Installing OS X Lion

OS X Lion was released earlier today and for the first time ever Apple has released an operating system as an App Store only download. OS X Lion costs only $29.99 and has already received plenty of positive reviews. Apple may be releasing OS X Lion on USB memory sticks later on, analysts have speculated that the cost will be $69.99. This guide will take you through the OS X Lion installation process.

OS X Lion Pre-installation Checklist

Verify that your applications are compatible with OS X Lion – Since Apple is eliminating support for Rosetta in OS X Lion, the software component that allows Power PC apps to run on Intel Macs, you must be certain that your applications are written as either a Universal Binary or Intel only. You can determine application compatibility by right clicking on an application icon and then left clicking on get info. Look for Kind: under the General: heading. Your application type will be listed in parenthesis.

Make sure that your Mac can run OS X Lion – Your Mac must have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon Processor to run OS X Lion. I would also recommend that you have at least 4 GB of RAM. To determine your processor type and the amount of installed RAM on your Mac simply left click on the Apple icon on the top left corner of your screen and then click on About this Mac.

Perform a final Time Machine backup before upgrading to OS X  Lion – Things can go wrong during operating system installations even on Macs. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s very easy to initiate a manual Time Machine backup. Left click on the Time Machine icon and click backup now.

Installing OS X Lion

As previously stated, as of this writing OS X Lion can only be installed via the App Store. To download and install OS X Lion, all you need to do is open up the App Store and click on OS X Lion, which at least for today is featured at the top of the App Store screen.

It took about an hour for OS X Lion to download onto my Mac. After the download completes, you’ll notice an Install OS X Lion icon on your dock. Click the icon to begin the OS X Lion installation process.

As OS X Lion begins to install, you’ll be asked some very basic questions and you’ll be prompted to accept the EULA. You’ll also be asked to enter your password in order to allow OS X Lion to be installed on your Mac’s hard drive.

Your Mac will reboot and you’ll be brought to a screen labeled Install Mac OS X. There’s nothing to do at this point except sit back and wait while OS X Lion is installed on your Mac’s hard drive. The OS X The actual OS X Lion installation only took about half an hour to complete.

Your Mac will reboot after the OS X Lion installation has completed at which point you’ll be presented with the logon screen. Logon to your Mac, fill out the registration form, and you can now begin using OS X Lion.

Dell Dimension B110 Windows 7 Video Driver

Although it is true that there isn’t a Windows 7 video driver available for the Dell Dimension B110 it is still possible to force the integrated Intel i865GV video card to work properly by making a simple adjustment to the Dimension B110’s BIOS.

Dell Dimension B110 Windows 7 Driver

1. Turn on the computer and press F2 to enter the BIOS.

2. Scroll down to Integrated Devices (LegacySelect Options) using the arrow keys and press enter.

3. Now scroll down to Onboard Video Buffer and use the arrow keys to change this setting from 1 MB to 8 MB.

4. Press Esc until you are prompted to Save Changes And Exit, press enter to exit the BIOS.

5. Windows 7 will boot as normal only you will now be able to set your Dell Dimension B110’s screen resolution to 1024 x 768 with 16 bit color by right clicking on the Windows 7 Desktop and left clicking on Screen resolution. Select 1024 x 768 and click on Apply.

The issue at hand here is that the Dell Dimension B110 shipped with the older, and now unsupported Intel 865GV integrated graphics controller. Simply allocating more memory to the video buffer allows for the Dimension B110’s integrated graphics card to work properly on Windows 7 albeit as a standard VGA adapter. You won’t be able to use any of the Aero graphics themes, but Windows 7 will still run very well on your Dell Dimension B110.

Dell Dimension B110 Memory Upgrade

As an aside, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that your Dell Dimension B110 can support up to 2 GB of RAM. I would highly recommend this upgrade as you’ll find that Windows 7 will perform much better on your Dimension B110 after a memory upgrade. You can purchase RAM for your Dimension B110 directly from Amazon.

