Maintaining and Securing Windows Vista Laptops by ewghwehws


                               Johnny Heikell

Maintaining and Securing
 Windows Vista Laptops
 (and protecting their users too)
           v1.1 June 2011

               Introduction (v1.0)
This presentation contains information from a number of sources: The
course Windows Vista—Maintaining and Securing Notebook Computers at
Helsinki Adult Education Center (Työväenopisto), Andy Rathbone’s Windows
Vista for Dummies, FujitsuSiemens Amilo Users’ Manual, Dan Gookin’s
Laptops for Dummies, Microsoft’s help features, Allen Wyatt’s Cleaning
Windows Xp for Dummies, various web sites, Firewalls for Dummies by
Komar and others, and some unpleasant own experience.

Please note that the material has not been proofread by another person.

Espoo in May 2009
Johnny Heikell

          Copyleft: Released in accordance with the GNU Free Documentation License
             Disclaimer: You use the information in this document at your own risk
               Introduction (v1.1)
Version 1.1 contains updates and additions to the information of the original
text, as well as corrections of language and typing errors that I have noticed.

Version 1.0 was downloaded from Scribd almost 800 time before I took it off.
I hope there is still use for a tutorial on Vista even if Windows 7 has arrived
and Windows 8 is just around the corner.

Vista never gained widespread popularity, a lot of people and organizations
stuck to Xp. Smart of them. Vista came to me with a new laptop, but it is the
last Windows version that I will ever buy. The future is with Linux.

Espoo in June 2011
                     Contents (1/4)
1.   Laptop environment (pp. 10-19)
     The dangers of heat; Extend battery life; The dangers of jolts, bumps
     and vibration; The electromagnetic (EM) environment; The dangers of
     liquids, dust, dirt, etc.

2.   Basic performance (pp. 20-47)
     Factors influencing performance; Three methods for checking system
     performance; Speed enhancing tricks: 1) Switch of Aero Glass, 2)Switch
     off visual effects, 3) Switch off Preview Pane, 4) Turn off Search indexing,
     5) Other methods; Generate a system health report; Manufacturer’s test
     options; Minimize power consumption; Windows Defender or not?;
     Security nagging & User Account Control (UAC); Readyboost for
     increased RAM; Adjust Screen Saver; Adjust font size; Windows Mobility
                     Contents (2/4)
3.   Checking & cleaning (pp. 48-79)
     Create a restore point; Deleting files; Two methods to uninstall
     programs; Vista’s own cleaning tools; If uninstall succeeds only partly;
     Selecting a third-party cleaning tool; Installing and using CCleaner;
     Manual registry cleaning; Restoring the computer; Disk defragmentation:
     Auslogics Disk Defrag; Defragmenting a USB thumb stick; Speeding the
     startup process with: 1) Windows Defender, 2) CCleaner, 3) msconfig;
     Adding a program to startup; Comments to the discussion on startup

4.   Maintenance and updating (pp. 80-97)
     The Classic View of the Control Panel; Checking and fixing hard disk
     errors; Checking and fixing external memory errors; Updating software:
     1) The anti-virus program; 2) Microsoft updates; 3) Anti-spyware
     programs; 4) Web browsers; 5) Note on programs giving obsolete update
                   Contents (3/4)
5.   Problems (pp. 98-121)
     Password forgotten; Drivers and driver updates; Troubleshooting:
     1) General, 2) Disinfection, 3) Advanced Boot Options, including
     virus cleaning; Problem solving with Micorsoft’s Knowledge Base;
     Fixing a Registry problem manually, Case: Word 2003;
     Reinstalling Windows; Note on using the manufacturer’s
     authorized service
6.   Security (pp. 122-151)
     Browser settings; E-mail security; Secure surfing habits;
     Windows Security Center; Mal/spyware scanning with F-Secure
     on-line scanner; Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware; Firewalls: Vista’s
     own and third-party solutions; Backups: 1) Using Vistas own
     backup feature, 2) SyncToy, 3) The old-fashioned way, 4) A
     blueprint solution; Summary on computer security
                     Contents (4/4)
7.   Privacy (pp. 152-173)
     Laptop theft; Encryption; Preventive measures against laptop theft;
     Secure erasing; Top Secret; Keyloggers; Scanning the computer’s
     vulnerability; Spying on our habits: 1) The gossiping browser, 2) Proxy
     services, 3) The Tor Project; A spy named Windows; Printers that give
     you away; Own security & privacy solutions

8.   Finding more information (pp. 174-179)
     A discussion on information sources, Linux, and ReactOS
CD = Compact Disk                                     GHz = Gigahertz
CD-R = Read-only CD1                                  HW = Hardware
CD-RW = Read/Write CD                                 IE = Internet Explorer
CPU = Central Processing Unit,                        IP = Internet Protocol
  “Processor”                                         ISP = Internet Service Provider
CRT = Cathode-Ray Tube                                IT = Information Technology
DPI = Dots per Inch                                   MB = Megabyte
DVD = Digital Versatile (Video)                       MHz = Megahertz
  Disk                                                PGP = Pretty Good Privacy
DVD-R = Read-only DVD                                 RAM = Random Access Memory
DVD-RW = Read/Write DVD                               SP = Service Pack
EFF = Electronic Frontier                             SW = Software
  Foundation                                          UAC = User Account Control
EM = Electromagnetic                                  USB = Universal Serial Bus
GB = Gigabyte                                         USS = Universal Safety Slot

1) There are two standard variants, marked either + or – (CD+R, CD-R, etc.), but the average
user does not need to bother
Notebook or Laptop?
– According to an American definition a notebook computer
  weighs no more than 6 pounds (2.7 kg) and is no thicker than 1
  inch (2.5 cm). Bigger beasts are laptops
– My FujitsuSiemens Amilo falls just outside those limits so it’s a
  laptop. Like most other computers that people carry in their
  shoulder bags for serious work. Thus I talk about laptops
Update or upgrade?
– Update, according to Gookin, means to improve an existing
  program, but not change its version or release number
– Upgrade means to install a newer version of some program you
  already own. Minor upgrades are when moving e.g. from version
  2.1 to 2.2; major upgrades are when going from version 2.0 to
                                                          Johnny Heikell

  1. Laptop environment

The environment has a major influence on the laptop’s reliability.
 And we, the users, are the ones with a major influence on the

 1. Laptop environment (1/9)
The dangers of heat:
– Heat shortens computer lifetime
– The following are particularly vulnerable
  to damage (in this order):
     The battery (accumulator): Its capacity can drop to just 30%
     in half a year if the computer runs too hot
     The hard disk: It usually runs quite hot
     Electronic components: The processor chip can be almost
     glowing hot
Overheating is a major reason why laptops tend
to fail as soon as the warranty period is over!
1. Laptop environment (2/9)

Countering overheating:
– Make sure that the flow of cooling
  air is unobstructed (listen to the
  noise of the fan, if it is high there
  might be a problem)
– Make sure that the laptop is
  elevated from the tabletop. No soft
  tablecloth under the computer!
– Improve the flow of air by putting a
  support under the rear edge of the      Air flow
  casing (figure). Do not obstruct the
  fan inlet though!
– Laptop cooling pads are available.                 Support
  Ask at a computer store
1. Laptop environment (3/9)

Extending battery life
– Remove the battery if the laptop is
  connected to external power supply
  for a longer period
– Save the battery in a dry and clean
– Recharge the removed battery every
  few months by inserting it into the
  computer. 3 hours of charging is
  enough to bring it up to full power
– Remember, however, that without                Remove
  the battery all unsaved files are lost
  in the case of power failure. Save
  files under work frequently!
 1. Laptop environment (4/9)

The dangers of jolts, bumps
and vibration
– Laptops are designed for a harsher environment than
  desktop computers, but mechanical stress is always
– The hard disk is particularly sensitive to mechanical
– If the computer is dropped while there is a read/write
  operation on the hard disk, all information on the hard
  disk can be destroyed. Retrieving them (if possible at
  all) can be an expensive undertaking
1. Laptop environment (5/9)
Protecting against mechanical
– When the laptop is used on a hard
  tabletop it should stand on shock
  absorbers, preferably better ones
  than the manufacturer’s glued-on
  rubber cushions (blasting at nearby
  construction sites can cause
  powerful jolts)
– The laptop should be transported in
  a purpose-designed padded
  carrying case (the strap of my bag
  once broke as I was jumping over
  some rocks….)                         Shock absorbers
– Remove all disks (DVD, CD) from
  the drives when moving the laptop
 1. Laptop environment (6/9)
The electromagnetic (EM) environment
– The laptop’s subsystems and
  microelectronic circuits can be damaged by
  unseen electromagnetic phenomena
– Main EM perils are:
      Power surges entering along the power line
      Static electric discharges from humans if the
      casing is opened
      Magnetic fields that penetrate through the
      casing and damage the hard disk
      Strong radiofrequency fields that penetrate
      through the casing and induce internal
      current surges
– Light is EM radiation but it does not usually
  cause problems to electronics
 1. Laptop environment (7/9)

Shielding the laptop against EM hazards:
– Use a shielded power plug in addition to the line shielding
  provided by the computer manufacturer
– Unplug the laptop from the power grid during thunderstorms
– Do not open the casing without proper antistatic protection
– Do not bring the laptop close to strong magnetic apparatus, e.g.
  magnetic focusing lenses in physics labs
– Do not bring the laptop close to strong radiofrequency
  transmitters, e.g. radar and broadcasting antennas
Note on radiofrequency sources: A faulty domestic
microwave oven that operates although its lid is open
can damage a computer several meters away
 1. Laptop environment (8/9)

The dangers of liquids,
dust, dirt, etc.
– Water and other liquids are a
  threat to all electrical equipment,
  in addition to being potentially hazardous when entering high-
  voltage components
– Metal particles are conductive and can cause short circuits
– Dust, crusts, and other particles can clog the keyboard
– Careless cleaning of outer surfaces can damage the display
Remember the old adage “Cleanliness is Goodliness”
– (Sorry Starbuck’s, Robert’s Coffee, et al.)
1. Laptop environment (9/9)
Prevention measures against
liquids, dust, dirt, etc
– Do not eat or drink in the vicinity of
  the laptop however tempting it may
  be!. Well, we all brake this rule so
  be ready to pay for the damages
– Clean the display with a soft, damp
  cloth (not paper, it scratches!)
– Do not spray cleaning solvents onto
  the display. It drains down into the
  display, soaks it and….
– You do not need commercial
  cleaning solvents. An equally good
  but cheaper solution is a home-
  made 50-50 mixture of vinegar and
  water (vinegar dissolves fat)
                                                           Johnny Heikell

     2. Basic performance

Microsoft has traditionally emphasized the number of features that
 DOS/Windows offers the user, even at the cost of reliability and
security. But there are things that we, the owners and users, can do
            to improve the services our laptops provide.

