Things that you must know to protect your computer


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Microsoft never calls you to notify you about your computer.

If you get a call regarding your computer, it is a fake call, they are just trying to cheat you, hang up!

If you get a message that your computer is infected and to call immediately a number, regardless how convincing the message is, do not fall for it. Sometimes you cannot get out of the message, you can always unplug the computer.

If you call and let them connect to your computer, the damage and risk they can infect on your computer can be tremendous.

Below are some articles that may help.


Be careful when clicking those links
I got a couple of messages from readers who informed me that they had gone to one of the Fav Links pages and clicked on a link on that page, which opened up a pop-up window saying something like, "Congratulations! You've won an iPod. You have 4 minutes to claim it."

Being smart folks, they didn't click that OK button and tried to close the window, but couldn't. They had to shut down the browser in Task Manager. This highlights the dangers that lurk out there on the web, even on legitimate web sites. The hunt for "safe" fun links is one of the most challenging parts of writing the newsletter each week. Often a page that doesn't reveal a problem in one browser will have pop-ups in another (or in the same browser version that's configured differently, or that's running on an OS that's configured differently, and so forth). And sometimes, in between the time that I write the content and the time that it's distributed to you, new elements will be added to a site or the page will be changed altogether.

Always follow a few general rules of web safety: Don't click on pop-ups, no matter how tempting (or intimidating) they might be. This includes those that tell you you've won something, those that tell you that your computer is infected, or even those that appear to be "just" advertising. If the pop-up describes a product you find interesting, do a web search for it and find out more about it that way. Also be careful about closing those windows. Sometimes the X or Close button is designed to take you to a site or download a file to your computer. Closing the windows via Task Manager is always the safest route. Most browsers now include pop-up blockers, but these don't work with all pop-ups. Nonetheless, enabling that feature will prevent at least some of those annoying pop-ups.

“This is Microsoft Support” telephone scam – Computer ransom lockout

A trend of the few years has been for scammers to contact computer owners directly via telephone in the United States in an effort to convince them that there is a problem with their PC and they’ll need to pay to have it fixed.  In general, these people cannot fix anything, and instead they merely charge exorbitant fees for absolutely nothing. In other words, they scam you.

The call generally goes something like this:

1.    A foreigner with a thick Indian accent identifies himself as a member of Microsoft Support or similar.

2.    He informs you that you have a number of critical problems with your PC and that you will need to have it fixed.

3.    To convince you, he offers to connect remotely and pulls up your Event Log (eventvwr.msc).  He then filters for Warnings, Errors, and Critical events and uses that as evidence that your PC will soon fail to work correctly if you do not pay him to correct it.

The astute among you have probably already sensed that something here is seriously wrong, and it’s not your PC. It’s the fact that someone is calling you to tell you there is a problem with your computer. No one will ever do that. The only way they could possibly know there is a problem is by hacking or guessing.

In this case, it’s mere guesswork, and it’s not even correct most of the time. The Event Log is supposed to log warnings and errors, and even on the healthiest of PCs there are plenty of Error Events that can be safely ignored, as they often don’t amount to anything. The important thing to remember is to never trust someone who calls you about a problem with your PC, and never, EVER let them connect remotely to your PC.

If you do make the mistake of letting them connect, but then you happen to get cold feet and refuse to pay the $180+ they request via credit card, the next thing that happens isn’t pretty. This scammer proceeded to actually follow through on his promise of the PC “not working” if they don’t agree to have him fix it, and so in a few quick steps, behind the user’s back, he enacted what is known as SysKey encryption on the SAM registry hive.

SysKey encryption is a little-known feature of Windows which allows administrators to lock out access to the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) registry hive so that login specifics cannot be stolen and the PC cannot be accessed without knowing the proper credentials. The problem is, unlike other scams, there is no way around the problem; you can’t simply remove the password, as the actual SAM hive has been encrypted entirely by the process. If your Windows installation has had SysKey activated, you’ll see the following message:

Startup Password

This computer is configured to require a password in order to start up. Please enter the Startup Password below.