How To Test Bad Ram

The other day, I was given the opportunity to repair a computer that nobody else was able to fix. In fact, I was even told that another computer repair company spent almost two days diagnosing the computer and was unable to correct the issue. To make a long story short, and without bragging of course, I was able to fix the computer in about 15 minutes. The problem with this particular computer was that it had a faulty memory module installed. Bad RAM is becoming more and more a common problem due to the fact that RAM is an inexpensive and mass produced piece of computer hardware. Since bad RAM can cause any number of problems with a computer, I thought that I would write a guide about how to test bad RAM for both the Mac and the PC.

Symptoms Of Bad RAM

Nowadays, most people associate strange and random computer problems with virus and spyware infections. And actually, in most scenarios I do in fact agree with this diagnosis. So if your computer is crashing at random or running slowly then I do recommend that you run a spyware removal scan on your computer as the first step in your troubleshooting process. We have a free spyware removal guide to help you with that.

If the computer continues to crash randomly after the spyware removal scan then you should test for bad RAM. The computer that I had recently worked on for example would continue to crash at WIN32K.SYS with a STOP 0x7e (0x0000007e) blue screen of death. Also, Firefox would crash immediately after it was opened. So in summary, when you are troubleshooting bad RAM you want to be on the lookout for the following symptoms;

  • Sluggish computer performance
  • Random blue screens of death
  • Programs that crash every single time that you perform a particular action
  • Beeps when the computer POST’s
  • Crashes during the Windows setup process

How To Test Bad RAM On A Windows PC

To test for bad RAM on a PC running Microsoft Windows you need to download a free memory testing program called Memtest86 and burn it to a CD. This process will vary based upon your CD burning software, but should be fairly straight forward. You can download Memtest86 here.

After you’ve created the Memtest86 CD, simply insert it into your computer’s DVD or CD drive and boot your computer from CD. This step will vary depending on your computer manufacturer, just look for an option labeled something like “Boot Options” when you first turn on your PC. Pictured below is a computer in which Memtest 86 detected bad RAM.

Test Bad RAM With Memtest86

If Memtest86 does in fact detect bad RAM on your computer you can either attempt to replace the bad memory module by yourself, or you’ll at least have accurate information with which you can present to your local computer repair shop which should reduce the overall repair cost. I will say however that replacing RAM is very easy and very inexpensive. In fact, most computer manufacturers consider this a user serviceable repair and will most likely have instructions on their website regarding how to replace defective RAM for your particular computer model.

I should also mention that Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a built in Memory Diagnostics tool that can be accessed by pressing the F8 key just after you first turn on your computer. You can use the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool to test bad RAM, I just happen to prefer using Memtest86 as it’s an older and more established RAM testing software package.

How To Test Bad RAM On A Mac

Mac’s are also susceptible to problems caused by bad RAM. If you are experiencing issues such as problems waking from sleep, random kernel panics, sluggish performance, or corrupted files on your Mac then there is a good chance that your Mac’s memory is faulty. To test bad RAM on a Mac simply do the following;

1. With your Mac turned on, insert your OS X operating system disc into your Mac’s optical drive and reboot the computer.

2. Press and hold the ‘D’ key before the gray startup screen is presented. The hardware test will be automatically initialized and you will see a computer with a memory chip on your screen as this occurs.

3. Place a check in the box next to “Perform extended testing” and click the test button to begin testing for bad RAM on your Mac. The hardware test will inform you if your Mac’s memory is faulty after the test has completed.

Some Mac’s have user replaceable memory in which case you could replace the RAM by yourself should the Apple Hardware Test determine that your Mac has bad RAM. If you are not comfortable installing RAM on your Mac then you may want to bring it to your local Apple Store.

How To Sell Baseball Cards On eBay

I have had tremendous luck in the past with selling baseball cards on eBay and thought that I would share a few pointers with you. It’s up to you to decide whether you plan on selling older, and potentially more valuable cards on eBay, or if you plan on getting into buying and “flipping” newly released cards. Regardless, this free guide will show you how to sell baseball cards on eBay the right way.