 2. Basic performance (1/27)
In this presentation the term “performance” refers
primarily to three aspects of the laptop:
– Processing speed, i.e. the speed by which the computer
  executes our commands
– Power consumption, which is a major issue when the laptop runs
  on its battery. Who hasn’t been cursing when working with a
  laptop in a bus, train, or aircraft and the battery fails all too soon?
– Personalization (a.k.a. Customization)
This interpretation of performance is subjective.
Microsoft certainly sees the later as useless condemned
Aero Glass being a performance enhancing feature
The laptop’s performance is greatly influenced by its
settings. We therefore need to
– Check current settings
– Change settings to optimize performance
– Turn off unneeded features
 2. Basic performance (2/27)
The performance of a computer depends, among other
things, on
– Size of system memory (a.k.a. RAM memory)
     Vista requires at least 1 GB, the recommendation is 2GB or more
     (more than 4 GB is a waste)
– Speed of and free space on the hard disk
     Vista requires at least 3 GB free space; 10 GB is the
     Vista’s automatic maintenance procedures require 15-20% hard
     disk space
– Graphics performance
     High performance is expensive and not needed by ordinary
     computer users—Buy only as much as you need!
– Processor speed (min 1.3 GHz clock frequency for Vista).
  However, memory is more important and processor power
  consumption increases with speed
 2. Basic performance (3/27)
Performance (in this case speed) can be
checked in different ways using Windows’
built-in tools
Method 1

Click: Start\Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Performance
Information and Tools

The window on the following page opens up:
       2. Basic performance (4/27)

Performance scores:
- Maximum = 5.9
- 4-5 is sufficient for
  most purposes
  (video games)
- You can live with 3+
- 2 is just about enough
  for basic use

                                             Graphics is
   The performance scores depend on the      the bottleneck
   computer’s hardware and cannot be         in this case
   improved without hardware modifications
                                                         Press to update
                                                         (takes a moment)
 2. Basic performance (5/27)
Checking performance, Method 2
Right-click with the cursor on a free area of the task bar (below).
Click: Task Manager on the pop-up list
Press: Ctrl+Shift+Esc

The window on the following page opens up:
    2. Basic performance (6/27)

   Click on the column
   headers to order
   table content

The task manager’s
“Processes” page shows
which processes
(programs) are running,
their size, and how much
central processor time
they demand (the CPU
column). In the picture the
taskmgr.exe is the biggest
consumer, it uses 4% of
processor resources
     2. Basic performance (7/27)
     By clicking on                 Dual core processor
     “Performance” the Task
     Manager’s operation is
     shown graphically

If “CPU Usage” locks at 100%
there is something wrong (it can
be 100% for a while at startup).
If so, go to “Processes”
(previous page) and try to figure
out which process is using all

     This tells you how
     much free RAM you
     have. Important!
 2. Basic performance (8/27)
Checking performance, Method 3
Click: Start\Computer

If the window that opens up does
not look similar to the one on the
next page

Click: Views\Tiles

The window on the following page opens up:
        2. Basic performance (9/27)
 Note: There are slight differences in this window among different computer
 manufacturers. This is example from a FujitsuSiemes Amilo

D: Part of
hard disk
for user

C: Part of
hard disk
for system
for perfor-
2. Basic performance (10/27)
We now move to improving the performance of
the computer, which means to
– Increase speed
– Lower power consumption
As a first step we can switch off Vista’s Aero
Glass interface (see below)
– Aero Glass is mainly a visual gadget that looks nice
  but is of no real value
– It does, however, use processing resources and
  therefore lowers speed and consumes power. And
  power consumption is important when the laptop runs
  on its battery (some laptop manuals clearly state that
  Aero Glass should be switched off in this case)
 2. Basic performance (11/27)
 One of the features of Aero Glass is to
 present open programs in dynamic 3D:

To play with it: Hold down
the computer’s Windows
key (also called Start Key
because it opens Windows’
Start Menu—have you tried
it before?) and click
repeatedly on the Tab key to
jump along the chain of
windows, one step at a time.
Pretty graphics, but how
often do you really need it?
  2. Basic performance (12/27)
  Switch off the Aero Glass interface:
Click: Start\Control Panel\Appearance
and Personalization\Personalization\
Window Color and Appearance\Open
classic appearance properties for
more color options

Select: “Windows Vista Basic” and
Click: OK

Simplified procedure:
Right-click on a free part of the screen\
Personalize\Window Color and Appearance
and “Appearance Settings” opens
  2. Basic performance (13/27)
  Switch off visual effects:
   – Visual effects can, with one
     exception, be switched off to
     improve performance

Click: Start\Control Panel\System and
Performance Information and
Tools\Advanced Tools

Select Visual Effects and tick
“Adjust for best performance.” All
settings are unselected.

Tick: “Use visual styles on windows
and buttons.” Click OK
  2. Basic performance (14/27)
 Turn off the Preview Pane to increase speed

  Click: Start\User\Organize\Layout\Preview Pane\

The “Preview Pane” is
yet another Microsoft
gadget that you can
live without if the
computer is slow
 2. Basic performance (15/27)
Search Indexing is of little value unless you do
frequent searches on the computer
 – Turn it off to improve speed

Click: Start\Computer\
Right-click on the C: driver
Click: Properties\General Tab
Uncheck: Index this drive for
faster searching. Click: OK

On the next dialog box, Check: Apply
changes to drive C:\, subfolders
and files. Click: OK
2. Basic performance (16/27)
Other actions to improve performance:
– Closing applications that
  are not needed; each
  open application uses
  resources. You can see
  which applications are
  open by clicking Alt+Tab
  (or simply by looking at
  the task bar)
– Closing all applications before switching to another user account.
  Vista allows applications to remain open, but they use
  processing resources even when hidden to the current user
– Lowering power consumption by adjusting brightness of the
  screen, switching to “silent mode” in computers where this
  feature is available (although this lowers speed), etc.
2. Basic performance (17/27)
Generating a system health report (1/2):
Click: Start\Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Performance
Information and Tools\Advanced Tools\Generate a system health

Once you have clicked on
Generate a system health
report the computer
immediately goes to work
and displays the window
shown to the right
   2. Basic performance (18/27)
  Generating a system health report (2/2):

After about a minute the
computer is ready and
displays the health report.
It is a long list with
dropdown menus. Its
interpretation asks for
deeper skills, but the list
can be saved or printed
and showed to a specialist
in case problems emerge
   2. Basic performance (19/27)
  Using the manufacturer’s test options

Usually the computer
manufacturer provides
some tools for checking the
computer’s performance. In
my FujitsuSiemens Amilo
the test options can be
found behind the “First
Steps” icon that
automatically installs on the
desktop when the computer
is taken into use
    2. Basic performance (20/27)
   Minimizing power consumption
    Click: Start\Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Performance
    Information and Tools\Adjust Power Settings

By checking Power
saver the power
consumption is reduced,
albeit at the cost of
reduced speed. But who
cares about computer
speed on a transatlantic
flight? Battery longevity
is more important….
2. Basic performance (21/27)
Windows Defender or not?
– Defender is not a celebrated malware defender, third-party
  freeware is better (AdAware, Spybot Search & Destroy, etc.)
– You may want to shut it down to stop it from slowing down your
  computer (or perhaps uninstall it—see Section 3—but note that
  Defender can be useful in other applications, as shown later)

Click: Start\All Programs\
Windows Defender\Tools\Options\

Uncheck: Automatically scan
my computer (recommended).
Click: Save. Defender is still
available for manual scanning
whenever you like
     2. Basic performance (22/27)
     The User Account Control (UAC) is a disputed
     feature of Vista
      – You can turn it off to stop Vista from nagging—but at the cost of
        lowered security!

Click: Start\Control Panel\ User
Accounts and Family Safety\

Type: “uac” into the search

Click: Turn user control on or

Unselect: Use UAC to help
protect your computer. Click: OK
2. Basic performance (23/27)
Readyboost increases your RAM
– It allows an external memory (USB thumb stick, etc.)
  to be used as part of the computer’s RAM
                Insert a sufficiently
                powerful USB stick into
                the computer

                Click: Speed up my

                  Adjust the slider to select
                  which part of the memory
                  stick should be set aside
                  as speed booster
                   Tick: Use this device
                   Click: OK
  2. Basic performance (24/27)
 Adjusting the screen saver
  Click: Start\Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\
  Personalization\Screen Saver

The screen saver was originally invented
to protect CRT displays. With modern flat-
screen displays it is a visual gadget

         Screen saver
         graphics adjustment

Select delay before
screen saver comes on

         Additional security by ticking “On
         resume, display logon screen”
     2. Basic performance (25/27)
    Adjusting font size. 1) The wrong way
     Click: Start\Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\
     Personalization\Display Settings

 Recall the faster method to reach
 “Personalization” by right-clicking on an
 empty part of the screen and clicking

       Adjust by sliding the pointer. The
       pre-adjusted value is “High”

This method cannot be recommended
because it automatically lowers the resolution
of the display (the display is blurred)
      2. Basic performance (26/27)
      Adjusting font size. 2) The right way
       Click: ..\Personalize\Adjust font size (DPI)

This method is recommended as it does
not lower the resolution. However,
some programs may not fit the screen.
You have to test to find the right value
     2. Basic performance (27/27)
    Windows Mobility Center
     – For quick adjustment of laptop settings
     Click: Start\Control Panel\Mobile PC\Windows Mobility Center

Adjust brightness
according to
background light

Adjust to increase
battery life

Turn on when in a
wireless LAN area
                                                       Johnny Heikell

  3. Checking & cleaning

    Cleaning means getting rid of all the garbage—visible and
hidden—that accumulate in the computer over time. Cleaning frees
        memory space and improves speed and security.

