20 Aug 2004 08:46:27 -0600 (CST)
Our regular meeting is this next Saturday at the Panamerican School in
Belen at 8:30AM. This time we will have the extraordinary session to
vote to change certain bylaws to reflect the election of officers to
coincide with the fiscal year. Also, we will have our new Class for
Beginners, hosted by Rhoda Obelensky for persons new to computing. That
will happen during the first part of the meeting, as we will also have
the Hardware and Software Clinic for more advanced users. The agenda for
Saturday looks like this:
8:30 - 10 Class for Beginners or Hardware and Software Clinics
The Clinics will include:
1. Printers and ink discussion of problems Rich to
host this discussion
2. Discussion of personal digital assistants (some
people call them Palms)
3. Music and video into your computer by Bill Lawrence;
and maybe a friend
4. Problems/solutions general discussion Sam to host
10 - 10:15 General meeting
10:15 - 10:30 Extraordinary session to vote on changes
10:45 - 12 Class on greeting cards; this is a follow up for anyone who
was in the class previously; hosted by Jean Redmond
And on with the items for this issue:
Item 1: Computer continuously reboots<>
Windows XP Repeatedly Restarts at Loading Windows
If you make a major change to your Windows XP system such as replacing
your motherboard or moving your hard drive to another system, you may
find that Windows will not boot properly. Specifically, you might find
yourself in an endless loop where Windows repeatedly reboots when it
gets to the "Loading Windows" screen. This is the black and white bar
located at the bottom of the screen after the computer goes through POST.
This happens because your hard drive contains drivers and information
about your old hardware which causes conflicts that prevent Windows from
loading properly. The "Last Known Good Configuration" option will not
help since it will only load the drivers for hardware that no longer
exists. LKGC works when you have installed a new piece of hardware such
as an expansion card and then the computer won't boot properly. You can
then remove the new addition and use the LKGC option.
Safe mode will also not do any good in this situation. I also tried
booting into the recovery console and deleting the C:\Windows\Driver
Cache\i386\Driver.cab which also did not work. The fixmbr and fixboot
options will not help either. <>
The fix for this is to boot from the Windows CDROM or boot disks. Setup
will copy files to your hard drive and you will then be presented with
an option to press "R" to repair the installation using the recovery
console or install Windows. Select the option to install Windows. When
you get to the license agreement, click "agree". You will then find
yourself at a screen that has another repair option if you press "R". Do
Windows will then delete some files, copy some files and then reboot.
When the system reboots, make sure that you do not boot from the boot
disks or CDROM. Windows will then load what appears to be the GUI
portion of setup. This is where I nearly had a heart attack the first
time I did this. DO NOT WORRY - Windows is installing over your previous
installation, not replacing it despite what it looks like. You will even
have to enter the CD Key again. <>
Once you finish the repair process, you will reboot again and your
system should come up normally. If so, you will need to activate Windows
again and make sure that you reapply any service packs or security updates.
Item 2: A new Mydoom virus
MyDoom.O infects a computer when an e-mail carrying the worm is opened.
It can carry the name of a colleague or friend, and may also ask users
to download programs to fix a problem. The scariest bit: Experts believe
the capabilities of worms can only be expected to increase.
Now, based on what Computer Associates calls "extremely intensive
activity levels and exponential growth," the threat level for MyDoom.O
has been raised to 'high'.
What this means is, if you have just been sent unsolicited e-mail with
subject lines like 'hello', 'error', 'status', 'Message could not be
delivered', 'Delivery reports about your e-mail' or 'Returned mail: Data
format error', opening these may not be the brightest of ideas. You've
How to avoid MyDoom
Here is some basic care you must take to keep your computer safe.
* The virus comes as an attachment to what is seemingly a bounced
message sent from an infected computer's e-mail account. It invites a
user to open the attachment to see why the message never reached its
destination. Do not open the attachment because this will launch the
virus. Security experts generally advise computer users to avoid opening
any e-mail attachment unless it is sent by a trusted person and it was
* Make sure that your anti-virus software is current. Most
anti-virus providers update their software to be on the lookout for this
version of MyDoom.
* If you open the attachment and the anti-virus software is not
updated -- or you just don't have any anti-virus software installed --
your computer will be infected. If this happens, immediately download,
install and run one of the free tools offered by several Internet
security companies like Network Associates's McAfee.com
http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/, F-Secure Inc.
and Trend Micro http://www.trendmicro.com/download/dcs.asp.
Item 3. Do you have ants in your computer, printer or fax machine?
