DoctorLaptop’s Tips #71, 03 Dec., 2018

On-Line Annoyances and Anti-virus Fake Warnings – How to Minimize Them
The problems:
Fake messages from your anti-virus program warning you of non-existent threats, or asking you to purchase a product you already use. Avast has become such a nuisance I refuse to use it any more. Chrome popups begging you to try their browser and set Google as your homepage, when both are already the case. First page Google search results that are a decade old, clear evidence of rigged search results that are supposed to be ranked by recent popularity. Rogue popups on websites demanding you update Flash or Java, then install malware instead. Websites and videos blocked because they are “unavailable in your area”. This is the short-list, but dealing with these will make your online experience way better.
Solutions:
First lets deal with your anti-virus. Most slow your computer considerably and popup all sorts of rubbish, even in the paid versions. They install all types of extra cleaners and tuneup tools you’ll never use, that slow your comp. The good news for Windows 10 users is that the new Windows Defender Anti-virus, included in all Windows 10 Systems, is now fully improved and capable of providing you as good protection as the other free or paid options like AVG/Avast/McAfee/etc. Windows Defender won’t slow your comp down, and will auto-scan when it senses you are not using the computer for other things. So go ahead and uninstall your old anti-virus and Defender will automatically take over those duties. I still recommend you do a monthly Full Scan with Malwarebytes AntiVirus. If you tend to visit dodgy websites like betting or streaming video, then I would also install Cybereason RamsomFree Protection. Be aware that to uninstall your current antivirus is a 2 step process. First you uninstall it like any other program. Second, you visit the website of the old antivirus, find and download their “Uninstall” or “Clear” tool (links provided below article), and run that following the prompts, to delete all the rubbish left behind when it was uninstalled.
For Windows 7 and 8 users I have a different strategy. I uninstall the old antivirus as above, then install the newly updated FREE antivirus called Immunet. No popups or ads. No need for extra ransomware protection or monthly Malwarebytes scans, remove them before installing Immunet. After installing it, open it, in the Computer column go to Scan Settings and create 2 scheduled scans, a weekly Flash Scan, and a monthly Full Scan. Close that window. Next, in the Product column click Settings, check that ” Clam AV Detection Engines” are both turned on. Then click Close button, done. Immunet uses very little memory resources so after a few restarts your comp will run quicker.

Chrome browser and Google Search have both become so infused with data collectors, ads, rigged results, popups and all the other nonsense I just avoid them as much as possible. For a web browser I use 2. Firefox is my primary browser, with uBlock Origin (ad blocker) and Ghostery (anti-tracker) and Windscribe Free VPN add-ons installed. My backup browser is Epic Browser, it’s a version of Chrome with all the surveillance crap removed, and it has a basic free VPN and ad-blocker built in. For a search engine I use two, duckduckgo.com and startpage.com, both designed for security. Startpage uses Google search as it’s source, and does not track you, unfortunately it supplies the same rigged results. Duckduckgo search results are more fairly ranked.

To remove the geo-location (not available in your area) blocks on websites, including many US newspaper and magazine websites, set your VPN to the target country and reload the page. I suggest you use a VPN all the time unless you are on a very slow internet commection, under 10Mb/s. Don’t use a VPN on sites that rely on knowing your true location, such as on-line stores. Sorry, most free VPNs won’t get you UK IPTV, but they will protect you from snoops, trackers and open many blocked websites. A good VPN option is the very fast Windscribe VPN. The free version has a generous 10Gb monthly limit but still won’t get you UK IPTV. The Premium (Pro) version has a huge selection of servers to choose from and will meet all your advanced VPN needs the free version can’t. Get Windscribe VPN, free or Pro,  here, which will also boost my Windscribe data limit (Thanks!). Click this link,  https://secure.link/E5g9oIqW then click on ” continue to website”.

Remember to use CCleaner every 2 weeks, both the Cleaner and Registry functions. All the presets are correct, don’t change them, just run it as it comes.
If your new adblocker is blocking web content you want to see, find it’s icon in the browser toolbar on the far right, click it, and then temporarily disable it; or choose to “Whitelist” the site if you will be returning frequently so the adblocker automatically ignores that chosen site.

Links
Immunet: http://www.immunet.com/index
Epic Browser: https://www.epicbrowser.com/
Firefox: https://www.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/new/
Ghostery: https://www.ghostery.com/
uBlock Origin for Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/
Malwarebytes: https://www.malwarebytes.com/
Cybereason RansomFree: https://ransomfree.cybereason.com/
Avast Clear: https://www.avast.com/uninstall-utility
AVG Removal Instructions: https://support.avg.com/answers?id=906b0000000DiVPAA0
Norton Removal Tool: https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/norton_removal_tool.html
McAfee Removal Tool (MCPR) : https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/mcafee_consumer_product_removal_tool.html
CCleaner: https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/ccleaner_standard.html

Happy Computing and Happy Holidays, Naythan, DoctorLaptop.  Contact: https://doctorlaptop-repairs.webnode.com  or email doctorlptop@protonmail.com . Available thru the holidays to setup all your new tech gifts!