3. Checking & cleaning (1/31)
Always start cleaning by creating a restore point
– If it goes wrong you can return the computer to the
  state it had in before you blundered
Click: Start\Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Backup and
Restore Center\Create a restore point or change settings

                   Click: Create... and
                   give the restore point a     The right part of the
                   name (not date!)             window is unimportant
    3. Checking & cleaning (2/31)
    Comments on the restore feature
     – Operates on the hard disk, the minimum is a 1GB hard disk
     – Requires at least 300 MB free disk space
     – Can take up to 15% of the of the hard disk
    Vista automatically creates a daily restore point if the
    computer is on at the preset time

Click: Start\Control Panel\System and
Maintenance\Backup and Restore
Center\Repair Windows using System

        Restore points created
        automatically by Vista

    Check for more restore points
3. Checking & cleaning (3/31)
Cleanliness is Goodliness, is valid also for
computer memories

                    As time goes by the computer accumulates a
                    lot of garbage. Part of it is caused by our
                    own actions, but a good part is generated by
                    the computer itself or is downloaded from the
                    Internet. These junk files & registry errors
                    take up memory space and therefore slow
                    down the processor. In the worst case the
                    trash can contain viruses, worms, spybots,
                    etc. Consequently, regular cleaning of the
                    computer should be as natural as cleaning
                    our home. Start by clicking Start\User or by
                    selecting the same user file from the
                    Computer window (Start\Computer\User)
  3. Checking & cleaning (4/31)
  Take a critical look at your files. What can you
  delete or move to a CD/DVD?
                            Put the cursor behind the last column
 This page shows some       heading and right-click, select more...
 tools to use when
 analyzing your files

Get familiar with Vista
features hidden within
the toolbar

Delete or move files that
you do not need any                           And more column
more. They all require                        options are available.
memory space!                                 Tens of them…
     3. Checking & cleaning (5/31)
    Check the number of installed programs
      – Uninstall those that you do not use

   Why have OpenOffice
   in addition to MS
   Office? (Its fun!)

Do you need Nero in
a Vista computer?
Maybe not

  Four web browsers, are
  they really needed?
  (Yes, if you develop
  web sites and must
  check them with
  different browsers)
  3. Checking & cleaning (6/31)
  Uninstalling programs, Method 1
Click: Start\All Programs

This method can be used with programs
that come with the uninstall feature.
Otherwise you have to go for Method 2

 Open the program that you want
 to uninstall. Click: Uninstall (my
 computer talks Finnish here)
   3. Checking & cleaning (7/31)
   Uninstalling programs, Method 2

Click: Start\Control
Programs and Features

Select the program that
you want to uninstall.
Click: Uninstall/Change
and follow the prompts
     3. Checking & cleaning (8/31)
    Uninstalling programs, Vista’s own cleaning tool
     Click: Start\All programs\Accessories\
     System tools\Disk cleanup\My files only\

     Select: System (C:)
     Click: OK

Disk Cleanup
runs for a while

   You have to manually
   select which files to delete

           Warning: Read the description before
           selecting an object for cleaning!
3. Checking & cleaning (9/31)
What if the uninstall succeeds only partly?
Two cases from my own experience:
1) My Xp laptop had big problems. It was slow and did not open all
   Internet pages. At the recommendation of Microsoft’s support people I
   reinstalled Windows. (Big job, took me three weeks before everything
   was back again.) When I reinstalled SpyBot Search & Destroy the
   program found traces of the previous installation. Even a complete
   reinstallation of Windows does not clean everything!
2) Something went wrong when I installed Python (x,y). I uninstalled it and
   tried to reinstall it. No chance! The previous installation had left too
   much junk behind. (That’s one of the risks with freeware.)

You need a software cleaning tool to do a more
proper job
3. Checking & cleaning (10/31)
Selecting third-party cleanup software:
 – Numerous alternatives are available but you cannot trust all of them
 – Some are know to appear effective by installing junk that they then
   clean up
 – In the worst case the cleanup tool can mess up your computer’s
   registry, and then you have a really big problem
The CCleaner freeware ( is a good choice
Two other cleaning tools that I have installed on my laptop are Glary
Utilities ( and Privacy Mantra (no web site).
Privacy Mantra will be discussed in Section 7
Glary Utilities has the additional benefit of providing a secure file
shredder that erases files so that no one can recover them (if you
just delete a file, Windows only destroys the address but leaves the
data intact until it is overwritten)
CCleaner alone is good, with three cleaning tools you should be
quite sure to get rid of everything
3. Checking & cleaning (11/31)
 Installing CCleaner

The installation
procedure is quite
normal. Do however
unselect the last option,
“Add CCleaner Yahoo!
Toolbar and use
CCleaner from your
browser” (Who paid them
to put that one in?)
3. Checking & cleaning (12/31)
 The CCleaner window
                       Check selected alternatives for
                       both “Windows” and “Applications”

Clean files

Clean registry

Click to
analyze your

Click to run
  3. Checking & cleaning (13/31)
    CCleaner, Example 1
This is the file garbage that
CCleaner found in my one-
year old laptop after other
cleanup measures. 419 MB
can be freed. And this
computer has been hooked
up on the Internet only to
install and update

     Click: Run Cleaner
     to get rid of the junk
   3. Checking & cleaning (14/31)
    CCleaner, Example 2
  This is the list of registry
  errors of the same
  computer. It’s a long list…

      Click: Fix selected

CCleaner asks if it should
save a backup of the Registry
3. Checking & cleaning (15/31)
Note on CCleaner:
 – CCleaner is a good tool but it does not clean
 – Three different cleaning programs (!) do the job really
   well, but that’s an overkill for home users (later we’ll
   see what a second one can do)
As soon the cleaning is done new junk starts to
 – Some is generated by Windows
 – Some is generated by our own actions:
      From ordinary use
      From surfing on the Internet
      From installing and uninstalling programs
3. Checking & cleaning (16/31)
The ultimate Registry cleanup: Manual cleaning (1/2)
 – It asks for skill, time, and patience
 – You really have to know what you are doing because you can
   mess up the Registry in a bad way (an if you do, that’s it with
 – The issue goes beyond the level of this presentation (ok, an
   example of fixing a Registry problem will be shown later)
If you cannot find a suitable course on registry cleaning, try to
find specialized literature on the subject. I only know of Allen
Wyatt’s Cleaning Windows Xp for Dummies, and
does not offer a better alternative
Some general information on Windows registry can be found
on the web, but they seem to be valid only for older versions
of Windows (do not know if the Registry has changed)
  3. Checking & cleaning (17/31)
    Manual cleaning (2/2): Where it is done
     Click: Start\ & Type into the Start Search field: regedit
     Click: regedit\ and the Registry Editor opens up

Type here
 3. Checking & cleaning (18/31)
   So what if you blunder and need to restore
   the computer to a previous state?
    Click: Start\Control Panel\System and Maintenance\Backup and
    Restore Center\Repair Windows using System restore\Next

Select a recent restore point (you made
a restore point, didn’t you?) where you
know that the computer functioned
without problems. Click Next and
proceed as instructed by the prompts

    The good news are that you
    can undo a restore point if you
    blunder here as well
     3. Checking & cleaning (19/31)
       Disk defragmentation (1/4)
        – Reorganizes hard disk content for better efficiency
        – Defragmentation is an automatic and scheduled
          operation in Vista, but it can also be made manually:
       Click: Start\All Programs\Accessories\System Tools\Disk

  Check to allow automatic
Modify defragmentation schedule
  Click to start deframentation

 The process starts and a
 prompts: “This may take from a
 few minutes to a few hours”
3. Checking & cleaning (20/31)
 Disk defragmentation (2/4)
  – Modifying automatic defragmentation schedule

  Click: Start\All Programs\Accessories\System Tools\Disk
  Defragmenter\Modify schedule...

    Is once a month enough?


    Is 1AM the best time?

Note: If the laptop suddenly
becomes slow, it may be that
the scheduled defrag is running
3. Checking & cleaning (21/31)
Disk defragmentation (3/4)
 – Vista does not present hard disk contents graphically
   like Xp does, this feature will return with Windows 7
 – Third-party, Vista-compatible SW gives better
   understanding of the defrag process
 – Auslogics Disk Defrag (, see next
   page) is one freeware solution
      Small, only 1.8 MB
      It is fast, does its job while you have a coffee
      It also defrags external memories
 – Diskeeper ( is perhaps better
   known, but it requires registration and the company
   has been criticized on ethical grounds
   3. Cleaning & checking (22/31)
     Disk defragmentation (4/4)
      – Auslogics Disk Defrag

Hard disk before

3. Checking & cleaning (23/31)
Defragmenting a USB thumb stick (1/2)
 – The Vista process described above for hard disks
   does not work for removable memories
 – Do the following instead (it
   is claimed to work, but on my
   Amilo it jumps to the hard disk,
   no matter what I do):

 Click: Start\Computer\
 Right-Click on memory to be
 defragmented (e.g. G: or H:)
 Click: Properties\Tools\
 Defragment Now...

