July 2005
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Computer News
July 2005
Volume 22, Issue 7
Inside This Issue:
President’s Message
Computer Sale Results
Membership News
Officers List
Recycling Event Results
Search Engine Tips: Google
“Human Engineering” Viruses
Rootkit Attacks
Freecycle Network
Linux Adventures
Tech News
Windows Safe Mode
Annual Picnic
Associate Member Dues
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group has served
novice and experienced computer users since 1983. Through
its monthly meetings, newsletters, on-line forum, special interest groups, mentor program and
community involvement, it has
helped educate people of all
ages. The NVPCUG provides
opportunities for people to find
friends who share common interests and experiences. Through its
Computers-to-Schools program,
members refurbish used computer equipment for donation to
local schools. Since January
2003 the NVPCUG has donated
more than 307 computers and
102 printers.
Displaying Computer Video Output on a TV
Will Be Discussed at July 20 NVPCUG Meeting
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, July 20,
2005, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street,
Napa, California.
Our July general meeting will consist of only two of our regular meeting segments:
Random Access, an open-floor question-and-answer period, and Computer Tutor, a
session in which you can learn how to accomplish specific tasks. Each of these segments will be longer than usual, allowing more time for discussion.
In the Computer Tutor session, Jerry Brown will discuss how
to display video output from a computer and other devices on a television by using a Super-Video (S-Video) cable connection. Being
able to display video output on a television is desirable because, for
example, a television may be capable of producing a higher quality
image than a computer monitor, especially one with a liquid crystal
display (LCD) screen, or you may want to take advantage of a television’s large screen or location to display information or to view a
movie. To use S-Video, the devices sending and receiving video
signals must support the format and have special S-Video jacks.
Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown
Jerry is a retired computer software engineer who was involved for many years in
development and support work for the United States space shuttle program. He is a
past NVPCUG director, has served since 2000 as our Investors SIG leader, and for the
last year and a half has moderated the Random Access sessions at our monthly group
During the Random Access period, which will precede the Computer Tutor session,
you can ask questions about specific issues you have encountered in using computer
products and receive helpful information from other meeting attendees. Questions may
be submitted in advance of our meeting by e-mailing them to Jerry Brown at [email protected]
Need practical information that will enable you to make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are always welcome.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 1
President’s Message—
Providing Services
By Orion E. Hill
Newsletter Disks Are Available
Help Is Appreciated
I would like to personally thank all of the NVPCUG
members who worked to make our Used Computer Equipment Sale on June 3 and 4 successful and whose participation in the Napa County Computer and Electronics Recycling Event a week later helped make that activity successful. I would like to especially note the contribution of Ray
McCann, who devoted many hours outside our regular
weekly Computers-to-Schools program work parties to
preparing for sale all of the notebook computers offered at
our sale. The majority of the income at that event resulted
from the sale of these computers.
Build Your Own Computer
At the conclusion of Dick Peterson’s very informative
presentation on building a state-of-the-art computer at our
June 15 meeting, he offered to conduct a workshop during
which participants would actually build their own computers. If you are interested in this workshop, let Dick
know by calling (707) 259-1712 or sending e-mail to
[email protected]
Annual Picnic Scheduled
Our annual potluck picnic featuring great food, competitive games, prizes, plenty of time to socialize, and lots
of fun has been scheduled this year for Saturday, August
20. Our recent survey found that the greatest number of
NVPCUG members and their families would be able to
participate on that date, which coincides with the traditional timing of this event on the third Saturday in August.
The picnic will be held in the redwood grove at Dick and
Sandy Peterson’s Christmas tree farm on Darms Lane.
Dianne Prior has volunteered to coordinate the event and
will be assisted by Julie Jerome.
Computer disks containing all of
the NVPCUG’s monthly newsletters
published in PDF format since January 2001 are again
available and are being updated regularly. These archive
disks allow quick searches for information on specific topics and provide a history of our group. To obtain the most
recent CD-R disk, contact Ron Dack by sending e-mail to
[email protected] The cost of a disk is $10.
Your Help Is Needed
I am very concerned about the future of our group.
Since the current administrative term began last December
with the key positions of Vice President, Programs Director, and Special Projects Director vacant, I have called
each month for volunteers to serve in those positions. No
one has volunteered yet or even offered to help our current
officers plan and administer our group’s activities. As a
result, our current officers are overburdened and many
important tasks, especially those concerning presentations
at our monthly meetings, either are not being properly handled or are not being performed. In several months it will
be time for us to elect a new board of directors and appoint
new subordinate officers. Since there are no candidates
for the current vacancies, I fear that this condition will
continue and even worsen in the future, which could result
in the demise of our group. The NVPCUG’s current officers are committed to providing a high-quality education
program, but to meet that goal we need your help. If you
value the NVPCUG, please contact me to discuss how you
can contribute to the success of our group, even if you can
devote only one hour each month.
Sound Off!
Got a suggestion for improving an NVPCUG activity?
Want to help with an activity?
Send e-mail to
[email protected] or call (707) 252-0637.
Computer News (ISS 0897-5744) is published monthly by the Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group, Inc. (NVPCUG), P.O. Box 2866,
Napa, CA 94558-0286. Subscriptions: $30 for one year (12 issues ). Editor: James Stirling, [email protected] The material in Computer News
is intended for noncommercial purposes and may not be reproduced without prior written permission, except that permission for reproducing articles, with authors properly credited, is granted to other computer user groups for their internal, nonprofit use only. The information in this newsletter is believed to be correct. However, the NVPCUG can assume neither responsibility for errors or omissions nor liability for any damages resulting from the use or misuse of any information. The NVPCUG is an IRC 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit educational organization (EIN 68-0069663)
and is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization. Donations to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as charitable contributions to the extent allowed by law. Copyright © 2005 by NVPCUG.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 2
Used Computer Equipment Sale Raises Nearly $2,000
By Orion Hill, NVPCUG President and Sale Coordinator
The NVPCUG Used Computer
Equipment Sale on Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4, 2005, was very
successful, with receipts totaling
$1,941. This amount is slightly more
than the total for our last sale in June
2004. The sale was conducted in a
vacant storefront at 1307 First Street,
just east of Annette's Chocolate Factory, in downtown Napa.
The sale started with a small surge
of customers eager to take advantage
of bargain prices on a huge selection
of equipment, including about 45 Pentium 2 minitower and desktop computers, about 30 notebook computers,
and a great variety of monitors, keyboards, mice, disk drives, network
cards, printers, scanners, modems,
communication cables, and other peripherals, and then quickly settled
down to a fairly even pace. Although
all of the notebook computers sold as
expected, very few of the minitower
and desktop units were purchased,
perhaps because the majority of the
people who visited our sale seemed to
be experienced computer users. They
very likely already owned similar or
more powerful large profile units.
The proceeds from this sale,
which is the NVPCUG’s primary annual fund-raising activity, will be
used for our group’s educational activities and for projects benefiting
Napa Valley residents, including our
Computers-to-Schools program.
