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April 2005 Issue


Below, find our archived issue of the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.


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5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter


April 2005 Newsletter

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the Editor
2) Industry News: Symantec Acknowledges Two Holes in Antivirus Products
3) Helpful Websites
4) Tips and Tricks
5) Build Your Own Computer
6) Windows XP Stop Error Messages
7) Problems and Solutions
8) Contact Information

[1] Notes from the Editor:

Welcome to all new subscribers and welcome back to all loyal 5 Star Supporters! I hope that the 5 Star Support newsletters will be an effective vehicle for your computer learning!

This is the first newsletter that I have published in quite some time. The last list server I had went out of business and I lost many thousands of subscribers. 

You can always view the online version of this newsletter and all of the archived ones here:

We have opened up a new discussion forum so that you can have an alternate computer support method. The forum is staffed by very capable individuals that are eager to help you with any computer related issue. We look forward to seeing you their!

If you find this web site a useful tool, please support us by sending in a small contribution so that we can continue our work here on the web. Follow the link below to find information on how you can donate to 5 Star Support.

Thank you for your support!

Now, just sit back and relax with your beverage of choice and enjoy your 5 Star Support April 2005 newsletter.


[2] Symantec Acknowledges Two Holes in Antivirus Products

Flaws could be used by hackers to crash PCs running the software.

Paul Roberts, IDG News Service
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Security software company Symantec has acknowledged that software flaws in some of its antivirus products could allow malicious hackers to use denial of service (DOS) attacks to crash systems running the software, disrupting automatic protection features.

The company posted a notice on its Web page Monday describing two DOS vulnerabilities in the 2004 and 2005 editions of Symantec Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, and Norton System Works. The company has patched the holes and distributed software updates to users of the LiveUpdate automatic update service, but systems that remain unpatched could be susceptible to remote attack through e-mail or the Web, Symantec said.

Who Found Them
The holes were discovered by security researchers in Japan. In one case, the Information-Technology Promotion Agency-Japan (IPA) discovered a problem on systems running Norton AntiVirus 2005 with the Auto-Protect and SmartScan features enabled. The Auto-Protect feature scans files sent from the Internet, removable disks, or e-mail attachments and looks for viruses, Trojan horse programs, and other harmful code. SmartScan allows Norton AntiVirus to quickly scan specific types of files often associated with malicious code, such as .exe and .doc files.

With SmartScan enabled, researchers at IPA found that renaming a file on a shared network folder could cause the system running Norton AntiVirus to crash.

In a second issue reported by the Japan Computer Emergency Response Team (JPCERT), machines running Norton AntiVirus 2004 and 2005 crashed when Auto-Protect scanned a specific type of file that Symantec declined to identify.

Symantec rated the two holes as "low" risks and said that it was unaware of any adverse customer impact from the vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, the company advised customers to run LiveUpdate for any affected products until all available product updates are downloaded and installed.

Not Infallible
The news comes amid numerous reports of flaws in antivirus products, which many Internet users rely on for protection against hackers, worms, and viruses.

In February, Symantec issued patches to fix a high-impact hole affecting virtually its entire product line. That hole, which was discovered by Internet Security Systems (ISS), affected the DEC2EXE module in the Symantec Anti-Virus Library, part of the company's virus detection engine. The vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to take advantage of vulnerable Symantec products to gain unauthorized access to a network or its client PCs, ISS warned.

On March 17, ISS issued another warning about a remotely exploitable hole in antivirus technology--this one involving Symantec's chief competitor, McAfee. In that case, ISS said that a stack-based buffer overflow affecting nearly all versions of VirusScan could be exploited by remote attackers without their having to log in to affected systems to launch an attack.


[3] Helpful Websites:

<> Melbourne PC Users Group:

Melb PC has over 11,200 members, who enjoy a printed, colour 64-page magazine, free e-mail, a monthly meeting, over 40 SIGs, a blog, a forum, newsgroups, and our own ISP service run by volunteers. Our motto is "Users helping users".

<> WUGNET - Windows User Group Network:

Your complete resource center for "the best" in shareware, computing tips and support, Windows industry news... and much more.

<> Kelly's XP Korner:

I've put together a lot of information from various sources, to help you find answers to the problems some users have with Windows XP. I've also put together some commonly requested tweaks and tips to make XP work the way you want it to.

