Sunday, October 10, 2010

All about ftp

Setting Up A Ftp:

Well, since many of us have always wondered this, here it is. Long and drawn out. Also, before attempting this, realize one thing; You will have to give up your time, effort, bandwidth, and security to have a quality ftp server.
That being said, here it goes. First of all, find out if your IP (Internet Protocol) is static (not changing) or dynamic (changes everytime you log on). To do this, first consider the fact if you have a dial up modem. If you do, chances are about 999 999 out of 1 000 000 that your IP is dynamic. To make it static, just go to a place like h*tp:// to register for a static ip address.

You’ll then need to get your IP. This can be done by doing this:
Going to Start -> Run -> winipcfg or and asking ’What is my IP?’

After doing so, you’ll need to download an FTP server client. Personally, I’d recommend G6 FTP Server, Serv-U FTPor Bullitproof v2.15 all three of which are extremely reliable, and the norm of the ftp world.
You can download them on this site: h*tp://

First, you’ll have to set up your ftp. For this guide, I will use step-by-step instructions for G6. First, you’ll have to go into ’Setup -> General’. From here, type in your port # (default is 21). I recommend something unique, or something a bit larger (ex: 3069). If you want to, check the number of max users (this sets the amount of simultaneous maximum users on your server at once performing actions - The more on at once, the slower the connection and vice versa).

The below options are then chooseable:
-Launch with windows
-Activate FTP Server on Start-up
-Put into tray on startup
-Allow multiple instances
-Show "Loading..." status at startup
-Scan drive(s) at startup
-Confirm exit

You can do what you want with these, as they are pretty self explanatory. The scan drive feature is nice, as is the 2nd and the last option. From here, click the ’options’ text on the left column.

To protect your server, you should check ’login check’ and ’password check’, ’Show relative path (a must!)’, and any other options you feel you’ll need. After doing so, click the ’advanced’ text in the left column. You should then leave the buffer size on the default (unless of course you know what you’re doing ), and then allow the type of ftp you want.

Uploading and downloading is usually good, but it’s up to you if you want to allow uploads and/or downloads. For the server priority, that will determine how much conventional memory will be used and how much ’effort’ will go into making your server run smoothly.

Anti-hammering is also good, as it prevents people from slowing down your speed. From here, click ’Log Options’ from the left column. If you would like to see and record every single command and clutter up your screen, leave the defaults.

But, if you would like to see what is going on with the lowest possible space taken, click ’Screen’ in the top column. You should then check off ’Log successful logins’, and all of the options in the client directry, except ’Log directory changes’. After doing so, click ’Ok’ in the bottom left corner.

You will then have to go into ’Setup -> User Accounts’ (or ctrl & u). From here, you should click on the right most column, and right click. Choose ’Add’, and choose the username(s) you would like people to have access to.

After giving a name (ex: themoonlanding), you will have to give them a set password in the bottom column (ex: wasfaked). For the ’Home IP’ directory, (if you registered with a static server, check ’All IP Homes’. If your IP is static by default, choose your IP from the list. You will then have to right click in the very center column, and choose ’Add’.

From here, you will have to set the directory you want the people to have access to. After choosing the directory, I suggest you choose the options ’Read’, ’List’, and ’Subdirs’, unless of course you know what you’re doing . After doing so, make an ’upload’ folder in the directory, and choose to ’add’ this folder seperately to the center column. Choose ’write’, ’append’, ’make’, ’list’, and ’subdirs’. This will allow them to upload only to specific folders (your upload folder).

Now click on ’Miscellaneous’ from the left column. Choose ’enable account’, your time-out (how long it takes for people to remain idle before you automatically kick them off), the maximum number of users for this name, the maximum number of connections allowed simultaneously for one ip address, show relative path (a must!), and any other things at the bottom you’d like to have. Now click ’Ok’.

From this main menu, click the little boxing glove icon in the top corner, and right click and unchoose the hit-o-meter for both uploads and downloads (with this you can monitor IP activity). Now click the lightning bolt, and your server is now up and running.

Post your ftp info, like this: (or something else, such as: ’f*p://’)

User: *** (The username of the client)

Pass: *** (The password)

Port: *** (The port number you chose)

So make a FTP and join the FTP section

Listing The Contents Of A Ftp:

Listing the content of a FTP is very simple.
You will need FTP Content Maker, which can be downloaded from here:

1. Put in the IP of the server. Do not put "ftp://" or a "/" because it will not work if you do so.
2. Put in the port. If the port is the default number, 21, you do not have to enter it.
3. Put in the username and password in the appropriate fields. If the login is anonymous, you do not have to enter it.
4. If you want to list a specific directory of the FTP, place it in the directory field. Otherwise, do not enter anything in the directory field.
5. Click "Take the List!"
6. After the list has been taken, click the UBB output tab, and copy and paste to wherever you want it.

If FTP Content Maker is not working, it is probably because the server does not utilize Serv-U Software.

If you get this error message:
StatusCode = 550
LastResponse was : ’Unable to open local file test-ftp’
Error = 550 (Unable to open local file test-ftp)
Error = Unable to open local file test-ftp = 550
Close and restart FTP Content Maker, then try again.

error messages:

110 Restart marker reply. In this case, the text is exact and not left to the particular implementation; it must read: MARK yyyy = mmmm Where yyyy is User-process data stream marker, and mmmm server’s equivalent marker (note the spaces between markers and "=").
120 Service ready in nnn minutes.
125 Data connection already open; transfer starting.
150 File status okay; about to open data connection.
200 Command okay.
202 Command not implemented, superfluous at this site.
211 System status, or system help reply.
212 Directory status.
213 File status.
214 Help message. On how to use the server or the meaning of a particular non-standard command. This reply is useful only to the human user.
215 NAME system type. Where NAME is an official system name from the list in the Assigned Numbers document.
220 Service ready for new user.
221 Service closing control connection. Logged out if appropriate.
225 Data connection open; no transfer in progress.
226 Closing data connection. Requested file action successful (for example, file transfer or file abort).
227 Entering Passive Mode (h1,h2,h3,h4,p1,p2).
230 User logged in, proceed.
250 Requested file action okay, completed.
257 "PATHNAME" created.
331 User name okay, need password.
332 Need account for login.
350 Requested file action pending further information.
421 Too many users logged to the same account
425 Can’t open data connection.
426 Connection closed; transfer aborted.
450 Requested file action not taken. File unavailable (e.g., file busy).
451 Requested action aborted: local error in processing.
452 Requested action not taken. Insufficient storage space in system.
500 Syntax error, command unrecognized. This may include errors such as command line too long.
501 Syntax error in parameters or arguments.
502 Command not implemented.
503 Bad sequence of commands.
504 Command not implemented for that parameter.
530 Not logged in.
532 Need account for storing files.
550 Requested action not taken. File unavailable (e.g., file not found, no access).
551 Requested action aborted: page type unknown.
552 Requested file action aborted. Exceeded storage allocation (for current directory or dataset).
553 Requested action not taken. File name not allowed.

Active FTP vs. Passive FTP, a Definitive Explanation

One of the most commonly seen questions when dealing with firewalls and other Internet connectivity issues is the difference between active and passive FTP and how best to support either or both of them. Hopefully the following text will help to clear up some of the confusion over how to support FTP in a firewalled environment.