The window which appears looks like this:

This computer is configured to require a password in order to start up. Please enter the Startup Password below.

The ONLY solution is to find a clean copy of the registry hives from before this occurred. This scammer knew this, however, and as such, he took an extra step to block any repair or recovery attempts: he deleted all System Restore points on the machine, which normally house backup copies of the registry hives.

Unfortunately for him, I’m a much better technician. When the customer suspected foul play and decided to call me instead of proceeding, I immediately instructed them to power off the PC. Here’s how I fixed the problem without having to reinstall Windows

Remove Fake Warning from Microsoft Edge

Fake warnings and alerts are haunting some Microsoft Edge users with sticky pop-up alerts. These pop-ups may vary from simple software endorsements up to a highly fraudulent phone support scam. One thing that terribly affects web browser is the malware’s ability to alter Microsoft Edge settings that makes fake warnings to show up as a default page or tab. The malware also freezes the current window to prevent users from navigating away from the page.

To be able to process the loop when hijacking your home page or tabs, malware constantly communicates to its server. This also gives the hijacker to execute whatever script is used for the loop. Thus, you must cease the communication between Microsoft Edge and the remote malware server.

1. Unplug your Ethernet or LAN connector if you are on a wired network.

2. Turn off your Wi-Fi Modem or Disconnect your if your Wireless access PC is connected on a wireless network.

3. Close Edge browser. If this is not possible, repeatedly hit Esc on the keyboard or click OK/Cancel button on the hijacker window.

Option 2: Directly Open Favorite Links on Edge Browser

1. Restart Windows 10 (do not open Microsoft Edge browser).

2. Go to your Favorites folder. Typically it is on this location:

C:\Users\[Your Username]\Favorites\

3. Under the favorite folder, double-click on any URL and it will open-up with Microsoft edge, assuming it is your default browser.

4. As the browser hijacker is still present on Microsoft Edge browser, you will still see it as an added tab. DO NOT CLICK on the hijacker tab.

Clean Microsoft Edge Shortcut Links

When the browser keeps opening to unknown web pages containing fake warnings and alerts, chances are, malware may have been hijacked the shortcut link. In these instances, try opening Microsoft Edge browser through the default list of All Programs. Also, checking and cleaning the shortcut links you always use to run Microsoft Edge can help resolve the issue.

1. Point mouse cursor to Microsoft Edge shortcut link icon you normally click to run the browser.

2. Right-click and then select Properties from the list.

3. Microsoft Edge browser properties will appear.

4. Under Target field, check if there are any extra strings pointing to a malicious web page. Remove unnecessary strings and click on Apply.

5. Click on OK and close the current window. You may now restart Edge browser.

6. Alternatively, you can just delete affected Microsoft Edge shortcut links and create new ones by going to Start > All Programs > Microsoft Edge, right-click and click on Send > Desktop (Create shortcut) or Pin to Taskbar.

7. After going through these process, you also need to clear Microsoft Edge browsing data. See complete procedures below.

Option 5 : Use Windows Task Manager to Close Microsoft Edge

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on your keyboard to run Task Manager.

2. Look for Edge under Process tab.

3. Right-click and select Go to Details.

4. Close all instances of Edge browser currently running under Details tab.

5. Cleaning browsing data after this process is a must. Follow the procedures below.

Lastly : Clear all Browsing Data

1. Open Edge browser if it is not running.

2. Click “More actions” (represented by ) at the top right corner of the browser.

3. Select Settings from the drop-down list.

4. Under Settings, please go to Clear browsing data.

5. Click on Choose what to clear button.

6. Please select necessary data and click on Clear to apply changes.

5. Click X on the offending tab to close it.

6. You must clear all browsing data by going through the procedures as stated below.

Safely Remove USB Drives Just by Unplugging Them

Most Windows users have become conditioned over time to never unplug a USB flash drive or hard drive without first clicking Safely Remove Hardware in the System Tray.

Why is that necessary? In theory, it's to ensure that Windows isn't busy reading from or writing to the drive when you remove it, something that could result in corrupted data or even a damaged drive.

