware definitions, you will have to download the utility again and start a new scan.

How to download? click on the following link and that is all you have to do. I suggest that you save the setup file in your documents folder or bookmark the page:

George Freire

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

SPECKIE Browser Spell Checker It Is Great !!!

Again, my friends, this comes from my favorite computer magazine, PCWorld with comments from my favorite tech writer Mr. Rick Broider:

Among the many reasons I'm partial to Firefox is that Mozilla's browser has long offered a built-in spell checker. (Not that I need it, of course--we payd riters learnt gud speling in skool.) Internet Explorer, even in its latest release, doesn't do bad spellers any favors. Thankfully, there's Speckie, a free Internet Explorer add-on that provides real-time spell checking.

After installing Speckie--which, incidentally, is compatible with all versions of Windows and all versions of Internet Explorer (including 9)--it immediately starts working, underlining any misspelled word with a squiggly red line. To see suggested correct spellings, just right-click the word.

If English isn't your primary language, you'll be glad to know that Speckie comes with a whopping 24 dictionaries, with languages ranging from Croation to Vietnamese.

Bottom line: if you're an Internet Explorer user who needs a spell-checker for e-mail, Web forms, and other browser-based activities, Speckie gets the job done quickly and efficiently.

--Rick Broida

For those of you who use IE this utility is a must. You can download and install this useful utility by clicking the following link:

It installs very quickly and starts working on the spot.

For my visitors from overseas countries, take notice that you can add plug-ins for just about any language in this world !!

Once installed, click "tools" on your browser menu bar and look for "Speckie Settings". This opens another browser window where you can set up your own preferences and add any number of language plug-ins.

George Freire

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sorry for Being Away...

Dear visitors to the blog,

It is Summer you know? I've been lazy and sometimes away for a few days, therefore writing for the Blog has been not a great... priority.

Today I have a couple of posts that might be interesting for you all.

Hope you all have had a good Summer so far.

George Freire

Just For Fun: Nyan Cat Progress Bar

From our friends at PCWORLD :

The Internet loves cats, so it was no surprise to see the ever-so-trippy Nyan Cat become an instant Web hit. Now, riding on the rainbow of its meme success, you can get a custom Nyan-inspired progress bar for your Windows 7 PC.

The little app created by Ben Stone is appropriately known as the Nyan Cat Progress Bar. The program makes light of waiting times and sees the lovable Pop-Tart cat dance along your desktop each and every time you transfer a file. The cool download is a modification of one of Ben's earlier programs, called Instant Elevator Music.

The Instant Elevator Music program automatically plays a music file when a user is transferring a file or loading something. So as you may have guessed, this new mod sees the now Web-famous cat dance along the progress bar with the Nyan Cat music playing as the process carries out.

--Chris Brandrick

To download click the link below and enjoy!,200574/description.html#tk.nl_ddx_h_dlfeat

George Freire

IE Wins Malware-Blocking Tests | PCWorld#tk.nl_bnx_h_crawl

Quite interesting isn't it?

Internet Explorer is getting more serious about security.

Click on the link below to read the story:

IE Wins Malware-Blocking Tests PCWorld#tk.nl_bnx_h_crawl

George Freire

Monday, June 20, 2011

This week our visitor # 4,000 will check in!

Thanks for all our visitors and followers.

Visitor # 4,000 will for sure happen this week.

If you are the one, (just check visitor # indicator at the bottom of our blog's page), please let me know.

Do we have a surprise for you ???

George Freire

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New "Windows" version in your future

Microsoft showed its first public demo of Windows 8 . It is not at all like the Windows operating systems you've come to know over the past 25 years. The next version of Microsoft's operating system ("Windows 8" is just a codename) is a radical departure, designed around touch screens.

From what I have seen, this future version, (they say it will be available some time in 20012), is absolutely "OUT OF THIS WORLD".

Pictures talk better than words, therefore please check the following link:


George Freire

Monday, May 23, 2011

Free Download SoftMaker Office 2008

Dear readers of this blog,

I have Softmaker Office 2008 and 2010 installed in my computer. I paid for both, (originally for the version 2008 and then for the upgrade to the version 2010).

Frankly there is not a lot of a difference between the two, and getting the 2008 version free, well, its a heck of a good deal.

This software is completely compatible with the latest Windows Office software and it is as good. I use it all the time, (and I also have Windows Office).