1. Determine The Value Of Your Baseball Cards

It is critical for you to know the value of the baseball cards that you are trying to sell BEFORE you list them on eBay. To determine the value of your baseball cards you should checkout the Beckett online price guides, card collecting sites such as The Cardboard Connection, and eBay itself.

2. Take Good Scans Or Photographs Of Your Baseball Cards

Before you can sell your baseball cards on eBay, it is important that you have an excellent scan or photograph of your baseball cards in order for you to accurately portray the condition of the card to your perspective buyers. I prefer to scan my baseball cards on my flatbed scanner because my scanner does an excellent job of preserving the card’s colors, and because I can scan multiple cards at once. Before scanning your cards be sure to place them in a penny sleeve and top loader in order to protect the card. If you have an extremely valuable card then you may choose to not scan the card at all and photograph it instead. For this I recommend using a miniature light tent such as the one pictured below.

3. List Your Baseball Cards On eBay And Provide Honest, Accurate Descriptions

When selling your baseball cards on eBay be sure to provide an honest and accurate description of the card that you are trying to sell. Also, be sure to take advantage of the Item Specifics options when you go to sell your baseball cards on eBay. This handy features allows you to specify things such as the condition, originality, type (insert, parallel, etc,) year, manufacturer, and other pertinent information that your perspective buyer might want to know about the baseball card that you are selling on eBay.

When I sell my baseball cards on eBay I always set my starting price at .99 cents with no reserve price. I typically do not offer Buy It Now and I always have my auctions begin and end on a Sunday. It’s entirely up to you how you price your baseball cards that you are going to sell on eBay, I’m just telling you what my preferences are! Also, don’t waste money on any additional eBay listing enhancements such as the subtitle or bold option unless you have an incredibly valuable card. For .35 cents however, the Gallery Plus option might be a wise investment if you are trying to sell a baseball card on eBay that is somewhat valuable.

I ship single cards for $2.75 per card and I offer to combine shipping for this price for up to 5 cards. The next section talks about how to ship your baseball cards in greater detail.

4. Ship Your Baseball Cards To Your Buyer

Be sure to take the time to properly package your baseball cards so that they do not get damaged during shipping. I take a single card, place it in a penny sleeve (also called a soft sleeve) and then insert the card into a top loader. Then, I take a small piece of Scotch Tape and seal the top loader so that the card cannot slip out during shipping. Lastly, I package the card in a #000 4×8 inch bubble mailer. Always be sure to buy your penny sleeves, top loaders, and bubble mailers wholesale. If you are selling your baseball cards on eBay using a high volume low margin profit model then every cent that you save helps!

When it comes to selling baseball cards on eBay it is common for the buyer to pay shipping and handling costs. As of this writing, most sellers are charging between $2.50 and $3.00 to ship a single card. If you can get your shipping costs under control, you can actually make a small profit from shipping alone! Here’s an example;

I can get a blaster box of Topps T206 baseball cards for $19.99. This equates to a cost of about .42 cents per card. Let’s suppose I sold one baseball card on eBay for only .99 cents… I charge $2.75 to ship the card, a single top loader costs me .16 cents, the bubble mailer, .08 cents, and the penny sleeve costs about .02 cents. Postage will cost $1.56 to ship a single card via USPS First-Class Mail, and my combined eBay and Paypal fees are .50 cents. This means that my total profit is $1.01 after running this numbers through an eBay fee calculator. Imagine if you sold 100 cards a day!

Where Can I Find Baseball Cards To Sell On eBay?