                          Click to start
 3. Checking & cleaning (24/31)
   Defragmenting a USB thumb stick (2/2)
    – Auslogics Disk Defrag

Select external
memory to be
and Click:

3. Checking & cleaning (25/31)
Speeding the startup processes, introduction:
 – Computer startup can be slow if too many programs
   are automatically opened (loaded)
 – Need to limit program startup to a minimum (20
   programs is OK, with 40 you get a slow response)
 – The following three tools for analyzing and disabling
   startup programs are discussed here:
Windows Defender (a reason not to uninstall it!)
CCleaner (or similar third-party tool)
msconfig (effective, mainly for expert use, can
give problems in the wrong hands)
    3. Checking & cleaning (26/31)
      Speeding startup with Windows Defender
       Click: Start\Control Panel\Change startup programs (under

    List of programs that
    load during startup. Go
    through it and determine
    what you can disable

Select a program and Click
Disable to deny it being
loaded during startup. If you
Click Remove you may have
to reinstall the program to
get it back on the list

  Detailed program explanation
  3. Checking & cleaning (27/31)
    Speeding startup with CCleaner freeware
    Open CCleaner, Click: Tools\Startup

What you see is basically
the same list as for Windows
Defender, but less
explanations are given for
programs on the list

Click: Disable to prevent a
program from being
loaded; Delete takes them
off the list
    3. Checking & cleaning (28/31)
        Speeding startup with msconfig
        Click: Start, Type: msconfig in the Start Search box, Click: msconfig
        (at the top)\


3. Checking & cleaning (29/31)
Adding a program to the startup process
Click: Start\All Programs\Startup

                      The Startup
                      file is empty

                       Copy a program to
                       the Startup file
                       (here: Picasa) by
                       pressing Ctrl and
                       drag/dropping it
                       into Startup
3. Checking & cleaning (30/31)
Speeding startup, additional comments (1/2)

• For the ordinary home user Windows
  Defender is the best tool
• Even Defender does not tell which
  programs really are needed
• Look for additional information from
  Microsoft Help or from the web
• Big programs load slow and should be
  the first to be axed (if possible)
• Check program sizes with the Task
  Manager. Note that the programs are
  in reality larger than shown (even 3x)
3. Checking & cleaning (31/31)
Speeding startup, additional comments (2/2)
 – You can select between two extreme strategies:
     Disable one program at a time, look at how it influences your
     computer. Enable if you do not like what you find. Go to the
     next program
     Disable all at once, enable one at a time and look at how the
     behavior changes. Stop when you are satisfied
Remember to make a recovery point before you
do anything drastic!
Finally: Effective antivirus, anti-spy and similar
defensive software can slow down startup more
than any other single process
                                                           Johnny Heikell

4. Maintenance and updating

   You need to keep your laptop in good working condition by
    constantly maintaining and updating its software. This is
  particularly important for antivirus and other security software
       since new forms of malware are constantly emerging.

4. Maintenance and updating (1/17)
     A good part of the discussion under Section 3
     relates to maintenance:
 –     Creating a restore point & restoring
 –     Checking & deleting files
 –     Uninstalling programs
 –     Cleaning & cleaning tools
 –     Hard disk & USB defragmentation
 –     Speeding the startup process
     This section adds checking and fixing memory
     errors to the maintenance process
     Most of the pages, however, concern update
     But first a note on a recent antivirus program
4. Maintenance and updating (2/17)
 Windows is notorious for its security flaws. Partly for reason and partly
 because every hacker wants to beat the market leader
 The very first defense line against malware is a reliable and up-to-date
 antivirus program
 At the end of 2010 Microsoft published its own antivirus program, called
 Security Essentials
 At the time of writing, MS Security Essentials (MSE) is compatible with
 Xp, Vista, and Windows 7, and can be downloaded for free
 According to an international survey in the second quarter of 2011,
 MSE has become the world’s most popular antivirus program (market
 share 10.8%, just ahead of Avira Free)
 Antivirus programs are discussed later in this chapter, other security
 issues will be discussed in Chapter 6
 Note however, that we cannot install two antivirus programs on a
 computer. The choice of which one to use is our to make
4. Maintenance and updating (3/17)
       Control Panel (1/2), its alternative Classic View
       as a toolbox for maintenance & updating
Click: Start\Control Panel\
Classic View

Here are the most useful
tools, accessed through the
Classic View:

-   Administrative Tools
-   Backup & Restore Center
-   Power Options
-   Printers
-   System
-   Windows Update
4. Maintenance and updating (4/17)
     Control Panel (2/2), what the main tools can do for you
 –     Administrative Tools: Lets you free up space on the hard drive
       by deleting garbage and do some interesting diagnostics
 –     Backup and Restore Center: It’s basic and awkward, but it is
       free and leaves you with no excuse for not backing up your
 –     Power Options: Lets you decide your laptop’s degree of
       lethargy (discussed in Section 2)
 –     Printers: Lets you stop printing a full 100-page document when
       you only wanted one page
 –     System: Lists your version of Vista, your computer’s
       horsepower and networking status, and the scorecard rating of
       what Vista thinks of your computer’s performance (Section 2)
 –     Windows Update: Lets Microsoft automatically siphon security
       fixes into your computer through the Internet, here is where
       you can turn the automatic function on and off
4. Maintenance and updating (5/17)
 Checking and fixinging hard disk errors
                    Click: Start\Computer\

                    Right-click on the hard
                    disk (typically C:)

                    Click: Properties\Tools\
                    Check Now...

                                     This selection requires the
                                     computer to be restarted.
                                     Click: Schedule disk check
                                     and restart
4. Maintenance and updating (6/17)
 Checking and fixing hard disk errors, comments
 – Repeat the process for all hard disk parts (C: and D:
   in FujitsuSiemens Amilo)
 – “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” is a
   very slow operation (hours)
 – The computer cannot be used simultaneously, so
   make sure you can give the computer time!
 – Never switch off the computer while recovery is
   running! Have the battery installed in case of a
   sudden power failure
 – Repeat the process every few months
4. Maintenance and updating 7/17)

Checking and fixing external memory
                         The process is the same as
                         for the hard disk. However,
                         you do not need to restart
                         the computer even if both
                         options are checked
4. Maintenance and updating (8/17)
 Updating programs (1/10)
 – The following discussion assumes that the computer is used off-
   line and is connected to the Internet only to update programs or
   for other maintenance purposes
 Programs should be updated in the following sequence
 for maximum security:
 1.   Antivirus program
 2.   Microsoft updates
 3.   Other anti-malware programs
 4.   Web browsers
 5.   Other programs
 When updating is finished, disconnect the computer
 from the web and scan for malware (viruses, trojans,
 and the like) and spyware infections
4. Maintenance and updating (9/17)
 Updating programs (2/10): Antivirus programs
 – Case 1: Avira AntiVir (adware*)

    Click to update

                                       * The price for Avira is a
                                       constant stream of
                                       commercial spam: “Buy this
                            Click to
                                       extension for only €19.95!”
                                       Choose AVG Antivirus or
                                       Avast if you get tired of the
                                       ads that Avira force-feeds
                                       you with. They are all
                                       equally reliable
4. Maintenance and updating (10/17)

Updating programs (3/10): Antivirus programs
– Case 2: Norman antivirus (payware)
Click: Start\All Programs\Norman Virus Control

                     Click to

                                                   12 minutes later
                                                   Norman tells that
                                                   download is
                    Norman’s Internet Update       finished. No need
                    window. 33 MB is coming when   to interfere
                    three weeks has elapsed from
                    the previous update
 4. Maintenance and updating (11/17)
 Updating programs (4/10): Microsoft updates (1/2)
   – Microsoft releases updates each month on the second Tuesday,
     urgent security releases at other times
   – The laptop will get the most recent Microsoft releases if it is
     updated around the 15th of the month*

Click: Start\All

                                                   And we go
                                                   through the
*) Some releases come
at other dates. Vista SP2                          sequence on
was released on May                                the following
26th, 2009                                         page:
     4. Maintenance and updating (12/17)

     Updating programs (5/10): Microsoft updates (2/2)
                        IE8 is being
   Click to update

                     In this case Windows
                        had checked the
A full 128 MB is
                       need for updates
arriving since it                                    Restart!
                       while the antivirus
includes the IE8
                       update was being
4. Maintenance and updating (13/17)

Updating programs (6/10): Anti-spyware
– Example 1: AdAware (freeware with subtle ads)
           Open AdAware and
           Click: Web Update

                        The Update

                        & installing
     4. Maintenance and updating (14/17)
     Updating programs (7/10): Anti-spyware
      – Example 2: Spybot Search & Destroy (donationware)
                    Click on a
Open Spybot S&D     download site
and Click: Search                                 Download is
                    from the                      in progress
for Updates         mirror list
   4. Maintenance and updating (15/17)

    Updating Programs (8/10): Web browsers
     – Case 1: Firefox (freeware)

In Firefox, like in
many other
programs, the
update function is
hidden under Help        The update is installed
                         when Firefox restarts
4. Maintenance and updating (16/17)

Updating Programs (9/10): Web browsers
– Case 2: Opera (freeware)

                                 No new updates
                                 in this case

  As with Firefox, the
  update function is hidden
  behind Help in Opera
    4. Maintenance and updating (17/17)

    Updating Programs (10/10): Other programs
     – Note on obsolete information being fed to you:

                                        At the time this information
When checking for updates some          was given OpenOffice 3.1
programs may continuously               was available (well, 3.0 was
answer that the program is up to        up to date…)
date, although an upgrade is
available. This has happened to
me with OpenOffice (see right)
and Google SketchUp. If you
suspect the information that the
program gives, you have to go to
the relevant web site to check the
                                                    Johnny Heikell

