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Spotiamp (spotify) with Milkdrop preconfigured.

Spotiamp is for spotify premium subscribers only.

So maybe you tried milkdrop for winamp in the past and loved it but want to enjoy the milkdrop visualization with your spotify music.  Recently spotiamp has been released (more info at spotiamp.com) which is a winamp style spotify player.  Configuring milkdrop to work on spotify is slightly more complicated than it should be. To simplify things we have preconfigured it for you in a zipped up folder.  Follow these instructions to get it working.

Be advised spotiamp is still a little buggy,  click on eject button to select playlists.

1. Download the zip file from http://www.computerrepairtech.com/spotiamp_0.2_md.zip

2. Extract the zip file to the location of your choice.

3. Run Spotiamp.exe from the location you extracted the files to.

4. You should be prompted for your spotify login info.  Login.

2014-02-12 12_37_18-Login to Spotify

5. Once logged in go ahead and start playing some music then click here on the hard to see “V”

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6. Click “Start / Stop plug-in”

2014-02-12 12_23_37-Add New Post ‹ Computer Repair Tech — WordPress

 

7.  You should see a window that looks like this, you can resize it by dragging the bottom left corner:

2014-02-12 12_24_21-MilkDrop 2

8. To activate desktop mode the coolest feature of milkdrop right click the window then click desktop mode.

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9. Take a look at your desktop wallpaper now. To stop the wallpaper milkdrop just click on it then hit ESC.  Pushing F1 will bring up help options.  Once you close the milkdrop you may have to relaunch spotiamp to get it working again its a little buggy.

Protection against Cryptolocker malware

Nick Shaw over at www.foolishIT.com has released some software called CryptoPrevent.  The software makes use global policies to add blocks in place that prevent Cryptolocker and many other malware applications from executing.  In some situations this could block legit applications but CryptoPrevent also has an automatic white list generator that allows existing programs in those locations its blocking to still run properly.  For more information on CryptoPrevent please visit http://www.foolishit.com/vb6-projects/cryptoprevent/

CryptoPrevent

Daphne – which process is creating this mystery window?

So you have a window on your desktop and you can’t figure out what process it belongs to?   Well the easiest thing to do is if the window is moveable you can open task manager and sort processes by CPU usage.  Once you do that simply drag the window around really fast like a maniac and that will cause the process to have additional CPU usage enough to see on task manager.

Lets talk about a tool for those situations when dragging the window around isn’t an option or doesn’t work.  There is a program called Daphne that you can download from http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/daphne_portable which will allow you to drag the little asterisk to the window you would like to identify.  Daphne will highlight the process for the window you have marked in the list of processes.  Daphne has some other useful features such as being able to set a window to stay on top or adjust its transparency but its main usefulness is being able to quickly identify a windows process.

Having additional users is actually safer these days.

With the number of ransomware infections constantly growing it’s become a good idea to create an additional administrator just in case.  Many of these randomware infections are infecting user specific registry locations and if you have an additional user already created you can still login with that 2nd user.   If you do not have a 2nd user then things can get complicated.  Most of these randomware infections have begun using various tricks to stop safemode from working.  There are times when safemode with command prompt still works but thats getting more and more rare these days.

If you find yourself infected and you do not have a 2nd user created you’ll probably have to resort to a boot disc of some sort.  From what I have seen most of the time the virus infection resides at C:\Users\usernamehere\AppData\Local\Temp and the startup method ranges from a simple user startmenu startup to the user shell registry entry at hkey_users\userhere\software\microsoft\windows nt\currentversion\winlogon\shell.

Useful Android Apps

Well nothing really new to speak of so lets talk about applications that I find useful for computer repair.

  1. SplashTop Remote – This is my most valuable tool because it makes it so everything on my computer can be controlled from my phone/tablet.
  2. Trillian Pro – Keep in touch with all your friends in one spot that syncs conversations
  3. Evernote – because you never know when you want to make a note of a situation you find.
  4. ES File Explorer – File sharing, FTP, etc
  5. FolderSync – Custom sync application, I use it with my ftp server.
  6. Firefox Browser – For the plugins!
  7. Square – Easily accept credit card payments
  8. Speed Test – test a connections speed.
  9. TracePing – Very useful traceroute/polling utility.  Its almost as good as having ping plotter with you.
  10. FEAT VPN – Easy to use VPN application.   I mostly use this to connect to my router at home for various inner network tasks.

I am sure there are other useful tools out there but Splashtop spoils me by giving me access to all my windows utilities.

LastActivityView list of users recent actions

LastActivityView is a system created to record many events and individual actions on a computer in a log file. The application gathers information from different sources, Windows, and shows it in a table, permitting you to keep track of how you use a specific computer.

