Friday, 23 January 2015

CHKDSK - How to Use This Evergreen Disk Repair Command in Windows 8

Often times, we need to repair hard disks to overcome from various errors and problem that we might face almost every day. Check Disk utility in Windows is still a winner among various other free utilities provided from Microsoft that we use to check hard disk errors and repair them, even in Windows 8.

Previously, Disk Check utility comes with slight differences and limitations that may have lifted in Windows 8. Checking your hard disk in Windows 8 through CHKDSK command every once in a while will ensures healthy performance of your PC. You can use it anytime to deal with various problems such as improper shutdown, third party hefty software, file system corruption, disk structure corruption etc.

How to run CHKDSK in Windows 8
Microsoft has completely redesigned Check Disk utility in Windows 8 to meet the growing needs of user who found themselves incapable to deal with various hard disk issues such as bad sectors and blocks, freezing issues, automatic restart etc. Microsoft has also introduced Automatic Maintenance to run in the background and repair errors if it founds any. However, if you want to run check disk command at any particular instant or to address any particular issues, you can do so by following the steps below:
  • Simply right click on any drive listed under ‘This PC’ window and choose ‘Properties’
  • Navigate to ‘Tools’ tab and click on ‘Check’ button listed under ‘Error Checking’ rectangular box.



  • System error checking process will begin immediately and will report any errors that it founds. In case, check disk utility don’t found any errors you will get a confirmation dialog box stating ‘You Don’t need to scan this drive’. Still not satisfied, you can proceed to perform disk error check by clicking on ‘Scan Drive’ button. 


  • Disk scanning for errors and corruption is faster than ever. The whole system check can be performed in minutes.


  • Once the Scanning is completed, you’ll get a confirmation dialog box stating ‘Your Drive was successfully scanned. Now Errors were found. ’


  • You can also choose an option to scan and repair drive together. This option is limited to Window default bootable drive containing your system files.


  • You can also chose to repair the problem drive on next restart. Additionally, if the drive you’re trying to repair is default windows drive, Windows will ask to repair this drive on the next restart to make sure that nothing bad will happen.


  • That’s it. Check disk utility perform well and helps you deal with any minor or major disk related errors or problems.

Steps to deal with disk related errors and problems

There are number of Disk related errors exist and one can happen anytime on your system. Some error sounds not that typical and can be dealt and fixed easily. However, most of the time not. Below mentioned are few particular type of disk related problems that may occur on your system:

A disk read error occurred
Disk Read or write error
A disk read error occurred. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.

Once such error strikes to your system, you’ll face freezing, interrupted shutdowns, slow system processing while accessing any files etc. Besides number of reasons that could cause this, first things you’ll need to do is to perform disk check. Follow the steps described above to check hard disk for errors and problem on your Windows 8 PC. In case you are using older version of PCs i.e. Windows 7, Vista, XP etc., you can still use the same operations except #1 (This PC was entitled as ‘My Computer’ previously).

To deal with such hard disk related problems, you’ll need to perform few others troubleshooting steps like testing your memory, replacing the problem drive, resetting or updating the BIOS etc.

If the above problems continue to exist even after following all the above troubleshooting steps, you’ll need to proceed with installing a fresh copy of Windows or even worse, have to format the drive completely. This could permanently delete files that you’ve stored on the problem drive or volume and will found no way back to restore it other using standard hard disk recovery tools provided by various software vendors across the globe, see some disk recovery tools here. It is specifically designed to handle data loss situations carefully and restore files with their actual names.

Benefits of using Disk Check Utility against various other disk repair tools

You may find number of tools designed to address disk related issues. These tools can check your hard disk for possible causes and may repair them immediately. However, you’ve to use such tools with caution as it may harm your computer and make the situation worse.

Running disk check utility provide no harms to your system whatsoever is completely safe. It’ll do no harm if no good. It’s also recommended that running check disk operations once in a while will make your PC functioning smoothly and avoid crashes or sudden system restarts.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

How to remove a Flashback Mac virus


Mac and PC are equally affected by the virus these days. One of the most dominating Trojan virus called Flashback has hit more than thousands of users. These Trojan viruses injected into our Mac through downloads, attachment etc. This is a destructive virus which gets into the computer even without first gaining an administrative password. To get it eradicate completely, let us first see that how to diagnose a virus and then what is the best way to remove it.




How to find a virus?

