Coly Computer Help


Viruses can now enter your computer by opening a dodgy email. To prevent this, set Outlook Express so that the Preview pane is not displayed. Click Hide preview pane to see how you do this.

Kill off chain emails containing hoax virus warnings. These are sent by well meaning acquaintances.
Refuse to worry your friends, break the chain.
Make sure you know how to recognise and deal with a hoax warning; click Here for information.

Phishing: Emails purporting to be from banks and building societies are scams called phishing (fishing for bank details). Kill them (hold down Shift and tap the Delete key). Scam emails will use well known names, e.g., spam pretending to be from Norton is labelled 'Online Symantec Store'. Kill any emails from unknown sources or sources you do not subscribe to. Emails from an unknown source saying you have been sent a greetings card are spam. Kill them, they may contain dangerous or unpleasant content.

PayPal members will receive phishing emails. Genuine PayPal emails will be addressed to you with your full name. (not Dear Member or Dear PayPal Member) Genuine PayPal emails will never ask you for personal information. Some Paypal phishing emails may appear to be sent by and the subject might be something like 'Notification of Limited Account Access'.
Forward that type of phishing email to and then delete the email. PayPal will investigate the source.

Security essentials. Make sure you have up to date anti-virus and anti-spy programs installed on your computer. Removal of  viruses and spies can be expensive.
Anti-virus and anti-spy
programs are useless unless they are updated regularly

Pop-up messages: Click Yes, OK or Install on the following pop-ups:
(i) Outlook Express can compact messages...
(ii) Windows Updates are ready to install...

Pop-up messages emanating from a yellow triangle containing an exclamation mark. These contain a false warning that you have a virus or Trojan. The pop-up urges you to click the pop-up to download a cure. DO NOT CLICK. You do have a Trojan, but not the one in the warning. The false one mentioned in the warning is a decoy to get you to click and download a much worse Trojan/virus.
SpyBot S&D or PC Tools Spyware Doctor will kill the Trojan which causes the pop-ups.

Messenger Service pop-ups in grey panels: These are nothing to do with the MSN Messenger program. Close the pop-ups immediately as they are dangerous. To stop these pop-ups from appearing on a Windows XP computer click Start--> Control Panel-->Administrative-->Tools . Then double click the Services icon. Scroll down the list of services and double click the Messenger Service . Select Properties. Click STOP in the messenger properties window. After the service stops, use the drop down list to change the Startup Type to Disabled. Click OK and close the Services window using the red and white X in the top right corner.

Spies are now a bigger menace than viruses. I am increasingly called out to fix non-connecting internet or email programs which have been crippled by spies. The symptoms of an infection by spies are:
(1) computer slowing down (b) slow shut down or failing to shut down (c) slow start up (d) can't access internet or emails (e) home page has changed (f) pop-up messages.
Spies often disable anti-spy and anti-virus programs. The Windows Defender, McAfee, and Norton anti-spy programs are not very effective. A most successful strategy is to scan weekly SpyBotwith the free SpyBot  S&D (version 1.6.2). Spybot immunises the computer against 150,000 spies.

For an effective free solution to combat scareware, download and install SuperAnti Spyware.
You could try PC Tools Spyware Doctor for an annual subscription of $30 (15). Beware of programs with names similar to Spyware Doctor, they are very dangerous

Beware of tear jerking emails. Sometimes these are aimed at Christians and they ask for help for Africans and victims of natural disasters. Do not send money, always donate to a reputable organisation. The emails always contain a request for your bank details. NEVER give any bank details to anyone except when logging on to your Internet Bank.
Internet banks use a web page with a secure code with drop-down lists for complete protection against fraud.

Ordering goods on the internet using a debit or credit card is completely safe providing you are buying from a reputable company. Look for a gold padlock at the bottom of the screen (Internet Explorer 6) or to the right of the address bar (internet Explorer 7), this means your entries will be encoded and will be safe.

Another security test: When internet banking or giving debit/credit card details on a company website, look at the web address at the top of the screen, it must have the prefix https instead of http, (the 's' stands for secure).

That cream coloured balloonCream balloons: When an irritating cream coloured balloon appears in the bottom right corner, don't click it. Read whatever the balloon says and act on it. For instance if it says your anti-virus database or anti-virus definitions are out of date then go on-line and update the anti-virus definitions/database using the icon on your desktop. Clicking the balloon is a waste of time as it merely results in another warning in a different format.

That little yellow shield with the exclamation mark puzzles some people. It appears in the Notification area when you are on-line. It simply indicates that, while you are on-line, it is downloading the latest improvements to your Windows XP, i.e. security and other critical updates. Rest your cursor on the yellow shield and it will indicate what percentage has been downloaded so far. You do not have to stay on-line until it says 100%. Go off-line whenever you wish, when you next go on-line, the download will continue from where it left off.
When the download is eventually complete, a cream balloon may inform you. Agree that you wish to install the downloads. Another balloon will tell you that you can carry on working on other things while the installation take place.
When you next shut down your computer, you will be told not to power off (shut down) because the updates need installing. The installation is entirely automatic, just wait. When the installation is done the computer will power-off all by itself.

The most convenient method of downloading and installing Windows XP updates is to set it to be semi-automatic as follows:
Click Start-->Control Panel. On the next window, look at the left hand panel, if it says Switch to Classic view, then click that instruction to select the classic view. If it says Switch to Category view, you are already in the classic view. Near the bottom of the screen you will see an icon labelled System, double click it. Click the tab labelled Automatic updates.
Now select Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them.
Click Apply and then click OK .

Windows XP users: If you see a screen from Microsoft announcing the new version of Internet Explorer (IE 7), download it if you have broadband. Do not uninstall the old version, it will be replaced automatically. If you are on dial-up, it will take 90 minutes to download, alternatively, call a technician (like me) who can promise to load it from a CD in 15 minutes.



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