Spybot Portable – a Great Way to Search and Destroy Spyware

spybot-sd-icoBack in 2000, a software engineer, Patrick Kolla, created the basis of a tool for dealing with spyware. This tool, later named Spybot Search and Destroy, was one of the first effective freeware apps for the removal of many kinds of adware and malware that were infecting PCs. Since then, millions of people all over the world have used it at one time or another. To this day, many people consider it an essential part of their PC defenses.

Patrick’s work on Spybot hasn’t stopped, and it’s been updated several times over the years. Today Spybot-S&D can repair or remove:

  • Bad registry keys
  • Winsock LSPs
  • ActiveX objects
  • Browser Hijackers
  • BHOs (Browser Helper Objects)
  • Tracking cookies
  • Trackerware
  • Homepage hijackers
  • Keyloggers
  • Trojans
  • Adware
  • Spyware
  • Rootkits
  • other kinds of malware

Here’s a screenshot of Spybot as it scanned my laptop yesterday.


Typically, I use Spybot as a secondary scanner, to catch things that my antivirus and other defenses have missed. However, the TeaTimer portion of Spybot can be installed to watch over your computer continuously in the background.

Another great feature of Spybot, is it’s ability to add immunizationsagainst some common weaknesses in Internet Explorer and other areas of your PC.

Spybot can be updated every time you use it, by clicking the update icon. Always check for new updates before running a scan.

I prefer to have most of the programs on my PC, set up as portable applications. I was happy to find that Spybot is also available as a portable app.

arrow-down-double-3Download Spybot S&D Portable

earth-globeSpybot S&D Home Page (full installed version)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Spybot is one of those apps that have proved themselves over years and years of use. It’s always been free, and it’s probably saved millions of people headaches from re-installing their OS after an infection. It deserves to be highly recommended.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Learn the Countries of the World with Enigeo

globe[Windows only]

How many countries are there in the World? What are their names? Where are they located? What do their flags look like? If you really want to learn these details, Enigeo (freeware) is great way to learn them.

This program offers two different modes for learning: quiz mode and explorer mode. I have found it very challenging. The best I was able to get in the random country quiz was about 20%. That’s not surprising, considering that it’s been a long time since I studied these in grade school. I’m sure I’ll do much worse when it comes to flags and capitals.

The game will ask you the following types of questions: Name of the country, Capital of the country, Position on the map, and Flag of the country.

enigeo_screenshot enigeo_screenshot2

It’s a 3mb download and will run on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7. This game is also available in 11 languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Polish, French, Swedish, Portuguese, and Russian.

Note: There are 192 countries in the United Nations. However, most people recognize two or three more, which include Kosovo, Taiwan and the Vatican. (source about.com)

Check out this video of Enigeo:

Enigeofree geography quiz

arrow-down-double-3Download Enigeo

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This free game is one of the best ways I’ve found to educate children and adults about the basics of geography. It’s easy to set up and run. I give it a big thumbs up.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

20 New Screensavers for Valentines Day

[Windows Only]

Valentine’s day is close and you’ll find plenty of free screensavers and wallpapers on the net. Be careful to visit only safe websites when you are looking for them.

As many of you have learned by now, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.


One of the nice features of these screensavers is that they now have settings to mute the sounds. Some of the screensavers also have a setting to include a small analog clock on the screen.

arrow-down-double-3 Valentine Screensaver Download Page

Windows 7 themes?

valentine-win7-themeIf you have Windows 7, be sure to check out the Valentine theme from Microsoft. If you don’t have Windows 7, you can still snag the wallpapers by using this trick.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I’ve downloaded and installed several of the screensavers at this site and never had a problem with any of them. These screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

CARBERP – a New Browser Trojan to Worry About

malwareHow would you feel about a computer infection that could lie to your bank about your online transactions? What would happen if details such as who you are paying and how much, could be changed without you knowing it?

That’s exactly what can happen with the current crop of transactional trojans.   This is called screen injection, HTML overlayor the man-in-the-browser attack.

This type of infection can spy on you while you are online at many banking sites. ATM PINs, social security numbers and answers to secret questions are the types of information that will be stolen.

Previously, we’ve written about the Zeus trojan, which is the current king of the transactional trojans. Zeus used some very unique command-and-controlinterfaces that actually fooled security experts into giving up information. The Zeus trojan was also used to infect hundreds of U.S. Government employees when they opened a fake Christmas Card email from the White House.

If that’s not scary enough, there are more trojans out there that are being bred to compete with Zeus. According to TrustDefender, a well known security provider, a trojan named Carberp has recently added a whole slew of new features. These new features are intended to make it just as useful to black hats as Zeus. Here are some of the features:

  • It can run on non-administrator accounts.
  • It can infect XP, Vista and Seven machines.
  • It doesn’t make changes to the Window registry.
  • It hooks into the web browser to control all internet traffic.
  • It’s able to transmit real-time data to it’s masters.