This sale would not have been
possible without the support of many
organizations and individuals. Most
of the sale items had been donated for
our Computers-to-Schools program-though which we provide refurbished
equipment to Napa County public
schools and to disadvantaged students--and then were determined to be
unsuitable for classroom use or in excess of school needs. Major equipment donors during the past year include Dey, L.P. and the County of
Napa. Many additional items were
donated by local businesses, residents,
and NVPCUG members.
NVPCUG is most grateful for the
contributions of these organizations
and individuals, as well as for the support of Louis Sloss, owner of Morris
Brown Realty, L.P., of Portland,
Oregon, who provided free store
space for our sale, Coldwell Banker
Commercial Brokers of the Valley
agent Allan Wilke, who arranged for
our use of the storefront, and the
Napa Airport Pilots Association,
which loaned 15 six-foot tables.
This sale also required the work of
many NVPCUG members and friends
who tested and transported equipment, set up and took down sale tables,
NVPCUG members Karla Bailey,*
Susy Ball, Charlotte Bunnell, Hal
Bunnell,* Cheryl Harris,* Elmer
Harris,* Orion E. Hill,* Julie
Jerome,* Bernhard Krevet, Roger
Lewis,* Ray McCann,* Dianne
Prior,* Jim Prior, Corinne Rau,*
Tom Rhyme, Don Robertson,*
Otho Rosado,* Davina Rubin,*
John Simcoe,* Bob Simmerman,*
Jim Stirling,* Dean Unruh, Roy
Wagner,* Bill Wheadon,* and Rex
Williams; Karla Bailey’s husband
Larry Bailey; and former member
Larry Renner. Members whose
names are marked with asterisks
worked multiple shifts. If I have
overlooked naming anyone who
helped, I apologize. 
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 3
Ray McCann points out notebook features to
Dianne Prior. Photo by Orion Hill.
Elmer Harris examines a surge
protection power strip. Photo by Orion Hill.
Otho Rosado describes computer system features to a customer. Photo by Jim Stirling
Membership News
NVPCUG Special
Interest Groups
The NVPCUG currently has two special
interest groups. By attending SIG meetings, you can learn about a subject in
greater detail than is feasible at
NVPCUG general meetings and can
share your knowledge with other people.
SIG meetings are open to everyone.
Meeting times and locations occasionally
change. For current meeting location
information, see our Web site,
www.nvpcug.org, or contact the SIG
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
[email protected]
For more information about
visit our Web site:
By Dianne Prior, NVPCUG Membership Director
The Napa Valley Computer Users Group welcomes new member Pat
Tayler and returning member William Kennard.
As of June 30, 2005, the NVPCUG had 117 active members. A year
ago we had 105.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Officers for 2005
Board of Directors
Vice President
Orion E. Hill
(Volunteer Needed)
Julie Jerome
Roy Wagner
Other Directors:
Dianne Prior, John Simcoe, James Stirling
Appointed Officers
Computer Equipment
Orion E. Hill
Sale Coordinator
Computer Recycling
Bill Wheadon
Computer Tutor
Mike Moore
Orion E. Hill
Program Coordinator
Facility Arrangements
Steve Siegrist
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman
Marcia Waddell
Membership Director
Dianne Prior
Mentor Program
Hilton Des Roches
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
Newsletter Editor
James Stirling
Product Review Coord.
Marcia Waddell
Programs Director
(Volunteer Needed)
Publicity Director
John Simcoe
Random Access Moderator Jerry Brown
Special Projects Director (Volunteer Needed)
Ron Dack
NVPCUG Calendar
July 5
July 11
July 13
July 18
August 20
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
1:30-6:00 p.m.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Computers-to-Schools work parties. To volunteer contact Orion Hill.
Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Annual Picnic, Peterson Family Christmas Tree Farm, 1120 Darms Lane, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 4
208 Tons of Electronic Equipment Collected for Recycling
By Bill Wheadon, NVPCUG Computor Recycling Coordinator
Two hundred eight tons of computers and other equipment were collected at the fifth annual Napa County
Computer and Electronics Recycling
Event, held June 10 and 11 in the
south parking lot of the Napa Valley
College’s Napa campus. This was
only slightly lower than last year’s
record of 213 tons. Two-thirds of this
year’s tonnage came on Friday. I understand that at one time on Friday the
Highway Patrol came very close to
shutting down the event because the
queue of vehicles waiting to unload
extended briefly down Streblow Drive
and onto the Napa-Vallejo Highway.
It appreared many people chose to use
their lunch hour for this errand. Saturday was much more relaxed, allowing NVPCUG volunteers more time
to glean reusable items for our Computers-to-Schools program. Approximately 5 pickup truck loads—2
tons—of computers, monitors and
peripherals were received.
Twenty-two NVPCUG volunteers
helped make the event a success by
directing traffic, surveying drivers,
and identifying and pulling computer
equipment suitable for reuse. The
following members worked multiple
shifts: Susy Ball, Hall Bunnell,
Orion E. Hill, Linda Kemp, Ray
Bill Wheadon directs a driver whom he has surveyed to a drop-off line
at the recycling event. Photo by Orion Hill.
McCann, Dianne Prior, Otho
Rosado, Jim Stirling, Dean Unruh,
Roy Wagner, and Bill and Jan
Also participating were Karla Bailey,
Al Edmister, Jim Hearn, Julie
Jerome, Corrine Rau, Jan and Ray
Riley, Don Robertson, John Simcoe,
and Bob Simmerman. Thanks to all
of our volunteers 
Hal Bunnell, Orion Hill, John Simcoe
and Otho Rosado look for and remove
reusable computer equipment from a
pickup truck at the recycling event.
Photo by Susy Ball.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 5
Search Engine Tips and Tricks
By Richard Johnson, TUGNET, Granada Hills, California
Part 1: Google
I don't have to tell you about
Google, which has for many years
been the search leader. Aside from the
quality of its searches, a big plus is
that all of Google's paid listings are
clearly distinguished, and do not even
appear in the same part of the page.
Unfortunately this is not the case with
other search services such as Yahoo,
which intersperses undifferentiated
paid and unpaid listings.
Newbies will want to know they
can initiate a Google search at
www.google.com. All of the services
I'm recommending here, most of them
from Google but a few from other
sources, are entirely free.
Google Toolbar
If you don't already use the Google
Toolbar, you're missing a terrific
navigational aid. Its features are really
too numerous to detail here, but I find
especially useful its ability to readily
bring up a parent Web page, search
within a Web site, find pages similar
to what you're looking at, find sites
linking to that page, translate a page
into English, browse by name (if you
don't know the URL), highlight search
terms on the page, find on the page
your search terms or any other terms
(more handily than with your
browser's “Find” function), fill forms,
and block pop-ups. (There are better
pop-up blockers and form fillers, but
Google's may suit you fine.)
The toolbar enables most of the
standard Google tasks, including
some described in the next section.
Not only are all of these tasks easily
accessible, but also you won't have to
retype your search terms (for example, when you search for an image
after a standard search).