This may not be the definitive explanation, as the title claims, however, I’ve heard enough good feedback and seen this document linked in enough places to know that quite a few people have found it to be useful. I am always looking for ways to improve things though, and if you find something that is not quite clear or needs more explanation, please let me know! Recent additions to this document include the examples of both active and passive command line FTP sessions. These session examples should help make things a bit clearer. They also provide a nice picture into what goes on behind the scenes during an FTP session. Now, on to the information...

The Basics
FTP is a TCP based service exclusively. There is no UDP component to FTP. FTP is an unusual service in that it utilizes two ports, a ’data’ port and a ’command’ port (also known as the control port). Traditionally these are port 21 for the command port and port 20 for the data port. The confusion begins however, when we find that depending on the mode, the data port is not always on port 20.

Active FTP
In active mode FTP the client connects from a random unprivileged port (N > 1024) to the FTP server’s command port, port 21. Then, the client starts listening to port N+1 and sends the FTP command PORT N+1 to the FTP server. The server will then connect back to the client’s specified data port from its local data port, which is port 20.

From the server-side firewall’s standpoint, to support active mode FTP the following communication channels need to be opened:

FTP server’s port 21 from anywhere (Client initiates connection)
FTP server’s port 21 to ports > 1024 (Server responds to client’s control port)
FTP server’s port 20 to ports > 1024 (Server initiates data connection to client’s data port)
FTP server’s port 20 from ports > 1024 (Client sends ACKs to server’s data port)

In step 1, the client’s command port contacts the server’s command port and sends the command PORT 1027. The server then sends an ACK back to the client’s command port in step 2. In step 3 the server initiates a connection on its local data port to the data port the client specified earlier. Finally, the client sends an ACK back as shown in step 4.

The main problem with active mode FTP actually falls on the client side. The FTP client doesn’t make the actual connection to the data port of the server--it simply tells the server what port it is listening on and the server connects back to the specified port on the client. From the client side firewall this appears to be an outside system initiating a connection to an internal client--something that is usually blocked.

Active FTP Example
Below is an actual example of an active FTP session. The only things that have been changed are the server names, IP addresses, and user names. In this example an FTP session is initiated from (, a linux box running the standard FTP command line client, to (, a linux box running ProFTPd 1.2.2RC2. The debugging (-d) flag is used with the FTP client to show what is going on behind the scenes. Everything in red is the debugging output which shows the actual FTP commands being sent to the server and the responses generated from those commands. Normal server output is shown in black, and user input is in bold.

There are a few interesting things to consider about this dialog. Notice that when the PORT command is issued, it specifies a port on the client ( system, rather than the server. We will see the opposite behavior when we use passive FTP. While we are on the subject, a quick note about the format of the PORT command. As you can see in the example below it is formatted as a series of six numbers separated by commas. The first four octets are the IP address while the second two octets comprise the port that will be used for the data connection. To find the actual port multiply the fifth octet by 256 and then add the sixth octet to the total. Thus in the example below the port number is ( (14*256) + 178), or 3762. A quick check with netstat should confirm this information.

testbox1: {/home/p-t/slacker/public_html} % ftp -d testbox2
Connected to
220 FTP server ready.
Name (testbox2:slacker): slacker
---> USER slacker
331 Password required for slacker.
Password: TmpPass
230 User slacker logged in.
---> SYST
215 UNIX Type: L8
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> ls
ftp: setsockopt (ignored): Permission denied
---> PORT 192,168,150,80,14,178
200 PORT command successful.
---> LIST
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for file list.
drwx------ 3 slacker users 104 Jul 27 01:45 public_html
226 Transfer complete.
ftp> quit
---> QUIT
221 Goodbye.

Passive FTP
In order to resolve the issue of the server initiating the connection to the client a different method for FTP connections was developed. This was known as passive mode, or PASV, after the command used by the client to tell the server it is in passive mode.

In passive mode FTP the client initiates both connections to the server, solving the problem of firewalls filtering the incoming data port connection to the client from the server. When opening an FTP connection, the client opens two random unprivileged ports locally (N > 1024 and N+1). The first port contacts the server on port 21, but instead of then issuing a PORT command and allowing the server to connect back to its data port, the client will issue the PASV command. The result of this is that the server then opens a random unprivileged port (P > 1024) and sends the PORT P command back to the client. The client then initiates the connection from port N+1 to port P on the server to transfer data.

From the server-side firewall’s standpoint, to support passive mode FTP the following communication channels need to be opened:

FTP server’s port 21 from anywhere (Client initiates connection)
FTP server’s port 21 to ports > 1024 (Server responds to client’s control port)
FTP server’s ports > 1024 from anywhere (Client initiates data connection to random port specified by server)
FTP server’s ports > 1024 to remote ports > 1024 (Server sends ACKs (and data) to client’s data port)

In step 1, the client contacts the server on the command port and issues the PASV command. The server then replies in step 2 with PORT 2024, telling the client which port it is listening to for the data connection. In step 3 the client then initiates the data connection from its data port to the specified server data port. Finally, the server sends back an ACK in step 4 to the client’s data port.

While passive mode FTP solves many of the problems from the client side, it opens up a whole range of problems on the server side. The biggest issue is the need to allow any remote connection to high numbered ports on the server. Fortunately, many FTP daemons, including the popular WU-FTPD allow the administrator to specify a range of ports which the FTP server will use. See Appendix 1 for more information.

The second issue involves supporting and troubleshooting clients which do (or do not) support passive mode. As an example, the command line FTP utility provided with Solaris does not support passive mode, necessitating a third-party FTP client, such as ncftp.

With the massive popularity of the World Wide Web, many people prefer to use their web browser as an FTP client. Most browsers only support passive mode when accessing ftp:// URLs. This can either be good or bad depending on what the servers and firewalls are configured to support.

Passive FTP Example
Below is an actual example of a passive FTP session. The only things that have been changed are the server names, IP addresses, and user names. In this example an FTP session is initiated from (, a linux box running the standard FTP command line client, to (, a linux box running ProFTPd 1.2.2RC2. The debugging (-d) flag is used with the FTP client to show what is going on behind the scenes. Everything in red is the debugging output which shows the actual FTP commands being sent to the server and the responses generated from those commands. Normal server output is shown in black, and user input is in bold.

Notice the difference in the PORT command in this example as opposed to the active FTP example. Here, we see a port being opened on the server ( system, rather than the client. See the discussion about the format of the PORT command above, in the Active FTP Example section.

testbox1: {/home/p-t/slacker/public_html} % ftp -d testbox2
Connected to
220 FTP server ready.
Name (testbox2:slacker): slacker
---> USER slacker
331 Password required for slacker.
Password: TmpPass
230 User slacker logged in.
---> SYST
215 UNIX Type: L8
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> passive
Passive mode on.
ftp> ls
ftp: setsockopt (ignored): Permission denied
---> PASV
227 Entering Passive Mode (192,168,150,90,195,149).
---> LIST
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for file list
drwx------ 3 slacker users 104 Jul 27 01:45 public_html
226 Transfer complete.
ftp> quit
---> QUIT
221 Goodbye.