           5. Problems

Sooner or later the computer runs into problems. Before
calling for expensive help we can try to use some of the
  diagnostic and repair tools that come with Windows

            5. Problems (1/23)
    Problems-related issues have been discussed in
    earlier sections
–     Section 2:
         Checking performance with Task Manager
         Generating a system health report
         Manufacturer’s test options
–     Section 3:
         Create a restore point, restoring
         Checking & Cleaning
–     Section 4:
         Checking and fixing memory errors
                   5. Problems (2/23)
     Password forgotten and no alternative password
     that can be used
      – You can unlock the computer with a Password Reset Disk
      – Create the disk when changing the password

      Click: Start\Control Panel\User Accounts and Family Safety\User
      Accounts\Change your password

Once the password has
been changed, Click:
Create a password
reset disk and follow
the prompts

     Keep the disk
     in a safe place!
             5. Problems (3/23)
Updating drivers (1/2)
 – As a rule drivers should be updated only if they give problems,
   e.g. if a newly installed printer does not want to cooperate
 – Drivers go deep into the core
   of Windows, driver problems
   can cause havoc with the

Click: Start\Control
Panel\System and
Maintenance\Device Manager
Select the suspected device,
Click: Action\Update Driver

      And the window on the
      next page opens:
           5. Problems (4/23)
Updating drivers (2/2)
– The driver update search window for the device in
  case opens up:

You have to be connected to
the Internet to let the
computer search for updates
from the device
manufacturer’s web site.
Proceed as guided by the
prompts and hope that that
takes care of the problem…
You remembered to create a
return point, didn’t you?
          5. Problems (5/23)
Troubleshooting (1/8): General
– As a general rule, suspect the easiest problem
  alternatives first
– Analyze the problem at hand, what could have
  caused it:
     The kids played and unplugged the Internet connection?
     Too many programs open, forgot to defragment?
     A newly installed program or peripheral device?
     Some actions that you have taken, e.g. changed settings?
     Your Internet Service Provider has temporary problems?
– If there is a positive answer to such questions it also
  gives hints for corrective measures
     Connect lose cables, wait for the service to return
     Reboot, defragment, uninstall, update drivers
     Fix memory errors, restore
              5. Problems (6/23)
Troubleshooting (2/8): Note on disinfection
– Delete all restore points in case you have reason to believe that
  the hard disk is infected with a virus (or other malware). Using an
  infected restore point can reinfect the computer
– Once the computer is clean you create a new restore point

Click: Start\Control Panel\System and
Maintenance\System\System Protection

  Uncheck everything under
  “Automatic restore points.” Click: OK
  Click: Turn System Restore Off
  when Vista warns that you are about
  to delete all restore points
  Click: OK
                    5. Problems (7/23)
      Troubleshooting (3/8): Advanced Boot Options
       – In serious problem cases you have to enter Windows’
         Advanced Boot Options

Reboot the computer and tap
repeatedly F8 before Windows
opens. It then boots into
“Advanced Boot Options”
(however, some computers have
additional individual requirements
for the boot process).

  Note the descriptions given
  for each alternative, in this
  case for “Safe Mode”
                  5. Problems (8/23)
   Troubleshooting (4/8): Advanced Boot Options
     – Last Known Good Configuration
Use Up – Down keys (the
mouse won’t work) to highlight
Last Good Configuration and
Click: ENTER

Each time Windows starts it
saves information on the
present configuration,
analyzes it, and determines
if it is a good configuration.
This configuration can now
be called upon similar to
created restore points. It
may solve the problem
              5. Problems (9/23)
 Troubleshooting (5/8): Advanced Boot Options
  – Safe Mode (1/4), entering it

Use Up – Down keys to
highlight Safe Mode and
Click: ENTER

The modified Windows
screen with Safe Mode
printed in each corner,
and an instructive Help
window, pop up (next
                   5. Problems (10/23)
      Troubleshooting (6/8): Advanced Boot Options
       – Safe Mode (2/4), the window
 Read the instructions for
 further guidance, e.g.:

“If you don't know the
cause of the problem, you
can use the process of
elimination to help you find
the problem. Try starting all
of the programs you
commonly use, including
the programs in your
Startup folder, one by one,
to see if a program might
be the cause of the
            5. Problems (11/23)
    Troubleshooting (7/8): Advanced Boot Options
    – Safe Mode (3/4), some notes on Safe Mode
         It gives access to the bare-bone Windows, without loading
         extra “add-on” drivers or software
         It thus bypasses problematic drivers and software
         It allows virus scanning and diagnostic tools to be used
    – Do virus scanning in Safe Mode if you suspect a virus
      infection because:
         It gives the anti-virus program a better chance to remove
         difficult malware that is located in the startup locations of the
!        registry and file structure)
         May even cause some malware to uninstall themselves when
         Safe Mode is entered
         Note the statement made elsewhere that you should begin by
         deleting all restore points
        5. Problems (12/23)
Troubleshooting (8/8): Advanced Boot Options
– Safe Mode (4/4), Windows can automatically jump to
  Safe Mode when it starts up:
     It indicates that Windows has identified a serious problem
     You should try to identify the problem as belonging to
     installed software or peripheral devices
     If that does not succeed you most likely have a corrupted
– So off to reinstall Windows!
                            #   Ψ   !
         5. Problems (13/23)
Problem solving with Microsoft’s Knowledge
Base (1/4)
– The Knowledge Base be found at
– The Knowledge Base contains some 250,000 articles written by
  Microsoft’s staff
– The following describes an attempt that I made to get rid of the
  “Windows blocked some startup programs” message that
  popped up every time when I switched on the computer
– The immediate problem was solved, but I did not go into the
  question of what Microsoft Pinyin IME Installer does and why the
  User Account Control opposes it. (Well, some surfing taught me
  that Pinyin IME has to do with inputting Chinese characters.
  Perhaps I should have removed it)
– Curing cancer with aspirin, one could say….
              5. Problems (14/23)
   Problem solving with Microsoft’s
   Knowledge Base (2/4)

Write search
condition for the

Microsoft’s first
suggestion is KB
(Knowledge Base)
document 930367
               5. Problems (15/23)
    Problem solving with Microsoft’s
    Knowledge Base (3/4)

KB 930367 gives
the exact problem
description and
three alternative
solutions. The
question is: which
program is it, what
does it do, which is
the likely outcome
if it is removed?
               5. Problems (16/23)
    Problem solving with Microsoft’s
    Knowledge Base (4/4)

Clicking on the icon Blocked
startup programs and Run
blocked programs reveals
that the program in case is
“Microsoft Pinyin IME
Installer.” Defender is not
very helpful, but disabling
the program should not do
any harm
                 5. Problems (17/23)
     Fixing a Registry problem manually (1/3)
      – Case: Problems with Word 2003

Problem description:
When opening a new
document with Word
2003 the cursor is
located in the page
Header, at the very top
of the page. This has
happened to me both
in Windows Xp and
Vista (the same MS
Office version)

        Cursor in page Header
                 5. Problems (18/23)
     Fixing a Registry problem manually (2/3)

     Click: Start\ & Type into the Start Search field: regedit
     Click: regedit\ at the top of the window. The Registry Editor opens

Inside the Registry Editor,

Right-click on Word, select

(Continues on next page)
              5. Problems (19/23)
  Fixing a Registry problem manually (3/3)
Give the export a name (e.g. Word)   Start Word, it takes a while since
and save it on the desktop. Delete   Windows reinstalls the deleted file.
the Word file in the Registry        The cursor should now be right
          5. Problems (20/23)
Ultimate attempt: Reinstalling Windows (1/3)
– Safe Mode or other Advanced Boot Options may not solve the
– In some cases the computer is messed up to the extent that you
  cannot even use these tools
– Such problems indicate a corrupted Registry
In such cases the only solution is to reinstall Windows
– For that you need the recovery DVD(s) that was (were) delivered
  with the computer, or which you had to burn when you took the
  computer into use for the first time (the sales assistant told you
  to buy DVD-Rs for that purpose, didn’t he?)
– Hope you can find the DVDs! If not, you have to contact the
  manufacturer or his authorized service agent
           5. Problems (21/23)
Ultimate attempt: Reinstalling Windows (2/3)
 – The reinstall process deletes everything (almost) from the computer.
   Programs, data files, bookmarks, settings, etc. All will be gone
 – If you do not have a recent backup of your files & bookmarks, see if you
   can still make one
The process is simple:
 – Insert the (first) installation DVD
 – Start the computer
 – Follow the prompts, it takes perhaps an hour
Then you have to go through the laborious process of installing
everything else again:
 – Start with the antivirus software
 – Then hook up on the Internet and update:
       First the antivirus program
       Next Windows, which may require the process to be repeated several times
 – After that you are ready for the rest: AdAware, browsers, Spybot S&D,
   OpenOffice, CCleaner, SyncTroy, Adobe, MS Office, TrueCrypt, etc.
         5. Problems (22/23)
Ultimate attempt: Reinstalling Windows (3/3)
– The reinstallation process is slow, it took me two weeks of my
  spare time when I did it for the first time—ok, I’m not the
  smartest guy in the world
– Nonetheless, some “specialists” think that Windows should be
  reinstalled every year to keep the computer clean—who can
  afford to pay those guys? Guess it is the taxpayers
– When you have gone through the reinstallation process once
  you learn to appreciate the value of having backups of
  everything—the whip on the back teaches you
– The process also teaches you to be selective in your surfing
  habits—everything fun is either forbidden or taxed!
– Furthermore, you learn to ask for recovery DVDs the next time
  you buy a computer
        5. Problems (23/23)
When is the time to call the computer
manufacturer’s authorized service?
– If the warranty is valid, do it at once. It saves you from
  a lot of work
– After the warranty period: After the tips given above
  have failed or
     In case you have spilled coffee into the computer and it does
     not start after being thoroughly dried
     In case you have caused mechanical damages to it
     In case you have reason to suspect any other HW-related
     problem (the hard disk is not impossible to change, though)
But professional help may not come any
cheaper than a new laptop!
                                                   Johnny Heikell