I strongly recommend version 3,
which adds many useful tools, the
best of which will allow you to spellcheck what you've typed on a Web
form by clicking a toolbar button,
bring up a map page (using the im-
pressive new Google Maps--see below) just by clicking on an address,
and track a delivery by clicking on its
tracking number.
Since it's still in beta, version 3 is
not publicized and won't automatically replace your present Google
Toolbar. To get it, go to
Other Google Goodies; Google
Maps and Google Local
Google has recently introduced its
own map system, that's head and
shoulders above the competition. It's
available as a stand-alone service at
http://maps.google.com and as an adjunct to the more established Google
Local, at http://local.google.com.
Compared to other online maps,
the area of a Google map is huge, taking up more than half the screen, and
expanding to fill any additional space
(for example, if you move to a fullscreen view). Zooming (in or out) is
very quick, and re-centering is instantaneous. A new feature brings up a
birds-eye view if you click on
Google Maps and Google Local
are now pretty much the same service:
A page brought up by Google Maps
has a link to “Local Search,” which
provides the local data on the same
page; and a page brought up by
Google Local includes the map
(which, although smaller, can be expanded with one click). The local data
includes the names, addresses, phone
numbers, and Web sites of businesses,
and, often, third-party reviews (like
restaurant reviews).
You can now get to Google Maps
by typing a location in the standard
Google search bar. And you'll find a
link to Google Local at the top of
every page of Google search results.
The best of the rest
The following are, in my experience, the most useful (or most interesting) of Google's nonstandard ser-
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 6
vices. You do not need the Google
Toolbar to employ them:
Google's image search at
www.google.com/imghp, touted as the
Web's most comprehensive, indexes
(according to Google) over 880 million images.
Google will give you a business
address and phone number. The easiest way is through the ResearchBuzz!
form at www.researchbuzz.org/
Google will bring up one or more
definitions for nearly any word. In the
Google search box just type
“define:” (without the quotes), followed by the word of interest. This
service is now multi-lingual.
Reverse phone directory. In the
search box type the area code and
phone number (with a space between
them), and there's a good chance
you'll bring up at the top of the results
page not only the person or company
name for that number, but also the
Google offers special searches,
limited (for example) to U.S. government or to Microsoft. Go to
For those who like to purchase
through the use of catalogs, Google's
catalog search is a t http://
Google will enable you to view a
page that's been removed from the
Web. Look for the “Cached” link after the description of the page in a
search result. (Or click the Page Info
button on the Google Toolbar.) This
function will give you access to many
closed-down sites not yet available
via the Internet Archive. (The Internet
Archive -- not a Google service -- is
at www.archive.org.)
The Google Directory at http://
directory.google.com combines the
Open Directory Project (the Web's
largest human-edited directory) with
Google's proprietary ranking system.
Use of the directory is helpful to nar-
row down what might otherwise be an
overly broad search. (This tool is also
available from the Google Toolbar.)
Google Answers at http://
answers.google.com/answers is a paid
research service--but users are free to
browse previous answers, which can
be quite helpful.
Weather forecasts are easily obtained by typing in the Google search
bar the word “weather” followed by
the city of choice (for example,
“weather canoga park.”) The forecast
will speedily appear at the top of a
page of search results.
Froogle, a comparison service for
online shopping whose listed vendors
pay neither for inclusion nor placement, is at http://froogle.google.com/
Google Print gives you access to
books' contents and lets you search
within those books. Look for the
“book results” entry in standard
search results, accompanied by the
Google Print logo.
Google Suggest, at www.google.
com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en, appears and acts like the standard
Google search, except that as you
start typing your search request,
Google types its own suggestions.
These could save you time and also
point you to related searches.
Google Desktop, to search files on
your own computer, can be downloaded from http://desktop.google.
com. Unfortunately, it's available only
for users of Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
Gmail, which on March 31 started
offering rich text formatting, has as of
April 1 doubled its storage capacity to
a whopping 2 gigabytes. Gmail is not
yet open to the public, but invitations
can be obtained from various sources,
including this writer.
Note that without retyping you can
extend your standard Web search not
only to Google Local but also to
Google Images and Froogle (as well
as to Google Groups and Google
News), by clicking on links at the top
of every results page. Or you can skip
the Google entry page and go to Xtra
Google at www.xtragoogle.com for a
selection of twenty Google tools, all
tied to one search box.
Google Tips
Toolbar tips: Use Alt-G to enter
search terms in the search box.
For your news search, don't enable
the separate news button, but instead
use the Search News option in the
drop-down Search the Web menu.
That way you'll be able to use the AltG shortcut to enter your news search
query, and to use the same query for
news and general Web searching,
without retyping. When using the
word-find function, hold down the
control key to find the exact whole
word, and similarly use the shift key
to move backwards.
Other Google tips: For academically
oriented results (often the most useful), try typing site:edu either before
or after your search terms. This will
eliminate commercial sites and will
limit results to those from educational
Although Google now implements
“stemming” (where it automatically
searches for variants of words as well
as the words themselves), you can
cover still more bases by using the
tilde [~] symbol right before a search
term (leaving no space). This will tell
Google to use synonyms as search
queries. For example, a search for
~food ~facts will turn up cooking information.
Don't worry too much about misspelled words. With any search engine, a search query with a misspelling might get you some good results
that you wouldn't see otherwise!
Google will suggest a corrected spelling along with its search results, but if
the initial search comes up empty will
correct the spelling on its own and rerun the search.
Google will ignore some common
short words (like a, on, and by) in
your queries. The best way around
these so-called stop words in most
cases is simply to enclose the phrase
in quotes, which will force Google to
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 7
search for only the phrase as given.
(A phrase search will of course come
in handy on other occasions as well.)
Otherwise, you can precede a suspected stop word with the plus sign
(for example, +on).
Google recognizes the OR operator, or, in its stead, the vertical line.
So if you're seeking search results
concerning cats or dogs (but not
both), you could type “cats OR dogs”
or “cats | dogs” [without the quotes].
Use the minus sign right before a
search term for “not.” (“Animals dogs” [without the quotes] would ignore dogs in the search.) For complicated queries, you can if necessary
group search words within parentheses.
Instead of clicking on the main
link at the top of each Google search
result, try clicking on the word
Cached. The page that will come up
will now have your search words
highlighted. (Don't use this technique
if you need to see the most recent
page revisions.)
Google supports word wild cards.
That is, you can in your query use the
asterisk [*] as a stand-in to represent
any word. (This won't work in Google
for parts of words.) 
Richard Johnson is a writer and editor
and founder/administrator of Free for All,
The Skills Pool, a 29-year-old membership
theskillspool.org). He is a volunteer with
TUGNET HelpContact for assistance
with Internet Explorer, Outlook Express,
and Gmail. You may reach him at
[email protected]
This article has been provided by the Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups.
Where Did They Get That
Legend has it that the company founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page,
intended to name it Googol, meaning a
1 followed by 100 zeroes. But when
they approached an angel investor he
made out a check to Google, and the
name stuck.
