Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Repair Missing Bootmgr File

When you start boot up Vista system, and encounter the following error message, you have probably messed up the important system files and landed in great trouble:
BOOTMGR is missing. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.

The error happens when you delete, accidentally or intentionally vital Vista system files, or the files become corrupted or been destroyed by virus or malware, may be also by improper install of Vista activation crack such as Paradox OEM BIOS emulator or Vista Loader. In whichever case, you no longer able to access to Vista desktop environment.

To fix the BOOTMGR is missing error, for those who do not want to reinstall Windows Vista, a lot of them is actually using Vista DVD media to boot up the computer every time. Here is the permanent solution to solve BOOTMGR is missing error by repairing or restoring BOOTMGR file. Simply follow steps outlined in guide below.

1.Insert Windows Vista DVD media into DVD-ROM drive, and boot up your computer using CD-ROM drive. If your computer doesn’t boot up or at least prompt you to ask whether to boot up with CD-ROM drive, you need to change the boot up sequence setting in your BIOS.

2.At the “Install Windows” window, select your preferred language, time and currency format and keyboard or input method, and then click on “Next” button.

3.On the next screen, click on the “Repair your computer” link on the bottom left corner.

4.Choose which Windows installation that you want to repair, in case you have many copies of Windows partition. In the case you have only one installation, the choice is obvious.

5.In the “System Recovery Options” window, click on “Startup Repair” to automatically fix problems that are preventing Windows from starting, including missing BOOTMGR.

6.The recovery process should be pretty fast completed. Then take out your DVD, and try to boot up your computer using hard disk to check if the BOOTMGR is missing problem is solved.

If you still facing problem, try the second option – “System Restore” instead, which should be able to recover and replace back original good BOOTMGR if the restore point is created before BOOTMGR is missing.


Monday, May 9, 2011

I don't have an installation CD for Windows XP - what if I need one?

I don't have an installation CD for Windows XP - what if I need one?

There are circumstances where you may have a legal installation of Windows XP without an installation CD. This can cause some panic when you're later instructed to make sure you have the CD before installing some other software or hardware. If you're legal, chances are you're okay though.

The scenario that seems most common is a manufacturer that pre-installs Windows XP for you and then does not give you a CD to go with it. I think this is a bad practice but I understand that it may save the manufacturer and ultimately you a little bit of money.

Hopefully what that manufacturer has done is copy the Windows XP CD-ROM image to your hard disk. Hard disks are so big these days that doing so takes up very little room and has some advantages I'll talk about in a second.

To find out if the CD-ROM image is on your machine, search for a folder named I386. There may be several but the one we care about will contain close to 7,000 files, two of which will be winnt.exe and winnt32.exe. The I386 directory is typically one of the top-level directories on the distribution CD-ROM but most importantly it is the directory that contains the distributed copy of Windows XP. Winnt.exe and winnt32.exe are the DOS and protected mode setup programs, respectively. (You'd only need those if you were planning to re-install Windows XP from scratch - I use them here as an easy way to identify that we have the right directory.)

"Hopefully what that manufacturer has done is copy the Windows XP CD-ROM image to your hard disk."So now that you know you have the CD-ROM image, what if some later installation asks for the CD-ROM?

Not to worry, it's actually pretty simple. Typically the "Insert CD" message has only an OK and Cancel button. Press OK, allowing it to fail. The next dialog will typically ask you to provide the location of the CD-ROM; just type in the full path of the I386 directory you discovered above.

That's it. But it gets better.

Windows remembers. Now that you've told Windows where your installation CD image is, it'll remember that. The next time you're in a situation that might require your installation CD, Windows will look there first; if it finds what it needs then it won't bother to ask you for it.

Personally I find that pretty handy - so much so that even though I have my Windows CD I'll also copy it to my hard disk and point Windows to that copy the first time it asks. Then I don't have to think about it or insert the CD again. And this technique works for many other CD-ROM based products including Microsoft Office.
Article C1873 - December 26, 2003

How can I tell if my computer is being hacked?

How can I tell if my computer is being hacked?

You can't.

Oh, there are some clues which you might look for, and I'll review a few of those, but ultimately, there's no way for the average computer user to know with absolute certainty that a hacker's not in the process of weaseling in, or that they haven't already.

Perhaps now you understand why I talk so much about prevention.

And I'll talk about it some more.

What is a Hack, Anyway?
I'll start by pointing out that there's no real definition of "hacked" to work from. We tend to think of it as someone gaining unauthorized access to your information, which is a fine, albeit a general definition. Unfortunately, it's not nearly enough to go on for the more rigorous definition that we would need to answer questions like, "What does it look like?" and "what do we look for?"

"The sad fact is that a sufficiently talented hacker might not leave any clues that you can easily find."Heck, someone walking up to your computer and logging in as you because they know your password is a "hack", but there would be no malware or software trace left - other than perhaps something in the browser history.

Contrast that with external network attacks where someone remotely tries to penetrate the software or hardware that's protecting your computer from external access. While it's more likely to leave clues, it's not always guaranteed to be obvious, especially if you often access your computer yourself remotely.

Right away, you can see that things get complex.

Hackers Don't Always Leave Clues
The sad fact is that a sufficiently talented hacker might not leave any clues that you can easily find. This is one of the concepts that makes "rootkits" different than more traditional malware, like spyware or viruses; rootkits actually affect your system so that the normal ways of looking for files, for example, will not find them.

It takes special tools.

The same is true for just about any aspect of hacking - event logs can be emptied, file date and time stamps can be arbitrarily set or modified, files can be renamed or hidden, even malicious processes can be architected to run as part of some legitimate process, or simply look like a legitimate process themselves.