The following chart should help admins remember how each FTP mode works:

Active FTP :
command : client >1024 -> server 21
data : client >1024 <- server 20

Passive FTP :
command : client >1024 -> server 21
data : client >1024 -> server >1024

A quick summary of the pros and cons of active vs. passive FTP is also in order:

Active FTP is beneficial to the FTP server admin, but detrimental to the client side admin. The FTP server attempts to make connections to random high ports on the client, which would almost certainly be blocked by a firewall on the client side. Passive FTP is beneficial to the client, but detrimental to the FTP server admin. The client will make both connections to the server, but one of them will be to a random high port, which would almost certainly be blocked by a firewall on the server side.

Luckily, there is somewhat of a compromise. Since admins running FTP servers will need to make their servers accessible to the greatest number of clients, they will almost certainly need to support passive FTP. The exposure of high level ports on the server can be minimized by specifying a limited port range for the FTP server to use. Thus, everything except for this range of ports can be firewalled on the server side. While this doesn’t eliminate all risk to the server, it decreases it tremendously.

Advanced Shellcoding Techniques - by Darawk

Advanced Shellcoding Techniques - by Darawk


This paper assumes a working knowledge of basic shellcoding techniques, and x86 assembly, I will not rehash these in this paper. I hope to teach you some of the lesser known shellcoding techniques that I have picked up, which will allow you to write smaller and better shellcodes. I do not claim to have invented any of these techniques, except for the one that uses the div instruction.

The multiplicity of mul

This technique was originally developed by Sorbo of The mul instruction may, on the surface, seem mundane, and it’s purpose obvious. However, when faced with the difficult challenge of shrinking your shellcode, it proves to be quite useful. First some background information on the mul instruction itself.

mul performs an unsigned multiply of two integers. It takes only one operand, the other is implicitly specified by the %eax register. So, a common mul instruction might look something like this:

movl $0x0a,%eax
mul $0x0a

This would multiply the value stored in %eax by the operand of mul, which in this case would be 10*10. The result is then implicitly stored in EDX:EAX. The result is stored over a span of two registers because it has the potential to be considerably larger than the previous value, possibly exceeding the capacity of a single register(this is also how floating points are stored in some cases, as an interesting sidenote).

So, now comes the ever-important question. How can we use these attributes to our advantage when writing shellcode? Well, let’s think for a second, the instruction takes only one operand, therefore, since it is a very common instruction, it will generate only two bytes in our final shellcode. It multiplies whatever is passed to it by the value stored in %eax, and stores the value in both %edx and %eax, completely overwriting the contents of both registers, regardless of whether it is necessary to do so, in order to store the result of the multiplication. Let’s put on our mathematician hats for a second, and consider this, what is the only possible result of a multiplication by 0? The answer, as you may have guessed, is 0. I think it’s about time for some example code, so here it is:

xorl %ecx,%ecx
mul %ecx

What is this shellcode doing? Well, it 0’s out the %ecx register using the xor instruction, so we now know that %ecx is 0. Then it does a mul %ecx, which as we just learned, multiplies it’s operand by the value in %eax, and then proceeds to store the result of this multiplication in EDX:EAX. So, regardless of %eax’s previous contents, %eax must now be 0. However that’s not all, %edx is 0’d now too, because, even though no overflow occurs, it still overwrites the %edx register with the sign bit(left-most bit) of %eax. Using this technique we can zero out three registers in only three bytes, whereas by any other method(that I know of) it would have taken at least six.

The div instruction

Div is very similar to mul, in that it takes only one operand and implicitly divides the operand by the value in %eax. Also like, mul it stores the result of the divide in %eax. Again, we will require the mathematical side of our brains to figure out how we can take advantage of this instruction. But first, let’s think about what is normally stored in the %eax register. The %eax register holds the return value of functions and/or syscalls. Most syscalls that are used in shellcoding will return -1(on failure) or a positive value of some kind, only rarely will they return 0(though it does occur). So, if we know that after a syscall is performed, %eax will have a non-zero value, and that the instruction divl %eax will divide %eax by itself, and then store the result in %eax, we can say that executing the divl %eax instruction after a syscall will put the value 1 into %eax. is this applicable to shellcoding? Well, their is another important thing that %eax is used for, and that is to pass the specific syscall that you would like to call to int $0x80. It just so happens that the syscall that corresponds to the value 1 is exit(). Now for an example:

xorl %ebx,%ebx
mul %ebx
push %edx
pushl $0x3268732f
pushl $0x6e69622f
mov %esp, %ebx
push %edx
push %ebx
mov %esp,%ecx
movb $0xb, %al #execve() syscall, doesn’t return at all unless it fails, in which case it returns -1
int $0x80

divl %eax # -1 / -1 = 1
int $0x80

Now, we have a 3 byte exit function, where as before it was 5 bytes. However, there is a catch, what if a syscall does return 0? Well in the odd situation in which that could happen, you could do many different things, like inc %eax, dec %eax, not %eax anything that will make %eax non-zero. Some people say that exit’s are not important in shellcode, because your code gets executed regardless of whether or not it exits cleanly. They are right too, if you really need to save 3 bytes to fit your shellcode in somewhere, the exit() isn’t worth keeping. However, when your code does finish, it will try to execute whatever was after your last instruction, which will most likely produce a SIG ILL(illegal instruction) which is a rather odd error, and will be logged by the system. So, an exit() simply adds an extra layer of stealth to your exploit, so that even if it fails or you can’t wipe all the logs, at least this part of your presence will be clear.

Unlocking the power of leal

The leal instruction is an often neglected instruction in shellcode, even though it is quite useful. Consider this short piece of shellcode.

xorl %ecx,%ecx
leal 0x10(%ecx),%eax

This will load the value 17 into eax, and clear all of the extraneous bits of eax. This occurs because the leal instruction loads a variable of the type long into it’s desitination operand. In it’s normal usage, this would load the address of a variable into a register, thus creating a pointer of sorts. However, since ecx is 0’d and 0+17=17, we load the value 17 into eax instead of any kind of actual address. In a normal shellcode we would do something like this, to accomplish the same thing:

xorl %eax,%eax
movb $0x10,%eax

I can hear you saying, but that shellcode is a byte shorter than the leal one, and you’re quite right. However, in a real shellcode you may already have to 0 out a register like ecx(or any other register), so the xorl instruction in the leal shellcode isn’t counted. Here’s an example:

xorl %eax,%eax
xorl %ebx,%ebx
movb $0x17,%al
int $0x80

xorl %ebx,%ebx
leal 0x17(%ebx),%al
int $0x80

Both of these shellcodes call setuid(0), but one does it in 7 bytes while the other does it in 8. Again, I hear you saying but that’s only one byte it doesn’t make that much of a difference, and you’re right, here it doesn’t make much of a difference(except for in shellcode-size pissing contests =p), but when applied to much larger shellcodes, which have many function calls and need to do things like this frequently, it can save quite a bit of space.


I hope you all learned something, and will go out and apply your knowledge to create smaller and better shellcodes. If you know who invented the leal technique, please tell me and I will credit him/her.

A Basic Guide to the Internet

A Basic Guide to the Internet

The Internet is a computer network made up of thousands of networks worldwide. No one knows exactly how many computers are connected to the Internet. It is certain, however, that these number in the millions.

