Archive for November, 2008

Can’t see any toolbars in Internet Explorer

28 November 2008

Q.My computer is slightly ill as, in Internet Explorer I seem to have lost the lower toolbar and all the upper toolbars also!

A: In Internet Explorer, Try clicking F11 which is the the top right hand side of the keyboard.

Internet explorer has a “full-screen” function to hide all toolbars and maximise your view of the webpage. To get to this view, you press F11. Similarly, to exit this view, you press F11 again!


Web links in Outlook emails don’t go to IE

27 November 2008


For an unknown reason Web Addresses included in an e.mail when clicked default to Safari and not to Microsoft Internet Explorer? Can we change this new default back?


First off, if you don’t want Safari, the chances are it got installed with an itunes update. I suggest removing it from Control Panel using “Add/Remove”.

Secondly, you need to change the “Default Browser” setting in Windows.

If you have Internet Explorer 7, here is what to do:

Run Internet Explorer

Click “Tools” and then click ” Internet Options”

Click on “advanced” and you will see the following window shown on the left hand side.

Click “Reset Web Settings” at the bottom.

Then click on “Programs” tab at the top.

You will see a windows like the one shown below.

Click the option on the top “Make Default”

Then Click “Set Programs” at the bottom (and you may then see another option titled “Set Default programs”).

Click to select Microsoft Outlook, and then click Set this program as default.

Click “OK”, and then close the Default Programs dialog box.

Finally, click “OK”and hopefully it will solve the problem.

If you are still on Internet Explorer 6, here i
1. Start Internet Explorer 6.
2. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
3. Click the Programs tab, and then click the Reset Web Settings button.
4. Under Internet programs, verify that the correct e-mail program is selected.
5. Click to select the Internet Explorer should check to see whether it is the default browser check box.
6. Click Apply, and then click OK.

If you see an option to “Reset Web Settings” then click this.

If this does not solve the problem and you see an error like “Operation canceled due to restrictions in effect on this computer.Contact your system administrator” then the registry may have a corrupt key. The solution to this problem is more technical an

d may require a technician to assist.

Here are two links that can help:;en-us;310049

HP printer causing crashes to Microsoft Word 2007

25 November 2008

A client of mine recent purchased an excellent HP Photosmart C7200 all in one printer. Soon after we realised that Word 2007 was crashing every time he closed a document!

There is no current solution for this problem, but HP are reported to be working on the problem. There is a work-around, which is annoying but works. It basically involves changing the default printer to something else.

Here is what Microsoft say about the issue:

Until a permanent solution is available, you can prevent this error from occurring again by temporarily changing your default printer settings. Here’s how to do this:

1. Start and then type “printers”. Then click “printers” above to open Printers.
2. Identify the default printer (the HP printer with a check mark in its icon).
3. Right-click any other non-HP printer listed and click Set as default printer.
4. If no other printers are listed, click Add a printer and follow the steps in the Add Printer wizard to set up a non-HP printer as the default printer on your computer.
5. Close the Printers window.
6. Open the Microsoft Office 2007 program you were using when the problem occurred and check to see if the problem has gone away. If it has not, then repeat the previous steps, making sure that a non-HP printer is selected as the default printer.
7. Try printing to your HP printer.
Until a solution to this problem is available, printing to your HP printer will require that you specify the printer each time you start a print job. The method for doing this will vary by program. Here are three common ways to do this:
o Within the program, click File, click Print, and then select your HP printer.
o Within the program, click Print, click Preferences, and then select your HP printer.
o Within the program, click File, click Print, click Page Setup, click Printers, and then select your HP printer.

Data Recovery

24 November 2008

Recover my files is a nice piece of software that has saved the day twice in the last month.

It helps to recover data that has been deleted and is not in the recycle bin and it helps to recover data from formatted or corrupted disks.

The two examples I experienced in the last month are quite interesting:

1. A corrupted USB memory stick (or “disk on key”) – every time this device was plugged into a computer, a message would appear telling us that the drive was not formatted and asking if we wanted to format it now. Of course we clicked “No” until we tried this software to successfully recover most of the data.

2. If you open a document attachment in Hotmail or Gmail and edit it, simply clicking “save” to your edited version is not good enough! You really need to do a “save as” and then save it to “My documents” on the computer. Otherwise, it will save to some temporary location which will then become deleted when you exit the web browser! The way to recover was to use Recover my files and pointing it to the hidden folder that stores temporary internet files.

In both cases, this software was a savior. PHEW!

MSN messenger drives people nuts

24 November 2008

I see it so often.

People start the computer and MSN messenger or Windows Live Messenger pops up.

Most people find it irritating and close it immediately.

In many cases, it is not even their own messenger account, but a child or guest that logged in once.

It is easy to stop MSN from starting with windows.

It is also easy to allow it to start, but not to appear on the main screen, but to start “minimised”

It is also easy to allow it to start, but to turn off the “Windows Live Today” web page which generally pops up with messenger as an additional irritation bonus.

All you need to do is maximise the messenger window. Then click “Tools”, “options” and then “general”.

