10 reasons why PCs crash U must Know

Fatal error: the system has become unstable or is busy,” it says. “Enter to return to Windows or press Control-Alt-Delete to restart your computer. If you do this you will lose any unsaved information in all open applications.”

You have just been struck by the Blue Screen of Death. Anyone who uses Mcft Windows will be familiar with this. What can you do? More importantly, how can you prevent it happening?

1 Hardware conflict

The number one reason why Windows crashes is hardware conflict. Each hardware device communicates to other devices through an interrupt request channel (IRQ). These are supposed to be unique for each device.

For example, a printer usually connects internally on IRQ 7. The keyboard usually uses IRQ 1 and the floppy disk drive IRQ 6. Each device will try to hog a single IRQ for itself.

If there are a lot of devices, or if they are not installed properly, two of them may end up sharing the same IRQ number. When the user tries to use both devices at the same time, a crash can happen. The way to check if your computer has a hardware conflict is through the following route:

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager.

Often if a device has a problem a yellow ‘!’ appears next to its description in the Device Manager. Highlight Computer (in the Device Manager) and press Properties to see the IRQ numbers used by your computer. If the IRQ number appears twice, two devices may be using it.

Sometimes a device might share an IRQ with something described as ‘IRQ holder for PCI steering’. This can be ignored. The best way to fix this problem is to remove the problem device and reinstall it.

Sometimes you may have to find more recent drivers on the internet to make the device function properly. A good resource is www.driverguide.com. If the device is a soundcard, or a modem, it can often be fixed by moving it to a different slot on the motherboard (be careful about opening your computer, as you may void the warranty).

When working inside a computer you should switch it off, unplug the mains lead and touch an unpainted metal surface to discharge any static electricity.

To be fair to Mcft, the problem with IRQ numbers is not of its making. It is a legacy problem going back to the first PC designs using the IBM 8086 chip. Initially there were only eight IRQs. Today there are 16 IRQs in a PC. It is easy to run out of them. There are plans to increase the number of IRQs in future designs.

2 Bad Ram

Ram (random-access memory) problems might bring on the blue screen of death with a message saying Fatal Exception Error. A fatal error indicates a serious hardware problem. Sometimes it may mean a part is damaged and will need replacing.

But a fatal error caused by Ram might be caused by a mismatch of chips. For example, mixing 70-nanosecond (70ns) Ram with 60ns Ram will usually force the computer to run all the Ram at the slower speed. This will often crash the machine if the Ram is overworked.

One way around this problem is to enter the BIOS settings and increase the wait state of the Ram. This can make it more stable. Another way to troubleshoot a suspected Ram problem is to rearrange the Ram chips on the motherboard, or take some of them out. Then try to repeat the circumstances that caused the crash. When handling Ram try not to touch the gold connections, as they can be easily damaged.

Parity error messages also refer to Ram. Modern Ram chips are either parity (ECC) or non parity (non-ECC). It is best not to mix the two types, as this can be a cause of trouble.

EMM386 error messages refer to memory problems but may not be connected to bad Ram. This may be due to free memory problems often linked to old Dos-based programmes.

3 BIOS settings

Every motherboard is supplied with a range of chipset settings that are decided in the factory. A common way to access these settings is to press the F2 or delete button during the first few seconds of a boot-up.

Once inside the BIOS, great care should be taken. It is a good idea to write down on a piece of paper all the settings that appear on the screen. That way, if you change something and the computer becomes more unstable, you will know what settings to revert to.

A common BIOS error concerns the CAS latency. This refers to the Ram. Older EDO (extended data out) Ram has a CAS latency of 3. Newer SDRam has a CAS latency of 2. Setting the wrong figure can cause the Ram to lock up and freeze the computer’s display.

Mcft Windows is better at allocating IRQ numbers than any BIOS. If possible set the IRQ numbers to Auto in the BIOS. This will allow Windows to allocate the IRQ numbers (make sure the BIOS setting for Plug and Play OS is switched to ‘yes’ to allow Windows to do this.).

4 Hard disk drives

After a few weeks, the information on a hard disk drive starts to become piecemeal or fragmented. It is a good idea to defragment the hard disk every week or so, to prevent the disk from causing a screen freeze. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Defragmenter

This will start the procedure. You will be unable to write data to the hard drive (to save it) while the disk is defragmenting, so it is a good idea to schedule the procedure for a period of inactivity using the Task Scheduler.

