Computer Users’ Group

May 21, 2008


Startup Options: Windows offers several ways to startup your computer if things aren’t working the way they should. They include Safe Mode with several options of what’s included, Boot Logging which logs (records) every program, process and driver that is loaded and more. To get there in windows XP, you start your computer and before anything starts, you press F8 repeatedly until you get the STARTUP OPTIONS screen. If that doesn’t work, check your users’ manual to see if a different key is required. In most instances, the instructions are listed at the bottom of the screen during the beginning of the startup process. If you miss getting it done, click on START/SHUTDOWN COMPUTER and click on RESTART and start pressing the proper key when the screen goes blank.


Safe Mode: In this mode the computer starts in minimum screen resolution (VGA mode) and no drivers loaded. When you can’t start your computer normally, you can sometimes start in Safe Mode that may let you resolve the problem of


a file was being saved or similar event. In safe mode you can often correct the problem by deleting the offending file or restoring the computer to a previous date. So remember Safe Mode when you can’t otherwise start your computer.


Boot Log: If your computer won’t start normally, it starts but has problems or you’re just curious, you can select BOOT LOG from the STARTUP OPTIONS menu and a file called NTBTLG.TXT will be created in your Windows folder showing every file that was loaded at startup. If you’re having problems, run BOOTLOG and then open the Windows folder (if you haven’t done so before you will receive a warning but go ahead and be brave). The first part of the listing will be all folders. Navigate down to find a file called NTBTLG.TXT and double click on it. It will open in notepad. At the top of the page, click on EDIT and then on FIND and then enter fail and you’ll go through the listing of every instance in which a driver or program failed to load. Note which they are and it’s often possible to re-install the driver to correct the problem. But using Windows Restore may be a better first option. If you were just curious as to what takes your computer so long to start, you now have a listing of all the heavy lifting that it does while you’re having your second cup of coffee.


Antivirus Programs: The Antivirus Bulletin is a $175 newsletter that discusses virus concerns and rates antivirus products. One of the top five is AntiVir Personal which you can get free here: http://www.free-av.com/en/products/1/avira_antivir_personal__free_antivirus.html . It found 100% of the viruses and other mal-ware it was tested against. Thanks to Windows Secrets for that information. Windows Secrets is a newsletter has a free and a paid version. It has many timely tips about running Windows and keeping your computer safe. You can get read about it here: http://windowssecrets.com/ . Fred Langa, whose writings I followed when he was the editor of Byte Magazine in the 1980s and later with Windows Magazine until it’s demise, combined his newsletter, The Langalist, into Windows Secrets a few years ago and now has decided to retire after 30 years of writing. Good luck, Fred.


ProcessScanner: Go here http://www.processlibrary.com/processscan/ and click on Instant Scan to download the ProcessScanner program that will tell you what each process running on your computer is and whether it is harmful and should be removed. After the program is installed, click on the icon to start it and then click on Start Process Scan. You have to be connected to the Internet to use this program because the information needed comes from UniBlue’s Process Library. After the scan is complete, you’ll be presented with a listing of the first 25 processes that it found. Click on each one to see what it is and what UniBlue recommends. There is an indication presented showing how safe the process is. If you have to remove an unnecessary or unsafe process, you can either delete the offending process or just keep it from running. To do the former, go to START/CONTROL PANEL and then click on ADD AND REMOVE PROGRAMS. Scroll down to the program name indicated by ProcessScanner and click on REMOVE. To just prevent the process from running, go to START/RUN and enter msconfig in the box that pops up. You’ll be presented with a listing with tabs across the top. Click the STARTUP tab and you’ll see the processes that run at startup. If the process you want to prevent from running is there, click on the box before the name to uncheck it. Whether you re-start now or not depends on whether the process you were concerned with is a serious threat. Restart if it was so as to not have it run or wait until the next time you start normally. When you do start, you’ll be reminded that you edited the Startup menu. Click the DO NOT SHOW THIS AGAIN before you close it or you’ll be pestered every time to start.