The windows that will appear is show below.

Just untick all the boxes and click “OK” and you will not be bothered by MSN again!

Unticking the second option only will allow MSN to start minimised.

Untick the fourth option to stop “Windows Live Today” from appearing.

Remember that the less programs the computer has to load the faster it will start. So if you hardly use Messenger, just turn it off!

Hope you find this useful! Website live

22 November 2008

I have now launched the website.

Please visit for some useful tricks and links.

The site will grow with time as will this blog.

Thanks for checking it out!

Vista password reset disk

22 November 2008

If you use Microsoft Windows Vista, please please please do yourself a big favour a create a password reset disk.

This is done by clicking “Start”and then click on “Control Panel”. On the top right hand corner type “reset” and the “Create password reset disk” should appear. Just click on this option.

You can create a password reset disk on a usb key and then save it somewhere safe – perhaps even email it to yourself if you have a hotmail or gmail account.

I have come across cases where the password became corrupted or someone created a password and then forgot. This is the easiest way to reset a vista password.

For windows XP, a forgotten password is easier to deal with – there are plenty of tools around for that…but not for Vista!

Gmail swallows as I type

22 November 2008

Typing emails in Gmail – letters were missing

I noticed a googlemail user having difficulty typing his emails.

As he was typing, letters seemed to be missing or swallowed up.

Typing was working fine in Word and other Internet applications.

The quick solution to this is to click on “Select older version” on the top right.

Going back to the older version of goolge seems to solve the problem.

unfortunately, I did not get a chance to investigate the problem in more depth to find another solution..but I hope this solution will help some people experiencing the same problem!

Stolen Laptop – what are the risks?

18 November 2008

A client arrived home to find two missing laptops after a house break-in.

So what are the possible risks from such a theft?

Well, the obvious ones I can think of are:

(a) your data is at risk – the thief can potentially read through all your documents and photos.

(b) your email is at risk – the thief can read all your email if you have it stored on the computer or if the passwords are saved in the web browser for online email.

(c) your contacts can be exploited in some fashion.

I would have thought that would be all. But I had discovered a new avenue of risk in this case.

I imagine the thief sold the laptops to someone who specialises in trying to benefit from the data.

In this case, a month after the theft, my clients outgoing mail was turned off by the ISP (1&1 who I rate highly). People had been complaining that my client was sending spam!

Knowing the client to be a top person, I knew this was s most ridiculous assertion!

It seems that the new laptop owner was sending out fraudulent emails from an email account that was still active. See below for a copy of the scam email that was sent.

Fortunately for my client’s prudence, we had adequate off-site backup in place. Thanks to Carbonite online backup (for automated off-site backup) and Genie backup Manager (for automated outlook backup), we managed to retrieve most of the data. Phew!

Lessons to learn:

We are all vulnerable if a computer is stolen, but there are some basic precautions that will make life difficult if a thief really wants to attempt a form of exploitation:

1. It is worth setting a BIOS password at that computer start – please get someone experienced to set this up for you.

2. It is worth setting a windows password also TO ALL USER ACCOUNTS. This is done in control panel, user accounts. Note: If you run Vista, please create a password reset disk also!

3. ALWAYS ALWAYS SETUP some form of off-site ONLINE BACKUP e.g. Carbonite or Depositit

4. Change your email passwords – whether it is Outlook with an ISP or Googlemail or hotmail – login and change those passwords. Unfortuantely there are idiots out there who may try to exploit this.

Copy of spam / attempted scam email:
Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE HE

This story reminds me of a similar experience I wrote about is a client newsletter, which I paste below:


11 / 06 /08

Dear Sir/Madam,


I am compelled by the necessity and confidentiality to seek capable

overseas assistance to write you.

My name is Chief Azubike Ahubelem, the Executive Director Finance and Accounts/CFO of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company(NPDC) in charge of Oil & Gas Exploration and Production activities in the hydrocarbon-rich regions of coastal Nigeria.

1. I and the Group Executive Director Engineering & Technology in charge of procurements of equipments for Oil & Gas Exploration and Production are in possession of fund accrued from carefully inflated quotation for equipments just procured. For our benefit we unanimously overestimated the equipments cost before it was approved for purchase.

2. Now that the contractors are being paid we want capable overseas based firm to assist us front for the payment of the surplus fund to an overseas bank account for safe custody and investment.

3. Your benefit will be discussed. We have carefully perfected the plans and documents to facilitate the payment,I will be disposed to give you the details and the amount on receipt of your interest to assist.

Thanking you in anticipation of your cooperation.


Chief Azubike Ahubelem

NOTE-; I will have to receive your response within a week from today, after which I will be free to contact another person in your country for assistance.


March 2008

Welcome to Computing Matters 7 – Phishing emails.

Two weeks ago I was called up by a new client who was experiencing shocking return to London. She has given me permission to write about her experience.

“Gemma” returned from holiday to find an email in her hotmail account from hotmail asking her to confirm her password details. She did this immediately without thinking.

An hour later and she lost access to her hotmail account.