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DoctorLaptop’s Tips #70

Here are some interesting websites and tools you may enjoy.

Suspect the photo you are viewing is Photoshopped or doctored?
Check it here: http://imageedited.com/

Like to fall to sleep to the sound of rain or storms? Try these:
https://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/thunderNoiseGenerator.php
https://rain.today/

Try out many versions of Linux on a website, no need to install or use a “Live Disc/USB”. Turn off all ad blockers first. It is a bit slow and won’t open websites but is sufficient to get a feel for the look, layout and basic functions. Try as many different versions (known as “distros”) as you like. Be patient when loading a “distro” to try, and use the arrow buttons if your mouse gets stuck.
If you find a distro you like, visit their website for more info.
https://distrotest.net/

How to remove ads, popups and other annoyances from an Android smartphone:
https://malwaretips.com/blogs/remove-android-virus/

Want to uninstall or switch your antivirus program? It’s not as simple as just using the Windows Uninstaller. After you do that normal uninstall you need to visit the website of the antivirus and download and run their uninstaller (also known as “clear”) program to finish the removal. Then restart computer.

Having trouble connecting to a particular website? Check it here to see if the problem happening to everyone, or just you.
http://www.websitedown.info/

Want to check if your VPN is working? Activate it and then visit this site to confirm your location is changed.
https://ipleak.net/

Want to check if your account login info has been compromised (“pwned” in geek lingo), and where the hack occured? This will reveal what hacker attack exposed your email address and password. This could be your email account, or any other service that you must log into using your email and a password. If you have been pwned, go to that account and change your password. A good password has at least 13 characters, use a mix of small letters, capitals, numbers and a punctuation mark. Check your email address here:
https://haveibeenpwned.com/

That’s all for now. Happy Computing!

Naythan, aka DoctorLaptop. Available for all your computer repairs, user classes and website designs.

doctorlaptop@protonmail

DoctorLaptop – Another “I told you so” Moment – Microsoft Suspends Windows 10 Update Rollout

Microsoft Suspends Windows 10 Update Rollout After Users Report Deleted Files
Hi readers, in the past month I posted 2 warnings regarding the upcoming Windows 10 semi-annual Update due this month. I suggested everyone using Win 10 to make a System Restore Point, or better yet a Disk Image Backup, prior to doing this upcoming update. My reasoning was that Microsoft has a history of releasing buggy updates.
Guess what? Microsoft just recalled the October update and warned users NOT to install it. There have been many reports the update will break you computer and may also permenently delete some data files!
Did you heed my warning? Did any other techs warn you about this? Just one more reason why people drive all the way from Mortil or Malaga to have their computers serviced by DoctorLaptop! I ride the crest of the wave while others remain in the kiddie pool. How? I do my homework and take the time to read the corporate whitepapers and follow Microsoft insider blogs.
The next time you need your computer serviced consider that a few extra miles drive may very well be worth the small inconvenience in order to have the job done by a dedicated computer pro, DoctorLaptop!
Reference: http://fortune.com/2018/10/06/problems-with-windows-10-update/

DoctorLaptop – New Location, Torrox Costa. Serving Torrox, Competa, Nerja and the Costa del Sol for 7+ years.

September 25, 2018: The Title of my homepage has been updated to show Torrox Costa as my current location.

DoctorLaptop – PC Computer Repairs in Torrox Costa

https://doctorlaptop-repairs.webnode.com/

Serving Torrox, Competa, Nerja and the Costa del Sol for 7+ years.

Contact: doctorlaptop@protonmail.com

 

DoctorLaptop’s Tips #69 & August Special 06AUG18

Anti-virus News & The End of Windows 10 v 1803
Avast bought AVG a few months ago, and has now acquired CCleaner. Unfortunately Avast has decided to add user data collection to CCleaner, loading new Services to your system that constantly run in the backround using up precious resources. They have promised to remove this in an upcoming update, so until that happens avoid CCleaner v 5.43 thru v 5.45. Don’t update CCleaner until a new version above v 5.45 is offered.
https://thehackernews.com/2018/08/ccleaner-software-download.html

