DNS Change Virus, TDSS, Alureon, TidServ and TDL4 viruses

DNS Change Virus Working Group - About UsIf you are wondering about the rumors you’ve heard on the possibility of losing internet service on Monday July 9, 2012, you have come to the right place. They are not rumors, they are a reality. On Monday July 9th of 2012, millions of people may lose their internet service because of a virus affecting the way the computer looks for internet sites. This virus is commonly known as the DNS Change Virus, but is also known as the TDSS virus, Alureon virus, TidServ virus, and TDL4 virus.

All Systems affected by the DNS Change Virus

Any computer or device that connects to the internet may be infected by this virus: windows systems, mac computers, smart phones, tablets, routers, cable modems, dsl modems, etc. This virus family is pervasive. Ugh! if only those bright minds would put their god-given talents to good use! It is so sad that many of these bright minded people are now convicted felons, doing jail time and banned from computers. If you are not sure if your system has been affected, you can find out in just a few clicks with nothing to install or download whether your system has been compromised by the DNS Change Virus.

Detect for the DNS change virusTo check your computer to see if you have been affected by the DNS Change Virus, you can go to a site set up by the FBI. All you have to do is simply click on one or several of the links on the FBI page with NOTHING TO DOWNLOAD and the browser will tell you whether your machine has been compromised or not. A lot of computers may have the virus, and their owners may not be aware of it at all.

How does the DNS Change Virus work?

As usual, some enterprising criminal minds decided to create a virus that would reside on computers re-routing the way they look up at websites when doing a search online. In order to re-route the traffic udetected, they set up what I will call “bad” servers. Through these “bad” servers they would capture all the traffic from the infected computers and insert among the search results “bad links” in such a way that would almost be undetectable to the user browsing online. Forcing traffic, to certain degree, through choice sites for their personal gain. Well, why else go through all that trouble, right? See the problem is, they left out consumer choice, and that is why the feds got involved.

I will use a simple metaphor to explain what was happening. Imagine a “detour” sign on the highway, that nobody authorized that literally made you go through a restaurant’s drive through window at lunch time when you were trying to go to the post office, or stores with special bargains on highly coveted consumer goods around payday as you were headed to the bank to deposit your check. Well, isn’t what good marketing does? Yes, and no. Good marketing makes consumer goods highly desirable, but they do not force you to walk into the restaurant or store before you head to the bank to deposit your paycheck. And of course, there was some financial gain involved in this scheme for those who implemented this highly sophisticated hijacking system. When the hackers got busted last year by the FBI, the feds realized that if they turned off the hackers’ bad servers, hundreds of thousands of people would not be able to access the internet as the “detour” route would come to a dead end, and service providers would be overwhelmed with calls from users. So they set up “good” servers to give users and systems a chance to disconnect or stop being re-routed by the “bad” servers. A year later, tens of thousands of systems and Fortune 500 companies are still infected. Monday July 9th 2012, the good servers will be turned off. So, now is a good time to check with nothing to download, and in a couple of clicks your browser will let you know right away whether you are infected with the DNS Change virus or not.

STEP ONE – Check your system

Go to the FBI site, and click on one of the links on this page:
http://www.dcwg.org/detect/

You will soon see this table
DNS Changer - Check Servers TableAll you have to do is click on any of the links listed there and your browser will tell you right away whether your computer is infected or not. If you are not infected, great! If you ARE infected, keep reading as there is more help for you.

STEP TWO: What to do if infected with the DNS Change virus

How to fix DNS Change VirusIf you are the Do-it-yourself kind of person like me, the kind who reads all instructions manuals without skipping sections or chapters to make sure all bases are covered, then simply go to this page on the FBI site to read more on how to fix a DNS change or TDSS virus infection, use the tools listed there and follow the necessary steps to rid your system of the pesky hijacking DNS change virus.

FBI page on how to fix a DNS Change virus infection: http://www.dcwg.org/fix/

If you are not sure how to go about it, then reach out to a trusted technician, computer guru or professional to help you as you could complicate DNS lookup and other related functions on your system that could cause you great frustration and grief.

