Tech – for Everyone

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

Fix Missing Volume, Battery, or Network Icons in Vista

Tech Paul’s Fix for When Clock, Volume, Battery Power or Network Icons are Missing and/or Grayed Out in Windows Vista

Sometimes, unexpected (and unwanted) changes can happen to our computers that we geeks call ‘glitches’. You install some new program, and some other program you have stops working, for example. Or you uninstall a CD burning program, and find your DVD-RW is now missing. The wonderful world of PC’s!

As a tech, solving ‘glitches’ is my game (it’s what I do), and over the years I have seen a few. One such ‘glitch’ I used to see occasionally in XP, and fairly routinely in Vista, is the “missing volume control” (or “network connection”) which is a handy way to control your sound level.
Today, I will tell you the fix that not only restores the missing icon, but keeps it there.
Better still — I won’t have you mucking around in the Registry.

Simple ones first

Fix It #1)  Press Ctrl+D to bookmark this page and Reboot.
Make sure this isn’t a “temp glitch”. 9 times outer 10 restarting your computer solves your ‘glitch’. If you already tried that, keep reading.

Fix It #2) Normally you can re-enable the icons by right-clicking on the Taskbar, choosing Properties and going to the Notification Area tab — place checks in the checkboxes for the icons you want displayed.
If you already tried that, or the checkboxes are “grayed out”, keep reading.

Fix It #3) Restart explorer.exe

  • Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shft+Esc)
  • Click the Processes tab
  • Find explorer.exe in the list and click on it (turn it blue), then click “End process” button
  • Restart it. Click File > New Task(Run…) then type in explorer.exe and hit Enter

Alternative: Open Control Panel > Taskbar and Start Menu– place checks in the checkboxes for the icons you want displayed.

Now Let’s Keep The Glitch Gone!

If this problem keeps recurring:

  • Open Control Panel >Sound
  • Double-click on your “Playback device” (aka “speaker”)
  • Click on the Advanced tab
  • Un-check “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device”

Click “Apply” and then OK.

Okay. That’s it. Your missing icon should be back in its proper place in the Notification Area and should stay there.

Note: When I am called upon to fix this particular problem, I usually (like, 99% of the time) find that the person’s machine is not up-to-date with all the Windows Updates – usually a missing Service Pack. I do not know that there is a direct cause > effect there.. But.
Fact: you want Updates. Install them PLEASE. Pretty please with sugar on top?

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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April 21, 2011 Posted by | anti-spyware, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, Taskbar, tech, troubleshooting, Vista | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Easter Eggs

Loyal Friends and True of this series know that the computer protection program SUPERAntiSpyware (aka “SAS”) receives my support and endorsement. (Please see, People Make The Difference and I Answer A Common Question.)

SUPERAntiSpyware logo

The good folks at SAS sent me a ‘heads up’, part of which I will share with you.

You May Pick Up More Than Eggs This Easter – Be on the lookout for Malware laden E-Mails, E-Cards and Web Links. During the Easter season millions of emails, attachments, online cards and other forms of communication are exchanged. As part of our mission to protect users worldwide, SUPERAntiSpyware.com would like to remind you and your readers that the Easter holiday is often used by malware creators to trick users into downloading malicious software.¹

Protect yourself this Easter season by scanning with SUPERAntiSpyware. SUPERAntiSpyware has been downloaded over 40 million times and is an extremely effective tool in the fight against malware and spyware.

That’s good advice – and timely.

SUPERAntiSpyware is recommended on popular security forums such as MajorGeeks.com, Wilders Security and thousands more. It is free, but like most free programs, also has a “Pro” version.. which is one of the few “Pro’s” I do recommend as “worth it”. SUPERAntiSpyware Professional is priced at $29.95 for the general public and includes updates for one year. (I suggest to you that adding the $9.95 “Lifetime” upgrade makes SAS one of the best values around.) SUPERAntiSpyware is available for immediate download from www.superantispyware.com.

