Welcome to A Tech's Life. The purpose of this blog is to provide insight to some of the simple and more complicated chores that I encounter during my day as a Computer Technician.

My website is InfoTechNow

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Windows XP mode in Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate

So you have an old 98 application that worked in Windows XP but will not work in Windows 7 32 or 64 bit. What do you do? Jump off a bridge? Take back the new computer? Buy a new POS? No, it is as simple as 2 downloads.

Microsoft has a very easy walk through to follow.

Click here for the walkthrough

Thats it.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Windows 7 and Email

So you buy a new computer, get it home, setup Windows 7 and start looking for Outlook Express or Windows Mail and can not seem to find it. Well that's because it is not there. Stop looking.

I am not completely clear on why Microsoft in its infinite wisdom decided not to include an email program with Windows 7, but it didn't. Do not fret, Windows Live Mail is only a download away.

You can download Windows Live Mail here.


You will find it quite different from Outlook Express and some what different from Windows Mail that came out with Vista.

A few Key things to note are:

1. Send and Receive is now called Sync.
This is because you can have multiple emails come into WLM. Gmail, Hotmail, your regular mail etc. and you can view all of your new mail in the first Inbox or view them individually from each of thier own sub folders below.
2. Address Book is now called Contacts and can be accessed near the bottom of the page on the left hand side.
3. There is now a calander that can be accessed online if you open a live.ca account or have an existing hotmail account.

You could also download Thunderbird from Mozilla or Incredimail and use their client as well.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quicken 2000 and Windows 7

C: "Oh, there is one more thing I want transferred."
K: "Sure what is it?"
C: "My Quicken 2000."
K: "Oh, Let me try."

I then said to myself, remember when we tried to install Quicken on Vista, how long it took to find work a rounds, and even then it did not always work.

I pop in the disk, and I get the W7 warning that it may not be compatible. I say so what lets try anyways.

I click install and it starts to install, and behold it finishes too. I select restore from backup and bingo it is working as it should.

WOW, something written in 1999 worked in 7 natively. NICE.


QuickBooks and Windows 7

Yesterday as I was setting up a customers new Windows 7 Professional Systems the client informs me that he has 3 years of QB's to install. 2007, 2008 and 2009. I put on my confident face and said sure no problem, but the truth was I was unsure if 2007 would work correctly.

It took some effort to find all of the disks and licenses etc, but once we started it went fairly well. The key was to do a new backup up each onto my thumb drive first. When I tried to transfer the data it we nearly impossible.

After a couple of hours and many software updates, all three years worked perfectly.

It was a a relief and the client was happy. QB 2007 Pro was nothing but headaches on Vista but it looks like MS may have gotten more then a few things right in 7.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where are my Games in Windows 7??

So you have just purchased a PC with Windows 7, or upgraded an existing one, go to play Spider Solitaire and "OMG Where did my games go??"

Do not fret, for some reason the games are not enabled. This may be a numbers things. Maybe less people play then don't play. We can easily enable the games.

Click on the start button.
In the Search text area type "features". This will open the the Programs and Features applet.
Click on the "Turn Windows features on or off" option.
Click on the check box for "Games" and hit apply.

There you go, all of your beloved Windows games are back.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life has been busy

Life has been busy and I have been lazy. Not a good sign for a tech. I hope to add some updates soon.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Transfering Data to a New Hard Drive

When an old computer is sent to recycle heaven or a new computers hard drive dies, the data on the old hard drive may be retrievable. Most of the data is quite easy to transfer with right tools. There are a few different ways to achieve this.

The best way if you are going to do it yourself is to purchase an external hard drive encloser, essentially turning your old hard drive into an external hard drive. It is important to find out what kind of hard drive it is, that is whether it is a IDE hard drive or a SATA hard drive.

Once the hard drive is in the encloser, plug the hard drive into the computer via the USB port if you have autoplay enabled, it will give you several options. Choose to view files on device.