Some service providers include computer check ups, free antivirus software, online detection, and phone technical assistance as part of your monthly service. You may want to check with them and use the services you already pay for as part of your internet service plan before you go out and pay premium fees from a professional.

Whatever you do, just don’t wait until the last minute or until you can no longer get online, as there will be thousands of people in the same situation you are. So, take some time this weekend to make sure you are not “locked out” of your online access. Hey, we may all go back to walking down the local coffee shop to actually pick up the day’s newspaper to read the news the old-fashioned way. The problem may be that some of us may be forced to re-read the news we read online yesterday!

For more information

You can read the entire story and sting operation on the FBI’s website: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/november/malware_110911/malware_110911

You can read the FBI press release about the sting operation: http://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2011/manhattan-u.s.-attorney-charges-seven-individuals-for-engineering-sophisticated-internet-fraud-scheme-that-infected-millions-of-computers-worldwide-and-manipulated-internet-advertising-business

San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Malware-may-knock-thousands-off-Internet-on-Monday-3684832.php

CBS News Article: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57466849-501465/thousands-may-lose-internet-on-july-9/

Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/05/2882334/malware-may-knock-thousands-off.html

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Latest Project: Advanced Skin Care of San Luis Obispo

My latest web publishing project based on the WordPress framework is AdvancedSkinCare.us a website for Mary O’Brien Maloney, Licensed Skin Care Specialist at Advanced Skin Care of San Luis Obispo. A life long resident of San Luis Obispo, Mary O’Brien Maloney is a skilled skin care specialist who has practiced in San Luis Obispo for the last 7 years. She practices with Dr. Gary R. Donath of Central Coast Institute for Plastic Surgery in San Luis Obispo, California, and she has a devoted clientele. Her clients visit her from Paso Robles, Atascadero, Santa Margarita, San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay, Baywood Park, Los Osos, Shell Beach, Edna, Varian Ranch, Arroyo Grande, Avila Beach, Monarch Dunes, Trilogy, Nipomo, Santa Maria and Orcutt. If you live in the Central Coast of California, and you are in need of a skilled Skin Care Specialist, give her a call. Make an Appointment Now!

Mary Maloney, Advanced Skin Care of San Luis Obispo

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Mac Flashback Trojan – FREE Tools for Mac Trojan Removal

FREE Mac Flashback Trojan Removal ToolApple was in the news lately, and it was not because of record sales of the new iPad or because of an increase in value of its stock. It was because a malicious trojan had infected tens of thousands of Mac computers worldwide. The culprit was the Flashback Trojan.

It exploits a vulnerability in its operating system and a vulnerability in the version of java installed on a Mac computer. There are several ways to resolve the problem depending on how tech savvy you are.

The Most Simple Solution to Remove the Mac Flashback Trojan

The most simple solution to remove the Mac Flashback Trojan is to run the Apple updates, and you can read about the latest updates and where to get them here:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

Use a FREE Tool to remove the Apple Flashback trojan

You can also use an alternative method to remove the Apple Flashback Trojan. You can also run a free tool developed by F-secure, and you can download it from their website.

http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00002346.html

f-secure.com also offers more robust anti-virus solution for Macs for a fee, but the Flashback Trojan removal tool is free. You can simply download and install from this link:

http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/FlashbackRemoval.zip

How to use the tool:

1) Download FlashbackRemoval.zip to the Mac machine you want to scan.
2) Double-click the zip package to unzip it in the current folder.
3) Double-click the FlashBack Removal app to run the tool.
4) Follow the instructions to check your system and clean any infections.

Advanced method of detecting the Mac Flashback Trojan Virus

For the computer savvy, you can detect the Flashback Trojan on your system by running the terminal mode on your system and pasting the following lines of code one by one:

defaults read /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment
defaults read /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment
defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES

If you have not been infected, you will get no response after you enter the first line, so you go on and enter the next line of code. If your mac has been infected by the Flashback trojan, the system will respond after each line of code showing the location of the trojan.

I hope this helps my friends who are Mac users out there. If you have any issues, just drop me a line.

Sylvia -at- computerdoctora.com

 

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The Amazing VLC Media Player (VideoLan)

This little known player is the wonder open source media player that is nimble, reliable and all around robust to play, encode and decode all types of media files. I just cannot get enough of it! I recently inherited a bit of classical music performed by my favorite violinist, the virtuoso Itzahk Perlman,  and all the pieces were encoded as .flac files.