Bonus: I have just been informed that SAS is currently running an Easter Special. Do you like half-off? (Act soon..)

¹ (emphasis mine)

Related: Send and Receive E-cards SafelyHacker Season Approaches

E-cards are prime vehicles for distributing viruses and other malware, and the bad guys’ efforts to reach you through these cards skyrocket around such holidays as Valentine’s Day.

Related (sorta): Wednesday Ugly

* dot ru (.ru) = Russia. Always a good thing (in a URL) to avoid…

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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April 20, 2011 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, computers, Internet, PC, security | 2 Comments

Top 10 Antivirus Programs for 2011 (review)

If you connect it to the Internet, it needs an antivirus, period.

PC World magazine recently published their roundup product review, which lists their top 10 antivirus products: see, Antivirus 2011: Digital Defenders

Today’s new threats demand a new breed of antivirus software. Our lab tests show you which paid antivirus products you can trust, and which ones you should skip.

If you haven’t bought a new version of your antivirus software in a couple of years, now may be a good time to do so. Malware is evolving faster than ever, and the latest generation of antivirus software is better equipped to handle this rapid pace of change. If your antivirus software is a few years old, it may not be able to defend against this on­­slaught effectively, even if you faithfully download new virus definitions. In recent years, the technology that powers antivirus software has changed dramatically: An antivirus package you purchased a few years ago may be able to stop known viruses and other known malware, but brand-new, as-yet unknown viruses can be more dangerous, and newer products do a much better job of stopping them.

I have put a link to this article in my Blogroll. Also in my Blogroll  is PC Magazine’s review: see, Best Antivirus – 2011 (review) (which is written by my ‘go to guy’, Neil Rubenking).

I suggest you look at these two product comparison charts, and assess your current antivirus defense.

But also know, an antivirus is not protection enough. Every computer user should know that there are computing “Good Practices”.. and certain “Do’s & Don’ts”.
For the “do’s“, I have provided readers the basic “common good practices” in what I call my “Top 10 Things You Should Do” list.

Let’s be safe out there people. Don’t become a victim of cybercrime. Use some healthy “paranoid common sense” when online.

Addenda: For those who have trouble with installing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (or.. Updates in general), see Microsoft notes Windows Update “inconsistencies,” provides fix

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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February 26, 2011 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, hackers, Internet, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chosing The Best Security Programs – For You

A Quick & Easy Way To Choose The Best Free Security Programs

“..different people have different security needs.

Choosing security programs for your PC can seem overwhelming. There’s antiviruses, anti-spywares, and “security suites”.. and they all claim to be the best.

I am constantly asked for my recommendation on what is the “best” free antivirus, or “most effective” anti-Spyware, and, “which security suite should I buy?” Who has the best firewall? Makes sense: I am a Tech, as well as a World Renown Tech Blogger (ahem).


I have posted my advice here several times (use my “Search” tool) over the course of 1,000+ Tech – for Everyone articles. I also have published a list, including links, of free AV’s (click here) and AS’s (click here). But my advice has always been quite general.

There’s a reason for that –> you. I don’t know you. I do not know your Geek skilz level. I do not know if you are a pirating/Bit Torrent-ing maniac. I don’t know if you’re still on Windows ME and all you do is e-mail, or if you are on Windows 7 64-bit and you have a Run as command prompt shortcut in your QuickLaunch… or you fit somewhere in between.
Do you watch online porn?

Needless to say, different people have different security needs. How you answer the questions above will have a huge impact on how I would advise you. Fortunately, I have found an answer –  Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard. And I have added it to my Blogroll.

gizmo's logoGizmo’s Security Advice Wizard asks you a series of questions, analyzes your answers, and then provides you with a customized, personal recommendation — a complete recommendation — including download links to free solutions. Bottom line? I have run through the Wizard several times, as various types of users, and each time the recommendations the Wizard provided was spot on with how I would answer. Great minds really do think alike.