As it turns out, however, you can safely sidestep Safely Remove Hardware with little to no loss of performance. In fact, this option may already be enabled on your system, and you just didn't know it. Yep, you may have been wasting extra clicks all this time.

Do this:

1. Plug your USB drive into your PC, then open Device Manager..

2. Expand Disk Drives, then find the entry for your removable drive. On my system, for example, it's called "USB2.0 Flash Disk USB Device."

3. Right-click that entry, then click Properties.

4. Click the Policies tab; you should see something like this:

5. If the first option, Quick removal, is already selected, you're good to go. As noted in its description, "you can disconnect the device safely without using the Safely Remove Hardware notification icon." If Better performance is selected, switch to Quick removal and click OK.

Wi-Fi doesn’t have valid IP configuration, how to fix it?

Solution 1 – Reset TCP/IP

One of the simplest ways to fix this issue is to use netsh command. To do that, follow these steps:

1.      Start Command Prompt as administrator. To do that press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.

2.      When Command Prompt opens, enter the following lines:

o    netsh winsock reset

o    netsh int ip reset

3.      Close Command Prompt and restart your PC.

Users reported that this solution usually fixes issues with IP configuration problem, but bear in mind that if you use static IP address you’ll have to set it again. If the previous commands didn’t work, you might want to try these commands as well:

·         ipconfig /release

·         ipconfig /flushdns

·         ipconfig /renew

Solution 2 – Change wireless SSID and password

It was reported that you can fix Wi-Fi doesn’t have valid IP configuration error by accessing your modem and changing the wireless SSID and password. To do that, you’ll have to connect your PC with your modem using Ethernet cable, access your modem and change wireless SSID and password. For more details on how to do that, we strongly suggest that you check your modem’s manual.

Solution 3 – Set the channel width to Auto

One suggested solution is to set the channel width to Auto. To do that, follow these steps:

1.      Press Windows Key + X and select Network Connections from the menu.

2.      When Network Connections window opens, right click your wireless connection and choose Properties from the menu.Click the Configure button and go to the Advanced tab.

3.      Locate 802.11n Channel Width for band 2.4 and set it to Auto.

4.      Click OK to save changes.

·         READ ALSO: Anniversary Update doesn’t fix 5 Ghz Wi-Fi issues

Solution 4 – Set your IP address manually

When you connect to wireless network you’re usually given an IP address. This process is done by DHCP, but if there’s an issue with DHCP or with its configuration, you’ll get an IP configuration error. One workaround that is suggested by users is to assign an IP address for your device manually. To do that, follow these steps:

1.      Press Windows Key + X and choose Network Connections.

2.      Right click your wireless network and choose Properties from the menu.

3.      Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click the Properties button.

4.      When Properties window opens, select the Use the following IP address option and enter the IP address, Subnet mask and Default gateway. We used settings that work for our configuration, but you might have to enter different data. In addition, you’ll have to enter the DNS server manually. In our example we used Google’s Public DNS, but you can also use as your Preferred DNS server.

5.      After you’re done, click the OK button.

Alternatively, you can access your router and turn off DHCP and configure it to assign a static IP address to your PC.

Solution 5 – Change the number of DHCP users

According to some users, you can fix this problem by increasing the number of DHCP users. Some routers are usually limited to 50 DHCP users, and this can cause Wi-Fi doesn’t have valid IP configuration error to appear. To fix this issue you need to access your router and increase the number of DHCP users manually. Users reported that after increasing the number of DHCP users all issues were resolved. To see how to increase the number of DHCP users on your router, be sure to check its manual.

In addition, some users also suggest that you can fix the problem with IP configuration by increasing the number of maximum wireless users. Some routers are limited to only 10 wireless users, and by increasing the maximum number of users the issue was resolved.

Solution 6 – Perform a Clean boot

Some users claim that you can fix this problem by performing a Clean boot. By using Clean boot you’ll disable all third-party applications and services that might be interfering with your wireless connection. To perform Clean boot do the following:

1.      Press Windows Key + R on your keyboard and enter msconfig. Press Enter or click OK.