             6. Security

Security means preemptive measures that safeguard the
 laptop from HW or SW related hazards, together with
 actions to be taken in the case unwanted events occur

6. Security (1/29)

 Hackers’ Song:

 “Put another password in,
 Bomb it out and try again
 Try to get past logging in,
 We're hacking, hacking, hacking

 Try his first wife's maiden name,
 This is more than just a game,
 It's real fun, but just the same,
 It's hacking, hacking, hacking”

 The Nutcracker (Hackers UK)
                  6. Security (2/29)
  A good part of the discussion in earlier sections has
  been related to laptop security
  Here we shall add more concepts:
   –   Browser settings
   –   E-mail security
   –   Surfing habits
   –   Windows Security Center
   –   F-Secure on-line malware/spyware scanner
   –   Firewalls
   –   USB risks & security scanning
   –   Backup and restore

Note: I mainly use Firefox because I support open-source ideas. There is
however reason to install more than one web browser, since when a major
update occurs (as from Firefox 3 to 4) it may take time before security and
privacy add-ones are compatible with the new version (or better still, wait
before you install a new version).
                   6. Security (3/29)
     Browser settings
      – Browser settings allow us to improve security and
        privacy. In the case of Firefox:

      Click: Tools\Options...\

Go carefully
through all
options under
the tabs and
as appropriate

  Always click Clear Private Data when
  exiting a sensitive web page, e.g. your
  bank account, or when leaving a public
  computer (library, Internet café, etc.)
                6. Security (4/29)
   E-mail security (1/2)
    – Use secure passwords to your mail boxes! At least 8 characters,
      mixed upper/lower case letters, figures, special characters; e.g.
      Dwbo15M--52iT (=Dad was born on 15 March 1952 in Turku )
    – Beware of password hint alternatives offered by Yahoo! and
      other service providers. Remember that it led to Sarah Palin’s
      password being quickly guessed by a hacker!
    – Use the PGP encryption possibility offered e.g. by Thunderbird’s
      Enigmail add-on if you exchange confidential messages

Enigmail PGP
icon in
Write window
             6. Security (5/29)
E-mail security (2/2)
– Use your ISP’s security tools (mal/spyware & spam scanning)
  even if the service has a price tag
– Suspect all incoming mail; most viruses enter computers via
  attached e-mail files
– Messages from your friends can be retransmissions by robots
  with attachments containing malware or spyware (happened to
  me with an e-mail from China, first came the real one and a
  while later a retransmission with attachments)
– Delete, never open, suspected spam messages
– Before all: Never answer to spam, however many millions your
  unknown Nigerian relative offers! If you do, the flow of spam just
– Never follow links in an e-mail that lead to your bank!
– Beware of phising (pronounced “fishing”) and other forms of
  social engineering: Banks never ask for your account number or
  passwords by e-mail—criminals do
            6. Security (6/29)
Surfing habits (1/4): General rules for web
behavior (1/2)
– Use secure passwords for your user accounts!
– Make sure that your firewall and anti-malware/anti-spyware tools
  are updated and that the firewall has appropriate settings
– Close the Internet connection (modem, etc.) when you do not
  need it; don’t forget the hidden danger of wireless networks!
– Switch off the computer when you do not need it—Europe needs
  a nuclear power station just to supply stand-by electronics!
– Be serious about security warnings from your browser
– Suspect all unknown sites, use McAfee SiteAdvisor or a similar
  tool as your guide (see below)
– Check that the connection has authentic SSL protection before
  you feed confidential information over the web (see below)
– Empty the browser’s cache as soon as you check out from your
  Internet bank account (Firefox: Tools\Clear Private Data)
            6. Security (7/29)
Surfing habits (2/4): General rules for web
behavior (2/2)
– Download material only from trusted sources; save a
  downloaded file and scan it before opening or installing it
– If possible, download from the web using a separate (sacrificed)
  Internet PC, scan for viruses, bring the download to the laptop on
  a USB, and scan for viruses with a different antivirus program
  before opening the files
– Avoid naming a user account “Administrator”, because malware
  target that term. Rename it something else less conspicuous like
– Surf only with a “Standard user” account. If malware enter
  through an “Administrator” account the whole computer is open
  to them. If you are the administrator, create yourself a standard
  user account for surfing
– Maintain your privacy at library, Internet café and other public
  computers by erasing the browser’s cache when you are finished
                      6. Security (8/29)
    Surfing habits (3/4): Check web sites before
     – Example: McAfee SiteAdvisor (freeware)
McAfee SiteAdvisor is a freeware
tool that gives traffic-light security
alerts about web sites found by
the browser. SiteAdvisor installs
on IE and Firefox.

  Red alerts for Xinhua news
  agency, green light for
  Wikipedia. Put the cursor on
  the “light” to get an explanation

    McAfee SiteAdvisor icon & color
    code for the present page
         6. Security (9/29)
Surfing habits (4/4): Authentic SSL
– Example: Handelsbanken customer web page

                        Make sure that the text shown in
                        connection with the lock is also a
                        part of the address. Right-click on
                        the lock if the text does not show
                  6. Security (10/29)
    Windows Security Center: All at a glance
Click: Start\Control Panel\
Security\Security Center

By opening the drop-down
windows you can look at the
status of Window’s major security

   Firewall status: ON
   Automatic updating: OFF
   Malware protection: ON
   Other security settings: OK
                 6. Security (11/29)
     Mal/spyware scanning: Want a second opinion?
      – F-Secure ( provides a free on-line scanner
        that does not mess with your computer’s anti-virus program
      – Runs on Firefox, an add-on must be installed

The scan proceeds
in three steps:
1) Start scanning
2) Download & Scan
3) Clean

  The scanner has
  found a tracking
  cookie spyware
                6. Security (12/29)
  Mal/spyware scanning: Malwarebytes’
I gradually grew disappointed
with Spybot Search & Destroy
(mentioned in Section 4) as the
backup to Ad-Aware. No big
problems with S&D, it just did
not detect anything

Lately I have changed to
Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware
(, which
has become one of the most
popular scanners. So far my
impression good, but it is too
early to draw conclusions
                     6. Security (13/29)
      Firewalls (1/4): The computer’s doorman
       Click: Start\Control Panel\Security\Windows Firewall\Change

Click on the tabs
to see and change

Here you have
“holes” in the
firewall, earmarked
to improve flexibility

 You can restore
 default values in
 case you do
 something stupid
            6. Security (14/29)
Firewalls (2/4): Snakes in the paradise
– Vista’s own firewall operates to satisfaction on inbound traffic
– Controlling outbound traffic, however, is awkward
– A better solution is needed for flexible control of two-way traffic;
  both payware and freeware solutions are available
– ZoneAlarm ( is probably the best known
  freeware solution. It is huge (60 MB); install it if you have time to
  learn it and take advantage of its features (turn off Vista’s firewall
  to avoid conflicts between the two)
– VistaFirewallControl ( is a freeware
  package that brings you better control of Vista’s firewall without
  interfering with the basic solution. A reasonable compromise if
  you do not want the bloatware ZoneAlarm
– I have newly installed Peer Block ( No
  problems so far, but it is too early to tell with certainty
                 6. Security (15/29)
     Firewalls (3/4): VistaFirewallControl (1/2)
      VistaFirewallControl is a bare-bone
      add-on solution where you make
      basically four choices: allow all,
      allow in, allow out, block all
      for programs that you have added to
      the list

The Help feature is
rudimentary. To access
it, Click:
Start\All Programs\
                    6. Security (16/29)
     Firewalls (4/4): VistaFirewallControl (2/2)
      – The firewall control application is a basic tool that
        must be taught how to behave in different situations

When VistaFirewallControl is taken to use it starts
asking what to do when an application wants to
communicate on the Internet. You have to choose
from one of the four available alternatives (allow
in/out/all or disable all).
If a program tells that it failed to get out you have
to open VistaFirewallControl and check settings
for the program in case. For instance, on the
previous page Firefox was set to “Disable All.” It
has to be changed to “Enable All.”
Be prepared for the required time and mental
                6. Security (17/29)
  Automatic execution of USB thumb drives is a backdoor used by
  computer worms
  Microsoft has come up with a security update for the problem, but
  even so it is better to turn off the Auto Play option

Insert a USB thumb
drive; the Auto Play
windows pop up

Click: Set Auto
Play defaults in
Control Panel

The Auto Play
window of the
Control Panel opens.
Uncheck Use Auto
Play for all media
and devices
                   6. Security (18/29)
      Scanning the computer’s vulnerability
       – The Swedish Post & Telecom runs a free vulnerability scanner service
         ( that reveals holes in our security
       – The web site communicates in Swedish, detailed test reports in English
       – The tester is the Tenable Nessus® freeware

   Click to
   run test

green light

(in English)
           6. Security(19/29)
Backup and restore (1/9)
– Computer data can be lost due to human errors or serious
  system failures
– Backup copies of important files on external media (CD-
  RW/DVD-RW, hard disk) should be made regularly—the more
  frequently backups are made the less data will be lost in case
  recovery isn’t possible
– The ideal is daily backups, as done in the business world, but
  that might be an overkill for home users
– Store the backup medium in a safe place, well separated from
  the laptop (a safe deposit box in a bank is pretty secure!)
– Files that are saved for long-term storage should be refreshed
  annually to prevent the information from becoming corrupt due to
  ageing of the storage medium (particularly optical media)
– Non-rewritable CD/DVD-Rs are less prone to failures than
  read/write CD/DVD-RW disks
                 6. Security(20/29)
 Backup and restore (2/9): Using Vista’s Backup
 and Restore Center and an external hard disk
Click: Start\Control
Panel\System and
and Restore Center

 Click: Back up files to
 create a backup file

Note that Vista backups
only changed files, with
consequences that are
discussed below.
                   6. Security (21/29)
     Backup and restore (3/9): Checking the backup
  In the “Backup and Restore
  Center,” Click: Restore enter the
  “Restore files” window

In the “Restore files”
window, Click: Add
files... and Add
folders... to see
which files and folders
have been included in
the backup
          6. Security (22/29)
Backup and restore (4/9): Vista’s weaknesses
– Vista makes backups only of changed files, which has
  unwanted consequences:
      If small changes are made frequently, a backup of the file
     will be saved each time
     Unchanged files will remain untouched, i.e. they will stay
     hidden under older backup dates
     You risk filling up the external hard drive because you cannot
     delete anything—if you do, you risk losing files that newer
     were changed
     Well, Vista is not quite that stupid. From time to time it
     decides that a complete backup is needed. But in the mean
– An alternative solution: Install Microsoft’s SyncToy
  2.0, it is a more versatile tool (But frankly, I do not like
  it because I feel losing control)
                   6. Security (23/29)
    Backup and restore (5/9): SyncToy (1/3)

SyncToy allows a pair of
folders to be kept up-to-
date (“synchronized”) by
tracking changes made
to one of them and
guiding changes to the
other to be made

  Click: Create New
  Folder Pair...

