Archive for the ‘PC Maintenance’ Category

Internet Explore Warning!

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

As of 4/1/19 having Internet Explorer on your computer can cause security issues. This applies to:

Windows Server 2019 Windows 10 1803 (tbd, codename RS4) Windows 10 1709 (Fall Creators update, codename RS3) Windows 10 1703 (Creators update, codename RS2) Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary update, codename RS1) / Windows Server 2016 Windows 10 1511 (November update, codename TH2) Windows 10 1507 (RTM, codename TH1) Windows 8.1/Windows 2012 R2 Windows 8/Windows 2012 Windows 7 SP1/Windows 2008 R2 SP1 Windows Vista/Windows 2008.

Until Microsoft issues a patch ( that they seem reluctant to do) It is best to let another browser handle Mht files. You can do this by going to control panel/ Default Programs and scroll down the page (Windows 10) and select “Choose default apps by file type”. Scroll down the left side to .MHT, click on Internet Explorer icon on the right and choose another browser.

The problem is a weakness that exploits the way a browser handles MHTML (MHT) files. This is IE’s default web page archiving format. It  allows the remote attacker to steal local files and conduct remote spying on locally installed information.

04/19/19 UPDATE:

Windows 10, IE and MHT files Here’s an easy way to disassociate Internet Explorer from MHT in Win10:

Step 1: Make sure filename extensions are showing. Click on File Explorer (the icon at the bottom that looks like a file folder), then at the top click View. Make sure the box marked File name extensions is checked.

Step 2: Right-click an empty spot on your desktop and choose File > New > Rich Text Format (actually, any kind of file will work). Windows puts a new file of that type on your desktop, with the name already highlighted so you can change it.

Step 3: Rename the file to wow.mht or anythingelse.mht. Make sure you’ve deleted all of the old filename, including the part to the right of the period. Hit enter. Windows will nag you about changing file name extensions. Click Yes, thank you, Mother Microsoft.

Step 4: Right-click on the newly created mht file and click Open with….

Step 5: Click More apps, then Notepad (or some equally innocuous program), check the box marked Always use the app to open .mht files, and click OK.

Step 6: Test to make sure you’ve subverted MHT files by double-clicking on your desktop MHT file. From that point on, any MHT file will open in Notepad – and the infection cycle has been broken.

Windows 7 and 8.1

The process is more straightforward in Win7 and 8.1. Here’s how: Step 1: Click Start > Control Panel > Programs and under Default Programs click Make a file type always open in a specific program. Step 2: On the left, scroll down to .mht. See how it’s associated with Internet Explorer? Click on mht and click Change program… Windows shows you a pane that’s marked Open with. Step 3. On the lower right, click Browse, navigate to c:\Windows\System32, scroll way down, click on Notepad.exe and click Open. Click OK.

The process is more straightforward in Win7 and 8.1.

Step 1: Click Start > Control Panel > Programs and under Default Programs click Make a file type always open in a specific program.

Step 2: On the left, scroll down to .mht. See how it’s associated with Internet Explorer? Click on mht and click Change program… Windows shows you a pane that’s marked Open with.

Step 3. On the lower right, click Browse, navigate to c:\Windows\System32, scroll way down, click on Notepad.exe and click Open. Click OK.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) fake virus

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

I have mentioned online frauds like this several times in other posts.

Never, I mean NEVER fall victim to scammers that call you on the phone and say your computer is infected, or your Microsoft license needs to be renewed. If your screen gets a bogus pop up saying you are infected, simply reboot your computer to eliminate the warning. And never let anyone remote into your computer saying they will do a scan to fix your computer. Except, of course, a professional like myself. I can remove viruses and tune up your computer from a remote location. I have provided this service over 10 years and will repair your computer for a fraction of the cost of these  fraudulent support scammers.

This post is about one of the latest scams to take your money. It is called the fake BSOD or Blue Screen of Death virus.

BSOD is a term from the early days of MS Windows. The BSOD was a system crash that led to a blue error screen telling you to shut down. However, this new support fraud instructs you to not shut down, else your data will be compromised, deleted or otherwise ruined.

