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Archives for : January2009

Encumbered in Services and Processes

For as long as I can remember, every version of Windows has enabled me to see what processes are running, except maybe Windows 3.11. As I continued to use Windows over the years, Control + Alt + Delete evolved into a useful tool, executing taskmgr.exe, showing more than the simple “Close Program” dialog box of the Windows 98 era. It became easy to identify what services were necessary (by simply running services.msc and checking what was set to Automatic, Manual or Disabled) and what processes shipped with Windows and what were running as after-market installations.

Essentially, I memorized what processes are “supposed” to be running, what are necessary and what are not. For example, I usually terminate qttask.exe because it isn’t absolutely necessary and it just takes up CPU threads that could be doing something else. Identifying what processes are supposed to be running is of deep-rooted importance to me because it gives me a sense of security of the system I am running. Aside from rootkits using advanced virtualization-style hijacking (permenant archive) techniques, identifying the processes enables me to know whether the system is compromised at-a-glance.

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PC ER: How-To Recover Data from a Damaged SD Card

Situation:

2GB SD card no longer registers as ‘visible’ to the digital camera and is barely readable within the Vista OS.

Potential Loss:

~1.5GB worth of photos and videos of Hong Kong.

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Why Yahoo Mail is Still an Epic Catastrophe

Someone in my family, with good intentions I’m sure, decided to give my dear grandmother a free Yahoo Mail account to replace her digit-ridden CompuServe e-mail address. I felt compelled to write this because as I was over at her house, she informed me that she hadn’t touched the computer in two weeks and for me to “clean out the junk.” I went ahead and logged into her e-mail and was shocked to see that her inbox had well over 2,000 messages! I knew that my grandmother likely didn’t have more than 10 or 20 real messages in there, but thanks to Yahoo’s brilliant SPAM detecting algorithm, I’d never know. I began sifting through the messages, deleting 25 at a time. After the tenth or eleventh page, I grew weary of looking at all of the SPAM that Yahoo failed to capture and decided enough was enough. Grandma was gettin’ Gmail (spam chart).

Below is a screenshot of my Grandmother’s old computer, a Windows98 system running Internet Explorer 5. Click to see the full sized screenshot. Evidently, Yahoo thinks that only 75 out of the 2,000+ messages are SPAM.

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