• Posted on January 31, 2017 11:22 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    The Advanced Startup Options menu, available in Windows 10 and Windows 8, is the central fix-it location for the entire operating system. From here you can access Windows diagnostic and repair tools like Reset This PC, System Restore, Command Prompt, Startup Repair, and much more. Advanced Startup Options is also where you access Startup Settings, the menu that includes Safe Mode, among other startup methods that could help you access Windows 10 or Windows 8 if it is having problems starting. The Advanced Startup Options menu should appear automatically after two consecutive startup errors. However, if you need to open it manually, there are six different ways to do so. The best way to decide which method to use to open Advanced Startup Options is to base your decision on what level of access you have to Windows right now: If Windows 10/8 starts normally: Use any method, but 1, 2, or 3 will be easiest. If Windows 10/8 does not start: Use method 4, 5, or 6. Method 1 will also work if you can at least get to the Windows 10 or Windows 8 logon screen. Time Required: Accessing Advanced Startup Options is easy and can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on which method you use. Applies To: All of these means of getting to the Advanced Startup Options menu work equally well in any edition of Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 unless I note otherwise. Method 1: SHIFT + Restart Hold down either SHIFT key while tapping or clicking on Restart, available from any Power icon.​ Tip: Power icons are available throughout Windows 10 and Windows 8 as well as from the sign-in/lock screen. Note: This method does not seem to work with the on-screen keyboard. You'll need to have a physical keyboard connected to your computer or device to open the Advanced Startup Options menu this way. Wait while the Advanced Startup Options menu opens. Method 2: Settings Menu Tap or click on the Start button.Note: In Windows 8, Swipe from the right to open the charms bar. Tap or click Change PC settings. Choose Update and recovery from the list on the left (or General prior to Windows 8.1), then choose Recovery. Skip down to Step 5. Tap or click on Settings. Tap or click on the Update & security icon, near the bottom of the window. Choose Recovery from the list of options on the left of the UPDATE & SECURITY window. Locate Advanced startup, at the bottom of the list of options on your right. Tap or click on Restart now. Wait through the Please wait message until Advanced Startup Options opens. Method 3: Shutdown Command Open Command Prompt in Windows 10 or Windows 8.Tip: Another option is to open Run if you can't get Command Prompt started for some reason, probably related to the issue you're having that has you here in the first place! Execute the shutdown command in the following way: shutdown /r /o Note: Save any open files before executing this command or you'll lose any changes you've made since your last save. To the You're about to be signed off message that appears a few seconds later, tap or click on the Close button. After several seconds, during which nothing seems to be happening, Windows 10/8 will then close and you'll see a Please wait message. Wait just a few seconds more until the Advanced Startup Options menu opens. Method 4: Boot From Your Windows 10/8 Installation Media Insert a Windows 10 or Windows 8 DVD or a flash drive with the Windows installation files on it into your computer.Tip: You can borrow someone else's Windows 10 or Windows 8 disc (or other media) if you need to. You're not installing or reinstalling Windows, you're just accessing Advanced Startup Options - no product key or license breaking required. Boot from the disc or boot from the USB device, whatever your situation calls for. From the Windows Setup screen, tap or click Next. Tap or click on the Repair your computer link at the bottom of the window. Advanced Startup Options will start, almost immediately. Method 5: Boot From a Windows 10/8 Recovery Drive Insert your Windows 10 or Windows 8 Recovery Drive into a free USB port.Tip: Don't worry if you weren't proactive and never got around to creating a Recovery Drive. If you have another computer with the same version of Windows or a friend's computer with Windows 10/8, see How To Create a Windows 10 or Windows 8 Recovery Drive for instructions. Boot your computer from the flash drive. On the Choose your keyboard layout screen, tap or click on U.S. or whatever keyboard layout you'd like to use. Advanced Startup Options will begin instantly. Method 6: Boot Directly to Advanced Startup Options Start or restart your computer or device. Choose the boot option for System Recovery, Advanced Startup, Recovery, etc.On some Windows 10 and Windows 8 computers, for example, pressing F11 starts System Recovery. Note: What this boot option is called is configurable by your hardware maker so the options I mentioned are just some that I've seen or heard. Whatever the name, it should be clear that what you're about to do is a boot to Windows's advanced recovery features. Important: The ability to boot directly to Advanced Startup Options isn't one that's available with a traditional BIOS. Your computer will need to support UEFI and then also be configured properly to boot directly to the ASO menu. Wait for Advanced Startup Options to begin. What About F8 and SHIFT+F8? Neither F8 nor SHIFT+F8 is a reliable option for booting to the Advanced Startup Options menu. If you need to access Advanced Startup Options, you can do so with any of the several methods listed above. How To Exit Advanced Startup Options Whenever you're finished using the Advanced Startup Options menu, you can choose Continue to restart your computer. Assuming it's working properly now, this will boot you back into Windows 10/8. Your other option is to choose Turn off your PC, which will do just that.

