Microsoft Windows Useful Tips

Here are some useful tips to help you with ms-windows-8Microsoft Windows plus others! :) c64-logo

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  2. 13 Tips to Help you Master Microsoft ms-windows-7Onedrive
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  5. 16 Basic Tips for Mastering the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

  6. 10 Tips to Unlock Microsoft OneNote

  7. 10 Tips That Can Make Anyone A Microsoft Word Expert

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  10. Microsoft Word Help, Tips and Tutorials @ The Anchorage

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My Webhost Adventures

Hostmonster has a lot going for it. However there are a few irritations as well. I have been starting to find my sites offline there as well as at my last host. This lasted for hours.

I was given several reasons listed below:

1. A huge spike in Additional Traffic. Have no idea what “huge” is and I did not see any spike.
2. A Dynamic Site without caching. Huh? I always try to install one of the cache programs in WordPress. So why would my sites be offline when there was no perceptible difference? I find it hard to believe that even without a cache there would be a sudden downtime of all my sites.
3. Extremely Large or non-optimized graphics. – No changes. Same as before. Could a few even large pictures really cause sites to go down?
4. Extremely Large or non-optimized database. – I do optimize but not every day. Again there was no change so why a sudden loss of all my sites?
5. Large amount of external calls.
6. Server issue.First, the server did go down for several hours. Shouldn’t there be a backup server to cover such an event?

I realize this is just informing me of possible causes. But then how does a newbie about these things do anything about them? Where do you start? Hosting is often advertised as easy. But not when me, a non-webbie has to start somewhere to figure it out.

Also one of the service reps, said there were some large files in certain folders but did not help me pin down where that might be. How can I find large files on their computers? With all their expertise wouldn’t it be possible to run a program which can tell them any files that were unnecessarily large?

I rather got the feeling, and it is only a feeling, that, even though it throttlinggraphsis supposed to be “unlimited bandwidth, hosting and domains that it doesn’t really mean that.

That was brought home to me even more when part of the “support document” to help me track down the problem told me about upgrading to PRO hosting.

“If your site is slow it can also mean you are experiencing throttling. The following may greatly help your site performance.”

throttlingSimpsonStyleOkay so why am I throttled? Am I really using more resources throttlingthan all the others on the same server? No one explained why I was offline. I think that is a bit more than throttling. And even if it was throttling, why could they just not be specific and tell me exactly why?

Okay you may say I am a fussy old codger. But when it says unlimited and I have 10 – 15 sites up, is that really even CLOSE to unlimited? On top of that it is not like most of those sites get a great deal of traffic.

Anyway the support document went on as if I knew exactly what they were talking about and should be able to fix it myself.

I hate changing hosts. I have done it infrequently until last year, 2012, when several of my sites turned up with Google warnings that “it may be distributing malware” but if you went to the next page of the warning, it said that there was no evidence of any of this but that my site may be directing people to a rogue or bad or notorious site where harm could arise. So the host I had been very happy with for several years, that is Bluehost, did give me some help to find out where the problems were. I was very grateful for that.

But when I felt “tricked” into purchasing a “site-locking” program for less than $15, I thought it be the same as the home page of the product said. It turned out that it was not. Then I actually had a service rep tell me that if I asked the credit card company to have them refund the money from the program she would have to turn off all my other sites which were online.  That was a shocker. I paid for the hosting and she was going to deprive me of something that I paid for and was NOT abusing?

I felt I had been tricked into buying a product which seemed useless as it told me no more than Google Webmaster tools, in fact a lot less. And the $15 was for ONLY ONE site.

After I decided to move and asked for the balance of my hosting fees back (you could ask anytime and they refund the fees proportionately). I tried several other sites and thought Hostmonster was the one. (owned by the same company as Bluehost, they too give back the balance of the money for the time you have not used if you move). Maybe I am hard to please. But I really do think my sites should be up when I pay for them.

I did learn a few very important things. Do not believe your sites will be up 99% of the time even tho they say it OR do not believe that UNLIMITED actually means UNLIMITED.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing I learned was DO NOT BELIEVE all those Webhost Review sites like “Top 15 Webhosts” I believe it is a ruse to get you to click on any of the links because the site is an AFFILIATE of ALL  of them and no matter which one you pick they can get paid $65 in most cases! Just saying! Then you can find different review sites like the name above and they all disagree as to what the top one is. Some even have different sites at the top. I thought I would search this time for reviews of sites which I was interested in. I found a lot of positive reviews about Netfirms. So I am trying them out. NetfirmsLogo

Anyway now again I am very impressed with Netfirms. Even tho I got a bargain basement deal for unlimited bandwidth, domains and space, they even phoned me to ask if I needed help with anything! Now that is impressive!