I enthusiastically endorse Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard and encourage you to go there and give it a try. Odds are good you will learn something. The folks there at Gizmo’s freeeware get a tip of my geek hat, and my thanks for going through the effort of creating this wonderful advisor “wizard”.

Because, yes folks, in today’s world you need security when on the Internet.

Today’s free link: Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard
This Wizard has been designed to help you select the best free security software for your PC based on the version of Windows that you use, your technical computer skills and your general level of security risk.


** Software License Giveaway Drawing **


The folks at SPAMFighter have generously donated 5 licenses for SPAMFighter Pro to me, to award to my readers.

SPAMFighter is a community-based spam filtering tool for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Thunderbird that automatically and efficiently filters spam and phishing fraud – keeping it out of your Inbox.
For contest details (and to enter), click here.


Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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September 15, 2010 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, firewall, free software, how to, Internet, PC, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A SUPER-Grand Day For… (drum roll please)

I want to start this out by saying to you, Dear Reader, that this special day would not be happening if it were not for my high regard this product and the people responsible for it. When I was asked to be involved, I did not hesitate to agree.
(Please see, People Make The Difference and I Answer A Common Question.)

SUPERAntiSpyware logo

SUPERAntiSpyware is a program for combating spyware and Internet threats. It is an anti-malware tool that I use on the job; on my own machines; recommend to clients; and install on the PC’s of my friends and family. I’ll tell you why — it’s simple and it’s effective. Since it “plays well” with most other security programs, SAS makes a great additional layer of protection to your existing antivirus/security solution.

A SUPER-Special Software License Giveaway

To help celebrate SUPERAntiSpyware’s recent inclusion in VirusTotal’s premier file analyzing service, the good folks there at SUPERAntiSpyware (known in the biz as “SAS”) generously donated 10 Professional Edition licenses to me – “lifetime” licenses no less – to award to my readers.

I did say “SUPER-Special”…
All entrants were placed into Random.org’s “list randomizer”, and the top result was winner of the Grand Prize: a 5-pack of SUPERAntiSpyware Pro. (I will mention this winner last.. naturally!)

I then removed the Grand Prize winner from the list, and “re-shook the hat”, so to speak. The top 5 names will each receive a single-use Lifetime license (retail $39.90). Those 5 lucky winners are

SAS_wins

SUPERAntiSpyware logo

* Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing.
* First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.
* Detect and Remove Spyware, Adware and Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats.
* Schedule either Quick, Complete or Custom Scans Daily or Weekly to ensure your computer is free from harmful software.
* Registry Protection against Browser Hi-Jackers and other threats.
* Repair broken Internet Connections, Desktops, Registry Editing and more with SAS’s unique Repair System.
* Light on System Resources and won’t slow down your computer like many other anti-spyware products. Won’t conflict with your existing anti-spyware or anti-virus solution.

And The GRAND PRIZE Winner Is..

SAS_GP_Winner

Winners will be sent an e-mail containing their license key. (You may need to check your Junk folder.)

Did not win? Keep reading!

The SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition, a 100% free product, will detect and remove potentially harmful software from a  your computer. In addition, the Professional version provides real-time protection against the installation of new threats, scheduled scanning and removal of threats as well as additional protective features not available in the free edition. SUPERAntiSpyware Free and Professional Editions will detect and remove the latest rogue/fake anti-spyware products as well as over 1,500,000 other harmful application components. SUPERAntiSpyware definitions are updated daily to protect users against the latest zero-day threats.

SUPERAntiSpyware is used by computer technicians worldwide to clean end user systems at companies such as Dell, HP, and AT&T. SUPERAntiSpyware is also recommended on popular security forums such as MajorGeeks.com, Wilders Security and thousands more. SUPERAntiSpyware Professional is priced at $29.95 for the general public and includes updates for one year. (I suggest to you that adding the $9.95 “Lifetime” upgrade makes SAS one of the best values around.) SUPERAntiSpyware is available for immediate download from www.superantispyware.com.
SUPERAntiSpyware is supported by Windows 2000, XP Home/Pro, Media Center, Server 2003, Server 2008, Vista and Windows 7.

