Monday, July 14, 2008

Q is good for you

Well, it really is! Nothing security related right now since I'm taking a break, but I wanted to share this with you...
If you're in Belgium and you really need a break, chill out, then you really should visit the Q-Beach House!

Q-Music is a popular radio station in Belgium and even though I don't live in Ostend, it's my place to be to chill out.
My afternoon starts with a Mojito - (the best I ever had) - then a Sangria Samba with pamperon Rum, then another Mohito and another Sangria....and.... well, I can assure you... a day you won't forget!

Great music in between - One - U2, This is the life - Amy Macdonald, Modern World - Anouk and so many others! Great view as well..

Alexandra Potvin,, one of the radiopresenters:

She's just great!
So if you really need a break, visit the Q-Beach House!
See you there!

More "holiday pics" will follow soon...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vacation Time

It's finally vacation time - so time to take a break and stay away from my computer/laptop as much as possible.

Be back in 3 weeks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Internet Explorer Options won't load in Internet Explorer 7

This is nothing malware/security related - but I'm sure it will interest people who encountered the same issue, or helped someone with the same issue.
So, for the uninterested ones, skip this section and read another blog. :-)

If I encounter Windows issues, I always want to figure out what's causing this, so I could learn from it. In this case, when you try to launch the Internet explorer options via IE > Tools menu, you get the hourglass, but nothing happens.
I've researched this issue via search engines and couldn't find a proper solution (most probably I've missed it).
This is not a policy related issue where the Internet Explorer options are disabled, otherwise you should get an error message.
The same is when you do this via start > control panel > Internet Options.
Also, when you enter inetcpl.cpl via start > run, (command prompt), you see the hourglass, but nothing happens.
And that's why I wanted to figure out what's causing this and how to solve it since this is actually a common issue in IE7 (since I've researched this via searchengines).
A solution I found was to replace the inetcpl.cpl file from the C:\WINDOWS\ie7 folder. So the inetcpl.cpl from the ie7 folder should be replaced with the one present in the system32 folder. It works, but doesn't make sense since the inetcpl.cpl file present in the IE7 folder is the previous version and shouldn't be used anyway.
Also, Windows Updates contains a lot of IE updates as well which patches the inetcpl.cpl file, so you should think that an update may fix this issue.... Well, it doesn't, since it's actually not an issue with inetcpl.cpl itself.
So, time to test what could cause this, launch inetcpl.cpl and see what other files are launched as well... and one of them was inetcpl.cpl.mui. This file is present by default in the %Windir%\system32\nl-nl (in case you have a dutch version of IE), or %Windir%\system32\en-US folder (in case you have an english version of IE), or any other language dependent subfolder there.
Reference thread here btw, (Sorry, only Dutch).
And.. in this case, the inetcpl.cpl.mui file was missing.
I actually really had no clue that this could be the main cause, until I asked the user to replace/restore the file again and place it in the correct folder. After all, if you don't try, you won't know. And this actually worked! The Internet Explorer options could be launched again.

This helped in this situation, so not sure if that's actually the solution in general for the same issue (IE Options won't load - nothing policy related). So if anyone has encountered the same issue and above solution worked (inetcpl.cpl.mui was missing and you "restored" it), let me know. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Backup your data frequently!

I've already discussed the backup option in Windows Vista previously - However, I'm still amazed that many people don't backup their important data at all, including companies.
A Dutch company contacted me today and asked my advice about a file infector which infected 6 of the 10 computers present there. They have tried several Antivirus Scanners and none of them could properly disinfect the files. Some files were properly disinfected, other files were corrupted after disinfection and some files couldn't be disinfected at all.
2 of the 6 infected computers couldn't load Windows anymore because of the malware present and the damage it already caused.
So I recommended them to format and reinstall Windows - After all, this is still the fastest and safest solution, ESPECIALLY since these computers are used for work.
There was one big problem.... there were no backups present. All the important data, documents and programs they used were never backed up.. ever! This is not the first time that I've helped someone with a company owned computer, crippled with malware, and no backups ever being made.
That's why I can't stress enough how important it is that you backup your data frequently. As a matter of fact, not only companies, but everyone should invest in Backup Software and backup frequently.

There are 2 types of backup software. File Backup Software and Disk Imaging Software.

File Backup Software is designed to backup important files and folders on your computer such as documents, some programs, emails, pictures, music, etc.. Most of the File Backup Software has an option to backup your data automatically.
The File Backup Software I recommend are:

* Handy Backup
* Genie-Soft Backup Manager
* Double Image
* BackupNow!
* Acebackup

Disk Imaging Software is designed to be a complete system recovery solution. This one creates an exact copy of your hard disk, including programs installed, registry, all computer data etc. So in case of disk failure, you can restore it with the image you backed up.
Disk Imaging Software I recommend are:

* Acronis True Image
* Norton Ghost
* Paragon Drive Backup
* NovaBackup

Don't wait until it's too late, backup your data today!