And so the further adventures of computerdoc start again with a new host. I will report again after having sites there for a while.

-Charles, “Computerdoc”

New Freeware Gems – August 2013

I must give credit where it is due. Most of the following freeware I discovered by reading a Maximum PC Guide  from MaximumPC.

However the Security section was obtained from an independent testing lab mentioned elsewhere on this site.

Security Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time system scanning, Windows firewall integration,
and rootkit protection all for the low low price of $0, yes, no charge!
File Backup Syncback Freeware Everyone should be using some form of automatic backup to save
those wonderful photos you prize so much.
Office Suite Google Docs Google Docs has been enhanced and improved since it first came out.
Using GD means that anything you create there, you can leave a copy
there and you will always have it a few mouse clicks away wherever you
Photo Editor GIMP GIMP – a free replacement for Adobe Photoshop with a library of scripts
to add to it if you need them.
Vector Editor Inkscape Vector images can be smoothly scaled to any size, perfect for company
logos, other illustrations.
Desktop Publishing Scribus You can lay all of the docs created in Google Docs and the graphics
formed in GIMP and Inkscape and combine them all here for a
newsletter or any publication you need.
Video Editing Lightworks Microsoft Windows Live Moviemaker is great for quick presentation
creators but if you need something more professional, Lightworks, the
former commercial film-editing software used to create The King’s Speech,
The Departed and Brave Heart to the rescue. Free for WindowS.
DVD Playback VLC To play movies, VLC can handle just about any digital video file as well
as play DVD’s including Blu-Ray. Free MAC version as well.
Operating System Ubuntu Almost all the programs mentioned above started as Linux freeware. Why
not try the real thing, Ubuntu, the most friendly version of Linux. Great for
productivity but does not have equivalents for all your favorite Windows
apps. Enter WINE, the Windows emulator which can run most Windows apps
right from inside Linux.
? (What are you favorites?)

2013 Internet Security Test Results

It is interesting how different reviewers can have such widely disparate reviews of internet security software. This could be due to a number of factors including 1) which version was tested, 2) what tests were used, 3) how influenced by financial gain the reviewer is . No I am not accusing anyone of taking bribes. But if an Internet Security provider pays a lot of money to a site or magazine, could that subconsciously play on the reviewers mind to downplay negatives and point out positives? Just saying.

That is why using Indepent Lab results may be the best bet, that is if they are really independent. (Yes sometimes I am skeptical but only in the back of my head. In the frontal lobes I accept their independence until proven otherwise..

This site is well-known for its reviews of Internet Security products: AV-Comparatives at

They test in three areas: Real World Protection, Performance, and File Detection. Read the blurbs at their site if you do not understand what is meant by those headings.

I am going to list the products which obtained Advanced, or Advanced Plus in all three tests. They also use Standard and Tested as rankings below the above. Also on the award logo, they have a number of stars, up to 3. So 3 stars means BETTER than two stars etc.

Products are listed in alphabetical order. Advanced+ = 3 Stars, Advanced = 2 Stars, Standard = 1 Star. Only products which obtained at least one Advanced+ and no less than Advanced in all categories are listed.

Product Real World Protection Performance File Detection
# of Stars
Avast! 3 3 2
Avira 2 2 3
Bitdefender 2 3 3
Bullguard 2 2 3
Emsisoft 3 3 2
ESET 3 3 2
F-Secure 2 3 3
Kaspersky 3 3 3
Qihoo 360 3 1 3
Sophos 2 3 2
Tencent QQ 3 No Test 3

As you can see the independent lab ratings came out quite differently than the PCMag or TopTen Reviews ratings. Also interesting, is that only one product, obtained the highest rating in all three tests. You will also see that Norton did not even place because they had only one rating that was 3 star. VERY DIFFERENT than the PCMag and TopTen reviews.

If you want a very visual comparison, go to this page


Reference: This is the message stating the independence of AV-Comparatives Lab

About AV-Comparatives

AV-Comparatives is an independent not-for-profit organization offering systematic testing that checks whether security software, such as PC/Mac-based antivirus products and mobile security solutions, lives up to its promises. Using one of the largest sample collections worldwide, it creates a real-world environment for truly accurate testing. AV-Comparatives offers freely accessible results to individuals, news organizations and scientific institutions. Certification by AV-Comparatives provides an official seal of approval for software performance which is globally recognized. Currently, AV-Comparatives’ Real-World Protection Test is the most comprehensive and complex test available when it comes to evaluating the real-life protection capabilities of antivirus software. Put simply, the test framework replicates the scenario of an everyday user in an everyday online environment – the typical situation that most of us experience when using a computer with an Internet connection. AV-Comparatives works closely with several academic institutions, especially the University of Innsbruck’s Department of Computer Science, to provide innovative scientific testing methods.
If you plan to buy an Anti-Virus, please visit the vendor’s site and evaluate their software by downloading a trial version, as there are also many other features and important things for an Anti-Virus that you should evaluate by yourself. Even if quite important, the data provided in the test reports on this site are just some aspects that you should consider when buying Anti-Virus software.

Tags: internet security, malware, antivirus, virus, protection

Freeware 2 Get Job Done

I do these blogs for fun. Okay I may monetize them sometime but mainly it is a location for ME to post useful stuff that I find.

I discovered printing it out or copying the pages in the magazine do not work for me. I lose the pages!

Okay I know …. I should file them. Right, but I have limited filing space.
So putting them online helps me and I hope you too!

Comments? Does anyone have a favorite and a reason that it is your favorite? Do you have an opinion on any in this list. Please comment below if any of these questions apply. Thank you!

You can look up the exact details at any good freeware site.
Here is a list recommended by TechSupportAlert.



FileHippo  This is currently our top recommendation as they offer a wide collection of clean software with fast download rates without requiring a proprietary downloader. A unique and useful feature is they offer a full version history of most products.

MajorGeeks This site carries only tech tools and utilities. Guidance is limited to brief reviews and user ratings.  However, if you are looking for tech tools this is THE place to go. One of our favorites.

SnapFiles  Offers a huge collection, great organization and a refreshingly clean presentation. Products are briefly reviewed and carry site ratings, user rating and user comments.

Softpedia  A huge commercial site with an excellent collection organized by platform. It features site and user star ratings for products and user comments. The search engine doesn’t display any  ratings and this limits its use when selecting. The real selling point for this site is its “100% clean” guarantee.  For many that is a winning feature but remember it easy to claim a 100% guarantee but much harder to achieve it!

FileForum-Betanews  Not the largest download collection, but if you’re looking for the very latest products you’ll find them here long before other download sites.  Good collection of software with user ratings and number of downloads listed. Quite a few ads scattered throughout.

System Information

  • cpu-z and gpu-z – CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system. GPU-Z is a lightweight system utility designed to provide vital information about your video card and graphics processor.
  • hwmonitor – HWMonitor is a hardware monitoring program that reads PC systems main health sensors : voltages, temperatures, fans speed.
  • windirstat – WinDirStat (WDS) is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Windows. It shows disk, file and directory sizes in a treelist as well as
  • intel turbo widget
  • speccy – Speccy is an advanced System Information tool for your PC. Need to find out what’s inside your computer? No problem! Speccy will give you all the information 
  • gkrellm – GKrellM is a single process stack of system monitors which supports applying themes to match its appearance to your window manager, Gtk, or any other theme.

File Management

  • Izarc or 7-zip [Personally I prefer Izarc because a right click brings you all the options.]
  • utorrent – µTorrent is a small and incredibly popular BitTorrent client. Micro-Sized Yet Feature Filled. Most of the features present in other BitTorrent clients are present in ..
  • dropbox – Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!
  • winmerge – WinMerge is an Open Source differencing and merging tool for Windows. WinMergecan compare both folders and files, presenting differences in a visual text .
  • teracopy – TeraCopy is a compact program designed to copy and move files at the maximum possible speed, providing the user a lot of features
  • filezilla – Open-source (GNU GPL) FTP client for Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. Site contains a documentation wiki and a forum.


  • ccleaner
  • revo uninstaller
  • slim drivers free
  • syncbackfree
  • filehippo


  • unigene heaven
  • catzilla
  • furmark
  • prime95
  • crystaldiskmark
  • sandra 2013
  • fraps

Best Free Games

  • team fortress 2
  • tribes: ascend
  • quake live
  • league of legends
  • blacklight retribution
  • dota 2
  • planetside 2
  • smite
  • dc universe online
  • daggerfall
  • middle manager of justice


Content Creation

  • gimp
  • andreamosaic
  • audacity
  • handbrake
  • rasterbator
  • blender
  • inkscape
  • camstudio
  • videopad
  • open broadcaster software


  • avast free v.7
  • malwarebytes anti-malware
  • truecrypt
  • keepass password safe



  • Softmaker Office [Textmaker]
  • Kingsoft Free Edition
  • sumatra PDF
  • notepad++
  • abiword
  • libreoffice

Free Mobile Apps Interact with PC

  • pc monitor
  • airdroid
  • unified remote
  • es file explorer
  • tonido


Media Handling

  • image resizer
  • vlcmedia player
  • aimp
  • plex
  • picasa 3


Look and Feel

  • classic shell
  • f.lux
  • displayfusion


With credit to MaximumPC magazine – May 2013

New Commodore 64 PC!!!

I was shocked to discover as I was looking for old images of my computer history, there is a NEW C64 COMMODORE 64 which runs all PC software!!   C64_08Thumb

Here is the description from the website:

Recreating the Legendary Commodore 64

It’s back… and better than ever! The new Commodore 64 is a modern functional PC as close to the original in design and coloring as humanly possible. Futureproof in its design, it houses a modern mini-ITX PC motherboard that can be upgraded simply by switching motherboards. Commodore USA’s new C64x features Intel’s new 2.13Ghz 64-bit Dual Core D2700 Atom processor coupled with the graphics power of an nVidia GeForce GT 520 graphics chipset for improved 3D gaming ability. 

The new Commodore 64 also features an optional slot load R/W DVD or Blu-ray drive on the left side of the unit.C64_04Thumb

The C64x comes with 4Gb of DDR3 memory as standard.

A multi format card reader/writer and a C64_03ThumbUSB slot are provided on the right side of the unit. There are additional USB slots on the rear of the unit for all your peripheral needs.

The classic power light is now the power button

The new Commodore 64 can be connected to the latest televisions and monitors, and through the power of its nVidia hardware accellerated video decoding, can deliver 1080p HD quality video playback from either Blu-ray or an internet stream for an excellent home theater experience.

Blutooth 3.0 technology and two external wireless n wifi antenae are included for exceptional connectivity to a home network or peripherals.C64BackplateBrighterSmallBorderb

Commodore USA’s custom Linux distribution, called Commodore OS Vision, comes pre-installed on the C64x which will allow you to play all your favorite 8-bit era Commodore games with a single click.

c64ready It even has the option to boot right into the original C64’s full screen READY prompt (left), where you can also launch classic games. 

Commodore OS Vision also allows you to boot straight into the included XMBC Media Center allowing you to use the C64x as a home theater system.

Don’t forget that the new Commodore 64 is a fully functional PC compatible, so you can even install and use the latest versions of Windows if you really feel you need to. We provide a beautiful graphical boot menu at start up from which Windows can be selected to run, so you needn’t lose any of the functionality of the new C64’s included operating systems. Commodore OS Vision comes with the WINE compatibility layer pre-installed which is capable of running some Windows software. VirtualBox is also included with Commodore OS Vision, allowing you to install Windows and run Windows software on same screen as Commodore OS Vision seamlessly merging their windows and visual components on the same screen.

Talk about a blast from the past! :-)


Webhost Adventures Begin

Yes, I did. My former host [] had great customer service reps to help you fix stuff. That was great. They helped you with WordPress stuff even tho they did not have to. Even better. However  I subscribe to a free Webmonitoring Service which tells me if any of my sites are down and when they are back up. This was the cruncher. If they advertise 99.9% uptime, then that should be fulfilled. I would find some of my sites down for hours, day or night. That is not good for ecommerce. I had to move.

How To Move a WordPress Site So You Do Not Lose any of your posts and pages or even your media library. That was the next problem! I tried Xcloner and could not figure it out. I tried Duplicator and could not make that work. I tried various other backup plugins which had some roadblocks right when you thought everything was going well.

Then DURING THE DAY, I phoned Hostmonster tech support. I got a gentleman who knew exactly how to move a WordPress site. Here it is.

He steered me to Tools / Import / Export in my dashboard of my old site. You simply export all contents and save it on your hard drive.

Then you create the new site. You can do that BEFORE changing your nameservers to the new site by ..

  1. Create a subdirectory of your main domain on your new host. Example: Main domain is
  2. In the Control Panel under File Manager you can create a subdirectory let’s say called pebbles
  3. Then you can go to your script installer, Simple Scripts, at Hostmonster, or Softaculous or whatever they use to install WordPress.
  4. You install a new copy of WordPress into the subdirectory …pebbles
  5. Then you type on a separate tab of your browser the URL of the subdirectory where you installed the WordPress  like this
  6. [to be finished later]

Anyway the long and short of it is you just use the WordPress importer, which you seem to have to add as a plugin. You import the XML file from your hard drive and check to see. You should see your old content loaded up into the new bare fresh WordPress site. It was too easy .. Why hadn’t anyone told me that before on my old hosting site or at any of the numerous other hosting sites where I chatted with a Live Customer Service Rep? But no one did until I moved to Hostmonster…. [not finished.

WordPress Addons

Later I intend to rate these plugins myself. Now I am listing any plugins that have a rating of 4 stars or more. Also there should be ratings of a good number of reviewers. I am going to start with plugins of 100 reviewers or more.

Backup for Your WordPress Site
[Mostly Plugins]


WP-DB-Backup plugin creates a backup of your core database tables and also other tables in the database and gives you an option of saving your back up data either to your server or download to your computer or save get you backup file e-mailed to you.

Bei Fen – Backup plugin

Bei Fen backup plugin gives you the choice of taking a backup of either your complete WordPress installation or only the files or only your database and the backups can be restored with a single click.

WP Time Machine

This plugin creates an archive of your files and uploads and data and provides a connection to any of the free online storages like Dropbox, or Amazons AWS S3 and also to an FTP. You could exclude your cache directories or some of your MySQL tables which don’t start with your table prefix.

WordPress Backup

WordPress Backup plugin is used to zip your back up your images, current theme directory and your plugin directory.

WordPress DB Manager

A complete plugin to optimize, repair, backup, restore, and delete the backup database and also to run your queries is offered by WP-DB Manager. Also manages the automatic scheduling of the back-up and manages your whole database.

WordPress EZ Backup

An administrator plugin WordPress EZ Backup create backup archives of your entire site, archives of any MySQL database chosen by you. You can view the Live log file of your backup procedure. Has an interactive Help & Auto Settings of your web server configuration.


Other than taking a backup of your WordPress Blog database and files, BackWPup plugin optimizes checks & repairs the database, stores the backup either to Folder, FTP Server, Amazon S3, RackSpaceClous and sends a log or backup via e-mail.

Backup Buddy

Backup Buddy schedules and backs up your data to Amazon S3 server or an e-mail or an FTP / FTPS account, Restore your WordPress site with your themes, widgets, plugins etc., on the same server or migrate it to a new server with a new name and domain like Sandbox or Playground site.  Upgrade your newer versions of the plugin in WP Dashboard

There are many others and ones which ONLY backup to one specific site OR ones which require you to backup to their site and then you pay a fee. They may give you one domain to backup free or a small amount of space.

When you outgrow this space or have more than one domain then you must pay or use a different backup plugin or system.


Imaging Your Drive

I am just about to image my drive because some errors keep cropping up and I want to be able to install the image on my new drive with installing Windows 7 all over again from scratch.

Here is some advice from regarding imaging a drive using free software.

Because Macrium has incrementally been improving their newest 5.0 release since it came out, ironing out a few bugs, making their recovery media adequately install drivers, I have gone back to them for the top spot, especially after finding out you can clone a working, running system with it, I think that is very new, and don’t recall anyone else doing that.

“ToolTip: For any of you devoted disk imagers, there are two tools that you must have, and yes, I will be checking up on you! I can’t devote the space I would like to here to discuss them, so if you have questions, please comment below, or go to the forums for more involved issues. First is EasyBCD [free for non-commercial use], a GUI editor for the BCD store, the file that controls the overall booting process in Windows Vista and 7 [sorry XPers, this only works with the newer OSes], but it can do so much more. For example, boot CD image files, the ‘.iso’ files, stored on your HD, floppy images, ‘.img’ raw format, it gives a GRUB/GRUB2 choice for multibooters, it can fix many boot errors/problems that plague so many while imaging/partitioning, and on and on, the web site has extensive documentation to help get you going.

The 2nd tool is Super GRUB2 Disk {SGD}, and though it sounds of interest to only linux types, that isn’t the case. If you do run into booting problems, and YOU WILL, booting into this CD/floppy/USB [yes all in one image file!], brings up a choice, the first is ‘Detect any OS’, which can often save you from even serious MBR/boot issues, and this does work for XP!!. The third menu item is to detect any bootable iso files in the folder ‘boot-isos’, where you can store your EasyBCD boot files too. Booting isos is iffy, so it’s good to have two methods to work with. But with EasyBCD you can have an image of the SGD, along with full access to a number of full LiveCD linux distros including a favorite of mine and really 3rd must have tool, PartedMagic, which has SGD built-in, giving an ability to recursively and insanely spend eternity in a boot-loop if you are bored.  Now you can access a wide range of rescue and other  boot environments without needing the CD.

Here is what the editor of this part of the site recommends:

Macrium Reflect Free Edition is a very solid application that is great at what it does. The free version lacks some key features others have, notably differential/incremental and file/network file support.  With Macrium you can create an XML definition file and save it to your desktop so that all you have to do anytime you want to create a backup is double click the file and the operation will start without anymore user input. You can also start a backup through the context menu when you right click on a partition in Windows Explorer.  The application offers a convenient and easy way to schedule backups with the XML definitions files via the GUI.  The program now has capability,  the possibly unique of free imagers, of cloning your working, running system, very very handy , it’s already made my life easier.   Macrium didn’t include the file backup option in the free version but the software can mount any backup image that you have created so you can explore and restore any individual files if the need arises. Now in the new version 5.0, Macrium includes a PE recovery, eliminating  a major objection.  The new PE recovery is quite nice, offering the same functionality as the installed version, most of their driver problems in creating the recovery media appear fixed.  These improvements have lead me to place it just ahead of Paragon, by a small but significant margin.”

List of Recommended Software


Super GRUB2 Disk


Macrium Reflect – free version can be downloaded here.

Unfortunately the newest Macrium Reflect seems to only have trial and paid editions. Check out for free and paid software. I use it for Freeware a lot because it is easier to use than CNET’s


How To Image a Drive

We all learn in different ways, so I am including several links below. Check them out and pick the one that makes the most sense to you.

Or read it here:

Method I The Bear Minimum (Bare?)

The simplest and most effective computer management theme.

I don’t know about you, but I detest constant fiddling and management of my computer. I want to use it with the least hassle. I’ve always sought out a balance between the most effective and simplest management theme. What follows is the four step theme I am currently using. It’s easy to get side-tracked and complicated with details, so I will try to avoid such and stick to the meat of it. You can learn how to image from my security page if needed.

The written details are much lengthier in appearance than the simplicity of the four step process:

1. Make a primary Image of a factory restoration of your computer with all MS updates and save it to your external hard drive.

2. Then install your additional programs, copy your data/media files and portable programs to My Documents and make a secondary image.

3. Make a third image after enough changes are made to your system and you would not be satisfied restoring the secondary image.

4. Create an account with SugarSync and point it to the My Documents folder. That’s it.

You can skip steps one and two if you know your computer is clean (are you sure?), however, I prefer to always have a factory image currently updated with MS security updates and a secondary fresh image of everything. It comes in handy. Put them off for a rainy day if you like.

Here are the details:

First and most important, be sure to copy all of your data and media files to an external hard drive or cloud source and scan them at Virus Total and or with Malwarebytes to insure they are clean.

Next, restore your computer to a factory clean state. This requires a factory image located on your hard drive or factory restoration media. Think this through and make sure you have everything necessary to bring your computer back to factory state including all of your programs!

Now boot to the clean machine and allow it to perform all Windows security updates. Depending on how long your operating system has been on the market, this will take a long to longer time.

Create an Image of your newly restored system (normally C: drive) with an imaging program such as Macrium Reflect and save it to an external hard drive (if you don’t have one, get one.) This Image will be the primary and one of at least three Images you will maintain for your system. You will never have to make a primary Image again unless you wish to update it ever so often as your operating system ages and enough new MS updates have been released. MS updates cause the most significant time issue regarding restoring to factory fresh systems. The primary Image is the Image you will fall back to if all else goes awry or the one you may use for testing malware or software.

Next install all of your additional programs that require “installation” including anti-malware software (I only use Windows firewall and Microsoft Security Essentials) and copy your data files and portable programs to named folder structures in My Documents. Now create your secondary Image. A secondary image will always be kept as the second best Image to restore to.

As time goes by and your system has changed enough that you would not be satisfied restoring to the second Image, make a third Image, but keep the secondary Image as a backup in case you make a bad Image (either unknowingly infected or corrupted.) A third image will always be kept as the best Image to restore to.

As time goes by and you again find that you would not be satisfied restoring to that third Image, make a new “third” Image but save the old third image as the “second” Image and delete the old second image. Simple and effective. While not as simple as doing nothing, it is the simplest of the most effective computer management themes.

The fourth and final phase is data management. (Backup programs and incremental backups become obsolete. Never need to fiddle with this painful chore again.) The process I am about to relate is real-time and totally automatic after setup.

Setup an account with SugarSync and point it to the My Documents folder (5GB free real-time auto-sync online storage and once this is done, you are finished with the fourth step forever.) (For huge media collections, use your external hard drive for backup or buy cloud storage.) Any changes to your data, media files, or portable programs in the My Documents folder are real-time automatically backedup to your online SugarSync account. If or when you restore an image, SugarSync will automatically update older or missing data/media/portable files. These files/programs in the My Documents folder are also accessible from any of your mobile devices with a SugarSync app or other computers through your SugarSync account.

Making an image with Macrium Reflect is too simple. Install the program and run it. Click make a new image. It asks what you want to image: C drive. It then asks where you want to put it: x:/ external drive. Press start. That’s it.

Restoring an image with Macrium Reflect is too simple. Make a boot CD when you first run Macrium, of find it in the menu. Put the boot CD in your CD drive and restart your computer. It will boot to the CD and Macrium Reflect will appear. Choose restore an image. It asks what image you want to restore: choose x:/ external drive. It ask what partition you want to restore over: choose C:/ drive and press go. It writes the image over C drive.


So if you become infected or simply wish to revert to a saved image, boot with the Macrium Reflect CD and choose which image you want to restore from your external hard drive and point it to your computers C drive which takes about 20-30 minutes to overwrite. SugarSync will automatically take care of your My Documents folder.


The reason I only use Windows Firewall and MSE is it is impossible to completely or surely defend against malware as the malware developers are always one step ahead of the anti-malware developers. Attempting to completely prevent malware (which is impossible) can lead to an overburden of anti-malware programs and maintenance tasks, and the malware developers will still be one step ahead. I also practice “safe hex” computing.

The best approach to any infection, hardware failure, or file corruption is RECOVERY. Recovery does not mean cleaning. It means restoring your computer to a known safe state either by restaging (very timely) or overwriting a partition with an image (20 minutes average.) You can never be sure you can truly clean infections and it usually takes much longer than restoring an image (many hours compared to minutes.)

For sensitive data, use TrueCrypt containers (folders) placed in the My Documents folder or do not keep these files on a drive connected to the Internet at all. It really is easy and essential to learn how to use Truecrypt.

External Hard Drives are not secure as they can be damaged or stolen. If you are concerned about external hard drive risks, there are off-site alternatives to save backup copies of your Images. My C: drive is about 60GB. Macrium Reflect compresses the image with normal (default) compression to about 20GB.

As a secondary backup to my SugarSync account, I use DropBox for the most important files. I put the Dropbox folder in My Documents and keep my most important data files there, and since the My Documents folder is also backed up by SugarSync, you have duality. Dropbox allows 2GB free storage. These storage amounts are plenty for my needs. If you find you need more storage, ADrive allows 50GB free storage but it is not real-time sync’d. You can probably get several ADrive accounts with email alias’s but these have to be manually managed.

Method 2

Using Windows itself, see this video


Method 3

Suggested by Retired Chief on forum

This is what I would try:

  1. Go to windows 7 and create an Image of your “system” drive (For a partitioned drive this would be “C” drive).
  2. Windows 7 BU (to create the image) is located in win 7 control panel. You can place this image on A) a 2nd HDD, either internal, or an external Backup drive. B) a set of DVDs (min is usally 3 disk), or C) A Usb thumb drive (must be big enough) and must be formated using Fat32, (or NSFT) – forget which one.
  3. Once the image is completed you will be prompted to make a “Repair” Disk (this will be a bootable DVD). If You have any (yours or borrowed) Win 7 installation disk you can use that instead, Just select Repair, repair from image. 
  4. Down load AS SSD and run the program – Do Not need to run Bench mark (It’s primarily for SSDs), But in the upper left it will show the driver, most likely it will be pcide. This will determine what to set Bios to.
  5. Disconnect the IDE drive, and connect the new sata drive. Enter bios and set the HDD to A) if old driver was IDE then set bios to IDE or B) if old driver was ahci then set to ahci.
  6. Boot to windows 7 repair disk created above, if using win7 installation disk then select repair, repair from image and follow prompts.
  7.  When done try booting to the new HDD. If it works – great. 
  8. NOTE, if you had the BIOS set for IDE, and are using Pcide as a driver you will want to change this to ahci. Select one of the methods found here: […] 58ac5aa915
  9. If everything is good, then reconnect your IDE drive. You will be able to dual boot between the drives.
  10. Just select the “Key” during post that brings up a boot menu. For gigabyte it’s normally F12, for my Asrock it is F11, for Asus, check manual.
Message edited by RetiredChief on 03-29-2012 at 03:27:46 PM

Reply to RetiredChief
Method 4

See this site: PC&Tech Authority

Method 5

BootMed site

Method 6

Get Your Files Back

Looking for something easier?  With BootMed Plus you can image a hard drive with just a few clicks.  BootMed Plus also comes with a built in video tutorial that guides you through the imaging process.  Click here to see how.  

A couple of years ago my hard drive crashed and I was told by a professional that I had lost everything.  Three years worth of pictures and memories were gone.Before I gave up I decided to create a raw image of the hard drive.  Because of the corruption it took over 24 hours to complete, but when I was done I was able to recover 100% of my data.  Read on to see how to make a forensic image with BootMed.

I should also mention here the importance of backing up your information. Crashes are a part of life so you need to be prepared. I suggest that you use an online back up service. By backing up over the internet, your data is safe even if your house burns down. Stay away from  MyPCBackup as they trick you into thinking it is free.

This tutorial will take you through imaging a damaged hard drive, using the Ubuntu based BootMed Live CD. Making an image won’t fix your drive; it will simply make an exact copy of your disk, copying good as well as corrupt data.

Damaged hard drives usually only get progressively worse the more they are used, so to cut your losses you should make an image.  Damaged hard drives may “confuse” computers, making it difficult to read information.  When you make the image, it copies the drive to a more stable environment.  Later you will be able to connect to this image in Windows and recover files from it.

To image your drive you will need an external hard drive that is larger than the drive you wish to image.  The external hard drive will also need to have enough free space to fit your entire hard drive.  For example, if you will be imaging a 500 GB hard drive, you will need to have at least 500 GB of free space on your external hard drive. If you do not have an external hard drive, check out the one on the right. Its a good deal that I found on Amazon.

To create the image, you will be using a program called dd_rescue to create the image.  Dd_rescue is unique in that it does not stop copying if it encounters errors, instead it tries to read the corrupted areas multiple times and writes zeros in the place of the unreadable bits.

This tutorial assumes that you have already booted your computer up to BootMed.  Just go to the Getting Started page to find out how to get to this point.

Dd_rescue needs to know two things, the path to the device (hard drive) or partition you wish to image as well as where you would like the file to be saved, in other words the source and the destination.  What’s the difference between a hard drive and a partition?

If you are not sure if you want to image the device or the partition, in most cases you will want to image the largest partition.  Follow this tutorial to see the sizes of the partitions and drives and find the path of the device or partition you with to image.  It will look something like this for a drive: /dev/sdb or this for a partition /dev/sdb5.   Once you find the path, jot it down as the source.

Now that you have the source of your image, you will need to find the location you wish to save it.  Make sure your external hard drive is plugged in and then follow this tutorial to find the mount point of your external hard drive.  It will look something like this: /media/Elements.  Once you find the path of the mount point, jot it down as the destination.

You will also need to specify a file name for the image.  For this tutorial, I will use the file name image.dd.

Now you need to open up Terminal (there is a link on BootMed’s desktop) and type in a command using this format:

sudo dd_rescue [source] [destination]/[filename]

Your command will look something like this:

sudo dd_rescue /dev/sdb /media/Elements/image.dd

Once you have typed in your command, hit enter and BootMed will begin imaging and you will see something like this in the terminal window:

Dd_rescue may take a few hours or a few days to image the drive, depending on the amount of corruption.  Once it is done imaging, you can turn your computer off and remove your external hard drive.  There should be a file on it called image.dd.

Now that you have created an raw image, you can do one of the following things with it:

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