Select a folder that
you want to backup          Select where you want
                            to place the backup.
                            Click: Next
                     6. Security (24/29)
      Backup and restore (6/9): SyncToy (2/3)
                           Click: Preview to
                           the files in the new
   Name the folder pair.   folder pair
   Click: Finish

The tricky part is
to decide what
to backup and                                     Click: Run to finish the
how to name the                                   creation process. It takes
folder pair(s)                                    time with big folders
                   6. Security (25/29)
    Backup and restore (7/9): SyncToy (3/3)
      – Follow-up synchronization

When SyncToy is run the
next time it looks through
which backup files need
to be changed and
modifies only those.

Here it has made 340
operations, while leaving
9,680 files untouched.
The backup process is
quite fast as no
unnecessary work is
            6. Security (26/29)
Backup and restore (8/9): A simpler solution
– SyncToy is a tool for those who want to keep backups constantly
  up-to-date, but it might be an overkill for those with simpler
– Backup in the old-fashioned way (the way I do it):
      Create a new backup folder on the external hard drive each time
      you backup and date it (give it a name like “June15 2011”)
      Drag and drop the files and folders that you want to backup from the
      hard disk to the new backup folder
      Delete old backup folders, but keep one or two just in case…
– Defragment the external hard drive from time to time
– The advantage is that you have a good mental track of the
  backups, the disadvantage is to every time have to do the same
  manual drag/drop routine—with the risk of errors
           6. Security (27/29)
Backup and restore (9/9), a blueprint procedure
– As a compromise between security and administrative burdens
  the solution is to
     Do all work on a (PIN code secured) USB thumb stick with frequent
     Save an (encrypted) copy of the work on the computer’s hard disk
     at the end of the day (low-level backup)
     Carry the (secured) USB on yourself at all times
     Do a full backup on an external disk drive when necessary (high-
     level backup), but at least once a month. But first
       – Create a restore point and
       – Connect the laptop to the Internet to update programs
     Burn backup DVDs often enough and store them at another location
     for the case of theft or fire (backup’s backup)
– Hope I would be this thorough! The problem is that secure
  procedures take time
6. Security (28/29)

  Slide intentionally blank
           6. Security (29/29)
Computer security: Summary
– Computer security comes with a price tag
– The required investment is in resources and time
     In the professional life the investment equals to money
     To private users the investment equals to time spent
– Time is needed to
     Study and understand computer reliability & security risks
     Plug the holes: Learn how to do it, find proper tools, take them into
     use, maintain them, and safely dispose of old computers &
     Overcome the inertia of reliable & secure procedures
– Caveat: There is no such thing as 100% security! No matter what
  you do, there is always a chance that your computer or its data
  will be lost—perhaps to criminals on the other side of the globe
                                                        Johnny Heikell

                 7. Privacy

 Laptops give the question of how to protect our privacy in
the digital environment a special meaning. Related to this is
   the question of safeguarding information stored on the
     computer. To the private individual the enemies are
           criminals and snooping authorities alike

             7. Privacy (1/21)
Issues of privacy intermingle with the subjects of earlier
– Privacy is improved by taking care of the laptop’s environment—
  a service technician can find pretty private information when
  repairing the computer
– Privacy is improved by cleaning the computer from unnecessary
  data—what’s not in there cannot leak out from it
– Privacy is improved by keeping all relevant programs updated—
  the evolution of info-biological bugs is extremely fast and they
  are all praying on you
– Privacy is improved by taking care of problems ourselves
– Privacy is really close to questions of computer security
Here we shall merely add to the earlier discussion
               7. Privacy (2/21)
Laptop theft
– Very popular since laptops are easy to steal
– Computer passwords are no match for professionals. Passware
  Kit Enterprise is a payware that cracks different passwords
  (amateurs can try the Offline NT PW & Registry Editor freeware)
– The computer can contain very personal or professionally
  sensitive information
– Not only do you lose the computer and its data, but can also be
  humiliated and become a target for blackmail
The solution: Encryption of computer files
– Fairly reliable encryption freeware is available, TrueCrypt (see
  next page) is one of them
– Caution: Do not expect publicly available encryption solutions to
  hold government agencies at bay. If the encryption algorithms
  are really strong the agencies—in the name of national
  security—most likely have coerced the suppliers into building
  backdoors through which they can enter (Recall the hullabaloo
  with the Swiss company Crypto AG some years ago?)
                   7. Privacy (3/21)
   Encryption solutions
    – Example: TrueCrypt (donationware)

TrueCrypt uses strong
encryption like 256-bit AES and

Your task is to devise a long
(>20 characters) and secure
key (password) for encryption &
decryption. Ideally the key
should consist of a random
chain of upper/lower case
letters, numbers, and special
characters. For instance:

             7. Privacy (4/21)
Preventive measures against laptop theft
– Label the laptop with tamper-proof stickers or engrave it
– Register the software and inform the software vendor in case the
  laptop is stolen
– Do not advertise your laptop by carrying it in a typical computer
  case, particularly not one with the manufacturer’s labels
– Do not leave the laptop unguarded when traveling with it. Take it
  with you to the supermarket, restaurant, restroom, etc.
– Secure the laptop into your hotel’s safe deposit box (the hard
  disk would be smaller but may require a screwdriver to remove)
– Lock the laptop with a USS security cable (“Kensington Lock”)
– Keep the USB thumb stick on you, separate from the laptop
– Be mindful of distractions in crowded surroundings, thieves often
  work in coordinated groups
– Keep the laptop’s serial number and other vital statistics in a
  safe place in case you have to inform the police
             7. Privacy (5/21)
Secure erasing (1/3)
– When we delete files only the address part of the file is erased
  since it is enough to free the space of the file for reuse—but the
  information is intact until it is overwritten!
– Overwritten data can be recovered from magnetic memory
  media by special tools
– This is a real problem when scrapping hard disks
– When encrypting, traces of the original unencrypted data remain
  unless it is safely removed
– Secure erasing requires the data to be overwritten several
  times—not possible by manual means
– Solution: Software tools for secure erasing (recall from Chapter 3
  that Glary Utilities includes a secure file shredder)
                  7. Privacy (6/21)
  Secure erasing (2/3): Third-party SW tools
   – Example: Eraser (freeware)

Eraser has two main user
interfaces, named “On
Demand” and “Scheduler.“

“On Demand” is used for
“here and now” erasing of
files and folders

  “Scheduler” is used to
  erase pre-selected files,
  e.g. browser caches, at
  regular intervals
                    7. Privacy (7/21)
  Secure erasing (3/3): A nagging suspicion remains, did I really erase
   – Secure erasing of a file and folder may not destroy everything:
           Is there something left in the recycle bin?
           What about temp files?
   – Vista can also save old versions of documents, should we need them in
     case of a mishap (to see them in a Word file, Click: File\Versions...).
     Are traces of them left after we erased the obvious copy?
   – Are there still other Windows spy files that collect information about me
     and what do they do with that information? *
  One alternative to improve privacy is to avoid using the hard disk for
  confidential data and instead use just a USB thumb stick
  The really secure way (almost) is to work as government agencies
  do (see “Top Secret” below)

*) There are no guarantees that information collected by Windows about you and your
actions are not secretly sent to a centralized “repository,” be that owned by Microsoft,
a government, or a non-governmental organization.
             7. Privacy (8/21)
Top Secret (1/2), the way professionals (should)
do it
– Top Secret work is done only at safe locations by vetted persons
– Top Secret information is processed only on stand-alone laptops
  and printed on stand-alone printers with no memory
– A separate, encrypted hard disk is used for Top Secret work
– The Top Secret hard disk is stored in a safe whenever not in use
– Encryption keys should (preferably) be stored in another safe
– All printouts (electronic and hard copies) have to be registered
– Top Secret files are transported by vetted (and protected)
  couriers, e.g. as encrypted CDs/DVDs to which only the recipient
  has the key for decryption
– All transfers must be documented (traceable), the receiver signs
  a receipt for everything he/she gets
              7. Privacy (9/21)
Top Secret (2/2), the security system
 – The discussion on the previous page indicates that the security
   system consists of four subsystems that all must be mastered:


