General

Uninstalling Antivirus and Malware Program’s

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A member of the U3A group had asked me to come and fix her Windows-7 PC. It was slow and sometimes it seemed to hang, plus sometimes she couldn’t get to her web-mail. So, I went, and saw that she Avast antivirus and malware program fighting with MSE for supremacy. Out came my memory stick (a necessary tool for carrying software that is possibly needed) and I started with loading CCleaner and while that was loading I recalled from somewhere deep in my memory that to uninstall Avast you needed to download a a uninstallation programme from Avast. So, we then downloaded the Avast uninstaller onto her desktop and started it, it started nicely with the usual prompts like: “are you sure …” of course I was otherwise I wouldn’t have gone through with the download! After having given permission to carry on I was then told that the uninstaller needed to be run from “safe mode” would I like it to switch to that? And it made the switch and even continued the uninstallation. When that was finished it prompted me to let it restart and restore to normal windows. Once back to the desktop I ran CCleaner to do a registry clean-up.

Then rebooted the PC and started CCleaner again. This time I wanted to see what was left behind in the Startup’s (Tools, Startup) and I also removed some unnecessary background runs (bear in mind that there are 3 different tabs here: ‘Windows’, ‘Scheduled Tasks’ & ‘Context Menu’.

Don’t delete any unwanted actions just “Disable” the ones you think you don’t need!

And a week later I received this recommendation:

Many, many thanks for all the assistance and help you gave me with my computer.
It was more than helpful.
Also my computer is less sluggish now.
Now that was nice, I don’t always get feedback and it made me feel good.

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Create an instant shutdown and/or restart icon on your desktop.

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You will need to use the windows program shutdown.exe (which is normally located in C:\Windows\System32\) and its parameters.

The table below is a shortened list of the parameters needed for instant shutdown and/or restart plus the help parameter to display all the parameters defined within your windows system.

Parameter Description
/s Shuts down the computer.
/r Restarts the computer after shutdown.
/t <sec> Sets the time-out period or delay to sec (seconds) before a restart or shutdown. This causes a warning to display on the local console. You can specify 0-600 seconds. If you do not use /t, the time-out period is 30 seconds by default.
/? Displays help at the command prompt, including a list of the major and minor reasons that are defined on your local computer.

This is what the instant shutdown command line would look like:
C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0

And the instant reboot command line would look like this:
C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /r /t 0

As you can see the only difference is the use of “/s” or “/r” parameter

Now that we know what to use, how do we get it onto the desktop?
Easy! By creating a desktop shortcut icon containing the shutdown/restart command line as follows.

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  1. Right click anywhere on an empty space on your desktop to open a menu where you can find “New”.
  2. Hover over “New” and another menu appear, near the top of this is “Shortcut
  3. Select/Click on “Shortcut” to open the Shortcut creation wizard.
  4. Enter your command line and parameters
  5. Click Next
  6. Type a title/name for this shortcut – e.g. “Shutdown”
  7. And click Finish

I like to have a pretty self-explanatory icon’s because it’s easier to find than reading the titles – and here is how to do this:

image          image

  1. Right click on the Shutdown icon, to open a menu
  2. Select and click on “Properties” to open the “Shutdown Properties” window
  3. It should automatically open in the “Shortcut” tab where you will find – near the bottom – the Change Icon… button.
  4. Click the Change Icon… and another window with lots of icons opens.
  5. Scroll through these until you find an icon you like.
  6. Click on it; followed by clicking the OK button to close that window.
  7. Now all you have to do is click the OK button in the “Properties”
    window and that’s it.

One last thing:

You might also want place Shutdown icon on your “Taskbar” and/or your “Start menu”
this action is called “Pin to …” – and here is how to do this:

image

  1. Right click on the Shutdown icon (as before), to open a menu
  2. This time you are looking for “Pin to Taskbar” or “Pin to Start Menu” (near the top)
  3. Just click either and that’s it.

Note you don’t lose the original shortcut.

To unpin an icon from the taskbar/start menu, just right click on it and click “Unpin this program from Taskbar” or “Unpin from Start Menu” and they are gone; not uninstalled nor deleted because what you unpinned was a shortcut and NOT the actual item.

How to delete an EML extension file.

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I came across a strange happening last week. I have started using Thunderbird instead of Microsoft office outlook and I am really getting to grips with it.

I have had some minor problems with my settings but that was to be expected as I have over the years build myself a rather complicated email empire.

I was saving some emails as txt files but as usual, I forgot to tick the txt type of file and some of the emails were saved as EML file type files.

EML is a file extension for an e-mail message saved to a file in the MIME RFC 822 standard format by Microsoft Outlook Express as well as some other email programs. EML files can contain plain ASCII text for the headers and the main message body as well as hyperlinks and attachments.

