Tech – for Everyone

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

Free Tool Immunizes PC’s, USB Devices

Disable Autorun With A Click

Folks, an increasingly common method the cybercriminals are using to get their spyware and viruses onto your machines is by infecting thumb drives. In fact, if you remember Conficker…

Fortunately, the good folks at Panda have a free tool for us to help protect ourselves. The below is from their website…

Panda USB Vaccine – free antimalware to block malware spreading through USB drives.

There is an increasing amount of malware which, like the dangerous Conficker worm, spreads via removable devices and drives such as memory sticks, MP3 players, digital cameras, etc. To do this, these malicious codes modify the AutoRun file on these devices.


Panda USB Vaccine is a free solution designed to protect against this threat. It offers a double layer of preventive protection, allowing users to disable the AutoRun feature on computers as well as on USB drives and other devices:

Vaccine for computers: This is a ‘vaccine’ for computers to prevent any AutoRun file from running, regardless of whether the device (memory stick, CD, etc.) is infected or not.

Vaccine for USB devices: This is a ‘vaccine’ for removable USB devices, preventing the AutoRun file from becoming a source of infection. The tool disables this file so it cannot be read, modified or replaced by malicious code.

This is a very useful tool as there is no simple way of disabling the AutoRun feature in Windows. This provides users with a simple way of disabling this feature, offering a high degree of protection against infections from removable drives and devices.
You can Download Antimalware Panda USB Vaccine free here.

* The good folks at Panda get another tip of my Geek hat for this. And my thanks also to Bryce at Technibble for mentioning this in his newsletter. I had meant to mention this, but it had slipped my mind..

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


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August 27, 2010 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, hackers, how to, mobile, PC, security, software, tech, USB storage devices | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to install a program on your thumb drive (reposting)

As I am sure you have experienced a time or two yourselves, today is “one of those mornings” and I am impelled to quickly re-post a prior article. This article tells you how to get more use out of your thumb-drive by making it a ‘computer on a stick’. It appeared 12/12/07–

Today I will answer a very good question submitted by a reader.

Q: How do I install a program on my thumb-drive so I can run it from there?
A: One of the handier uses for thumb-drives is to load them with programs and use them as sort of a ‘computer-on-a-stick’. As I mentioned in a prior article, I have a bootable thumb-drive loaded with troubleshooting programs which I use as a portable repair kit. But you don’t need to make a thumb-drive bootable to run programs from it.

The most popular way to put programs on your thumb-drive is to either purchase a (pre-configured) U3 drive, or download and install the suite of portable programs called Portable Apps. Both of these methods will give you a portable word processor, web browser, and other useful tools — and offer other “portable” programs for downloading. (These, btw, are an excellent resource for individual “portable” downloads.)

But let’s say you want to install the very useful troubleshooting tool Process Explorer or some other program that is not specifically a “portable”, or part of the suites mentioned above. If the program is not larger than the available space on your thumb drive — Office 2007 will not fit on a 512MB drive, for example — use the following method to install it. (I am going to install the popular free anti-spyware program AdAware as my demonstration.)
1) download the setup.exe to your computer’s desktop, using the “Save” option (not “Run”).
2) Insert the thumb-drive.
3) Open My Computer, and locate the “Removable Storage” drive letter that is the thumb-drive. In my case, that is “Removable Disk (D:)”, but yours may differ.
mc.jpg
4) Double-click on the downloaded installation setup.exe (on your Desktop), and start the Install process. Here you will agree to the EULA, click Next a few times, and go through an install wizard. Do this process as you normally would except you need to change the install’s Destination.
5) Change the Install Destination Folder to the thumb drive’s drive letter: in my example, that’s D:\. At some point, the Install wizard will ask you to choose a destination or accept the default (the default destination is C:\Program Files\) and here is where we need to make the change. If you go through the wizard without being asked for a Destination, use the the “<Back” button and change the Install Type from “Typical” to “Custom”.

Click on the Browse button and then double-click on the D:\ drive.
mc3.jpg
6) Now let the Install Wizard do its thing. When it has completed installing, click on the “Finish” button.

That’s it. You’re done.
When you “Explore”, or “Open Folder for Viewing”, or otherwise look at your thumb drive’s directory, you will see the AdAware.exe icon. That means the program is available to be run.. just as if you were running it from your computer. Literally, a program-on-a-stick!
Remember, I used AdAware as an example, but you can pretty much do this with any application (“executable”), though — since a thumb drive’s size is somewhat small — I recommend you seek out a “portable” version of your program if one is available.

[Update: Bill Mullins has brought to my attention a program – MojoPac – for running apps on your thumbdrive that seems more flexible than the others I have mentioned. To read his review, click here.]

Today’s free link(s): Well,.. let’s see.. I count four sprinkled through the article..

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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January 23, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, PC, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments