Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sweet Gadget Deal : Dell SX2210T 21.5"W Multi-Touch Monitor w/ Webcam for $300 with free shipping

Now this looks super cool.  And at $170 off the original price of $499, it looks like a pretty good price for a 21.5" touch screen monitor.  Now if only I had $300 to throw at a monitor...

Dell Home has Dell SX2210T 21.5"W Multi-Touch Monitor w/ Webcam for $300 or $291 using DPA with free shipping.

If paying with Dell Preferred Account (DPA) you may save an extra 3% here is how:

During checkout, select Credit Card as method of payment

Checkout, enjoy your 3% savings

Click "Change Payment Type"

Click "Choose" link under Credit/Debit Card (again)

Under "Save 3% with Dell Preferred Account! (Discount applied at Final Checkout)" click "Click Here to Take Advantage of this Offer" link

Click "Choose" under "I already have a Dell Preferred Account" if you have one, or sign up for a new one if you don't




The Magic Touch

With vivid color and detail, the new DellTM SX2210T 21.5"W Multi-Touch Monitor with Webcam brings your HD entertainment to life when using Windows® 7 Home Premium and above. And it lets you explore multimedia like never before. Multi-touch capabilities for systems with Windows® 7 Home Premium and above

  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) experience with 16:9 widescreen display
  • Optimal brightness (220cd/m2) and 50,000:1 (max.) dynamic contrast ratio
  • Integrated 2MP webcam with dual microphones for video chats





Upgrading Windows XP Home to Windows XP Pro

Many home PC users have Windows XP Home edition installed on their PC instead of the more robust Windows XP Professional.  For most home PC users, this is not an issue.  However, you may run into some programs that will not install on Windows XP Home edition, or find that when you try to do some home networking, that Windows XP Home just doesn't allow you to do what you need to do.  Do not despair, you don't have to go buy a new computer.  There are options.

You may chose to upgrade Windows XP Home to Windows XP Pro.  To do this, simply buy Windows XP Pro Upgrade. You probably will not be able to find this in retail stores anymore as of the date this article is published, so you will probably have to go to Ebay to find it. If you own a fairly new computer however, I'd recommend simply going straight to Windows 7.

If you have installed any service packs, you MUST uninstall them first and reboot before installing the upgrade


Things You'll Need:

Windows XP Professional CD
Product key

Step 1 - Insert the Windows XP Professional disc into the CD/DVD-ROM drive on your computer. Restart your computer.

Step 2 - Press any key to start Windows XP from the installation CD when you see the "Press any key to boot from CD" message.

Step 3 - Press "Enter" on the Welcome Screen to begin the Windows XP setup. Read the Microsoft Software License Terms, and press "F8" to confirm. Follow the guided prompts and select the partition (drive) to install the operating system to. Windows formats the partition. Click "Next."

Step 4 - Type your name and your organization name if your system is a work computer. Click "Next." Enter the 25-digit Windows XP Professional product key that came with your disc and click "Next."

Step 5 - Type the computer name and an administrator password. Type the password again to confirm and click "Next." Select the date and time zone on the "Date and Time Settings" window and click "Next."

Step 6 - Click "Next" again on the "Network Settings" window and click "Next" again on the "Workgroup or Computer Domain" window. Windows XP spends about 20 to 30 minutes configuring and setting up your computer will automatically restart when finished. Click "OK" when you see the "Display Settings" dialog box.

Step 7 - Click "OK" again when you see the "Monitor Settings" dialog box. Follow the final guided prompts to activate your Windows XP system.


There is also a supposed hack, which I have not tried and would not recommend unless you are willing to take the risk.  This hack is for advanced users or very adventurous ones! The details are here in this link:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Windows Performance Tune up: Msconfig

MSCONFIG is a wonderful little tool built into almost all versions of Windows.  You can use it to remove some unnecessary programs from loading when your computer starts up to really get a performance boost.  It was designed to help you troubleshoot problems with your computer and MSCONFIG can also be used to ensure that your computer boots faster and crashes less.

