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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Computer 101: The ABC of File attachment and Transfer via your email or using Web Based Free Services.

Today I'm going blog about using the internet to send all types of files from you to your friend or simply just uploading them to your favorite social network or free on-line file storage website. Let's face it the internet has become an integral part of our daily work routine. Flash drive and external drive are simply not enough for some of us. We always want to access our file or at least a copy of it using the internet or move it from one location to another. Sometimes we are confused on what to use to accomplish all our desired goal of moving or more commonly called file transfer or file upload and download. Now how do we accomplish this task? Well there are several ways on how to go about it. First there your standard free email account from different email provider. Yup every kind of email account has function for transferring your desired file to your friend, work place and family email account. Let's your friend is asking for a copy of the birthday picture you have taken from yesterday's birthday. They requesting for copy to be printed. Instead of doing it yourself or giving the memory card to your friend which would require you to physically move around from your place to his/her place say you need to transfer picture stored on your computer to give them the copy. Why not use your email account to this. Just simple login and create or compose a new letter and after typing all the detail and message you are now ready to attach the requested picture by your friend. But wait do not attach the entire picture at once. Every email has this feature but this feature has a limit. Yup there a limit to how many you can send and attach per email. Also the process of attaching files to your email is also dependent on the speed that your computer is connected to the internet. Oh also file attachment speed is also dependent on how large each individual file and or how many file your going to attach to a single email.

You say, but my friends are requesting a whole bunch of picture that i have taken during the birthday party. Yup those are the reality of attaching picture thru your email free account. The size, number and the internet connection speed. All of this will determine how long you will take to upload those entire pictures and send them to your friends. One or two files you have no problem, but more than that and if each file has a large size then think of another way of transferring them via the internet. Okay how about we use free online storage system. There are a lot of them in the internet, hey that a great idea, they are much faster than on ordinary email file attachment plus you do not have to send the file always whenever your friend requested a copy. They can just copy or save the picture as they view them one by one. Well they one catch to this type of on-line storage, the number of file you can store is limited. Some of them offer up to 15 or 20 files per account. Also you need to sign-up or create an account with them in order to have your picture stored in this web based storage service. The same is true with your favorite social networking site. Creating an account is a requirement in order to use the services also every time you use the service you need to log in to use it. Well i guess is not a bad thing, it is also for security reason why you need to have an account with them. Yup they have limitation but this should not discourage you in using this kind of free file transfer services. 

Filecatalyst.com Home Page
Okay i will ask a question is there a web based free service that you could use to transfer your file without having to create an account and log on every time you need to transfer file? Well there is such such and they call their company File Catalyst and their website is http://www.filecatalyst.com/ just click on the link to go to their website. But wait let's make things clear first, I am not in any way related to them, i am just sharing this things because it may help you and me at some point in time. I am sharing this as an alternative means to transfer your files. It is up to you if you're going to use the free Fast File Transfer that they are offering a free service to transfer your file via the internet. Also if ever you're going to use their free services make a research of the company background and other stuff that are related to them. Everyone is free to make his own choice on what to use. Another thing when it comes to sending large files don't even attempt to send them through your standard email server. The file size is generally too large for the basic email server and it will usually exceed the limit. A great alternative is FileCatalyst, they have a free service where you can use their fast file transfer software for sending files quickly and easily, no login or registration necessary. Although you have to input your name and email address so they could notify you if the file transfer has been completed. They also offer several services including Managed File Transfers, FileCatalyst workflow, and many others. You can also always tell a company's success by their client list...check it out. To access the FREE file transfer service you can go to their products page at: http://www.filecatalyst.com/products


