Friday, April 13, 2007

TIP-My computer just rebooted for no reason, why?

I must say when Microsoft decides they are going to 'release the hounds' that is what they do, and according to some tech firms, I guess some of the most recent security updates were not even part of the advertised patches that were going to be released. In any case with most computers, these updates would have either downloaded and installed automatically, or downloaded to your computer, waiting for you to click on the gold shield to say ok to the updates, and in saying this, you most likely clicked on what was their "recommended" choice. This, in my opinion was the big mistake, since Microsoft released their WGA tools (again, this is only my opinion) but I have seen more problems as a result.

Personally, when I was away from home for a few weeks, I was really looking forward to catching up on all the tv programs that should have automatically recorded to my computer as I use Snapstream Media's "Beyond TV" software which is wonderful. However, when I returned home, I found my computer sitting there waiting for me to log in and so I knew my computer had rebooted.... yes, that dreaded Microsoft Updates had been turned back on, on my system even after I had turned it off! Why? Because like most people (or at least the ones that know me and have followed my steps in attempting to keep their systems 'spyware/malware' free) I have run the spybot search and destroy program. When this program is completed, if you have it set up as I do, to automatically remove whatever it finds, or to 'fix' what it finds as a security problem, it had automatically turned this back on! So, the trick here is to tell the program (spybot search & destroy) to 'forget checking for this program error from now on" or to 'leave this security problem alone' Next step is to go and turn the windows updates selection to 'notify only' that there are updates available.. forget having them download to your computer, forget automatically doing it for sure! This is pretty much my new philosophy and it is mostly because I believe Microsoft has brought it on themselves. Since I am tech and sure, I can do whatever I want to my computer, but when I have a few hundred clients that have been also following in my footsteps, what security tools and settings should be installed and set to, it means I am either going to be answering a lot of questions when there are problems, or I can point them to my blog. To those IT people handling hundreds, if not thousands, of computers within their own company, they too require TIME in order to keep things up to date and sure it would be nice to take advantage of something that will automatically do this for you, but when rules are required to choose which is right and which is wrong, depending on your current winodws configuration, then this can really start to be taxing on the IT department. This is probably by far, the number one thing I like about the blog is the fact that I can search my own blogs and then point people to the results so that I am not repeating myself in some lengthy email or telephone dialogue. In many cases, Microsoft themselves aren't to blame because of the obvious holes that are found by hackers and security writers since new technology is being written and created every day. Technology that now finds a new way to open something up. Some new way that was not thought about at the time the machine was built. This is no different then the time that lead gasoline was removed from the gas pumps, some of the older engines had trouble with the 'no-lead' and required additives to operate properly. This is pretty much the same reason the patches are required for your computer's operating system, but because so many of these updates relate to the browsing functions (Internet explorer) by simply changing your browser choice can save you a lot of frustrations, but not entirely. That is the thing about using a computer, like riding a bike right... the more you ride it the better you are going to get at it. Well sure, that is the same however, if you are being taught incorrectly, or are simply not aware of the right and wrong procedures in say, downloading a file (saving it to your computer first and then opening it), with the web the way it is where you point and click and something happens, in the case of watching video on youtube for example, there is really nothing the person has to do but point and click So when prompted 'open or save', it is no wonder people choose 'open'. But with a little knowledge of the difference between streaming video and an application file, you would know the correct response when you click on the link in the first place.

So getting back to why my computer just rebooted on it's own. Well that is because the windows updates were performed and now the system needs to reboot to complete the installation and tell the windows registry of the changes. If you have your system set to automatically perform these windows updates, then your system may need to restart and in all fairness, a pop up message does tell you this and will even start counting down, depending on your version of operating system, so you can actually post-pone the reboot, but if you aren't at the computer, then there should be no problem, right? Well in my case a password is required to restart all the programs that would run once you are logged in, including my Beyond TV program, so not only did my system reboot on its own, but I was left with only a week of programming, missing a weeks episode of Survivor, The Amazing Race and Heroes! Thanks to the Internet and the fact that you can watch copies of programs that you missed--oh wait a minute, I live in Canada and you have to live in the United States to do that! What a bogus set up that is!.. so what is the solution to the problem? In my case, I first set my windows update to 'notify only' and then I also have the security center turned off (thanks but I am well aware of the security risks since I would be the person that would have to fix my own computer I'll take that chance), then I will perform all of my spyware scans using the set programs that I always recommend from my OPTIMIZING TIPS and always available through the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page. When such programs as spybot search & destroy is finished finding the security errors including the security center being turned off (and possibly windows updates being turned off if you have chosen to completely turn it off), then you will want to create a rule in that program, telling it to omit searching for this security problem next time. Now, if all goes well, my system will not reboot.. on its own!

There are also ways I could have left the security settings alone and instead of changing these, by adding an 'auto log-in' feature through the program x-setup. The problem with this is you have thrown out the security of your account since anyone can reboot and viola, they are logged in, so if that is the case, you might as well just remove the password altogether and if you do this (and are set to using the welcome screen in the user accounts), and you only have the one user, then your system should boot right up to your desktop.

So as you can see, no matter how 'tuned in' you are with regards to the Internet and technology and computing, you will always be thrown some sort of snag that you have to work out.. it is called learning.. and for me it is something that I probably enjoy the most about technology, the fact that something you did last year that took 10 steps can now be done in 5 because of new ways of getting to the end result. That is what I call progress, since less TIME is required, even if more resources are used to accomplish this and that is exactly what you see with computing today--more programs and applications are running all the time on your computer then it did back in the windows 95 days and a lot of that is due to the fact that we have high-speed Internet and networking and file sharing and millions and millions of new users logging in to the Internet each and every day (for their first time).