To find the virus in Mac, let us first determine whether the CPU has virus or not. For this you should be aware of the 'Universally Unique Identifier' (UUID) of the Mac. To know the UUID of the Mac, first go to Finder and choose the menu item 'About this Mac', reveal the 'More Info' option and choose that. Then you will see the Hardware UUID. Just then locate and copy the Hardware UUID which is a series of 32 numerals and letters. Then you need to check that number on a particular website i.e. Flashbackcheck.com. At this point, follow the prompts and enter the UUID when prompts. At last after certain steps of this procedure, you get to know that whether your system has virus or not.

How to remove it?

To remove this Flashback virus manually, just follow the below steps to do so:

1) First open the Terminal and type the following command on Terminal:defaults read
/Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment

2) After typing the command successfully, note down the value of DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES

3) If you get the error message The domain/default pair of the command mentioned in step 1 does not exist, then move on to step 8 i.e. run the following command:
~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES.

4) If you didnt get any error, run the command in Terminal:
grep -a -o ‘__ldpath__[ -~]*’ %path_obtained_in_step2%.

5) Now again note down the value after '_Idpath_'

6) Now, before running the next commands in terminal, make sure that there is only one step after Step 2. After checking run the below commands: sudo defaults delete
/Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironmentsudo chmod 644 /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info.plist

7) Now just delete the files obtained in step 2.

8) Now run the following command in terminal: defaults read
~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES.

9) If after running this command, you get an error that the domain/default pair of (/Users/joe/.MacOSX/environment, DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES) does not exist, then it means that the system is clean of this variant. If not, then run the below command on the terminal,
grep -a -o ‘__ldpath__[ -~]*’ %path_obtained_in_step9%
Again take note of the value of '_idpath_'.

10) Now after following the above command, again run the below command
~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIESlaunchctl unsetenv DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES

11) At last, delete the files obtained in step 9.

Points to remember which will help you to protect Mac from these attacks:


  • Use non-admin account for the daily purpose activities like surging on internet, chatting, mail check etc.
  • Google chrome is considered to be secure for surfing on internet as it comes with the inbuilt feature of sanboxed flash player i.e. Its own functionality. Also, it is recommended that always use a secure browser to be on the safer side.
  • Uninstalling java and flash player is considered to be the good security features to get safe from these virus attacks. And remember that Apple do not regularly update these features.
  • Installing good antivirus and updating the latest program is considered the good practice.
  • Try to install the good firewall software which will show you the exact network usage and will also prompt you to block or allow the application to connect to that network or not.

Thus follow these points to be on the safer side which will definitely save you from these virus attacks. If still not able to solve the problem, then use Sophos antivirus utility, a free antivirus solution for Mac.




Thursday, 18 December 2014

Fix External Hard Drive Error: The Disk Structure is Corrupted or Unreadable in Windows 7

External hard drive are more popular these days because of their portability and availability in verity of sizes (still growing). It offers flexibility to carry large amount of data as well as helps you restore data if the primary location becomes inactive or seriously damaged. However, at times, external hard drive itself becomes inaccessible or prevent users to access the stored files. Be it virus infection, directory structure corruption, file system damages etc.

Once such external hard drives holding GB’s of valuable stuff, you may become panicked and frustrated as you’d have no idea about how to deal with such problems. Disk Structure corruption is yet another common error that comes whenever you tries to access your external hard drive and prevent users to access or copy the stored files.

As all of your files were stored there, formatting will permanently wipes your important files and make it permanent non recoverable even by using professional recovery tools. We’ll go through series of steps mentioned in this tutorial to fix this error easily (if you are lucky) and retrieve all of your important files as well as make the external drive usable again.

Below are the common error types you’ll see once similar situation strikes to your external hard drive:

                      disk structure is corruped or inaccessible

Error 0x80070571 : The disk structure is corrupted or unreadable

This disk in the drive is damaged

Please format this disk!!

The Drive isn’t accessible

The disk in drive is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?


Common reasons behind this error
External hard drive is created using moving mechanical moving parts which will may fails either sooner or later. Some unavoidable instances makes these drive inaccessible or damaged immediately and makes user data beyond the reach of known recovery software. Below are the some common reasons responsible for this situation:
  • Improperly connecting or removing the drive
  • The file system itself become damaged cannot be used to access the drive
  • File system has become RAW which cannot be used any longer to access, manage or format the drive. In most instances, those drives becomes completely unusable.
  • Large number of bad sectors and blocks has been emerged which prevents externally drive to perform normally. You’ll get freezing, hanging, corrupt files or similar issues when bad sectors took place on your drive.