Processes       SECURITY           Premises


So where’s the weak spot?
 – People (“wetware”). We fail due to stress, animosity, stupidity,
   economic problems, laziness, convictions, blackmail, etc.
                    7. Privacy (10/21)
    Keyloggers spying on our keystrokes
      – Keyloggers are trojans that can register keystrokes, e.g. credit
        card information being tapped in (parents install keylogger
        programs to spy on their kids, husbands to spy on….)
      – The KeyScrambler freeware is one defense against keyloggers

KeyScrambler installs on
IE and Firefox. It runs in
the background, but a
notice is briefly flashed
when the browser opens

to open KeyScrambler’s
window to change settings
and access manuals
                7. Privacy (11/21)
 Spying on our habits (1/5): Revealing our identity
   – The browser sends detailed information about us to the pages
     that we open, thus allowing spying on our web behavior

Visit e.g. BrowserSPY
( to see what
information your browser feeds out
on the web. Analysis of all details
requires deeper IT skills

Click: IP Address and you will see
that not only is your unique address
revealed, but also its geographical
location—BrowserSPY even
provides a map
                   7. Privacy (12/21)
     Spying on our habits (2/5): Hiding the IP address
      – Internet proxy services (anonymizers) let you hide your IP
        address at the cost of slower service

The anonymizer software first
encrypts your unique IP
address, then message goes

                                              Encrypted IP
to the proxy (one or more


servers) where it is given a
dummy address that the web
page in case can see
                                    Your                               Web
                                  computer                             page

  The best known anonymizer services are
  The Tor Project ( and
  JAP/JonDo (
                    7. Privacy (13/21)
    Spying on our habits (3/5): The Tor Project (1/3)
     – Tor is said to be used by dissidents, journalists, and other persons
       who need to communicate anonymously for their own safety
     – Tor is not just a proxy. In order to hide who is communicating with
       whom it creates a random path within a global net of relay
       servers, along which the message reaches its destination

Tor’s control panel.
The green onion
indicates readiness

  Tor warns that
  some traces of
  identity may be
                  7. Privacy (14/21)
   Spying on our habits (4/5): The Tor Project (2/3)
    – Example of Tor hiding the real IP address

With Tor enabled,
BrowserSPY identifies my
computer as being located
in Seattle, USA. The
location is different every
time: Germany, Ukraina,
USA, Sweden, and so on

       Tor enabled on
       Firefox. Click on
       the icon to disable
                 7. Privacy (15/21)
  Spying on our habits (5/5): The Tor Project (3/3)
   – Some fun and less fun with Tor

Tor bypasses blocked web
pages. Finnish law forbids
advertising hard liquor and such
web pages are blocked by the
authorities. Not so with Tor…

I frequently encounter the page
load error “Proxy Server
Refused Connection” when Tor
is enabled. Hitting the Try
Again button may help. Blog
discussions indicate that the
problem is with Firefox 3.0
            7. Privacy (16/21)
A spy named Windows (1/4): What does it do?
– Windows registers web surfing history and saves data related to
  these activities (Internet banking, credit card, etc.)
– This information is not erased even if you delete private data
  from the browser’s cache and shut down the computer. It stays
  until the system needs the disk space for another purpose. Why
  does it do that? Only Microsoft knows… (or CIA, NSA, etc.?)
– The data is saved in a file named index.dat, in temporary (temp)
  files, and also in the Registry
– Third-party software is needed to do the cleaning job:
– CCleaner is a good—although not perfect—tool for the purpose
– Privacy Mantra is another freeware (donationware) solution for
  cleaning that is compatible with Vista. It can be used to check if
  something is left after CCleaner has done its job, in the same
  way as using both AdAware and Malwarebyte
                    7. Privacy (17/21)
   A spy named Windows (2/4): Privacy Mantra
    – Checking what CCleaning leaves behind in index.dat

Privacy Mantra
found both index.dat
and other issues
after CCleaner had
done file and registry
There is presently
no dedicated
index.dat cleaner for
Vista that would be
free. If you think that
you need one you
have to look for
payware alternatives
                 7. Privacy (18/21)
  A spy named Windows (3/4): MS Office (1/2)
   – All MS Office programs save history data—
     ”metadata”—of created documents, some of it openly,
     some hidden
U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair took Britain to war
against Iraq in 2003 based on what he presented
as his government’s authoritative Iraq Dossier. But
the Word file’s Properties window revealed that the
“secret” dossier was the work of an American
graduate student, not of a team of government
experts. A political firestorm ensued. Why didn’t
the lazy M6 bureaucrats at least copy-paste the
text into a new document?

   The Properties window of this presentation.
   But what you can see is just a part of the
   information that Windows has saved about it
                   7. Privacy (19/21)
   A spy named Windows (4/4): MS Office (2/2)
    – Starting with Office 2007 Microsoft provides a tool to erase
      potentially harmful metadata
    – Vista allows metadata to be erased in the Properties window
    – It is a manual process, you have to remember to do it!

  Right-click on a file that you want to clean,
  Select “Properties”, Click: Details

               The list of document
               metadata is shown
     Click: Remove Properties and Personal
     Information to erase metadata

If you do not trust Microsoft you will have to find a
third-party SW to do the cleaning, e.g. the Doc
Scrubber freeware (currently not available for Vista)
              7. Privacy (20/21)
Printers that give you away
– Many color laser printers put tiny dots over the page in a unique
  pattern. This “fingerprint” can be traced back to your printer
– The Electronic Frontier Foundation investigated a large number
  of printers from different manufacturers. The study with a list of
  manufacturers and printer types can be found at:
– According to the findings, only two manufacturers (OkiDATA and
  Samsung) seem to consistently avoid fingerprinting
– The majority of Xerox printers did not show fingerprint dots
– The remaining manufacturers produce fingerprint dots almost
  without exception
– Note that even if EFF findings indicate absence of fingerprint
  dots, there is a risk that they are present but well hidden
              7. Privacy (21/21)
I have mentioned a number of security, cleaning & privacy tools, so
which ones do I use myself?
In addition to Vista’s built-in features, my present (June 2011)
installation consists of:
 – Firewall: Peer Block
 – Anti-virus: Avira
 – Spy/malware scanners: Ad-Aware and Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware
 – Cleaning tools: CCleaner, Privacy Mantra, and Glary Utilities
 – Encryption tools: True Crypt and Enigmail PGP (on Mozilla
   Thunderbird). These I am not quite happy with; TC requires one to be
   very careful and Enigmail nags for donations
 – Firefox extensions/ad-ons: Web of Trust, Key Scrambler, and Tor. To
   have these in June 2011 I must stay with Firefox 3.xx (Firefox 4 and 5
   are out). My Firefox is set to erase its entire history when it closes
Missing: The ability to
                                                          Johnny Heikell

8. Finding more information

    This presentation is by no means exhaustive. From time to
  time you will need to look for other information sources. The
   problem is that the relevant pieces of information are spread
    all over the binary universe—and that we like sheep accept
                   being force-fed with Windows

      8. More information (1/4)
On your computer
 – The computer manufacturer’s User Manual
 – Windows Welcome Center (Click: Start\Control Panel\System and
   Maintenance\Welcome Center). Worth taking a look at. It also guides you to
   online services
On the web
 – Microsoft On-line Help ( About as sexy as a law
   book, but the information is there
 – Technical support pages of your computer’s manufacturer
 – Web Journals: Hidden among tons of ads are pieces of good
   information. Its German counterpart is even better with no ads
 – CNET: is one of the major download sites, but cnet contains
   plenty of information as well
 – Blogs: Windows Vista Forums ( is one worth checking. Its
   Tutorials Forum is a gem
 – Wikipedia: You find lots of useful pieces here
 – Computer & web security information by responsible authorities or by
   independent research group, e.g. IBM ISS X-force (
 – Books: The most important ones are mentioned in the introduction, but new
   books appear daily
        8. More information (2/4)
  When you reach the point that I have and want to part with Bill
  Gates, you can try:
   – Ubuntu Linux ( has in its short lifetime become the
     most popular alternative for Linux newbies.* With Ubuntu comes not
     only the operating system, but a world of useful programs including:
   – LibreOffice (, which is the real alternative to MS
     Office now that Oracle has thrown in the towel on OpenOffice. LibO has
     all features of MS Office, and even more so. It is quite skilled (though
     not perfect) with your legacy Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents
  Linux weaknesses:
   – Computer game freaks complain about too few toys
   – Installing application programs can be a pain down under
   – Google SketchUp lacks a Linux version. However Linux and Windows
     can be installed in parallel on the same computer (“dual boot”)
  Any other problems with Linux? Yes, it takes of course a learning
  effort to get it installed and used to, but so does Windows
*) Ubuntu’s new desktop environment, Unity, has got a mixed reception and Ubuntu
has lately been losing ground to other Linux distros, primarily to Mint and Fedora.
     8. More information (3/4)
So what if you change to Linux but still have
some Windows-only applications that you
need, but not any Windows version that you
could use?
You can then add Wine, which originally
stood for WINdows Emulator and can be
found at
Wine forms a virtual “Windows box”
(compatibility layer) between Linux and the
Windows application in case
I have no experience with Wine, but
according to web discussions it is
successful in many cases. People are even
said to have been able to run Google
SketchUp under Linux/Wine, though not
without some advanced tinkering
         8. More information (4/4)
  There is a less known open-source project, ReactOS (reaction to
  Microsoft’s monopoly, to be found at, that aims at
  developing a fully Windows NT (Windows 5 and later) compatible
  operating system (ReactOS cooperates with Wine)
  However, the project has been hampered by lack of resources and
  is still in the alpha stage after more than a decade of development.
  ReactOS is not recommended for daily use
  Let’s hope they can pull it through because good enough is what
  matters, not what is “best” in the world. We have seen this in Xp,
  which beats Vista in all respects but anti-malware capability

ReactOS claims:
"NT is still around, known as XP and Vista“
“ReactOS does not phone home or track your usage, nor
does it contain spy-software. As a matter of fact, other well
known competitors are known for such practices.”
And that was it

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