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Monday, January 17, 2011

Computer 101: Un-hiding All Hidden Files after a Virus Infection

Is your USB Flash disk ever been infected by a virus and the result is all you files and folder are gone? But wait when went to the technical support personnel in you workplace they says that it is not gone all your files and folder are still there. Feeling confused, you may say but when i check my USB flash drive i cannot see all my files and folder? But if did a deeper probe, by checking the properties of your USB flash drive, you can see that it indicates that your USB flash drive is half full or almost full depending on how many files it contains before the virus infection. Still confuse, well do not be. Here is what happens, when your flash drive got infected by the virus, it hides all your files and folder and then creates a copy of itself. But that copy of itself is not going to look like a virus, it will look like a regular folder inside your flash drive. The moment you click it, it will even more infect all the other files and folder in your flash drive. Ever seen a folder that when you tried to open it via the double click method, it did not open instead nothing happen, there is no reaction from the folder. A closer will reveal that it is not really a folder it is an application. Take a closer look at the screenshot below.

You can see that a folder is identified as folder and an application is identified as an application in a non-infected drive. To get this kind of view, please select the detail option when displaying the content of your flash drive. Now after the infection happened. All your folder and files is hidden not deleted or erased. You are left with an application that looks like a folder, but when you view it like this you can see that the folder has been classified as an application. When you see a folder that has been classified as an application then definitely it is a virus. Have your flash drive scan immediately to avoid the virus from infecting other places in your flash drive or drive or any type of container. DO NOT click or double click it. Now how do you recover your files if it has been hidden after a virus infection? Well first make sure that you have scanned and cleaned your flash drive. Next attach it to a clean computer, a computer that has not been infected by the same virus. After is has been recognized by the computer. Follow this step very carefully. First look for a utility or program called FOLDER OPTION. The FOLDER OPTION has three tabs they are the GENERAL, VIEW and SEARCH. Please see the screen shot below.


From the screen shot above the three tabs can be seen. The next step selects the VIEW tab. Please see screen shot below. This is where you're going to make the hidden files from your flash drive visible again. For the nest step please select the Show Hidden files, folders and rive option and unchecked all the check boxes for the three following option. The Hide empty drives in the computer, Hide extension for known file types and Hide protected operating system files then clicks the OK button. But wait before you go any further a word of caution, make sure to go directly to the flash drive and do not do to the main hard drive which contains the system files. The system files are hidden by default to protect against accidental erasure. Now that you un-hide it, it is now very open for such an accident. Whatever you do, go directly to the flash drive to get all your files. Now that we have cleared that the next step is to proceed to your flash drive and view it again. After editing the folder option, you can now see your folder. They are now safe to open via the double click. Do not copy the folder because they will be invisible after you redo the folder option. Open the entire folder individually and move all the files inside them to a newly created folder and all your folder will accessible to your once again. Now after recovering your files from the entire affected folder. The entire affected folder can now be deleted from your flash drive. Now for the last part go back to the FOLDER OPTION and put the check mark on all the boxes that you have unchecked earlier and select the other option to return all folder to their normal state. All system files must be hidden the same as before and press the OK button and close the FOLDER OPTION.


Remember when ever a virus has infected your flash drive. It will try to fool you by making you think that all your files have been deleted. Do not be fooled by this kind of virus infection. Make sure that you scan your flash drive and have the virus removed and make a deeper probe to see if all your files is still there. Do not format the flash drive as soon as you see that it appears to empty. Remember you smarter than any virus. 



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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Computer 101: Keeping your Computer Safe from Viruses and Other Threats P-2.

On my previous post, I emphasized on the self practice of safe browsing. Meaning do not just surf anywhere but be objected, think first of what you really need to do to get before surfing the internet that way you'll be able to get the information the you want at much faster time and less hazardous to your computer. Another thing about practicing self safe browsing technique is do not just click on the link or any link, there are a lot of link out there that once click will open the box of bad news for your computer. Also email, your email is one another source of those potentially harmful threats. The safe practice for avoiding virus from email is that avoid opening email that you do not know. Meaning if an email has been sent to you and the sender is a total stranger to you. DO NOT Open or click it, for once you click it then if it contains viruses those viruses will be let loose in your computer even if you have a anti-virus. Is that possible, my computer being infected even if i have an anti-virus installed? The answer is very big yes. Not all anti-virus can detect all viruses especially those new type and variants of viruses, especially if your anti-virus database is not updated regularly. Wait what do you mean Anti-virus database? Well you see all anti-virus as a list of virus and there corresponding mark. The terms for this are virus definitions files or database. Yup each one has this list of threats and only the virus listed on that threat and all its variants is the only detectable virus for the anti-virus. You will need other type of anti-virus to detect others. But there are anti-virus who offers complete detection from regular virus to, malware, ad-ware and spyware. This anti-virus suite does not come free. You have to buy them. Most free version can only scan and protect your computer for a certain degree that why is it recommended to practice safe browsing and opening of email on a regular basis. It's better to be safe than to be sorry.