I told you these were some good people..

My thanks to all who participated in this contest!

Busy day ahead. I hope you all have marvelous weekend.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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July 30, 2010 Posted by | anti-spyware, computers, Internet, security, software | , , | 11 Comments

Yay! SAS is 64-bit!

Regular readers know that I have mentioned a program called SuperAntiSpyware here before. It is an anti-malware scanner that I use on the job, on several of my own machines, recommend to clients, and install on the PC’s of my friends and family. I’ll tell you why — it’s simple and it’s effective. Since it “plays well” with most other security programs, it makes a great additional layer of protection to your existing antivirus/security solution.

SAS (as SuperAntiSpyware is known) has just announced their long-awaited 64-bit capable upgrade release.

From the authors:

“This is a significant release that includes some new features and technological advances that we know you’ll appreciate.

Version 4.38.1004 includes a blended 32/64-bit installer and true NATIVE 64-bit support. Our 64-bit support is the result of careful development and will allow SUPERAntiSpyware to remove actual 64-bit infections. Many other products claim to remove actual 64-bit infections, but will only remove 32-bit infections on 664-bit systems.

Additionally, version 4.38 includes our new “SUPERSetup” installer for lightening quick installations in Normal OR Safe Mode.  We’ve also built in command line switches for auto-deployment/registration and silent deployment.  In the spirit of continually improving SUPERAntiSpyware’ overall performance, the new version will also yield faster load times and faster definition parsing/updating times.”

If you’re running an older version of SUPERAntiSpyware, it’s important to update to version 4.38.1004.

For those who would simply like to learn more about this great security program, the SAS website is here. (You can download from there..)
To read what I have said about SAS:

Also, I refer you to this Bill Mullins article, SUPERAntiSpyware Professional – The Name Says It All!

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 1, 2010 Posted by | anti-spyware, News, software, tech | 5 Comments

License Giveaway Winners Announced

I’m sure many of you are eager to see who the lucky 10 winners are. Sorry about the delay, but today was kind of special here at T4E… (click here, and see why.)

NOD32 License Giveaway Winners Announced

The folks at Eset have generously donated ten licenses for NOD32 Antivirus 4 to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that.

You might not have heard of Eset or NOD32, but it has quietly been around, and winning awards, since the early 90′s (the days of DOS). For the last year, I have been using it as my primary anti-malware defense on my principle machine and I have not been disappointed. This Internet security tool passed my every test and I recommend it; and I do so to folks of any skill level.

As far as reputations go, ESET’s NOD32 is practically unimpeachable. Version 4 of the popular and effective antivirus and antispyware builds on that rep,eds_rvw emphasizing its community-sourced ThreatSense for preventing attacks before they occur, a slick interface, and some of the highest independently-tested detection rates married to low rates of false positives. “ — CNET editor Seth Rosenblatt.

A 30-day, fully-functional free trial of NOD32 can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!) Again, I thank Kimbal, and the folks at Eset for making this giveaway possible.

Without further ado: Congratulations to..

NODwinrs

(These licenses were provided by Kimbal Binder, Network Security Manager at Rain Networks. Those of you who are in IT may want to click here and visit the IT Security Resource Center, and learn more about Eset in the enterprise (trials available). Please direct questions to Kimbal at Kimbalb(at)rainnetworks(dot)com.)

Winners have been sent an e-mail containing their license keys. (You may need to check your Junk folder.)

My thanks to Kimbal, Eset, and all who participated in this contest.

TGIF!

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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May 28, 2010 Posted by | anti-spyware, antivirus, software | , , , , | 24 Comments