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Sites help you figure out what's running on your computer

Published Aug. 29, 2005

You have mentioned more than once to run MSCONFIG and see what's running. How do I know what I need and what I can stop?

Here's a subject spoken about often in Personal Tech. Check our archives (www.sptimes.com/Technology.shtml). It will take some detective work. There are sites that can help you decipher friend from foe from useless and unnecessary. Two good sites are www.answersthatwork.com and www.liutilities.com. Both have extensive process definition libraries that you can search and match up with what is running on your system. Each also had a product for purchase that will run on your system and help you automatically identify each running process. I recently tried the latest version of LiUtilities product WinTask5 and was impressed. It has a dynamic process library that is continually updated so it stays current. Updated antivirus, and at least Ad-aware and Spybot are also necessary pieces in the fight against process bloat and spyware/malware infestation.

Remove Incredimail to stop log-on messages

When I log on, a box comes up stating "a required .DLL file, IMBROWSE.DLL, was not found." What can be done to correct this?

This is a known issue when removing the Incredimail program. Some remnants are left behind. If this is your case, do the following to get rid of the annoying error message. Remove Incredimail from your system if you have not already done so. Click Start, Run, type MSCONFIG, click OK. Search the Startup tab and remove any reference to Incredimail and IMBROWSE.DLL.

A few clicks will keep My Documents folder off desktop

For each account on my Windows XP PC, once the user's account finishes loading, the My Documents folder for that user is displayed on the desktop. This started after installing the Service Pack 2 update. How can this be stopped?

I'm not sure what happened here, but try this to correct your situation: Right-click on any open area of the Desktop, then click Properties, select the Desktop tab and then click Customize Desktop button. Click the General tab and in the Desktop icons section, click the My Documents option box to place a checkmark. Click OK and then OK again as you close out the Desktop Settings dialog window.

Set up system to automatically download updates

It's been recommended by several sources to accept and download the updates that Microsoft puts out periodically. I've read a lot of horror stories lately about hackers who send out e-mails that look just like messages from legitimate companies. Can Microsoft protect the system from being used as a Trojan horse for the insertion of viruses?

The best and safest way to install Microsoft updates is to set it to automatically download and install. E-mail notices should never be a part of this procedure. So if you receive an e-mail notifying you of an update, just ignore it and delete it. To set your system for automatic updates, click Start, Settings, Control Panel. Double-click the Automatic Updates icon and select the Automatic (recommended) setting. This will automatically download and install needed updates without your intervention. In this day and age, where viruses and security breaches spread quickly, you need to react as quickly as possible.

Right-click on spam message, then delete

I subscribe to PeoplePC. On my Web mail on the left side of my screen under Folders is Known spams(121). How can I delete these 121 spams? And when I click Live Update on Norton antivirus, it sends me to the Internet. On the Internet I see no place for Live Update. What am I doing wrong?

When in doubt, right-click. I'm not familiar with the PeoplePC mail client, but my first try would be to right-click the known spams and see if there is an Empty or Delete option. I'm not sure what is going on with your Norton Live Update. Make sure you have it set to Automatic. From the Norton console, click Live Update and then make sure Enable Live Update is selected. You shouldn't need to run Live Update manually. However, if you are having problems, make sure you download and install the latest definition files that can be found at securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/ defs.download.html. Do this only until you can determine why your Live Update is not running automatically. Symantec's site includes many troubleshooting methods.

_ Send hardware and software questions to personaltechsptimes.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions will be answered only in the column. John Torro is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer. He has been writing for Personal Tech since 1997.

_ Previous Solutions columns are available at www.sptimes.com/Technology.shtml, then click on archives.