If you are looking for baseball cards to sell on eBay than you need look no further than eBay itself. I have bought baseball cards in bulk lots from eBay and then resold inserts, rookies, etc… for a profit. I take common cards and try to make complete sets and then I’ll sell those sets on eBay as well. I’ve also had good luck with purchasing bulk quantities at my local baseball card shop and then doing a little “pack ripping.” Although I’m paying retail, the shop owner gave me a nice discount for being a return customer who made bulk purchases. You can also of course find baseball cards to sell on eBay at tag sales and estate sales. Just be sure to know what you’re looking for. For example, baseball cards from certain eras such as the 1980’s can have very low resale values.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please be sure to check out our other eBay help guides!

How To Sell On eBay For Beginners Free

When Is The Best Time To End An eBay Auction?

How To Protect Your Computer

This handy computer security guide was submitted by Andy Groaning who is one of our readers and the owner of Bravofiles, which is a really great website for driver downloads and software reviews. I would like to thank Andy for for both his insight, and for being the very first guest poster on CompuNoodle!

The majority of computer viruses and spyware infections occur on computers that don’t have a firewall enabled and/or don’t have any antivirus software installed. To understand just how vulnerable an unsecured computer is you need to imagine a human being without any skin. Our skin provides us with protection against viruses and other elements just as does a firewall or antivirus software on a computer system. Although some viruses will still manage to “sneak” through because new viruses are created every day, there are steps that you can take in order to lower your computer’s exposure to new and emerging threats.

Install Antivirus Software

Installing an antivirus system is your first step in protecting your computer from viruses and spyware. Start with a free antivirus software package such as Microsoft Security Essentials, but do it straight away! There are also multiple commercial antivirus and antispyware software packages for you to choose from. Many commercial antivirus software packages have a trial version that you can use while you are deciding which antivirus / antispyware protection you are going to ultimately purchase. Just don’t let your antivirus software trial expire!

Again, If you don’t want to spend lots of money on computer security software you can use free antivirus software that is readily available online. After downloading and installing the anti-virus program don’t forget to scan your computer once in a while!

Keep Your Software And Drivers Updated

This holds especially true for your anti-virus software because the problem is that new viruses are being created every day! This means that yesterday’s virus definitions won’t be able to detect new viruses created “today.” Your antivirus software should update on it’s own, just be sure that you don’t cancel the update process even if it seems like it’s taking “too long.”

You also need to make sure that your operating system is setup to automatically update. Your computer’s memory is undoubtedly better than yours so you are better off letting the computer update itself! You would also be wise to allow third party software such as those from Adobe and Apple to automatically update as well. Adobe in particular has had a tough couple of years as far as software vulnerabilities are concerned.

It’s also important to keep drivers up to date as hardware drivers can sometimes be used to exploit computer systems. You can use trusted sites such as www.bravofiles.com to help locate the correct driver downloads for your computer.

Don’t Open Suspicious Links In Your Email

One of the simplest things which will help you to protect your computer is to not open questionable links or files in your email! If you are not 100% certain that you know what is behind the link, don’t open it, even if the e-mail is from a sender who is known to you. E-mail accounts and social networking accounts can be hijacked and then used for malicious purposes.

Be Cautious When Clicking On Ads

Advertising is the bread and butter of the Internet. Legitimate sites (such as this one) use ads to offset their costs. In fact, some of the ads on legitimate sites do a superb job of connecting consumers with services that they might be interested in. You do need to be careful about clicking on ads that seem “too good to be true” or ads that appear on “shady” sites which you shouldn’t be visiting anyways!

Make sure that your computer’s firewall is enabled

A Firewall will prevent hackers from snooping around your computer and will also help to ensure that unwanted or unauthorized access to your PC from remote network connections is NOT possible. A firewall will also prevent your computer from being infected by worm viruses. Many of you may remember the Blaster Worm (MSBlast.exe) from back in 2003. This would have been almost entirely preventable had users at the time enabled and used a firewall program.

Encrypt your Wireless network.

This should be a no brainer, but unfortunately many users do not protect their wireless network. Once a hacker accesses your wireless network, it’s not your network anymore! The hacker can now use your network to perform attacks against other networks or can snoop in upon and steal your passwords and data. Consult your ISP or wireless manufacturer to get assistance with securing your wireless network. If you are an advanced use and feel comfortable logging into your router and configuring it to use the strongest level of encryption that your computers and other network devices are compatible with. Currently, WPA 2 + AES is the strongest level of wireless encryption that is available to encryption.