No one is in charge of the Internet. There are organizations which develop technical aspects of this network and set standards for creating applications on it, but no governing body is in control. The Internet backbone, through which Internet traffic flows, is owned by private companies.

All computers on the Internet communicate with one another using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol suite, abbreviated to TCP/IP. Computers on the Internet use a client/server architecture. This means that the remote server machine provides files and services to the user’s local client machine. Software can be installed on a client computer to take advantage of the latest access technology.

An Internet user has access to a wide variety of services: electronic mail, file transfer, vast information resources, interest group membership, interactive collaboration, multimedia displays, real-time broadcasting, shopping opportunities, breaking news, and much more.

The Internet consists primarily of a variety of access protocols. Many of these protocols feature programs that allow users to search for and retrieve material made available by the protocol.




The World Wide Web (abbreviated as the Web or WWW) is a system of Internet servers that supports hypertext to access several Internet protocols on a single interface. Almost every protocol type available on the Internet is accessible on the Web. This includes e-mail, FTP, Telnet, and Usenet News. In addition to these, the World Wide Web has its own protocol: HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. These protocols will be explained later in this document.

The World Wide Web provides a single interface for accessing all these protocols. This creates a convenient and user-friendly environment. It is no longer necessary to be conversant in these protocols within separate, command-level environments. The Web gathers together these protocols into a single system. Because of this feature, and because of the Web’s ability to work with multimedia and advanced programming languages, the Web is the fastest-growing component of the Internet.

The operation of the Web relies primarily on hypertext as its means of information retrieval. HyperText is a document containing words that connect to other documents. These words are called links and are selectable by the user. A single hypertext document can contain links to many documents. In the context of the Web, words or graphics may serve as links to other documents, images, video, and sound. Links may or may not follow a logical path, as each connection is programmed by the creator of the source document. Overall, the Web contains a complex virtual web of connections among a vast number of documents, graphics, videos, and sounds.

Producing hypertext for the Web is accomplished by creating documents with a language called HyperText Markup Language, or HTML. With HTML, tags are placed within the text to accomplish document formatting, visual features such as font size, italics and bold, and the creation of hypertext links. Graphics and multimedia may also be incorporated into an HTML document. HTML is an evolving language, with new tags being added as each upgrade of the language is developed and released. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), led by Web founder Tim Berners-Lee, coordinates the efforts of standardizing HTML. The W3C now calls the language XHTML and considers it to be an application of the XML language standard.

The World Wide Web consists of files, called pages or home pages, containing links to documents and resources throughout the Internet.

The Web provides a vast array of experiences including multimedia presentations, real-time collaboration, interactive pages, radio and television broadcasts, and the automatic "push" of information to a client computer. Programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Visual Basic, Cold Fusion and XML are extending the capabilities of the Web. A growing amount of information on the Web is served dynamically from content stored in databases. The Web is therefore not a fixed entity, but one that is in a constant state of development and flux.

For more complete information about the World Wide Web, see Understanding The World Wide Web.

Electronic mail, or e-mail, allows computer users locally and worldwide to exchange messages. Each user of e-mail has a mailbox address to which messages are sent. Messages sent through e-mail can arrive within a matter of seconds.

A powerful aspect of e-mail is the option to send electronic files to a person’s e-mail address. Non-ASCII files, known as binary files, may be attached to e-mail messages. These files are referred to as MIME attachments.MIME stands for Multimedia Internet Mail Extension, and was developed to help e-mail software handle a variety of file types. For example, a document created in Microsoft Word can be attached to an e-mail message and retrieved by the recipient with the appropriate e-mail program. Many e-mail programs, including Eudora, Netscape Messenger, and Microsoft Outlook, offer the ability to read files written in HTML, which is itself a MIME type.

Telnet is a program that allows you to log into computers on the Internet and use online databases, library catalogs, chat services, and more. There are no graphics in Telnet sessions, just text. To Telnet to a computer, you must know its address. This can consist of words ( or numbers ( Some services require you to connect to a specific port on the remote computer. In this case, type the port number after the Internet address. Example: telnet 185.

Telnet is available on the World Wide Web. Probably the most common Web-based resources available through Telnet have been library catalogs, though most catalogs have since migrated to the Web. A link to a Telnet resource may look like any other link, but it will launch a Telnet session to make the connection. A Telnet program must be installed on your local computer and configured to your Web browser in order to work.

With the increasing popularity of the Web, Telnet has become less frequently used as a means of access to information on the Internet.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is both a program and the method used to transfer files between computers. Anonymous FTP is an option that allows users to transfer files from thousands of host computers on the Internet to their personal computer account. FTP sites contain books, articles, software, games, images, sounds, multimedia, course work, data sets, and more.

If your computer is directly connected to the Internet via an Ethernet cable, you can use one of several PC software programs, such as WS_FTP for Windows, to conduct a file transfer.

FTP transfers can be performed on the World Wide Web without the need for special software. In this case, the Web browser will suffice. Whenever you download software from a Web site to your local machine, you are using FTP. You can also retrieve FTP files via search engines such as FtpFind, located at / This option is easiest because you do not need to know FTP program commands.

One of the benefits of the Internet is the opportunity it offers to people worldwide to communicate via e-mail. The Internet is home to a large community of individuals who carry out active discussions organized around topic-oriented forums distributed by e-mail. These are administered by software programs. Probably the most common program is the listserv.

A great variety of topics are covered by listservs, many of them academic in nature. When you subscribe to a listserv, messages from other subscribers are automatically sent to your electronic mailbox. You subscribe to a listserv by sending an e-mail message to a computer program called a listserver. Listservers are located on computer networks throughout the world. This program handles subscription information and distributes messages to and from subscribers. You must have a e-mail account to participate in a listserv discussion group. Visit at / to see an example of a site that offers a searchablecollection of e-mail discussion groups.

Majordomo and Listproc are two other programs that administer e-mail discussion groups. The commands for subscribing to and managing your list memberships are similar to those of listserv.

Usenet News is a global electronic bulletin board system in which millions of computer users exchange information on a vast range of topics. The major difference between Usenet News and e-mail discussion groups is the fact that Usenet messages are stored on central computers, and users must connect to these computers to read or download the messages posted to these groups. This is distinct from e-mail distribution, in which messages arrive in the electronic mailboxes of each list member.

Usenet itself is a set of machines that exchanges messages, or articles, from Usenet discussion forums, called newsgroups. Usenet administrators control their own sites, and decide which (if any) newsgroups to sponsor and which remote newsgroups to allow into the system.

There are thousands of Usenet newsgroups in existence. While many are academic in nature, numerous newsgroups are organized around recreational topics. Much serious computer-related work takes place in Usenet discussions. A small number of e-mail discussion groups also exist as Usenet newsgroups.

The Usenet newsfeed can be read by a variety of newsreader software programs. For example, the Netscape suite comes with a newsreader program called Messenger. Newsreaders are also available as standalone products.

FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. These are periodic postings to Usenet newsgroups that contain a wealth of information related to the topic of the newsgroup. Many FAQs are quite extensive. FAQs are available by subscribing to individual Usenet newsgroups. A Web-based collection of FAQ resources has been collected by The Internet FAQ Consortium and is available at /

RFC stands for Request for Comments. These are documents created by and distributed to the Internet community to help define the nuts and bolts of the Internet. They contain both technical specifications and general information.

FYI stands for For Your Information. These notes are a subset of RFCs and contain information of interest to new Internet users.

Links to indexes of all three of these information resources are available on the University Libraries Web site at /

Chat programs allow users on the Internet to communicate with each other by typing in real time. They are sometimes included as a feature of a Web site, where users can log into the "chat room" to exchange comments and information about the topics addressed on the site. Chat may take other, more wide-ranging forms. For example, America Online is well known for sponsoring a number of topical chat rooms.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a service through which participants can communicate to each other on hundreds of channels. These channels are usually based on specific topics. While many topics are frivolous, substantive conversations are also taking place. To access IRC, you must use an IRC software program.

A variation of chat is the phenomenon of instant messenging. With instant messenging, a user on the Web can contact another user currently logged in and type a conversation. Most famous is America Online’s Instant Messenger. ICQ, MSN and Yahoo are other commonly-used chat programs.

Other types of real-time communication are addressed in the tutorial Understanding the World Wide Web.

MUD stands for Multi User Dimension. MUDs, and their variations listed above, are multi-user virtual reality games based on simulated worlds. Traditionally text based, graphical MUDs now exist. There are MUDs of all kinds on the Internet, and many can be joined free of charge. For more information, read one of the FAQs devoted to MUDs available at the FAQ site at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

23 Ways To Speed WinXP, Not only Defrag.txt

Since defragging the disk won’t do much to improve Windows XP performance, here are 23 suggestions that will. Each can enhance the performance and reliability of your customers’ PCs. Best of all, most of them will cost you nothing.
1.) To decrease a system’s boot time and increase system performance, use the money you save by not buying defragmentation software -- the built-in Windows defragmenter works just fine -- and instead equip the computer with an Ultra-133 or Serial ATA hard drive with 8-MB cache buffer.

2.) If a PC has less than 512 MB of RAM, add more memory. This is a relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade that can dramatically improve system performance.

3.) Ensure that Windows XP is utilizing the NTFS file system. If you’re not sure, here’s how to check: First, double-click the My Computer icon, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Next, examine the File System type; if it says FAT32, then back-up any important data. Next, click Start, click Run, type CMD, and then click OK. At the prompt, type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and press the Enter key. This process may take a while; it’s important that the computer be uninterrupted and virus-free. The file system used by the bootable drive will be either FAT32 or NTFS. I highly recommend NTFS for its superior security, reliability, and efficiency with larger disk drives.

4.) Disable file indexing. The indexing service extracts information from documents and other files on the hard drive and creates a "searchable keyword index." As you can imagine, this process can be quite taxing on any system.

The idea is that the user can search for a word, phrase, or property inside a document, should they have hundreds or thousands of documents and not know the file name of the document they want. Windows XP’s built-in search functionality can still perform these kinds of searches without the Indexing service. It just takes longer. The OS has to open each file at the time of the request to help find what the user is looking for.

Most people never need this feature of search. Those who do are typically in a large corporate environment where thousands of documents are located on at least one server. But if you’re a typical system builder, most of your clients are small and medium businesses. And if your clients have no need for this search feature, I recommend disabling it.

Here’s how: First, double-click the My Computer icon. Next, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching." Next, apply changes to "C: subfolders and files," and click OK. If a warning or error message appears (such as "Access is denied"), click the Ignore All button.

5.) Update the PC’s video and motherboard chipset drivers. Also, update and configure the BIOS. For more information on how to configure your BIOS properly, see this article on my site.

6.) Empty the Windows Prefetch folder every three months or so. Windows XP can "prefetch" portions of data and applications that are used frequently. This makes processes appear to load faster when called upon by the user. That’s fine. But over time, the prefetch folder may become overloaded with references to files and applications no longer in use. When that happens, Windows XP is wasting time, and slowing system performance, by pre-loading them. Nothing critical is in this folder, and the entire contents are safe to delete.

7.) Once a month, run a disk cleanup. Here’s how: Double-click the My Computer icon. Then right-click on the C: drive and select Properties. Click the Disk Cleanup button -- it’s just to the right of the Capacity pie graph -- and delete all temporary files.

8.) In your Device Manager, double-click on the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers device, and ensure that DMA is enabled for each drive you have connected to the Primary and Secondary controller. Do this by double-clicking on Primary IDE Channel. Then click the Advanced Settings tab. Ensure the Transfer Mode is set to "DMA if available" for both Device 0 and Device 1. Then repeat this process with the Secondary IDE Channel.

9.) Upgrade the cabling. As hard-drive technology improves, the cabling requirements to achieve these performance boosts have become more stringent. Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all of your IDE devices with the connectors properly assigned to the matching Master/Slave/Motherboard sockets. A single device must be at the end of the cable; connecting a single drive to the middle connector on a ribbon cable will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA hard drives, these signaling problems will prevent the drive from performing at its maximum potential. Also, because these cables inherently support "cable select," the location of each drive on the cable is important. For these reasons, the cable is designed so drive positioning is explicitly clear.

10.) Remove all spyware from the computer. Use free programs such as AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Once these programs are installed, be sure to check for and download any updates before starting your search. Anything either program finds can be safely removed. Any free software that requires spyware to run will no longer function once the spyware portion has been removed; if your customer really wants the program even though it contains spyware, simply reinstall it. For more information on removing Spyware visit this Web Pro News page.

11.) Remove any unnecessary programs and/or items from Windows Startup routine using the MSCONFIG utility. Here’s how: First, click Start, click Run, type MSCONFIG, and click OK. Click the StartUp tab, then uncheck any items you don’t want to start when Windows starts. Unsure what some items are? Visit the WinTasks Process Library. It contains known system processes, applications, as well as spyware references and explanations. Or quickly identify them by searching for the filenames using Google or another Web search engine.

12.) Remove any unnecessary or unused programs from the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel.

13.) Turn off any and all unnecessary animations, and disable active desktop. In fact, for optimal performance, turn off all animations. Windows XP offers many different settings in this area. Here’s how to do it: First click on the System icon in the Control Panel. Next, click on the Advanced tab. Select the Settings button located under Performance. Feel free to play around with the options offered here, as nothing you can change will alter the reliability of the computer -- only its responsiveness.

14.) If your customer is an advanced user who is comfortable editing their registry, try some of the performance registry tweaks offered at Tweak XP.

15.) Visit Microsoft’s Windows update site regularly, and download all updates labeled Critical. Download any optional updates at your discretion.

16.) Update the customer’s anti-virus software on a weekly, even daily, basis. Make sure they have only one anti-virus software package installed. Mixing anti-virus software is a sure way to spell disaster for performance and reliability.

17.) Make sure the customer has fewer than 500 type fonts installed on their computer. The more fonts they have, the slower the system will become. While Windows XP handles fonts much more efficiently than did the previous versions of Windows, too many fonts -- that is, anything over 500 -- will noticeably tax the system.