The Task Scheduler should be one of the small icons on the bottom right of the Windows opening page (the desktop).

Some lockups and screen freezes caused by hard disk problems can be solved by reducing the read-ahead optimisation. This can be adjusted by going to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System Icon-Performance-File System-Hard Disk.

Hard disks will slow down and crash if they are too full. Do some housekeeping on your hard drive every few months and free some space on it. Open the Windows folder on the C drive and find the Temporary Internet Files folder. Deleting the contents (not the folder) can free a lot of space.

Empty the Recycle Bin every week to free more space. Hard disk drives should be scanned every week for errors or bad sectors. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-ScanDisk

Otherwise assign the Task Scheduler to perform this operation at night when the computer is not in use.

5 Fatal OE exceptions and VXD errors

Fatal OE exception errors and VXD errors are often caused by video card problems.

These can often be resolved easily by reducing the resolution of the video display. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Display-Settings

Here you should slide the screen area bar to the left. Take a look at the colour settings on the left of that window. For most desktops, high colour 16-bit depth is adequate.

If the screen freezes or you experience system lockups it might be due to the video card. Make sure it does not have a hardware conflict. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager

Here, select the + beside Display Adapter. A line of text describing your video card should appear. Select it (make it blue) and press properties. Then select Resources and select each line in the window. Look for a message that says No Conflicts.

If you have video card hardware conflict, you will see it here. Be careful at this point and make a note of everything you do in case you make things worse.

The way to resolve a hardware conflict is to uncheck the Use Automatic Settings box and hit the Change Settings button. You are searching for a setting that will display a No Conflicts message.

Another useful way to resolve video problems is to go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Performance-Graphics

Here you should move the Hardware Acceleration slider to the left. As ever, the most common cause of problems relating to graphics cards is old or faulty drivers (a driver is a small piece of software used by a computer to communicate with a device).

Look up your video card’s manufacturer on the internet and search for the most recent drivers for it.

6 Viruses

Often the first sign of a virus infection is instability. Some viruses erase the boot sector of a hard drive, making it impossible to start. This is why it is a good idea to create a Windows start-up disk. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Add/Remove Programs

Here, look for the Start Up Disk tab. Virus protection requires constant vigilance.

A virus scanner requires a list of virus signatures in order to be able to identify viruses. These signatures are stored in a DAT file. DAT files should be updated weekly from the website of your antivirus software manufacturer.

An excellent antivirus programme is McAfee VirusScan by Network Associates ( www.nai.com). Another is Norton AntiVirus 2000, made by Symantec ( www.symantec.com).

7 Printers

The action of sending a document to print creates a bigger file, often called a postscript file.

Printers have only a small amount of memory, called a buffer. This can be easily overloaded. Printing a document also uses a considerable amount of CPU power. This will also slow down the computer’s performance.

If the printer is trying to print unusual characters, these might not be recognised, and can crash the computer. Sometimes printers will not recover from a crash because of confusion in the buffer. A good way to clear the buffer is to unplug the printer for ten seconds. Booting up from a powerless state, also called a cold boot, will restore the printer’s default settings and you may be able to carry on.

8 Software

A common cause of computer crash is faulty or badly-installed software. Often the problem can be cured by uninstalling the software and then reinstalling it. Use Norton Uninstall or Uninstall Shield to remove an application from your system properly. This will also remove references to the programme in the System Registry and leaves the way clear for a completely fresh copy.

The System Registry can be corrupted by old references to obsolete software that you thought was uninstalled. Use Reg Cleaner by Jouni Vuorio to clean up the System Registry and remove obsolete entries. It works on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE (Second Edition), Windows Millennium Edition (ME), NT4 and Windows 2000.

Read the instructions and use it carefully so you don’t do permanent damage to the Registry. If the Registry is damaged you will have to reinstall your operating system. Reg Cleaner can be obtained from www.jv16.org

Often a Windows problem can be resolved by entering Safe Mode. This can be done during start-up. When you see the message “Starting Windows” press F4. This should take you into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode loads a minimum of drivers. It allows you to find and fix problems that prevent Windows from loading properly.

Sometimes installing Windows is difficult because of unsuitable BIOS settings. If you keep getting SUWIN error messages (Windows setup) during the Windows installation, then try entering the BIOS and disabling the CPU internal cache. Try to disable the Level 2 (L2) cache if that doesn’t work.