Two hours later and she started receiving phone calls from friends.

It turned out that in this short period of time, an email was sent from her 300 email contacts asking for financial help having been caught out in Nigeria. Please see the emails below to see a copy of the email sent out and an example response that she arrived to her husband’s email account.

Basically, she became a victim of a phishing email. Ironically, hotmail’s spam filter failed to catch it. Worse that this she could NOT can get access to her account for two reasons:

1. When her husband setup the hotmail account many years ago, he put a work email address as an alternative. This work email address no longer exists since he has changed jobs many times since.

2. The secret password was forgotten.

As a result, she has lost access to her inbox, lost 300 contact details and her 300 contacts have received a bogus email from her that looks like a genuine cry for help. These hackers can also take their time to read all her inbox and learn all about their victim’s life – children, bank accounts and so on. She has suffered a form of identity fraud, her reputation has been affected and there is a chance it could get worse if they are smart enough.

Lessons to learn from this experience:

1. Never click any link to confirm passwords of any kind – even for something simple like your email account password.
2. Backup your email contacts on hotmail or gmail regularly. Please contact me if you need advice to do this.
3. Visit your hotmail or gmail accounts and update your “alternative” email account. Also, update your secret password to one that is up-to-date and one you will remember. I have just done this for my own gmail and hotmail accounts.

This new threat proved how much abuse can be had if the wrong person gets access to your online email accounts and they have no qualms about the abuse.

Please be careful – it is generally safer to use Outlook on a personal computer.

Addenda – warning this phishing email is shown for reference only!

Dear Gemma,
That’s just awful! Are you still there and what’s happening to you now? Let me know how things are going and how I can help.

On 18 Feb 2008, at 10:22, Gemma wrote:

I am sorry i didn’t inform you about mytraveling to Africa for a program called Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education, the program is taking place in three major countries in Africa which are Ghana,South Africa and Nigeria. It as been a very sad and bad moment for me,the present condition that I found myself is very hard for me to explain.I am really stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport,documents and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying,I am facing a hard time here because I have no money on me. I am now owning a hotel bill of 600 Pounds and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management.,I need this help from you urgently to help me back home,I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need 750 Pounds to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of 1,350 Pounds to sort out my problems here?I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here,I don’t even have money to feed myself for a day which means i had been starving so please understand how urgent i needed your help.

I am sending you this e-mail from the city lagos and I only have 30 min,I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and i promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home,you need to transfer the money through Western Union, please email me back so that i can email you one of the Hotel Management name that you will send the western union to.
With warm wishes.

Antivirus Pro 2009 and spyware

16 November 2008

If you have ever heard of Anti Virus Pro 2009, then I would expect it may be associated with an annoying experience.

The name of this software is completely misleading – this is in fact “malware” or “spyware” which tried to trick you into spending money to fix a problem that it created!

I think this practice is completely immoral, but sadly it generates a huge income for those involved.

Trying to find some kind of analogy, it is like a car mechanic who throws nails all over the road in the hope that you will ask him to replace or fix a tyre.

Anti virus pro 2009 puts an annoying icon near the time on the bottom right hand side popping up with messages telling you that you computer is infected.

Please do not panic if you see this – it should not destroy your computer!

Googling “anti virus 2009” comes up with all sorts of solutions, including manual removal and other products you can buy to remove it!

My suggestions are as follows:

1. (a) First try a system restore and take the system back to before the problem started.
note: your data will be safe perfoming this procedure.

(b) In XP or Vista, just click “Start”, “All programs”, “Accessories”, “System tools” and then “System restore”

(c) Select a date to restore from the calendar that appears.
Give the computer some time to restart and implement the restore (anything from 10-15 mins).

If the problem is still there, it seems that you computer is heavily infected, in which case try the following procedures – which are good to do even in general to keep you computer clean:

2. (a) download and install cc cleaner – run a full cleanup
Link to download in on the Top right hand side
a full scan and cleanup can take 10 – 30 mins
note – you may not want to delete cookies if you have important website data stored

(b) download, install and update spybot search and destroy
Link to download in on the Top right hand side
Run a full scan and clean everything it find (can take 10-30 mins to scan)
The system may require a restart

(c) download, install and update super anti spyware
Link to download in on the Top right hand side
Run a complete scan (not just the quick one) and clean everything it finds (can take upto an hour)
The system may require a restart

(d) if you do not have a reliable anti virus installed, then download AVG
Link to download in on the Top right hand side
Install this, update it and run a full scan (can take upto 3 hours)

(e) Finally, head to C:program files and delete “Antivirus pro 2009” (use Shift+Delete so that it does not go to the recycle bin).
If this does not work, you may need to use control+alt+delete to go to task manager and end tasks for any of these listed below:

c:Program FilesAntivirus 2009av2009.exe
%PROGRAMFILES%Antivirus 2009av2009.exe

If this still doesn’t work, try to delete the folder in safe mode (press F8 during system start-up).

Once the folder is deleted, run cc cleaner again, but this time run a registry cleanup.

Hopefully that should do it!