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 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)

DoctorLaptop’s Tips #68 and April 2018 Special

DoctorLaptop’s Tips #68 and April Special

Special: Slow tablet rescue. Full cleaning, tune-up, updating and optimization of slow but otherwise functional tablets, only €30 till 01May18.

Tips:
1. Windows 10 needs to be updated regularly. If you leave it inactive for more than 2 weeks, when you next use it leave it connected to the internet, running all night, then in the morning shut it off and restart it. If it has shut down automatically, start it, then once it’s done loading restart it. This should allow your computer to get current on updates.
2. Keeping your computer cool in the summer is important, for both the health of the unit and for best performance. Part of that is keeping all the air vents free of dust, lint and hair. I use a dry toothbrush for this task. Do not blow air into the vents, that pushes the dirt back into the fan. Another good idea is to place small lifters under the back side of a laptop to increase the air space under it. During peak heat days (30C+) I recommend blowing a desk fan directly on your computer. If your computer shuts down due to over-heating, leave it at least 30mins before attempting a restart. If that restart fails, do not keep trying, get it serviced to avoid damaging it further (or run chkdsk and scannow tools from a recovery DVD if you know how).
3. If you have a newer computer with a SSD (solid state hard disk) it is imperative you keep current backups of you data on an external memory device. Should your SSD fail there is no way to recover the data, short of sending it to a specialist SDD data recovery center in Sevilla or Madrid where recovery fees begin at €300 and often run into thousands!
4. Be aware that some new generation mobile device models of tablets and smartphones are not designed to be opened and serviced. Basically they are disposable once they have a hardware failure outside of the warranty period. If this concerns you, inquire at the time of purchase if battery replacement service for that model is available from the seller. Tablet batteries are designed to last 3yrs at 2hrs per day use, iPad batteries may last longer.

Contact: doctorlaptop@protonmail.com or call 675 993 069 (no calls b4 11am).
Computer repairs, lessons, websites/blogs/forums/SEO, Social Media promotion & marketing, business computer maintenance service.
Windows, Apple/Mac, Linux, Android.

DoctorLaptop’s Tips #65 and Holiday Special

DoctorLaptop’s Tips #65 and Holiday Special
 
Tip #1: The latest info on the Spanish Facebook security scandal and the €12M fine they received here, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/09/11/facebook-hit-12m-fine-spain-breaking-privacy-laws/
Want a free, secure alternative to FaceBook? Here is a safe Social Media site that takes your privacy seriously, an alternative to data collecting, overly intrusive FB. Many techs and citizen journalists are migrating to it. Join up and then invite all your contacts. https://mewe.com/
 
Tip #2: New Computer? Setting up a new Windows 10 computer can be tricky, tons of settings and options to choose, programs and drivers to install and your data needs to be imported from your old comp. Warning: do NOT inturrupt the initial setup process, if you start you must see it thru till the end or it will may cause severe problems. If you get stuck on a step, just accept the default setting and move on. It can be changed later if necessary. Inturrupting setup often causes a troublesome “hidden” super-admin account to be created which interferes with your normal admin account, and can only be removed by re-installing Windows.
 
Holiday Special: Setup new computer to your requirements, no data imported €40; with data import €55. Extra add-ons available like MS Office and IPTV for an additional fee. Ends 01Jan18.
Contact: doctorlaptop@protonmail.com or 675 993 069
Most jobs completed overnight.

Stopping the Bot Infection

To prevent bot activity on your computer be sure “heuristic analysis” is enabled in your anti-virus program settings. Heuristic analysis is a method employed by many computer antivirus programs designed to detect previously unknown computer viruses, as well as new variants of viruses already in the “wild”.

Ransomware Update – The Threat Continues, by DoctorLaptop

Ransomware Update – The Threat Continues, by DoctorLaptop
Despite what you may have heard about a solution found to stop the recent ransomware attacks the threat is not gone. Be sure you have protected your computers. A new wave of attacks has begun and we should expect several more waves of attacks in coming months. The new attacks don’t only encrypt your data like classic ransomware. Instead some hijack your system and run hacker programs hidden in the background while your computer is on. This is known in tech jargon as turning your computer into a “bot”. As a result your computer gets slow and all your data and info are exposed. Hackers use armies of bots to accomplish hacking schemes that require massive numbers of computers focused on a task, such as doing “denial of service attacks” and “mining” crypto-currency. Read this article for an explanation in easy to understand terms.  Contact me if you need help or have questions. Email: doctorlaptop@protonmail.com or Mobile 675 993 069 (after 11am please).
https://www.yahoo.com/tech/another-large-scale-cyberattack-underway-experts-194944965.html

DOCTORLAPTOP’S TIPS #61

DoctorLaptop’s Tips #61
Ransomware has returned as an active threat after an 18 month period
where it was not very common. This is due to the recent release of  U.S. NSA
hacking tools. In the last wave of ransomware I advised the installation of
Hitman Alert. If you still have it keep it updated, and be glad you took my
advice and got it while it was free. New copies are no longer free. Here is
what you need to know to protect your computers.
1. Ransomware usually arrives in an email attachment and installs when you
open the attachment. New hacking techniques make it possible for these
booby-trapped emails to appear as if they were sent by someone on your
Contacts list! Do not open any attachments, even from contacts, unless you
are expecting an attachment. Ransomware can also come from other sources like
poisoned websites or infected network connections. Spanish internet service provider Telefonica had servers targeted with ransomware this week.
2. Keep your Windows fully updated. There are no forced Windows 10 upgrades
to worry about anymore. If Windows Updater does not run after a half hour wait then it is probably corrupt, a common problem with Windows 7/8.1. This can be repaired with the proper tools.
3. Only download software from sites with a good reputation. Many sites that
offer free downloads will infect your computer. I suggest using these safe sites:
4. Use a good antivirus and keep it updated. Free, reliable options are
explained on this site, including safe download links.
5. Use a ransomware blocker unless you use BitDefender antivirus, which has
one built in. I suggest using this free one, it will run beside your antivirus without
problems and requires no user actions unless you are attacked. If it detects ransomware it will pop up a window with instructions to complete the removal process. If it asks for permission to update do so. Read the info on the download page to understand how it works, explained in easy to understand language:
6. If you get infected with ransomware, force computer off by using the power button and bring it to me or a true professional repair facility immediately. I can probably remove it and save everything if you get it to me in under 24hrs. Time is of the essence! Do not let untrained techs attempt a recovery or you risk losing all your data and necessitating a full system re-install. This is not a job for amateurs.
7. To remove an unwanted antivirus is now a 2 step process. Windows instructions: First, uninstall in the usual way by going to Control Panel>Programs and Features, then choose the program and click Uninstall. Restart computer. Second, go to one of the download sites mentioned above and use the site’s search-box by entering
“the name of your antivirus + uninstall tool” and click search. Find the appropriate tool, download it. Find the downloaded file, usually in your Downloads Folder, right click it and choose Run As Administrator. Then follow the prompts. Then restart computer. Now run CCleaner and use the Registry function to remove any left over files.
Contact: doctorlaptop @ protonmail.com Mobile: 675 993 069 (no calls before 11am)