Archive for May, 2010

Another cool app – Predator

Jing, skype, nero lite are all cool apps. Highly recommended for their specific tasks/functions.

You should also try out Predator – a freeware utility which turns any USB flash drive into a key, with which you can lock & unlock your Windows computer.

Predator locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened. It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:

– You insert the USB drive
– You run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)
– You do your work.
– When you’re away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive: Once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens
– When you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place: Keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.

Read “Running PREDATOR for the first time” http://www.montpellier-informatique.com/predator/en/index.php?n=Main.FirstRun to learn how to initialize your USB flash drive.

Read the user’s guide http://www.montpellier-informatique.com/predator/en/index.php?n=Main.Utiliser to learn how to use this software.

It’s easier and faster than closing your Windows session, since you do not have to retype your password when you return.

The free version offers the following features:

– Monitoring options
– Alarm options
– Password options
– Language selection
– AutoStart with Windows
– Check for updates
– Enable pause

Supported Operating Systems:
* Windows XP SP3
* Windows Server 2003
* Windows Server 2008
* Windows Vista
* Windows 7

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Using Problems Steps Recorder to get help from your IT department without them having to see your screen.

Problem Steps Recorder lets you capture screenshots and add comments to create a visual record of the issue you’re having. You can then save the steps in a file and send it to your IT department.

Note: You maybe prompted to run the Recorder with Administrative priviledges

Here’s how:

1. Click Start and type Problem Record in the search bar

2. Select Record steps to reproduce a problem

3. Click Start Record, then proceed through the steps to recreate the issue you’re having

4. If you want to add any text to support the screenshots, use the Comment feature to save it into the file

5. Click Stop Record when you have the information

6. In the Save as dialog box that appears, type a file name, then click Save. The file will be saved with a .zip file extension, which you can email to your IT department.

Security Advisory 2028859 Released(Windows 7 64-bit Security Advisory)

Microsoft has released a security advisory about a publicly revealed security vulnerability that is affecting 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as Windows Server 2008 R2. The vulnerability was discovered in the Windows Canonical Display Driver (cdd.dll) which is “used by desktop composition to blend the Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI) and DirectX drawing”.

Remote code execution is possible in theory but unlikely according to Jerry Bryant who wrote the blog post informing Microsoft users about the Security Advisory.

The most likely impact is that affected systems will stop responding and restart.

The security advisory http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/2028859.mspx itself gives information about mitigating factors and suggested actions.

The easiest option to block the attack until a security patch is released is to disable the Windows Aero theme in the operating system.

To disable Windows Aero by changing the theme, perform the following steps for each user on a system:

1. Click Start, select the Control Panel, and then click on Appearance and Personalization.

2.Under the Personalization category, click on Change the Theme.

3.Scroll to the bottom of the listed themes and select one of the available Basic and High Contrast Themes.

Using the Group Policy Management Console:

To disable Windows Aero by switching to the default setting through group policy, perform the following steps:

1. Open the Group Policy Management Console and configure the console to work with the appropriate Group Policy object, such as, local machine, OU, or domain GPO.

2. Navigate to the following node:
User Configuration – Policies – Administrative Templates – Control Panel – Personalization

3. Double-click Force a specific visual style file or force Windows Classic.

4. Change the setting to Enabled and ensure that the Path to Visual Style text box is blank.

5.Click Apply and click OK to return to the Group Policy Management Console.

6. Refresh the Group Policy on all systems or wait for the next scheduled Group Policy refresh interval for the settings to take effect.

It is expected that Microsoft will release a security patch soon.

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