Don’t Fall for “Human Engineering”
“SuperBug,” according to a recent
article in Computerworld. On some
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, Texas
days, several versions of Mytob have
Radio Show Host; Police Officer
appeared; in recent months, slight
variations have appeared so rapidly
You receive the following urgent ently urgent e-mails seemingly from that Mytob has spread more quickly
e-mail from someone you know with my internet service provider (ISP). than antivirus companies’ ability to
the subject line “Finally Captured!” They come addressed from “admin- protect against it, leaving units with
You open this intriguing e-mail and istrator,” “support,” “customer ser- even recently updated antivirus softsee the message: "Turn on your TV. vice,” or some similar official- ware vulnerable to attack.
Mytob, first discovered in FebruOsama Bin Laden has been captured. sounding individual at the ISP. They
While CNN has no pictures at this carry dire warnings in the subject line ary, and its many variants are espepoint of time, the military channel that my e-mail account will be or has cially nasty based on what they do.
(PPV) released some pictures. I man- been suspended for a variety of in- One factor in common is their ability
aged to capture a couple of these pic- fractions, ranging from failure to fol- to deactivate or destroy the antivirus
tures off my TV. Ive (sic) attached a low an unspecified rule, sending ex- software and firewall installed on the
slideshow containing all the pictures I cessive spam, or some other major infected computers. It also blocks
managed to capture." Attached to the infraction. The poorly worded mes- access to security Web sites that may
e-mail is a file “Pictures.zip.” Eager sage is, “Once you have completed provide information and utilities to
to see the proof that the No. 1 most- the form in the attached file, your ac- kill Mytob. This malware may also
wanted person in the world has been count records will not be interrupted prevent the running of the free online
captured finally, you click on the at- and will continue as normal” and has antivirus scans that could detect and
No photos appear, so a 65k attachment “document.zip”. remove Mytob. This makes it a selfmaybe you click on it again. It is now Another slight variation refers to fol- protective piece of software. Some
too late, because that first click on the lowing directions in a file ranging versions also lower or remove other
attachment, rather than opening a zip from 43k to 65k in size, with the file security settings on the computer,
file and displaying the photos, planted name “instructions.zip.” I depend on making it even more vulnerable to
a nasty backdoor Trojan on your com- my e-mail, reading and sending doz- attack. Some versions also may inputer, Nibu.D. Through a process ens per day. It is important to me, and stall spyware, adware, zombies, or
known in the industry as “Human En- since it is from my ISP, I go ahead other undesirable software, as well as
gineering,” you were an innocent vic- and click on the attachment. Bad broadcast over the Internet that the
tim tricked into installing unwanted choice; one or more of the dozens of infected computer is vulnerable to
software onto your computer. In this variants of the Mytob worm is now further attacks. Trend Micro, the proparticular case, the Nibu.D backdoor infesting my computer, possibly kill- vider of the online free antivirus scan
just installed a “keylogger” intended ing or deactivating my antivirus and Housecall (housecall.antivirus.com),
to capture user names, passwords, firewall software, preventing access to and PC-Cillin antivirus software, has
account numbers, and other sensitive antivirus and other helpful websites, stated that some variants of Mytob use
and creating a multitude of new the infected computers as a source of
Nibu.D is also listed by Norton as threats to my cyber safety. Once the revenue for HellBot with their planta “bank info scarfer,” a type of mal- computer is infected, Mytob searches ing of adware and spyware.
ware that explicitly looks for banking the hard drive for address books, and
Nibu and Mybot are just two of the
information when entered and sends sends infecting e-mails to addresses thousands of currently circulating vithat information to parties unknown. found, geometrically increasing its ruses, worms, and Trojans. Netsky,
If you were one of the countless vic- distribution and degree of damage.
Bagel, Sober, and their many variaRecently, variations of Mytob in tions are a major threat to our computtims of this trick, and since opening
the attachment and unknowingly in- aggregate have made it to the top of ing security. As the virus writers constalling Nibu.D, you have done online the threat lists compiled by antivirus tinue to make more productive (for
banking, checked your credit card companies. In one recent day, anti- them) and destructive malware, it is
accounts, logged onto eBay or other virus company Sophos reported that now more imperative than ever that
shopping sites, your personal infor- over half of all new virus infestations you keep your antivirus software upmation may have been compromised, detected were variants of Mytob. My- dated constantly. Be suspicious about
and you may become a victim of iden- tob is a product of a group of miscre- e-mails, even from known sources. If
ants going by the name “HellBot,” you get questionable e-mail from a
tity theft.
Every day for the past several who have allegedly stated that they possibly known source, before open(continued on page 9)
weeks I have received some appar- are trying to develop some type of
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 8
Another Silent Attack on Our Computers
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, Texas; Radio Show Host; Police Officer
Web Sites:
Imagine a threat that would be undetected by the current antivirus, firewall, and anti-spyware software, yet
be so powerful as to effectively take
over our computers, without our
knowledge. This threat, formerly
considered solely as an unproven concept, is now known to be real and is
implicated in taking over countless
computers. It is known by the innocuous term “rootkit.” It is a silent
attempt to invade our computers for
the purposes of installing viruses,
Trojans, worms, or other malware
A rootkit is defined on the Sysinternals Web site as, “The mechanisms
and techniques whereby malware,
including viruses, spyware, and Trojans, attempt to hide their presence
from spyware blockers, antivirus, and
system management utilities. There
are several rootkit classifications depending on whether the malware survives reboot and whether it executes
in user mode or kernel mode.” The
security software company F-Secure
expands the definition with, “Rootkits
for Windows work in a different way
and are typically used to hide malicious software from for example an
antivirus scanner. Rootkits are typically not malicious by themselves but
(continued from page 8)
ing it or any attachments, check directly with the source. As I have
pleaded in the past, we must be responsible for our own cybersecurity.

(NibuD) http://people.ists.dartmouth.edu/
(Mytob variants) Personal e-mails.
This article is provided by the Editorial
Committee of the APCUG.
are used for malicious purposes by
viruses, worms, backdoors and spyware. A virus combined with a rootkit
produces what was known as full
stealth viruses in the MS-DOS environment.”
Because rootkits are currently very
effective at hiding malware from our
antivirus and anti-spyware scanners, it
is quite possible or even probable that
our computers are infected, despite
repeated scans with updated software.
Microsoft, and other vendors, have
acknowledged the threat and are now
beginning to produce software that
can detect and destroy the rootkits.
The software is still in its infancy and
lacks the ease of use, automation, and
attractive graphical interfaces that we
are used to with our antivirus software. It is inevitable that as word of
the rootkit threat spreads, and more
computers are identified as having
stealthy rootkits hiding viruses and
other threats, the small current crop of
rootkit detecting software will improve. Other competitors, probably
the major antivirus vendors, will join
the fight. If rootkit technology continues to spread, the current crop of
generally excellent computer security
suites from the likes of Symantec
(Norton), McAfee, Panda, TrendMicro, and others will be forced to
add rootkit protection to their respective suites or face competitive obsolescence.
