ABC Nightlife, 23 April 2004

Tips & Hints

Posted 26 April, 2004

With the Spam Act now law, for the Anzac Weekend Nightlife spot we looked at what this means for businesses and email users.

We have to welcome any attempt to control the deluge of rubbish into our inboxes and the Spam Act is at least an attempt. For business users, there are three basic stepsto keep onside. For email recipients there is now an established procedure for dealing with spam that has come from Australia.

We managed to talk to a number of callers, and discussed the following problems;

Floppy drive noises

After saving a file from the web to a floppy disk, Rose found her floppy kept making noises whenever she went on the web.

This is a common problem where Windows remembers where you saved your recent files and keeps looking for them in case you need it. One way to fix it is to save a few more files to the hard drive until the noise stops. The other is to open the Internet Options section of the Control Panel and click the "Clear History" button.

NTLDR problems

Beau called in with a question about the error message NTLDR appearing when his computer starts.

This error message indicates XP cannot find critical startup files. Normally it is because the computer is trying to start off a CD-ROM or floppy disk. If there are no floppies or CDs in the drives then it is a serious problem.

It is essential to check that the drive isn't failing as this is usually an indication of a dying drive. It is essential to backup any data as soon as possible. If the drive does die, recovering the data can be a very expensive exercise.

Suspicious Attachments

Anti-virus programs don't stop infected attachments being received.

While anti-virus programs do a difficult job reasonably well, they aren't without their pitfalls. One common problem is that many will scan the emails as they arrive, meaning you pay for the download and receiving infected messages slows your Internet connection.

Robert asked if there was another solution. The obvious one is to check your mail remotely before downloading, you can logon to your mail server through the web and delete any suspicious files before downloading. Some anti spam programs like Mailwasher will also show suspicious attachments before you download them.

Even the best software is not infallible, treat all suspicious attachments with caution. It's also worth noting that most email viruses will run if you trigger them through your webmail or spam catcher program. So be careful and keep your system up to date.

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