The SoftMaker Office 2008 is a complete and full-featured office that comes with a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a presentation-graphics program, all of them compatible with the Windows Office Versions.

If you want to install this gem of software in your computer, (ant it is absolutely free !), click on the following link and download it, its that simple:

The website page shows all the goodies available with this program. I am sure you'll love it.

The three programs in the package are: TextMaker, (Windows Word compatible), PlanMaker, (Windows Excel compatible) and SoftMaker Presentations, (Windows Power Point compatible).

Once installed you can always upgrade to the 2010 version, which is a little better, (but not much), for less then $50.00 !

Let me know how you like this software. I use it all the time because as far as I am concerned it has some features that I like better then the Windows equivalent programs.

George Freire

Sunday, May 1, 2011


After several months of testing the new IE9 by Microsoft Corporation is here in its final form.

The new Web browser features a lot of interesting new tools such as taskbar shortcuts and dynamic jumplists, extensive HTML 5 support, hardware acceleration for improved graphics performance, and has a streamlined interface that puts more focus on the Web page and less on the browser window. Before you get started, here are a few quick tips to get you up and running with the best features IE9 has to offer.

If you want to check it out and eventually download and install this much improved version of the browser, go to the following address at PCWorld and enjoy!:

Just click the above link, that's all

George Freire

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sorry for the absence, new posts will come back

Sorry for those of you who visit this blog on an on going basis. I have not posted stuff since early April, but I have some good excuses...

A new grandbaby was born to my youngest daughter, we also went to Florida to visit with my daughter #2 and finally we were on a cruise with Celebrity Cruise Line in the Eastern Caribbean.

So, now we are back home and rested; I am ready to publish some new posts that I hope will be of interest to most of you.

Thanks for your patience.

George Freire

10 Must-Have Free Downloads

From PCWorld comes the following information and suggestions, that I find to be very helpful:

"Some software is so good that you just have to download it. Unfortunately, often you have to pay for it after you try it out. But every once in a while, a must-have program is totally free. Such indispensable, no-cost tools are the hardest programs to find--but we've found the best ones for you."

In order to take advantage and download the free programs you might be interested to go to the following address and click it:,1670-order,4/files.html#tk.nl_wvx_h_cbintro

George Freire

Problems with "Windows Live Mail 2011"

As you all know, (those of you who switched to Windows 7 either by upgrading or buying a new computer), the old "Outlook Express" email program, used by so many, was not included in the Windows 7 version.

At the time in 2010 Windows 7 made its appearance, Microsoft suggested that a new programs similar to Outlook Express, as well as Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker, could be downloaded and installed from a new site "Windows Live Essentials".

I as well as many of you followed the advice and did just that.

The mail program that was available at the time was "Windows Live Mail 2010" which was indeed very good, friendly and very similar, (but better), to the old Outlook Express mail program.

I was happy and had no problems with this program. THEN Microsoft, after a few months started advertising and pushing for us to replace Windows Live Mail 2010 with the new version, (much much better, they said), Windows Live Mail 2011.

Naturally, I followed the advice, and replaced the 2010 version with the 2011 version. BIG MISTAKE ! It is complicated to operate, has very little help available, is kinda hard when handling new mail contacts, setting up new categories, etc. etc.

I have been so frustrated that I tried to find a way to go back to the friendly and easy to operate version 2010. That was not an easy task, but finally, a few days ago I found the answer in a blog, and here is what you have to do if you want to go back to Windows Live Mail 2010:

1- You first must remove the "Windows Live Essentials" which contains the new versions:

Click on "Start", click on Control Panel, go to "Uninstall a Program" and click on it.

Go to almost the bottom of the list of programs shown, and click on "WINDOWS LIVE ESSENTIALS", then click on the "Uninstall Button".

An Uninstall wizard will walk you though the steps. UNINSTALL ALL components under

After un-installation restart your computer.

Now we need to install the older 2010 version. Here is how you do it:

1- Go to IE and type the following address:

2- Click on the blue download button on this site. Note that the program name you are downloading is wlsetup-web.exe.

3- Save the program on your desktop or downloads folder.

4- Return to your desktop or downloads folder and click on the file wlsetup-web.exe, that you just have saved.

5- A screen opens and you will have several programs available to install. Select those you want, but be sure that you check MAIL and click install.

That's it, the older version of Windows Live Mail 2010 is now again in your computer. You may now want to pin the program to your task bar. Go to Start/All Programs and scroll down to Windows Live Folder. Right click on Windows Live Mail and pin to task bar.