Fortunately for us, there are a few
rootkit detectors already available,
mostly for free! This first generation
of products still need much refining to
enable the average person to scan for
rootkits with ease, but they are still a
very good first step. One free rootkit
detector, “RootkitRevealer,” is from
Sysinternals, a company known for
its excellent and often free software.
It uses a patent-pending technology to
detect rootkits and is available for
download at www.sysinternals.com/
RootkitRevealer will run on almost
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 9
any Microsoft operating system, NT4
and later, which includes Windows
2000 and XP.
Another rootkit detector is from FSecure, a well-known computer security company headquartered in
Finland, with offices in the U.S. and
F-Secure’s product is
“Blacklight,” available as a free beta
(pre-release) version (still available
July 16) Blacklight can be
downloaded at www.f-secure.com/
I have recently tried both products,
and I personally found Blacklight the
easier to use. It seemed effective at
detecting and eliminating rootkits.
Microsoft will shortly be making
available its rootkit detector, the
“Strider GhostBuster,” details at research.microsoft.com/rootkit.
Persons unknown who wish to do
us harm, either at a personal level
such as stealing our account information and committing the crime of
identity theft, or the impersonal level,
such as cyber terrorists intent on shutting down our critical infrastructure,
may use the rootkit technology to bypass our otherwise necessary defenses.
Until such time as the integrated
computer security suites catch up with
this threat, I will now have to add a
rootkit detector to my recommended
list of essential computer security
utilities, alongside antivirus software,
a good firewall, and a spyware detector. It is also imperative that all four
of these utilities be frequently updated
to ensure a reasonable degree of personal security. We will also have to
add rootkits to our vernacular of cyber threats, along with the now ubiquitous terms “virus,” “spyware,” and
I shudder to wonder what may be
coming down the pike next. 
This article is provided by the Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups.
Freecycle Network Offers Never-Ending Garage Sale
(And It’s All Free!)
By Gabe Goldberg, APCUG Advisor and Columnist, AARP Computers and Technology
“It’s not easy being green,” sang
Kermit the green Muppet frog. But
it’s getting easier, as people, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and
government agencies recognize benefits of conserving and recycling resources of all sorts.
There have always been opportunities such as garage sales, flea markets,
and thrift shops for casual/local exchanges of goods. Most of us have
likely both bought and sold: giving
new life to things we’ve enjoyed but
no longer need, cashing in gifts we
can’t quite imagine using, and finding
economical goods courtesy of
neighbors and charitable organizations.
Before we recently moved (~http://
life_online/Articles/a2005-01-05~preserving_tech_moving . html], my
wife and I took the opportunity to get
rid of anything we thought was surplus. Fortunately, we beat the yearend crush at places like Salvation
Army. But in December I did see 18wheelers being loaded with goods
from people who suddenly remembered the tax deduction for making
such donations to charitable organizations. And I wondered how much of
the tonnage being hauled would actually be sold and reused.
As in many other areas, the Internet lends new sparkle and efficiency
to an old idea: using things until
they’re completely worn out. It’s
really true that one person’s junk can
be another person’s treasure. In fact,
the worldwide Freecycle(tm) Network
[www.freecycle.org] offers goods at
the Internet’s favorite price (at least
for buyers): free! Perhaps best of all,
the Network offers in-person one-toone transfers, making it likely that
goodies will go places where they’re
The Web site notes: “The worldwide Freecycle Network is made up
of many individual groups across the
globe. It’s a grassroots movement of
people who are giving (and getting)
stuff for free in their own towns. Each
local group is run by a local volunteer
moderator (good people). Membership is free.
The Freecycle Network was started
in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson’s downtown and help
save desert landscape from being
taken over by landfills.
The Network provides individuals
and non-profits an electronic forum to
“recycle”unwanted items.
Freecycling is interesting because,
while it could only be done on the
Internet, it has a very local focus. That
is, while Web sites and discussion
mailing lists draw worldwide clientele, physical transfer of free goods is
constrained to relatively small areas.
So Freecycle operates as locally
oriented mailing lists. For example, in
the Washington, DC region, there’s a
huge list for the central city (one of
the top ten lists with more than 6,000
people), and many suburbs have their
own lists with dozens or hundreds of
The main Freecycle Web site lists
rules and etiquette, which are echoed
by welcome messages to new subscribers. It’s all simple and reasonable: Goods offered must be available
for pickup in the local area; stick to
recycling, avoid politics, spam, and
off-topic messages; begin all e-mail
subject lines with one of the words
Rules such as “Keep it free, keep it
legal, keep it safe for all ages” prohibit offering or requesting items such
as guns, prescription drugs, “adult”
material, alcohol, and cigarettes. Pets
are OK, though. Only free and physical stuff is allowed; barters/
exchanges/sales are barred, as are services offered or wanted.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 10
I’m told that the list is best read in
individual messages rather than digests (which collect dozens of messages into one e-mail) since offered
items are often snatched up in just a
few minutes. A reply in five minutes
might be too late!
Messages are transmitted by the
Yahoo! Groups Web site [groups.
yahoo.com] so list archives can be
searched. This allows making sure
that no TAKEN or RECEIVED has
been sent for the OFFER or
WANTED you’re about to answer.
Donors can decide which request
gets the goods. First-reply-wins is a
fine approach, but some decide based
on why a person needs something.
Businesses can use Freecycle to dispose of goods -- for example computing equipment that’s usable but not
marketable. A company with 25
monitors might offer them to a Freecycle list -- perhaps specifying minimum pickup of five. So smaller companies, recycling organizations, or
community-minded individuals could
collect and redistribute them where
they’re needed.
A very unscientific analysis of
about 40 postings divided into 16 OFFERs, 12 TAKENs, 10 WANTEDs,
and two RECEIVEDs -- a very respectable success rate for OFFERs
and WANTEDs! As of when I’m
writing this, more than 2,000 large
and small communities have Freecycle groups with more than 700,000
members. And the Web site gives
step-by-step instructions for starting
one where there is none. Go forth and
This article appeared originally on
AARP’s Computers and Technology Web site,
[www.aarp.org/computers]. (c) AARP 2004/
2005. Permission is granted for reprinting and
distribution by non-profit organizations with
text reproduced unchanged and this paragraph
This article is provided by the Editorial
Committee of the APCUG.
Adventures in Linux-land
By Siles Bazerman, APCUG Representative,
Orange County IBMPC Users Group, California
As many of you know, I became
bored with Windows XP awhile ago.
Bored with both writing about it and
actually using it. Windows went from
“Gee, look what I found!” in Windows 3 to using an appliance in Windows XP, with the release of SP2.
Very usable, but not much fun to play
I decided to give Linux another
try. The first time was with Red Hat 3
back in 1998-1999. At that time it
was not ready for Prime Time and
there was still a lot to discover in
Windows 98 and 98SE. Also, there
were only one or two other distros
(distributions) available and little in
the way of a GUI, so you used mostly
command line.