Another potential source of virus is the very useful USB flash drive that rights that very small but very big container that is very easy to use. You just plug it in and presto you have an additional storage space. This is also their weakness, if this Flash disk contains an infected file or itself is infected with a virus, chances are when you plug it into your computer your anti-virus will detect and remover the threat or it will do nothing and will allow the virus to load itself onto your computer's hard drive. Some virus the commonly infect this type of devices, create a replica of itself but the picture is a folder or a file. When the user click on thinking it was the file or folder, presto there goes all your files and folder. Imagine a virus that looks like a folder. You can verify this by viewing the directories in detailed mode. A folder does not have an extension name correct. In an infected folder it has a DOT EXE as an extension name and it is not a folder but an application as verified by the directories listing. What happen to the real files? Well it's there; you just can't see it because it is hidden. To view it you need to unhide all system files and hidden files using the file view option in the control panel. But this is dangerous you. All system files and protected system folder are hidden for their protection. Un-hiding the greatly exposes each item of being deleted or manipulated so be very careful. A word of CAUTION and WARNING do not do the things mentioned above if you are new or not familiar with the procedure, it may cause more harm than good to you computer system. I try to provide with a step by step procedure in how to it complete with picture on my future blog. So before you plug one of these handy devices to your computer make sure you scan them first thoroughly and properly. Also if you one of this does not just plug it anywhere and everywhere, this will minimize it from being infected by viruses. So practice self know and restrained in using these devices. And lastly but not the list make sure to update your anti-virus database or virus definition file regularly. This at least will help you in keeping the most common virus away from your computer.

Another potential source of infection is chatting; yup your computer could also be infected via this avenue if you are not careful and vigilant. What even in chatting? Yup that correct, how is this so? Well there are a lot of ways where you talk or chat with friends on the internet. Also a lot of programs that offers this kind feature and much more.. More than that in chatting sometimes you talk about a lot or you request a file to be sent to you, not via email, but who want it sent through the chatting software that you are using. If that is possible so the virus being sent thru is also possible, disguise as an important file or picture from a supposedly friend of yours, when you click on it to download it. It will immediately activate and infect your computer. So while chatting with friends practice being vigilant to avoid unnecessary problems with virus infection in you computer. Whenever your computer is connected to the internet and attaching devices to your computer, being vigilant and thorough will help keep your computer from being infected and therefore more productive time and usage from your machine. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Computer 101: Keeping your Computer Safe from Viruses and Other Threats.

People get sick, the most common sickness is the common cold and it’s relative running noise, flu and head-ache. We get sick because we caught the virus that causes this sickness from other people in our home, work and other places where there are sick people. But this sickness is not life threatening except maybe for a few who has complication from this sickness. But this common sickness can be treated by much home based medicine or at least get our body to use its natural ability to fight off this viruses. Some just need to rest and drink a lot of water to let the body heal itself. Still others buy medicine for this type of sickness especially if the young one or children is sick. These viruses spread themselves thru air or sharing of things with the sick person.  Well there is another kind of virus that is not dangerous to people but is very deadly to the things people use like the computer and its entire relative.