Troubleshooting steps
As the drive is going through serious damages, there is no guarantee that any specific or subsequent steps could help you fixing the problem. However, let’s follow the standard procedure to deal with this error and see if we may able to resolve it:
  • Right click on My Computer and choose Manage.
  • Enter administrative details if asked and hit enter
  • Go to Disk Management located under Storage at the left hand side menus.
  • From the image below, check and make sure that any or all the volumes is listed along with the drive that’s connected externally. If you’ve recently faced the above mentioned error, you’ll see the volume status as RAW or offline
  • Right click on that drive and choose to format it. As stated earlier, formatting will permanently wipes off all your important files and folders and your hope to get it back ever.
  • Alternatively, you can right click on the external drive from Windows explorer interface and go to its properties.
  • Choose the Tools tab and hit enter after selecting the check box stating ‘Check this disk for errors’.
  • Once the operation completed successfully, try restarting your system and see if the error resolved.
Nothing helps, still can’t able to retrieve files?
Many times, the error will continue to persist even after following all the troubleshooting steps carefully. Additionally, nothing matters except your precious files that still clicking somewhere on your hard drive, right?? Don’t worry, as we are covering up some really useful utility that helps windows enthusiasts in getting back their data from various crucial situations of data loss like above.

Stellar Phoenix Partition Recovery is a life savior utility that can easily detect drives (both internal and external) going through serious damages and later, allows you to safely restore all your important files. Download the software from here and install it on your PC. Once installed, start the software from the desktop or installed software location. Make sure the drive is connected properly and shown in the software interface.

This tool offers powerful recovery options to recover data even from the severely damaged or inaccessible drives. As talked in the situation above and if the problem drive status is shown as RAW, you’ll still be able to recover data from RAW drives using this efficient partition recovery tool.

lost-volume-recovery-stellar-phoenix


Click on the problem drive, listed under ‘Data Recovery’ > ‘Drive Recovery’ tab. The subsequent recovery methods will pop up as soon as you click on any particular drive or volume. Choose ‘Advanced Recovery’ from the available methods and let the software scans your drive completely (do not stop scanning at mid). Don’t panic if the software is taking too long to scan your problem drive. It may also possible that sometime the whole system freezes and needs you to restart the it. That’s because of the data recovery tools limitations and drive nature (RAW status) which takes really tough luck to getting detected on the system and recover data off the drive.

Once the scanning is completed, you’ll be able to see preview of any or all the recoverable files and folders using the preview pane, located at the top right corner. Chose or select desired files for recovery and click on Recovery button. Make sure that you’ve activated the software before start recovering your files as saving is disabled in demo version.

Do let us know your feedback or your particular situation if the error still persists!!

What to do when your Mac freezes and runs slow??

Does your Mac freezes? What to do? Sometimes while working on Mac, suddenly a delinquent application suck up all the resources and ultimately the Mac freezes. These applications makes the Mac slow. Also Frozen Mac can be easily recognized by the spinning ball which appears in the middle of the screen or when the cursor cannot move. This is the most dreaded condition for the Mac users which is very irritating. Let us see the short-term solutions and cases of frozen Mac:



Reasons of Mac freezes and becomes slow


  • Too many applications are running at the same time
  • You Mac memory is low
  • Too many hidden and duplicate files
  • Too many applications trying to access the hard disk at the same time
  • Bad sectors on the hard drive
  • Old software and cache content
  • Cookies and plugins
  • Corrupt files and extensions



Short term solutions of frozen Mac

Mostly, the solution of slow Mac is force quit and re-launch. We have to force quit the Mac when OS X completely becomes unresponsive and got stuck at one place. With this force shutdown, you can also may lose some unsaved data. So, this is a serious case to handle with the right remedy. Also, let us see the different categories of Mac to operate with this problem.

1) Force reboot using the power button on the keyboard

Mostly all laptops has a power button on the keyboard especially all the category of MacBooks like Macbook Air, retina Macbook pro etc. So, first hold the power button on the keyboard till the Mac shut down properly. This process may take a bit of seconds. Then after a few seconds, again hit the power button to boot the Mac.