    Blog Entry, Security, Technical Support
  • Posted on January 14, 2017 11:45 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Do you have a wireless router that has been quietly serving Wi-Fi to your household for many years? Does it have a thick layer of dust on it? Chances are, if you answered yes to either question, you may not have upgraded your router’s firmware in quite some time. If you have, congratulations, you can stop reading this article right now, if not, read on. What the Heck is This Firmware Stuff? Your router’s firmware is basically the operating system that is specifically designed to run on your specific make and model of router (unless you are using a multi-router compatible open source firmware such as DD-WRT). Usually, your router manufacturer will provide firmware updates for your specific make and model of router, via their website, or via a tool within the administrative console of your router (typically accessible via a web browser.) Why do I Need To Upgrade My Wireless Router’s Firmware? There are many reasons you may want to consider updating your router’s firmware, here are several of them. Security Features and Fixes: One good reason why your router manufacturer may put out a firmware update is because they are trying to fix a vulnerability that was detected in the current firmware, updated firmware is similar to system updates (as in Microsoft’s Windows Update). As bugs are found and corrected, updated firmware is released. Router manufacturers may also issue a firmware update to upgrade fwatures such as outdated encryption modules or they might add entirely new security mechanisms that weren’t in previous versions of the firmware. Performance Enhancements Besides security fixes, your router manufacturer may have found a way to enhance your router’s overall performance, which is always a good thing. If you don’t update your firmware then you won’t be able to take advantage of any speed boosting upgrades that your router manufacturer might release in an update. How do I Perform a Firmware Upgrade? Every router is different, but usually they have a similar process for upgrading the router’s firmware. Here are the basic steps for performing a firmware upgrade, check your router manufacturer’s website for specific instructions for your make and model. Step 1: Login to Your Router’s Administrator Console: Most modern routers use web browser based administration which means you basically type in the IP address of your router in order to access it’s administrative functions. This IP address is almost always a Private IP address which is usually accessed from inside your home network. This helps prevent outsiders from attempting to administer your router. Each router manufacturer uses different default addresses so check your specific router manufacturer’s website for details on which one your router may be using. Here are some common default addresses fro some of the more popular wireless router brands. Apple – 10.0.1.1 Asus – 192,168,1,1 Buffalo Tech – 192.168.1.1 Dlink – 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1 Cisco/Linksys – 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 Netgear – 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.0.227 After you enter the IP address of your router in your browser's address bar, you will likely be prompted for the administrator name (typically “admin” or “administrator”) and the default administrator password. These credentials can likely be obtained from your router manufacturer’s website or they might be located on a label on the bottom or back of your router, typically located near the serial number of the router. Step 2. Locate The Firmware Upgrade Section of the Administrator Console: Usually there is a dedicated firmware upgrade section within the router administration site. It may be located under the Router Setup page, the "About This Router" page, or perhaps under a “Maintenance” or "Firmware Update" heading. Step 3. Download and Install The Router Firmware (from a trusted source) Newer routers will likely make it very easy to download and install the firmware directly from within the router administrative console. Some routers may require that you first save the file to your computer and then select the firmware file via the administration console. Regardless of the method, make sure you are downloading directly from the macnufacturer or from another trusted source (if using open source router firmware). If possible, scan the file for malware before performing the firmware upgrade. IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t interrupt a firmware upgrade that is in progress or you could potentially damage (brick) your router. Try to avoid doing an upgrade during a lightning storm as firmware upgrades and power outages don’t mix well.

    Blog Entry, Hardware, Patches
  • Posted on January 13, 2017 12:48 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    So, you just bought a shiny new wireless router. Maybe you got it as a gift, or you just decided it was time to upgrade to a new one. Whatever the case may be, there are a few things you should do to make it more secure as soon as you get it out of the box. Here Are Some Tips on How to Secure Your Brand New Wireless Router: 1. Set a Strong Router Admin Password As soon as your prompted by your new router's setup routine, make sure you change your router's admin password and make it a strong one. Using the default password is a horrible idea because hackers and pretty much anyone else can look it up on the router manufacturer's website or on a site that lists default password information. 2. Upgrade Your Router's Firmware When you bought your new router, chances are, it may have been sitting in a warehouse for months, then on a store shelf for quite some time. During this time the manufacturer may have found some bugs or vulnerabilities in the firmware (software/OS that it built into the router). They may have also added new features and other upgrades that may improve the security or functionality of the router. In order to make sure that you have the latest and greatest version of the router's firmware, you'll need to check your router's firmware version to see if it is current or if there is a newer version available. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to check the firmware version and how to perform a firmware upgrade. 3. Turn on WPA2 Wireless Encryption When you set up your new router, you may be prompted to choose a form of wireless encryption. You should avoid the outdated WEP encryption, as well as the original WPA. You should opt for WPA2 (or whatever the most current form of wireless encryption is). Choosing WPA2 will help protect you from wireless hacking attempts. Check out our article on how to enable wireless encryption for full details. 4. Set a Strong SSID (Wireless Network Name) and Pre-Shared Key (Wireless Network Password) A strong wireless network name (SSID) and a strong wireless password is just as important as a strong router admin password. What is a strong network name you ask? A strong network name is a name that is not a default set by the manufacturer and is also not something that is commonly found on a list of most common wireless network names. If you use a common network name, you may be leaving yourself open to Rainbow Table-based encryption attacks that might allow hackers to crack your wireless network password. A strong wireless network password is also a crucial part of your wireless network's security. Check out our article on how to change your wireless network's password for details on why you need to make this password a complex one. 5. Turn on Your Router's Firewall And Configure it Odds are pretty good that your new wireless router features a built-in firewall. You should take advantage of this feature and enable and configure it to protect your network. Make sure to test your firewall to ensure that it's working after you have set it up. 6. Enable Your Router's 'Stealth Mode' (if available) Some Router's have a 'Stealth Mode' that helps to make your router, and the network devices behind it, less conspicuous to hackers on the Internet. Stealth mode helps to hide the status of open ports by not responding to requests sent by hackers to check for the presence of open ports that might be vulnerable to attacks. 7. Disable Your Router's 'Admin Via Wireless' Feature To help prevent hackers from doing a 'drive by' wireless attack where they pull up nearby and attempt to gain access to your router's admin console, disable the "Admin via Wireless" option on your router. Turning this off makes your router only accept administration via one of the Ethernet ports, meaning that unless you have a physical connection to the router then you can't administer it.

