Author Archives: Fred Langa

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.

Server vs PC Software

Hi Fred, I have been reading about your
suggestions on creating home servers with older or new computers. That is
fine and dandy but be careful about mentioning that you have a server when you
talk to various support techs and services. I mentioned that I had a server to a Norton Antivirus Tech and he told me
that I had no right to use standard Norton Antivirus software on a server
and I had to stop using it immediately and buy their server version which
costs several hundred dollars. I would imagine this holds true with other
companies too. I had to explain that it was not a business server and
really try hard to convince him it was not. The tech world is so use to
equating server with the business world that as a home user, if you refer to you
system as a server, you could get yourself into trouble. Sincerely, Dale Ashby

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Free (Non-Macromedia) Flash Player

Fred – When I had trouble recently
getting my browsers (MSIE 6 and Firefox) to recognize and open an SWF file
(shockwave) I found this handy little 385kb freeware program from, SWF-Opener. The first two mirrors seem to be dead links but
the softpedia mirror works.

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Emergency Recovery Utility

Hi Fred, I have subscribed to the Plus version
since its inception and find that its value is worth more than you charge. I recently found the free "Emergency Recovery Utility NT", ERUNT, at
… The "detailed Information"
page gives a good description of why one would want to use this program. It appears to be good program to use for incremental backup purposes so I now
use the Autoback version with its /days:n option started by the WinXP Scheduled
Tasks Manager. —Eric Bloch

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Are Admin Shares Dangerous?

Hi Fred! I’ve tried multiple Google searches on
this issue, but haven’t been able to find the right combination of keywords to
find the answer to my question. Firstly a bit of background: I have a wired/wireless network at home
consisting of my PC, my brother’s PC and a file server. My computer is
attached directly to the network (and the Internet) via Cat5 to a Netgear
RP614 router. My brothers PC is connected to the network via a wireless
access point attached to my router. I have a share set up on my brother’s
computer for performing various administrative tasks, but my computer is totally
locked down and doesn’t have any sharing enabled. My question is: if my brother somehow catches a worm, trojan or other
malware and the antivirus doesn’t stop it – can this malware come through
this administrative share that I have access to, and infect my PC? Or could
it only infect me if I had a share on my PC for the malware to ‘jump

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Network Kills Audio?

Love your newsletter. I started with the free edition and have been a Plus
subscriber for several years.  I had an experience a couple of months ago that may be of help to some of your
readers. One of my friends got a new computer and wanted me to configure it so
they could surf the Internet safely. The computer is a Compaq Presario, AMD
Sempron 3000+, 256 DDR, 40GB HDD, CD-RW/DVD ROM,  Phoenix/Award BIOS and has
Windows XP Home. I installed the free Zone Alarm firewall, AVG anti-virus free
edition and Hitman Pro 2. They were on a dialup connection, so since they were
not using the Ethernet port I disabled it in the BIOS.  Several days later they told me that the computer did not have any sound since I
worked on it. I went back and found that when I went into Control Panel – Sound
and Audio Devices, the Device Volume section was grayed out. After a lot of
looking for the problem I ended up calling tech support. They talked me through
about 15 minutes worth of things I already tried to no avail. Then they told me
to reset the BIOS defaults. The sound came back as soon as I did this. Just so I
knew for sure what caused the problem I went into the BIOS and disabled the
Ethernet port again. The sound quit working. I enabled the Ethernet port and the
sound came back. I should have tried resetting the BIOS before calling tech
support but I knew the only thing I did in the BIOS was disable the Ethernet
port. I could not see how that would effect the sound. Just goes to show that
you should never take anything for granted, especially when it comes to
computers. —Dave Mantz

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Free/Very Low Cost Defraggers

Dear Fred, With regard to the defrag problem
mentioned in the last newsletter ("Defrag Just Won’t Finish;" ) I’d suggest
looking into DIRMS (see This is a superb defragging program that runs in
a command window under Windows; it does the best defrag job of any program
I’ve seen. —Jim Allen

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Free Firewalls

Hi Fred, What [about] free firewalls these

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