It also covers it’s identity by appending random data into itself to foil normal anti-virus detection. The fact that it can run in non-admin mode and doesn’t write to the registry also makes it harder to detect. To most security software, Carberp could appear to be a simple browser add-on or extension.

The older Zeus trojan hasn’t been improved recently, and it looks like there’s a battle brewing that will decide the next popular trojan. Carberp is in the running with two or three others, such as SpyEye and Gozi.

It’s a rat race, with security experts always trying to build a better trap for the fast rats that keep breeding even faster rats. The security field profits from this race and so do the hackers.

We are the big losers.

10 New Screensavers – Four Seasons and Five Countries

[Windows Only]

Right now, the people at NewFreeScreensavers have 10 new screensavers covering a variety of themes, which you can see below. The nature screensavers are slideshow screensavers, and the pictures from the 4 seasons, animals, and butterfly screensavers can be used as a wallpaper. In the settings for the screensaver, select Wallpaper to set those up.


I’m sure you can find plenty of other screensavers out there, but be careful to visit only safe websites when you are looking for them. As many of you have learned, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.

One of the nice features of these screensavers is that they now have settings to mute sounds. Some of the screensavers also have a setting to include a small analog clock on the screen.


arrow-down-double-3 Screensaver Download Page

Be sure to check out all of the screensavers we’ve written about.

W I N D O W S 7 themes?

artic-theme-win7If you have Windows 7, be sure to check out this nice Artic theme from Microsoft. If you don’t have Windows 7, you can still snag the wallpapers by using this trick.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I’ve downloaded and installed several of the screensavers at this site and never had a problem with any of them. These screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

KDE 4.5 Available For Windows Users

The KDE Windows Team has released Windows packages for KDE 4.5.4. The aim of the Windows packages for KDE is to lower the barrier of contribution to development and community participation by making Windows users familiar with one of the most popular desktop environment used in Linux.

The current release of KDE for Windows brings all the goodness of KDE SC 4.5, the bug fixes from the point releases upto KDE SC 4.5.4 and the latest version of Phonon-VLC backend.

KDE for Windows comes with most of the software you would expect in a normal KDE environment. It will allow the users to use the KDE workspace, kdeedu, kdegames, kdegraphics, kdemultimedia, kdenetwork, kdesdk, kdetoys and kdeutils. In addition to these, applications from extragrear such as Amarok, digiKam, Konversation etc. are also installed.

KDE on Windows can be installed using KDEWin Installer. It is a network based installer, so you will need an internet connection during the installation.

Before you install keep in mind that this is not a stable release and should only be used in non-production machines. Moreover, there are also some problems running it in with 64-bit Windows.

Jealous About Mac App Store? Here Is A Software Store For Windows

Mac users just got a brand new app store which features several apps they can download and use, if you are not happy with it you can always try out some Mac App store alternatives.

Windows App Store AllMyApps

However, what if you are a user? Well, thanks to sites like Download.com and Softpedia, you can downloads and use tons of apps or software as we prefer to call it. However, App stores provide users with a unified experience of software installs, software updates and easy installation. In case of Windows, this experience is hard to get.

All My Apps, an application installer which allows users to install multiple apps at once, which we had covered earlier has now turned into an App store for Windows providing an experience similar to the Mac App Store.

All My Apps Software Installer

All My Apps providers users with a web interface and desktop tool to download and install apps. The advantage of using the desktop software is that it will also check for available updates for installed software. This will make updating software on your computer as easy as clicking a single button.

Also See: 7 Tools to Keep Your Windows PC Software Up-to-date

All My Apps has a big catalog of Freeware which you can download and install for free. The app also provides one-click-installation of software which does away with the multiple-screen software installation you are usually accustomed to. The software also acts like an app launcher, allowing you to launch installed applications by double clicking on it.

Download: You can sign up and download All My Apps for your PC from http://allmyapps.com/.

Techie Buzz Verdict

All My Apps is a really good way to discover new software and keep them up-to-date. However, the software is still buggy as it does not discover the software which was already installed on my PC. However, since the software is still in beta, we can expect these things to be taken care of in the future.

Another nice thing about this software is that it does away with those pesky multiple-screen software installs and replaces it with a single click. However, some advanced users might find the lack of advanced options like changing install directory and removing start menu listing a problematic.

Overall, All My Apps providers users with one of the easiest ways to install new software to your computer and is a recommended download.

Ratings: 3/5 (Good)

How to Create a Hard Disk Partition in Windows 7

hard-diskDo you have plenty of free space on your C: drive? If so, one of best things you can do is to create another drive on your hard disk by creating a new partition (also known as a volume). Fortunately, Windows Vista and Windows 7 both allow you to do this easily.

You might be wondering why this is such a good idea. The safest place to store important information would be on a different machine, a backup drive or DVD. These aren’t always immediately available. It’s convenient to have an extra drive always there when needed. Another reason is that your operating system may some day need to be re-installed. If your personal information is on the same drive as the OS, you might lose it if it’s not backed up somewhere else.

