Archive for the ‘PC Tuneup’ category


Outlook 2007 – Receive mails from particular accounts only

Problem :

As per my work requires, I manage lots of eMail accounts which includes My personal account, My work account. I have forwarded all emails from my personal account to my work account,  so that I just need to check one account only. I have created accounts in outlook for both my personal eMail and my Work eMail.

But it creates a big problem now. Whenever outlook performs Send/Receive it receives two copies of each mail from my personal account.

  1.   Originally from my personal account.
  2.   Forwarded copy from my Work account ( Since I have forwarded all mails from my personal  account to my work account.)

Solution :

What I actually want is

Follow the steps below to achieve above :

1. Go to Tools –> Options

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2. Go to Mail Setup –> Send Receive

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3. Click Edit

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4. It will list all your accounts in left side pane.

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5. Select the account. It will show you Account Options for send mail items and receive mail items. If you just want to send eMails using this account than check the Send Mail items and uncheck the Receive mail items.

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6. Press Ok –> Cliose –> Ok.

And you are done. :)


Windows 7 – First bad experience

today morning when I switched on my machine, I just freaked off by not finding a whole 60 GB drive in My Computer. I have checked it in disk Management and it shows me 63 GB free space. Damn…

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I am working on it to get my drive back. Lets see I am fortunate enough or not. :(


Can not Open Microsoft and other Security related websites : Damn Win32/Conficker …

You can browse all the stuff on the web except Microsoft sites and some other security related web sites then there are high chances of your machine to be infected by Win32/Conficker A/B variant.
 
What is Conficker A/B/C variant ?
You can find detailed information about it on Microsoft Protection center.  In case you are already infected you will not be able to open this link, so I am reproducing detail here.
 
 Win32/Conficker is a worm that infects other computers across a network by exploiting a vulnerability in the Windows Server service (SVCHOST.EXE). If the vulnerability is successfully exploited, it could allow remote code execution when file sharing is enabled. Depending on the specific variant, it may also spread via removable drives and by exploiting weak passwords. It disables several important system services and security products and downloads arbitrary files.
 
 The following system changes may indicate the presence of this malware:
  • Some accounts may be locked out due to the following registry modification, which may flood the network with connections:
    HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
    "TcpNumConnections" = "0x00FFFFFE"
  • Users may not be able to connect to websites or online services that contain the following strings:
    virus
    spyware
    malware
    rootkit
    defender
    microsoft
    symantec
    norton
    mcafee
    trendmicro
    sophos
    panda
    etrust
    networkassociates
    computerassociates
    f-secure
    kaspersky
    jotti
    f-prot
    nod32
    eset
    grisoft
    drweb
    centralcommand
    ahnlab
    esafe
    avast
    avira
    quickheal
    comodo
    clamav
    ewido
    fortinet
    gdata
    hacksoft
    hauri
    ikarus
    k7computing
    norman
    pctools
    prevx
    rising
    securecomputing
    sunbelt
    emsisoft
    arcabit
    cpsecure
    spamhaus
    castlecops
    threatexpert
    wilderssecurity
    windowsupdate
 

To make sure if your computer is infected or not please visit Conficker Test  link. It is a simple logic. It tries to load images from security web sites. If your computer is infected it will not be able to load images. 
 
Now if you are sure that your computer has been infected by Conficker A/B/C or greater, you have to use Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool to remove this maleware from your machine.  One more thing you have to use other machine to download this tool because if your machine is infected it will not allow Microsoft security sites to open. 
 
I have copied images and test from Conficker Test . I recommend  to use their page only.
 
 


 

 

How to interpret:

If you see this above: It probably means this:
All images displayed = Normal/Not Infected by Conficker (or using proxy)
Security/AV logos not displayed Possibly Infected by Conficker (C variant or greater)
Some security/AV logos not displayed Possibly Infected by Conficker A/B variant
No images displayed = Image loading turned off in browser?
Any other combination = Poor Internet connection?

 

Picasa -3 ….. Space eater

I wanted to install Visual Studio 2008 -SP1 , and it requires mind blowing 5.61 Gigs of space. :(

Again I ran out of space, so I have started to work on getting my C:\ space back again, and I got one more culprit, thanks to WinDir

Picasa !!!

We all know Picasa scans our computer and prepares its own database. it uses "C:\Documents and Settings\Mahin Gupta\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\db3" path for this.

I checked it and it was almost 900 MB.

I tried to search on Internet how can I change this location, I checked registry also but the bad news is that you can not change this location.

So what i have done ?

I just copied all *.db files from "C:\Documents and Settings\Mahin Gupta\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\db3" to one temporary location. Now my C:\ has more 900 MB space.

Now if I open Picasa, then it will again ask you to rescan your computer because it has no database now. I forcefully killed picasa process ( Because there is no way to stop it in that screen ). once again copied all the *.db files into "C:\Documents and Settings\Mahin Gupta\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\db3"  folder. Now again I opened picasa and bingo!!! all my images are back.