Avast has also become more aggressive with the popup adverts, trying to scare Avast Free users into upgrading to the paid version. Other free anti-virus programs also suffer from frequent ads, unnecessary features and constantly running Services that cause slow computer performance.
Fortunately a soultion has been provided by the most unlikely of sources, Microsoft. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender pre-installed. This program has been totally re-worked from the pre 2017 versions and has been updated via Windows Updates for all Win 10 users. AV-Test.org, the leading independent anti-virus industry monitor has declared Windows Defender to be sufficient protection for most users, ranking above Norton and Trend Micro in overall performance, and above AVG in malware detection!
Program Rankings: https://www.av-test.org/en/antivirus/home-windows/
Windows Defender Summary:  https://www.av-test.org/en/antivirus/home-windows/windows-10/june-2018/microsoft-windows-defender-4.12-182247/

My current suggestion for protecting your Windows 10 computer while avoiding ads, unwanted accessories and other system slowing bloat-ware is to use Windows Defender with a full system scan scheduled weekly in Scan Settings. Then, in addition, do a full system scan with the free version of Malwarebytes Anti Malware once a week. When installing Malwarebytes be careful to not accept the free trial of the Premium version. The free version provides the scanner, which is all you want from them; it does not provide real-time protection so it will not interfere with Windows Defender. You can then leave Malwarebytes installed, where it will remain non-active until you want to do a scan.
Malwarebytes Free, download:  https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/thankyou/

August 2018 Special

Did you know that the current version of Windows 10 (1803) reaches it’s end of service in only 15 months? We don’t yet know if another free version update will be offered. We do know that soon you will no longer buy a copy of Windows, you will lease it by subscription.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6011859/Microsoft-plans-launch-paid-subscription-Windows-10-computers.html

Learn Linux: If you don’t like Windows 10, can’t afford Macs and don’t want to be trapped into the Windows-as-a-subscription service that Microsoft will be introducing in 2020 then this is for you. This is a 1.5 hour class that will get you up and running Manjaro Live Linux on your laptop computer without the need to install it until you are ready to do so. Manjaro Live runs off a flash drive so your current Windows is left intact. You will need to bring a 8Gb or larger flash drive to the class. This flash drive will be dedicated to Manjaro use only, no other data can be stored on it. Manjaro looks similar to Windows 7 but with different colors.
With Manjaro the system and all programs are free. Malware is so rare most Manjaro users don’t even use a anti-virus program.
Class Cost = €40

DoctorLaptop Contact: doctorlaptop@protonmail.com ; Tel 675 993 069 (no calls before 11am please). Now located in Torrox Costa.

The EU Ushers in the Internet 2.0

It used to be the “world wide web”, free of censorship or geo-restrictions, providing anonymity unless you wished to reveal your identity. Remember 20yrs ago using Netscape, Usenet, and email signups that didn’t require anything besides a user name and password, and anonymous newsgroups/bulliten-boards? It has now been hijacked by well financed political-corporate entities and unelected EU officials who decide what is best for you, while forcing you to identify yourself and consent to having all your data and communications recorded and data mined so they can track and profit from all your on-line activity.

Many of you will have recently encountered blocked websites and videos or new “before you proceed” messages while you are websurfing. This is due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws that just went into effect in the EU. Some US based websites are blocking EU residents from accessing content, often displaying a server error message. Social media sites are demanding you accept new, very intrusive user agreements before letting you in. Some radio streams and podcasts display a message saying the content is unavailable in your location. Google searches are being censored for EU residents, filtering out previously available content, with many news articles now blocked. Google searches have abandoned any fair-ranking in their search results, pushing up their paying clients to the top of results, when previously the search results were prioritized by popularity. It is well documented that Google searches are now heavily politically influenced, pushing or suppressing info to promote their agenda. Google is not the only company suppressing content on the internet. Reddit has frequently been accused of banning postings on specific topics, and a recent report suggests that Facebook has been deleting conservative news stories from its newsfeed, a practice that might have a significant effect on public opinion – even on voting. Some Spanish ISPs are censoring file sharing websites like The Pirate Bay. UK news sites have blacked out coverage of stories the gov’t has deemed too sensitive for readers, which is bad for all freedom lovers regardless of which side you support. Even DigameXtra has been forced to implement new rules to comply with GDPR. Google, though, is currently the biggest bully on the block.

Practical solutions to access blocked content? In some cases you will be able to use a VPN to “spoof” your location so sites think you are in a location where the content is available. Another trick to access blocked content is to open a ISP-changer website and enter the desired web address there to gain access. Try http://www.geekproxy.com/ or http://www.changetheip.com/
For uncensored search results try www.duckduckgo.com or http://www.gibiru.com/
To access Google Search without being tracked use www.startpage.com

There is a lot of info available on these subjects, easily found using uncensored search engines. These 2 articles are a good introduction to the topic. https://gizmodo.com/dozens-of-american-news-sites-blocked-in-europe-as-gdpr-1826319542
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-22/google-is-the-worlds-biggest-censor-and-its-power-must-be-regulated

I warned Digame-Torrox readers about this 6yrs ago and was called a tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist. Now it is here. I don’t have a crystal ball, I just read the university and corporate research white-papers where these topics are discussed well before implementation. You would be shocked at what is being researched and developed for the future, and how much of it is already done. Here is a good introduction to “the internet of things” (IoT), where everything is chipped and monitored and networked with data bases of every CCTV and satellite surveillance feed; not just your smartphone, but also your toothbrush, every appliance, power switches, your car, your dentist office, your daily schedule calendar, all will constantly track everything you do in real time. This way your car’s hands free phone can inform you that it automatically made you a dentist appointment because your toothbrush has determined you are due for a cleaning. Do you really want your dentist and insurance company to know how often you brush your teeth? Any of you who activated the Cortana voice controlled digital assistant feature in Windows 10 has already had a small taste of this technology.

