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Windows Tutorials

From Mary Landesman, your guide to Antivirus Software, tips and tutorials to help broaden your knowledge of Windows and help you better defend your PC.

Configuring Internet Explorer 10
Internet Explorer 10 is the newest web browser from Microsoft. Learn how to configure IE10 for best results.

Edit the Hosts File
By modifying the HOSTS file, malware can block access to antivirus updates or force you to a malicious website. It's a good idea to check the HOSTS file periodically. Here's how to find - and edit - the HOSTS file on Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

Reading email headers
Just because that email says it's "From" someone you know, it doesn't mean it is. Find out how to tell who the real sender is and take appropriate action.

Kill Winlogon
Malware often hooks into the Winlogon process, enabling the malware to load even in Safe Mode. Removing malware load points from Winlogon may require shutting down the Winlogon process. Here's how.

Securing email
Whether you use Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, or Pegasus, there are steps you can take to make your email more secure and help prevent malicious mail from hijacking your PC.

Help! I Can't Access My System!
Trying to remove a malware infection can become a battle of wills between you and the attacker. Antivirus software can be a powerful ally, removing most of today's malware with ease. But occasionally, a really stubborn infector may put you at the forefront of the battle. Here's how to help you win.

Securing Internet Explorer
Annoyed by pop-ups? Worried about "drive-by downloads"? Has your Internet Explorer start page been taken hostage by an unwelcome site? Relax. Internet Explorer has a built-in mechanism for controlling the Internet nasties that threaten to ruin your browsing experience.

Access the Windows Control Panel
The Windows Control Panel provides access to a host of useful management tools, including the Add/Remove Programs feature, printer controls, User Accounts management and network configuration. Here's how to access the Control Panel in Windows XP default and classic modes as well as Windows Vista.

Windows System Registry
Behind the Windows graphical interface is a database workhorse that stores all the information about the operating system and associated software. In fact, more customization can be done via the Registry than via the standard Windows console. The Registry is also a favorite hideout for viruses.

Regain Access to the Windows Registry Editor
Some malware will disable access to the Registry editor. Symptoms include: The registry appears to open but then quickly closes, or you receive the error "Registry editing has been disabled by your administrator". Here's how to regain access to the Windows System Registry.

File Associations
The Windows operating system recognizes file types and associates them with programs based on their file extension. This association can spell disaster if an extension is removed or renamed.

How to Remove GoogleUpdate.exe
Google Chrome and an untold number of other Google applications may install an update mechanism named googleupdate.exe, googleupdater.exe, or something similar. GoogleUpdate may continually attempt to access the Internet without requesting permission and without providing an option to disable it. This behavior may persist even after the parent application has been removed. While there's no single way to rid the system of googleupdate, the following tips provide the common install locations.

Executable File Extensions
A list of common executable file extensions that signify files capable of being infected with viruses. Plus a step-by-step guide to enabling file extension viewing in Windows.

Just Say No to Vista, Vote to Save Windows XP
Windows XP is slated to be pulled off the market and the only option for Windows users will be Vista. Yet Vista isn't really shaping up to offer that much more security. Is it worth it?

Understanding Files and Folders
A basic overview of Windows files and folders, including the importance of file extensions and how to ensure proper viewing is enabled.

Enable Folder Options in Windows Explorer
Malware often drops itself as a hidden file and then disables the Folder Options menu in Windows Explorer so you can't change the settings to view hidden files and folders. If you are unable to access the Tools | Folder Options in Windows Explorer, here's how to modify the registry to regain access to the Folder Options menu.

Disabling System Restore to remove viruses
Antivirus software may report that a virus was found in either the _RESTORE (Windows ME) folder or the System Volume Information folder (Windows XP) but the antivirus software may be unable to remove it.

View Hidden Files and Folders
By default, Windows does not display hidden files and folders. Virus writers often take advantage of this, by dropping hidden files to the system that the casual user can't see. Here's how to view hidden files and folders in Windows.

Reading the Email Header
Hiding inside of every email is a header, showing each step of the email's journey from point A to point Z and every pass through in between. Here's how to track an email's path - any why it's not foolproof.

Changes to Shell Open Command
Malware can load from a variety of different places on your PC. In addition to the more common modifications to Windows auto start entry points, malware may leverage the shell open command. This allows it to register itself as the handler for certain file types and thus the virus, worm or Trojan loads when any of these file types are called.

Recover Missing System Files
On occasion a valid system file can be inadvertently deleted or quarantined. Sometimes, the results can seem disastrous - a looping blue screen each time you try to boot up the PC. Other times, a stop error with a cryptic message may be the result. Here's how to replace the missing file(s) to get your system operational again.

Enable Task Manager
To make manual inspection and removal more difficult, malware often disables access to Task Manager. Fortunately, a few quick registry edits are usually all that are needed to regain control. Here's how.

Internet Explorer is Sooooo Slow
One day, you're surfing the Internet just fine. The next day, Internet Explorer has slowed to a crawl. Sometimes, many web sites display "Page cannot be displayed" or "Cannot find server" error messages. With just a bit of housekeeping, you can resolve Internet Explorer performance issues and keep them from happening in the future.

AutoStart Entry Points in Windows
Except in the case of rootkit-enabled malware, it's often possible to remove an infection (at least the active components) by removing their startup points. Following is a list of the autostart entry points in Windows, including startup folders, registry keys, and ini files.

Troubleshooting Internet Connection Problems
Troubleshooting "Page cannot be displayed" or "Cannot find server" error messages can be frustrating. There are a number of possible causes and it may take a bit of digging to get to the root of the problem. Here's how to troubleshoot some of the more common Internet connectivity problems.

Links in Outlook Not Working
There seems to be an increasing number of complaints regarding links in Outlook email not working. In other words, you click a link in an email message and nothing happens. Though the cause of the problem may vary, one reason can be tracked to a family of Trojans intent on stealing gaming credentials.

IE Security Add-ons
Learn the best security add-ons for IE

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