FLAC or .flac Audio File FormatThe FLAC or .flac audio file format was first released in 2000 and it is an open source project akin to the Mozilla.org project which is responsible for the reliably secure and friendly Firefox internet browser. Unlike other audio file formats, the FLAC codec it is not encumbered by copyrights or patents. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec which compresses audio files in size without any loss unlike MP3’s. The following is quoted from the developer’s website:

“FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio, and you can play back compressed FLAC files in your favorite player (or your car or home stereo, see supported devices) just like you would an MP3 file.

FLAC stands out as the fastest and most widely supported lossless audio codec, and the only one that at once is non-proprietary, is unencumbered by patents, has an open-source reference implementation, has a well documented format and API, and has several other independent implementations.”

Major labels and artists are beginning to release entire collections and new projects in the FLAC format. You can read all about the FLAC audio file format, its implementation and how to use it from the developer’s website at http://flac.sourceforge.net

Now, I was very disappointed to find out that iTunes does not read .flac files, but I heard that the Roxio Creaor read them and encoded them to more common audio formats; so I tried Roxio Creator in vain to convert them to either audio files o MP3’s by burning a cd so that I can then bring them over to iTunes with no success. It ended up burning them as the same .flac files on the CD! Darn! So, I simply turned to installing the VLC Media Player. I was already impressed by this little media player to handle a variety of video file types, and I was sure it would be able to handle the FLAC audio files.

VLC Media PlayerThe VLC Media Player is also developed by a collaborative effort akin to that of Firefox and FLAC, and this little engine that could free media player can be downloaded and installed in a snap without any major convolutions such as trying to install codec for an existing application.

Although its interface can take a bit getting used to, it has yet to disappoint on performance and reliability. The developers just released Version 2.00 of this free media player less than a month ago as of this posting with very visible significant improvements, and one of such improvements is the user interface. You can read all about it and download this FREE open source media player from the collaborative developers at http://www.videolan.org

I am off to enjoy Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and twenty four Caprices by Paganini as performed by Itzahk Perlman and directed by Lorin Maazel and the Berlin Philharmonic. Maybe a glass of wine and some cheese will make it an, even, more delectable rainy afternoon in Pismo Beach.

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Latest Web Project: tieastrongknot.com

My latest web publishing project based on the WordPress framework is http://tieastrongknot.com a website for Don Toshach, the Wedding Rev.

Based out of San Clemente, Don Toshach is an ordained minister with a theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is available to officiate weddings, dedications, vow renewals, baptisms and funeral services among a few. Personable, eloquent and with a great sense of humor for the appropriate situation, Don successfully manages to tailor the ceremony to the occasion and the protagonists. Don has been the recipient two years in a row of the Bride’s Choice Award by Wedding Wire.

For more information about his services and to read the latest reviews he has received please visit http://tieastrongknot.com

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Remove Win 7 Internet Security 2012 and Win 7 Antivirus 2012 in 3 STEPS

Our home network recently suffered a Win 7 Internet Security 2012 infection, and it was a rather inconvenient annoyance to say the least. The worst part was that it was on a system for which I have no restore disks, so reformatting the hard drive was not an option I was willing to consider. After a quick search online through a different computer, I was able to find a number of resources to consult in order to remove this nasty virus. The problem was trying to determine which one would be the one to really try.

There were two fairly well established sources with different approaches on how to best deal with this nasty virus, and I tried the first most reliable I could find: Norton’s FREE Power Eraser Tool which can be downloaded here: http://us.norton.com/support/DIY/. This powerful tool will zap just about any virus you may be infected with, however, it may also remove some legitimate programs, so it needs to be used with care. From their website “Misleading applications are programs that intentionally misrepresent the security status of a computer. The program and the alert may look legitimate, and prompts you to pay for removing the nonexistent or fake threats. Some common misleading applications are System Tool, MS Removal Tool, Best Malware Protection, Vista Total Security 2011, and Windows Repair Tool. To remove these programs, restart your computer in Safe mode, and run the FREE Norton Power Eraser.”

