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Old 08-05-2011, 02:54 PM   #1
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Thought I would make a thread to post my observations on computers, computer security, my unfounded fear of cat5 ethernet cable, and anything else tech related rather than spreading it far and wide.

Today's Topic: Security - Why you should have at least two accounts for your PC.

It occurs to me that a lot of people only have one real account for their computer, be it Mac, Windows, or even Linux. This account is a heavy duty, administrative account. This is bad. Here's why.

If you have only one account, you open yourself up to MUCH more in the way of malware. If youíre surfing the web with your admin account, any malicious software you end up with on your PC has your account permissions. Not a big deal if itís a low level account with no permissions, but if youíre an admin, the malware now has free reign over your system, anti-virus software not withstanding.

Consider using your admin account ONLY when you need to install software or change system settings and using a locked down account for browsing and other activities. This can greatly reduce your headaches.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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A very good idea. Our computers at work are set up like that.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip. I will now be creating a second account.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:48 PM   #4
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Very welcome. Glad I could be helpful Also, everyone feel free to post their own tips or questions here. I may not know the answer, but less time fighting with the computer means more time in the gym and the kitchen
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:25 PM   #5
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OK bruteforce. I'm have Windows XP Home. I am constantly getting notifications that my virtual memory is too low. Certain programs like Microsoft Works won't open (I know Works is antiquated, but I have a lot of word processing files saved that I can't access anymore). It seems that there is always alot of stuff running in the background (the "think light" is on or blinking and there is some quiet mechanical chatter). Is there a way to see what nonesential programs are running and shut them down?

big valsalva thanks you in advance.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big valsalva View Post
OK bruteforce. I'm have Windows XP Home. I am constantly getting notifications that my virtual memory is too low. Certain programs like Microsoft Works won't open (I know Works is antiquated, but I have a lot of word processing files saved that I can't access anymore). It seems that there is always alot of stuff running in the background (the "think light" is on or blinking and there is some quiet mechanical chatter). Is there a way to see what nonesential programs are running and shut them down?

big valsalva thanks you in advance.


Like with any computer problem, we have to deal with some basics. Give all the information you can on all the hardware you have installed in your computer that you are able to provide (such as Motherboard, RAM INSTALLED, Video card, etc, etc, or if a propriety box, the manufacturer and model number, which will provide these details).

How much ram is installed?

How much disk space is left on your primary Windows partition? (Double click my Computer, and it should lift your disks, and space left/used)

Processes running: Right Click the task bar, and select task manager. In the menu tabs, select processes, these are the list of the current running processes. And if you highlight it, you can link it to the program responsible for running it.

Installed programs are another important element as well as start-up (when booting) programs.

How to tell which programs are starting at boot, and taking up ram space or process time/write: Type in MSCONFIG at the run command. Select start-up, and deselect the ones you do not want to start-up.

How to tell how your swap file is set up in windows: Right click My Computer, then select advanced, settings, then advanced (again), then under virtual memory, select change, and tell me what you see there.


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Old 08-08-2011, 05:15 PM   #7
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Not a whole lot to add. Was travelling all day yesterday.

Memory (Ram) will tell us a lot. You also want a swap space at least the size of your ram.

When is the last time you rebooted the PC? If its been a long time, this may help on windows.

If your hard drive is completely full, this can be the cause of virtual memory problems. Even with 500MB left, if could be so fragmented that there isnt enough space to swap programs out of memory onto the disk. If this is the case, find any non-essential files and delete them, or better yet, back them up onto an external device and then delete them, this way you have a backup incase you need it.

The constant running sounds like an issue where there isn't enough memory to handle the files that are open, and the processor spends all of its time switching between processes and loading them rather than running them. Depending on that amount of RAM you have, you might be able to add another stick for super cheap and fix the issue.

the MSCONFIG suggestion is a good one, if a lot of programs are starting at boot time, they can take over the whole system and prevent anything from running.

If you get a chance to post up the RAM, disk usage, and processor you are using, we should be able to get this fixed for you.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:48 PM   #8
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I have only 1 piece of advice.
Get a Mac.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:35 AM   #9
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^Not a bad idea if you just want to have a computer to use. I would suggest locking down some aspects of the mac as apple takes a rather soft stance on many security aspects. Not a definitive list, but a couple things to do.

1. Lock down the bios and single user mode. Never a good thing when someone can boot into the admin user in a few seconds by holding down a key.

2. Disable ssh servers and other non-essential servers, this will reduce the possibility of a remote attack.

Mac's security is ok, and no worse certainly than windows. I really enjoy my mac laptop, and have never had an issue with it. Fewer viruses/malware are written for mac, so its safer in that aspect as well.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:58 PM   #10
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Save time with shell scripting.

If you find yourself having to perform the same task over and over, consider writing a script to do it for you. This may not work for every task, but if you frequently need to do things like rename pictures or retag your mp3s, figure out how to do it on the command line and then write a script that will loop through all your directories and files to do the job for you. MP3 retagging example follows. ( I know it isnt bullet proof, but to does what I need it to)

Code:
#! /bin/bash
#bruteforce
#this script traverses given directories and updates tags of amy mp3 file it finds 
#tags updated are track number, name, artist, and album title
function taggit {
#track number
    #   echo $1
       track_number=`echo ${1%%_*}`
       id3tag -2 --track="$track_number" "$1"
#track name
       temp_name=`echo ${1#*_}`
       temp_name=`echo ${temp_name%.*}`
       track_name=`echo $(echo "$temp_name"|sed s/_/" "/g)`
      
       id3tag -2 --song="$track_name" "$1"
#getting artist
       temp=`pwd`
       artist=`echo ${temp%/*}`
       artist=`echo ${artist##*/}`
       artist=`echo $(echo "$artist"|sed s/_/" "/g)`
       id3tag -2 --artist="$artist" "$1"
#album time       
       temp2=${temp##*/}
       album=$(echo "$temp2"|sed s/_/" "/g)
      # echo ${album}
       id3tag -2 --album="$album" ${1}
      #echo $(echo "$file"|sed s/_/" "/g)

}

#check for at least 1 arg
if [[ $# -lt 1 ]];then
  echo "Must provide at least 1 directory"
  exit 1
fi
#store current dir to base paths of off
home_dir=`pwd`
#looping
for d in "$@"; do
#echo $d
  if [[ -d "$d" ]]; then
    cd "$d"
    for file in *; do
      if [[ ${file%.mp3} != "$file" ]]; then
      #echo ${file}
      # echo $(echo "$file"|sed s/_/" "/g)
        taggit "$file"
      fi
      if [[ ${file%.MP3} != "$file" ]]; then
        taggit "$file"
      fi
    done
  cd "$home_dir"
  else
    echo "$d Not a directory"
    #exit 1
  fi
  exit 0
done
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