Remember to restore all the BIOS settings back to their former settings following installation.

9 Overheating

Central processing units (CPUs) are usually equipped with fans to keep them cool. If the fan fails or if the CPU gets old it may start to overheat and generate a particular kind of error called a kernel error. This is a common problem in chips that have been overclocked to operate at higher speeds than they are supposed to.

One remedy is to get a bigger better fan and install it on top of the CPU. Specialist cooling fans/heatsinks are available from www.computernerd.com or www.coolit.com

CPU problems can often be fixed by disabling the CPU internal cache in the BIOS. This will make the machine run more slowly, but it should also be more stable.

10 Power supply problems

With all the new construction going on around the country the steady supply of electricity has become disrupted. A power surge or spike can crash a computer as easily as a power cut.

If this has become a nuisance for you then consider buying a uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This will give you a clean power supply when there is electricity, and it will give you a few minutes to perform a controlled shutdown in case of a power cut.

It is a good investment if your data are critical, because a power cut will cause any unsaved data to be lost.

How To Clear BIOS Information

READ EVEYTHING BEFORE YOU USE ANY METHOD LISTED BELOW

Basic BIOS password crack – works 9.9 times out of ten
This is a password hack but it clears the BIOS such that the next time you start the PC, the CMOS does not ask for any password. Now if you are able to bring the DOS prompt up, then you will be able to change the BIOS setting to the default. To clear the CMOS do the following:
Get DOS prompt and type:
DEBUG hit enter
-o 70 2e hit enter
-o 71 ff hit enter
-q hit enter
exit hit enter
Restart the computer. It works on most versions of the AWARD BIOS.

Accessing information on the hard disk
When you turn on the host machine, enter the CMOS setup menu (usually you have to press F2, or DEL, or CTRL+ALT+S during the boot sequence) and go to STANDARD CMOS SETUP, and set the channel to which you have put the hard disk as TYPE=Auto, MODE=AUTO, then SAVE & EXIT SETUP. Now you have access to the hard disk.

Standard BIOS backdoor passwords
The first, less invasive, attempt to bypass a BIOS password is to try on of these standard manufacturer’s backdoor passwords:
AWARD BIOS
AWARD SW, AWARD_SW, Award SW, AWARD PW, _award, awkward, J64, j256, j262, j332, j322, 01322222, 589589, 589721, 595595, 598598, HLT, SER, SKY_FOX, aLLy, aLLY, Condo, CONCAT, TTPTHA, aPAf, HLT, KDD, ZBAAACA, ZAAADA, ZJAAADC, djonet, %????? ?p??????%, %?????? ?p??????%
AMI BIOS
AMI, A.M.I., AMI SW, AMI_SW, BIOS, PASSWORD, HEWITT RAND, Oder
Other passwords you may try (for AMI/AWARD or other BIOSes)
LKWPETER, lkwpeter, BIOSTAR, biostar, BIOSSTAR, biosstar, ALFAROME, Syxz, Wodj
Note that the key associated to “_” in the US keyboard corresponds to “?” in some European keyboards (such as Italian and German ones), so — for example — you should type AWARD?SW when using those keyboards. Also remember that passwords are Case Sensitive. The last two passwords in the AWARD BIOS list are in Russian.

Flashing BIOS via software
If you have access to the computer when it’s turned on, you could try one of those programs that remove the password from the BIOS, by invalidating its memory.
However, it might happen you don’t have one of those programs when you have access to the computer, so you’d better learn how to do manually what they do. You can reset the BIOS to its default values using the MS-DOS tool DEBUG (type DEBUG at the command prompt. You’d better do it in pure MS-DOS mode, not from a MS-DOS shell window in Windows). Once you are in the debug environment enter the following commands:
AMI/AWARD BIOS
O 70 17
O 71 17
Q
PHOENIX BIOS
O 70 FF
O 71 17
Q
GENERIC
Invalidates CMOS RAM.
Should work on all AT motherboards
(XT motherboards don’t have CMOS)
O 70 2E

Gmail Storage Drive

GMail Drive is a Shell Namespace Extension that creates a virtual filesystem around your Google GMail account, allowing you to use GMail as a storage medium. GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your GMail account directly from inside Windows Explorer. GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag’n’drop files to. GMail Drive is a Shell Namespace Extension that creates a virtual filesystem around your Google GMail account, allowing you to use GMail as a storage medium. GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your GMail account directly from inside Windows Explorer. GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag’n’drop files to.