The more programs you have running on your computer at once, the more likely it is that your computer will either run slowly or even crash. However, every time you boot your computer a whole mess of "hidden" programs load in the background. Some of these hidden programs are essential, but most aren't. In fact, many viruses will load themselves into "startup".  Turning off some of these hidden programs can significantly increase your computer's performance and reliability. 

Here are the steps to run MSCONFIG

1.  Click Start => Run

2.  Type "msconfig" (no quotation marks)

3.  Click OK

4.  Now the System Configuration Utility will launch

5.  Click the Startup tab.

6.  You can safely remove almost any item by unchecking it, though I'd leave anything associated with the antivirus program on the computer checked. 

If you are unsure, check this huge list of startup programs at this link here:

7.  Click Apply => Click Ok

8.  Now you will be prompted to reboot for these changes to take effect.  You may reboot now or later if you wish.

When your computer comes back up, be prompted about changes made if it's the first time the utility was run.  Simply accept the changes.

If you find that you've disabled something that you needed, such as DVD burning software that needed to load, simply run the utility again and check the box that loads it.

Managing Junk Mail in Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook includes a handy tool called a Junk E-mail folder to help manage the junk mail that will over run your inbox if you're not careful.

The Junk E-mail Filter in Outlook is turned on by default, and the protection level is set to Low. This level is designed to catch only the most obvious junk e-mail messages. You can make the filter more aggressive, but if you do it may catch legitimate messages sometimes. Any message that is caught by the Junk E-mail Filter is moved to a special Junk E-mail folder. You should review messages in the Junk E-mail folder from time to time to make sure that they are not legitimate messages that you want to see.

You can manually add and remove addresses and mail domains to the Junk E-Mail filter.  Here are the steps to do this:


  1. In Outlook, open Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Preferences tab, under E-mail, click Junk E-mail.
  3. Click the Safe Senders, Safe Recipients, or Blocked Senders tab.
Do one of the following:

-Change a domain name or e-mail address

  1. In the list, click the domain name or e-mail address you want to change. 
  2. Click Edit.
  3. Enter the new text in the Enter an e-mail address or Internet domain name to be added to the list    box.

-Remove a domain name or e-mail address

  1. In the list, click the domain name or e-mail address you want to delete.
  2. Click Remove.


Microsoft also releases updates to help with the process that will include well known junk email.  To get Junk E-mail Filter updates and Microsoft Office 2003 Service Packs, go to Downloads on Office Online.

Under Office Update, click Check for Updates.

Tips for Tackling One Time Projects

I recently ran across an article that gave tips on tackling one time projects.  Though this is an IT article, I thought it was a great article that could be applied to many things whether you work in IT or don't even work at all.  We constantly run into things that we've never run into before, whether it's a new and unfamiliar work project or a new and unfamiliar home project.

Don’t let a one-time project derail your career or you in general. Here are some tips on how to successfully manage a ‘once in a career’ or the first time you come across the event.


Here is the scenario:

Your boss informs you that you’ve been selected to lead a special project that will impact your IT organization. When your boss reveals the focus of the special project, you realize that you have no knowledge or experience related to the project. Everyone is watching, and many of your colleagues are not on board with the new direction your project will take your organization. To avoid derailing your career, here are five ways to tackle the project.

1:     Make the project a priority from the start. 

Even if you do not want to run the project, go ahead and accept the job; the faster you embrace the challenge, the faster you can make a realistic assessment of what you will need to do to be successful or to at least avoid failure. Also, the time you spend resisting the assignment is time you’ll need to get up the learning curve on your new challenge. You have been given the job, and taking on the tough projects is one of the key hurdles to advancing.
Look at your planned professional activities in the immediate future and consider which activities you can delete from your calendar. You will need to delegate some noncritical activities to your managers and staff. You staff may not like it, but everyone has to pitch in to navigate this specific career challenge. Maximize the time you can commit to your project because you’ll need every minute.

2:    Commit talented people to the project.

Managers and staff available in organizations commit to special projects may not be high performers. They are available for a reason, and other managers are often willing to assign their least desirable staff to your special project. You do not want a poorly staffed team for a career critical project. You will need to make some hard decisions early on to free up some of your top talent to commit to the project. If you cannot control the project staffing, carefully interview each person assigned to the project to understand what they can contribute.