Norton has a page devoted to “How to run the free Norton Power Eraser tool to remove Vista Home Security, Win 7 Home Security, XP Home Security, and other misleading applications” which outlines step by step on how to go about removing these nasty infections from your computer, however their instructions did not work for me because the clever virus was one step ahead! It would not let me launch any programs!

Fake scan results pop-up window

Screen shot of fake scan results window for Win 7 Internet Security 2012 virus

Yes, After downloading the free Norton Power Eraser tool and trying to install it, my efforts were foiled by the nasty virus every single time! The virus would launch a fake warning window with fake virus scan telling me the laptop had been infected and I needed to install and register its “Internet Security 2012” program. Every time I wanted to launch a program, activate the firewall, or any other preemptive measure to fight the virus it would launch the fake antivirus window. It would not, even, let me get online! I could not re-start the laptop in the safe mode like Norton suggested, what to do?

So, after some more reading, one of the suggestions in the answers.microsoft.com forum directed users to a detailed process on how to remove it posted at bleeping computer.com: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-win-7-antispyware-2012 which I was happy to find out, but the solution was so long (19 steps), full of geek speak and winded that I lost interest by the second or third paragraph. I decided I would try a hybrid solution of the two.

I decided I would download and execute the registry fix first which would stop the virus from launching itself every time an executable file would be launched, and then run Norton Power Eraser. Power Eraser is also able to scan for rootkit viruses which are the type that launch upon turning on the laptop even before the operating system (windows) loads onto the system. I know I am using a lot of geek speak, but bear with me for a bit.

HERE IS HOW TO REMOVE WIN 7 INTERNET SECURITY 2012 FROM YOUR COMPUTER IN 3 STEPS:

STEP ONE: I went to the bleepingcomputer.com page and downloaded the fixNCR.req and once it was finished downloading onto the infected computer, I double clicked on it.

STEP TWO: Then, I was able to download and run the FREE Norton Power Eraser. Once you download it and launch it, make sure you also allow it to scan the boot record or search for rootkit viruses (I can’t remember the exact wording) which will then re-start your system automatically so that it scans the boot file. Just let it do its thing. WARNING: Please run the Power Eraser carefully, as it may delete legitimate programs you have installed on your computer. It deleted Adobe Photoshop on mine. You will have a chance to select which items to isolate/delete from your computer. So, make sure you pay close attention to the scan results and uncheck those links that refer to legitimate programs. You have been fairly warned.

STEP THREE: After the first two steps, I checked for the latest updates on Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and then ran a full scan which uncovered some other infections. If you do not have MSE, you can download it from the Microsoft Security Essentials section of the Microsoft site.

That’s it. If you have this problem, I hope this is helpful to you.

Happy Holidays.

sylvia-at-computerdoctora.com

Posted in Malware and Viruses | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

PHP Includes: URL File-Access is Disabled in the Server Configuration

I recently updated the PHP version I am using on all of the websites for one of my clients only to discover in horror that the php include tag to display external content gave an error message:

Warning: include() [function.include]: URL file-access is disabled in the server configuration

and none of the external content would be displayed, so I did a quick search and found a fast turnaround for my problem.

You see, I had used the following syntax to display the content of my  client’s blog hosted on a separate domain within my client’s home page:

<?php include ("http://domain2.com/wordpress/index.php"); ?>

I found out that for security reasons when upgrading to the latest version of PHP available with our provider, by default the server is configured to disallow absolute paths for include files. A minor inconvenience for us, but it closed the loop on the possibility of server hijacking by email spammers without the administrator noticing! I am glas none of my sites were ever a victim, and I am glad that our provider is proactive regarding security threats.

So there are two possible solutions to this quandary. The first one is to use relative paths. If the content is within the root hosting directory, the standard syntax can be used to modify this include:

<?php include ("/wordpress/index.php"); ?>

The next best solution is to use a couple of functions,  the file_get_contents function and the echo function. The first function will read the file and convert it into a string. The second function will print the string onto the screen. So the PHP code will look like this:

<?php

$includeFile = file_get_contents("http://domain2.com/wordpress/index.php");

echo $includeFile;

?>

This worked like a charm. However, from what I understand, the best solution would be to use server variables. This way there is no need to rearrange code at all, ever! The server variable to use would be the $_SERVER[‘DOCUMENT_ROOT’] and the complete code would be like this:

<?php 

include $_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT'] . 'domain2/wordpress/index.php'; 

?>

So, there you have it. I was very glad I did not have to reinvent the wheel and spend hours and hours of reviewing the latest manual for PHP 5.2 to figure out a workaround. I hope that if you landed on this page, you will find this information very useful.