Now there are many, many distros
out there, some commercial and some
free. Red Hat went commercial, but
one, Fedora, is available for free
download. One of the more popular
free distros is Debian (Debra and Ian
Murdock, authors). It too is available
in several varieties. The two most
useful for beginners to Linux are
Knoppix and SimplyMepis. I use the
latter. Both of these are downloadable, fit on one CD with a number of
usable programs, and can run from
the CD without installing on your
hard drive. You can also install them
if you so desire.
After downloading Mepis, using it
and finally installing it, I decided I
needed more information than was
available online. I found a book,
Point and Click Linux, by Robin
Miller, that was written to exactly
parallel the CD. For less than $22
from Barnes and Nobel online I received the book, a CD (exactly the
same as the download) and an instructional DVD. The distro uses the
KDE (K Desktop Environment) and
includes several editors, Open Office
Suite (similar to Microsoft Office, but
free), a CD/DVD writing program,
GIMP graphics program (GNU Image Manipulation Program) and
Mozilla Web browser. There are numerous other programs included;
these are the main ones. Also you can
download and install many other programs free to enhance or replace the
ones on the CD.
If all you want to do is send and
receive e-mail, browse the Web, do
some word processing or similar
things, then you can use Mepis as
installed. Web browsing is relatively
virus free and almost totally popup
free. Both Mozilla and its successor,
Firefox, are also available for Windows, but Windows update will not
work in any browser but IE. Linux is
relatively free of viruses for two reasons. First, it represents a very small
percent of desktop installations, and
virus writers want the biggest “bang
for the buck,” and don't bother. Second, you work in Linux as a user, but
all changes to the system must be
done as either an administrator or
“super user,” both of which are not
accessible from outside and are password protected. Also, the browser
does not allow pop-ups. This would
be labeled “easy.”
If you wish to do customization or
add established Debian packages,
then it can be easy or difficult depending on the need for the command
line interface. Many of the commands
are arcane and rather like in a foreign
language, although they are really in
English. I believe much is written in
C, Perl, and Python. I am sure some
other programming languages are
involved also. Many of the free
backup programs are written for Tape
Backup Units, although they might be
configurable for other media such as
HD or CD/DVD. These things would
rate “difficult.”
I have tried to port some Windows programs to Linux, using four
different Windows emulators. The
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 11
commercial three all have free trials
available that are time-limited but
otherwise full. The free qemu (Q
EMUlator) requires an installation of
Windows 98 from a full install, and
does not seem to ever access the CD
drive or, for that matter, any drive
outside the virtual machine. This prohibits the addition of other programs.
Of the commercial ones, Crossover
Office allows installation of Microsoft
Office and a number of other programs whose hooks are built in. It
will also allow the installation of
some others, but it is hit or miss.
Paint Shop Pro 7 will install and
work, but will not print, as an example; newer versions will not even install. Photoshop 6 or 7 will work, but
not later versions. Crossover Office
does not require a copy of Windows
to work. All the others do.
There are two versions of Win4Lin,
regular and professional. The regular
version works with all the DOSbased Windows up to and including
Windows ME. The pro version works
with Windows 2000 and XP. I did
find that loading Windows XP in the
pro version was about like loading
Windows 3.1 on my old 286: S--l--o-w. It loaded Windows 2000 at about
the speed it loaded on my P3; I am
running an Athlon Thunderbird
2600+ with 1G of memory. Under
Windows XP, when I tried to load my
program I received the message
“Catastrophic Failure.” What the
Hey? Under 2000 it installed, but
when run it would fail with “ActiveX
could not create a database module.”
I spoke to one of the programmers of
my problems and he had never heard
of the first and could not suggest how
to fix the second. As a matter of fact,
he asked me to call him if I had any
success in porting it over. He knows
of no one else even trying. This
whole area is very frustrating, but I
will keep working at it. 
This article is provided by the Editorial
Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups.
Tech News
By Sue Crane, Vice President & Editor, Big Bear Computer Club, California
[email protected]
AMD’s antitrust suit against Intel
Advanced Micro Devices’ complaint accuses Intel of maintaining its
monopoly in the PC processor market
by illegally coercing customers
around the world into using its products. The 48-page complaint alleges
that Intel used illegal subsidies to win
sales, and in some cases threatened
companies with "severe consequences" for using or selling AMD
products. Meanwhile, hoping to win
the support of U.S. legislators and
average computer users, AMD is publishing full-page ads in 7 U.S. newspapers, explaining why it filed suit
and encouraging readers to read the
full text of its 48-page complaint. The
AMD complaint is available online at
Coming soon: 30Gb on a 1-inch
A Japanese university has shown a
prototype 10GB 1-inch hard disk
drive that packs data on the disk surface more densely than existing hard
drives with an areal density--the number of bits per unit of disk surface
area--of 138 gigabits per square inch.
The drive uses perpendicular recording technology to achieve its
higher areal density, The Japanese
researchers project they will be able
to boost the areal density of 1-inch
disks to about 500-gigabits per square
inch in 2007. This could enable 1inch drives to have capacities as high
as 30GB in a few years. Currently, the
highest-capacity 1-inch drives on sale
store up to 6GB of data.
Court rules against file swapping
In a unanimous decision justices
ruled: companies that build businesses with the active intent of encouraging copyright infringement
should be held liable for their custom-
ers' illegal actions. The decision will
likely reshape the Internet landscape
in which file swapping has become
Man vs. supercomputer
Michael Adams, United Kingdom's
strongest chess player, is the latest
player to take on a supercomputer.
Adams and the Hydra computer will
play up to 6 games for a prize fund of
$150,000. Some experts are already
predicting that Hydra will win the
contest. But correspondence chess
grandmaster Arno Nickel, who recently beat Hydra 2-0 in a correspondence match, has predicted that Adams could secure a 3-3 draw. According to the team that developed Hydra,
it can calculate 200 million moves per
second and see up to 40 moves ahead.
Tired of waiting for Windows XP?
Gigabyte Technology has stumbled upon a faster way to boot up PCs
using the Windows XP operating system. The iRam is a PC add-in card
with four DDR DRAM memory slots,
designed to be used as a PC drive.
Since iRam uses DRAM to store information, data can be retrieved up to
60 times faster. The iRam holds up to
4Gb of DRAM in four memory slots.
The card fits into a standard PCI slot,
which provides power, and it uses a
SATA (Serial ATA) connection for
data transfer. If the PC is unplugged,
the iRam has an onboard battery for
emergency power that can last up to
12 hours. The iRam was to be available in July.
Laptop batteries recalled
Batteries in some notebook computers from Fujitsu Siemens can overheat, with a risk of fire. The company
has recalled the batteries in some of
its Amilo notebook computers, and
will replace affected batteries free of
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 12
No Internet Explorer 7 for Win 2K
According to an unnamed employee, Microsoft will not be releasing Internet Explorer 7 for Windows
2000, as this would involve a lot of
work for an operating system that is
in the later stages of its lifecycle, and
some of the security work in IE 7 relies on operating system functionality
in XP SP2. Win 2K users argue that
Microsoft is committed to provide
extended support to Windows 2000
through 2010. Microsoft was also
criticized for building a Web browser
that cannot run independently of the
operating system. IE 7 will be available in beta this summer, offering
improved security features, basic
tabbed browsing and improved standards support, including support for
CSS 2 and PNG transparencies.
