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Solutions: Glitches, email make computer user suspicious

Recently, I got an email that appeared to be from myself. The email was spam, with a link to a site selling drugs from Canada. I opened the "Properties" box, and my email address was listed under "Received from." I then went to the "Message Source" box, and there were a number of email addresses listed, none of which I recognized. I also have noticed that my computer has begun to run slowly, and the Windows "busy" icon seems to be on very often. I can't help but wonder whether someone hasn't hijacked my computer, and it is busy sending out spam. Windows Defender reports that there is "No unwanted or harmful software detected."

If "Message Source" does not show your email address, you are most likely just being spoofed. This is not uncommon. If by "Windows Defender" you mean Windows Defender Offline, which runs after booting to a custom CD you've made, then I would say that is a good result. To check what is using your CPU cycles during those busy periods, click Start and type "resource" and then click on the Resource Monitor link when it appears. Resource Monitor is a much more detailed version of the familiar Task Manager. Click the CPU tab.

The processes will automatically be sorted from top down by CPU. If you don't recognize a process by its name or description, right-click it and select "Search online." This should indicate what that process is and whether it belongs on your system. Things that can be expected to run periodically on your system are processes such as your antivirus and Windows Update, to name a few.

After a power outage, when I boot my computer, Desktop will not come up. I can start it in safe mode/Internet and it works. How can I correct this?

Always try the easiest solutions first. Try going back to a previous System Restore point. Click Start, type "system restore" and then click the System Restore link at the top. If that doesn't solve the issue, try running the System File Checker as follows: Click Start, type "Command" and then right-click the Command Prompt link and chose Run as Administrator. At the prompt, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.

If still unsuccessful, try using the Windows 7 Recovery Console. If you have a Windows 7 DVD or if you've made a Windows 7 Repair disk, put it in the DVD tray and reboot. If your PC did not come with a DVD, then the recovery tools are most likely included in a separate disk partition.

Check your PC vendor's website for instructions on running its recovery options. Go to http://tinyurl.com/tbt06 for a tutorial with pictures on running the Windows 7 Recovery Console.

For Windows 7 users who haven't already made a Window 7 Repair disk, now is a good time: Click Start, type "backup and restore" and click the link at the top of the menu (or Control Panel\System and Security\Backup and Restore). Click the "Create a system repair disc" link and follow the instructions.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Glitches, email make computer user suspicious 02/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 8:18pm]

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