 

Posted in Web Design | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

DELL Desktops and Laptops – Install Order Guide

The following list is an overview of the correct order to install drivers on Dell desktops and portables. After reinstalling Microsoft® Windows®, follow the order listed when reinstalling drivers. It is recommended that you print this list for reference when installing drivers.

Note: Some devices may not function properly if the drivers are installed out of order.

  1. Desktop System Software (DSS) or Notebook System Software (NSS) – A vital utility that provides critical updates and patches for the operating system. If you are reinstalling Windows or updating all drivers, it is important that this software be installed first. This is located under the System Utilities Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
    Note : NSS and DSS may not be available for all desktop and notebook products.
  2. Chipset – Helps Windows control system board components and controllers. This is located under the Chipset Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  3. Video Adapter – Enhances video performance. This is located under the Video Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  4. Network Interface Card (NIC) – Enhances the network controller for Internet or network access. This is located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  5. Laptops Only: Dell Quickset or Dell Control Point Manager (DCP) – Controls power management, ambient light sensor, wireless profiles, and security features on laptops. This is located under the Applications on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  6. Audio Adapter – Enables and enhances the audio controller. This is located under the Audio Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  7. Modem – Allows dial-up capability. This is located under the Communication Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  8. Wireless Network Card – Enables and enhances the wireless network controller. This is located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  9. Touchpad, Pointer, Trackstick, Mice, and Keyboards – Enhances the pointing device features. This is located under the Input Device Drivers Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
  10. Other Devices
    1. * Intel vProTM  or AMTTM  – Enhances system manageability. This is located under the Chipset Category on on the Drivers and Downloads page.
    2. * Bluetooth ®  Module located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
    3. * Dell Wireless Mobile Broadband Cards located under the Communication Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
    4. * PCMCIA/Smartcard controller located under the Security Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.
    5. * Touch Screen Digitizer Enables touch screen mouse control available on select Dell laptops. This is located under the Input Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

Installing Operating System Updates

To reinstall your applications, insert the disc for each program in your CD/DVD drive and follow the prompts that appear. (Dell will have provided you with installation discs for any programs you purchased with your computer.)
If more information is needed for installation, refer to the documentation that came with your installation discs.

Installing Component Drivers

Driver installation files on the Resource CD may be located using the following methods:

    • Click the Drivers link at the top of the page.
    • Choose Drivers from the Topic drop-down menu on the left-hand side of the screen.

Choosing the appropriate system model from the System Model drop-down list on the left-hand side of the screen will display only those drivers applicable for your system.

The latest revision of all Dell system documents, drivers and BIOS files can be found on Dell’s support web site – http://support.dell.com.

Posted in Laptops | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Your Hard Drive – Disk Diagnostic Utilities

One of the hard drives for a laptop I was refurbishing, began to show signs of bad sectors, I decided to run diagnostic tests using OEM utilities. I was able to get the Seagate SeaTools and Hitachi Drive Fitness Test as cd iso images so as to create bootable cd’s and run the disk diagnostics from a dos based environment. The drive I was working on was a Fujitsu brand, and Fujitsu sold its consumer hard drives division to Toshiba in 2009, so all support for those drives was transferred to Toshiba then, drives manufactured prior to 2009 must use the Fujitsu disk utility.