    Blog Entry, Internet, Security
  • Posted on January 12, 2017 12:00 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    Have you ever needed to open your CD or DVD drive (generally referred to as your "optical drive") but couldn't? Just your luck, your favorite movie, video game, or music was probably stuck inside. Maybe the laptop's power died, maybe the drive in your desktop just quit responding, or maybe the door was just stuck or the disc came loose from a try just enough to jam things up. Regardless of what's happening, or what you think might be happening, there's no reason to rush out and replace the disc or drive just because the eject button doesn't do what you expected it to do. Fortunately, one of the following two methods almost always does the trick to get the drive open: How to Force Eject a Disc From Within the OS We'll start with the easiest way to get the drive open - skip the physical button on the outside and ask your operating system to force eject the disc. You can only try this if your computer has power and is working. Skip down to the next section if that's not the case. Time Required: Forcing your CD, DVD, or BD drive to eject via your operating system's commands is very easy and should only take a few seconds to try. Open File Explorer if you're using Windows 10 or Windows 8. Search for it or use the WIN+X menu to open it quickly.Open Windows Explorer in earlier versions of Windows. Once open, navigate to the optical drive from the menu on the left. This drive is often auto-named based on what disc is inside the drive but there's usually a small disc icon to help identify it.Tip: If you have trouble finding it, look for This PC on the left in Windows 10 or 8, or Computer in earlier versions. Click the icon to the left to expand this if it's collapsed. Right-click or tap-and-hold on the optical drive and choose Eject from the menu that pops up or down. The drive bay or disc should spin down and eject within seconds. Using a Mac? Similar to the method described above for Windows, find the disc icon, right-click on it, and then choose Eject. Here are some more ideas. If this doesn't work (Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.), it's time to get physical with it! How To Open a CD/DVD/BD Drive... With a Paper Clip It sounds strange, yes, but most computer optical drives, including external ones and those you'll find in your game systems like Xbox and Playstation, have a tiny pinhole that's designed as a last resort method to get the drive bay open. Time & Tools Required: You'll need a single, heavy-duty paper Clip - not industrial sized, but not one of those flimsy plastic ones, either. The whole process will take less than a few minutes and is very easy. Unfold the paper clip until there is at least 1 to 2 inches (2 to 5 cm) that is as close to straight as you can get it. Look closely at your disc drive. Directly under or above the drive bay door (the part that "ejects" the disc) there should be a very small pinhole.Tip: If you have one of those desktop optical drives where a large door flips down before the drive bay ejects, pull that down with your finger and then look for the pinhole. Tip: Some older desktops require the opening of the front panel, sort of like a large "door" to the computer's housing, to get to this pinhole. Insert the paper clip into the pinhole. Inside the drive, directly behind the pinhole, is small gear that, when rotated, will begin to manually open the drive. Remove and reinsert the paper clip as often as needed to eject the drive bay enough to grab hold of it. Slowly pull on the drive bay until it's fully retracted. Take care not to pull too quickly or to continue to pull when you feel resistance. Remove the CD, DVD, or BD disc from the drive. Slowly push the drive bay back into the drive until closed or press the open/close button if the drive is still working. If these steps don't work, or you find yourself using the paper clip trick often, it may be time to look at some other options... No Luck? Here's What to Do Next At this point, there's likely something physically wrong with the drive or another part of the computer. Here are some things to consider doing: If your drive is external, unplug and plug back in both the data cable and the power cable. Check internally that the power and data cables are firmly connected. Restart your computer and try again. Replace the drive. Optical drives are relatively cheap - Amazon sells many for around $20 USD. Note: Those are not necessarily in a step-by-step troubleshooting order. What steps you take depends a lot on the type of computer and optical drive you have, as well as your specific situation.

    Blog Entry, Hardware, Technical Support
  • Posted on January 10, 2017 12:10 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    You might sometimes find yourself with just one internet connection point--a single wired connection for your laptop at the hotel, for example, or your smartphone tethered over USB to your computer. But what if you have other devices that need internet access, such as your Wi-Fi-only tablet or your friend's or family member's laptop? The good news is you can share your laptop's wired or mobile broadband internet connection wirelessly with other devices. The bad news is, with Windows 10, it takes a bit of trickery in the command prompt to turn your computer into a Wi-Fi hotspot. ~ August 18, 2015 To share your computer's internet connection, you'll need to open the command prompt in administrator mode and type in a few commands. The instructions below were adapted from the excellent guide on NirmalTV, which offers screenshots of the process. Open the command prompt in administrator mode by right-clicking on the Windows Start button and selecting "Command Prompt (Admin)". Alternatively, you can use this keyboard shortcut: Windows key + X (Win+X) then select the Command Prompt (Admin) option. When the "Administrator: Command Prompt" window opens, type the following command:  netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=[networkSSID] key=[password]. Replace the "networkSSID" and "password" fields with the name you want for your new Wi-Fi hotspot network and its password (you'll use these to connect other devices to your computer's Wi-Fi hotspot). Then hit Enter. Next, type in the following command to start the network: netsh wlan start hostednetwork and hit Enter. This enables and starts the ad-hoc wireless network connection. Next, head to your Windows' network connections page (type in "network connections" in the search field in the taskbar in Windows 10 and click on "View network connections" or navigate to the Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections). Right-click on the network connection that is your computer's source of internet access (e.g., the ethernet connection or the 4G broadband connection). Choose "Properties" from the context menu. Go to the "Sharing" tab and check the box next to "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection" From the dropdown list, select the Wi-Fi connection you just created. Hit OK and close the properties window. You should then see your Wi-Fi hotspot in Windows 10's network and sharing center. From your other devices, select the new Wi-Fi network in the wireless settings and enter the password you set to connect to it. These command prompt steps for setting up an ad-hoc network aren't as user-friendly as having a built-in method with a graphic user interface, but it's what we have so far in Windows 10 and will do in a pinch. If you're using an older version of Windows or are on a Mac, you can accomplish this "reverse tethering" in other ways: Use Internet Connection Sharing (e.g., when you have a laptop wired to a router or modem and want to share the connection via your Wi-Fi adapter or a second Ethernet port) Use Internet Sharing on Mac OS X Use Connectify, a free app that shares a single Wi-Fi connection wirelessly (so you don't need a second network adapter). It requires Windows 7 or above. Finally, to stop sharing your internet connection over the new Wi-Fi hotspot you created in Windows 10, enter this command in the command prompt:  netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

    Blog Entry, Hardware, Internet
