Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recovering Complicated Hidden Files

There was a time when I had on my hands a USB memory which was supposed to be infected by a virus, and looking at it I realized that this malware had been erased many folders and files, but I first tried to see if they were only hidden.

Let's suppose that this was the USB file structure, with no virus.

Once the virus infected the USB, the situation changed into this. As you can see, there was no files inside, but going to the folder properties we could look at the line that it actually had 1 file and 1 directory.

Once the virus infected the USB, the situation changed into this. As you can see, there was no files inside, but going to the folder properties we could look at the image that it actually had 1 file and 1 directory.

The next thing I did was to show all hidden files but it didn't work, so I disabled the "Hide protected operating system files (recommended)" option , having as result this.

Therefore, the virus hadn't erased them, but only hidden them,  however, using the properties dialog of the file or folder couldn't be used because the "Hidden" property was in read-only mode as they were classified as system files.

To solve this, I had to use the "attrib" command to remove the system file mode from these files, to make this happen it's necessary to use the "-h" (unhide) and "-s" (system file) to remove these features to the files.

After this, the files will be normal as used to be. Remember that you have to use this command in the command line window that you can find in your "Start" menu.

Mount a Disc Image on Your PC

First at all, I consider important to explain what is a disc image, this is a file which contains information of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray even, having inside the structure of the disk, files and data that is used to execute it without problems.

This image can be saved on a lot of formats (.iso, .ccd, .cue, .nrg and more) and it gives the chance to use it on a PC without the necessity of burning it into a physical disc. As it allows to do so, I use this feature many times to verify if a movie DVD has been built correctly to burn it into a disc later.

For this purpose we will use Daemon Tools Lite to mount the image to be recognized by the PC as if it were inside the CPU physically. This effect will be reached because the tool creates a virtual CD/DVD device where the image will be mounted.

After installing this tools, you will notice the new CD/DVD devices that will appear together with you other devices, then you run Daemon Tools Lite to get it in your task bar beside the clock.

Once the icon shows there, just right-click over it and select the virtual device.

In the virtual device select the "Mount image" option, this will pop up a file selection dialog box, where you have to pick your image disc file, with this the tool will mount the disc.

If the image disk is copy of an autorun disk, the autorun will execute and show the disk, but if it is not, then you could see in the PC devices lists the new disc mounted, this is the manner you could assure your disk works with no problem.

If you are sure your disk is fine then you can unmount it by right-clicking on the tool, selecting you virtual device and clicking on "Unmount image" option.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Running Applications as Administrator on Limited User

I always considered that having a safe computer is a matter of how much privileges a user has on the operating system, therefore my idea every time, when I'm in charge of a computer, is to create a user as a limited one instead of creating it with administrator privileges.

The administrator role is thought to be used only for administrative tasks such as installing applications, cleaning the register and so on. What is more, this role is used to install malware on the computer, and this is why it's necessary to only permit the use of limited users to avoid problems.

However, I realized that there are applications that only can run under administrator privileges, for instance, games, this can be done by using the "Rus as..." option located in the right-click menu but this require the presence of the administrator.

To not force the administrator to be present in the execution moment exists Runasspc  that allows you to create an encrypted file containing the path of the program to be ran with the administrator password required to execute it with administrator privileges. With this, the limited user will be able to run the application many times without disturbing to the administrator.

Let's start, first of all you have to open Runasspc (runasspcadmin.exe), it will display a simple window.

In this form you have to write the path of the application to run, keep there "localhost" to remark that you will execute the executable in the the same machine, put the administrator user, password and the name of the encrypted file to be generated.

Once you have finished with the data input, click on the "..." button which is on the right of the  "Save Cryptfile" to select the directory where you are going to save the encrypted file. After this, click the "Save Cryptfile" button to generate the file.

With this, you will have created your encrypted file and if you want to execute an application with administrator privileges you will have to use the file created, this will show you the next image and you just have to click on "Start".


This procedure will protect your computer from being infected with malware, and to execute the encrypted file it's better to use the "Open with" option which you can find by doing right-click over the file and select the application "runasspc.exe".

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Need to Send an Automatic Email with Lotus Notes

If you don't know, Lotus Notes is an email client used in a lot of companies around the world. Therefore, I use it at work everyday, but someday I needed to send an automatic email to a few people all Fridays at 10:00.
To get this task accomplished I decided to create an agent and avoid remembering the fact of sending the email. As you can image, I did this example on a Spanish version of Lotus Notes 8.5 but I will explain it clearly enough.

The first step is getting yourself into the inbox, then select the "Create" menu item and inside of it, click on "Agent...".

You will get a dialog box opened, in this we have the possibility of setting the rules for this agent. However, in this case we will only set "Trigger" option to "On schedule" with the "Weekly" frequency.