When a new project requires knowledge you do not currently possess, you will need to make managers and staff who work best in unstructured environments available for the project. While you will eventually need to carefully structure, plan, and execute your project, your initial project time will involve some level of unstructured learning. You need your team to be able to adjust quickly as you form a vision for the project and take this vision into tactical execution.

3:    Get up the learning curve as fast as possible.

We all see our special projects as unique, but your project has likely already been executed at numerous companies, government agencies, non-profits, or universities. While the Internet provides access to a vast variety of information, it is also a data landfill where you can lose critical time sifting through mountains of raw information to get to the critical knowledge you need to succeed.

You should use your professional and personal contacts, as well as publicly available information, to cull lessons learned on how other organizations tackled similar projects. Social networking tools, such as LinkedIn, provide a forum where you can ask questions in specific communities to quickly gain knowledge.

4:    Plan the project work but adjust quickly.

You are committed to the project; you have gathered a good team; and you have a handle on some good lessons learned from similar projects executed at other organizations; the next step is to treat this project like any other project you have executed. Develop a charter to define the project; support the charter with a detailed project plan with committed organizational resources; develop key milestones; and have a clear vision for what success would look like at project completion.

As you begin to execute the project, unexpected challenges will occur despite the initial project planning; be willing to quickly adjust to these challenges as you go. You’ll gain knowledge as you progress in the project, and you’ll probably realize that you made some faulty assumptions at project inception that need correcting. Adjust your project plan, and keep moving.

5:    Keep communicating

Many managers derail their once-in-a-career projects by failing to communicate with any of the various groups who are impacted by, or directly involved in, the project. Senior leaders do not want to be surprised by a project that has gone off track from the original project plan and is failing. Senior leadership should not learn of any challenges or potential failure from anyone other than you. Be proactive in communicating successes and challenges to the leaders of your organization. You also need to keep managers and staff who are potentially impacted by your project informed. If this group will ultimately be responsible for executing the outcomes of your project, the earlier you engage them in the process, the better. Many project managers fail to keep up timely, focused communication while executing a project, and the project flounders in implementation.

Once-in-a-career events represent opportunity, as well as risk, to your career. Embrace the challenge, and you will give yourself the best opportunity for success!

Microsoft Office Alternative - Open Office

Need the functionality of Microsoft Office but can't afford the price tag? 

Download the feature rich Open Office 3.1 free of charge from aims to compete with Microsoft Office and emulate its look and feel where suitable. It can read and write most of the file formats found in Microsoft Office, and many other applications; an essential feature of the suite for many users. has been found to be able to open files of older versions of Microsoft Office and damaged files that newer versions of Microsoft Office itself cannot open. However, it cannot open older Word for Macintosh (MCW) files.

Here is a quick run down of what Open Office contains:

Writer - A word processor similar to Microsoft Word and WordPerfect. It can export Portable Document Format (PDF) files with no additional software, and can function as a basic WYSIWYG editor for creating and editing web pages.

Calc - A spreadsheet similar to Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3. Calc provides a number of features not present in Excel, including a system which automatically defines series for graphing, based on the layout of the user’s data. Calc can also export spreadsheets to the PDF format.

Impress - A presentation program similar to Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. It can export presentations to Adobe Flash (SWF) files, allowing them to be played on any computer with a Flash player installed. It also includes the ability to create PDF files, and the ability to read Microsoft PowerPoint's .ppt format. Impress lacks ready-made presentation designs. However, templates are readily available on the Internet.

Base - A database management program similar to Microsoft Access. Base allows the creation and manipulation of databases, and the building of forms and reports to provide easy access to data for end-users. As with Access, Base may be used as a front-end to a number of different database systems, including Access databases (JET), ODBC data sources and MySQL/PostgreSQL. Base became part of the suite starting with version 2.0. Native to the suite is an adaptation of HSQL. While Base can be a front-end for any of the databases listed, there is no need for any of them to be installed. Raw SQL code can be entered by those who prefer it, or graphical user interfaces can be used.