  • Posted on January 8, 2017 12:07 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    Make Sure Windows Updates Help, Not Harm, With These Preventative Measures Let me first preface all of the following with this: updates provided by Microsoft rarely cause problems. This includes those pushed out on Patch Tuesday and others made optionally available in Windows Update. I said rarely, not never. Ask anyone with a house full of nonworking computers the day after Patch Tuesday and you'll swear that Microsoft deliberately sabotaged the world's computers running Windows. Again, problems don't occur that often and are rarely widespread, but when they do they hurt. Luckily there are some really simple things you can do to minimize the chance that a patch from Microsoft will do more harm than good: Tip: If it's too late and the damage is done, see How To Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates for help. One-Time Preventative Steps Most importantly, make sure your important data is being backed up! When your computer crashes, regardless of the reason, you probably have little emotional attachment to the physical hard drive itself but I bet you're pretty concerned about the stuff you have stored on it.There are lots of ways to backup data, from manually copying your saved documents, music, videos, etc. to a disc or a flash drive, all the way up to setting up instantaneous backup with an online backup service. Regardless of how you do it, do it. If your only way out of a post-Patch-Tuesday system crash is a full clean install of Windows, you'll be very, very happy that your valuable information is safe. Change Windows Update settings so new patches are no longer automatically installed. In most versions of Windows, this means changing this setting to Download updates but let me choose whether to install them.With Windows Update configured this way, important security and other updates are still downloaded, but they won't be installed unless you explicitly tell Windows to install them. This is a one time change so if you've done this before, great. If not, do it now. Important: Don't get me wrong: I still recommend that you install all available updates. However, this way you are in complete control, not Microsoft. Check the free space on your main hard drive and make sure it's at least 20% of the total size of the drive. This amount of space is plenty for Windows and other programs to grow as necessary, especially during installation and recovery processes.Specifically, System Restore, which is the primary recovery process if a Windows update causes a major problem, can not create restore points if there isn't enough free space on your hard drive. Just Before Installing Updates Now that your automatic update settings are changed and you're pretty sure System Restore should be in working order if you need it later, you can actually get these updates installed: Plug in your computer if it's not already. You desktop users are already covered but laptop, tablet, and other mobile devices should always be plugged in during the Windows update process!Along these same lines, avoid applying Windows updates during thunderstorms, hurricanes, and other situations that could lead to a sudden loss of power! Why does this matter? If your battery drains during the update process or your computer loses power, there's a significant chance that it will corrupt the files being updated. Important files that get corrupted often lead the very thing you're trying to prevent here - a complete system crash. Restart your computer. Be sure to do so properly, using the restart feature from within Windows, and then make sure your computer starts up again successfully.Why should you restart? On some computers, when Windows restarts after Patch Tuesday security updates are applied, it's the first time the computer has been restarted in a month or more. Many issues first appear after a restart, like problems caused by some types of malware, certain hardware problems, etc. If your computer does not start properly, see How To Troubleshoot a Computer That Won't Turn On for help. Had you not restarted and found this problem now, you would have been trying to solve the issue as a Windows Update/Patch Tuesday problem instead of the completely unrelated issue that it really is. Create a restore point manually before applying updates. A restore point is created automatically by Windows Update prior to installing any patches you select but if you'd like an extra layer of protection, you can certainly create one yourself.If you'd really like to be prepared, you could even try restoring to your manually created restore point. This would prove that the System Restore process is functioning properly in Windows. Unfortunately, some users find out that System Restore was somehow broken exactly when they need it most. Temporarily disable your antivirus program. Disabling your antivirus program while installing a program can often help prevent installation problems. Based on my own experiences, and those of many readers, doing the same prior to updating Windows is also wise.Tip: The part of your antivirus program that you want to disable is the part that's always on, constantly watching for malware activity on your computer. This is often referred to as the program's real-time protection, resident shield, auto-protect, etc. Install Updates One at a Time Now that you've properly configured your computer and prepared for the updates, it's time to get to the actual installation procedure. As the heading suggests, install each update by itself, restarting your computer after each one is applied. While I realize this might be time consuming, this method prevented almost every Patch Tuesday issue I've ever experimented with. Tip: If you're feeling particularly brave, or have never had problems with Windows updates before, try installing updates together as a group, something that I've also had a lot of success with. For example, install .NET updates of a particular version together, all of the operating system security updates together, etc. The order of installation has never seemed important but let me know if you discover otherwise. Warning: You may need to disable your antivirus program's real-time feature each time Windows boots again after your post-update-installation restart. Also, be sure to check that your antivirus program is fully enabled once you're done installing updates.

    Blog Entry, Patches, Technical Support
  • Posted on January 5, 2017 10:12 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    The problem begins with Microsoft's attempt to update things for Operating Systems (Like Windows 7), to be compatible with the newer Windows Update methods.   Since the release of Windows 8 & 10, including the 8.1, and 10 AU updates, Windows 7 has fallen behind in the care and love from Microsoft.  However sometime in July some patches were applied that broke the Windows Update process for Older Windows 7 systems.   This really affected people with clean/new installs of Windows 7, that haven't had all the updates applied since June/July 2016. I've had this problem with virtual machines I've recently setup that had clean installations of Windows 7, but Service Pack 1, is pretty far behind.  I haven't done my "due diligence" in slipstream Windows Updates into my Install ISO. After awhile, I found out that letting the Windows 7 machines just idle (tax at 100% CPU & RAM) for three days, until finally Windows Update shows a list of available updates to apply.  Then once more, having to apply those updates, and do it again to finish up with any updates that were not discovered beforehand. Step 1. Make sure you have KB 3078601, 3109094, 3138612, 3145739, and 3164033 installed You only have to do this once. To see if you're missing any of them, you can check the Windows Updates installed updates list (Start, Control Panel, under Windows Update click View installed updates). But it’s probably easier to download all of them and try to install them. If one is already installed, the installer will tell you -- no harm done. Step 1a. Make sure you know if you have a 32-bit (so-called “x86”) or 64-bit (“x64”) version of Windows 7. If you’re not sure, click Start, right-click Computer, choose Properties, and look under System type. Step 1b. Use any browser to go to each patch download site: KB 3078601  x64 x32 KB 3109094  x64  x32 KB 3138612  x64  x32 KB 3145739  x64  x32 KB 3164033  x64  x32 Step 1c. On each of those sites, Click Download. You’ll get an MSU file. In Chrome and IE, by default, you see an offer to either Open or Save the file. Save it. In Firefox, by default, the file downloads. These Microsoft servers are notorious for freezing -- sometimes the download won’t start, sometimes it won’t finish. If that happens to you, try reloading the page (click the circle-arrow near the address bar). You can also switch browsers. In any case, if you experience oddities while trying to download you aren’t the only one. Step 1d. Turn off Windows Update. The least confusing way to do that is to click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools. Double-click on Services. Scroll down the list of Services and click once on Windows Update. Then, in the upper-left corner, click the link marked Stop. Step 1e. Double-click to run each of the five downloaded files. If the installer says you already have the patch, smile and go on to the next. Running those five updates will get you set up for the one significant update you need to run each month. Unless something weird changes (hey, this is Windows), you never need to go through Step 1 again. Step 2. Find this month’s favored patch and install it Unfortunately, the patch itself changes from month to month -- or at least, it has changed in every month since March. Here’s how to finish the job: Step 2a. Go to wu.krelay.de/en and find the latest magical patch. It’s listed at the top of the first table on the wu.krelay.de/en site. In July, the magic patch was KB 3168965. No doubt there will be a new one in August and another in September -- for however long we have to struggle with slow Win7 updates. Step 2b. Armed with the knowledge about whether your Windows 7 installation is 32- or 64-bit, use the links in that first table with any browser to download the correct patch. Step 2c. Save the patch but don’t install it. Step 2d. Make sure the Windows Update service is stopped. See Step 1d above. Step 2e. Double-click to run the downloaded patch. Step 2f. Reboot, as instructed after the patch is installed. (The Windows Update service will restart itself.) Then click on Start, Control Panel, and under Windows Update click Check for updates. If all went well, the check should take a few short minutes. My thanks -- and deep admiration -- to Dalai, ch100, and EP.