I tried to open Library → Documents → “subfolder” and selected the file and pressed the Delete and nothing happened, not even a message that the file couldn’t be deleted.

I found that as long as I was using the parsing (virtual) name used to “My Documents” folder the delete wouldn’t work.

If on the other hand, by using the long way round to get to my subfolder (Local Disk (C:) → Users → you → My Documents → “subfolder”) I was able to delete the EML extension files.

System Restore Error Code 0x81000203

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I was having problems creating “Restore Points” in windows 7.

When I opened “System Protection” everything was greyed out; and all I got was an: “System Restore Error Code 0x81000203”.

Hunting high and low I finally came across this good advice from the following website: https://windowsforum.com/threads/actual-solution-for-system-restore-error-code-0x81000203.184794/

Both “Volume Shadow Copy” and “Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider” must be started and set to automatic. With both of these services active, the System Protection tab will work.

Their link to Microsoft didn’t work but here is a link that works: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-performance/how-to-fix-error-code-0x81000203/0358b3df-a34f-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5 This describes how to fix this error for the “Volume Shadow”; but just apply the same for “Microsoft Software Shadow”.

My “Restore Points” are now working.
One more suggestion: Don’t forget to click the Configuration button to select the drive, and set the Maximum Disk Space to be used (to something more than zero, depending on how many generations of restore points you want, set it to at least a few GB).

Also just in case, create the first checkpoint yourself.
That’s it, and I am a happy bunny.

Christmas Greetings 2016

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I wish all my friends and followers
a Merry Christmas
and a prosperous New Year.

Google is following Microsoft’s example

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I feel like swearing!!!
Google has changed its programs/apps so that they now only work to their full extent when used through Google Chrome.

clip_image002 To use voice commands (providing you have a microphone attached to your PC) in searches; click on the microphone icon and the speak something like: “how to use Google chrome”
clip_image004 In Translate, first click on the language tab, this will make the microphone symbol visible,
then click on the microphone and start talking; another little boxed symbol opens and blinks at you, as long as this is there you are being recorded – click the red speaker and your recording stops.
clip_image006

This is a great tool if you don’t know how to spell something and the spell checker will not give you the answer when you, like me, have used too many wrong letters and your spell checker can’t guess what you are saying eg: “foring” “foreign” .

This is also a great tool to communicate in foreign languages. I use it regularly to communicate with my a Polish cleaning lady, as I don’t speak a lot of Polish.

My pc-muse never arrived

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My pc-muse never visited me for the first U3A meeting after the summer break; but I managed to talk about emails and virus “pass-on” when replying, thanks to one member sending in a question about it.

This led to talking about Office Outlook 2010 and Microsoft forcing users to change to MS-Exchange Server. By telling them about my experiences, I touched on a couple of features in Outlook 2010 that the members were not aware of: Filters, Task, Appointments and recurrence. This will now become a topic for the next U3A meeting.

I also talked about backup; because I was annoyed that some backup programs don’t warn the user NOT to backup onto the same device where the data is held. This led to questions about how to backup Outlook 2010 and a physical demo of said as a topic for the next meeting.

When I was talking about my email system I demonstrated the way I had managed to move my system from Outlook 2010 to Mozilla Thunderbird; and vaguely touched on the difficulties of syncing the calendar from my PC to my mobile phone and tablet. Some members were interested in Thunderbird; like how to get started, download, install, and setup the email accounts. So here is another topic for a later U3A meeting.

I can’t remember how it came about; but somehow we managed to talk about OCR and I stated that most three-in-one printers came with some sort of OCR software; most members were not aware of this; so I requested they send me the name of their printer and I would check their software packages. This will become a short topic for another U3A meeting.

While talking OCR I also mentioned that the software I am using (OmniPage Pro) will let me open a picture of text, scan it and create text that can be imported into Word or Excel. This is quite a snazzy feature but I think one has to pay for that feature.

Somewhere along the many thoughts that were flying about we also spoke about using “Google Translate” to capture speech and convert it into text for Word. I tried it on the laptop but the microphone wasn’t available. Why? Because some laptops don’t have microphones installed. But if you add an external microphone to the laptop; Google Translate will display the mic-symbol.

I promised that I would find some Win10 problems pages:
First something positive about Win10: http://windows.about.com/

http://betanews.com/2016/04/25/windows-10-update-problems/

How to Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates (Updated September 08, 2016)
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/system-security/a/fix-problems-caused-by-windows-updates.htm

How to Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC (Updated November 19, 2015)
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/system-security/a/prevent-windows-update-problems.htm

Windows 10 Update Fail (Updated August 20, 2015)
http://windows.about.com/od/securityprivacy/fl/Windows-10-Update-Fail.htm