Digitally enhanced photos may be
“too good”
Kacie Powell, a photographer for
Centre College in Danville, Ky., tried
to get some digital photo shots printed
at Wal-Mart, but employees said they
looked "too professional." She ended
up signing an affidavit that included
pictures of college employees who
were authorized to print her pictures.
When a colleague whose portrait was
included among the authorized photographers went to Wal-Mart with
some candid shots from graduation,
she got turned down too
Photo labs, fearful of being sued by
professional photographers, are in a
tough spot: should they anger their
customers or risk a lawsuit? Don’t be
surprised if your digitally enhanced
personal photos are turned down by
WalMart and other fast-photo labs.
Do the walls have ears?
An experimental system--which
consists of a series of sensors under a
baby's mattress and a camera
mounted on a wall--will monitor a
child’s heart rate, temperature and
movement; stream video of the infant;
and even take pictures. Captured data
is sent to a parent's PC. In another
experiment, researchers have tagged
all of the items in a person's house
with RFID sensors that effectively
will tell a remote computer whether
the occupant has moved a spoon or
turned on the television. Though it
might sound Orwellian in the abstract,
the system is being designed to provide relatives or professional caregivers information on the daily habits of
the elderly.
$100 computer
A little-known company called
Novatium plans to offer a strippeddown home computer for about $70
or $75. Adding a monitor doubles the
price to $150, but the company will
offer used displays to keep the cost
Porn gets its own domain
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
that oversees Internet addresses has
approved a new online neighborhood
specifically for pornographic Web
sites: the .xxx domain. Proponents say
this will help parents screen out the
porn sites for their children, but other
groups argue that it’s not a reliable
safeguard until it’s mandatory.
Homegrown Star Wars, with big
screen magic
Three years ago, graphic artist
Shane Felux came home with a digital
camera newly purchased on eBay and
gave his wife Dawn a deadline: three
months to write a 40-minute Star
Wars script. Now, countless volunteer
hours and $20,000 later, comes the
release of “Star Wars: Revelations,”
one of the most ambitious amateur
films ever made and now the “toast of
the Internet.” The new Star Wars film
was slated for release May 19. http://
revelations_main. Html.
Let the games begin
RoboGames, formerly Robolympics games launched at San Francisco
University. 650 entrants from 15
countries gathered to show their stuff
in several categories from Sumo to
Soccer. Ultimately, the goal is to create robots that can do more tasks that
normally, only humans can do.
Odd-shaped robots do more than
Engineers at IRobot certainly see
house cleaning as a legitimate use of
robots, although the company’s popular Roomba Intelligent Floorvac vacuum-cleaning robot is disc shaped,
not human shaped. Although the company has collaborated with toy-maker
Hasbro on a lifelike doll, military robots have long been their focus. Military robots don’t have a lot in common with the walking, talking robots
of science-fiction movies. They’re
shaped more like mini tanks or golf
carts than like humans. PackBots, for
instance, have tracked wheels to navigate rough terrain and weigh about 40
BrainGate system, which detects
thought impulses using a sensor implanted in the motor cortex of his
brain. Now, neuroscientists monitoring his progress hope he will soon be
able to use the system to control other
devices, including electric wheelchairs.
Talk to your TV!
Agile TV aims to “change the way
people watch TV” via the creation of
its voice-controlled TV remote. The
Promptu remote is designed to replace
a conventional remote control and
includes a “Talk” button and a built-in
microphone, together with an infrared
receiver used in conjunction with an
existing cable box.
3D without glasses
Toshiba plans to bring color 3D
displays to video game arcades late
next year -- and there’ll be no need to
don special goggles. The company
will market the wide-angle 3D displays for video arcades in the second
half of 2006, and extend the technology to applications including family
TVs by 2010.
Get your LCD monitor or TV now!
Material makers are limiting production as a reaction to 2004 trends,
and this could lead to a shortage later
in 2005. Glass substrates used to
manufacture large-size thin film transistor LCD panels are likely to be 8
percent to 10 percent short of demand
and the shortage of color filters used
in fifth- and sixth-generation LCD
plants is projected to be between 7
percent to 12 percent toward the end
of 2005.
Longhorn to support handwriting
and touch screens
Microsoft plans to include touch
screen functionality as a feature of the
operating system in the next version
of Windows, code-named Longhorn,
in addition to support for pen-based
input that Microsoft currently offers
in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.
Longhorn will also include a new
document format that rivals Adobe’s
PostScript and PDF. 
Paralyzed man controls his PC and
TV using thought alone
Cybernetics—the fusion of human
beings and technology—is helping
one paralyzed man control his environment by connecting his brain to his
PC. Quadriplegic ex-American football player Matthew Nagle is using a
system that converts his thoughts into
actions on a computer. Nagle’s brain
is connected to his computer by the
Windows Vista Beta Version to Be
Released August 3
The name selected for the latest
version of Windows, to succeed Windows XP, is Windows Vista, according to Brad Goldberg, general manager of Windows product development. He said the new name is aimed
at “communicating the idea of clarity.” Formal launch of Vista is scheduled for the second half of 2006.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 13
Windows: Better Safe (Mode) Than Sorry
By Gabe Goldberg, APCUG Advisor and Columnist, AARP Computers and
Technology Website
Though the Windows operating
system isn’t usually dangerous, it
includes a special “Safe Mode.” This
is a handy way to boot a PC to investigate and fix problems. You may
have read advice about when to use
this, and even how to run it. But
scarce and fragmented Safe Mode
information can make it sound more
exotic than it is.
Windows XP books’ indexes provided surprisingly few entries for
“Safe Mode.” I found the best coverage in two O’Reilly books
[www.oreilly.com], “Windows XP
Pro: The Missing Manual” and
“Windows XP Home Edition: The
Missing Manual.” Naturally, Google
found a gazillion hits. But they’re
mostly “just the facts” writeups targeting people who already know
“what” and “why” and just need
“how” information. So this article
provides background for this built-in
Windows facility.
Over the years, as it became more
powerful and reliable, Windows
grew significantly from its slender
1992-era Version 3.1 self. There’s no
free lunch; learning new tricks required more software. But that complexity gets in the way when problems occur. Just as doctors rarely
diagnose patients through heavy
winter coats, Windows needs to shed
layers to expose problems’ causes.
Safe Mode slims Windows down,
only loading and running specific
pieces needed for basic operation. So
your video display looks strange in
Safe Mode because Windows doesn’t load the monitor’s specific driver
program. This lets you recover from
problems caused by buggy drivers
you may have just installed. There
are other restrictions: you likely
can’t get online and may not be able
to print. But Safe Mode lets you perform tests, fix problems, and install/
uninstall programs.