<> FiringSquad - Home of the Harcore Gamer:

One of the Internet's largest and most-recognized Hardware and Gaming sites. We first started FiringSquad in order to help gamers get the most out of their PCs.

<> DCVIEWS - Digital Camera Views:

International Web site for digital photography enthusiasts. Up-to-date camera specifications, latest news, online tutorials, camera reviews, hints and tips, quality links and an extensive tools collection.


[4] Tips and Tricks:
Generated from 5 Star Support

<> Offline Web Browsing:
(Windows XP)

Here is a feature that I have personally never used, but I have always had a reliable Internet connection. If you are not so lucky, then you may find this feature useful at times. To configure IE for offline browsing: 

1. Open up the web site of choice and click the Favorites button. 
2. Select Add to Favorites... 
3. Tick the box that reads; "Make available offline" 

Note: If you would like to be able view even linked pages of this selected web site, you can click the "Customize" button and follow the Offline Favorite Wizard to help you determine how much content you would like to make available offline.

4. Select a favorites folder to place it in 
5. Click OK 

To remove a web page from offline browsing:

1. Select Tools>> Synchronize... 
2. De-select the check box next to the web page you would like to remove 
3. Click Close 

The de-selected web page will no longer show in this menu when re-entered.

<> Missing Taskbar :
(Windows 95/98)

Once in awhile, I get a question from a guest who is complaining that the taskbar has suddenly disappeared. This behavior occurs when you have the auto hide option turned on. You can show the Taskbar again by going to; Start>> Settings>> Taskbar and uncheck the Auto Hide option. 

Or you've manually shrunk the Taskbar down to nothing (by clicking and dragging it downward--most likely by mistake). To fix this; hold your mouse pointer down at the bottom of your screen where your taskbar use to reside. Slowly move the pointer up and down until the pointer changes to a double-pointed arrow, click and drag upward until the Taskbar appears at normal size. 

<> Delete Links folder from Favorites:
(Internet Explorer)

Below, you will find two methods that can be used to stop seeing the Links folder in your Favorites menu. In the first method, the Links folder will be permanently deleted. In the second method, the folder will just be hidden from view but will not be deleted from your system. 
First method:

Start>> Run. Type in: regedit [Enter]

Drill to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar

1. Click once on "Toolbar" to empty its contents into the right pane. 
2. Double click on "LinksFolderName". 
3. Remove the default word "links" from this string value leaving it blank. 
4. Open IE and delete the Links folder from the Favorites menu. 

The next time you start Internet Explorer the Links folder will not be recreated.

Second Method:

Using File Attributes-

Using Windows Explorer find the location of your Favorites folder (e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Favorites) within that folder will be a sub-folder named Links.

Right click the "Links" folder and select Properties. Check the Hidden checkbox and click OK.

From now on the Links folder should be hidden from the Favorites list. This works for any other folder or link on the favorites menu as well.

<> Removing engines from the search box:

All of the searches listed in the toolbar search box are by default all US based. You are given the option to add new search engines to this list. However, you are not given the option of removing items from this list. Below, you will find removal instructions:

Windows: Go to C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins (I don't know if Mac will be different).

Each search engine has two files; .src and either .png or .gif. All you have to do is delete the two files (for example google.src and google.gif) and restart Firefox. 

<> Task scheduling:
(Windows NT)

The ability to schedule tasks to run at various times on your Windows NT server can be very beneficial. In the past administrators either had to buy a third-party program or use AT and WinAT. The obvious disadvantage to buying a third party program was the cost. AT and WinAT were okay but they weren't exactly versatile. When Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5 however, they introduced a tool called Task Scheduler. This is a powerful utility that allows you to schedule different tasks to run at different times and also under a different security context. To use it you simply need to make sure that you have IE 5 or higher loaded on your NT server. Then open your My Computer icon and look for a folder called Scheduled Tasks. The Add New Task option will start a wizard that will walk you through the whole process. 


[5] Build Your Own Computer:
By Santana Holcolm
5 Star Support Technician

First a word on Electrostatic Discharge: 

The components of a computer are very sensitive to electrostatic discharge. That is the normal build up of an electrical charge in your body that you cannot feel. It is discharged into metal or your computer parts when you touch it. You can fry/damage your parts from it and then you will need to buy replacements. You cannot tell when the electrostatic discharge will happen. 
Buy a anti-static wrist strap to wear while working inside your system.
You can also discharge yourself by touching the metal case of your power supply inside your system.
Always leave your parts inside the anti-static bag they come in until your ready for them. If you must place them down lay them down on the anti-static bag.

Tools needed:

Flashlight-Even with the best lighting I have found you still need one. 
Screwdriver-Phillips head-looks like a cross on the end. 
A screw extractor- unless you are able to grab little things quite easily. A dropped screw that is not removed could end up shorting out your system. 
Tweezers-For moving jumpers if your motherboard has them.

Read the rest of this article here:


[7] Problems and Solutions:
Generated from 5 Star Support

<> Right-clicking cause Explorer to crash 
(Windows XP)

This behavior is common with systems that have the DivX Video Compression software loaded when installing SP2. Currently, older DivX software is not compatible with SP2. You can use the work-around listed below, or check in with DivX to install the updated software (if available).


Note: Be sure to make a backup copy of your registry before making any changes to it.

Click Start>> Run. Type in: regedit 

Navigate to: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\EncodeDivXExt

Delete the EncodeDivXExt key

Close Registry Editor and restart Windows

<> 16 bit Windows Subsystem Error 
(Windows XP)

Error Message: 
"C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\AUTOEXEC.NT. The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose "Close" to terminate the application."


Go to Start>> Run, type in: cmd [Enter]

In the resulting command prompt window, copy the following:

c:\windows\repair\autoexec.nt c:\windows\system32
c:\windows\repair\config.nt c:\windows\system32 

You will need to press Enter after each line. Try to run your program. The issue should be resolved. If the error still persists follow this MSKB article:

Additional Action: 

The likely cause of this error message is a Trojan virus infection. The Trojan is thought to be: TrojanDownloader.Win32.Dia.a

Be sure to update all of your spyware/anti-virus scanners and run complete system scans.

Recommended Scanners:

AVG 7.0 --=Anti-Virus 
Ad-aware SE --=Spyware 
Spybot Search & Destroy --=Spyware 
CWShredder --=Spyware 

All of these and more can be downloaded for free at 5 Star Support's Virus Information Page:

<> I get this error message" Unmountable boot volume"
(Windows XP)

When booting up to Windows XP you may get an error that reads: "Unmountable Boot Volume". 

This is probably because your boot.ini file is messed up. Here is a possible remedy: 

You can boot to the XP cd and when you see the "Welcome to setup" message, press the letter R.
You will then get a DOS prompt.
Then type: chkdsk /p [enter]
When that is done type: fixboot [enter]
Type: Y at the next prompt [enter] 
Then type: exit [enter]
The system will now reboot into Windows. 

If for some reason that didn't work, you can boot to the recovery console (example above).
Type: "chkdsk /r" [enter]
When done type: exit [enter].
This takes a bit longer, but the system should boot back into Windows.

<> I can't save Gif or Jpeg files when right clicked
(Windows 98)

This apparently happens when your IE Temporary Internet Files cache becomes stuffed. In IE, go to Tools>Internet Options and on the "General" tab click the button marked "Delete Files" under the heading "Temporary Internet Files" 
Another possibility:

If you are on AOL: under AOL settings, click on Internet Web Options. From there click on Browser Options. Lastly, Click on "Never compress graphics"

<> How to Erase Files From a CD-RW Disc 
(Windows 95/98/XP)

To erase files from a CD-RW (rewritable) disc: 

1. Double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop. 
2. In My Computer, right-click the CD recording drive, and then click Open. Windows displays a temporary storage area where files are held before they are copied to the CD. Files or folders that are located in the temporary storage area are listed in the Files Ready to Be Written to the CD box. 
3. In the CD Writing Tasks pane, click Erase this CD-RW. The Welcome to the CD Writing Wizard dialog box is displayed. After you click Next, the Erasing the CD dialog box is displayed and the progress bar displays the progress of the process. 4. When the process is finished, you receive a message in the notification area and you can use the CD-RW disc. 

Note: Not all CD's are erasable. If the CD that you are using is not erasable, for example, then this feature is not available. 

[8] Contact Information:

I hope that you have enjoyed 5 Star Supportís April 2005 Newsletter. If there is anything that we can do to make it better, please donít hesitate to contact us:

To join the volunteer staff here at the newsletter, please send all inquiries to:


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