18.) Do not partition the hard drive. Windows XP’s NTFS file system runs more efficiently on one large partition. The data is no safer on a separate partition, and a reformat is never necessary to reinstall an operating system. The same excuses people offer for using partitions apply to using a folder instead. For example, instead of putting all your data on the D: drive, put it in a folder called "D drive." You’ll achieve the same organizational benefits that a separate partition offers, but without the degradation in system performance. Also, your free space won’t be limited by the size of the partition; instead, it will be limited by the size of the entire hard drive. This means you won’t need to resize any partitions, ever. That task can be time-consuming and also can result in lost data.

19.) Check the system’s RAM to ensure it is operating properly. I recommend using a free program called MemTest86. The download will make a bootable CD or diskette (your choice), which will run 10 extensive tests on the PC’s memory automatically after you boot to the disk you created. Allow all tests to run until at least three passes of the 10 tests are completed. If the program encounters any errors, turn off and unplug the computer, remove a stick of memory (assuming you have more than one), and run the test again. Remember, bad memory cannot be repaired, but only replaced.

20.) If the PC has a CD or DVD recorder, check the drive manufacturer’s Web site for updated firmware. In some cases you’ll be able to upgrade the recorder to a faster speed. Best of all, it’s free.

21.) Disable unnecessary services. Windows XP loads a lot of services that your customer most likely does not need. To determine which services you can disable for your client, visit the Black Viper site for Windows XP configurations.

22.) If you’re sick of a single Windows Explorer window crashing and then taking the rest of your OS down with it, then follow this tip: open My Computer, click on Tools, then Folder Options. Now click on the View tab. Scroll down to "Launch folder windows in a separate process," and enable this option. You’ll have to reboot your machine for this option to take effect.

23.) At least once a year, open the computer’s cases and blow out all the dust and debris. While you’re in there, check that all the fans are turning properly. Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for bulging or leaks. For more information on this leaking-capacitor phenomena, you can read numerous articles on my site.

Following any of these suggestions should result in noticeable improvements to the performance and reliability of your customers’ computers. If you still want to defrag a disk, remember that the main benefit will be to make your data more retrievable in the event of a crashed drive.

20 Great Google Secrets

20 Great Google Secrets,4149,1306756,00.asp

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Google is clearly the best general-purpose search engine on the Web (see

But most people don’t use it to its best advantage. Do you just plug in a keyword or two and hope for the best? That may be the quickest way to search, but with more than 3 billion pages in Google’s index, it’s still a struggle to pare results to a manageable number.

But Google is an remarkably powerful tool that can ease and enhance your Internet exploration. Google’s search options go beyond simple keywords, the Web, and even its own programmers. Let’s look at some of Google’s lesser-known options.

Syntax Search Tricks

Using a special syntax is a way to tell Google that you want to restrict your searches to certain elements or characteristics of Web pages. Google has a fairly complete list of its syntax elements at

. Here are some advanced operators that can help narrow down your search results.

Intitle: at the beginning of a query word or phrase (intitle:"Three Blind Mice") restricts your search results to just the titles of Web pages.

Intext: does the opposite of intitle:, searching only the body text, ignoring titles, links, and so forth. Intext: is perfect when what you’re searching for might commonly appear in URLs. If you’re looking for the term HTML, for example, and you don’t want to get results such as

, you can enter intext:html.

Link: lets you see which pages are linking to your Web page or to another page you’re interested in. For example, try typing in


Try using site: (which restricts results to top-level domains) with intitle: to find certain types of pages. For example, get scholarly pages about Mark Twain by searching for intitle:"Mark Twain"site:edu. Experiment with mixing various elements; you’ll develop several strategies for finding the stuff you want more effectively. The site: command is very helpful as an alternative to the mediocre search engines built into many sites.

Swiss Army Google

Google has a number of services that can help you accomplish tasks you may never have thought to use Google for. For example, the new calculator feature


lets you do both math and a variety of conversions from the search box. For extra fun, try the query "Answer to life the universe and everything."

Let Google help you figure out whether you’ve got the right spelling—and the right word—for your search. Enter a misspelled word or phrase into the query box (try "thre blund mise") and Google may suggest a proper spelling. This doesn’t always succeed; it works best when the word you’re searching for can be found in a dictionary. Once you search for a properly spelled word, look at the results page, which repeats your query. (If you’re searching for "three blind mice," underneath the search window will appear a statement such as Searched the web for "three blind mice.") You’ll discover that you can click on each word in your search phrase and get a definition from a dictionary.

Suppose you want to contact someone and don’t have his phone number handy. Google can help you with that, too. Just enter a name, city, and state. (The city is optional, but you must enter a state.) If a phone number matches the listing, you’ll see it at the top of the search results along with a map link to the address. If you’d rather restrict your results, use rphonebook: for residential listings or bphonebook: for business listings. If you’d rather use a search form for business phone listings, try Yellow Search


Extended Googling

Google offers several services that give you a head start in focusing your search. Google Groups


indexes literally millions of messages from decades of discussion on Usenet. Google even helps you with your shopping via two tools: Froogle

which indexes products from online stores, and Google Catalogs

which features products from more 6,000 paper catalogs in a searchable index. And this only scratches the surface. You can get a complete list of Google’s tools and services at

You’re probably used to using Google in your browser. But have you ever thought of using Google outside your browser?

Google Alert


monitors your search terms and e-mails you information about new additions to Google’s Web index. (Google Alert is not affiliated with Google; it uses Google’s Web services API to perform its searches.) If you’re more interested in news stories than general Web content, check out the beta version of Google News Alerts


This service (which is affiliated with Google) will monitor up to 50 news queries per e-mail address and send you information about news stories that match your query. (Hint: Use the intitle: and source: syntax elements with Google News to limit the number of alerts you get.)

Google on the telephone? Yup. This service is brought to you by the folks at Google Labs


a place for experimental Google ideas and features (which may come and go, so what’s there at this writing might not be there when you decide to check it out). With Google Voice Search


you dial the Voice Search phone number, speak your keywords, and then click on the indicated link. Every time you say a new search term, the results page will refresh with your new query (you must have JavaScript enabled for this to work). Remember, this service is still in an experimental phase, so don’t expect 100 percent success.

In 2002, Google released the Google API (application programming interface), a way for programmers to access Google’s search engine results without violating the Google Terms of Service. A lot of people have created useful (and occasionally not-so-useful but interesting) applications not available from Google itself, such as Google Alert. For many applications, you’ll need an API key, which is available free from

. See the figures for two more examples, and visit

for more.

Thanks to its many different search properties, Google goes far beyond a regular search engine. Give the tricks in this article a try. You’ll be amazed at how many different ways Google can improve your Internet searching.

Online Extra: More Google Tips

Here are a few more clever ways to tweak your Google searches.

Search Within a Timeframe

Daterange: (start date–end date). You can restrict your searches to pages that were indexed within a certain time period. Daterange: searches by when Google indexed a page, not when the page itself was created. This operator can help you ensure that results will have fresh content (by using recent dates), or you can use it to avoid a topic’s current-news blizzard and concentrate only on older results. Daterange: is actually more useful if you go elsewhere to take advantage of it, because daterange: requires Julian dates, not standard Gregorian dates. You can find converters on the Web (such as


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), but an easier way is to do a Google daterange: search by filling in a form at or

. If one special syntax element is good, two must be better, right? Sometimes. Though some operators can’t be mixed (you can’t use the link: operator with anything else) many can be, quickly narrowing your results to a less overwhelming number.