Draw - A vector graphics editor and diagramming tool, similar to Microsoft Visio and comparable in features to early versions of CorelDRAW. It features versatile "connectors" between shapes, which are available in a range of line styles and facilitate building drawings such as flowcharts. It has similar features to Desktop publishing software such as Scribus and Microsoft Publisher. Draw can also export its creations to the PDF format.
Math - A tool for creating and editing mathematical formulae, similar to Microsoft Equation Editor. Formulae can be embedded inside other documents, such as those created by Writer. It supports multiple fonts and can export to PDF.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Office 2010 Beta - free download

The Office 2010 public beta is now available for free download at

You’ll need a live id (passport) and answer a short survey to get to the download page.

I highly recommend users not install it on their “production” system. If you ignore this advice, install the 32bit version, especially if you use add-ins or sync with devices. Existing add-ins will not work with the 64bit version. There is a good chance they will work with the32bit build.

For best results, uninstall your current version of Outlook and make a backup copy of any PST in your profile. The old profile should work ok, but you should consider making a new one.

If you use the Outlook Connector uninstall it before installing it beta. Outlook should offer to download the new connector for you. If not, make a new profile and add the Hotmail/Live account to it. This should bring up the offer to download the new connector. Once installed, it will work with the account in the old profile.

Bonus tip: Look on the File tab for Options and Account settings.  Thank goodness this is back!!

Adding printer drivers to a Windows 2008 64bit server

Adding printer drivers to a Windows 2008 64 bit server is a bit more tricky because of the fact that users are almost always using a 32 bit operating system and grab their drivers from the server. Because of this, you have to install identical drivers for both 64 bit drivers and 32 bit drivers. However, for older printers, there may not be Windows 2008 64 bit drivers and you have to trick them to install.

Be sure to download the SAME version of the driver for both. For example, if you download a PCL6 for x64, you must download PCL6 for x86. It is also important to note the version of the driver.

In this example, we will be adding a driver to SERVER1. We have to download the drivers to separate folders. This is an especially tricky one because it is an old driver and does not have a Windows 2008 64 bit driver, so it will need to be tricked to install.

1. Download the Windows 2008 64 and 32 bit version of the driver and save it to a folder on the server. In this case, I had to download the Windows 2003 64 bit version. In my example, this is an OKI490 driver, so I am going to name the folder OKI490 then I will give it 2 subfolders, one called x86, one called x64. I will download the Windows 2003 64 bit drivers to that folder just as I would if I were downloading Windows 2008 64 bit. For the 32 bit drivers, you will need to download the Windows XP 32 bit drivers.

2. Now is time to unzip the drivers. Unzip them to the same folder they were downloaded to. Often the drivers are packaged in a self extracting exe file and will extract to a folder that you choose. However, HP drivers will try to run through a full install. This this case I have found it is best to rename those files to a .zip so they do not try to install on their own. If they try to install on their own, they will error out when they detect the OS is the incorrect version.

3. On the server, open Server Manager and navigate to Roles => Print Services => Print Management => Print Servers => ServerName => Drivers.

Right click on “Drivers” and select “Add Driver”.

Click Next.

Make sure “x64” and “x86” are selected and click Next.

Click “Have Disk”

Click Browse

Navigate to your driver folder, first the x64 folder

Now the path of the driver is there and click “OK”.

Select the desired driver, and click “Next”.

Now click “Finish”. Next you will be asked for the x86 drivers.

Repeat the process described above for x86 drivers.

4. Now change the driver on the printer properties.

Manually uninstalling the Symantec AntiVirus client

Unfortunately, sometimes the Symantec Antivirus client does not uninstall cleanly.  If you have to remove it manually, it's quite tedious, but the steps are below.

Manual removal of the Symantec AntiVirus client manually involves the following three basic steps:

• Stop Symantec AntiVirus services and processes

• Remove Symantec AntiVirus from the registry

• Remove Symantec AntiVirus from the Start menu and the hard drive

Stop Symantec AntiVirus services and processes

Ensure that the Symantec AntiVirus window is not open and is not currently running.

