WHAT’S NEW AT PC PITSTOP, FEBRUARY 2004
IN THIS ISSUE
- Test your computer on PC Pitstop’s New Servers
- Our Gator Center Reveals the Truth
- A Real Big Warning About Unreal Sites!
- Tip: Curb System Restore’s Disk Appetite
- Dave Methvin Gets a New Writing Gig
- Tip: Another Line of Spyware Defense
- Free Computer Help At The Pit
TEST YOUR COMPUTER ON PC PITSTOP’S NEW SERVERS
As PC Pitstop grew in popularity, the site was showing the strain and getting slower. Everyone hates to wait, so in January we completed the transition to new high-speed servers that can handle much higher levels of traffic. Did you get a new PC recently? Come back to the site and run it through our Full Tests to make sure it’s up to snuff. The testing process is faster than ever!
OUR GATOR CENTER REVEALS THE TRUTH
You may have heard that we were sued by the “adware” folks at The Gator Corporation, who recently changed their name to Claria Corporation. It hasn’t changed what we think about their products, though, and we tried to make those thoughts clear with our new Gator Information Center. It has original research about how Gator gets onto computers, our first-hand experience–not pretty–plus instructions on dumping Gator products and replacing them with something less intrusive. Read about Gator now or regret it later!
Gator Information Center
A REAL BIG WARNING ABOUT UNREAL SITES!
By now you probably have gotten a few (hundred) messages that pretend to be from places like eBay, PayPal, or Microsoft, trying to trick you into revealing personal account data or install a virus. Well, a researcher has found a security hole in Internet Explorer that makes it even easier for bad guys to have their site look real. If a link has certain special characters in it, the browser will show one site name even though it is actually at another site! If you visit the Windows Update site you can download the patch to prevent this problem. Do it now!
TIP: CURB SYSTEM RESTORE’S DISK APPETITE
The Windows XP System Restore feature can be a lifesaver, but in its default setup it’s a disk hog. To change the amount of disk it uses, right-click My Computer and click the System Restore tab. Select the drive you want to change–the C drive is usually the most important to change–and click Settings. Move the slider to the left to reduce disk use. On one system we tested, the default was 4.5 GB! Changing that to 1 GB still provided more than a month’s worth of previous restore points. To find out how many restore points you currently have, click Start | Help and Support | and click “Undo changes to your computer with System Restore.” You’ll see a calendar with the restore point dates shown in bold text.
DAVE METHVIN GETS A NEW WRITING GIG
Dave Methvin, Chief Technology Officer here at PC Pitstop, writes: In the shameless self-promotion department, I want to tell folks I’ve hooked up with PC Today, a new print-and-web magazine from Sand Hills Publishing. I will be writing articles about tuning and tweaking PCs, plus taking a look at upcoming versions of Windows. Several other authors from the Windows Magazine days are writing for PC Today, including Scot Finnie. Pick up an issue or better yet get a subscription; the first issue of a subscription is free so you’ve got nothing to lose!
TIP: ANOTHER LINE OF SPYWARE DEFENSE
Spyware, scumware, adware, there’s a good chance that it’s accumulating on your system unless you have a multi-layer approach to keeping it out. Our full tests can detect many types of spyware, and we’ve partnered with Pest Patrol to offer users one of the best spyware scanners you can buy. Another great tool we’ve discovered is Spyware Blaster. This free download blocks many types of spyware by putting them on a blacklist that IE checks before it installs software. Even if you accidentally say Yes, it won’t load! Spyware Blaster doesn’t replace a spyware or virus scanner but it’s a great addition to the arsenal.
FREE COMPUTER HELP AT THE PIT
Our tests try to automatically detect all the problems that can afflict your PC, but sometimes there’s no substitute for the human touch. Stop by the PC Pitstop Forums, also known as The Pit, for help with your computer problems, answers to questions about your PC Pitstop results, or just to say hello.
ABOUT PC PITSTOP
PC Pitstop, LLC (https://www.pcpitstop.com) was formed in February 2000, and offers users a unique way to make sure their PCs are running fast, stable and secure–all through a free, Web-based interface.
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