Once in you can begin to do you data transfer. What I do is stretch the window to take up half of my screen, then I click on the start menu and My Computer and double click the C drive. I then stretch that window and move it to take up the other half of the screen.

The most common data files will all be in the same places unless you have other wise indicated.

On the Old hard drive double click Documents and Settings (XP) or Users (Vista) and select the the appropriate user (Johnny, Owner, Administrator, IBM OS, etc) and on your computer which is the C drive do the same.

Now if it XP to XP or Vista to Vista you will have a mirror effect and both will be similar in looks. If it is XP to Vista it will be similar, but different.

Drag from the old computer, Favorites, Desktop, My Documents (Johnnys Documents) and any other items that you want. Realize that in the My Documents folder are you Pictures, Music, Video, and such.

If you use a Kodak camera or Opiflex, realize that they do not save your pictures in My Pictures so you may have to do some investigating to find them. For Kodak pictures, they are in the Shared Documents folder.

Now for the more difficult one. Email and Address Book. For this you need to do several things.

Outlook Express

XP - Email
  • On the window that your documents are in click on the Tools, then Folder Options, then click the view tab and select Show hidden files and folders.
  • Open up Outlook Express.
  • Now click File, Import, Messages, Microsoft Outlook Express 6, Import Mail from OE6 Store Directory.
  • Click Browse and navigate to your old hard drive, Documents and Settings, your user, Local Settings, Application Data, Identities, Big Long Alpha Numeric string, Microsoft, and Outlook.
  • Click open and now your email should be being imported.
XP - Address Book
  • Click File, Import, Address Book.
  • Navigate to your old hard drive, Documents and Settings, your user, Application Data, Microsoft and Address book.
  • Click open and bingo, there is your address book.
Vista - Windows Mail
  • On the window that your documents are in click on the Organize tab, then the Folders and Search option, then click the view tab and select Show hidden files and folders.
  • Open Windows Mail.
  • Now click File, Import, Messages, if your are importing from XP, follow the XP instructions from above at this point, if your are importing Windows Mail, select Windows Mail 7 and then Browse.
  • Click Computer, your old hard drive, Users, your user, AppData, Local, Microsoft, Windows Mail and then click Select Folder, and OK and there is you Windows Mail.
Vista - Address Book
  • Unlike Windows XP, your contacts are in on the old hard drive in your user folder, and your users name then contacts. Just copy that into the same folder on your computers hard drive and they will all be there.
Now there may be other files that you have saved in different locations, make sure to double check. But if you have purchased an external hard drive encloser, you can always look later.

Hope this has helped and made a stressful time a little easier.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why is my wireless not working??

Today I had a call from a customer that could not connect to the internet from her newly purchased D-Link router. She had been in yesterday and had purchased the router, which we had setup and secured at our store with her laptop. She had been on the phone with her internet provider and they said it had to be the router as they could communicate with her modem.

After asking her if she had reset her modem she had said yes, but she would do it again. When she did the phone cut out. I found that bizzare, even though she is on Shaw Phone. I decided I had better go on site to see what was the matter.

The first thing I did was check to see if she was reciving an IP from the router. In the run box, I typed cmd to access the command prompt, and from thier I called up an IP utility by typing ipconfig. Sure enough her computers IP was So the router was working fine.

I then accessed D-Links administrator console by typing it's IP address in the Internet Explorers address bar. ( The default user name is admin and it has no password. I navigated to the status tab to see if it was getting an IP from the modem. it had an address of, which meant it was not communicating with the modem. I went looking for the modem and could not find it. I asked here where the router was and she pointed to her T.V. She had plugged her router into her shawbox. Easy enough to do when it is all new to you. I told her it was no big deal, but it would never work as the router needs to be connected to the modem so it can access the Internet.

I hauled the router upstairs, connected it to her modem, unplugged the modem and plugged it back in (power cycled) and BINGO she had Internet.

Simple problem, simple solution, easy mistake.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Windows Vista Black Screen with Mouse Pointer

Today I travelled to a costumer's house to find Vista loading to a black screen with only the mouse pointer. It was rather dumbfounding as I could ctrl-alt-esc to get the task manager, but could do nothing from there. There was obviously a service that was hanging.

I booted into safe mode and ran msconfig. (Hit windows button and r at the same time and type msconfig in the text area.) From there I navigated to the services tab and selected disable all, and then enabled all of the services currently working in safe mode. I hit accept and reset.

Though reading, in some cases you may not be able to enter safe mode, but whilst at the (blac)KSOD you can hit the shift key 5 times the sticky keys window. From there click the Go to the Ease of Access .... Link and type msconfig in the address bar. You may want to try that before even going into safe mode as it will save you a step.

Upon reboot like magic it worked. Now I had the unevious task of discovering which of the 100 services I had disabled to see which one it was. I chose to enable 15 at a time until I found the cuplrit. Having Application Experince and Apple Phone disabled in the end seem to solve the problem. I am sure in different situations it will be different services. As long as they are not essential services then it seems like an easy work around for this lovely Vista bug.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Windows 7 on a Dell Dimension 8300

My wifes cousin's came into town from the lower mainland this week for a visit and through discusions I discovered that it was one of thier childrens birthdays. So we decided to revieve on of my old Pentium 4 ht PC and throw Windows 7 on it for him so he could be the coolest kid in town.

He plays some old school Star Wars games so it should be a good fit for him.

Here are the spec's

  • Pentium 4 3.0 processor
  • Nvidia 6800 GT video card (agp)
  • 80 gb IDE 5400 HDD
  • Sound Blaster 5.1 sound card
  • 17 inch Acer LCD Monitor
  • 2 gb ddr 400 ram

Nice little gift for the young man.

Installing Windows 7 was not all that bad. It went quick with no hiccups.

Once installed the only 2 issues were the old fax modem, which i quickly pulled and tossed in the recycle bin, and the sound card. It took me a few minutes to track down a Vista driver for it and bingo it was up and running. It got a windows rating (whatever that means) 5.2 which is not bad considering my dell laptop (Intel DualCore2 2.4) only gets 4.9.

It actually seems to be a lot quicker then even XP Pro was. It does not like to mullti task too much, more then 3 or 4 programs at once and it start to lag a bit. But for a 5 year old PC it is working very nicely.

Windows 7 seems to be a very nice piece of work.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Virus Heaven

Just had a computer brought in that was inundated with virus's. After installing Vipre, and removing countless virus's the computer just reboot. Upon reload the computer told me that it could not connect remotely and had to reboot. It would not let me into Windows or Windows safe mode.

It left me no other options other then to remove hard drive from the computer and hook it up to my tech bench computer.

Immediately after telling Vipre to scan the hard drive the virus count took off like a shot, the counter moving like a stop watch. After an 11 min scan, 3901 virus's were deleted.

42 minutes to remove the virus's.

Then I ran SuperAntiSpyware. It is good to run it in conjunction with Vipre as it tends to clean the remnants that is left.

Super Anti Spyware removed 700+ cookies and numerous adware.xxx files.

Popped in the Hard Drive into the PC, rebooted, and it locked up on Windows Splash.

Ran the second repair option from the Windows XP disc and rebooted.

Paradise, the computer is Up and Running. Ran Vipre and SAS on the actual system and everything is happy. Another successful Virus removal.


iPhone Restore

Today we got an iPhone in that was frozen. The owner did not care about saving any data, so we had to do a restore.

It was the first time that I have ever even played with it so it was definately a new experience for me.

Here is what I did.

Turn off your iPhone by holding the "Sleep/Wake" button for about five seconds.

Once it's turned off, press and hold the "Home" button and plug the iPhone into your Mac or PC. Keep holding the "Home" button until you see a dock cable pointing to the iTunes icon. Make sure iTunes is open on your computer.

iTunes will tell you it has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.

Click "OK" and you will be taken to the iPhone pane.

Click restore

It may ask you to confirm this blah, blah, lost data, blah, blah, just click ok, you already know that you will lose all of your data.

Now it will download the needed software and install it.

Blammy you're done, it's just that easy!

The phone worked and all is well, one more happy camper.


OpenOffice on a G4 Mac

We had a Mac in today that the customer wanted OpenOffice installed on. After downloading OpenOffice for PPC and not Intel, I went to install it and found out that I needed X11 for Mac installed and that I would need the Operating System Disks.

That was a lie. I googled X11 for Mac download and found it right away from the Mac website. After that was installed it was smooth Sailings.


PersonalAntivirus - Hey thats not my antivirus software!!

In the last 6 months, the most common software issue that I have come across is defiantly PersonalAntivirus. It goes by many names. AV 360, Security Center, AntiVirus Pro 2008, AntiVirus Pro 2009 and so on. So what is it?

Personal Antivirus, or PersonalAntivirus, is a virus that was developed by a company called Innovagest 2000.

Personal Antivirus is installed by a Trojan called Zlob. Zlob will appear in a very convincing pop up window that give false information about virus, Trojan, worm and Spyware injections. Zlob then tries to convince you that it is a legitimate program that can remove all of the alleged infections it claims you have. It tells you to fix, repair or scan your system. What this action does not do any of these actions, it downloads and eventually installs itself. This Personal Antivirus message is used to persuade you into purchasing, downloading and installing their program to remove the imaginary spyware. Unfortunately it does not remove any of these imaginary virus's at all. You have just paid for nothing. This virus can do any and all of the following: turn off you network card stopping Internet access, block safe mode, block task manager, block run command, delete data, freeze the computer, cause annoying pop ups and the list goes on and on.

PersonalAntivirus or PAV attaches itself to "links" on websites. If you get the pop up the best course of action is to power down the computer. When you reboot, it should be gone. But if you have it, that is where the fun begins.

Up until last week (Middle of August 2009) in 99.9% of the time we had to format the Hard Drive, and reload Windows. Which was always a pain, and costly to the customer. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Enter stage left, "Vipre"

VIPRE Antivirus + Antispyware is high-performance security software that doesn't slow down your PC like older, traditional antivirus products. VIPRE is the end of antivirus software as you know it. The press loves it. VIPRE got 5 STARS on download.com. Protect your PC from 'being owned' by bad guys with our free 30-day trial! (with registration)

Vipre has actually blocked PAV from installing, which was a huge victory in this battle. But if you already have it, this is how I remove PAV.

1. Download, Install and Update Vipre.
If you can not download it because PAV has blocked Internet access you will have to download it from another computer and put it on a usb stick. If this is the case also download SuperAntiSpyware at the same time we will need this later.

2. Once it has rebooted the computer finish installing Vipre.

3. Hit the Windows Key and R on the keyboard and type msconfig in the run bar.

4. Navigate to the StartUp tab and click disable all (except Vipre if it is there).

5. Right Click on My Computer and select Properties. Then Select System Restore and check mark the Turn off System Restore. This will make the scan much faster and remove all old restore points, removing the risk of the virus being there.

6. Open Vipre and do a Deep System Scan. This should take a few minutes to a long time depending on your Hard Drive size.

7. This should find the PersonalAntiVirus and probable quite a few more. Make sure you remove all, not just quarantine.

8. Now install SuperAntiSpyware now. and Update it as well.

8. Under the Scan Your Computer select Preform a Complete Scan.

9. Vipre installed the main portion of PAV, but SuperAntiSpyware removes the remnants of it.

10. Again be sure to delete all, not just quarantine.

11. Reboot your computer.

12. Navigate to msconfig again and be sure to enable all. (if netfilter.exe is there uncheck that one.

13. Now re-enable System Restore.

14. We need to create a System Restore Point.

15. Navigate to System Restore VIA All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore and create a New System Restore Point.

16. Reboot, and your done.

This has worked more then a dozen times for me now except one occasion. On this occasion PAV started up before Windows loaded. In this case I hooked up the hard drive to our system at work and removed it from that computer by scanning it with Vipre.

Hope this helps.