Please notice that nothing will change as far as your address book and other settings are concerned.

I now have the 2010 version and I am very happy again with my email program.

For those of you who use gmail, hotmail and other programs, you can also integrate those to Windows Live mail 20120 if you want.

I hope I have rescued some of you from the bad, bad boy WLM2011!

George Freire

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fake Antivirus Software Uses Ransom Treats...

Fake antivirus software designed to steal your personal information is running wild again. Three friends of mine have been victimized recently. Unfortunately one of them fell for it and bought the software using a credit card. Guess what ? nothing was downloaded, they got his money, credit card # and information that would allow them to use it ad infinitum... He called me shortly thereafter and the first thing I told him was "get on that phone right away and call you credit card company and report what happened. They will immediately cancel the CC # and issue you another one. Later he brought the computer to my office and I was able to restore the computer back to safety... Because this is happening quite frequently, I am posting again my post of September 2010 as follows: "Remember my post of August 30 that started: "Yesterday my computer was working great but when I started it this morning, a message popped up, saying that the computer had been attacked by a virus." Guess what, today I received an e-mail from PCWorld with an article that analyses precisely this serious problem which I am sharing with you all: "Fake Antivirus Software Uses Ransom Threats John E Dunn, Sep 4, 2010 12:00 pm Fake antivirus programs appear to be adopting some of the money-raising tactics of more threatening ransom malware, security company Fortinet's latest threat report has found. The most prevalent malware variant during August was TotalSecurity W32/FakeAlert.LU!tr, a malicious program that masquerades as antivirus software in order to sell worthless licenses for non-existent malware. On its own it accounted for 37.3 percent of all malware threats detected by the company during the month. Unlike standard fake antivirus programs, however, the new version of TotalSecurity takes the ruse a stage further by preventing any applications other than a web browser to run, claiming they are "infected." The user is invited to have the infection cleaned by buying the bogus TotalSecurity product. Adding an extra layer of sophistication to its arsenal -- and no doubt aware how quickly bogus antivirus software is blocked by genuine security products -- TotalSecurity can now vary the downloads it feeds to target PC using server-side polymorphism. Put another way, the exact version downloaded to a victim's PC will constantly change which makes detection harder. "This is a technique typically seen with botnets, such as Waledac, and has been picked up by the developers of TotalSecurity. This is another example of how relying purely on antivirus is not a silver-bullet approach to protecting systems from infection," said Fortinet's threat research head, Derek Manky. According to Fortinet, such attacks demonstrate the vulnerability of PC-based antivirus software. A layered defence would have a better chance of detecting TotalSecurity by either intercepting the initial spam used to spread it or by blocking the download website. Once rare enough to be a curiosity, malware using threats and direct interference with a PC's operation have slowly become more common. A previous report from Fortinet in March noted a sudden surge in the technique, about a year after the first aggressive use of ransomware in the form of the notorious Vundo Trojan. That particular piece of malware used crude encryption of a victim's files. In July came news of the odd Krotten Trojan that disables a victim's PC in a variety of ways before asking for a tiny payment to be made to a Ukrainian mobile phone network. Two months before that researchers in Japan discovered the Kenzero porn blackmail Trojan that threatens to post a victim's embarrassing browsing history to a public website. Be careful, but sometimes you may inadvertently open a web page that will cause such a problem in your computer.One way to solve the problem was explained to you in my post of August 30 referred to above. George Freire "

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Remember the past posts concerning "Have You Thought About Building Your Own Computer" ?

Dear viewers,

If you remember, late last year, in November and December, I had a couple of posts concerning the title above.

For those who have not read the posts, you can go to the archive on the left of this screen and read them.

I am referring to this again today because I have had people email me concerning the subject.


Here is what you have to do:

1- Post a comment or email me.

2- Let me know how much you are willing to spend.

3- According with your budget, I will post a list of all the best components, how you can order them from computer parts suppliers, such as Tiger Direct , New Egg etc.

I will also post all the building steps in great but simple details, so that you can complete your project successfully and be proud of your work. If you have questions just call me (803) 945-4444 or email me your telephone # and I'll call you. (I have complete long distance telephone service even to overseas, therefore don't worry about my cost for calling you).

Do not be afraid, it is not that difficult and there will be a lot of satisfaction when you are finished.

Let me hear from you, we'll have a lot of fun.

