ABC Tower   Weekend show, 30 January 2005

Tips & Hints

3 February, 2005

The first weekend show for 2005 and we looked at Microsoft’s AntiSpyware tool. Spyware is the biggest problem affecting Windows users and we recommend using the Microsoft tool. As usual, we had a wide range of callers including the following.

Editing DVDs

Many newer video cameras are burning directly onto DVD. This creates problems for editing as DVDs have their own quirks. John called with such a problem, where he couldn’t edit VOB files in Adobe Premier created on his DVD recorder.

This is a little outside of our usual expertise. But a little searching found the answer, albeit somewhat complex. The problem is that VOB files are a combination of the MPEG picture and audio files. To edit them in Premier, you have to convert the video file to AVI format using a process called demuxing.

There are a number of tools that do this, but it may be easier to find a package that can do it without fiddling around. One caller suggested Pinnacle Studio do this, but our searching indicated this depends upon how the DVD was made. Some reports are that Nero Vision Express 3 can edit VOB files on the fly.

Given this isn’t an area we specialise in, we’d recommend visiting sites with much more experience in this area. Some of those sites include Digital Director, DVD Software Info and LabDV.


Spyware was the subject of this week’s Weekend spot and Ian had an example.  Marsfind is a classic browser hijack. The point of a browser hijack is that it takes control of your web browser and sends you to sites that pay the hijackers.

To remove Marsfind, go to the Control Panel, open Add/Remove Programs and select Marsfind. Once it uninstalls, download and run Spybot, Adaware and (if you have Windows XP) the Microsoft AntiSpyware tool.

To avoid hijackers like Marsfind, stick to Firefox for your normal websurfing. Don’t accept programs asking to install on your system for no apparent reason and be careful about the sites you visit. You cannot avoid all the mal-ware, so run your anti spyware tools regularly.

XP Shutdown

Wayne called about his XP Pro Shutting down regularly. This is an indicator of virus or hacker activity taking advantage of weaknesses in Windows systems. It is serious and needs to be addressed immediately.

The first step is to install a firewall, this is essential to stop undesirables getting onto the system. The next step is to visit the Windows Update website and get the latest security patches. Finally an anti-virus and anti-spyware tools are essential.

Partitioned drives

Computer hard drives can be divided up into partitions, Alan has some he wants to remove. This can be done a number of ways, by zapping your entire hard drive with the Microsoft Fdisk tool or a gentler way with tools like Partition Magic that, most of the time, keep the system and data intact while changing partitions.

Changing drive partitions is a risky business. While it works out 90% of the time, data has to be backed up, passwords confirmed and all software installation disks should be available. We recommend only experienced techs should do drive partitioning.

We had many callers stacked up waiting to talk, as usual our apologies. The next Weekend spot is scheduled for March 6. Hope you can tune in then.
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