Friday, 13 June 2014

Computer Viruses and Worms

Humans regard computer viruses and worms as a potential reason for the downfall in technology. If you are wondering which types of viruses and worms affect PCs and laptops, you have come to the right article.

I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image. ~ Stephen Hawking.

I think this quote justifies the drastic effects of different viruses on PCs and laptops. This may sound strange, but I think that these viruses and worms have positive and negative effects on technology and human life. On one side, it has devastating effects, disrupts productivity, and causes loss of billions of dollars. On the other hand, viruses show how smart and interconnected human beings have become.

Computer viruses are almost similar to biological viruses and worms, they multiply and for survival they need a host. The common factor, in both scenarios is a weak link; in humans, a weak immune system and in computers, a vulnerable system. Let's have a simple answer to the question what is a computer virus? According to Websters dictionary, a computer virus is defined as a program which is usually hidden with another innocent program which duplicates itself, inserts itself into other programs and files, and later performs hazardous functions to destroy data. Always remember that these viruses are not natural, they are created and spread to healthy computers to infect them.

Famous Computer Viruses

By famous we mean the ones that have affected millions of machines leading to huge social and economical damages. Throughout history you will come across a huge list of computer viruses and worms created by man, but the names mentioned here are the most dangerous ones.

I think everyone who has owned a computer has heard about this dreaded virus. I LOVE YOU is believed to be one of the most dangerous viruses. It was developed by VBScript and was discovered on 4th May 2000 in Philippines. In just 24 hours it had affected PCs in every country, leading to a loss of USD 5.5 billion. Everything starts from an email which arrives in the user's inbox with I LOVE YOU as the subject. After entering the system, the virus attaches a copy of itself on each file of the computer. In addition to this, it sends a copy of itself to all the users who would be on the victim's contact list.

Ranking at #5 in the list of most dangerous computer viruses, Conficker was born in November 2009 and it affected more than 5 million PCs in a short span of time. It is credited for creating a secure worldwide infrastructure for cyber crime. This worm duplicates itself and spreads via a buffer overflow, a weakness in the server of machines using Windows OS. After entering the machine, it affects services like Windows Update, Windows Defender, Windows Security Center, and Windows Error Report. Today having the best antivirus you can is a good option, as it is able to destroy this worm which had created hell in countries like India, China, and Brazil.

This nasty worm ruined almost everything that came in its path and was the talk of the Internet for many months. This computer virus spread by penetrating into a vulnerable network. It created havoc wherever it went, from the British Coast Guard to Delta Airlines, which had to cancel some of its flights after its systems were infected by Sasser.

Asporex Botnet
Asporex Botnet is the reason for many phishing scams. Discovered in 2008, the Asporex Botnet has been used to launch many high profile attacks on different websites to spread malware. The Botnet makes itself ready in a very unusual way and infects mostly those websites which are running Active Server Pages. The Botnet always attacks in waves and each wave is designed to infect as many websites as possible.

List of Computer Viruses and Worms
These viruses and worms are always part of the news, damaging systems and causing malfunctioning in networks are one of the many problems that a virus or worm causes in a PC or a laptop.
  • Code Red
  • Nimda
  • Blaster
  • Creeper
  • SQL Slammer
  • Elk Cloner
  • Jerusalem
  • Melissa
  • Barrotes
  • The Morris Internet Worm
The best way to make your computer safe from different types of viruses is to install the best antivirus program and keep updating it regularly.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Boot Up Problems

Depending on their cause, computer boot up problems range from mild to severe. Read this article to learn about some common boot up problems in Windows XP and Vista, along with their solutions.

As soon as you switch on the power supply to your computer, the computer's BIOS starts and along with it the CMOS program also begins. The CMOS program starts checking all hardware devices in the computer, like the processor and memory. After doing this, it moves on to checking various other drives like CD ROM, DVD ROM, hard drive, USB drive, and the floppy drive as well. Once all this is checked, it moves on to checking various files, cards, and any other devices installed on the computer. The BIOS then looks out for any floppy present in the floppy drive for it to boot from. In the absence of one, it boots from the hard drive and then loads the windows registry. Any hindrance in the above process can be a cause of the problems faced when booting up.

Booting Up Errors in Windows XP and Vista

Computer Reboots When Shutdown Command is Given

If you give the shut down command and your computer restarts instead, it means that there is something causing a system failure during the shutdown process. To stop this, you will have to click on the 'Start' button and click on 'Run'. In 'Run", type 'sysdm.cpl' and hit 'Enter'. In the window that appears, you will have to click on the Advanced Tab → Settings → Start up and Recovery. Go to the 'Automatically Restart' option and uncheck the box next to it.

