Windows password changed?

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Here's a weird situation for you. Yesterday one of my co-worker's had her PC go into locked mode (control-alt-delete then select Lock Computer) without her causing it, and when she tried to unlock it the password was different to what it had been earlier. I managed to reset her password from the server and get her in again, but its baffling me as to how this could have happened. I immediately installed Spybot Search & Destroy, did a quick update then scanned the system, during which a number of spywares were found. One in particular that I had not heard of before was called Zonemap.Ranges which turned out to be a trojan. She also had several IE plugins that were doing unknown damage, one added a web search box to her IE toolbar while others simply added more buttons on the toolbar. Given her position within the company its my constant concern that she would somehow get a key logger that would allow some git to run away with the company's bank accounts. Anyway, problem solved for the moment, and I asked her to contact me any time she sees anything strange start happening with IE again.

Excellent virus checker information

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If you are trying to decide what virus checker to run on your home or work PCs, you really ought to take a look at this Greek site focused completely on reviewing and comparing the latest software.

Particularly worth mentioning is their December 2005 comparative tests which in there are some surprising results, particularly when some popular and well known scanners don't even reach 50% on their scores! Good stuff!

New video editing software for work

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At work today I had need to convert a DVD to Windows Media and Quicktime formats, and trim the video by about a minute (out of a 9 minute DVD). After looking at the options one seemed like it'd be the best choice - Pinnacle Studio Plus 10, which is easy to use, can output a whole bunch of formats and apparently import existing DVD content (provided the DVD is not encrypted, i.e. something you make yourself). I've used older versions in the past, this new one adds on support for high definition video formats (not an issue for me) and chroma-key effects (not needed, but could be fun), along with some general user interface improvements. I'll let you know how it goes.

Laptop installation - Windows Wouldn't Work

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In the continued saga, this week I got Windows 2000 Professional on and then after some hair pulling reformatted the drive. Why, you may ask? Drivers.

The laptop in question was build around the time that Windows 98 was coming out, before Windows 2000 Professional was released, and it was never officially supported under the latter. Despite that, after installing Windows 2000 Pro every minute piece of hardware was correctly identified, I didn't have to install any extra drivers to get it that far. There were, however, three problems remaining: the built-in video card wasn't working correctly (it defaulted to generic VGA) and the two PCMCIA/PC-Card slots refused to work - with my intentions of using a PCMCIA ethernet card, this was going to pose problems.

Long story short, it completely stumped me. Each device was giving a similar error in Device Manager that there were insufficient resources, but none of them gave detailed enough of an answer to pinpoint what was insufficient - IRQs, memory, etc. I suspect it may have been a memory issue, but it was kind of silly of them to write drivers that were hardcoded to memory above the 64mb limit for laptops that were released back when 32mb was a large amount. After several hours of searching for alternative drivers, disabling other devices to see if it was a problem of something else conflicting, it was just going utterly nowhere.

So last night I took my HD platters in my hand and wiped the drive. Then the real fun began, but that's for another time.

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