If you think your PC may have a
virus or spyware, it’s worth installing the antidote in Safe Mode, since
some malware prevents installing
antivirus software. If installed antivirus software can’t remove a virus,
Safe Mode may let it succeed. (Some
experts recommend always running
virus/spyware scans under Windows
in Safe Mode.) If defragmenting
your hard drive [www.aarp.org/
a2004-06-16-defrag.html] never finishes, Safe Mode may remove programs that keep interrupting it. And
it lets you erase files that Windows
normally says are in use (though
only do this when you’re sure what
you’re doing).
Windows XP defines two kinds
of user accounts: “administrator” and
“limited.” An administrator can install/remove software, change settings, etc., while a limited user can
only run programs and use facilities.
Even if only one account is defined,
a secret companion called Administrator is available. Booting in Safe
Mode lets you access this account,
handy when normal accounts won’t
work for example, uninstalling software that doesn’t want to leave.
Enter Safe Mode by repeatedly
pressing F8 as your PC boots, just
after BIOS information displays;
then select Safe Mode from the options list. Leaving Safe Mode is simple—just reboot via the Start button
and your usual procedure. Windows
will return looking normal again, not
holding a grudge for being run in
diagnostic mode.
Here’s an important point: It’s
worth practicing booting into Safe
Mode when you’re relaxed and your
PC is working properly. Consider
running a PC in Safe Mode to be like
starting your car’s engine with the
hood up at a service station. It’s routine; there’s nothing alarming about
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 14
it. But just as you wouldn’t want to
open the hood for the first time
(Where ~ that latch release?) when
something is wrong with your car,
you shouldn’t first use Safe Mode
when you’re already worried about a
PC problem.
And a PS: It’s sometimes hard
picking between a dozen competing
books on a topic. A helpful technique for evaluating choices is
searching for a few topic— like Safe
Mode—in the books’ indexes and
judging them on coverage. 
This article originated on AARP’s
Computers and Technology Web
site, www.aarp.org/computers, and is
copyrighted by AARP. All rights are
reserved; it may be reproduced,
downloaded, disseminated, or transferred, for single use, or by nonprofit
organizations for educational purposes, with attribution to AARP. It
should be unchanged and this paragraph included. Please e-mail Gabe
Goldberg at [email protected]
when you use it, or for permission to
excerpt or condense.
This article was provided by the Editorial Committee of the Association
of Personal Computer User Groups.
U.S. Postal Inspection
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Visit www.usps.com/
postalinspectors/dvdorder.htm to
sign up for a free Postal Service
account to order these DVDs:
Work-at-Home Scams: They
Just Don’t Pay. Some job offers
don’t deliver. How to avoid being
Identity Crisis: Protect Your
Identity. Tips on how to protect
yourself, and what to do if a victim.
Delivering Justice: Dialing
for Dollars. Protect yourself from
phony investment opportunities.
High Noon Films: 15 minutes.
Thank You !
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group is grateful for the support
provided by the following companies:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Membership Application/Renewal*
G New
G Renewal
G Information Update
Please Print
Full Name: _____________________________ Nickname:___________
Street/PO Box: _____________________________________________
Dey, L.P.
City: ____________________ State: ____ ZIP Code: ________-_____
Phone (check preferred): G Home: (_______)________-___________
Pharmaceutical products for the treatment of
respiratory diseases and respiratory-related allergies
2751 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa 94558-6268
G Work: (_______)________-___________
E-mail (check preferred): G Home: ____________________________
G Work: ____________________________
707-224-3200 • www.dey.com
Occupation/Profession: ________________________ Retired? ______
Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e-mail lists?
News and announcements
G Yes
G No
General discussion of computer-related topics
G Yes
G No
If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e-mail address
published in the NVPCUG Directory, check the appropriate box(es):
G Do not list phone number
947 Lincoln Avenue & 1130 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 299-1000 • www.napanet.net • [email protected]
G Do not list e-mail address
Other family members in your household who want to be members:
Full Name
E-mail Address
Annual Dues:
$30.00 Regular Membership—one or more members of a singlefamily household, including any students
$20.00 Student Membership—one or more full-time student
members of a single-family household only
Make check payable to Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group.
Home of the 59-cent Color Copies
3148 Jefferson St., Napa, CA 94558
707-257-6260 • 800-550-6260 • fax: 707-257-8741
[email protected] • napa.minutemanpress.com
Mail application/renewal to: Napa Valley Personal Computer Users
Group, Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866, Napa, CA 945580286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your
dues payment may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application/Renewal form, e-mail:
[email protected]
Revised 3-9-05
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley, with offices in Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
800-869-3557 • www.wellsfargo.com
For more information about
visit our Web site:
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 15
Associate Members to Pay Dues
NVPCUG Picnic Set for August 20
By Orion E. Hill, NVPCUG President
By Dianne Prior, NVPCUG Membership Director
New NVPCUG associate members will be required to
pay dues starting August 1, 2005. The NVPCUG board
of directors has established a $10 annual membership fee
for associate members in response to increased annual
operating expenses of more than $1,000 our group has
incurred for liability insurance coverage and meeting
room rental since individual membership fees were last
adjusted. Since the insurance and room rental fee
amounts are partially based on group size, the board believes it is appropriate that associate members bear some
of the costs.
Membership fees have been based mainly on newsletter subscriptions. Since newsletters have not been mailed
(and will not be mailed) to associate members in order to
avoid duplicate mailings to households, associate members have not previously paid dues.
To cover then-current expenses, primarily newsletter
printing and mailing costs, regular member and student
member annual dues were raised to $30 and $20, respectively, early in 2002. Our group’s expenses increased
dramatically, however, when in December 2002 we began
purchasing annual liability insurance coverage at a cost of
$805 and the following February began paying annual
meeting room rental fees, which have increased to $201.
Any family member living in the same household as
an active regular member may become an associate member. Any full-time student living in the same household
as an active student member also may become an associate member. Associate members have all of the rights,
privileges, and benefits of their sponsors.
Of the NVPCUG’s 117 active members, 21 are associate members. They will not be affected by the new
dues policy until their sponsors’ memberships need to be
renewed. For all, that will not be until January 1, 2006, or
later. Members in other membership categories will not
be affected.
Although the funds derived from associate member
Dick and Sandy Peterson have
again graciously offered to host our annual potluck picnic. The location is the
Peterson Family Christmas Tree
Farm, 1120 Darms Lane, Napa. The
date is Saturday, August 20, from 1:30
p.m. Signups will be available until the
Dianne Prior
general meeting on Wednesday, August
17, but you may e-mail me before then at [email protected] telling me the member’s name, how
many people are attending, what you are bringing for the
potluck, and what you will help with as far as setup or
cleanup. Extra chairs are needed also.
The NVPCUG will provide barbecued beefsteaks and
chicken. The group will also provide nonalcoholic beverages, ice, paper plates, cups, plastic ware and napkins.
Alcoholic beverages are BYOB.
There will be games and prizes as well as time to visit
with old friends and make new ones. We hope to see you
there. The potluck picnic is always a lot of fun and the
food is great and plentiful. 
fees will only partially cover our increased operating expenses, they will reduce our reliance on income from sales,
raffles, silent auctions, and other fund-raising activities. 
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286
Address Service Requested
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2005, Page 16
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