Now that I’ve told you why, I’ll show you how. First, we’ll open the disk management console. An easy way to do this is the hit the Start button and type in the word partition, then select the result labeled Create and format hard disk partitions.


Right click on the C: drive and choose Shrink Volume. This is the first step in creating the space you need for your new partition.


Now you’ll see the system checking to see how much space you can borrow from your C: drive.


After the query process, you’ll see the size before and size available. Type in the number of megabytes you want for your new partition. Keep in mind that 1024 megabytes is equal to one gigabyte. Also make the size smaller than the availableby a one or two thousand megabytes, just to allow a safety margin.


After the Shrink process finishes, you’ll see the new partition as Unallocated. The next step is to turn it into a simple volume. Right click on the unallocated space and chose New Simple Volume.


Now you’ll see the New Simple Volume Wizard.


After clicking Next, you’ll be asked to specify a size for the new volume. The default is what you’d normally want, so click Nextonce again.


You’ll be prompted to assign a new drive letter. I usually choose a higher letter so that the DVD or other devices on your system won’t have to be assigned new letters when they are detected. Click Nextwhen you are done.


Now you’ll be asked if you want to format the new volume. The best choice is typically NTFS. After making your choice here, click Next.


You’ll be given one more look at the settings before you launch the formatting process. Review the info and click Finishwhen ready.


Before it starts, you may get a warning about Dynamic disk’s. If you aren’t dual booting another operating system, you can ignore this and click Yes. If you are using more than one OS, you might lose any special boot managers at this point. You should research your best options if that’s the case.


Your new disk will appear in the Disk Management console now.


That’s all there is to it. When you return to Windows, you’ll be able to use the new disk to store your personal information.

See also:

Create Extra Partitions From Unused Space In Windows Vista

Skype Explains the Big December Failure

skypeOn December 22nd, millions of Skype users were left without service for roughly 24 hours. At the time, Skype was scrambling to get the system back up and didn’t offer a full explanation of what was happening. (what is Skype?)

Earlier today, Skype’s CIO, Lars Rabbe, gave a fairly detailed explanation about the system wide failure. Skype depends heavily on a world wide network of peer-to-peer nodesand supernodesthat are hosted by users running Skype’s software. This network distributes the service’s work load to each Skype user as needed.

According to Lars, a cluster of Skype servers overloaded and threw more of the load onto the peer-to-peer network. Normally, this should have only slowed the network down. Instead, a bug in some of the Windows clients running a newer Skype version, cause many to completely fail. About 50% of the peer-to-peer network stopped responding, and the entire network collapsed like a house of cards.

Skype technicians responded by creating new peers on the network called mega-supernodesto try to recover normal traffic, but the recovery still took a long time.

So what has Skype learned? Can they prevent downtime in the future? Here’s what Lars said about the future:

… we are learning the lessons we can from this incident and reviewing our processes and procedures, looking in particular for ways in which we can detect problems more quickly to potentially avoid such outages altogether, and ways to recover the system more rapidly after a failure.

Skype has become a critical communication tool for many individuals and companies. If Skype can avoid major disasters in the future, they’ll remain the king of VOIP. If not, they have plenty of competition waiting to jump in as a replacement.

Here are some of our previous posts about Skype:

MacX DVD to iPod Ripper – Free for Limited Time

[Windows & Mac]

If you have a portable media player, one of your favorite past-times may watching movies on it. The biggest issue that you might have is getting a movie from a DVD into your device. There is  no shortage of video converters out there, however, not all of them are easy to use for inexperienced users.

macx-dvd-ipod-ripperAfter reading a post at instant fundas, I decided to try out MacX DVD to iPod Ripper. This program is free only until January 10th of 2011. You can only get a copy of it by visiting the Digiarty Facebook page and clicking the Likebutton there.


Once you’ve Likedthe page, you will be given links to download a free copy of the program. It’s available for both Mac and Windows. Included in the download will be a text file called SN.txt, which will give you the free license serial number. The first time you run the ripper, it will prompt you for the license serial number.

To use MacX DVD to Ipod, you’ll see a set of simple instructions under Getting Started, as shown here.


1. Click the Discbutton to chose the DVD you wish to convert.

2. Chose the file format from the to xxxtabs.

3. Click the Startbutton to begin the process.

As you can see, it has settings for iPod, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. However, all the same formats can also be watched on a PC or Mac.

Using the normal settings for a 640×480 MP4, I was able to convert a 2 hour DVD in about 15 to 20 minutes. I found that using the H264 format made the conversion time increase to nearly an hour.

At Digiarty’s home site, they offer a totally free version of this software called WinX Free DVD to iPod Ripper. I tried it out and found that it doesn’t decrypt DVD movies. That means that it’s pretty much useless for most movies.

I could only wish that the MacX DVD to iPod Ripper was free all the time. It’s a great little program that’s pretty easy to use. It’s an ideal piece of software for doing what it was designed to do rip DVDs for iPods and the like.