For free download click here:- Click Here

Vulnerability Assessment


Basic Terms:

Vulnerability: Drawback of a system through which hackers intrude in a network and get space to try attacks on administrators. Vulnerability is also known as Security Hole.

Exploit: By taking advantage of the vulnerabilities when the attack is performed is called as exploit of the vulnerability. There can be different exploit for the same vulnerability.

Scenarios When Vulnerability Assessment is Performed:

          Now Vulnerability assessment test is the initial test of any network for security.

          The test is done when priority of work is very low.

          Also at the initial set up of the network test is performed.

          Before carrying out a penetration test also vulnerability assessment is done.

          Performing the test consist of :

          Gathering basic information about configuration of the subjected network.

          Dividing the network according to priorities.

          This test is performed by automated scanners.

          Web vulnerability scanners, network vulnerability scanners are the basic types.

Finalization of Assessment:

When we perform such tests the software suggests us where the drawbacks are and where security can be increased. It also suggests the ways to secure them. But it only detects common vulnerabilities not the one that exists uniquely and that are minimized by penetration tests.

Now the results of all assessment on various parts of network brought together.

They are analyzed and corresponding security majors are taken to remove such drawbacks.

After securing them, assessments are repeated again and again to ensure the maximum security.

Vulnerability assessment is always a better tests than any other as it is econmomical and experts are not needed for such tests. But still it is not used on  networks where sensitive databases are stored.

How To Crack BIOS Passwords

 

Many BIOS manufacturers have provided backdoor passwords that can be used to access the BIOS setup in the event you have lost your password. These passwords are case sensitive, so you may wish to try a variety of combinations. Keep in mind that the key associated to “_” in the US keyboard corresponds to “?” in some European keyboards. Laptops typically have better BIOS security than desktop systems, and we are not aware of any backdoor passwords that will work with name brand laptops.

 

WARNING: Some BIOS configurations will lock you out of the system completely if you type in an incorrect password more than 3 times. Read your manufacturers documentation for the BIOS setting before you begin typing in passwords

 

Award BIOS backdoor passwords:

 

ALFAROME ALLy aLLy aLLY ALLY aPAf _award AWARD_SW AWARD?SW AWARD SW AWARD PW AWKWARD awkward BIOSTAR CONCAT CONDO Condo d8on djonet HLT J64 J256 J262 j332 j322 KDD Lkwpeter LKWPETER PINT pint SER SKY_FOX SYXZ syxz shift + syxz TTPTHA ZAAADA ZBAAACA ZJAAADC 01322222

589589 589721 595595 598598

 

AMI BIOS backdoor passwords:

 

AMI AAAMMMIII BIOS PASSWORD HEWITT RAND AMI?SW AMI_SW LKWPETER A.M.I. CONDO

 

PHOENIX BIOS backdoor passwords:

 

phoenix, PHOENIX, CMOS, BIOS

 

MISC. COMMON PASSWORDS

 

ALFAROME BIOSTAR biostar biosstar CMOS cmos LKWPETER lkwpeter setup SETUP Syxz Wodj

 

OTHER BIOS PASSWORDS BY MANUFACTURER

 

Manufacturer Password

VOBIS & IBM merlin

Dell Dell

Biostar Biostar

Compaq Compaq

Enox xo11nE

Epox central

Freetech Posterie

IWill iwill

Jetway spooml

Packard Bell bell9

QDI QDI

Siemens SKY_FOX

TMC BIGO

Toshiba Toshiba

 

TOSHIBA BIOS

 

Most Toshiba laptops and some desktop systems will bypass the BIOS password if the left shift key is held down during boot

 

IBM APTIVA BIOS

 

Press both mouse buttons repeatedly during the boot

Disclaimer: This tutorial is for educational purpose only and we do not take any responsibility for its criminal use.

 

Hiding Your Computer on the Internet

When you use internet, you are connected to millions of PC’s out there. And each PC have its own unique address known as Static IP Address. This gives your identification by locality.