This guide will absolutely help to ensure that your computer remains protected against new virus and spyware infections. If you’ve already got a virus or spyware infection however, you can use our Free Spyware Removal Guide to clean up your computer system.

Recovered Files In Trash

Mac OS X users may notice a folder named “Recovered Files” in their trash after rebooting their Mac computer. This has been happening to me lately so I went ahead over to Apple’s Support website in order to research the issue.

Per this Apple support document, it turns out that it is perfectly normal for recovered files to appear in the OS X trash folder. Essentially the recovered files folder will be automatically created if an OS X application or an OS X system process fails to delete temporary files after the application or system process has terminated. This will most likely occur if an application or process crashes, but can also be the result of an OS X menubar icon, Dashboard Widget, or System Preferences pane that doesn’t quit properly upon system reboot.

Apple states that although you can use the recovered files folder to retrieve useful data, that in most cases the data will not be important and can therefore be permanently deleted. Some OS X experts state that you can avoid this issue by giving your Mac a tune up, i.e. delete temporary files, clear OS X cache files, etc. I have yet to be able to validate these claims, but a little Mac maintenance can never hurt. In fact, we’ve got a great Mac maintenance guide that you can use to clean up your Mac. At any rate, should you find a recovered files folder in your OS X trash, you have nothing to fear as this is a normal function of the OS X operating system.

Free Spyware Removal Guide

If your computer is infected with spyware you’ll be relieved to know that you can do your own spyware detection and removal using the free spyware removal software Malwarebytes. This guide will show you how to remove spyware from your computer and prevent your PC from getting reinfected. Companies such as the Geek Squad charge up to $300 to remove spyware, but you won’t be paying a dime!

Spyware Infection Symptoms

Listed below are some common symptoms associated with a spyware infection:

  • Sluggish computer performance, especially when browsing the Internet.
  • Multiple toolbars or sidebars installed on your web browser. Keep an eye out for a sidebar called Shopper Reports or any other toolbar or sidebar that claims to be a shopping assistant or some other type of “deal finder.”
  • You may experience random pop ups on your desktop even if your web browser isn’t open. Some of these pop ups may inform you that your registry is corrupt and needs repair, or that there are Windows security alerts on your system, etc… These are all fraudulent programs (referred to as scareware) that will attempt to trick you into buying something in order to fix a problem with your PC that doesn’t even exist. Antivirus 360, WinAntiVirus, System Tool 2011, and Reg Defender 2011 are all examples of scareware programs.
  • You can’t access the task manger by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del. Instead, you receive the message “Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator.”
  • Your web browser gets redirected to a suspicious website after you do a Google a search for “spyware removal software.” This is called browser hijacking and believe it or not, the spyware infection that you have is actually attempting to stop you from being able to download legitimate free spyware removal software so that you won’t be able to remove the infection!

If your computer is experiencing any of these symptoms then you most likely have a spyware infection. Keep reading our spyware removal guide and we’ll show you how you can do your own spyware detection and removal absolutely free of charge!

Update: March 7th, 2011

I’ve confirmed that this spyware removal guide will work to remove the following common (yet no less nasty) spyware infections; Antivirus 360, WinAntiVirus, System Tool 2011, Reg Defender 2011, WinPC Defender (defender.exe), XP Internet Security 2011, Win 7 Anti-Virus 2011, and Internet Security Essentials. In theory, you should be able to use the following procedure to remove just about any spyware infection, especially the Rogue Antispyware applications. I’ll continue to add to the list of “confirmed kills” as I discover additional spyware infections that I’ve successfully removed using the steps outlined in this procedure.

Step 1. Download Malwarebytes Spyware Removal Software

Malwarebytes is the best free spyware removal software out there and we’ll be showing you how to use it as part of this guide. Although Malwarebytes can be downloaded for free, the problem is that certain types of spyware infections can actually prevent you from downloading spyware removal software. I therefore recommend that you download Malwarebytes from a computer that is known to not be infected with spyware and either burn it to a CD or copy it to a USB thumb drive. Click here to download Malwarebytes.

Step 3. Start Safe Mode With Networking

Using safe mode for spyware removal is your best bet because there’s a good chance that the spyware infection won’t even be able to run due to the fact that safe mode launches Windows with only the minimum amount of drivers and files required to run the operating system. To access Safe Mode with Networking you need to turn on your computer and press the F8 key once per second. This is a timing thing; if you press F8 too frequently then you could get an error message stating that your keyboard is locked. Too slow, and you’ll boot back into Windows without seeing the Advanced Boot Options screen. Upon seeing the Advanced Boot Options screen you need to scroll down with the arrow keys, select Safe Mode with Networking, and press Enter.

Step 4. Install And Run Malwarebytes

Thanks to Malwarebytes, the easiest part of this spyware removal guide is the actual spyware removal itself!

  • Install and update Malwarebytes by clicking on the setup file and then accept the default installation values.
  • Launch Malwarebytes and click on the scan button to begin the spyware removal scan. Scanning time will vary based upon the speed of your computer and the size of your hard drive.
  • Click show results after the spyware removal scan has completed.
  • Click on remove selected and allow Malwarebytes to automatically remove spyware from your computer. Reboot your computer when prompted.

  • Once your computer has rebooted you should run Malwarebytes a second time just to be on the safe side.
  • I would also recommend that you download and run CCleaner in order to remove your browser cookies and temporary internet files which could still contain data that could reinfect your system. Our computer tune-up guide shows you how to use CCleaner to clean up your computer.
  • Congratulations, you’ve now successfully removed spyware from your computer system!

Step 5. Let’s Prevent Your Computer From Getting  Infected With Spyware Again

Many spyware infections occur because a user is running outdated software that contains security vulnerabilities. The links below will help you install updated versions of  Mozilla Firefox and other Internet helper applications such as Flash and Java.

Check out this article if you’re wondering how your computer might have gotten infected with spyware in the first place.


Boost Your WiFi Signal With The Alfa AWUS036H USB WiFi Adapter

Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of email from readers who are asking (in some cases begging) that I write up a review of WiFi signal boosters. The problem with wireless signal boosters is that there are literally thousands of them on the market. They all promise something to the extent that “your signal will increase from one bar to five bars” yada yada yada… So after much research and testing I think that I’ve got that “miracle” Wifi signal booster that you’ve all been looking for. Behold the Alfa AWUS036H.

The Alfa AWUS036H is an 802.11g USB WiFi adapter that can be used on computers running Windows 2000, XP 32/64, Vista 32/64, Windows 7, Linux (2.4.x/2.6.x), and Mac (OS 10.4.x/10.5.x/10.6.x). The AWUS036H is compatible with all current wireless security standards including WPA2 with AES encryption. The manufacturer claims that the AWUS036H has 1000mw of output power, but other reviewers have stated that this is not quite accurate. The thing that really caught my attention with this particular WiFi adapter is that some users claimed to be able to receive wireless signal from up to a mile away when using it. Needless to say, my curiosity had gotten the best of me and I just had to check this thing out.

There are different package deals available for this product. I ordered a package which included the AWUS036H along with a 9dbi antena and a suction cup window mount kit. Others have stated that upon receiving their AWUS036H that it seemed to be a little bit on the chincy side. I would have to agree as the build quality really isn’t “anything to write home about.” So I attached the antenna, installed the driver on my Windows 7 computer and proceeded to connect the Alfa to my laptop for the first time… I stopped myself however because I thought that I should take a sampling of visible wireless networks using only my laptops built-in WiFi card so I could draw an accurate comparison between the two different WiFi adapters. From the picture below you can see that my laptop could detect 6 nearby wireless access points.

I went ahead and connected the Alfa AWUS036H to my laptop, did another wireless scan, and was now able to see a whopping 16 access points. You can only see 8 in the picture, just take note of the right hand scrollbar in which the rest of the AP’s would be visible if you were to continue to scroll down below.

One of the networks lower in the list (not pictured) did in fact belong to a business that is located approximately 3/4 of a mile from my house! I was able to connect to their free public WiFi access point and surf the Internet at perfect speed.

So in summary, although I haven’t provided you with any hard numbers such as signal to noise ratio, throughput, etc… I was able to connect to an access point that was around 3/4 of a mile away using the Alfa AWUS036H and surf the Internet which let’s face it, is pretty much all that anyone really needs to do anyways. You can purchase an Alfa AWUS036H for only $34.99 from Amazon.

Dell Latitude D600 Audio Driver For Windows 7

Although the Dell Latitude D600 came out quite a few years before Windows 7 was released it is still more than capable of running Microsoft’s newest operating system providing that you can find the proper audio driver. Follow the steps below to install an audio driver on your Latitude D600 that is compatible with Windows 7.

Installing The Realtek AC’97 Audio Codec On Windows 7

Before we begin you’ll first need to download the Windows Vista AC’97 driver from Realtek’s website and save it to your desktop. You’ll find the link to the driver download here. Click on “Software,” agree to the terms and conditions, and then save the Vista/Win7 driver to your desktop. Note, Realtek’s website can be kind of annoying so if the link doesn’t work simply do a search on Google for “Realtek AC’97 Windows 7 Driver.”

1. Right click on Computer and left click properties.

2. Left click on Device Manger which is located on the left hand side of the “View basic information about your computer” screen.

3. Right click on Multimedia Audio Controller and left click on Update Driver Software.

4. Click “Browse my computer for driver software” and browse to ..\Dekstop\6305_Vista_PG537\Vista directory and click next.

5. Click on “Install this driver software anyway…” when prompted. The driver software will now install automatically.

6. Click close when windows informs you that the Realtek AC’97 audio driver was installed successfully.

7. If you are experiencing an issue where you are prompted to run SOUNDMAN.EXE after every reboot you can simply open the registry editor and delete the SOUNDMAN.EXE entry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Run.

Your Dell Latitude D600 will now be capable of playing back audio on Windows 7.

Dell Latitude D600 Memory Upgrade

As an aside, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that your Dell Latitude D600 can support up to 2 GB of RAM. I would highly recommend this upgrade as you’ll find that Windows 7 will perform much better on your Latitude D600 after a memory upgrade. You can purchase RAM for your Latitude D600 directly from Amazon.

How Does A Computer Get Infected With A Virus Or Spyware?

I’ve been a computer support professional for so long that it’s probably safe to say that I’ve removed viruses and spyware from hundreds, if not thousands of different computer systems. After a while I started asking myself “how on earth do these people manage to get their computers infected so easily?” I mean, I’ve done virus and spyware removal services for people that took hours to complete in which the computer had over a thousand different types of virus and spyware infections. Today my curiosity finally got the best of me and I decided to try a little experiment; I wanted to see if I could intentionally get my computer infected with a virus or spyware. You would be shocked to learn that I was able to take a computer running Windows 7 that was patch current and running a respectable antivirus program and actually get a malware infection in under 10 minutes!

Our Experiment: How Does A Computer Get Infected With A Virus Or Spyware?

First and foremost, there are obvious causes for virus and spyware infections such as visiting porn sites or downloading pirated software that is “laced” with malware. Letting an antivirus subscription expire is also a surefire way to get a virus or spyware infection. Knowing this, I could very easily install a fresh copy of Windows XP and neglect to install Windows Updates or an antivirus program and then take good old Internet Explorer 6 on a tour of the “dark side of the Internet.” Doing the former would most certainly result in a computer that gets infected with viruses and spyware. So to be fair, I took a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition and installed it on a VMWare Fusion virtual machine. I then installed the following;

  • I made sure that Windows 7 was up-to-date using Windows Update.
  • I installed and updated Microsoft Security Essentials.
  • I installed the most current version of Firefox.
  • I installed the most current version of both Adobe Flash and the Sun Java Runtime (JRE).

Basically what we have here is a fresh installation of Windows 7 along with the basic software installed as required to go online and do a little “surfing.”

Now that we’ve got our basic Windows 7 installation completed it’s time to customize our computer just the way the average user might do when they first take their computer out of the box and turn it on for the first time. I thought that it might be nice to add some extra screen savers so I went to Google and did a search for “free screensavers.” I clicked on a link that was one of the first on the list and ended up seeing some free screensavers that were available for me to download. I really like the fact that the site that I had ended up on had guaranteed that the screensavers that they offered were free from malware.

I installed my screensaver by double clicking on the installer icon and then I chose to “Install using default options” just the way the average user would. I personally always take the time to review the installation options (and you will too after you see the damage that was caused) but I know from years of experience that most users don’t. The picture below is of my desktop immediately after I installed my “free” screensaver.

If that weren’t bad enough, a program is now popping up telling me that my brand new computer has 468 errors and “tweaks” that need to be addressed. I can get this problems fixed if I opt to purchase the program.

The icing on the cake however was when I downloaded and installed Malwarebytes (an excellent and legitimate spyware removal program) and it discovered that I had a spyware infection.

Granted, this is hardly the worst type of spyware infection out there. I am just shocked that all that I did was download a free screensaver from a site listed on the first page of Google on a brand new computer running Windows 7 with up-to-date patches and an antivirus program and I was able to get a spyware infection in under 10 minutes!

Summary

In summary you need to be very careful when downloading and installing software from the Internet. Always make sure that you choose to install software using “Advanced Options” and carefully select the exact components that you wish to install onto your computer. If I had done so in the example above I would have prevented my computer from getting infected with spyware. I hope that this example has helped  you to understand how a computer can get infected with a virus or spyware. Please read below for even more examples;

Scareware

Pictured below is an example of a website that is informing the user that their computer may be infected with viruses and spyware. The site then prompts the user to click OK to continue running a free virus and spyware scan. If the user was to click OK, they would most likely be prompted to install some sort of plugin or software package that claims to be able to remove the the viruses and spyware from their computer. Once the software package gets installed, the user is then usually prompted to purchase the removal software. What the unsuspecting end user doesn’t realize however, is that the software that they just installed is a type of spyware called scareware. Scareware attempts to “scare” a user into purchasing a software product in order to remove spyware infections or repair computer problems that may not even exists.

Visiting Inappropriate Websites

Most (but not all) spyware infections come from websites that feature inappropriate content such as pornography, gambling, pirated software, drug use, and other illicit activities. These sites, especially porn sites will try to trick the user into downloading and installing plugins such as free video viewers in the case of porn sites. These plugins may contain viruses and spyware.

Running Outdated Software

A computer that is running outdated software is especially vulnerable to virus and spyware infections. Software companies will responsibly update their software if a security vulnerability is found within their product. If you are running older software with known vulnerabilities you are putting your self at a higher risk of getting infected with a viruses and spyware.

Software Piracy And Illegal Downloading

Pirated software is another source of malware as is illegally downloaded movies and music. If you engage in this type of activity, you do so at your own risk.

Running A Computer Without Security Software Installed

Most people know that having computer security software installed is a must. In fact, most computers purchased today include a free 60 day trial to an Internet security suite. The problem is that often times the free trial will expire before the user has a chance to decide upon a permanent security product. This leaves the PC completely vulnerable to virus and spyware infections. Make sure that you purchase a permanent antivirus/antispyware product before your free trial expires.

How Can I Remove Spyware From My Computer?

We wrote a great spyware removal guide that you can use if your PC is already infected.