More Google API Applications offers three tools based on the Google API. The Google API Web Search by Host (GAWSH) lists the Web hosts of the results for a given query


When you click on the triangle next to each host, you get a list of results for that host. The Google API Relation Browsing Outliner (GARBO) is a little more complicated: You enter a URL and choose whether you want pages that related to the URL or linked to the URL


Click on the triangle next to an URL to get a list of pages linked or related to that particular URL. CapeMail is an e-mail search application that allows you to send an e-mail to with the text of your query in the subject line and get the first ten results for that query back. Maybe it’s not something you’d do every day, but if your cell phone does e-mail and doesn’t do Web browsing, this is a very handy address to know.

10 Fast and Free Security Enhancements

10 Fast and Free Security Enhancements
PC magazine.

Before you spend a dime on security, there are many precautions you can take that will protect you against the most common threats.

1. Check Windows Update and Office Update regularly (_; have your Office CD ready. Windows Me, 2000, and XP users can configure automatic updates. Click on the Automatic Updates tab in the System control panel and choose the appropriate options.

2. Install a personal firewall. Both SyGate ( and ZoneAlarm ( offer free versions.

3. Install a free spyware blocker. Our Editors’ Choice ("Spyware," April 22) was SpyBot Search & Destroy (_ SpyBot is also paranoid and ruthless in hunting out tracking cookies.

4. Block pop-up spam messages in Windows NT, 2000, or XP by disabling the Windows Messenger service (this is unrelated to the instant messaging program). Open Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services and you’ll see Messenger. Right-click and go to Properties. Set Start-up Type to Disabled and press the Stop button. Bye-bye, spam pop-ups! Any good firewall will also stop them.

5. Use strong passwords and change them periodically. Passwords should have at least seven characters; use letters and numbers and have at least one symbol. A decent example would be f8izKro@l. This will make it much harder for anyone to gain access to your accounts.

6. If you’re using Outlook or Outlook Express, use the current version or one with the Outlook Security Update installed. The update and current versions patch numerous vulnerabilities.

7. Buy antivirus software and keep it up to date. If you’re not willing to pay, try Grisoft AVG Free Edition (Grisoft Inc., w* And doublecheck your AV with the free, online-only scanners available at w* and _

8. If you have a wireless network, turn on the security features: Use MAC filtering, turn off SSID broadcast, and even use WEP with the biggest key you can get. For more, check out our wireless section or see the expanded coverage in Your Unwired World in our next issue.

9. Join a respectable e-mail security list, such as the one found at our own Security Supersite at _, so that you learn about emerging threats quickly and can take proper precautions.

10. Be skeptical of things on the Internet. Don’t assume that e-mail "From:" a particular person is actually from that person until you have further reason to believe it’s that person. Don’t assume that an attachment is what it says it is. Don’t give out your password to anyone, even if that person claims to be from "support."

10 reasons why PCs crash U must Know

10 reasons why PCs crash U must Know

Fatal error: the system has become unstable or is busy," it says. "Enter to return to Windows or press Control-Alt-Delete to restart your computer. If you do this you will lose any unsaved information in all open applications."

You have just been struck by the Blue Screen of Death. Anyone who uses Mcft Windows will be familiar with this. What can you do? More importantly, how can you prevent it happening?

1 Hardware conflict

The number one reason why Windows crashes is hardware conflict. Each hardware device communicates to other devices through an interrupt request channel (IRQ). These are supposed to be unique for each device.

For example, a printer usually connects internally on IRQ 7. The keyboard usually uses IRQ 1 and the floppy disk drive IRQ 6. Each device will try to hog a single IRQ for itself.

If there are a lot of devices, or if they are not installed properly, two of them may end up sharing the same IRQ number. When the user tries to use both devices at the same time, a crash can happen. The way to check if your computer has a hardware conflict is through the following route:

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager.

Often if a device has a problem a yellow ’!’ appears next to its description in the Device Manager. Highlight Computer (in the Device Manager) and press Properties to see the IRQ numbers used by your computer. If the IRQ number appears twice, two devices may be using it.

Sometimes a device might share an IRQ with something described as ’IRQ holder for PCI steering’. This can be ignored. The best way to fix this problem is to remove the problem device and reinstall it.

Sometimes you may have to find more recent drivers on the internet to make the device function properly. A good resource is If the device is a soundcard, or a modem, it can often be fixed by moving it to a different slot on the motherboard (be careful about opening your computer, as you may void the warranty).

When working inside a computer you should switch it off, unplug the mains lead and touch an unpainted metal surface to discharge any static electricity.

To be fair to Mcft, the problem with IRQ numbers is not of its making. It is a legacy problem going back to the first PC designs using the IBM 8086 chip. Initially there were only eight IRQs. Today there are 16 IRQs in a PC. It is easy to run out of them. There are plans to increase the number of IRQs in future designs.

2 Bad Ram

Ram (random-access memory) problems might bring on the blue screen of death with a message saying Fatal Exception Error. A fatal error indicates a serious hardware problem. Sometimes it may mean a part is damaged and will need replacing.

But a fatal error caused by Ram might be caused by a mismatch of chips. For example, mixing 70-nanosecond (70ns) Ram with 60ns Ram will usually force the computer to run all the Ram at the slower speed. This will often crash the machine if the Ram is overworked.

One way around this problem is to enter the BIOS settings and increase the wait state of the Ram. This can make it more stable. Another way to troubleshoot a suspected Ram problem is to rearrange the Ram chips on the motherboard, or take some of them out. Then try to repeat the circumstances that caused the crash. When handling Ram try not to touch the gold connections, as they can be easily damaged.

Parity error messages also refer to Ram. Modern Ram chips are either parity (ECC) or non parity (non-ECC). It is best not to mix the two types, as this can be a cause of trouble.

EMM386 error messages refer to memory problems but may not be connected to bad Ram. This may be due to free memory problems often linked to old Dos-based programmes.

3 BIOS settings

Every motherboard is supplied with a range of chipset settings that are decided in the factory. A common way to access these settings is to press the F2 or delete button during the first few seconds of a boot-up.

Once inside the BIOS, great care should be taken. It is a good idea to write down on a piece of paper all the settings that appear on the screen. That way, if you change something and the computer becomes more unstable, you will know what settings to revert to.

A common BIOS error concerns the CAS latency. This refers to the Ram. Older EDO (extended data out) Ram has a CAS latency of 3. Newer SDRam has a CAS latency of 2. Setting the wrong figure can cause the Ram to lock up and freeze the computer’s display.

Mcft Windows is better at allocating IRQ numbers than any BIOS. If possible set the IRQ numbers to Auto in the BIOS. This will allow Windows to allocate the IRQ numbers (make sure the BIOS setting for Plug and Play OS is switched to ’yes’ to allow Windows to do this.).