2) Force reboot using the power button present at the back of the Mac

Usually this remedy is for iMac, Mac Mini etc. Gradually Mac desktops do not have the power button on the keyboard. Instead, their power button is the physical button located on the back of the Mac. To reboot this type of Mac categories, first press and hold the power button present at the back of the Mac. Hold that button until the Mac shut down properly. Now wait for a few seconds and press that button again for the system start initialization process.

3) Force quit the applications from Mac

Sometimes applications or programs stuck at one place and won't let us to do our task smoothly. So, If any such application stuck in the middle, force quit that particular application only which is causing a lot of problem. For this process, first from the Mac OS X dock feature, right-click on any open application. Just then holding down the option key will bring the options in Menu. Click on Force quit option.

4) Safe Booting

Safe boot will bring the Mac in its good health as it checks the bad hard drive status, loads kernel extensions etc. To run the process for safe boot, press the power button till your Mac starts. Then, press and hold the Shift key until you hear the start-up chime and release the key until the Apple logo appears. Safe boot may take the longer time to boot. After this, if your issue will get resolved, start your Mac normally.

These quick techniques will definitely bring you out of this major problem of Frozen Mac.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Tips to Speed up the slow iMac

Why my iMac is running slow? There are number of reasons of slow iMac. The reason is the asthmatic ant crawling on iMac with the loads of heavy applications. Lets see the various causes and solutions:


                                                     


1) Reset SMC and PRAM

SMC manages various functions like start-up hard drive spin down cycles, power button response, thermal monitoring etc. So if SMC will got corrupt, then definitely your iMac become slow. So fixing it is an important task. For this, first shut down your computer and unplug the power cord. Then press and hold your power iMac button for 15 seconds and release it. At last, reconnect your iMac power cord, wait for 5 seconds and turn on your iMac. Now PRAM is meant for memory module. Functions of this are volume monitoring, display solution control, speaker volume control etc. Resetting the PRAM is the way to increase the speed of the iMac. To fix it, first shut down your computer and power your iMac back on. Then press the CMD + Option + P + R keys together until you see the grey startup screen. These 2 resets SMC and PRAM can fix your slow iMac.

2) Disable antivirus or firewall programs

The programs constantly check your iMac activities, resulting in slowing down the process. So if your iMac becomes slow then just disable these programs temporarily and see the results. This can fix your issue.

3) Corrupt Preferences file

Preferences files can easily become corrupt. It totally depends on the certain applications. If due to some applications your iMac is running slow, just delete that preference file and relaunch the app.

4) Software update loading

Updating the software is the most crucial task to maintain the performance of the iMac. Keeping the software up to date is a good practise. After updating the software, reboot the iMac.

5) Caches, Log files and Temporary files

Cleaning the caches, log files and temporary files will immensely affect the performance of the system. You can clear these files from Library folder.

6) Startup items

At the time of start-up, certain applications cause to start at the time of login. These login items cause the system to take little memory and CPU usage. To optimize the start-up items you need to remove some of the start-up options which is causing the iMac slow at the time of start-up. To remove, select the Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Users and group -> Login items.

7) Permission conflict

Each and every file in iMac OS X have a set of permissions. It determines the users or applications that can access them. Sometimes permissions are incorrect and we need to repair it using Disk utility. To repair permissions select Disk utility app from the Applications -> utilities folder and then click on First Aid tab. Then at last click on Repair Disk Permission button.

8) Clean the hard drive

Always make sure that you should leave at least 10% free space on your hard drive because your iMac automatically utilizes free space on your hard drive as virtual memory. Delete all the unwanted files, apps, downloaded items and finally remove it from the Trash folder also. This will optimize the space and performance of the hard drive. If you are unable to delete all the junk files from your iMac and they are causing your iMac extremely slow, then use SpeedUp iMac software which will automatically cleans all the junk from your iMac.

9) Upgrade your hardware

Old hardware causes the speed of the iMac drastically to a low level. Actually this task is quite costly but you will surely notice an improvement in speed.

Therefore, these are some of the useful steps which can pull you out from the slow iMac problem.





Thursday, 27 November 2014

What Erase free spaces on Mac HD indicates?