Ever since the computer was invented and created, viruses have been one of the main threat to its healthy and useful existence. Just like the original organic virus to which it was pattern by its early creator, this viruses has already change from just being annoying to become a real threat to all computer devices. It has already metamorphosis to several different kinds to Trojan Horses, Malware, Adware, Spyware and other type which attack different type of files in our computer. I don’t need to get into the detail of what they do inside your computer. Where going to focus on the basic of keeping your computer devices free of these dangerous programs. Well how does a computer get infected by these viruses? Well first of all there’s the internet, it one of the main source of computer infection and chances are your computer is online for most of the time, then the percentage of getting infected by these virus and its cousin is very high. In this age and time, people can no longer afford not to use the internet so the viruses have become very abundant.

Okay now how do you protect your computer from being infected by this malicious and dangerous program from the internet? Well the common ways of protecting yourself is to use an anti-virus. This anti-virus is a program that detects the virus before it can infect or spread itself inside your computer. There are free type and paid type of anti-virus out here. Use any one of them or better yet use two if you know how to configure each so that they will both work in harmony not getting in the way of another. The most common way is installing one of these programs to keep an eye on your computer while you work. Now that’s done you have an anti-virus installed in my computer, my computer is safe now. I can surf to all of my heart content. Woo hold on there, your computer not totally secure yet from viruses and its cousin. You just can go to any website or location on the internet because even if you have anti-virus chances are it will not be enough to combat viruses if you keep going to the those site which has a lot of viruses or contain viruses and other deadly program whose intentions is just to destroy your files and computer. Yes folks this site is really and they don’t offer anything but virus and its cousin. So need to practice safe browsing and downloading habit to help make your computer safe from all type of viruses.

I still remember the experiment that i did way back then. The experiment was i used a computer where only the Operating system and anti-virus programs is installed only. I updated the virus definition of the anti-virus and make sure every thing is working as they should be. Then after this i connect that computer to the internet and surf away. I jump from site to another click on all kinds of links that lead from site to another and then when i thought that it was okay and my computer is still working and the anti-virus is doing its job from getting my computer infected, WHAMMM i run onto a brick wall or website that is full of viruses that the moment my computer made contact, they overwhelm my anti-virus and the computer has stop working. It has been paralyzed by the viruses that attack it. The good news is this is just an experiment. Well i quickly reformatted my hard drive not once but twice and have it scanned by an antivirus software just to make nothing is left from my previous encounter. The result of my experiment clearly shows that even with an anti-virus installed on your computer. You still need to practice safe browsing technique while connected to the internet. More on my next post.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Computer 101: The Danger of Static Electricity to your computer.

Have you heard of the words Static Electricity? Okay, maybe yes or maybe no, not clear? static electricity is not dangerous to humans or people like us but it is dangerous to the internal component of your computer, especially does inside your system unit, the motherboard, hard drive, memory and all those electronic component that you see inside when you open your computer casing. Now where do we get this static electricity? You'll probably surprise that it's fairly simple to acquire or build -up your bodies static electricity. Our body has always static electricity in very small amount of charge. Building them up also is very simple, by just walking in or on object like carpet or electrical charge object we can build up our static charge. The discharge process is also simple just touch a metal object connected to the ground and the static electricity is gone from your body, well not of all of it.

Now it is not dangerous to people like us, but this static electricity is very dangerous to the component inside your computer or electronic devices. Do not try touching the inner working of your computer if you feel that you have not touch a metal object connected to the ground. A simple precaution not to damage the inner parts of your computer is Do Not Open the Computer Case Unless you have a very valid reason to do so. One simple discharge from your body to that component that you touch on the inside of your computer and that component is toast. Electronic component is very susceptible to  static electricity. They are made of microscopic circuit that small amount of static electricity can really destroy or damage that electronic component. But if you cannot avoid opening and touching the inner parts of your computer, try to keep in mind to first touch a metal object that is connected to the ground to discharge the static electricity stored in your body, at-least try to minimize the damage that you can do to your computers's inner working.