4 Hard disk drives

After a few weeks, the information on a hard disk drive starts to become piecemeal or fragmented. It is a good idea to defragment the hard disk every week or so, to prevent the disk from causing a screen freeze. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Defragmenter

This will start the procedure. You will be unable to write data to the hard drive (to save it) while the disk is defragmenting, so it is a good idea to schedule the procedure for a period of inactivity using the Task Scheduler.

The Task Scheduler should be one of the small icons on the bottom right of the Windows opening page (the desktop).

Some lockups and screen freezes caused by hard disk problems can be solved by reducing the read-ahead optimisation. This can be adjusted by going to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System Icon-Performance-File System-Hard Disk.

Hard disks will slow down and crash if they are too full. Do some housekeeping on your hard drive every few months and free some space on it. Open the Windows folder on the C drive and find the Temporary Internet Files folder. Deleting the contents (not the folder) can free a lot of space.

Empty the Recycle Bin every week to free more space. Hard disk drives should be scanned every week for errors or bad sectors. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-ScanDisk

Otherwise assign the Task Scheduler to perform this operation at night when the computer is not in use.

5 Fatal OE exceptions and VXD errors

Fatal OE exception errors and VXD errors are often caused by video card problems.

These can often be resolved easily by reducing the resolution of the video display. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Display-Settings

Here you should slide the screen area bar to the left. Take a look at the colour settings on the left of that window. For most desktops, high colour 16-bit depth is adequate.

If the screen freezes or you experience system lockups it might be due to the video card. Make sure it does not have a hardware conflict. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager

Here, select the + beside Display Adapter. A line of text describing your video card should appear. Select it (make it blue) and press properties. Then select Resources and select each line in the window. Look for a message that says No Conflicts.

If you have video card hardware conflict, you will see it here. Be careful at this point and make a note of everything you do in case you make things worse.

The way to resolve a hardware conflict is to uncheck the Use Automatic Settings box and hit the Change Settings button. You are searching for a setting that will display a No Conflicts message.

Another useful way to resolve video problems is to go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Performance-Graphics

Here you should move the Hardware Acceleration slider to the left. As ever, the most common cause of problems relating to graphics cards is old or faulty drivers (a driver is a small piece of software used by a computer to communicate with a device).

Look up your video card’s manufacturer on the internet and search for the most recent drivers for it.

6 Viruses

Often the first sign of a virus infection is instability. Some viruses erase the boot sector of a hard drive, making it impossible to start. This is why it is a good idea to create a Windows start-up disk. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Add/Remove Programs

Here, look for the Start Up Disk tab. Virus protection requires constant vigilance.

A virus scanner requires a list of virus signatures in order to be able to identify viruses. These signatures are stored in a DAT file. DAT files should be updated weekly from the website of your antivirus software manufacturer.

An excellent antivirus programme is McAfee VirusScan by Network Associates ( Another is Norton AntiVirus 2000, made by Symantec (

7 Printers

The action of sending a document to print creates a bigger file, often called a postscript file.

Printers have only a small amount of memory, called a buffer. This can be easily overloaded. Printing a document also uses a considerable amount of CPU power. This will also slow down the computer’s performance.

If the printer is trying to print unusual characters, these might not be recognised, and can crash the computer. Sometimes printers will not recover from a crash because of confusion in the buffer. A good way to clear the buffer is to unplug the printer for ten seconds. Booting up from a powerless state, also called a cold boot, will restore the printer’s default settings and you may be able to carry on.

8 Software

A common cause of computer crash is faulty or badly-installed software. Often the problem can be cured by uninstalling the software and then reinstalling it. Use Norton Uninstall or Uninstall Shield to remove an application from your system properly. This will also remove references to the programme in the System Registry and leaves the way clear for a completely fresh copy.

The System Registry can be corrupted by old references to obsolete software that you thought was uninstalled. Use Reg Cleaner by Jouni Vuorio to clean up the System Registry and remove obsolete entries. It works on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE (Second Edition), Windows Millennium Edition (ME), NT4 and Windows 2000.

Read the instructions and use it carefully so you don’t do permanent damage to the Registry. If the Registry is damaged you will have to reinstall your operating system. Reg Cleaner can be obtained from

Often a Windows problem can be resolved by entering Safe Mode. This can be done during start-up. When you see the message "Starting Windows" press F4. This should take you into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode loads a minimum of drivers. It allows you to find and fix problems that prevent Windows from loading properly.

Sometimes installing Windows is difficult because of unsuitable BIOS settings. If you keep getting SUWIN error messages (Windows setup) during the Windows installation, then try entering the BIOS and disabling the CPU internal cache. Try to disable the Level 2 (L2) cache if that doesn’t work.

Remember to restore all the BIOS settings back to their former settings following installation.

9 Overheating

Central processing units (CPUs) are usually equipped with fans to keep them cool. If the fan fails or if the CPU gets old it may start to overheat and generate a particular kind of error called a kernel error. This is a common problem in chips that have been overclocked to operate at higher speeds than they are supposed to.

One remedy is to get a bigger better fan and install it on top of the CPU. Specialist cooling fans/heatsinks are available from or

CPU problems can often be fixed by disabling the CPU internal cache in the BIOS. This will make the machine run more slowly, but it should also be more stable.

10 Power supply problems

With all the new construction going on around the country the steady supply of electricity has become disrupted. A power surge or spike can crash a computer as easily as a power cut.

If this has become a nuisance for you then consider buying a uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This will give you a clean power supply when there is electricity, and it will give you a few minutes to perform a controlled shutdown in case of a power cut.

It is a good investment if your data are critical, because a power cut will cause any unsaved data to be lost.

How to Rip TM Dynamic Flash Templates

How to Rip TM Dynamic Flash Templates

What you need:

Sample dynamic flash template from TM website
Sothink SWF Decompiler
Macromedia Flash

1. browse or search your favorite dynamic flash template in TM website. If you got one... click the "view" link and new window will open with dynamic flash.. loading...

2. If the movie fully loaded, click View -> Source in your browser to bring the source code of the current page and in the source code, search for "IFRAME" and you will see the iframe page. In this example were going to try the 7045 dynamic template. get the URL(ex. then paste it to your browser... easy eh? wait! dont be to excited... erase the .html and change it to swf then press enter then you’ll see the flash movie again icon_smile.gif.

3. copy the URL and download that SWF file.. use your favorite download manager.. mine I used flashget icon_smile.gif NOTE: dont close the browser we may need that later on.

4. open your Sothink SWF decompiler... click "Quick Open" then browse where you download your SWF/movie file. Click Export FLA to export your SWF to FLA, in short, save it as FLA icon_smile.gif

5. Open your Macromedia Flash and open the saved FLA file. press Control+Enter or publish the file... then wallah! the output window will come up with "Error opening URL blah blah blah..." dont panic, that error will help you where to get the remaining files.

6. Copy the first error, example: "7045_main.html" then go back to your browser and replace the 7045.swf to 7045_main.html press enter and you’ll see a lot of text... nonsense text icon_lol.gif that text are your contents...

NOTE: when you save the remaining files dont forget to save with underscore sign (_) in the front on the file without the TM item number (e.g. 7045) if it is html save it as "_main.html" and same with the image save it as "_works1.jpg" save them where you save the FLA and SWF files. Continue browsing the file inside Flash application so you can track the remaining files... do the same until you finish downloading all the remaining the files.