Browser Tips:

Firefox has many advantages over Internet Explorer. You can get it by clicking here and then click on Download Firefox-free: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ . You can make either Firefox or IE your default browser that will be the browser that starts when you click on a link. In Firefox you save your favorites as Bookmarks. When you come to a page that you want to return to you click on BOOKMARKS and BOOKMARK THIS PAGE or press CTRL-D and a link to the page will be saved. Once saved, a page can be identified by a keyword and that keyword can be typed into the address bar to go to that page. For instance, Pastfinders begins with “P” so we could cleverly save the Pastfinders page as a bookmark and then call it “P” and that’s all we’d have to type to go there. After you’ve bookmarked a site, click on BOOKMARKS, go down the list to find the page you want to add a keyword to and RIGHT CLICK on it. Then click on PROPERTIES and enter a letter, number or word in the KEYWORD box and click OK. Enter that keyword in the address box and click ENTER or click ALT-ENTER to open it in a new tab.


Find a site that you’d like to subscribe to such as The Orlando Sentinel. Click on the RSS Icon and you’ll get a list of all the individual sections of the paper that you can subscribe to separately. Click on the RSS Icon in a section of interest and it will ask if you want to subscribe using Live Bookmarks. Click YES and whenever that section of the paper has new information, you just click on the tab at the top of the page to read it. Any newspaper, web site or blog that has RSS can be added to make whatever you’re interested in just a click away.


Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s browser that tries to play Catchup with Firefox. It now has Tabbed Browsing that Firefox has had for a long time. You can open a new page in the window you are viewing, in a new window or in a new tab. Just clicking on a link opens it in the same window, using SHIFT-CLICK opens it a a new window and CTRL-CLICK opens it in a new tab. Note that SHIFT-CLICK starts another instance of the browser so you have two copies of IE running.


For a site in the form of www.name.com you only need to enter the site name and then CTRL-ENTER. WWW.lowes.com can be entered as lowes and then CTRL-ENTER.


Both Browsers share some shortcuts and effects. For instance, in either browser, pressing F11 will eliminate some of the Toolbars at the top of the page making more of the page you are viewing visible. Press it again to return. It’s called Kiosk Mode.


ALT-LEFT or RIGHT ARROW moves back or forward a page in both browsers, the same as clicking the left and right arrows at the top left of the browser.


Both browsers open a link in a new tab by pressing CTRL-CLICK.


And in neither browser do you need to enter the HTTP or the WWW before the site name..


What’s New at Footnote? Footnote now has close to 35 million records on line. There is a listing of those that are free but all records provide some information free; you just can’t download or print some records without paying. There’s a listing of all 363 titles and the listing indicates how much of the category has been completed. Many of the newer records are Confederate Soldiers listed by state. This link will take you to that list. http://www.footnote.com/documents.php

In addition, Footnote and FamilySearch have announced an agreement to share some resources:


FamilySearch Teams with Footnote.com to Publish Historic Civil War Era Records

14 May 2008

1860 U.S. Census and Civil War Pensions Index are first projects

You can read more about the program by going here http://www.familysearch.org/ and clicking on Civil War Records unter News and Events.


What’s New at Origins Network? Origins network provides online records for England, Ireland and Scotland. You can subscribe to either England or Ireland or to both. Scotland is free. Subscription can be for 72 hours, a month or a year. Get all of your records and spring for the 72 hour and see what you get. Check out this site first to see what records are available and you can navigate about the site from there. http://www.originsnetwork.com/news.aspx


What’s New at New England Historic Genealogical Society? The Society has completely revamped it’s web site. It has a huge collection of New England Records and also of New York. This will take you to the main page http://www.newenglandancestors.org/default.asp . You can see what records are available but cannot access them unless you are a member except for the Social Security Death Index. You can sign up for the free newsletter to stay abreast of what’s going on.