To stop the services

1. On the Windows Taskbar, click Start > Run.

2. In the Open box, type the following text:


3. Click OK.

4. For each of the following services, right-click the name of the service, and click Stop:

• SAVRoam

• Symantec AntiVirus

• Symantec AntiVirus Definition Watcher

• Symantec Event Manager

• Symantec Settings Manager

To stop the processes

1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del.

2. Click Task Manager.

3. In Windows Task Manager, on the Processes tab, right-click the name of the service, and click End Process, for each of the following processes:

• ccApp.exe

• VPTray.exe

4. Close the Windows Task Manager.

Remove Symantec AntiVirus from the registry

Most of the items that you must remove are entries in the Windows registry.


Note: You must have administrator permissions (read and write) to edit the registry.


To remove Symantec AntiVirus from the registry

1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start > Run.

2. In the Open box, type the following text:


3. Click OK.

4. In the Windows Registry Editor, in the left pane, go to the following key:


5. In the right pane, right-click LDVPMenu, and then click Delete.

6. Go to the following key:


7. Delete the following keys:


• Symantec AntiVirus

• SymNetDrv

8. Delete all of the following registry keys that exist:

• HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\UpgradeCodes\20A7FB42A06BB49448A397B3CB77ED4D

• HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features\0DE336A57D5E56D4BAD835DE34152048

• HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\0DE336A57D5E56D4BAD835DE34152048

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\UpgradeCodes\20A7FB42A06BB49448A397B3CB77ED4D

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Features\0DE336A57D5E56D4BAD835DE34152048

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\0DE336A57D5E56D4BAD835DE34152048


• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Management\ARPCache\{5A633ED0-E5D7-4D65-AB8D-53ED43510284}

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UpgradeCodes\20A7FB42A06BB49448A397B3CB77ED4D

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\Products\0DE336A57D5E56D4BAD835DE34152048

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\vptray

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{5A633ED0-E5D7-4D65-AB8D-53ED43510284}

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{3248E093-5288-4CA9-B3AB-11A675FEA1F9}

• HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{3E071930-C254-482A-B79B-722703FFAA9E}

9. Go to the following key:


10. Delete the following values:


• Common Client

• Common Client Data

• Common Client Decomposers


• SAV Install Directory



• SymNetDrv

• VP6ClientInstalled

• VP6UsageCount

11. Go to the following key:


12. Delete the following keys:

• ccEvtMgr

• ccSetMgr

• ccPwdSvc

• DefWatch



• SavRoam



• SNDSrvc



• Symantec AntiVirus



13. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System, go to any existing ControlSet*\Services keys and delete the same entries as under CurrentControlSet\Services above.

14. Go to the following key:


15. Delete the following entries:

• Defwatch

• ccEvtMgr

• ccProxy

• ccSetMgr

• LiveUpdate

• SavRoam

• Symantec AntiVirus

16. Go to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Eventlog\System, and delete the SAVRT value.

17. Go to any existing "ControlSet*"\Services\EventLog\Application and "ControlSet*"\Services\EventLog\System keys and delete the same entries like in the previous four steps.

18. In the left pane, click My Computer.

19. On the Edit menu, click Find.

20. Search for VirusProtect6.

Delete all keys and values that contain this string.

21. In the left pane, click My Computer.

22. On the Edit menu, click Find.

23. Search for 0DE336A57D5E56D4BAD835DE34152048.

Delete all keys and values that contain this string.


WARNING: Follow the next five steps only if the conditions described in the steps are met. These instructions affect registry entries that are used by other Symantec products. If you delete a key or value that is used by another Symantec product, that product must be removed and installed again.


24. If no other Symantec applications that use virus definitions are installed, go to the following key:


25. Delete the SharedDefs value.

26. If Symantec AntiVirus is the only Symantec program installed, delete the following keys:

• Common Client

• SymEvent

27. If Symantec AntiVirus is the only Symantec program installed, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and delete the ccApp key.

28. If Symantec AntiVirus is the only Symantec program installed, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services, and delete the SymEvent key.

29. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System, go to any existing ControlSet*\Services keys and delete the SymEvent keys.

30. Restart the computer.

Symantec AntiVirus is now disabled, even though traces of it remain in the registry. These traces have little impact on how your computer operates. It is not necessary to remove them.

