“Computer friends” and Windows Media Center

Having computer problems? Major ones? For Lord’s sake don’t let some “computer friend” work on it or try and reload windows quiting half way. This is coming from the guy who cleans up the mess after the fact.

Scenerio: My girlfriend is the director of a day school for young children. So some of her employees are from MTSU here in Murfreesboro. One of them in particular just finished her degree, saved up for a long time for her new Dell Dimension PC to use for online grad school. Some friend of her boyfriend whom claims to be a computer expert because he manned a call center here in town for Dell completely hosed up her pc with the win32/Hidrag.A virus. PC crashing, etc. She was stricken because she saved forever for this three week old computer and now she can’t use it for school. Knowing my girlfriend is from here she asked where she might could get it fixed. Needless to say that resulted in a call to me instead and I could not let the unfortunate kid go pay to have this cleaned up.

Turns out it is a very nice Dell Dimension with Windows Media Center. Had they just turned the pc off when the problem came up I would have been done in an hour. All I started with was removing the drive (SATA), placing into an external carrier I got at Compusa and running a clean tool on it. I cleaned it this way in case it was the new CME-24 malware. I did not want to boot and cause more of her files to be lost. Thankfully it was a less harmful virus. But the fun began when I put the drive back in the PC and went to boot it. Turns out they had started a restore using the Dell windows recovery disc. They stopped half way. Oh Joy! So took the drive back out, into the carrier and grab all the misc data files I could find. Thankfully its only 3 weeks old so not many documents to save. Now a few hours later. Using the Dell recovery cd, the driver disc and many downloads all that is left is getting the discs she didn’t send with it. Turns out the DVD player software is on a different disc (probably a licensing thing). So media center will not decode a dvd for video playback.

One thing I did find is there is a nice Media Center rollup that helps with xbox 360 streaming and other fixes. Run windows update, choose custom and go into the optional software updates. Apply it from there. A link is also below.
At least this inspired me to go do all the current updates like that and drivers from HP on my media center home theater PC.



Acronis True Image v9

I use their server product at work and love it. Images the system while its up and running etc. So I talked to Acronis and got a discount for listeners of our FriendsinTech podcasts.

Check out our podcasts at www.friendsintech.com and you can get 20% off Acronis True Image here.


MS Exchange Server Patch

If you do not read all bulletins that Microsoft releases and just trust in automatic updates you could face a problem. For example if you still run Exchange 5.5 on windows NT 4.0 you need to apply this one by hand. MS06-003 will require a reboot so be prepared for 15-30 mins down time for Exchange services to shut down and your server restart.

If you do not apply this one you may be facing a time bomb since any mail message crafted with an exploit for this flaw could hit each server it passes through.