    Blog Entry, HAPPINESS, Patches
  • Posted on January 3, 2017 12:00 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    Keeping track of passwords can seem like a hassle. Most of us have multiple sites we visit which require password logins. So many, in fact, that it's tempting to use the same username/password combo for all of them. Don't. Otherwise, it takes only the compromise of a single site's credentials to have a toppling domino effect on the security of all your online assets. Fortunately, there is a fairly straightforward way to have different passwords for each site you use but still make the passwords easy enough to remember. Creating Unique Passwords Before you begin creating strong passwords, you need to consider the use of those passwords. The intent is to create strong passwords unique to each account, but easy enough to memorize. To do this, first begin by splitting the sites you frequently login to into categories. For example, your category list might read as follows: social networking sites auction sites ecommerce sites email accounts banking sites forums A word of note here about forums. Never use the same password for a site's forum as you would for logging into the site itself. Generally speaking, the security on forums is not as strong as it is (or should be) for the regular site and thus the forum becomes the weakest link in their security. This is why, in the example above, forums are split into a separate category. Now that you have your categories, under each appropriate category, list the sites to which you must log in.  For example, if you have a Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo account, list these under the category 'email accounts'. After you've completed the list, you're ready to begin creating the strong, unique, and easy-to-remember passwords for each. Creating Strong Passwords A strong password should be 14 characters. Each character less than that makes it a little easier to compromise. If a site absolutely won't allow a password that long, then adapt these instructions accordingly. Using the 14 character password rule, use the first 8 characters as the common portion to all passwords, the next 3 to customize by category, and the last 3 to customize by site.  So the end result ends up like this: common(8)|category(3)|site(3) Following this simple rule, when you change your passwords in the future - which, remember, you should do often - you'll only need to change the first common 8 characters of each. One of the commonly recommended means of remembering a password is to first create a passphrase, modify it to the character limit, then begin swapping characters for symbols. So to do that: Come up with an 8 letter passphrase that is easy to remember. Take the first letter of each word to form the password. Substitute some of the letters in the word with keyboard symbols and caps (symbols are better than caps). Tack on a three letter abbreviation for the category, also replacing one of the letters with a symbol. Tack on a site specific three letter abbreviation, again replacing a single letter with a symbol. As an example: In step 1 we might use the pass phrase: my favorite uncle was an air force pilot Using the first letters of each word, we end up with: mfuwaafp Then we swap some of those characters with symbols and caps: Mf{w&A5p Then we tack on the category, (i.e. ema for email, and swap out one character of ema: e#a Finally, we add the site abbreviation (i.e. gma for gmail) and swap out one character: gm% We now have a password for our gmail account of Mf{w&A5pe#agm% Repeat for each email site, so perhaps you end up with: Mf{w&A5pe#agm% Mf{w&A5pe#aY%h Mf{w&A5pe#aH0t Now repeat these steps for the additional categories and sites within those categories. While this may look hard to remember, here's a tip to simplify - decide in advance what symbol you will equate with each letter.

    Blog Entry, Data Recovery, Hacking
  • Posted on December 30, 2016 10:00 am
    Joseph Forbes
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      It's a really awful way to start a day: you press the power button on your computer and nothing happens. Few computer problems are more frustrating than when your computer won't boot. There are many reasons why a computer won't turn on and often very few clues about what might be the problem. The only symptom is usually the simple fact that "nothing works" which isn't much to go on. Add to this the fact that whatever is causing your computer not to start could be an expensive part of your PC to replace - like the motherboard or CPU. Do not fear because all may not be lost! Here's what you need to do: Read #1 below (it'll make you feel better). Pick the best troubleshooting guide (#2 - #9) based on how your computer is acting or #10 if your PC stops at any point because of an error message. Note: The "computer won't start" troubleshooting guides below apply to all PC devices. In other words, they'll help if your desktop or laptop won't turn on, or even if your tablet won't turn on. I'll call out any important differences along the way. Also, all are applicable no matter what Windows operating system you have installed on your hard drive, including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Steps 1 through 5 even apply to other PC operating systems like Linux.   Don't Panic! Your Files are Probably OK When faced with a computer that won't start most people tend to panic, worried that all the data on their PC is gone forever. It's true that the most common reason a computer won't start is because a piece of hardware has failed or is causing a problem but that hardware isn't usually a hard drive, the part of your computer that stores all of your files. In other words, your music, documents, emails, and videos are probably safe - just not accessible at the moment. So take a deep breath and try to relax. There's a good chance you can figure out exactly why your computer won't start and then get it back up and running. 1.  Don't Want to Fix This Yourself? See How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? for a full list of your support options, plus help with everything along the way like figuring out repair costs, getting your files off, choosing a repair service, and a whole lot more. 2.  Computer Shows No Sign of Power Try these steps if your computer will not turn on and is showing no sign at all of receiving power - no fans running and no lights on the laptop or tablet, nor on the front of the computer's case if you're using a desktop. Important: You may or may not see a light on the back of your desktop PC depending on the kind of power supply you have and the exact cause of the problem. This goes for the power adapter you may be using for your tablet or laptop as well. How To Fix a Computer That Shows No Sign of Power Note: Don't worry about the monitor yet, assuming you're using a desktop or an external display. If the computer is not turning on because of a power issue then the monitor certainly can't display anything from the computer. Your monitor light will likely be amber/yellow if your computer has stopped sending information to it. 3.  Computer Powers On... and Then Off Follow these steps if, when you turn your computer on, it promptly powers back off. You'll probably hear the fans inside your computer turn on, see some or all of the lights on your computer turn on or flash, and then it will all stop. You won't see anything on the screen and you may or may not hear beeps coming from the computer before it shuts off by itself. How To Fix a Computer That Turns On and Then Off Note: As in the previous scenario, don't worry about the state your external monitor is in, if you have one. You may have a monitor issue as well but it's not possible to troubleshoot it quite yet. 4.  Computer Powers On But Nothing Happens If your computer seems to be receiving power after turning it on but you don't see anything on the screen, try these troubleshooting steps. In these situations, the power lights will stay on, you'll likely hear the fans inside your computer running (assuming it has any), and you may or may not hear one or more beeps coming from the computer. How To Fix a Computer That Turns On But Displays Nothing This situation is probably the most common in my experience working with computers that won't start. Unfortunately it's also one of the most difficult to troubleshoot. 5.  