Don't forget to push the "Schedule..." button to program the agent in the right way. After this, select "OK" and close the dialog box.

What is next is obviously the saving action, which is inside "File" menu item.

Remember that you just have configured the time of the agent, what is missing is the set of actions this agent will perform, so address to the "Run:" section, where you can read a read-only list showing "Client" and a second one with few alternatives. "Simple Actions" will be selected this time.

As we want to send an email, then we have to push the button "Add action..." which is located below and will display a dialog box where we are going to select the "Send Mail Message" option from the "Action" list.

Once we have selected the action, it's time to complete the required fields and push the "Replace" button.

Now, we have the action configured, but it doesn't work as easy as it seems, the key is to also define a number of documents which will work as filters to trigger the action, it's a little tricky, then, you have to use the left panel (Objects) to click on "Document Selection".

Once you are in the document panel, below you can see the "Add condition..." button, push it, and in the dialog box which is shown select  "In folder".

If you select "In folder" condition you will have the opportunity to select the folder which will be considered by the agent to be processed.

Finally, you have to save the agent and let it work by itself.

But... why did I choose a folder as a condition? Because this was the only manner I could make the agent work how I liked it, therefore I created a folder with only one message inside it (any email) and it's now the condition, thus, when the agent begins its task it goes to the folder, find one message inside and only send one email (defined in the agent).

When I didn't use this trick the agent sent a lot of messages, I mean, the same message configured in the agent but sent more than once.

Conditional Lists on Excel

Working everyday gives you always a number of problems that you have to face it, and it was my case when I needed to make a list on excel to select a value that modifies a next list depending on the value selected.

The way I solved this inconvenient will be shown here with a simple example: there's a list of 3 countries and depending on the selected one, the next cell must show a list of some cities to be selected. Despite the example is performed in Excel 2010, I think that you can apply it even on Excel 2003.

Before beginning it's necessary to create a sheet which will contain our data base with the countries and the city-country relationship, then, we have to group the cities of a determined country in a named range. To do this, you only select the cities for Australia, for instance, and go to the cell that is on the left of the function bar and type there the name of the country and press Enter, thus, for every country.

Having the respective named ranges, go to the tab where the lists will be, select the cell which will show the country list and select "Data" ribbon (in the image I use a Spanish version of Excel), "Data Validation..." option .

Here, you have to select in the "Configuration" tab the "List" value under the "Allow:" section. Besides, you must put under "Source:" the range of the countries to be shown and press "OK".

That is how you build your first list, which is the easiest part.

It's time to set the second list and it's going to be different depending on the country selected in the previous cell. The procedure to be followed is the same, but in the "Source:" section you only have to use the INDIRECT function referring to the cell which contains the country selected.

This is how the second list will dynamically change together with the selected country, because when a country is selected, the second cell takes its name and using the function brings all the cities that are in the named range that had been established at the beginning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Copying .cda Files to PC

It happened to me when I wanted to have CD tracks in mi PC rather than in the CD itself, I thought at that moment that copying all .cda files from this CD to mi PC would be enough, but it wasn't.

Then, I believed that it would be easier to have this track in MP3 format, so I made a little research I discovered that Nero could help me with this mission.

Perhaps, the latest version of Nero will show more options, however I consider that it keeps the similar procedure explained here (based on Nero 9).

Open Nero Burning Rom application through Start menu and this window will appear.

You have to close the previous window to keep only the main form, where you are going to select the "Save Audio Tracks..." from the "Extras" menu item.

After this, the program will read all tracks which are contained into the CD, here you are asked for the tracks you want to convert to MP3.

Before starting the copying process you need to go to the "Output" tab, which is necessary to set the output directory and the format you desire to have finally.

Once you configured everything, push the "Copy" button and wait the process to be finished.

I'm sure that it's not necessary to tell you that before doing these steps, you need first to have your CD inside the CD reader. No? haha.

What If I Don't Like Paypal?

There could be people who don't like Paypal, por instance, when I realized that Paypal account for my country didn't allow money to get received I felt really disappointed. Therefore I decided to look for an alternative, and actually that was what I found.

I'm talking about Alertpay which gave me in the past the opportunity to get paid with electronic money, it's very similar to Paypal so let's go straight to the account creation process.

First at all, go to the page and click on "Sign Up Now".

Then it's moment to select the country and the type of account we are looking for.

The site will show a form which is required to be fulfilled.

After a few minutes you will have to validate your email and later your Alertpay account will be created.

Once you have access to your account don't forget to link it with your credit card to assure that you are able to make operations between AlertPay accounts. For this, you need to go to the "My Account" section, the you have to look a "Financial", select "Credits Cards" and complete the required data.