I will use this work around for the time being until google announces picasa version which let us to change image db location, till then watch this space.

I have also added this in my post where I have listed few steps of how to reclaim your c:\ space


Network Connection Periodically goes down

It is tough job to lead some one, because now their Hardware/Software all kinds of problems are yours.

I am not a good trouble shooter when it comes to hardware, but in this job I have to do everything.

Recently one of my employee was facing very strange problem. Her Network connection used to go down periodically after some inactivity.

I have tried a lot to troubleshoot it but found nothing relevant on Internet. Everyone was suspecting a virus or something malicious.

But after some careful digging I got it solved by some extent.

Here how it goes…

Windows have one handy feature of Power saving… :) I think now you got it.  So below are the steps

1. Double Click on network Icon in your taskbar. NetworkIcon

2. Click On Properties

3. Click on Configure button next to your Network card

4. Click On Power Management Tab.

5. Uncheck Allow the computer to turn  off this device to save power. Check box.

6. Click Ok.

7. Click Close.


Remove Language Bar from startup

Hi,

I like my taskbar to as much clean as possible. I hate the languagebar showing up in my taskbar every time I startup windows. Here is how you can remove it from startup.

Go to Control Panel -> Regional Settings -> Languages Tab -> Details -> Language Bar ->  Uncheck Show the language bar on the desktop.

If you want it back just Right click task bar -> toolbars -> select Language bar, and it will show up again.

Regards,

Mahin Gupta 

 


Cleaning Windows – reclaim your hard disk space

Hi All,

I really hate the balloon coming to my task bar saying not enough disk space on C:\ . It is really very important that your C:\ Should always have at least 15% space free so that you can defrag it. 

So here are few tips you can apply to get your hard disk space back.

1. powercfg -h off

Yes, Hibernation is a good option but it takes space equal to your RAM size in your C:\ ( By C:\ I mean the drive where your OS is installed. )

By turning off Hibernation you will get space equals to your RAM size back.

2. C:\WINDOWS\$NtServicePackUninstall$ and $NTUninstallQxxxxxx$ (where xxxxxx is a six-digit number of KB Update )

  Whenever you install any update this little species shows up. These are hidden folders. Installing updates and service packs from Microsoft creates sub folders in your Windows folder that store the necessary information to unistall corresponding update. Windows installer uses this information in case the update becomes problematic and you try to unistall them. But if you are OK with the update and sure that you don’t want to uninstall them then you can delete contents of this folders with one exception, Do not delete the $hf_mig$ folder. Windows uses that folder whenever a new update is installed. You can even automate this process by using  Windows installer cleanup utility from Microsoft. It internally uses MsiZap, the little magician, to remove all the traces of installer from your machine. You can find a good explanation of MsiZap here and here

You can also remove contents of C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download folder depending on your installation.

Edit : Today again I ran out of space in  my C:\ drive. It was displaying 600 MB as free space. I just followed first two steps :

          1. powercfg -h off

          2. C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\bin > MsiZap.exe * ALLPRODUCTS

  and bingo … Now the free space is 4.8 GB ( My Dell Vostro 1500 has 2 Gigs of Ram )…  Great… I’M lovin it :)

– Mahin December 05, 2008

3. Location of Pagefile.sys

You can change the location of pagefile.sys and even you can split the pagefile across all partitions of your system, but make sure you have at least allocated page file size equals to RAM size + 40 MB. You can change the location of PageFile.sys by following steps 

a. Right click My Computer -> Properties -> Advanced Tab -> Performance – Settings -> Advanced Tab -> Virtual Memory – Change

b. Now select any drive, adjust Max and Min size and press set.

Splitting PageFile.Sys into multiple partition does not effect the performance. And if you have multiple hard disks then it is good idea to split pagefile across multiple hard disks, more about this from Microsoft

4. Use Disk Cleanup

Ok, a child also know this but we will do it in a good way. If you are willing to pay few bucks you can find lots of programs on the net which can help you with this. I personally use WinUtilities because it does a lot more then just cleaning. If you just want to clean stuff then A great free utility is CCleaner.

But if you believe you have already paid enough money to Microsoft for OS then you can use the tool they have provided. Launch My Computer -> Right click on the drive you want to clean -> Properties -> Disk Cleanup ->  Select whatever you want to clean and press Ok.

I wonder why sometimes Disk cleanup fails to remove all files from %TEMP% folder. So I use this trick. It is risky, do it at your own risk.

Go to command prompt-> write cd %TEMP% -> write cd.. to go up one level -> write rd /s temp ( Generally it does not remove all files since any program can have opened a file into temp folder so you will get access denied for those files. ) -> If the above step has deleted the temp folder then create again it by command md temp

5. Compress Old Files 

Windows NTFS file system comes with one very good feature of compression. You can select any file/folder and ask the OS to compress it.I usually do this with my huge folders like Setups, Books, Movies, Songs, Backup. It saves me quite a lot space.