This tip from Lee Cary:
Use moth crystals inside your computer case and the bugs will leave.
Faced with this problem, Lee first froze them, but later found that this
Item 4 Making your own background for your desktop
The command center for anything having to do with your monitor or
desktop is the Display Properties dialog box. You can access it from the
Appearance And Themes category of the Control Panel
<cid:firstname.lastname@example.org> or by right-clicking any
unoccupied spot on the desktop and choosing Properties from the shortcut
You aren't limited to the backgrounds that come with Windows. You can
use any image file--like a digital or scanned picture of your kids--as a
background. Any image file that you move to your My Pictures folder
automatically appears in the Background list on the Desktop tab of the
Display Properties dialog box. If the file is somewhere else on your
system, you can click the Browse button and find the file in the Browse
dialog box that appears.
Select a background image or pattern from the Desktop tab of the Display
Properties dialog box. The Background box on that tab lists all the
background image options that Windows knows about. Click a name in this
list to see the image displayed in the preview box--the monitor-like
graphic just above the list.
A background image is a file in an HTML or image format (with the
extension .bmp, .jpg, .gif, or .tif). That image has a size, which may
or may not match the dimensions of your display. If the image is smaller
than the display, the Position drop-down list (to the right of the
Background list) gives you three choices:
* *Center* Puts the image in the center of the display, letting the
background color of the desktop form a frame around the image.
This is your best choice for photographs that are slightly smaller
than the display.
* *Tile* Repeats the image to fill the display with the image. This
works particularly well with patterns such as Black Thatch or
Houndstooth, which are small images designed to create intricate
patterns when tiled.
* *Stretch* Stretches the image to fill the display. Photographs end
up looking like fun house mirrors, but many abstract patterns
If the image you choose is larger than your display, Center and Tile
both give you a single copy of the image, with the edges of the image
off the screen. If this isn't satisfactory, you can use Paint to crop
the image <cid:email@example.com>, or you can redefine
the dimensions of your display <cid:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
When the preview in the Display Properties dialog box looks the way you
want, click either OK (which closes the dialog box) or Apply (which
applies your change but leaves the dialog box open).
Item 5. What about this new big deal update from Microsoft Service Pack 2?
Here is what I recommend, as does Fred Langa from the Langa List:
Go Slow With XP's SP2
Many readers are wondering what to do about XP's SP2, which is starting
to trickle out in a limited release. But over the next few weeks, just
about all XP users will be offered the download in a carefully sequenced
rollout designed to prevent the overload of Microsoft's servers.
When you're offered SP2, my advice is: Do nothing; wait a bit.
SP2 is huge--- so big it's almost a whole new version of XP. Like any
new version of any OS, it *will* contain bugs, and it *will* cause
trouble on some setups. The more complex and/or nonstandard your setup
is, the greater the likelihood of a problem.
Plus, there's no "must have right now" element to SP2: Much of SP2 is
designed to force uninformed (or just plain lazy!) PC users to use basic
security--- to stay current with updates, to use a firewall, etc. (These
are the users running the unpatched/unprotected systems that allow most
worms/viruses to spread.)
But odds are, if you're reading this newsletter, you already know about
and are using pretty good security practices, such as good firewall,
antivirus and anti-spyware tools, and you're keeping up to date with
Critical Updates. If that's the case, you won't gain a lot by rushing
Instead, wait a bit--- even as much as a month or two--- to let the
worst problems with SP2 come to light and be fixed on other user's PCs.
Again, as long as you're already using the kinds of security tools and
techniques we discuss in this newsletter every week (example:
http://www.informationweek.com/840/langa.htm ), there's no need to rush
I'm not the only one suggesting this "go slow" approach. See, for
example these other authors:
But if you absolutely must try it as soon as you can, MAKE A FULL IMAGE
BACKUP OF YOUR SYSTEM! (There, I hope that got your attention! <g>) You
can use a free trial version of BootIt for example (
http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/ ), and have a bulletproof way to roll
your system back to pre-SP2 condition if things don't work out. Note that
standard uninstall, backup or roll-back tools (like Go Back) may NOT
suffice for an update of this size and scope. If you want to be 100% sure
you can undo SP2 in its totality, you *must* use a heavy-duty imaging tool. See
But for most of us, the answer's simpler: Relax! Take a break, and let
others blaze a trail for you! Eventually, SP2 will be worth installing,
but for most of us--- almost everyone--- there's no particular need for,
or benefit from, being an early adopter.
That's it for this Tico Byte; see you at the meeting on Saturday.