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How to Use the Free Version of Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is a first-rate anti malware tool that finds most of the nasty malware infections that may be lurking inside your Windows PC.

This programme is well worth downloading so you can use it daily or weekly to check for any Malware intrusions.

Downloading Malwarebytes

Visit the Malwarebytes download page and select the Free Version. Now run the setup file and follow the wizard to install the program onto your Windows PC. This gives you a free trial of Malwarebytes Premium which includes real-time scanning and costs £29.99 per year. You will not get charged after the free trial ends, as the program automatically reverts to the standard free version in just 14 days.

Run a Malware Scan

To run a scan, switch from the Dashboard tab to the Scan Tab. Keep the default scan option (“Threat Scan”) selected and click the Start Scan button. It should check for updates before it runs the scan, but make sure that happens before you proceed.

Though it offers a custom-scan option, Malwarebytes recommends that you perform the Threat Scan first, as that scan usually finds all of the infections anyway. Depending on your computer, the threat scan can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, whereas a custom scan might take 30 to 60 minutes or more.

While Malwarebytes is scanning, you can see how many files or objects the software has already scanned, and how many of those files it has identified either as being Malware or as being infected by Malware.

Malwarebytes will now show you the results of the scan

If the software gives your system a clean bill of health but you still think that your system has acquired some Malware, consider running a Custom Scan. If Malwarebytes does find infections, it will show you what they are when the scan is complete. Click the Remove Selected button in the lower left to get rid of the specified infections. Malwarebytes may also prompt you to restart your PC in order to complete the removal process, which you should do.

If your problems persist after you have run the threat scan and it has found and removed unwanted files, consider running a full scan with Malwarebytes. If the Malware appears to be gone, run a full scan with your real-time antivirus program to confirm that result.

Set your power button to turn off your PC’s displays

Have you ever wanted the power button on your PC to do more than just turn off your computer? Fortunately, the Control Panel’s Power Options lets you change what the power button does, and there’s one power-button option which lets you shut off all the displays in a multi-monitor setup without your PC going to sleep or logging out.

This process should work on all machines running the Windows 10 Creators Update.

First you need to open the Control Panel and select System and then Power & Sleep. Now select Additional power settings.

In the Control Panel, click Change plan settings next to whichever radio button you use for your usual power plan.

On the next screen, click Change advanced power settings and a small pop-up window appears. Click the plus icon to the left of Power buttons and lid. This displays three more options. Select the plus icon next to Power button action.

In the pop up widow, each Setting is shown in blue and may already be set to Shut down.
Now click the Setting you want to change and the blue text changes to a drop-down menu. You can choose Do nothing to deactivate it, choose Sleep, or Shut down, or Turn off the display.
For our Option to work you should Select Turn off the display, click Apply, and then OK.

Now test it out by pressing your power button and your monitor(s) should just turn off. Hit your space bar or shake the mouse and your monitors come right back with no account login necessary.

Windows 10 Shutdown Problems

If you are having issues with your computer and it is not shutting down properly, there are a number of different reasons why this situation could have occured.

Here are some of the things that could be causing this, such as a program constantly running in the background that hangs (a typical resource hog), insufficient RAM that takes a long time to dump, 3rd party anti-virus program (this can be a big problem if you have two Antivirus programs installed), scheduled maintenance programs that run at shut down (i.e. back-up) and of course system problems in general, often caused by adware, spyware and viruses.

Here Are a Few Things You Can Try

Run Windows Update. To do this just click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar screen and select the settings cog. Select Update & Security and run Windows Update, which may fix the problem.

If the slow-shut down issue is not resolved, try the following steps

Right Click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar. Select Settings and then Troubleshoot. Under ‘Get up and running‘ select ‘Windows Update‘ and then Run the Troubleshooter. If there were any shutdown issues they should now be fixed. Close the window, restart your PC and check if the shutdown problem is gone.

If the issue is still not resolved, try resetting your PC.

Caution: Read what will happen during reset very carefully. In fact, you may want to have pen and paper handy to write down those Applications and/or Programs that may not be retained after a Reset. These will either have to be downloaded or re-installed from a DVD.

To carry on with the resetting of your PC just click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar screen and select the settings cog. Select Update & Security and click on Recovery and under Reset this PC click the Get started button.

If the slow-shut down issue is still not resolved, try the following steps.

Try Running MSCONFIG.

If you do not feel confident that you can perform the tasks shown below then I suggest you seek some professional assistance. However, if you do go ahead, this step may take quite some time so try to be patient.

The good thing about using MSCONFIG to sort out your shutdown problems is that no Apps or Programs will be removed during the process.

Right Click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the task bar and select Run. In the resulting box type msconfig and then OK. When you see the System Configuration panel click on the Services tab.

Click on the box Hide all Microsoft services. Now uncheck all the 3rd party programs that you personally installed such as an AV program. Do not uncheck Intel, NVIDIA or AMD services. Now click OK and finally Restart.

Now shut down your PC to see how long it takes.

If your PC now shuts down faster, then you must follow the same procedure as above and turn all the services that were turned off back on. With Hide all Microsoft services checked continue to repeat the process of “on/off” for each 3rd party service (one by one) until you duplicate the slow shut down problem thereby identifying the offending program, which can then be deleted and perhaps reinstalled .

The slow-shut down issue should now finally be resolved.

How to Delete and Disable Location History in Windows 10

Your devices collect all kinds of information about you to provide helpful services and deliver so called targeted advertising. To help reduce the impact of these less than helpful services you may want to restrict your personal location information that’s stored in Windows 10.

So, here’s how to turn off location services in the Windows 10 Creators Update and delete your personal location history.

Disable Location Services

Some Windows Store apps in Windows 10 require your current location to work correctly, while others would like it in order to tailor your experience. Before you turn off location services keep in mind that any location-specific services or apps will no longer be available to you.

If that’s okay with you, open the Settings app by clicking the Windows Start button and then selecting the cog icon in the lower left-hand corner. In the Settings app go to Privacy > Location and turn off the slider labelled Location service.

Disable per-app Instead

If restricting your location data systemwide is too extreme, Windows 10 lets you do it on a per-app basis. However, this feature will only work for apps built with the Windows Store platform.

In the Settings app go to Privacy > Location, and toward the bottom of the screen is the heading Choose apps that can use your precise location. This is followed by a list of apps that want to use your location, each with a corresponding on/off slider. The only one you can’t change is Cortana, because the personal digital assistant requires your location to work. Other than that, you can restrict access to your location on a per-app basis.

Next, it’s time to delete location history. You can do this regardless of whether you’ve turned off location services for your device.

In Settings > Privacy > Location, scroll down to the sub-heading Location history. Click the Clear button in that section to erase your location history on your PC or tablet. Once the history has been cleared, a checkmark appears next to the Clear button.

That was easy enough, but we’re not finished yet. Your location history is also stored on Microsoft’s servers. Below the Clear button, click the link labelled Manage my location info that’s stored in the cloud.

That will take you to the location section of your Microsoft Account’s privacy settings. On the right-hand side of this page look for the section called Clear location activity.

Under that heading is a button with the same title. Click Clear location activity and a pop-up appears asking you to confirm your choice, because you cannot undo this action. Click Clear and you’re done. If you want to be extra-sure, refresh the web page and you’ll see that the map it displays no longer shows any location data.

That’s all there is to clearing your location activity in the Windows 10 Creators Update. If you don’t want your location used at all, you should restrict your browser from asking for your location as well.

Use the Windows 10 Calendar App to Look up Days and Dates

In the Creators Update of Windows 10, Microsoft has finally included a fully featured Calendar App. They have also redesigned the taskbar so that clicking the clock at the right side (which shows the date and time) pops up a usable calendar.