So, what can you do?

First, Protect Yourself
This is where I repeat the standard litany of "stay safe" advice:

•Use a firewall.

•Use anti-malware tools - both anti-virus and anti-spyware.

•Keep your software as up-to-date as possible.

•If a mobile machine, secure its internet connection.

•Get educated about things like phishing scams, the dangers of email attachments, and just generally safe internet behavior.

I expand on these in what I often refer to as my most important article: Internet Safety: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet?, and I have recommendations for the tools to consider in this article: What Security Software do you recommend?

Prevention is much more effective by far than any attempts to detect a malicious intrusion, either during or after the event.

Clues To Look For
If you suspect that you have been hacked, the first thing to do is to run scans with your anti-malware tools. Make sure that they're up-to-date and that their databases are up-to-date as well, and then run full scans of your entire hard disk.

After that, things get fairly techie - which is why I said earlier that it's difficult (if not impossible) for the average computer user to determine what's happening.

I'll throw out some ideas, but don't feel bad if they're beyond you - this is tough stuff.

Because most malware these days is all about either communicating back over the internet or sending spam, the first thing that I would look at would be the internet activity happening on the machine. Look for processes that you don't recognize sending data to internet end points which you also don't recognize. Don't assume that they're evil without then researching them, but that's a place to start.

I'd use the same strategy for excessive disk activity as well.

It's worth looking at what's running on your machine as well - once again, looking for processes that you don't expect and then researching them.

If you're feeling particularly adventuresome (and you aren't the type to panic easily), then have a peek at the event viewer. The reason that I admonish the easily panicked not to look here is that there will be errors ... lots of them, in fact. That's normal, and that's because, to put it bluntly, the event log is a mess; occasionally, however, there can be clues in that mess. Exactly which clues are there is impossible to predict (remember, I said this was hard), but sometimes, they're helpful.

If You Suspect You Have Been Or Are Being Hacked
If you don't feel that you can trust your computer, then stop using it.

At least, stop using it until you can get to some reasonable level of confidence that all is as it should be, and that your next foray out to your online banking site won't result in, shall we say, "unexpected results".

Taking the time to secure your machine is important. Again, this is why I'm so adamant that prevention is so important.

It's significantly easier to prevent disaster than it is to recover from it.
Article C4807 - April 30, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Can I switch from Windows Vista to Windows XP Pro? Am I going to have problems with drivers, signatures, or certifications?

The most likely answer is that no, you shouldn't have any problems. But the real answer is more like "it depends".

Let's look at the process, and the things that success will depend on.

My first recommendation is actually to consider sticking with Windows Vista. 80% of the most common complaints with Vista can be removed by turning off user access control. That'll disable one of Vista's security features, but it'll be just as secure as XP was.

Other than that and some UI fluff and rearranging, Vista really is just an incremental change on top of XP. There's not really that much to learn for most common usage.

But I certainly get that one person's "not much to learn" can be someone else's "no way do I want to deal with all that".

"My first recommendation is actually to consider sticking with Windows Vista."I would first contact your computer manufacturer and see if they offer Windows XP for your daughter's laptop. If they can provide it, then the chances of success are very high, since it'll naturally come with all the manufacturer specific drivers that you might need.

If that's not an option, then your next best alternative is to purchase a retail copy of Windows XP from any of the vendors still selling it (Amazon, for example). This will get you a working copy of Windows XP for the laptop.

The problem, if you want to call it that, is that any manufacturer-specific drivers and software will not be included. So, for example, if Gateway includes Gateway-specific drivers for Gateway-specific hardware you won't have those. Chances are your hardware will still operate, but some of the non-standard features may not be enabled.

The good news here is that those drivers are typically still available from the manufacturer. You'll need to check with them when you discover what's missing. The bad news, of course, is that you have to go through this and do the research after you've installed Windows XP and find out what isn't working quite the way you expected.

But chances are good that the things missing might not be things you'd even notice. It all depends on your computer, and what you're used to doing with it.


Switching from Vista to XP is considered a downgrade. That means that the Windows XP setup program will see that you have a newer version of Windows already on your machine. As a result it will refuse to overwrite it.

There are two approaches, neither of them ideal:

If Windows XP Setup allows you to, install Windows XP "along side" Windows Vista. That is, Vista is not removed and XP is installed separately. You might even end up with dual-boot to allow you to choose at boot time which one you want.

Unfortunately, you'll still have to reinstall all your applications. Applications that were installed on Vista, even though Vista remains, will not be "installed" and setup properly for your new Windows XP installation. Even worse, switching between XP and Vista, if you choose to do so, may get confusing as configuration changes will need to be made in both places.

My recommendation is that you instead backup, reformat and reinstall from scratch. This will remove everything from your system hard disk, including Vista, all applications and data. Then you can reinstall Windows XP cleanly from scratch, reinstall all your applications (which we saw we'd have to do anyway), and restore any data you might need from other disks or your backup.

Reverting from Vista to XP is no small task. By and large it should work, and work well, but depending on the support of your computer's vendor, there may be niggling little issues that remain after the "downgrade".

That's why my honest recommendation, particularly for a machine with Vista pre-installed, is to simply bite the bullet and give Vista a chance.
Article C3304 - February 28, 2008

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Link for Microsoft Forums and Tools

Click below for helpful computer information:

Windows Support Links

Link for Operating Sytem Reinstallation

Need information on how to reinstall the operating system onto your computer? Click below:

Operating System Reinstallation