Here is the link to download the HP USB Storage Format Tool that will allow you to configure your USB drive to be a bootable USB drive: http://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage-Format-Tool/3000-2094_4-10974082.html

Here is the Toshiba Hard Drive Diagnostics tool: http://sdd.toshiba.com/main.aspx?Path=ServicesSupport/WarrantySupport/SoftwareUtilities

Fujitsu Hard Drives: Diagnostic Utilities Here
http://www.fujitsu.com/emea/products/hdd/

Hitachi Hard Drives: Diagnostic Utilities Here
http://www.hitachigst.com/support/downloads/

IBM Hard Drives: Use Hitachi Utilities*

Toshiba Hard Drives: Use Hitachi or Maxtor Utilities

Maxtor Hard Drives: Diagnostic Utilities Here (now SeaGate)
http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/

Quantum Hard Drives: Use Maxtor Utilities

Seagate Hard Drives: Diagnostic Utilities Here
http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads

Conner Hard Drives: Use Seagate Utilities

Samsung Hard Drives: Diagnostic Utilities Here
http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd/

Western Digital Hard Drives: Diagnostic Utilities Here
http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?lang=en

Posted in Laptops | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Maximum Memory on a Dell Inspiron 2650 Laptop

I recently sold my Dell Inspiron 2650 laptop. It was a rather emotional transaction. I bought it in 2003, and it was instrumental in my growth as a designer. It saw me through the last leg of my education as an Architect and a full-time foray into  the land of Planning and Urban Design. While I used it, I loaded it with my basic chockful of programs such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, ColdFusion Studio, Topstyle and Illustrator. It survived a couple of hard drive upgrades, from 30GB to 40GB to 120GB. It came with 256MB of memory upgradeable to 512MB and it had a fairly fast processor for its time.

It performed liked a peach, and it never let me down until I was wooed away by a super fast low profile Dell 530s desktop in 2008 which I eventually transformed into a speed demon with 4GB of memory, a 1GB video card and a pair of 1TB external drives to serve as my iTunes music and video repository. I hooked up the 530s to a 47 inch flat screen TV and the video card handdled it with out skipping a bit, the video playback and streaming quality is superb. I first hardwired the low profile 530s Dell desktop to my network and the Gigabit ethernet card has turned my NetFlix subscription into a video on demand service. Now fitted with an N600 wireless adapter, it is a nice addition to my home network, but we can talk about that one another day and let me stick to the subject at hand: the Inspiron 2650 and its memory limits.

I bought a new battery for the 2650 about 3 years ago, but shortly after I stopped using the laptop altogether when I finally conceded that it was too slow for my needs and switched to using the 530s, but that sort of had me chained to one spot. After waiting for the right sale, I finally purchased a Dell Vostro 2510 in 2009. The new laptop was ten times faster and with greater storage capacity than the old one so my faithful 2650 was confined to gathering dust.

I decided to sell it on eBay. So I ordered a new 120GB drive and loaded the operating system and drivers from the original Dell discs which I had faithfully set aside. Installed all four browsers (Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari) to give the new owner options, the latest Flash plugin, Java and Adobe reader.  A dvd/cd burner that came with the system. Microsoft live essentials if its new owner liked messenger and windows live, and finally,  iTunes and QuickTime for good measure. I also put in a new keyboard to give it a good makeover. It was in rather mint condition at this point. I decided I would also upgrade the memory. After doing research, I discovered that it could only handle 512MB in two 256MB memory modules. One inside the case and the second one outside on the rear through an access panel door. That was the the way it came.. two 256MB modules.

Getting access to the interior memory  module was a bear! Thank goodness Dell’s service manuals are easily accessible online. I tried installing all kinds of configurations and memory modules only to concede that 512MB was the max, then I thought to myself… why not just one 512MB module inside? Why always force it to switch back and forth between the two modules? So I did. The faster handling of graphics by the single memory  chip was noticeable.

The single memory module along with the paired down programs made it into one speedy Netbook, and that is how I sold it. It did not come with an internal wireless device, but I had fitted it with a Linksys PCMCIA wireless G card. With a crisp and sharp SXGA LCD  screen, it was ready to have a new owner. The bidding did not pick up until the last couple of hours. It sold for $225.

The time came to ship it out. I carefully wrapped it in bubble wrap and packed the original printed literature, power cord, OEM CD’s and wireless card with the Linksys driver cd. One last look at the box, and off it went in the mail. I prayed it would help its new owner learn and master new skills just as it had helped me. It was the passing of an era for me, now I am off to revive a couple of dead iPod Nanos. Will let you know how that went.

Posted in Laptops | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments