Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can I get rid of the "Scan and Fix" pop-up?


Whenever I plug in my USB stick, Windows 7 wants to "scan and fix" it. I get a pop-up box saying "Do you want to scan and fix removable drive (J)?" I don't, and I always click "Continue without scanning." I've never had a problem with the drive but it always wants to do this. Can I get rid of it permanently?

The dialog box appears when Windows detects problems with the drive's file system or if you didn't dismount the drive (using the "safely remove hardware" function) when you took it out of the computer or reader. You can indeed disable this - but if you do, you'll also lose the Autoplay function, which pops up the box asking what you want to do when you insert a removable drive (for example, for graphics files, you're asked if you want to import the pictures, copy them to your computer and view them, just open the folder, or use the drive to speed up your system with ReadyBoost. That means you'll need to manually open Explorer and navigate to the drive to access its files.

If you don't mind that (or if Autoplay annoys you too and you'd love to get rid of it), here's how:

1. Log on as administrator.

2. Click Start and in the Search box, type msconfig

3. Click the Services tab.

4. Scroll down and find Shell Hardware Detection.

5. Uncheck the box.

6. Restart the computer.

How to add Google Docs shortcut to Windows 7 desktop

If you're a Google Documents user, you know that it takes several steps to create a new document. However, you can create a shortcut icon or a shortcut key combo in Windows 7 that will let you create a new document in a single click. Here's how:

1. Click an empty space on your Windows 7 desktop.

2. Select New | Shortcut.

3. In the dialog box, type in the following URL:

4. Assign a shortcut key combination that's not already in use. You can also create shortcuts to create new spreadsheets or presentations, using the following URLs:

These work for the standard Google Docs service. If you use Google Apps, you'll need to include your domain and you'll probably want to use SSL for security (https). For example:

Another Good Reminder of Why You Should be Careful with Facebook Applications

Scammers never stop looking for an angle to trick you into installing rogue applications and using you to help spread them to other people. The latest one to hit Facebook teases people with the possibility of seeing who has been viewing their profiles.

This is the message that people are seeing in relation to the rogue application:

OMG OMG OMG… I cant believe this actually works! Now you really can see who viewed your profile! on [Link]

Now you may be wondering how successful this particular rogue application has been. Picture this in your mind…

From the blog post: Ever wondered how many people fall for a scam like this? Well, the figures can be shocking. This current campaign is using a variety of different links – but via we can see that at least one of them has already tricked nearly 60,000 people into clicking.

The chance to know who has been looking at your profile can be really tempting and that is exactly how the scammers get to people. What better method to use than promising something that so many people want? If you do decide to install an application make certain that it is trustworthy. Remember the old saying about something “Sounding too good to be true…”

For full details about this latest rogue application be sure to read through the full blog post linked below. And if you know someone who tends to be careless with Facebook applications then send them the link!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can't install updates and "Windows Features" dialog box is empty

If you get an error message when you attempt to install updates from the Windows Update web site, and you also find the "Windows Features" dialog box empty when you try to turn Windows features on or off through the Programs and Features applet in Control Panel, you need to check out KB article 931712, which offers a couple of ways to resolve the problem.

The "Windows Features" dialog box is empty in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, or you receive error code "0x80073712" when you try to use Windows Update

What happened to my picture thumbnails?

I have an odd problem that I've never encountered before. Suddenly all of the folders in my Pictures library have the same thumbnail image for all of them. How do I get them back to normal?

This happens when the cache file where the preview thumbnails are stored becomes corrupt. You can usually use the Disk Cleanup tool to fix the problem. Click Start and type "Disk cleanup" in the search box, then click on it in the Programs displayed. Now be sure "Thumbnails" is checked in the list of "files to delete" and click the "Clean up system files" button. Log off and then log back on. Windows should create a new cache file and the problem should be fixed.

Beware of scareware

Once again, scareware authors are spoofing the security warnings of popular web browser, to trick users into downloading phony security software that then nags you to pay for the program. Just refusing the updates may not work, either, since those who refuse get hit with attack code for common vulnerabilities. This is yet another reason to be sure you keep your computer's security patches up to date. Read more here:

Fake browser warnings dupe users into downloading 'scareware'

How to permanently display the menu bar in IE 9

1. As always, be sure to back up the registry before making changes.
2. Log on as an administrator.
3. Close all instances of IE.
4. Open the registry editor and navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Policies \ Microsoft
5. In the right pane, right click and select New, then Key.
6. Name the new key Internet Explorer.
7. In the Internet Explorer key, create a new subkey and name it Main
8. Now you should be in the following path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Policies \ Microsoft
\ Internet Explorer \ Main
9. In the right pane, right click and select New and then DWORD Value
10. Name the new value AlwaysShowMenus
11. Double click the new value and in the value data field, enter 1
12. Click OK
13. Close the registry editor and open IE9

If you don't see the menu bar, press ALT to display it. Now it should be there every time you open IE.