ABC Tower   Weekend Show, 25 June 2006

Tips & Hints

Posted 10 August 2006

The August Weekend spot came a few days after the Australian Tax Office claimed 170 people had their details compromised by the Haxdoor Trojan. We are seeing many computers infected with this and other Trojans. Given the extreme risks these things carry, we have updated our Protection Kit website and now recommend far higher levels of security.

Security blocking Internet

One of the downsides with security programs is that they can stop the good stuff as well as bad. Eve and Doug called with such problems. In both cases, an over-strict firewall had locked them off the Internet.

Every firewall program has a way of overriding errant settings. Unfortunately many have very obscure ways of doing this. We suggest in the event of a firewall totally blocking access, check the firewalls help files or call their support line.

If that fails, then the next step is to uninstall the firewall, enable the Windows firewall for basic security and find another product. One thing this illustrates is the importance of using trial software. Almost all brands offer a free 15 or 30 day trial and we'd strongly recommend trying before buying.

Testing hard drives

A freezing computer can be many things. Often it's an errant program using up all the system resources. But equally it can be hardware problems.

Trevor called with a freezing problem that sounds like a failing hard drive. The first thing to check with a grumpy hard drive is if there are errors on the drive. The way to do that is to run checkdisk.

If you can start the computer, click Start, Run and then type chkdsk /r, you will then be asked if you want to run it on restart, type Y for yes and it will run the next time you start. If you can't start the computer, you'll have to learn the joys of the recovery console or call your friendly local computer tech. Be warned, it's not unknown for Checkdisk to take two or three hours.

Can I create a DVD using my CD burner?

Eve asked if she can burn to DVDs using her CD-R. The short answer is no. DVDs and CDs might look the same, but they are very different technologies.

If you want to burn DVDs, a DVD burner can be had for under a $100, $200 for an external USB model. If you need to burn DVDs, this is the way to go.

Upcoming shows

The next weekend show is scheduled for September 17. We will confirm this, and the topic, closer to the date. If you’d like to be kept informed of the constantly ever-changing Weekend schedule, subscribe to our newsletter.
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