Computer Stops or Continuously Reboots During the POST Use this guide when your computer powers on, shows at least something on the screen, but then stops, freezes, or reboots over and over again during the Power On Self Test (POST). The POST on your computer may happen in the background, behind your computer maker's logo (as shown here with the Dell laptop), or you may actually see frozen test results or other messages on the screen. How To Fix Stopping, Freezing, and Reboot Issues During the POST Important: Don't use this troubleshooting guide if you encounter an issue during the loading of the operating system, which occurs after the Power On Self Test is complete. Troubleshooting Windows related reasons why your computer won't turn on begin with #6 below. 6.  Windows Begins to Load But Stops or Reboots on a BSOD If your computer begins to load Windows but then stops and displays a blue screen with information on it then try these steps. You may or may not see the Windows splash screen before the blue screen appears. This kind of error is called a STOP error but is more commonly referred to as a Blue Screen of Death or a BSOD. Receiving a BSOD error is a common reason why a computer won't turn on. How To Fix Blue Screen of Death Errors Important: Choose this troubleshooting guide even if the BSOD flashes on screen and your computer restarts automatically without giving you time to read what it says. 7.  Windows Begins to Load But Stops or Reboots Without an Error Try these steps when your computer powers on, starts to load Windows, but then freezes, stops, or reboots over and over again without generating any kind of error message. The stopping, freezing, or reboot loop may happen on the Windows splash screen (shown here) or even on a black screen, with or without a flashing cursor. How To Fix Stopping, Freezing, and Reboot Issues During Windows Startup Important: If you suspect that the Power On Self Test is still going on and that Windows has not yet started to boot, a better troubleshooting guide for why your computer won't turn on might be #5 above. It's a fine line and sometimes hard to tell. Note: If your computer won't start and you see a blue screen flash or remain on the screen, you're experiencing a Blue Screen of Death and should use troubleshooting guide #6 above. 8.  Windows Repeatedly Returns to Startup Settings or ABO Use this guide when nothing but the Startup Settings(Windows 8 - shown here) or Advanced Boot Options(Windows 7/Vista/XP) screen appears every time your restart your computer and none of the Windows startup options work. In this situation, no matter which Safe Mode option you choose, your computer eventually stops, freezes, or restarts on its own, after which you find yourself right back at the Startup Settings or Advanced Boot Options menu. How To Fix a Computer That Always Stops at Startup Settings or Advanced Boot Options This is a particularly annoying way in which your computer won't turn on because you're trying to use Windows' built-in ways to solve your problem but you're getting nowhere with them. 9.  Windows Stops or Reboots On or After the Login Screen Try this troubleshooting guide when your computer powers on, Windows shows the login screen, but then freezes, stops, or reboots here or anytime after. How To Fix Stopping, Freezing, and Reboot Issues During Windows Login The stopping, freezing, or reboot loop may happen on the Windows login screen, as Windows is logging you in (as shown here), or any time up to Windows fully loading. NTLDR is Missing. 10.  Computer Doesn't Fully Start Because of an Error Message If your computer turns on but then stops or freezes at any point, showing an error message of any kind, then use this troubleshooting guide. Error messages are possible at any stage during your computer's boot process, including during the POST, at any time during the loading of Windows, all the way up to the Windows desktop appearing. How To Fix Errors Seen During the Computer Startup Process Note: The only exception to using this troubleshooting guide for an error message is if the error is a Blue Screen of Death. See #6 above for a better troubleshooting guide for BSOD issues.

    Blog Entry, DATA, Data Recovery
  • Posted on December 27, 2016 12:05 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    It usually goes something like this: YOU: "So I'm having this problem with my..." TECH SUPPORT: "Did you restart it?" YOU: "..." Few things cause more eye rolls than being told to restart something, be it your computer, smartphone, television, or whatever other technology we're talking about. Most of us are used to hearing it by now. The majority of people who I help out have already restarted their computer (or whatnot) before they even talk to me, and the others tend to slap their foreheads with their hands, shocked that they've forgotten this technology panacea. Other people almost seem to take offense when they hear it, like they've been somehow insulted with this too-simple-to-be-helpful advice. But guess what? It actually works! I'd estimate that more than half of the technology problems I see from my clients and readers are fixable with a simple reboot. Why Restarting Something Works So Well Now that the this-actually-works part is out of the way, it begs the question: why does it work? Let's start by talking about what happens when you're computer is running: You open programs, you close programs, maybe you even install and uninstall software or apps. Sometimes programs like your Internet browser are open for hours, or even days, at a time. Lots of other things stop and start too - things you never see yourself. Are you picturing that time lapse montage of your computer usage in your head right now? It's a bit crazy, I know. We use our computers a lot, especially over the course of several days or more. What you might not realize is that a lot of what you, and your operating system does, is leave behind a kind of footprint, usually in the form of background processes you don't really need running anymore, or programs that didn't quite close all the way. These "leftovers" hog your system resources, usually your RAM. If too much of that goes on, you start to get problems, like a sluggish system, programs that won't open anymore, error messages... you name it. When you reboot your computer, every single program and process ends as the power leaves your computer during the restart process. Once your computer starts back up, you have a clean slate of sorts again and, more often than not, a faster, better working computer. Important: Restarting your computer is the same as rebooting it or powering it off and then on manually. Restarting is not the same as resetting, which is a much bigger process and usually means erasing everything and returning it to "factory defaults." See How Do I Restart My Computer? if you're not sure how to restart your Windows PC properly. If you actually are interested in resetting your computer, keep reading... I talk about that more in the last section. Restarting Works on Other Devices Too This same logic applies to other devices that you don't call a computer, but in reality actually are. Devices like your television, smartphone, modem, router, DVR, home security system, digital camera, (etc., etc.) all have tiny operating systems and software that run in to the same issues that your full blown PC sometimes does. Rebooting those devices is usually as easy as removing power for several seconds and then returning it. In other words: unplug it and then plug it back in. See How to Restart Anything if you need some device-specific help with this one. Frequent Restarting is Probably a Sign of a Bigger Problem Needing to restart your computer, on occasion, is perfectly normal, especially if you're doing the kind of work that requires a lot of interaction with the operating system, like updating drivers,installing updates, reinstalling software, etc. Beyond that, however, you might be experiencing issues that a restart is only temporarily fixing for you. A piece of hardware may be failing, important Windows files may be corrupt, or you may have a malware infection. In those cases, follow any troubleshooting that makes sense for the exact problem. System File Checker with the scannow switch is often a good thing to try and of course a full system malware scan is almost always in order. Like I mentioned above, resetting typically means a true reset, often returning the device back to the same state as the day you took whatever-it-is out of the box. This option is also available as a last resort for Windows - it's called "Reset This PC."

