Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How to retrieve old copies of files- Ultimate style

From time to time Vista creates ‘snapshot’ copies of your files with a service called “Shadow Copy”.  This allows you to retrieve older versions from files you accidentally delete or alter.

To go back to a prior version of your file/document, you simply right-click on the file and select “Restore previous versions”.

Using the Shadow Copy service is a far easier way to recover your files than opening a backup you’ve made, and can get you out of some nasty jams. (For more on recovering deleted files, click here.)

Shadow Copy is enabled on all versions  of Vista, but Microsoft grants user access to these copies only in Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise editions. (Clearly as a method to try to sell more copies of the pricier Ultimate Edition. Shame on you Microsoft; backup and recovery should be free.)

Tip of the day: Users of the “Home” editions of Vista can use Shadow Copy too.
The odds are pretty durned good that if you bought a new computer, and it came with Vista, it came with Vista Home Premium. I say that because if you walk into a store selling computers, I dare you to find the one that has Ultimate Edition on it. It seems to me that they all come with Home Premium!

Remember how I said Shadow Copy was “enabled” on all versions? Yes? Well, for owners of Vista Home Premium and Vista Home Basic, the service is running, but you need a way to “interface” with it (sometimes called a “front end”). To do that, download and install ShadowExplorer, and gain some of Ultimate Edition’s functionality. This cool piece of software is free, but donations are accepted.

Today’s free link: People who are using Windows 2000 or XP can get an almost identical file functionality with FileHamster from Mogware. This program is designed for people whose talents lie in the Creative Arts, so you don’t ave to be a geek to use it. There’s helpful user forums, too.

Please note: This ability is by no means a substitute for regular system backups. This is for small “oopsies”, not recovery/restoration.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 16, 2008 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, how to, missing files, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Facebook (& others) Sued for Privacy Invasion

from Anistasia Ustinov, in the San Francisco Chronicle

“Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, is facing a class action lawsuit charging that its controversial advertising program violated online privacy and computer fraud laws.

A group of plaintiffs filed the suit in U.S. District Court in San Jose against Facebook and several other companies, including Blockbuster, Fandango, Overstock.com and Hotwire.com that participated in the unpopular advertising service, which shared information about users’ activities with the social network….”

click here to read rest of the article.

jaanix post to jaanix

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August 15, 2008 Posted by | computers, Internet, News, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Results of Olympics Survey

This week I ran a survey of Tech–for Everyone readers asking if the fact that the Olympic Games were being held China.
(Basically, I was sort of wondering if I was the only kook who was boycotting the games this year.)

As promised, here are the results. (click on picture to see full size)

My thanks to all who took the time to answer.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

August 15, 2008 Posted by | tech | Leave a comment

Last day for survey…

Survey: I am a bit curious as to how Tech–for Everyone readers are feeling about the Olympic Games being held in China, and so I’ve created a very brief (one question) survey.
Click Here to take survey.  (I will post the results Friday.)

August 14, 2008 Posted by | computers | Leave a comment

How To Install Backup on XP Home

If you have photographs, and/or a music collection, and/or important documents on your computer, you simply must make backup copies or risk losing them forever.

Windows users can take advantage of the built-in Windows Backup utility. I have published a detailed How To for using it to automatically make backups and keep them up-to-date here https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/07/02/automate-your-backup-and-get-some-peace-of-mind/.
(Apple users can make an image backup using the Disk Management applet, which I describe here.)

That said, it should be noted that for some inexplicable reason, the Backup utility is not (usually) included in the default installation of Windows XP Home Edition. To use Backup, you have to install it manually.
Don’t worry, it’s a quick and easy thing to do; the files are on the XP CD-ROM in the “Valueadd” folder.

Tip of the day: Manually Install the Backup Utility
1. Insert the CD which came with your computer into your optical drive. Close any windows that open.
2. Open My Computer and right-click on the CD/DVD drive (usually “D:”) and choose “Explore”. Navigate to CD-ROM Drive:\VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP
3. Double-click the Ntbackup.msi file to start a wizard that installs Backup.
When the wizard is complete, click “Finish”. You will now find Backup in All Programs >Accessories >System Tools.
*4. Now, scroll up and click the first link to read how to use the Backup Wizard and set your machine to run automatic incremental backups.

BonusTip+Today’s free link: Make another backup using another backup tool.. of which there are many different types. Windows Backup is not the best backup type for an all-out system recovery, and so you might wish to use an “imaging” tool like Norton Ghost, Acronis TrueImage Home, or the free DriveImage XML (Bill Mullins talks about this program in a recent post, to read it, and see the appropriate download links, click here.)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 14, 2008 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, how to, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Patch Tuesday | Cyber-warfare | Vista hacked

This week has been particularly fun for watching misreporting in the news*.