Without a firewall, on a typical computer, even if well maintained, a remote person will still be able to know that the communication effort has reached some computer, and perhaps some information about the operating system on that computer. If that computer is handled well, the remote user will not be able to get much more information from your computer, but might still be able to identify also who your ISP is, and might decide to invest further time in cracking into your computer.
With a firewall, you can set the firewall so that any communication effort from remote users (in the better firewalls you may define an exception list) will not be responded at all. This way the remote user will not be able to even know that it reached a live computer. This might discourage the remote attacker from investing further time in effort to crack into your computer.

Again there is one more security confirmation you can do is running is  operating behind proxies. It is the safest method but sometimes all web pages can not be surfed So selecting a firewall can be a good idea.

Amol Wagh

 

 

 

How to Block Pop-Ups and Banner Ads

 

Follow The steps to block Pop up banners by changing settings in Internet Explorer.

 

1) Go to TOOLS and then INTERNET OPTIONS.

 

2) Click the SECURITY tab, move the slider up to HIGH and click APPLY.

 

This applies the highest security settings to IE, which blocks EVERYTHING, including JavaScript, Applets, and so on that pop-ups are based upon.

 

The catch is this… Some places like online banks and other web sites need these functions to work properly… So you’ll need to re-enable one important thing…

 

1) Go to TOOLS and then INTERNET OPTIONS.

 

2) Click the SECURITY tab, CUSTOM LEVEL, scroll down to SCRIPTING, and under ACTIVE SCRIPTING, select the ENABLE radio button.

 

3) Click APPLY and you’re done!

 

For other Browses Use Change Preferences and do the same settings.

You can also block Pop-Ups by using any firewall by choosing firewall settings for pop ups.

 

 

How To Convert File System,FAT – FAT32 to NTFS


Open a dos prompt and type the command

 

convert d: /fs:NTFS

 

This command would convert your d: drive to NTFS

 

If the system cannot lock the drive, you will be prompted to convert it during next reboot.

 

Normally you should select yes.

 

Conversion from fat/fat32 to NTFS is non-destructive, your data on the drive will NOT be lost.

 

Be aware that converting to NTFS will make that partition of your

Drive unreadable under dos unless you have NTFS utilities to do so.

Make Your Windows 98/XP/Vista to Boot Fatser

1. Open notepad.exe, type “del c:windowsprefetch tosboot-*.* /q” (without the quotes) & save as “ntosboot.bat” in c:
2. From the Start menu, select “Run…” & type “gpedit.msc”.
3. Double click “Windows Settings” under “Computer Configuration” and double click again on “Shutdown” in the right window.
4. In the new window, click “add”, “Browse”, locate your “ntosboot.bat” file & click “Open”.
5. Click “OK”, “Apply” & “OK” once again to exit.
6. From the Start menu, select “Run…” & type “devmgmt.msc”.
7. Double click on “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers”
8. Right click on “Primary IDE Channel” and select “Properties”.
9. Select the “Advanced Settings” tab then on the device 0 or 1 that doesn’t have ‘device type’ greyed out select ‘none’ instead of ‘autodetect’ & click “OK”.
10. Right click on “Secondary IDE channel”, select “Properties” and repeat step 9.
11. Reboot your computer.

Chunk 1: The Concept of Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking Series : Chunk 1

Ethical hacking basically means preventing criminal hackers from stealing information of any personal computer r corporate network.

Ethical hackers use same technology – software and tool that criminal hackers uses. But they use them for preventing crimes.

Penetration testing and vulnerability assessing are the basic types of test ethical hackers perform so as to check the drawback in the systems. These drawbacks (or weak part) of the system are termed as Vulnerability or a security hole. Vulnerabilities can be in program or network or the hardware. Physical and technical are basic classification of vulnerabilities.

There are general vulnerabilities in system or programs. Like windows XP or OS X have some known vulnerabilities. By exploiting those vulnerabilities crackers generally try to intrude the system. They first comes the network(LAN or WAN) of the victim company . And from that they try to access the databases of company which have very sensitive data.

Eavesdroppers also sniff the data packets from communication lines to get the more information. They come to Network by Passive Information Gathering which is the first stage of attack.

Ethical hackers usually take tests to find the severe vulnerabilities in network and then they shield it by various methods.

We’ll concentrate on these tests and securing methods in next chunks of the series. ( Includes White Box, Black Box test , Penetration and vulnerability assessments.)

So Watch out for our next post.