    Blog Entry, Hardware, Technical Support
  • Posted on June 25, 2016 11:05 am
    Joseph Forbes
    No comments

    Wondering how fast your Internet connection really is? You'll need to test your Internet speed to find out. There are plenty of ways to do this, some more accurate than others, depending on why you're testing. One common reason to test your Internet speed is to make sure that you're getting whatever Mbps or Gpbs level bandwidth you're paying your ISP for. If your tests show a regularly sluggish connection, your ISP may have an issue and you may have a refund in your future. Another reason to test your Internet speed is to make sure you'll be able to stream high-bandwidth movies, like those from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other providers. If your Internet speed is too slow, you'll get choppy video or regular buffering. Free benchmark tools, like those popular Internet speed tests and bandwidth testing smartphone apps, are the two most common ways to test your high speed Internet but there are others, like service-specific tests, ping and latency tests, DNS speed tests, and more. Below are the three most common scenarios for testing Internet speed, each of which requires a different way of testing Internet speed: You suspect that your ISP or wireless provider isn't giving you the bandwidth you're paying for, either on purpose or because something is wrong. You're very happy (or very sad) with the state of your high-speed Internet and you want to tell the world about it! You want to check the Internet speed between your device and a service you're paying for, like Netflix, HBO GO, etc. Just scroll down until you find the section that you're after. Choosing the right way to test your Internet speed is the first, and easiest, step to make sure the results are as accurate as possible. How to Test Your Internet Speed When You're Sure it's Too Slow Are most web pages taking forever to load? Are those cat videos buffering so much that you can't even enjoy them? If so, especially if this is new behavior, then it's definitely time to check your Internet speed. Here's how to test your Internet speed when you suspect that your fiber, cable, or DSL provider isn't providing you with the bandwidth you're paying for. This is the also method to take with your mobile computer as well, when you think your wireless or hotspot Internet connection is slower than it should be: Locate your ISP's official Internet speed test page from Tim Fisher's ISP-Hosted Internet Speed Tests page. Note: I have almost every major US and Canadian ISP speed test page listed but I may be missing smaller providers. Let me know if your isn't listed and I'll dig it up. Close any other apps, windows, programs, etc. that might be using your Internet connection. If you're at home, where other devices might be using the same connection, disconnect those or turn those off before beginning the test. Follow whatever instructions you're given on screen to test your Internet speed. Tip: A number of ISPs use Flash-based Internet speed tests even though most devices, and more and more browsers, do not support Flash. Choose a non-ISP-hosted test if you have to but know that your ISP might not give as much credit to those results. Log the results of the speed test, ideally with a screenshot. Name the screenshot with the date and time you took the test so it's easy to identify later. Repeat Steps 3 & 4 several times, testing with the same computer or device each time, using the same Internet speed test. Note: For the best results, if your schedule permits, test your Internet speed once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening, over the course of several days. If you find that your Internet speed is consistently slower than you're paying for, it's time to take this data to your Internet Service Provider and ask for service to improve your connection. Bandwidth that varies a lot at different times per day, sometimes meeting or exceeding what you're paying for, may have more to do with bandwidth throttling or capacity issues with your ISP than an actual problem. Regardless, it might be time to negotiate the price of your high-speed plan or get a discount on an upgrade. How to Test Your Internet Speed for Fun Generally curious about your Internet speed? If so, an Internet speed test site or smartphone app is a great choice. These tools are easy to use and understand, and are great for bragging to your friends about that new super-fast connection you just signed up for. Here's how to test your Internet speed when you have no specific concern or goal, other than a little gloating... or maybe sympathy: Choose a testing site. Any one will do, even the ISP-hosted ones if you'd rather use one of those. Tip: SpeedOf.Me is one of my favorite speed test sites, doesn't require Flash, lets you share your results on social networks, and is probably more accurate, on average, than more popular tests like Speedtest.net. Follow whatever instructions you're given on screen to test your Internet speed. Most broadband testing services, like both SpeedOf.Me and Speedtest.net, test both your upload and download bandwidth with a single click. Once the test is over, you'll be presented with some kind of test result and some method of sharing, usually via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. You can often times save these small results images to your own computer, too, which you can use to keep track of your Internet speed over time. Some testing sites save your previous results for you automatically on their servers, too. Testing your Internet speed and sharing the results is especially fun after upgrading. Be the envy of your friends and family everywhere with your 1,245 Mbps download speed you're getting on your new fiber connection! How to Test Your Internet Speed For a Specific Service Curious if Netflix will work great at your home... or why it's suddenly not? Wondering if your Internet connection will support streaming your favorite new shows on HBO GO, Hulu, or Amazon Instant Video? With so many streaming services, and each on a wide variety of devices, all of which are being constantly updated, it'd be impossible to give you simple speed test how-to that covers everything. That said, there is a lot we can talk about it, some of which is very specific to the various popular streaming movie and video services out there. A basic Internet speed test is a good place to start. Even though it's not a true test between your connected television (or tablet, or Roku, or PC, etc.) and the Netflix or Hulu (or wherever) servers, any of the better Internet speed test sites should give you a decent idea of what to expect. Check the device you're using for a built-in connection test. Most "smart" TVs and other dedicated streaming devices include built-in Internet speed tests. These tests, usually located in the Network or Wireless menu areas, are going to be the most accurate way to figure out how much bandwidth is available for their apps. Here are some more specific Internet speed testing and troubleshooting advice for some of the more popular streaming services: Netflix: Check out the Netflix ISP Speed Index report to see what to expect speed-wise, on average, from the various ISPs around the world or Fast.com to test yours right now. Netflix's Internet Connection Speed Recommendations page suggests 5 Mbps for HD (1080p) streaming and 25 Mbps for 4K (2160p) streaming. If you're having trouble, it is possible to set the bandwidth Netflix uses in your account settings. Apple TV: While there's no built-in Internet speed test available on Apple TV devices, Apple does offer extensive Apple TV Playback Performance Troubleshooting via their help page. Apple recommends 8 Mbps for 1080p content and 2.5 Mbps for standard definition stuff. Hulu: In my opinion, the award for the best video streaming troubleshooting page goes to Hulu. Their Streaming Issues with Hulu on your TV page offers device-specific troubleshooting, making solving slow Hulu connections really easy. Hulu suggests 3 Mbps for HD streaming and 1.5 Mbps for SD. Amazon Instant Video: See the Video Issues page on Amazon's site for help that's specific to your device, like your computer, Amazon-branded tablets and devices, and other streaming hardware. Amazon recommends at least 3.5 Mbps for problem-free HD streaming and 900 Kbps for SD. HBO GO: The HBO GO Device Troubleshooting page should help you clear up any major problems. HBO suggests you test your Internet speed with a 3rd party speed test to make sure you're getting the minimum download bandwidth of 3 Mbps they recommend for a buffer-free streaming experience.