Right click the folder you want to compress -> Properties -> Advanced -> check Compress Contents to save disk space -> Ok. If the folder contains lot of stuff then it will take a while to apply the compression.

6. WinDir

Use WinDir. WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows (all current variants).It is fabulous and will help you to find large log files. Delete any unnecessary files. 

7. Outllok pst

If you are using Outlook ( You should always use outlook or any pop based mail client, instead of web based mail interface ) and you got a lot of mail, and many of them are with attachments then you should consider changing the path of your outlook data file (.pst ). here is a step by step guide to change location of your outlook personal folder file (.pst) .

8. Internet Temporary files Path

- Change the path of your temporary Internet files folder. Internet Explorer may store its cache files on your Windows drive. To move them, launch IE, choose Tools, Internet Options, and under the General tab, click Settings, Move Folder. Select the folder on the drive which has adequate space. Press Ok and Ok. You should also do the same for all other popular programs. If you are using programs like Google earth their cache might go crazy with the time. Try to change their temp folder locations.

    a. Windows desktop Search :

        – Right click on Windows Search Icon in Task bar -> Click Windows Search Options -> Click Advanced -> Click Select New -> Browse to the folder of your  choice ( Make sure you do not select any folder in C:\ ) -> Click Ok.

       – Go to Control Panel -> Administrative tools -> Services -> Restart service named Windows Search.

   b. Windows Live Mail :

       – Press Alt + M or click on Show Menu icon WindowsliveMail  on top right corner of toolbar.-> Click Options -> Go to Advanced Tab -> Click Maintenance -> Click Store Folder -> Note down the current location -> Click Change -> Browse to the folder of your  choice ( Make sure you do not select any folder in C:\ ) -> Click Ok. -> Click  Ok -> Click Close – Click Ok. -> Close Windows live Mail -> Restart Windows live Mail -> Check all your mails are there or not. If yes then Go to the location we have noted and delete all the content of that location.

   

9. ASP.Net Developers

If you are working on lot of asp.net projects then you might find  C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\Temporary ASP.NET Files folder going to a crazy size.

Ok then what to do?

just change its default path.

how?

Obviously machine.config has the answer.

go to %WinDir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\Config\Machine.config.

In the <System.Web>  there is one section named <Compilation>, It has attribute named  tempDirectory  change it to whatever path you want.

So now your Compilation attribute will look like 

<compilation tempDirectory="D:\tempfolder\Temporary ASP.NET Files\2.0" >
I generally prefer to put my all temporary folders including Mozila,Interner Explorer etc in D:\tempfolder. It is much more convinient to remember only one location to cleanup.
    -------------------------------------

Now Below you can find just habits through which you can make sure you will not get those low disk space annoying balloons.

- Don’t clutter your desktop. Try to put only shortcuts there. Don’t put content.

- Install applications which are not of day to day use in other partition.

- If you have setup/Installer of something in your hard disk, and you do not use that stuff more then one in a week, then just install it, use it, and after making sure you have done uninstall it. This is just my habit.

- Adjust Recycle Bin space according to your needs and empty it regularly.

- Uninstall unnecessary windows components and applications.

- Delete all Restore points except the latest one ( disk cleanup will do this ).

10 ) Picasa -3  [ Added on 09-December-08 ]

I wanted to install Visual Studio 2010 -SP1 , and it requires mind blowing 5.61 Gigs of space. :(

Again I ran out of space, so I have started to work on getting my C:\ space back again, and I got one more culprit, thanks to WinDir

Picasa !!!

We all know Picasa scans our computer and prepares its own database. it uses “C:\Documents and Settings\Mahin Gupta\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\db3″ path for this.

I checked it and it was almost 900 MB.

I tried to search on Internet how can I change this location, I checked registry also but the bad news is that you can not change this location.

So what i have done ?

I just copied all *.db files from “C:\Documents and Settings\Mahin Gupta\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\db3″ to one temporary location. Now my C:\ has more 900 MB space.

Now if I open Picasa, then it will again ask you to rescan your computer because it has no database now. I forcefully killed picasa process ( Because there is no way to stop it in that screen ). once again copied all the *.db files into “C:\Documents and Settings\Mahin Gupta\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\db3″  folder. Now again I opened picasa and bingo!!! all my images are back.

I will use this work around for the time being until google announces picasa version which let us to change image db location, till then watch this space.

 

Disclaimer :  Do all above at your own risk. I am not responsible if you mess with anything.

 

Hope it might help you to reclaim your hard disk space back.  If i miss something or you have some good ideas please let me know.

Regards,

Mahin Gupta