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Beware fake “Windows 7 Compatibility Checker”

cstonaha : May 13, 2010 9:57 am : Hints Tips and Q&A

Beware fake “Windows 7 Compatibility Checker”

One of the latest scams that attackers are using to get malware onto your computer is a program that purports to be a “compatibility checker” that will tell you whether your PC will run Windows 7. There is a real compatibility checker that you can get on the Microsoft web site, but the one that’s being touted in email messages will get you a Trojan installed on your system, which the attacker can then use to control your computer and steal your information. Read more about it here:

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USB 3.0 is finally here!

cstonaha : January 14, 2010 8:53 am : Hints Tips and Q&A

One of the most exciting features that Windows 7 SP1 is expected to add is support for USB 3.0, which will increase the data transfer speed over the current USB 2.0 standard by a factor of ten. It’s been in the works since 2007, and now it looks like it’s finally going to become a reality. HP has already started shipping their Envy 15 laptops with USB 3.0 ports so you can expect other hardware vendors to follow closely behind.

This new “superspeed” version of USB has a theoretical throughput rate of almost 5 Gbps, in comparison with the 480 Mbps maximum speed of USB 2.0.  Imagine streaming high-def movies off an external hard drive with absolutely no problems or running your daily system backups in minutes instead of hours!

Click here to find out more about USB 3.0.

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Is there a way to customize the right click menus in Vista?

cstonaha : July 22, 2009 1:53 pm : Hints Tips and Q&A

I like my Vista computer but I’m wondering, is there a way to customize the right click menus. When I right click a file, there are a bunch of options there that I never, ever use but I have to wade through all that to get to the one I want. Can I remove some of them?

Many applications install their own items in the right context menu when you install them. After a while, if you install lots of these apps, your context menu can get pretty cluttered up, and some of these menu items may be unused and unwanted. Even if you uninstall the programs, the items may stay in the context menu.

You can remove items from the context menu by editing the registry. The items are contained in the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ * \ shellex \ ContextMenuHandlers

Delete the keys for the items you don’t want. Be sure to back up the registry before editing it.

If you’re not comfortable with editing the registry, there are free third party tools you can use to remove and add context menu items. One is FileMenu Tools, which you can download at

*Thanks again to Deb Shinder for her help with this one!

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Can I merge my Outlook calendar with my colleague’s Outlook Calendar so that we both see the same calendar at all times?

cstonaha : June 17, 2009 9:03 am : Hints Tips and Q&A

This is a question that was submitted to us by one of our clients, Waddell and Reed in Wyomissing PA. Connor and Courtney at that office have a business partnership that completely hinges on communication and collaboration. The problem is that they work as one person and everything on one of there calendars needs to appear on the others and vice versa.

Many people will tell you that this is not possible without paying for an expensive Exchange Server through Microsoft and also buying third party software to facilitate the synchronization. While we are huge fans of Microsoft’s Exchange Server and recommend it to many of our clients, there are situations where it simply isn’t the right fit.

Bottom line, we were able to help them achieve this goal without purchasing any third party software. All they needed was an internet connection!

If this is a problem you are encountering at your company, please just contact us through this site and we will be sure to get you the full solution so that you can continue to use Outlook while synchronizing your calendar with others.

P.S. This solution also makes it SIMPLE for you to synchronize multiple calendars to your Windows Mobile device or other smart phones!

Happy Computing,

The Laughing Rock Team

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How to disable “In Private” browsing in IE 8

cstonaha : May 27, 2009 8:36 am : Hints Tips and Q&A

Microsoft got lots of praise from privacy advocates for including the “In Private” mode in Internet Explorer 8, which lets you surf without storing cookies, saving history or cache information or otherwise leaving tracks of what sites you’ve visited. This is good when using public computers – but some parents have written to say they don’t want their kids to be able to so easily erase the traces of where they’ve been on the family computer. Well, if you’re one of those, you’ll be happy to know that it’s pretty easy to disable “In Private” browsing. Here’s how to do it in Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate or in the Windows 7 RC:

1. Click Start and in the Search box, type gpedit.msc to open the local Group Policy management console.
2. In the left pane, navigate to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Internet Explorer | InPrivate
3. In the right pane, double click the setting “Turn off InPrivate browsing”
4. Select Enabled and click OK to prevent the use of the In Private feature.

*Thanks to Deb Shinder for this one!

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