Remove Symantec AntiVirus from the Start menu and the hard drive

After Symantec AntiVirus is disabled, all that remains is to remove leftover files and shortcuts to the program.

To remove Symantec AntiVirus from the Start menu

1. On the Windows taskbar, right-click Start, and then click Open All Users.

2. Double-click Programs.

3. Right-click Symantec AntiVirus, and then click Delete.

To remove Symantec AntiVirus from the hard drive

1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start > Programs > Windows Explorer.

2. Open the Program Files folder.

3. Right-click Symantec AntiVirus, and then click Delete.


WARNING: Follow the next five steps only if the conditions described in the steps are met. These instructions affect files and folders that are used by other Symantec products. If you delete a file or folder that is used by another Symantec product, that product must be removed and installed again.


4. If Symantec AntiVirus is the only Symantec product on your computer, delete the Symantec folder.

5. Open the following folder:

Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared

6. If Symantec AntiVirus is the only Symantec product on your computer, delete the following folders:

• Decomposers


• SPManifests


• VirusDefs

7. Go to the following folder:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec

8. Delete the following folders:

• Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition

• Common Client

9. Exit Windows Explorer.

Update Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office in its many versions needs to be updated much like Windows does.  It has security holes and other issues that are patched all the time.  Updates will also increase performance.  Thankfully, Microsoft makes it easy for us by offering it to us in Windows Update format. Here are the steps to do this:

Go online to Microsoft Office Online.

Click on "Check for Updates." (If you have not previously used this site, you may have to install Office Update Installation Engine ActiveX Control onto your system. Follow directions they provide).

Select "Office Update."

You must have your software validated as "genuine" to continue. Select "continue" to proceed with verification. This will only take a few seconds to complete.

Click on "continue." Your system will be scanned. This may take several minutes, depending on your connection. You will see a progress bar going across the screen showing the percent completion of the scan.

Once your system is scanned, you will see a selection of updates (if there are any available for your software). The updates are separated into two sections: Required Updates and Optional Tools.

Any updates that are in the Required Update section should be downloaded. These are the updates recommended by Microsoft. Select all of these updates.

Click on "Agree and Install." You will see the total download size listed and also an estimated download time.

You will see an Office Update Wizard box displaying the progress of the download. This wizard will take you through the complete update process. Once this is complete, you will see a list of all updates displaying if they were successful or not.

You may have to restart your system to complete the update. Select "Finish" and "Yes," if you want to restart immediately, or "No," if you want to do it at a later time.

Virus Protection 101

Many people think that to be protected against those nasty computer viruses, all they need is to have an antivirus software installed.  WRONG!

Not only must you have a good antivirus software installed, but you must have the antivirus definitions up to date or the software is as good as non existant.  Furthermore, you must have your Windows updates installed by going to and installing all the recommended updates.  These updates contain security patches that address vulnerabilities in Windows that allow malicious viruses to get in to begin with.  Be sure to update at least once a week.  More often if possible.  It is very important to not open files that you are not familiar with and stay away from *ahem* websites that are known to spread such filth.

If you have a software that was subscription based for updates and do not want to pay to renew, you can uninstall and instead download and install a good free antivirus software such as AVG Free.

Depending on your antivirus software, you can download the latest virus patterns or virus definitions at the following sites:

Symantec and Norton Antivirus -

McAffee (must have a login) -


Here are is link to Symantec's free virus removal tools in case you are already infected with something.

Malware Anti-Malware is a great tool to remove Malware, which is incredibly difficult to deal with at times.

Repairing Outlook Calendar reminders

I recently encountered an end user that had recently had a new PC installed with Office 2003 Professional. However, her calendar reminders were not functioning correctly. They were popping up, but only in the background of her other windows. This simply would not do since her calendar reminders were crucial to her day to day functioning. I verified with her that her settings were correct though the following:

Tools => Options => Other tab => Advanced Options => Reminder Options

This did not make a difference, so I instructed her instead to quit Outlook and do the following:

select Start->Run. Type "outlook /cleanreminders" (without the quotes), and select OK.

This worked beautifully.

For more information on launching Outlook with various switches, please visit the following link.