Jan 29, 2008

.NET Framework 3.5 Installation and setup Error

For the last couple of days I have been looking for Visual Studio 2008 throughout the market. I finally got my copy and installed it on three separate machines,two of which were running Windows XP Pro SP2 and one hosting Windows Vista ultimate.

The program was successfully installed on two machines, but I encountered a lot of problems installing Visual Studio 2008 on the third, which was running Windows XP. The setup would simply freeze during installation of dot net framework 3.5 and I couldn't even quit or cancel it. Then, I had to manually restart the computer and try again. The machine had VS 2005 with IIS 5.5 and SQL server 2005 previously installed on it. I simply looked through many MSDN forums for fixes to this, but everything i found was quite puzzling. I had installed VS 2008 successfully on the first computer which was also running VS 2005, IIS 5.5 and SQL Express 2005, but it would not work on the third machine. I have also heard that this is a widespread bug with .net framework 3.5 installation.

What I finally did was this:
1- Uninstalled IIS and all SQL 2005 instances from my computer.
2- Uninstalled .Net Framework 2 from my machine.
3- Restarted Windows

After that, I ran the .net framework 3.5 setup manually. It took a while for it to run and progress, but finally the procedure was successful on this last system.
Although i succeeded, i still don't know the real cause of this setup problem, though i guess the main thing revolves around permissions for modifying previous instances of .Net framework by the setup file. I hope my solutions work for others too, thought MS seriously needs to release a fix to this widespread problem that comes with their Visual Studio 2008 product.

Jan 13, 2008

NOD32 2.7 Update Issue Resolved

For quite a long time I couldn't update my NOD 32 at all. Today I found a web page just by chance that was full of free user names and passwords for a full version of NOD 32 2.7. And well, what it had worked. Just click "update to full version" in your NOD32 2.7 or NOD32 3.0 and then when prompted, enter one of those user names and passwords given to you in http://www.nod321.com/, then you will see how life change for you.

Enjoy your full version NOD32 now, and never lose a virus in the wild!

Jan 8, 2008

How to disable autorun in Windows XP for Flash Disks

I well remember good old days when the technical staff in school's computer department did not allow any floppy disks to be inserted into any computers. Floppy disks are simply dead now, and so are the viruses that were spread via them.

These days most people carry flash disks all around with themselves, and now is the best time for many worms and viruses to spread with them. How?

Most viruses and worms simply take advantage of a weak point in Window XP operating system, which is its automatic execution of auto run files for removable devices (and also all fixed drives).

-Immune your Flash Disks:

When you insert a flash disk onto a computer, Windows XP looks for a file called autorun.inf which includes the path for Windows to execute the malicious virus in your disk. Your system is simply infected with the virus then. If you are lucky and have an updated anti virus, you might get the chance of killing the nasty program before its execution. However, in many occasions, this is not the case.

And here is a trick:
1- Delete the autorun.inf file in your flash disk
2- Create a
folder and rename it to "autorun.inf" (without the " marks)
3- Set the folder's attributes to read only and archive/hidden
4- Create a
file and rename it to "Recycler" (without the " marks)

Poor nasty viruses and Trojans can not longer copy themselves to your disk. This is a good starting step in sterilizing your work place from infected flash disks.

Here is more information on what most worms and viruses do:

1- They first create a registry entry in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" so they are executed the next time your start Windows.
2- They might create autorun.ini files under all fixed drives and copy themselves so they are executed automatically by Windows even if you reinstall your operating system (This is what Win32/Malas.B - Bindo.worm does)
3- They hide themselves and copy themselves into many system folders with various tricky names, like svchost.exe, OfficeUpdate.exe and many other names.
4- They disable folder options in Windows by modifying "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" Nofolderoptions to 1. This also takes advantage of a feature in Windows XP which hides extensions for known files. You open a folder in Windows, while you have actually executed a virus which has changed its icon and name (Like "New Folder.exe" virus)
5- They can also disable Window XP system restore, so you might never get the chance of going to the point where your system was clean.

Some other viruses also disable task bar (no task manager access), registry access, and also use other tricks to just lock you away from your system.

So, be careful with flash disks. Be careful with Windows XP's auto run feature, and remember that your system gets infected in a blink of an eye, and you might lose your golden time with a simple mistake.

This is our case currently in the office and I am so wasted these days with flash disk viruses... :(

NOD32 2.7 Update Issue

For some clear reasons, many Windows users have switched to this extra fast and lightweight anti-virus. NOD32 is truly the fastest and the best anti virus suit available right now (mainly because its kernel is written in assembly as ESET has mentioned in their website.)

However, they offer no virus DAT signature file as a single download, so you have to update NOD32 for each single machine by connecting to the web or an update server. Recently I reinstalled my NOD32 2.7 and tried to update it. The shocking thing was that my virus signature was 5 months old but the application keeps saying "Your version of NOD32 is up to date"!

The application seems to have major problems finding the proper update server. So I manually switched to an update server which had only ip address. This solved my update issue and the application was updated immediately.

This is a known issue with NOD32, If your automatic update doesn't work, try reclicking the update button as much as you can. It seems stupid, but it has worked for me many times. Seems like it takes a while for NOD32 update functions to detect the online update servers and connect to them.