George Freire

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Common Frustrating Problems That Happen Now And Then With Your Computer (CD or DVD Drives Screw-Ups)

Today I am going to discuss a very common problem that happens quite often and that can be very, very frustrating.

People call me many times about this problem:

"My CD or DVD drive is missing, or not recognized by Windows; I can't read CD's or DVD's, I am not able to install a new program or play music, etc. etc.

Believe me folks, it happens all the time and I'm quite sure it has happened to many of you.

Last week a good friend of mine called; he had that same problem, two CD/DVD drives in his computer that were not showing at all on Widows Explorer and would not operate at all except that they would open and close at the touch of the proper button switch.

I told him to bring the computer to my office and I would take care of it. Trying to resolve the problem over the phone would not work because I was afraid that in the process he might screw up the computer even more.

He brought the computer and in 10 minutes I fixed the problem.

HERE IS THE THE WAY TO HANDLE THIS PROBLEM,(It will work most of the time):

There are two possible causes for this problem. One could be a driver that went corrupt or out of date; the other, (in most cases the main culprit), a registry screw up.

First step, (to check the drivers), go to control panel/system/device manager. On the device manager go down the list of items, click on "DVD/CD-Rom drives"; that will expand and show the actual CD or DVD devices. If you see a yellow flag next to them, it means the device is not working properly. Double click on it and then open the "Driver tab" then the "update driver button" and follow directions. THIS MIGHT WORK OUT BUT NOT NECESSARILY. You might also click the "disable" button and reboot the computer.

If this works, fine and dandy, but let me tell you, most of the times it does not..., however it is worth trying.

Now we go to the other step, that works 90% or more most of the time: Correct the registry entry for the CD or DVD drive.

A word of warning, be very, very careful how you do this; if you have never handled registry edits or corrections, I advise that you back up the registry before you proceed, just in case you screw up. (This way you can always restore the registry back to its initial status).

1- Click start, run and then type regedit. This opens the registry editor screen.

2- On the left column of the screen you'll see a column of folders that start with
"HKEY _CLASS_ROOT". Go down the list until you find the folder "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE"

3- Click on the little triangle on the left of this folder and that extends the folder down showing several other sub-folders. Go down until you find the sub-folder "SYSTEM".

4- Click on the little triangle on the left of the "SYSTEM" folder and that again extends this folder down showing several other sub-folders. Go down the list and select "CurrentControlSet". Again click the little triangle on the left. That extends this folder down. Go down the list and select "Control". Click the little triangle again. That extends the "Control" folder down and you'll see a very long list of sub-folders.

5- Go down the list until you find the sub-folder "Class", (normally # 5 or 6 down). Click the little triangle on the left of the sub-folder "Class". This extends to a very long list of sub-folders, each one with with many #'s and characters to its right.

6- Now we have to select the right one, (be very careful because they look very much alike). THE ONE YOU MUST SELECT IS:


(This folder is the DVD/CD-ROM drive class description in the registry)

Now click on the folder itself, (not on the little triangle). This will open the right frame side of the registry Editor screen.

Look for any of the following names on the right frame side of the screen:

If any of the above keys are listed, right click on them and choose "Delete".
7- After deleting the keys, close the Registry Editor by clicking the x on the upper right corner and reboot the computer.
8- After rebooting open "My Computer" or go to Windows Explorer and miracle, miracle, you'll see that your CD or DVD drives are back and in good health again !!
The above may look a little too complicated to do, but really, if you are careful in handling each step as indicated above, it will be a breeze...
I hope I have helped some of you who may have this problem now. For those of you who may have this problem later you'll know now how to fix it.
Have fun,
George Freire

Monday, February 28, 2011

Problems With Gmail Operation

I got an email from my friend Luis Nabais in Portugal concerning slow operation with his gmail account, which I quote:

"Dear George,

I have a problem with gmail that is hard for me to understand or resolve and as far as I know, there are other people experiencing the same.

I can open the program without any difficulty and it works well when I download files, (1.5 MB or larger), but as time goes by, the process becomes slower and slower to a point of exasperation...

When writing a message, letters and characters do not show up for a while, then they all come up at once.

I've heard that the problem is caused by the gmail server. I have tried everything from cleaning web history, cookies etc. to no avail.

I have contacted gmail and they say that is a problem with maintenance etc.

The fact is the problem continues and I don't know what to do.