Events that LastActivityView records:

  • Creating a restore point
  • Installing software
  • Stopping and starting the Windows Installer
  • Windows BSOD
  • Folders, viewed in Explorer
  • Running Windows Open / Save
  • Emergency shutdown
  • Restart, shutdown, hibernate, log in, log out
  • Running Applications Access to files and folders
  • Connect / disconnect the LAN
  • Application crashes

You can save the log files to csv, xml or html format, or copy them to the clipboard for pasting into Excel or other papers. LastActivityView calls for no installation and can be run from a flash drive. Information is gathered from the Windows registry, log files, emergency minidumps, and other similar sources. Supports a variety of command-line choices, enabling you to operate the program from the script files. You can download LastActivityView at http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/computer_activity_view.html

Humble Bundle Game Packs

Today let me take a break from talking about computer repair related topics and discuss Humble Bundle which is something I participate in every chance I get. Humble Bundle offers a bundle of games and you pick the price you want to pay for them. You decide what portion of the games go to charity, developers, or Humble Bundle. Many of these games will work with older computers as they are typically produced by independent companies which are more focused on fun over bleeding edge graphics. Humble Bundle usually offers some extra games if you donate more than the average consumer which usually ends up being around 5 dollars or so. Not all the games will be great but at such a low price I certainly can’t complain.

If you are interested in checking it out visit them at https://www.humblebundle.com/. If you don’t like the games they have offered also consider subscribing to the mailing list at the top left of the page to be notified of future Humble Bundles that may contain games you are interested in. This weeks bundle contains a game called Awesomenaughts which is kind of like league of legends (MOBA game) but as a side scroller (think megaman).

Google Chrome Default Extension Malware

So recently I was cleaning up some computers and I removed the default extension malware or maybe this one was called default tab, I can’t recall. Anyway the strange this about this variation is it kept coming back by itself. There was no malware left on the computer yet it just kept coming back. I decided to go ahead and try the plugin folder to see if maybe there was a dll file there as plugins don’t show up as extensions in Google Chrome. Unfortunately I could find no plugins and while I tried to look around for the method I was unable to make an official determination.

I know that while this method is sneaky uninstalling and removing the applications directory and the user settings directly and reinstalling Google Chrome definitely gets rid of it. Don’t forget to back up any bookmarks and such for your client as losing bookmarks is one way to really make a client angry. If anyone knows the method this default extension was using to keep coming back let me know as I am pretty interested in knowing how it works.

Using TDSSKiller? Time to reconsider.

If you are a computer technician and you are still using TDSSKiller as your primary rootkit detection method then you need to change your methods immediately. For months TDSSKiller has gone down hill dramatically and is probably the least effective tool I have at this point. Now don’t get me wrong TDSSKiller is a very fast scan and there is nothing wrong with including it in your procedures. All I am saying is to depend on it is currently a very bad idea. Some day in the future TDSSKiller may improve but for now do not depend on it!

Another program technicians are still recommending is Microsoft Security Essentials. Unfortunately Microsoft Security Essentials has fallen pretty hard in the last year and I honestly see no reason to use it over Avast or another antivirus solution. As computer repair technicians it is our responsibility to keep up with the best methods and to know when its time to change our policies. Don’t be that technician that sits there and sticks to some premade list with no adaptation. If you do that you are no better than the technicians at (insert large company chain here).

You should always be keeping up with the latest threats. Listen to what other technicians are talking about. For example if malware is wiping out safeboot entries then include that as one of the first steps in your procedures. Redirect viruses are so popular these days that it is literally the first thing I check for. I find that keyword “SEO” will almost always have redirects regardless of what ad/click network the virus is using so that’s one of the first things I try to test for redirection.

Why online computer repair?

Loading up the laptop or computer and dropping it down at a store was actually normal many years ago.  Technology has changed and now many pc problems are software associated.  This means typical issues consist of error messages in Windows, upgrading issues, printer problems and of course the most common problem is malware and failing updates.  That’s exactly what Computer Repair Tech specializes in.  All those software associated issues that are not hardware failures.  We do receive phone calls about equipment failures since well.  This could be anything from a failing bad hard drive, power supply, motherboard, etc.  These components get heavy usage and its just a matter of time before they fail. Don’t worry at Computer Repair Tech we can assist you in troubleshooting those products as well, but regrettably we can’t fix them over the phone.  We merely tell you what the failure might be on your computer and make some suggestions as to how you can get the issue resolved.

So why should you choose Computer Repair Tech for your IT service needs?  Well there are numerous reasons.  We employ only U.S. residents unlike the majority of our competitors that outsource their tech support to overseas locations.  At Computer Repair Tech we believe in providing quality customer service and that means never outsourcing overseas.  We keep all our reviews on a third party website that we do not have any control of.  If you are interested in trying out our online computer repair services then visit: http://www.computerrepairtech.com/computer-repair-services.html.