Since the entire component inside your computer is made up of micro circuit, meaning they cannot be seen by the naked eye. You need a special device to see this circuit inside those complex integrated circuit found on every computer motherboard. Oops did I mention integrated circuit.  IC is the short term for them they looked like a square or rectangular piece of black colours things that is attached to every motherboard. Also they have a lot of metal feet connected to their side. They are called pins and they are use to connect the micro circuit in every one of them to the main system and to each other. Each pin is also numbered according to their design. Take a look at every IC inside you computer they are small right. But on every IC contains thousand of component that forms that micro circuit. They are very-very small. How can a static electricity affect damage or destroy those micro circuit and component?

Let’s put it this way, the micro circuit is the big city or town and the component on those micro circuit is the building and houses. Therefore you got a picture of a highly dense city or town. Also the static electricity is represented as the biggest and strongest storm which is depending on the charge of the static electricity. If you put them together guess what will happen. The city or town will be in ruin, there will chaos and all sort of things. All basic services will cease to function. We have seen this scenario played out in our present day. And since the static electricity has damage the inner working of your computer, then it will no longer function properly or if the damage is worst then it the end game for your computer. A word of precaution, whatever you do, leave the inside parts of your to the professional.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Computer 101: Upgrading your old Computer or Buying a New Computer

Happy New Year to all, this is my first blog for this year 2011. I’ve been very busy in the last part of December and during the first week of January on my family and my home business. That why I’ve been missing in action this past weeks. Since this is a new year for all of us, new beginning and a new time to get going on something for each in everyone of us. In a more personal manner if we own a computer this time around a questioned comes to mind, is my computer needs upgrading or do I buy a new one? Of course this is only for those whose computer is at least 6 months to one year old. Because by this time you’ve pretty much know how your computer works. How fast it is or it has become a lot slower in all about its performance. With all those new computers being advertise these past months. One would be very tempting in having them in parts or as a whole unit.

Now here comes the al important question. Do I upgrade or do i need to buy a new one? This question comes because I’m no longer satisfied with the performance of my old computer. It seems the more I use it, the more my dissatisfaction grows towards its performance. But first before doing any upgrading or buying. You need to check if your computer really needs to upgrade or where just being swayed by all of those thoughts that most of my friends and their friends has in part upgraded their computer or has bought a new one. You need to know what wrong with your computer. What part seems slow. To do this you need to have it check by qualified service personnel but you as the owner of the computer must be present during this activity. You must explain it to the technical guy what’s wrong with your computer, why are dissatisfied with its performance. What part is slowing down as its get older? You must describe you problems in detail to the service technician so he can know exactly what to do as not to waist both of your time while the technician or engineer figures outs what wrong with your computer and the solution needed to fix it.

Most of the time we brought our computer to the service centre then tells the service guy there its broken and need to be fix then off we go. Leaving the service personnel clueless on what is the real problem with the computer. The result of this is longer time to detect and fix the problem. The hours will become day sometimes will turn into weeks before one is reunited with the computer. Most of us has the wrong notion that all computer service personnel know what wrong with your computer the moment we brought it in for repair and maintenance. Well guess what, where wrong, this only makes the work for them a lot harder and more time consuming because they don’t know where to begin. So next time you walk in and have you computer with for repair or maintenance make sure to really explain it all to the technical guy in detail and don’t leave it there alone, be there during the process, because questioned may needed to be to the owner and the answer to that is always the solution to the problem.

Now after having it checks by a qualified technician. He will advised you on what to do with your computer, whether to upgrade some of its part or if your computer is very-old and you want to use newer software version of your old software then rather than upgrading some parts only. You must buy a new complete set of it. But how about all my information on my old computer? Well don’t panics, all of it can be transferred to the new computer and it can be erased from the old computer. You can also ask to service to do the whole job of configuring the new and transferring all of your data into the new computer from the old ones. But only consider this option if your computer is really very old or new but has been damaged by wear and tear that repairing or upgrading parts will cost more than buying a new one. It is always up to you the owner of the computer to decide which path you will take. You will have the final say in all of this, because you will be the one to pay for it literally and use it every minute, hour and day in most your activity. So remember to always carefully weigh all the information and facts before your decide what option to take regarding the improvement and maintenance of your computer.

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