Following Up

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About last week’s column…

Last week I showed you how to prevent QuickTime (or any other program) from starting up along with Windows. I should have added that when you reboot, you will receive one of the world’s most confusing dialog boxes.

This window tells you that you have used the System Configuration Utility and goes on to provide you with dire warnings about diagnostic modes and normal start up modes. Holy cow.

What it’s really doing is acknowledging the change to the start up group and asking you to confirm it. If you want to discard the change you made, then go to the General tab in the utility and discard the changes. If, however, you want to make the changes you just made (!) then simply click on OK in the dialog box. If you don’t need to see that box every time you start Windows from now on, put a check in the “Don’t show this message…” box before you click OK.

Could they have made that any more complicated or scarier? Thanks to reader “Don” who was the first to email me asking for clarification.

Be careful with Word documents

Could we all be extra careful with any Word documents we receive, especially those attached to email, for the next couple of weeks? There is a trojan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_horse_%28computing%29) horse program sneaking into computers by way of Word documents. The program causes Word to crash and then writes malicious code to the hard drive if it’s not protected with anti-virus/anti-trojan software. Hackers can then gain access to the computer and use it for their own purposes generally without your knowledge.

Microsoft is aware of the problem(http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/919637.mspx) and is working on a patch. The next “Patch Tuesday” is scheduled for June 16. It is not clear if they will release the patch earlier, or instead include it in the regular patch schedule. Either way, you will receive it as part of your Windows Update download.

In the meantime, follow these guidelines to stay as safe as possible:
  • Install, update, and run anti-virus software
  • When you receive a Word document as an email attachment from someone you don’t know, do not open it. Just don’t open it. I say again, DO NOT OPEN IT!
  • When you receive a Word document from someone you do know, and you are not expecting it, check with the person before opening it.
  • If you must open a Word document from someone you know and you are expecting the document, save it to a disk or to your hard drive --- don’t just click on it in your email to open the document. Save it, scan it for viruses, and then open it if you must.

Be aware that not all anti-virus programs will detect trojans, and probably no single antivirus program will detect them all. That’s a good reason to use a multi-layered protection strategy to protect your PC. (More about that here: http://rlis.com/columns/column24.htm.)

It’s not too late…

As I write this (on May 29, 2006), it is still possible to complete your 2006 Census form online. “Census Day” was May 16, but if you haven’t yet returned your Census form, the online option is still available (if you don’t want to put the original paper form in the mail).

Check here http://www22.statcan.ca/ccr_r000_e.htm for more information about confidentiality and security, and about the Census itself. If you complete the form online, you will be issued a confirmation number. It’s a good idea to make a note of it in the event any follow up is required.

More Getting Along With Your Computer articles

About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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