Out of desperation, many people panic and forget to call me. They dial the displayed toll-free number (toll free telephone? in 2017! Ridiculous) A “technician” answers and instructs you your computer has been infected with malware. They tell you to shut the computer off and contact a certified Microsoft technician for repair. It is explained it would take a week to fix and cost roughly $350. Of course this inconvenience is a lot to ask so, of course, the fake technician states “No problem, we can repair your machine remotely for $250. After the fee is paid ( which compromises your credit or bank card) time passes while it appears the computer is being fixed. In addition to taking money from you, the computer was never infected and the “technician” most likely installed a subpar antivirus program that will allow them to charge you a yearly fee. I had one customer tell me she asked the alleged technician if she was being scammed. The technician replied “No, but you are asking all the right questions” What an honest sounding company, they even said it was not a scam. If it was a scam they would tell you, right? Phony psychological comfort like this puts someone at ease and logic and sensibility get buried.

Remember: No one that ever contacts you via phone or email and says your infected can ever know if you are indeed infected. They are simply gambling with cold calling until they find an uneducated and trusting person. In addition, if you ever get a call saying your MS Windows license is up and you need to renew – this is never true. If they say they are from Microsoft and will clean your computer -this is never true. Microsoft is a software company and they do not clean infected computers. Only third party technicians like myself are qualified to do this work.

If something like this happens to you, call me and I will show you how to eliminate this fake virus. I will charge $25, much less than the hundreds these fraudulent companies charge. Even if you do have an infected computer our charge is $45 to $65 for a remote cleaning. Charging over $200 for a virus removal is ridiculous.


Never allow ANYONE to remote into your computer unless you ABSOLUTELY know they are an honest company. Read their website information, Facebook page, and talk to people who have used their service. Online scammers are getting VERY sneaky in their approach to finding was of separating you from your hard earned money.


  • Never call the toll free number
  • Do not click anywhere within the popup window
  • Close the browser from Task Manager
  • Reboot your computer
  • If all fails call me!

Paul – Coast Computing 561.452.6132



Fixing a Non-Responding Windows 10 Start Menu

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

One of the most anoying bugs in Windows 10 is a non-responding start menu. If you click the start menu and it does not open, here are a few solutions that have worked for me.

Solution 1

  • Launch Task manager

Press the [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del] keys on the keyboard at the same time, or right click the Taskbar, and select Task manager.


  1. Run a new Windows task

When the Task manager window opens, click the More details option to expand it, then select Run new task from the File menu.


  1. Run Windows PowerShell

When the Run new task dialog box opens, type powershell, tick the box for Create this task with administrative privileges and click OK.


  1. Run the System File Checker

Type sfc /scannow into the window and press the [Return] key. The scan may take some time and will end with one of three results. Windows did not find any integrity violations and Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and repaired them mean there are now no corrupt files, but Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some (or all) of them indicates a problem.

In this latter case, type (or copy and paste) DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth into the PowerShell window and press the [Return] key. This will download files from Windows Update to replace the corrupt ones and, again, this may take some time.


Solution 2:

Reinstall all Windows apps

Downloading and reinstalling all Windows 10 apps reportedly fixes a stuck Start menu. This isn’t as drastic as it sounds — ‘Windows apps’ are the ones built into Windows 10 and available from the Windows Store. They used to be called ‘Modern’ apps and, before that, ‘Metro’ — Microsoft just changed the name with Windows 10.

Better still, the reinstallation is automatic and should only take a few minutes. The process might delete any data you have saved in these Windows apps, though, so backup anything important before you begin.

Apps that store data online, in Microsoft OneDrive or as files in a separate folder (such as the Photos app) should be unaffected.

Warning: Recent reports indicate that this process may cause some Windows Store apps to stop working, so be mindful of this before continuing.

  1. Reinstall Windows apps

Launch the Task manager and open a new PowerShell window with administrative privileges, as explained above.

When the Windows PowerShell window opens copy the line below and paste it into the PowerShell window by simply right-clicking at the blinking PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> prompt, or by pressing [Ctrl] + [V] on the keyboard:

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

Wait until the app download and installation process completes — ignore any red text that appears — and restart Windows.


Solution 3:

Create a new user account

If reinstalling Windows apps doesn’t work, creating a new user account usually will. If you’re currently using a Microsoft account, your settings will also transfer to the new account once you upgrade it from the default local account. You’ll need to transfer your local files from one account to the other in all cases, though. Your installed software won’t be affected.

  1. Launch Task manager

Open Task manager (see above) and select Run new task from its File menu.

Tick the box for Create this task with administrative privileges and type net user NewUsername NewPassword /add in the box.