Can you help George? "

I answered as follows:

"Dear Luis,

First of all, what is the browser you normally use? IE, Fire Fox, Google Chrome???

If you use IE what version? if not version 8, update to it.

Also try to open the gmail account with other browsers and see if this improves the situation.

If you still continue with the same problem try the following website which most likely will be able to help:

I cannot assure of success but possibly all of the above will help.

I searched similar problems for gmail on the web and there is no doubt that they have received complaints about this.

Hope this will be of help

George "

If any of you readers experience the same annoyances with gmail, you may want to try the possible solutions above.

George Freire

Friday, February 18, 2011


In the past, I have recommended to a lot of my readers and people I help with computer problems, this very useful program: "FREE GADWIN PRINT SCREEN ".

I have been using it for ages and just about everyday. I love it and you will love it too if you regularly print stuff from your monitor screen. It is far superior then the regular "print screen feature built in Windows. It uses the same key (print screen) in your keyboard and makes it so much easier to run.

It allows you to select any area to be printed by simply moving your mouse and select what you want. For those who never read the post or downloaded the program, here goes:

Gadwin PrintScreen allows a lot of flexibility. Usually when you hit the Print Screen button it loads the current screen into your clipboard. To save the image you have to open up an image-editing application, paste it, then save the file.

Gadwin's free PrintScreen streamlines this whole process. It sits in your System Tray, and you can set a number of options. When you hit print screen (or whichever button you specify), you can choose any section of your screen you select and saves it directly to a specific folder.

Gadwin PrintScreen captures the contents of the screen with a single keystroke. The captured screen can then be sent to the printer, or saved to disk as a file in 6 different graphics file formats.

Gadwin PrintScreen can capture the entire Windows screen, the active window, or a specified area, when the hot key is pressed. The hot key defaults to the PrintScreen key, but users may also define other keys to initiate a capture. Gadwin PrintScreen allows you to e-mail the captured images to recipients of your choice.

All this is free software. However Gadwin Systems Inc. also offers a more powerful version which combines the power of a first-class screen capture application with an advanced image editing and annotation utility - wrapped into one easy-to-use tool. Gadwin PrintScreen Professional is versatile and extremely easy-to-use. For most people, however, the free version absolutely covers all their needs.

In order to download either program, go to:

Select the "Download " tab then scroll down to either "Gadwin Print Screen Professional Version 4.5" or the free "Gadwin Print Screen Version 4.3" and download whichever you want. Full description of the program is outlined.

I use this program almost everyday, it is so easy and practical.

George Freire

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The 21 Greatest PC Mysteries--Solved!

Today I got an email from my favorite tech writer, Mr.Rick Broida of PCWorld. It is so interesting that I am giving you the Web address where you can read the whole thing anf enjoy it.

"Find out why your documents won’t print, where your downloads disappear to, what a .dat file is, how those infernal toolbars invaded your browser, and much more":

Go to:

I am sure most of you will get a kick out of it!

George Freire

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Most Common Computer Problems People Ask Me About

This post was published earlier last year, but I think it should be of interest to many of you:

"Dear visitors to this blog,

I spend a lot of time, (and enjoy it!), in writing stuff for this blog and finding interesting computer related items in other publications that may be of interest to all of you.

I also spend time helping mostly friends and other people they refer me to, around the area where I live, Chapin in South Carolina.

Can you guess what are the most common problems most people have when they ask for my help?

It should not be difficult to guess: "George, my computer runs so slow", or "my computer freezes for no reason", "my hard drive stopped working and I lost all my files", "I can't connect to my printer", "it takes 15 20 minutes for the computer to boot!" etc. etc.

Most of the above problems could be avoided or at least simplified if such computers would be handled with more care. A lot of people think that computers run forever and follow the principle that "as long as it ain't broke don't try to interfere with it...".

This is bad, very bad. First of all you all should believe that ALL computers, (for sure), some day will break up due to hard drive problems, viruses and spyware infections, power surges, power supply failures, etc. etc.

HOWEVER, if you handle your computer with care, (later on I'll cover what care really means), computers can last a long time and in some cases even be upgraded to the latest,(or close to it), technology available. Take for instance my wife's computer,(which of course is taken care of by me), it is about 5 years old, runs like new, has been upgraded with more RAM memory, Windows 7, and I am now contemplating installing a new 1 TB hard drive.