You will notice that your windows has stopped rebooting, but the system failure problem still persists. However, the error message window displayed when your computer starts, will give you the cause of the problem. At times, this problem could also be due to a hardware error. It is therefore advisable to call a qualified computer repair personnel to solve this problem.

Computer Freezes at Windows Boot Up Screen

If your computer screen freezes before windows is loaded from the hard drive, there is a hardware problem. To figure this out, try booting your computer from a USB flash drive or a CD/DVD. If your computer boots from any other drive apart from the hard drive, a fault in that particular drive could interfere with the booting, even after you have emptied the drive. You will have to figure out which drive is causing the problem by changing the boot order from your BIOS settings. When your computer starts, you might get a message saying 'Press F2 for Setup' and look for 'Boot Order' or 'Boot Options'. In the boot order, keep your first option as "Hard Drive', and exit. If this stops your problem, you can try putting different devices in the first option and figure out which drive is faulty.

If the problem still continues, there is a serious hardware problem. Unplug all your motherboard connections and carefully connect them back properly once again, and see if it works. Your last option should be to call for an authorized computer repair agent who would help you fix this boot up problem.

Windows Needs a Password to Boot
Windows is programmed to ask for a password before starting, only to protect your computer from eing used by somebody else, without your consent. However, if you have trustworthy people around, and don't mind them using your desktop computer, you can easily remove this option. To turn off the password characteristic, you should first click on the 'Start' button and then on 'Run'. In 'Run' type the command - 'controluserpasswords2', and hit 'Enter'. In the window which appears, you will find an option 'users must enter a username and password to use this computer. Uncheck the box next to this and click 'OK'. Once you do this, a dialog box will appear on screen, wherein you need to type your username and password for the last time. After this, your computer will boot automatically without asking you for any password.

Troubleshooting certain computer startup problems may require help from qualified technicians. This is required when problems are due to certain technical issues which are beyond the comprehension of common people lacking specific knowledge. Regularly updating and maintaining your computer is enough to keep most problems at bay.

Thanks to Suketu Mehta

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

High CPU Usage Problem

The CPU usage rate on your computer determines the speed at which your machine operates. The problem of high CPU usage may be faced from time to time, and this means that some parameter of your machine is causing it to be very slow.

If you are experiencing such difficulties on your computer, then the decreased speed of your machine can lead to a lot of confusion. This is something that happens quite frequently, and there are a variety of reasons that may lead to abnormally high CPU usage rates.

The first thing you need to know is how to check this rate on your machine. You can do so by pressing 'Ctrl + Shift + Esc', or by pressing 'Ctrl + Alt + Delete', and then clicking the 'Task Manager' option. In the subsequent window that opens, you need to click on the 'Processes' tab. This will show you the rate of CPU usage of all the applications that are currently running on the computer. You can also double click on the 'CPU' option, and you will see all the applications in ascending or descending order of the usage rate.

A high usage problem will be evident from this window, and you will need to fix this immediately. If you fail to do so, your machine will continue to run at an excruciatingly slow pace. Also note that this technique is useful only for people using Microsoft Windows.

Causes and Preventive Measures


There are a load of viruses and malicious software that can harm and affect your computer by different ways. One of the most common effects of these programs, is to gain control of your CPU usage, and involve it in a completely meaningless task. Note that high usage with no programs running is a clear indicator that your machine has been breached by a harmful program.

In order to solve this difficulty, you must purchase an effective antivirus software, and upgrade it from its official website on a regular basis.

Another cause is a faulty program, or some sort of a damaged file. Though, it is impossible to check the legibility of each and every file on your machine, there is a way you can get to the bottom of this problem. Go to the 'Start' menu, click on 'Run', type 'msconfig' in the opened box, and hit Enter. Now click the 'Startup' tab and check all the items that have been ticked. If you see anything suspicious, uncheck it. Reboot your machine after each item you uncheck, and then note the CPU usage each time. This should help you to pinpoint the program responsible for the high usage. This is one of the many ways to make your computer faster than its normal speed.

When you are checking the CPU usage for your programs, you will see an option known as 'System Idle Process'. The usage rate for this will always be very high, and in such cases there is no need to be alarmed.

Sometimes when you are running some heavy applications on your computer, the usage will shoot up considerably. This is not something that you need to be concerned with. Check the usage when there are no programs running, in order to get a true picture about any malicious software's presence. If your heavy program is not responding at all, then you can choose to end it from the Task Manager window, and this will solve the above difficulty.

Also, make sure that you are running your Windows updates on a regular basis, and also updating your antivirus software at least once a week. They are absolutely essential for your machines well-being, and the regularity with which you take care of them will determine the computer performance levels.

If everything you try fails, just take your machine to a computer repair shop, and tell them the problem that you are facing. A trained and experienced professional will be able to solve such difficulties in a short time.
Thank to