There have been several instances of dire, Chicken Little The Sky is Falling! type headlines.. followed shortly by, “Oh. Wait. The data doesn’t support the conclusion” headlines.

Many, many years ago now, I took some Journalism classes in college. Every instructor I had, had these funny things called “Rules”. The top, Number #1 rule was: “Verify, Verify, Verify”. The second rule was: “There must be three independent and unrelated sources before you can consider anything a ‘fact’.”
We were told that we (future) reporters would have people, called “Editors”, whose sole mission was to double-check our “facts” and verify our “sources”.

We students quickly figured out why these instructors were teachers, and not actual newsmen (and newswomen, ahem)– they weren’t living in reality: in reality, there’s the word “allegedly”, and sentences like “is reported to have said”.

And we young people knew that “Facts” are about as much fun as a date with the Encyclopedia Britannica. Sensation sells. Duh.
[a brief aside: I decided not to become a reporter. I figured if I was meant to chase ambulances and firetrucks, I would do it as a personal-injury lawyer. I didn’t become a lawyer either.]

Contrary to this week’s headlines:
* Russia did not launch all out cyber-warfare against neighboring Georgia. It was, in fact, hackers — on both sides — joining in the fun and using their botnets to shut down  a few websites.
See Kids, not Russian Government, attacking Georgia’s Net.

* Vista’s security features were not rendered useless by hackers, as “announced at BlackHat” (This one caused quite a stir!) In fact.. well, read what one of the “hackers” has to say:
See Alarmed about Vista security? Black Hat researcher Alexander Sotirov speaks out.

* And finally (for today), this Month’s “patch Tuesday” did not cause “widespread disruption”. At least.. here at T4E Headquarters it didn’t. Unless you call having to reboot “to complete installation” some kind of disaster.
Yes, there were more Updates than usual, and more of them were marked “Important”.. but that is actually a “good” thing– those Updates close holes.
But if you DID experience trouble (or, ever do) after installing an Update, click the link below and scroll down to the bottom answer.
See IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*

*(more accurately, “infotainment”.)

Today’s free link: is in the link directly above.

Survey: I am a bit curious as to how Tech–for Everyone readers are feeling about the Olympic Games being held in China, and so I’ve created a very brief (one question) survey.
Click Here to take survey.  (I will post the results Friday.)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 13, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, News, tech | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stop the Security Center’s nagging

If you’ve turned off automatic updates, the Windows firewall, the Vista UAC, or just are otherwise not using the “recommended” settings, Windows will annoy you with messages about checking your computer security via a shield icon in your Notification Area.. and pop-up balloon messages.

SecCtrBalloon

Now, normally, I would say this is a “good” thing.. and for the non-geeky (aka not a “power user”), I suggest you stop reading here (be sure to come back tomorrow, though!). Those notices are your friendsdon’t ignore them just because you can still check your e-mail, or play online Texas Holdem.

But, if you are an “advanced” computer user, (aka “Uber-geek”) you may very well have substituted a stronger firewall for the one built into Windows (I highly reco this for XP users, btw). You may have configured Update to “check and prompt”, but not to auto-Install. You may be using an antivirus program that the Security Center doesn’t recognize.. etc., and today’s quick tip will kill the nag telling you what you already know.

Tip of the day: Advanced users who have customized Windows can disable the Security Center’s “alert” notifications.
* Open the Windows Security Center. (Start >Control Panel >Security Center)
* Click the link “Change the way Security Center alerts me”.

image

A new window will open offering three ‘levels’ of alert notification…

NotOpts

The bottom one is my preferred selection. That’s it. You’re done. No more pop-up balloon alerts. Close the windows you opened and get on with your life.

Survey: I am a bit curious as to how Tech–for Everyone readers are feeling about the Olympic Games being held in China, and so I’ve created a very brief (one question) survey.
Click Here to take survey.  (I will post the results Friday.)

Today’s free link(s): Posting your photos to the Web and sharing them with friends and family seems to be a popular thing to do these days. There are many sites which allow you to this, and usually all you have to do is “join” (provide a legit-looking e-mail address.. such as nunof@your.biz). One of the lesser-known of these sites is the Kodak Gallery. It offers all the ammenities you’d expect.. and a few more. Check it out.

Uber-geeks will know what a browser sandbox app is, but if you’re not sure what this security tool is.. or if you’d like to save $30 and get one free.. check out this by my friend and fellow Tech writer Bill Mullins (act fast).

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 12, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , | 3 Comments