Related info: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/internet-of-things-what-is-explained-iot

What is after that? In undergrad university computer science lectures on artificial intelligence (AI) it is commonly referred to as the “singularity”. They study it and develop the items it will require, assuming that is the future. In very simple terms it involves everyone constantly connected to the internet and Internet of Things while integrating Artificial Intelligence and block-chain technologies. All info about everything accessible 24hrs a day. Everything will be inter-connected and recorded…everything, with artificial intelligence constantly observing, learning and improving your limited human capacity. As a result, as futurist Ray Kurzweil put it, “by 2045 we will multiply our effective intelligence a billionfold by merging with the intelligence we have created.” Society will transform as it becomes impossible to lie, cheat, or hide anything. Everything will be public. Some say this is our path to the stars. As for me, I am reminded of that old song “In the Year 2525” by Zager & Evans, who it appears way overestimated how long the changes would take.

Related info: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/what-is-the-singularity-ai/

DoctorLaptop Windows 10 Update Problem Alert 30May18

Buggy Spring 2018 Update plaguing Windows 10 Users

I repair what others can only replace!

The Windows 10 V1803 update, released 30APR18, has caused 2 major problems for users. I have recovered a dozen of these victim computers for clients since this was released a month ago.
1. Some users, especially those that had updated from Win 7 or 8/8.1, are finding that after the update, they reboot to a blank Desktop with an error message that a user profile file cannot be accessed so Desktop is unavailable. No buttons or icons will work. Both System Restore and System Rollback/Refresh are unavailable, even from Safe Mode or a recovery drive. A repair is possible but beyond the ability of most casual users, many of whom have no install disc or recovery drive to provide the required tools. Warning, some users who attempted a self-repair by trying a System Rollback or Refresh discover the repair has not only failed, but when they bring it to me for repair, I remove the hard disk and check it in another computer only to find the attempted repair deleted much of their data! This is why everyone should be doing regular data backups! If it gets to this point the only solution is to do a data recovery if you neglected doing backups  (expensive), and then do a fresh reinstall of Windows. Users fed up with Win 10 are often choosing to go back to Win 7/8.1 at this stage.

2. After the update, some people will suddenly see a new OEM or recovery partition in their File Manager that has a logical drive letter assigned to them. No files appear in the partition despite it claiming to be full, and showing hidden files does not reveal the contents either. Options for deleting or renaming the new partition are not available. Then Windows 10 starts with constant notifications that the drive is full.

This is annoying, but does not prevent one from using the computer. The cause appears to be that the Win Update creates this new partition to store undo/recover info. The first idea many users have is to remove the drive letter from the disk management partition. If you try to use Disk Management to fix the issue and remove the drive letter from the partition, you will fail in most cases. The context menu does not support commands on this recovery partition. There is no real fix for this problem yet, but you may be able stop the annoying “disk full” messages by disabling the Windows Explorer notifications function. Other proposed solutions, removing the new partition’s mount point or deleting the partition with 3rd party tools, may work but can break BitLocker and block the recovery functions if you need them to fix an other, unrelated problem. Not advisable.

What to do, since there is no obvious way to block Win 10 from updating? First, make sure all your data is backed up on another device. Then, depending on what version of Win 10 you have, Home/S/Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise, you may be able to use a Settings trick to delay, or block updates. Look in Advanced Settings in the Update Settings for a delay update function. It may offer a setting to delay updates for 35 days. Not there? Then go to Network Settings and set your computer to “On a metered connection”. That should prevent updates, at least for a while. Hopefully long enough to allow Microsoft to correct and reissue this bad update.

Sources:
https://borncity.com/win/2018/05/02/windows-10-v1803-update-creates-a-new-oem-partition/
https://www.tenforums.com/drivers-hardware/109077-new-1803-version-created-new-disk-partition-can-i-reclaim.html#post1359096
https://www.disk-partition.com/windows-10/recovery-partition-after-upgrading-to-windows-10-4348.html

As always, I am available for consults and repairs should you experience either of these problems.

doctorlaptop@protonmail.com ; mobile 675 993 069 (no calls before 11am please)