    Blog Entry, Cloud Apps, Internet
  • Posted on June 17, 2016 9:36 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Windows password recovery tools are used to recover, or reset lost user and administrator passwords used to log on to Windows operating systems. Password recovery tools are often called "password cracker" tools because they are sometimes used to "crack" passwords by hackers. Legally cracking or unlocking your own Windows password is certainly a legitimate practice! Note: A Windows password recovery program is just one of several ways to find a lost Windows password. Below you'll find the best free Windows password recovery programs available, most of which work for Windows 10, down to Windows XP passwords: 1.  Ophcrack The Ophcrack Windows password cracker is by far the best free Windows password recovery tool available. It's fast and easy enough for a first time Windows password cracker with a basic knowledge of Windows. With Ophcrack, you don't need any access to Windows to be able to recover your lost passwords. From another computer, visit the site, download the free ISO image, burn it to a CD or flash drive, and then boot from it. The Ophcrack program starts, locates the Windows user accounts, and proceeds to recover (crack) the passwords - all automatically. In a test run on a Windows 8 PC, Ophcrack recovered the 8-character password (mixed letters and numbers) to my guest account in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Ophcrack supports Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.  2.  Offline NT Password & Registry Editor Offline NT Password & Registry Editor (ONTP&RE) works differently than most password recovery programs in that it erases your Windows password instead of recovering it. You can think of it as more of a Windows password reset tool. Like Ophcrack, you boot form a burned disc or flash drive created with the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor ISO file. After running the program, you can log in to your Windows account without entering a password at all. If you like this "password deleting" strategy then I highly recommend this program. It requires some seemingly difficult command line work but I have a full walkthrough available. In other words: you can do this! Offline NT Password & Registry Editor Review and Free Download I've tested Offline NT Password & Registry Editor on 64-bit & 32-bit versions of Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP PCs and it reset the passwords immediately without problem. It should work on Windows 2000 and Windows NT operating systems too. 3.  Cain & Abel Cain & Abel is a free, fast and effective Windows password recovery tool. Unlike Ophcrack and other popular Windows password hacking programs, Cain & Abel requires access to Windows under an administrator account. Due to this fact, Cain & Abel is a valuable resource to recover passwords to accounts other than the one you're using. Add that to the fact that Cain & Abel is a bit more complicated to use than other password recovery apps and you have what is, in my book, a pretty advanced tool. Check it out if you think it might be useful to you. Cain & Abel was able to recover the 10-character password to the Windows XP "Administrator" account in ten seconds. While it only officially supports Windows XP, 2000, and NT, some users have had luck getting it to work in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Cain & Abel v4.9.56 Review and Free Download I've tried it with Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista, and was unsuccessful each time. 4.  Trinity Rescue Kit Trinity Rescue Kit needs to be booted from a disc or USB stick to work. It includes many different tools, one of which is for password recovery. You can use Trinity Rescue Kit to clear a password entirely, making it blank, or to set a custom one. Some of you may find this program difficult to use because there isn't a graphical interface. However, even if you're not used to a command line interface, most of the required keystrokes are just numbers for choosing different options for resetting a password. Trinity Rescue Kit should work with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. Trinity Rescue Kit v3.4 Free Download Note: The password resetting tool in Trinity Rescue Kit, called winpass, is actually just an automated script for the chntpw tool, which is what Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, listed above, is based on. If you tried that password tool and it didn't work, Trinity Rescue Kit probably won't either. 5.  John the Ripper John the Ripper is a popular free password recovery tool that can be used to find Windows account passwords. While the password recovery application itself is free, the wordlists used by John the Ripper to discover passwords do cost and are required for the software to work. I'm told there are free wordlist alternatives that work with John the Ripper which is why this Windows password recovery tool is still listed as free. However, I have my own password collection sets I use to demonstrate how people just don't use effective passwords anymore. John the Ripper is operated at the command line making it a password cracking tool reserved for the very advanced user. John the Ripper v1.7.9 Free Download In theory, John the Ripper should support all popular versions of Windows like Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. I have only used it on XP and 7, but in general theory of 7, it should work for 8 and 10. Windows Password Recovery Tools Aren't Necessary if You're Proactive! These Windows password recovery tools are great if you need them, but there's a much easier way to access your account if you forget your password - a password reset disk! A password reset disk is a special disk you can insert in your PC during the logon process that will allow you to change your Windows password without knowing your current password. You will need to create this disk before you lose access to your account! Now mind you, disk, can now be USB memory key. To find a super cheap 1GB USB memory key is really all you need.

    Blog Entry, EDUCATION, Hacking