Completely Uninstall Norton

March 4, 2007

Use Symantec’s own tool to completely remove any remnants left after uninstalling Norton products.

Disable Data Execution Prevention (DEP)

March 4, 2007

1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

2. Under Pick a category, click Performance and Maintenance.

3. Under or Pick a Control Panel icon, click System.

4. Click the Advanced tab, and in the Startup and Recovery area, click Settings.

5. In the SystemStartup area, click Edit.

6. In Notepad, click Edit and then click Find.

7. In the Find what field, type /noexecute and then click Find Next.

8. In the Find dialog box click Cancel.

9. Replace the policy_level (for example, “OptIn” default) with “AlwaysOff” (without the quotes).

WARNING: Be sure to enter the text carefully. Your boot.ini file switch should now read:


10. In Notepad, click File and then click Save.

11. Click OK to close Startup and Recovery.

12. Click OK to close System Properties and then restart your computer.
*This setting does not provide any DEP coverage for any part of the system, regardless of hardware DEP support.

:: Verifying DEP is Disabled ::

1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

2. Under Pick a category, click Performance and Maintenance.

3. Under or Pick a Control Panel icon, click System.

4. Click the Advanced tab.

5. In the Performance area, click Settings and then click Data Execution Prevention.

6. Verify that the DEP settings are unavailable and then click OK to close Performance Settings.

7. Click OK to close System Properties then close Performance and Maintenance.

Using Linux

March 4, 2007

I’m the first to say that Linux has a way to go before it will unseat Windows, but it’s a lot closer that it’s ever been. I generally recommend trying a Live CD version first – that’s a Linux you can run from the CD without installing – to see if it supports your hardware fully. Lack of hardware support is the chief issue for new users.
HP makes drivers for its hardware for Windows, but does not for Linux. Getting your hardware to work means finding a user contributed driver.

Laptop compatibility is more difficult than desktop since laptops often use unusal hardware. I recommend a visit to Linux on Laptops,, for specifics about which Linux distros work best for your laptop.


Windows Can’t See USB Hard Drive

March 4, 2007

I see this a lot with USB drives. I found these general USB drive troubleshooting tips on the Microsoft support boards.

1. Access Disk Management and see if the USB device is listed. If so, and there’s no drive letter assigned, see if you can assign a drive letter to the device.

2. If the USB device is listed in Disk Management with an assigned drive letter, right-click on its listing and select Explore from the submenu. Hopefully, Windows Explorer will open and the device will be listed.

3. Connect the USB device *directly* to a USB port on the computer, not via a USB hub. Try different USB ports if your computer has more than one.

4. Do not use a USB extension cable.

5. Try alternate powering on/off methods. If the USB device contains its own power supply, try booting up with its power on, then try powering on only * after* the system has booted to a Desktop.

6. Try a different USB cable.

7. In the USB controllers section of Device Manager, uninstall all the USB controllers listed and reboot.
8. If the device in question is HD which you installed in a USB enclosure, jumper the USB external HD as Master (or Single if the HD is a Western Digital disk). A number of users have reported that jumper configuration corrected their non-recognition problem. In my own experience it didn’t seem to matter how a USB external HD was jumpered. But it may be worth a try.

9. If the device in question is a USB external HD, first check out the HD with the hard drive manufacturer’s diagnostic utility. If it checks out OK, and you can remove the HD from its enclosure (without voiding any applicable warranty), do so and install the HD as an internal HD to determine if there are problems with the drive.

10. If the USB device is connected to a USB 2.0 PCI card, try changing the PCI slot to which it’s currently connected to another one.

11. Access the website of the manufacturer of the USB device to determine if there’s any firmware update or info re the problem you’re experiencing or there’s any possibility that the USB enclosure itself might be defective.


Transferring video from an analog camcorder to the computer

March 4, 2007

You can get an external box like the Moviebox, or you can get an internal TV tuner like Hauppage[]. Another choice would be to get a DV camera with something called analog passthrough.


Extending the Contextual Menu (right-click menu)

March 4, 2007

It depends on what you want to add. If you’d like to add items to the Send To menu, you can just put shortcuts to the items in the hidden Send To menu in your user folder. There are many other programs out there that will add capabilities to the right-click menu. They do it by modifying the registry.


Mysterious Startup Item

March 4, 2007

There is the tried and true ‘msconfig’, which is included in Windows and accessible via start > run, type msconfig. You might also want to try a better program than MSConfig. There is Autoruns, free from Microsoft (Microsoft recently acquired Sysinternals, so I’m not sure how much longer their software will be available. )

Simply disabling the entry won’t accomplish much if it is spyware or a virus, however. I recommend using Microsoft Defender , Ad-Aware, or AVG Anti-Spyware for a second opinion. If you are infected by spyware, disinfection is a time-consuming and difficult process. It’s often easier and more effective just to re-install Windows. The best way to disable a start-up item is to remove it from start-up via the settings within each program. I’ve seen those semi-anonymous startup items too and I don’t blame you for not trusting them—if it was reputable software, it should tell you what it is in the msconfig tab! And finding the location is a pain because Microsoft in their infinite wisdom has made it impossible to resize the msconfig window….argh!!! There is one trick you can use to try to figure out what that item’s full location is, though:

There is a line between “command and “location” at the top of the list of items. Click on the bar and drag it slightly to the left. That should expose another bar to the right of the Location option. Grab that bar, and while holding down the left mouse button to drag it, keep your mouse going to the right to open up a bunch of space for the Location tab. As you do this, a scroll bar will appear on the bottom of the window…keep moving that bar over until the scroll bar is a lot longer, to make sure you have the whole registry key exposed. Then, when you let go, you should be able to scroll over and see the whole location. It’s a kludge, but it works!