You’ll need to replace NewUsername and NewPassword with the username and password you want to use — neither can contain spaces and the password is case sensitive (i.e. capital letters matter).


  1. Log into the new account

Restart Windows and log into the new user account. The Start menu should now work, so you can change the new local account to a Microsoft account, and transfer your files and settings.


Solution 4:

Refresh your PC

As a last resort, you can ‘refresh’ your Windows 10 installation, which is much the same as reinstalling the operating system. Your documents won’t be affected, but you’ll need to reinstall any applications that aren’t part of Windows.


  1. Restart Windows in Troubleshooting mode

Close any open applications and press the [Windows] + [L] keys to log out of your Windows account — or just restart Windows. On the login screen, click the Power icon at the bottom right, hold down the [Shift] key and select the Restart option.


  1. Reset your PC

When the blue Choose an option screen appears, click Troubleshoot, followed by Reset this PC. finally, click the Keep my files option and follow the on-screen instructions.

Run the Anniversary Update

Microsoft rolled out its second major update to Windows 10 in August 2016, known as the Anniversary Update.

The company hasn’t stated whether it would fix any of the Start Menu issues specifically, but a few visual tweaks were made which could iron out the problems.

The Anniversary Update should be rolled out to your machine automatically, but if it hasn’t landed yet you can force it to come through now.

Simply go to Settings and select Update & security.

Then click on the Check for updates button and the Anniversary Update should come through.

Another major update, dubbed the Creators Update, is also due to roll out on April 11. This may also include some fixes for the Start Menu.




Friday, October 24th, 2014

In following our “Installing programs without installing unwanted malware” posts I have found a program that can help you while installing freeware. Unchecky ( is a free app that automatically unchecks every adware checkbox in most installation dialogue boxes. This program will help prevent the unintended installation of adware.


Installing programs without installing unwanted malware – Part 2

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Potentially unwanted programs are often proposed during the installation of software. They may be present in the form of toolbars that can change the home page of your browser, which can slow internet searching.

To avoid the installation of these programs polluting your computer, it is essential you follow these tips:

  • Always download a program from the official link, or a trusted site
  • When installing a program, do not click too fast [Next] without paying attention to Terms of Use and third-party programs available
  • If third-party programs are available (toolbars, etc.) uncheck all checkboxes about them
  • Enable detection of PUP’s (Potentially Unwanted Programs) in your antivirus

Installing programs without installing unwanted malware – Part 1

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

In a previous paper we explained companies will try and install unneeded programs within legitimate downloads. This is a classic problem when you install a  program from an internet site.  To generate commerce, other programs are included, by default, unless you specifically act to not install these additional programs. Most of these are rogue programs with hidden  spyware and adware code, others are toolbars from Google or Yahoo.

I have included a typical download from CNET for an example. This is a popular site for downloading programs to for your PC. In this example we want to download a program called Revo Uninstaller. This is a program for uninstalling programs from your computer, and is a more thorough program than the one included with Windows.

We start with the download link:

This brings up the following dialog:


Clicking the run control button takes you:


We then click next and we go here:


If you were to select Recommended Express Installation you will wind up installing numerous unwanted programs. Click the Advanced Installation to view these programs. Always select advanced Installation to monitor and select what you want to install. When we select Advanced Installation we get these entries:


Notice there are FOUR additional programs that would have been installed by default!

Uncheck these boxes so it looks like this and select Next Step.


Now, this box appears, and it is misleading. It appears you are accepting the Terms of Service for Revo Uninstaller, when you are really accepting to install a program called Wajam. This is nothing more than a social search engine that will spy on your computer use. Select Decline, and the next box pops up with a similar advertisement.



Again, select Decline or you will install RealPlayer, a program not used since the 1990’s. Your computer already has a media player so you do not need another.


Decline this box also. MyPCBackup is a program you do not need.



FINALLY. The one program you wanted is finally downloading. The next screen that appears, allows you to install the one program you were after.


Remember, whenever you install a program from the Internet, always decline unneeded programs and select Advanced Install, if available, so that you do not clutter your hard drive and memory with unneeded programs.

Something new: A new CNET download had the same boxes as listed above, however, the decline button appears grayed out giving the impression it is not available. This is false. You can still click the decline button. It is functional, it just looks like it is not in focus. TRICKY

PF – 6.5.13