The Tools I Use

In addition to my favorite software, here are the tools I use to help others with their Windows computer problems.

For Anti-Virus, I use a combination of Trend Micro’s Sysclean, Grisoft AVG, and ClamWin. I also use McAfee’s Stinger for quick scans for the most common issues.
For SpyWare, I use a combination of SpyBot Search and Destroy and WinPatrol.
For Optimizing, I use CCleaner, NTRegOpt, and PageDefrag, and JKDefrag..
For Backups, I use SyncBak.
For computers that have so much spyware/viruses that they do not start, I use a Linux Boot CD. This allows me to get the data copied to a USB stick, so that I can wipe the drive and start fresh.
Where the user is open to it, I move them to Linux.

If Linux is not an option, I try to get them to use FireFox and Thunderbird, and educate them about how to avoid viruses and spyware. I also point out all of the free and open source software that is available.

My Linux Printer

I found a good black and white laser printer for under $80 this fall. It is a Brother HL-2040. It installed easily in Slackware Linux 10.2. The print is great. It works just as well as it does on Windows XP SP2. On my dual-boot PC, there is no trouble using the printer from either Operating System.

It came with half the amount of ink as a new cartridge, but I have printed about two reams of paper, and still going strong. I would have spent nearly $200 on ink for my Lexmark injet printer.

I think it is wrong for ink to cost more than my printer, unless there is value in it. With the Brother I will spend about $150 for a new ink cartridge, but it will be able to do several reams of paper. With my Lexmark, I was lucky to print about 100 pages, using the ink save setting. When the new cartridges cost $30, it costs about $150 to print a ream of paper. I could print about 6 reams of paper for the same cost of ink on the Brother.

Now, the only reason I use the Lexmark, is if I need something printed in color, which is not very often. I will not buy another ink jet printer! Lexmark has enough of my money.

Law Changes Daylight Saving Time – Takes Effect 2007

This year will be the first year for the new Daylight Saving Time
start and end dates to go into effect. Instead of starting the first
Sunday of April, it is now the second Sunday of March. It is March 11
this year. Instead of ending on the last Sunday of October, it now
ends the first Sunday of November. It is November 4 this year.

Microsoft is NOT providing patches for automatic updating of older
versions of Windows. Even Windows 2000 Pro and Server are too old for
this. Other Microsoft programs, such as older version of Outlook and Exchange are also affected. You will need to make sure that any Microsoft programs you use, that rely on dates are eligible for an update, or require more money for the latest version.

The law to change the start and end date of Daylight Saving Time was passed a couple of years ago. For the majority of computer users in the U.S. and Canada, this may be an inconvenience. If you have Windows 98, ME, or 2000, Microsoft will not provide an update for the automatic changing of your PCs clock on the new dates.

There are two options:

1.) Live with it and change the time manually. This is inconvenient if you have a lot of PCs and Servers to update. This can also lead to data issues. Some databases can have synchronization issues if the time on the PC and the time on the server are different. This will require diligence on the part of users.

2.) Use the Time Zone Edit utility provided by Microsoft, or use one the the available third party programs for correcting the Time Zone. NOTE: The tzedit.exe provided by MS does not work with Win9x. Here is the KB article with more information.

The End of Pegasus Mail?

Due to financial difficulties, it appears that the end is near for Pegasus Mail.
While Pegasus has some great features, and is free, it is limited to Windows. This also raises the question of whether or not Pegasus users will be able to easily convert to other email programs. While most email programs can probably handle importing from Pegasus, there are also utilities to aid one in moving from Pegasus to other mail formats.

There are two good utilities, while Windows based, run well in Wine, or in various virtual machines on different operating systems. Both are developed by Fookes Software, Aid4Mail and Mailbag Assistant.

Both are able to convert from one email format to almost any other desired format. Aid4Mail can save messages to MHT format, for ease of viewing in a web browser. Mailbag Assistant is an email archiving and search utility. One can reply to or forward an email in any email box, using one’s current email program.

There is much more to both programs, that will help those with lots of email, from any program move to other formats. Both preserve the original mail files, so the conversion, is really a new set of files. These utilities make it very easy to investigate different email clients if one wants to experiment. Both are fast and can handle very large numbers of email messages.