Sunday, May 31, 2009

Problems Opening PPS and PPT Files in Email

Do you get a lot of emails that have PPT or PPS file attachments in them? If you do, chances are you've seen the following error message .

"This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folder Options panel."

Let me explain the problem and offer a solution.

First, in case you were wondering, PPT and PPS files are PowerPoint files. Since these files were created in PowerPoint to begin with, you will either need to have PowerPoint or the PowerPoint Viewer installed on your computer to see them.

Folks who have Microsoft Office installed on their computer, may or may not have PowerPoint installed. To check, click START and then ALL PROGRAMS and look for PowerPoint in the list of programs (be sure to check the Microsoft Folder too). When looking for "Powerpoint" in the list of programs, look for "PowerPoint Viewer" too.

Folks who don't have PowerPoint installed, can download and install the free PowerPoint viewer.
Once the program is installed, you'll be able to open PPS and PPT files. However .... you probably still won't be able to open them from email without taking an extra step.

For some reason, many email programs (like Outlook Express) have trouble recognizing these files and associating them with the PowerPoint Viewer - even when you configure the software correctly.

The way to work around this is to save the attachment to your desktop first, then open the file.

Don't try and open PPT and PPS attachments while in email. This will usually result in the error message above. Just download (or save) the attachment to your desktop first. Then you can minimize your email and double click the file's icon on your desktop to open it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beware of Messages Saying You Have Trojans

This morning a friend of mine was playing a game on Facebook and noticed popup messages saying she had 6 Trojan viruses on her computer and Windows needed to remove them right away. The messages appeared be from "Windows Security" and even had the little Microsoft shield on them. Although the messages stressed urgency in letting Windows Security remove them, my friend stopped everything and called me (lucky she did!).

If she had accepted the messages, she would have installed one of the worst malware, rogue programs currently circulating on the internet.

This rogue program is known by many names, but it's best known as Windows AntiVirus - and it's a really bad program to have on your computer. It literally holds your computer hostage for money - and even after you pay, it continues to ask for more.

Here's where it gets tricky. Even when the program hasn't been installed yet on your computer, it's difficult to close the warning messages which are trying to trick you into installing the program. When you hit the red "x" to close the window, a new popup appears advising you to remove the viruses before closing windows and your choices on that window are "OK" and "CANCEL". Clicking OK is the WORST THING YOU CAN DO (as it will install the program). But clicking CANCEL just brings up new popup messages stressing urgency to remove the program. The goal is to fluster you into clicking OK.

The only way to close the windows at this point is to do a CNTRL-ALT-DEL on the keyboard to bring up the task manager. Then click the Applications tab, highlight each program listed and click END TASK. Be sure to click END NOW also on any subsequent popup messages. This will close out everything you had open (including email and your internet browser), but it will keep you safe.

The next step is to update your antivirus software and run a full scan just to be sure you don't have any viruses on your computer.

If you do notice more popup windows on your computer (while not connected to the internet) telling you have you have trjoans (especially if the program has a windows shield on it), chances are your computer is infected with the malware program. If that's the case, click here for removal instructions.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Computer Won't Boot After Windows Update

If you won an AMD-based computer running WinXP, you may have a problem installing Service Pack 3 (SP3) on it. I've run into this problem a couple of times now (mostly on HP computers). Most people experience the problem (i.e., the computer won't boot) after doing a Windows Update.

Here's the problem. SP3 tries to load an Intel driver on your computer during startup following the installation of SP3. The problem is that this driver is not compatible with AMD computers. To fix the problem, you have to disable this driver (which is very easy).

Here's how to fix the problem:
  1. First make sure your computer is an AMD-based PC (not Intel). This is VERY IMPORTANT. In most cases, you can look at the front of the tower and there will be a sticker telling you if it's AMD or Intel based (this is assuming you've never replaced the motherboard).
  2. If the computer is AMD based, start the computer to SAFE MODE (when you push the button to start the computer, you should see the SAFE MODE option; if you don't start the computer again and keep hitting the F8 key on the keyboard til you see a menu offering you the choice to boot in Safe Mode.
  3. Once you're in Safe Mode follow the steps below:
    • Click the START button and then RUN
    • In the window type: sc config intelppm start= disabled
      (note there is a space between each word and before the word, "disabled")
    • Hit "enter" on the keyboard
    • Reboot the computer normally (it should work)
Hopefully this solved your booting problems. If not, then you may have something else wrong with the computer which requires professional technical support. If the steps above did fix your problem, I'd suggest creating a new "restore point"

Running Windows Update and installing SP3 is a good thing. This is just one of those rare flukes that caused a problem. So please don't let this little problem keep you from updating Windows.