Removing viruses, trojans, and other malware from your Windows computer

Removing viruses, trojans, and other malware from your Windows computer

These steps are easy when you know exactly when your Windows computer  has been infected (e.g. inserting a USB stick, visiting a website with malicious software on your browser).

At the time of infection or shortly after infection, perform the following steps:

  1. Immediately turn off your computer and unplug it from the network / internet (remove the network cable or if you are using wireless, try to turn off the wireless connection / router – if you are not sure, just leave it).
  2. Reboot Windows and go into safe mode. You only need the basic safe mode without any networking, etc.
  3. To get into the Windows Safe Mode, as the computer is booting press and hold your “F8 Key” which should bring up the an options menu as shown below. Use your arrow keys to move to “Safe Mode” and press your Enter key. More information on safe mode can found on the Microsoft site by searching “Windows safe mode” along with your version of Windows.
  4. Use the Microsoft system restore to restore your computer to an early point before the infection began. This restore will revert system changes done by the virus, trojans, and other malware. The restore does not impact the “My Documents” and personal settings, so keep that in mind if you saved infected files to My Documents folders.
  5. System restore may be found differently depending on your version of Windows. The easy way is to use the built in Windows help (F1) in safe mode and search for system restore to find the program. If on Windows Vista/7, use the search on “restore system”. There are also instructions off the Microsoft site.


Fix Audio Quality Issues in Windows Movie Maker 2.6

Fix Audio Quality Issues in Windows Movie Maker 2.6

If you are experiencing low, degraded, or bad audio quality in the movies you created in Windows Movie Maker 2.6 (MM 2.6), check out possible solutions below.

The solutions are aimed at when you are adding audio to a movie such as adding soundtracks with wav and mp3 files. The quality of these input audio files may be high, but for some reason the output file (movie file you save) and the movie preview (storyboard or timeline) in MM has worse audio quality than the audio files you used for the soundtrack of the movie.

Check existing codecs

Playback issues for movies are often related to codecs installed on your machine. Codecs are likely the cause of most sound input issues since MM may use different codecs for playback when the audio files are in your collections as supposed to when the audio file is now part of your soundtrack. Solving issues with codecs is difficult since everyone computer will have different ones installed and being used during the MM preview and playback. Possible solutions are:

  1. Observe if codec icons show up during movie playback or preview. Check the options for these codec icons.
  2. Change audio codecs: you could uninstall audio codecs being used and use the Window defaults or install new audio codecs.
  3. For advanced users, use a tool like G-Spot and check if you have the required codecs for an audio file installed.

Check Windows Movie Maker filters

In Windows Movie Maker, try going to “Tools > Options > Compatibility” and unchecking all the filters ending in .ax. It is possible these .ax filters are causing low audio quality in the movie preview and saving. This solution is common if you have installed a bunch of new codecs and filters. Also, if audio quality was fine before and now is low, it may be due to installation of new filters.

When saving the movie…

Check audio export settings during saving of movie

After you have completed your editing in MM and are ready to save your movie, look in “other settings” and select the appropriate audio settings. Note configuration of settings may work best with WMV output and may not solve problems with people saving to DV formats.

Convert soundtrack files to stereo or use alternative profiles when saving

Use alternative output file profiles (either the Windows Movie Maker defaults or custom profiles) within MM when saving the movie. Sometimes your audio may be configured to be mono only or stereo only which affects the soundtrack in the saved movie. WMV formats may allow more customization.

Audio file tuning

Here are possible solutions to common audio problems. They may not be useful if you really have codec issues, but can work if there are problems with the audio files used for your movie soundtrack.

  • If using MP3s, convert MP3s to wav. Use Audacity/TMPGEnc if you need to convert audio channels on sound files (e.g. mp3, wav) used in your soundtrack.
  • Play around with MP3 bitrate: e.g. if MP3 is at 256Khz, reduce it to 192Kbps @ 44.1kHz.


Find and match open ports and services in Windows

Find and match open ports and services in Windows

When running Windows, operating system tools allow you to find the mapping of a open TCP/UDP ports to a running service or application.

Netstat: Displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP network connections


> netstat /?

to find information about the options and usage for the command. To find all connections and listening ports, use:

> netstat -abo

To list the executables used in creating those connections, and finding the process ID for each connection. Using these commands, you can find all the open ports and process IDs listening on the system you are executing the netstat.

Task manager: Matching process IDs to processes

After obtaining the process ID from netstat, Windows Task Manager can be used to find out what those processes are. First add the PID column to the Task Manager processes list. After that, look for the process IDs you are interested in and found from netstat.

Tasklist: Getting service executable information

svchost.exe is a common service found in the task manager process list and sometimes there are several instances.

If you are using XP Professional, Vista, or Windows 7, to find more information on svchost, use the following command

tasklist /SVC

to find the executable name, process ID, and possibly some service information details.