Let's now talk about what computer care means:

-Fight infections from viruses, malicious spyware, trojans and other invasive malware.
-Reduce atart-up programs that load automatically every time you boot the computer.
-Free hard drive space by eliminating programs that you do not use, or were loaded without you ever noticing.
-Delete on a regular basis temporary Internet files, other temporary files, cookies etc.
-Defrag your hard drive on a regular basis.
-Check for malicious programs like spyware, spam, viruses etc.
-Install more RAM memory, at least up to 4 MB. RAM memory is so cheap today that this is a must.If you have 64 bit Windows 7 you can use as much RAM memory as you can afford, but for any other version of Windows, including 32 bit W7, no point in going over 4 MB RAM, because Windows will not recognize it.
-BACK UP your important files or better still make a mirror copy of you hard drive.
-Keep you computer clean and free of dust that accumulates on the cooling fans openings and inside the computer case.

The above are some of the most important steps most computer owners can easily take care of. If you take care of those I can assure you that your computer will run much better than it does now, and it will last much longer also.

There are many utility programs that can be used to correct all of the problems outlined above. Many are free for the taking, others have to be paid for.

I have made available on this blog, many of these utility programs, which can be downloaded and installed, by just clicking on web addresses also outlined on these pages.


All you have to do is scroll down to older posts or check the roster of posts outlined on the left column of the opening page.

Here is a list of the most popular and best utility programs you can find here, that will help you keep your computer in top shape:

-Ashampoo Win Optimiser
-Advanced System Care
-Disk Keeper
-Free Fixer
-Registry Mechanic
-Ad Aware
-Starup Delayer
-Avira Antivirus
-Clamwin Antivirus

And many more...

By the way, if you have a problem finding any of the above on the blog, all you have to do is google the name, and for sure you'll find the proper web address to download whatever you are looking for.

I will be glad to help you use all of the above or give you more recommendations, all you have to do is ask me.

George Freire "

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rufus And His Slingshot

A good friend of mine sent me an e-mail about this guy Rufus and what he can do with a slingshot. Yes a slingshot, so what?


It is absolutely unbelievable. Just check the following video:

This guy must be unique in the wold!

Don't tell me I only post stuff about computers...

Enjoy, your comments are welcomed.

George Freire

Monday, January 10, 2011


Dear viewers,

Sorry for being so quiet for the last few weeks, but our Christmas and Holiday Season this year took a lot of our available time and kept me away from the blog. Sorry for those who visit us regularly.

Did you know that we have visitors to this blog from countries, (other than the United States), such as Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Ukraine and United Kingdom ? It is true.

However, I am very surprised that very few viewers ever post comments, suggestions, problem experiences or ask questions. I wish you out there would be more open and communicate with us; this would make the blog a lot more interesting for all.

I do help a lot of friends in the area where I live and other people around, whom I did not know but, (by word of mouth...), came for help for their computer problems.

In the week before Christmas one friend came to me for help. He had a frozen computer that had been attacked by a mysterious virus. He was afraid he was going to lose all his picture and data files and other very important information. Can you believe that he had no backups of his files whatsoever? True and I'll bet that some of you are also in the same situation...

I tried all I know to restore his computer to no avail. It would not even boot on safe mode, so
here is what I was able to do for him:

1-Removed the hard drive from his computer.

2-Installed the hard drive as a second drive in one of my computers that I use for testing software and resolve problems, etc.

3-I was able then to open his hard drive, copy all his picture and data files to an external drive.

4-Reformatted the drive using Windows in my testing computer.

5-Reinstalled the drive in his computer and used his Windows disk to reinstall the Windows 7 software.

6-Since he had the disks for most of the apps originally installed in his computer, I was able to restore all these apps, (although it took most of the day to do it).

7-Copied all the picture and data files from the external drive back to his computer and PRONTO, his computer was back to normal.

My friend is ever so happy now. By the way, I convinced him to buy an external drive and from now on, backup all his files on a regular basis.

I mentioned the above because this is a problem that is sooo common...

The only way to cure such a problem in most cases is to do what I have explained above.

Today I'll bring to a great page from PCWORLD:

Their Best Free Downloads of 2010.

If you're looking for high-quality free software, here are some of 2010's best-reviewed and most-popular programs from our Downloads library. From effective antimalware tools to handy utilities to media helpers, here are the top free downloads of the year.

Go to:,1660-order,4/files.html

Hope you'll enjoy it.

Let me hear from you soon.

Happy New Year to you all.

George Freire