By default, this pop-up calendar shows the current month, with today’s date highlighted. You can use the up and down arrows just above the calendar headings to scroll back and forward one month at a time to find a specific date, but there’s a much faster way to navigate around this app.

Click the date heading, which shows the current month and year, to replace the current month’s calendar with a list of months in the current year, with the current month clearly highlighted. You can then use the up and down arrows to move through the calendar one year at a time, or click the Year heading to switch to a display of decades where you can choose the exact year you want.

See all your Calendars at a glance in Agenda view

If you decide to connect your personal or work email account to the Windows 10 Calendar app, you can see appointments, meetings, and events for the selected day in an agenda view just below the pop-up calendar.

The only setup you need to do to make this view possible is to open the built-in Calendar app and add each of your online calendars to it. Click the Settings icon, then click Manage Accounts. Any accounts you’ve added from the built-in Mail app will appear here. If you want an account to show only mail and not calendar appointments, open the account settings, scroll down to the Sync Options section, and slide the Calendar switch to the Off position.

After you set this up, you can ignore the Calendar app completely. If you use Google Calendar on the web, for example, you can continue to manage appointments and events in your browser, and they’ll show up automatically in the Windows 10 agenda view. The same is true if you use Office 365 or Outlook.com with Microsoft Outlook.

Each calendar you attach gets its own colour coding. Appointments in the agenda have a matching stripe at the left so you can tell at a glance whether an upcoming appointment is from your personal or work calendar.

Create a Single-Column Start Menu in the Windows 10 Creators Update

If there’s one thing Microsoft loves to do, it’s play around with the Windows 10 Start Menu. The Windows 10 Creators Update is no different, with Microsoft adding an interesting new setting for all of you who prefer an uncluttered desktop experience.

Microsoft has now made it easier to simplify the Start Menu into a single column without dumping the live tiles. What this new Start Menu setting does is create a single view, where you can switch between your live tiles and your apps list.

To achieve this simplfed view, open the Settings app and go to Personalization and then click Start. Scroll down past the preview to the list of on/off sliders and turn off the one that’s labelled ‘Show app list in Start menu’. Don’t worry, because even if you turn this setting off you will still be able to get to your apps list.

Now, we’ve got a single view of live tiles, but it’s still arranged horizontally. If you like that look, just leave it as is, but if you want a single column you’ll need to move all your live tile groups from the right over to the left.

To do this, hover over the name of the live tile group you want to move and then just click and drag. If you have difficulty moving the groups, use the two horizontal lines on the right as your click-and-drag target.

Now, to switch between live tiles and the app list just click one of the two icons in the upper-left corner of the Start Menu.

The only downside to Microsoft’s new setting is that you can’t have the Start menu show your app list by default.

An alternative is to not mess with you Start settings and just move your live tiles over so that you have one column of tiles and one column for the Windows 10 app list.

Move your default Windows 10 data folders to a different drive

When you add a new user account, during initial setup or even sometime afterward, Windows 10 creates a user profile folder in C:\Users, with your username (or the variation you have set) as the name of the profile folder.

It then fills the new profile with default data folders such as Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos. For most Windows 10 users, this is a perfectly acceptable set up.

However, in some circumstances it makes perfect sense to move one or more of these subfolders to a new location.

If you have a desktop computer with a small solid-state drive as the system C: drive and a much larger data drive for storage, you can stop a large digital media collection from overwhelming your C: drive by moving the Pictures and Music folders to your separate data drive, probably your D: drive. If you do not have a separate data drive they are fairly cheap to buy and are easy to install into a desktop PC.

To move a folder, open C:\Users, double-click your user profile folder, and then right-click any of the default subfolders and select Properties. On the Location tab, click Move, and then select the new location for that folder. (If you enter a path that doesn’t exist, Windows will offer to create it for you, as long as you have a spare D: drive or some other external drive.)

Just repeat this simple process for any other folders you might want to move to your separate data drive.

Note: Only move the folders in your Users folder. Never move your entire user profile to another drive!

How to Get Out of Windows Safe Mode if you’re stuck in this Mode

What if you find yourself stuck in Windows Safe Mode after having been in Safe Mode to fix some problem or run your antivirus and malware programmes.

If you first entered Safe Mode by using the System Configuration tool, this could well be your problem as your PC may keep booting into Safe Mode every time your PC starts up.

To check if that is the case Press Win + R, and then type msconfig in the resulting run box, and click the OK button. This opens the System Configuration view. Select the Boot tab. If you find the Safe boot option is checked, uncheck it. Then re-boot your PC and it will re-boot to your normal desktop display.

TIP: As a rule you should never use the System Configuration tool to enter Safe Mode, unless you have good reason to reboot multiple times into that particular environment.

If you find that the Safe boot option is not checked, try getting to the Windows Start Up Boot Menu. How you do this depends on your Windows version and the age of your particular PC set up.

If you are running Windows 7, re-boot your computer and press F8 repeatedly. Once the Advanced Boot Options Menu comes up, select Start Windows Normally. This might also work on some Windows 8 PCs, or on some PCs that were upgraded to Windows 10.

Luckily, there’s another way to do this in Windows 8 and 10. Go to the Shutdown Menu, and hold down the Shift key as you select Restart. Now select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.

Your computer will reboot. But instead of loading Windows, it will bring up a Startup Settings screen with all sorts of options. Press Enter ‘to return to your operating system.’

When your PC re-starts it should now boot straight into your normal Windows desktop.

How to spot if an email is a phishing attack?

One of the biggest problems in online security is the phishing email. So many unsuspecting people fall pray to this sort of attack that the incidence of phishing is actually on the increase. Phishing for financial gain is certainly on the rise and you could even be the next victim of this sort of phishing attack.

To avoid being a potential target, here are four things to look out for that show whether an email is safe or potentially dangerous.

1. If the Email is Unsolicited

Legitimate companies never email users asking for personal information. Neither would they send an email unannounced asking you to download an attachment. No matter how real the email looks, if it is unsolicited and it is asking you to do something, it is most likely a scam.

This is especially true for phishing attacks pretending to be from your bank. According to data from Kaspersky Labs, for the first time in 2016, the detection of phishing pages which mimicked legitimate banking services took first place in the overall chart, leaving the long-time leaders of this chart – global web portals and social networks – way behind.

2. If the Email Exhibits Poor Grammar and Spelling

Emails from legitimate sources generally make sure that there are no typos, no spelling errors, and good grammar. Professional companies have teams of people dedicated to proof reading all marketing material that it sends out. Hackers often lack these good writing skills. As well as this, they may not have English as their native tongue. If this is the case, you can assume that a foreign criminal probably wrote the text in their own language and then used a translation tool to convert the text into the English language.

This means that if you have an email purporting to be from your bank and it has various examples of bad spelling and grammar, then it is most likely not from that bank but from a criminal.

3. Beware of Mismatched URLs

Criminals try to fool victims into clicking on links that to the average reader look like the real URL of a legitimate website, but the hyperlink is actually a URL belonging to a criminal. You can prevent visiting the link by hovering you mouse arrow over the link, because most browsers will display the real URL link at the bottom of a browser window. If that URL in the email does not match with the link the arrow hovers over, it is most likely a fake that could lead you into a phishing trap.

4. Beware of fake URLs in your Email

Legitimate emails will feature URLS that lead back to an official website of a company. The URL will have a straightforward name (i.e. yourtrustedbank.com). A criminal will try to make a URL look like a real website as much as possible, such as yourtrustedbankp.com). Users should always check any link before clicking on it. Better still, always check a URL by cutting and pasting the link into a search engine, like Google. A scam should reveal itself in the first page of search engines results.

This type of phishing activity is not just limited to banks, according to Kaspersky’s research, criminals have even created fake URLs containing the word ‘steam’ in order to make the URL even more like the original, which could deceive inexperienced gamers who play games using the Steam program.

So make sure you never click on a link, or download an attachment, without checking that the links are genuine.

The Danger of Rootkits

A rootkit is a collection of program tools that enable user-level access to a computer or a computer network. Typically, a hacker installs a rootkit on your computer after first obtaining user-level access, either by exploiting a known vulnerability or cracking your password. Once the rootkit is installed, it allows the attacker to mask its intrusion and gain root or privileged access to your Windows PC.

A rootkit may consist of spyware and other malicious programs that monitor traffic and keystrokes, create a “backdoor” into the system for the hacker to use, attack other machines on a network and alter existing system tools to escape detection.

Rootkits often try to enter your PC by executing a phishing attack, where a hacker tries to trick you into running an executable file (.exe) in an email attachment, or via a hyperlink distributed via email or instant messaging. Once they are in place, rootkits are not too easy to find or get rid of.

The rootkit threat is not as widespread as viruses, malware and spyware. But removing rootkits is largely a reactive process. You will only notice changes to your computer after you are infected by a rootkit.

Is There Really a Rootkit Problem?

To determine if there is truly a rootkit operating behind the scenes, use a system process analyser such as ‘Sysinternals ProcessExplorer‘ or, better yet, a network analyser. By using these tools, you will probably be surprised to find what programs are doing and what is going in and out of your PC’s network adapter. You may also discover that you simply have an over-worked PC running with too little memory or a severely fragmented hard drive.

However, if your computer is normally super-fast with no lack of memory or hard drive issues, but still slows down and even starts to behave badly, then a rootkit attack could be the cause. But equally these symptoms could be the result of a virus or a spyware attack.

It is one thing to find a rootkit, but quite another to remove it and any spyware it is probably hiding. In fact, it may or may not be possible. In many cases you will never really know if you are infected since a rootkit can often interfere with your scanning and removal programs.

Before you even try to remove a rootkit make sure you take a backup all your important data files.

Rootkit Detection and Removal Using Software

Sysinternals, F-Secure and Kaspersky all offer standalone rootkit detection tools, Sysinternals RootkitRevealer  (is only for Windows XP (32-bit) and Windows Server 2003 (32-bit),  F-Secure Blacklight and Kaspersky TDSSKiller.

Even Microsoft has implemented rootkit detection features in its own malicious software removal tool.

Tip – For an extensive list of rootkit detection tools see ’16 Free Rootkit, Trojan Horse, Virus and Spyware Removers for Windows 10′ – www.geckoandfly.com/4696/the-best-rootkit-virus-detector-detection-and-remover-scanner.

Removing a rootkit with cleaning tools may actually leave Windows in an unstable or inoperable state depending on which files were infected and subsequently cleaned. Or, worse, a well-coded rootkit could conceivably detect the removal process and self-destruct taking your data out with it!

If these cleaning tools do not find anything, or they do find a rootkit but cannot delete it, then you could keep trying other tools, but there does come a point time when you have to evaluate if the effort is worthwhile. Perhaps you should just wipe your Hard Drive and re-install your Windows Operating system.

Some Defences Against Rootkits

To truly protect your computer, make sure you always read the current user instructions for your scanning tools to see what special steps you need to take before, during and after the clean-up process.

Then, after you’ve found and cleaned a rootkit, re scan your system to double-check that it was fully cleaned and the rootkit has not returned.

To help stay protected from rootkits you should regularly update all your software. This includes programs like your antivirus programme and any spyware or malware programmes you make use of.

Also keep all of your Microsoft software up-to-date by turning on Windows Automatic Updates (for Windows 10 – Settings – Update & Security/ Windows Update). Your computer will automatically download Microsoft security updates when your computer is online.