The Macintosh hard drive incorporates huge amount of spaces for the files or folders to be stored on. The entire hard drive space is commonly segregated into Used and Free spaces. The OS X assigns data in the form of files and folders to spaces, which becomes occupied or used. The unoccupied spaces on the OS X hard drive is now to be know as free spaces. But, this is not the terminology always. When an application is uninstalled or a file is removed from it’s location then that location becomes a free space. This free space will be free till OS X writes another set of data onto it. And when it does, new files overwrite the free space.

What overwriting does to free spaces?

Whenever, a file is deleted from the hard drive, it remains on its location, though invisible to the user. The user believes the file is gone since OS X has removed it but it remains in dormant form on its drive location. Such deleted files can be restored later with the help of powerful Mac deleted files recovery software. But if the OS X manages to overwrite deleted file information with the help of overwriting new files, then chances of file recovery are null.

Since hard drive has millions of sectors, user on its own term cannot ask OS X to overwrite a specific location that is holding deleted file information. On the other hand OS X too randomly assigns drive location to a new file. So, it may or may not overwrite a file which user doesn’t want to be recovered.

How to erase free spaces on OS X Mac?

Finder << Application << Utilities << Disk Utility

Follow the above path to launch Disk Utility. When windows show up, switch to ‘ERASE’ tab.


Select Macintosh HD. You may also select a partition if the hard drive is segregated. In below case, I selected one of my partitions to erase all free spaces from it.


  • Once Macintosh HD or a partition is chosen, the buttons in the tab will activate. Among them, can be seen ‘ERASE FREE SPACE…’. This is the one button to do today’s job of erasing free spaces.

  • Do carefully read the text, which is displayed on the minor window that pops-up. It says, OS X will erase all unused spaces on the selected disk to halt recovery of deleted files.  Once sure, click the button to start the process.

Disk utility will take some time to complete the task of erasing free spaces. In between you can terminate the process abruptly by clicking on ‘SKIP’ button.

Android Lollipop 5.0 and its features

The latest version of Android mobile operating system is Android 5.0 Lollipop developed by Google. Android L is the biggest update to mobile OS which consist of 5000 new API's. The superb features of the Android Lollipop are:



Material design

The design structure is completely new and flat which is based on making every animation, shadow looks real, which most of the brands are not supporting. Google told us that there will be shadow gradients, 3D tiles that slide over one another and most crucial thing is that there is an access for the developers so that they can use this for themselves for their apps. The logic behind this idea is to remove the fragmented way Android looks and bring consistency to the app world. Moreover the inbuilt function also includes multitasking window buttons, the cleaner etc.



Android L battery

The battery life will be more efficient with the project Volta which is set out by Google to boost the battery life. Usually battery saver mode in integrated in the devices which help to increase the battery life by 90 minutes but this Android L could do wonders without the Battery saver mode also. When this Arts Technica test the OS, they saw a drastic change of 36% more battery than the users running android 4.4.



ART, new runtime for smoother experience

Google uses a new runtime called ART on Android. This helps to improve the performance of the apps, battery life etc. This new OS has extremely improves the performance by 4 times and support for 64-bit chip.



Camera

Android L consist of advanced APIs. It support the features like burst mode, fine setting tuning, capture full resolution frames around 30 fps, can shoot in raw formats, support for UHD 4K video playback, tunneled video for high quality video and many more features are there. It also support for professional features which are essential to handle the settings for the sensor, lens and flash.



Notification and lock screen

Here in this feature the notification panel is combined with the lock screen so you can notify the tasks easily when you pick your phone. Also you can easily read the messages directly from your lock screen or hide the notification as per need for the sensitive content. Another thing is priority mode which you can set through device volume button to allow the notifications to get through and you can also choose to avoid calls when you play game or doing some important activity according to your convenience.



Tap and Go

Tap and Go for NFC devices use to set up the new Android phone or tablet immediately by simply tapping it to your old one. So for this action, simply place your old and new phone one on another and let NFC pairing and bluetooth data transfer do all the work for you.



Faster and efficient

Google has made lot of efforts to ensure the fastest and efficient Android L. The apps are so useful and faster than the apps available on other Android phones.



Personal Unlocking

Now Google has added more ways, from where the users can login into their devices. First is face unlock which uses the front face camera of the phone to unlock the device. If the device can't recognizes the face then it will prompt for a password. Also the bluetooth devices such as headphones, speakers, smart watches and NFC tags can be surely used to unlock the device automatically. These login methods makes the device secure.



Therefore, above are the extraordinary features of the Android L which makes it completely different from other Android phones or tablet.