Bergesch Computer Services, Inc.
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November '17

Opinions, suggestions, recommendations or ideas found on our site are applied at your own risk. 


The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget. Thomas Szasz
 
And the old just don't care anymore  :-D


PLEASE - Do not give control of your computer to ANYONE unless you are absolutely certain who they are!  For more information see our Self Help > Scams!   

New to computers?  Our updated index may be useful.

In this newsletter

Were you scammed? (101)

Not a redneck joke, but you know you were scammed if:

Events

The System log tracks a lot of things that occur with the computer.  Many are simply "informational" and generated by Windows itself.

Over the past many years, we have never emptied our logs.  We simply don't care or have time to bother with it.  All event logs have a maximum size and after that, older log entries are replaced with newer entries, but anyway...

Here is part of ours showing errors and warnings.  We know the errors were from power supply issues and the warnings occurred as we reconfigured our (new) office network.  No hacker here...

event log

The Security log is most any action involving the operating system in general such as updates, installs, etc.  Again even actions Windows itself takes are logged. 

In this example, it was not a hacker or virus, rather the Windows firewall was basically complaining it couldn't do something because our Symantec was in charge of firewalling our computer.

event log

There is a large variety of event logs, but don't bother looking through them unless you are having a specific issue and you know what you are looking for.

Strange file names

On one of the calls we received, the scammer told us to write down 4 hackers' names and their "code names."   We played along.  Then he had us type this in the Windows run box:
inf on hacker names

Knowing full well what inf does, we told him we typed info on hacker names then hit enter and nothing happened.  We did this a couple times just to hear the frustration in his voice and eventually he became a bit irate.  We asked why it wasn't working and if he could help us; he hung up. 

His end game would have been to show us a bunch of the hackers' "code names" (those oddly named files) thereby proving our computer was infected. 

inf in the run box simply opens the legitimate Windows inf folder.  Typing anything after inf is ignored by Windows.

inf folder

The inf folder is, as it (almost) sounds, a bunch of strangely named files with information about Windows, hardware, software, etc., but it is also a folder you need to stay out of.  So forget this entire conversation :-)

Cookies

There are tons of them and as long as you have a good, active antivirus, forget all about cookies as well.

But how did you get there in the first place?

If an online scam occurs taking over your computer, don't click anything, rather restart the computer then scan with your antivirus application and PowerEraser.

Again, just shut down, restart and scan!

Did you allow control?

If you allowed remote control, then refused to pay and see something like these, you are in trouble! 

They encrypted your computer and there may or may not be a fix.  More times than not on encrypted machines, we had to capture data and reinstall Windows (and everything else) from scratch.

skey skey2

Report scams:

Windows 10 Start menu

After a recent (and massive) update, you may find the Start menu's context menu changed.  Two noticeable changes are:

  • Control Panel is missing
  • Command Prompt (Administrative) is replaced with PowerShell

The missing Control Panel almost seems to be a prelude to that application going away altogether and there is no quick key to get there either.  For the Control Panel, you can type "control" in Cortana's search box or press Windows key + Pause/Break key then upper left, click Control Panel*.

The Windows PowerShell can be replaced with the Command Prompt menu item via:  Settings > Personalization > Taskbar and there, turn off the Replace Command Prompt with PowerShell option. 

Modify start menu   new start  old menu

PowerShell is extremely powerful but somewhat complex compared to Command line tools (DOS commands)
Perhaps PowerShell will someday replace the Command line tools.

*Note: Another way you can get to the Control Panel (and a few other things) is to type the following line in the Windows run line (Windows key + R)
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\Group2 (Enter or click OK).  Interestingly,
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\ offers a few "groups" and within are other app shortcuts.

And of course, once you see a shortcut, you could certainly right click and send to your Desktop or pin/copy to the Start menu.

Aside but somewhat related: Microsoft's list of all Windows quick keys.

After the update

See this ZDNet article on 7 things you really should do!

We agree with suggestion #1 and have posted that suggestion many times over the years.  But likewise, we have also posted the dangers of doing suggestion #3.  If you encrypt your drive and lose or forget the password, you're done!

More customization

Using Windows run line (Windows key + R), you can add items to the Start menu. 

So for example: You installed an application but don't see an icon.  What you will need to do is locate the application's program file (see our July newsletter) then copy and paste (or drag the shortcut) into one of these folders:

getting there

Note: C:\ProgramData is a hidden folder. 

See Shell commands next.

Shell commands

If you want to open certain folders, you can do so using the Windows run line (Windows key + R).

shell:appdata opens the hidden Roaming folder where you can find all kinds of things to get in trouble with, but of interest would be the Microsoft > Windows > Start Menu > Programs folder as discussed above.

shell:Profile Displays the contents of the current user profile in C:\Users\username.
shell:SendTo Allows you to add or remove shortcuts on File Explorer's right-click Send To context menu.
shell:Recent Displays a folder containing shortcuts that appear in jump lists in Office apps, Explorer, and elsewhere.

These are as stated but probably just easier to access via their proper icon/shortcut:

shell:Desktop
shell:Downloads
shell:Personal (your default Documents folder)
shell:RecycleBinFolder

Windows creates "Public folders" which can be accessed by all users on the computer:

shell:Public
shell:Common Desktop

shell:Common Documents
shell:CommonPictures
shell:CommonMusic
shell:CommonVideo
shell:CommonDownloads

There are a lot more shell: commands; see this article.

Windstream billing

We had to contact Windstream to move our phone and DSL service, and as many of you may already know, calling their customer support can be challenging at best.  Long story short, after literally hours (mostly on hold), we finally got our service moved (albeit 3 days later than initially agreed upon). 

But they had failed to increase the speed as requested.  So another call to get that fixed and we are up and running but the heart of the story: 

As we were wrapping up that last call with them, we asked what the price increase would be and they said "with the DSL speed increase and Internet Security..." at which point we stopped them and asked what security?  They were going to automatically, and without our permission, add a McAfee subscription to our bill (and at a price of over $100 a year). 

So look over your phone bills carefully.  You may very well be paying for things not needed, not used!

Outlook printing

If you use Outlook, you may have noticed printing of the calendar is not exactly friendly depending on the current view.  For example, if you view monthly but want only today to print, you must change the view or File menu > Print then change options including the date range.

Fortunately Microsoft offers a Calendar Printing Assistant.  While it's labeled for Outlook 2007, it works just fine with our Outlook 2013.  Later versions are unknown.

Download and install the utility then open it from the Start menu (it did not create a Desktop shortcut).

print assist

From the right panel, select a template, modify as desired then save the "project" to your Desktop or another handy location.  When you want to print the calendar, simply open that project and print.

Quickies

Have Avast's CCleaner?  It very well may have a hacker's backdoor allowing ransomware or keyloggers.  The article and here is the FTC's response and article.

Have Google Chrome and like to experiment?  Try typing this in Chrome's addressbar:
chrome://flags/ (then press Enter)
But heed the warnings  :-) 

Other Chrome commands - (have fun but be careful):

Yahoo user?  READ THIS!

If you have Symantec Endpoint Corporate antivirus/protection, you may recall in the past it was necessary to call them if your credit card number changed.  You can now log in to your account and change online:

Login into hostedendpoint.spn.com
Go to subscription
Click on Buy More
Open the customer service TAB and select "Payment Information" 
Update your credit card details and save it.

Leaving you with

Remember our map (July '17) showing magnetic movement?  According to this article "global warming" is slower than predicted just 10 years ago.  Interestingly, the magnetic north movement also slowed over the past couple decades. 

Just pointing it out...  

mag north

AND - Translator anyone?

coke


Remember...

Thanks for all the help over these years, Jeff...