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Clam Antivirus


I usually use either BitDefender or Avast Linux edition as the antivirus software of choice on a Linux system but recently decided to give ClamAV a go to see what it was like.  I have been put off this software in the past by the complexity of having to run it from the command line (newbie clients don’t like the command line) but on further investigation it can be run with a GUI.  Said clients should be happier now.  You can also run ClamAV on Windows (it goes by the name ClamWin).

To install it in Linux Mint 12 open up a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install clamav

This will install all the dependencies that clamAV needs to run, however, it will have to be run from the command line.  To run it from a GUI type:

sudo apt-get install clamtk

This will give you a GUI similiar to the one below:

As you can see clamAV gives you the ability to scan files, folders, directories or the whole system.  When I tried this out on my Linux Mint 12 system it found 32 (yes 32!!!) infected files that Avast had missed.  I also found it to be pretty quick too when undertaking a full system scan (much faster than Avast but probably on par with BitDefender).

So if you are after decent easy to use antivirus software for Linux I would now say either BitDefender or ClamAV.  I never thought I would be saying that!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

Windows 7 Parental Controls


Today I am going to talk about parental controls on Windows 7.  Many readers who have children will be wondering if there is any way to restrict what their kids can do with a computer.  Today I will show you how.

On a windows 7 computer go to Start – Control Panel – Parental Controls.  Here you will be asked to choose a user and set up parental controls.  If you haven’t already done so create a standard user account by clicking on “create a new user account”.  Click on the user account to get started.  You should then see the screenshot below.

As you can see you can restrict when your child can use the computer, if they can play games and what programs they can use.  Parental Control does not allow you to control which websites they can access but the most effective method I have found is to install Avast Security Suite which comes with a website blocking feature which allows you to specify which types of website you can’t access.

Lets take Programs first.  Pick the programs you want your child to have access to from the list of installed programs and click ok.

Next let’s take Time Limits. Click on the time of day that you don’t want your child to access your computer (the white block will turn blue) as shown in the screenshot below. When you are happy click ok.

Finally let’s take a look at games.  You can block children from playing games, block games by rating or even block specific games your child can play as shown by the screen shot below.  Adjust the settings available to suit your own personal preferences.

Hopefully I have given you some insight into what parental controls are available through  Window 7.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

What is encryption?


Today I shall talk about encryption, what it is and the different types available on the market.

Encryption is basically taking a computer algorithm and applying it to a piece of data and making it unreadable to a third party. In essence the only person who can read that data is the person who has the key to decrypt it.  If you had data on your hard drive which was sensitive (e.g financial records etc) then you could encrypt it so no one else could read it.

What are the different types?

There are loads of different types of encryption and which one you use will depend on if you want t0 encrypt transmissions, databases or files / folders.  I am going to concentrate on files / folders because that is what most people will be looking for – making files unreadable to third parties.

This is where I shall introduce you to two of the most popular pieces of encryption software, TrueCrypt and Bit Locker both of which work on Windows.  Truecrypt is open source while Bit Locker is proprietary software from Microsoft.  Both can encrypt and decrypt a hard drive and both are virtually unbreakable (at time of print!!).  TrueCrypt is easy to set up and does not require repartitioning of your hard drive, whereas Bit Locker does.  Bit Locker requires a 1.5 Gb partition to be set up prior to installing the operating system.  If not you will have to repartition your hard drive and restore Windows from a backup.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of encryption?

Advantages

1. Data is safe as no one else can read it without the decryption key.

2. Once set up it requires little or no user input.

Disadvantages

1. If you lose the encryption key you will not be able to read your data EVER.

2. Uses more system resources (ie CPU)

3. If Windows becomes corrupt and will not boot you have to decrypt your files before you can recover them which takes time (I recently had to decrypt a 160Gb hard drive encrypted using TrueCrypt which took 8 hours!! Only then could I recover the user files and restore the system)

Hopefully this has given you an insight into encryption and the advantages and disadvantages of using it.  Just remember don’t lose the key!!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients throughout Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

How to set up Skype


Today we are going to have a look at Skype.  Skype is a fantastic piece of software that allows you to make video calls with someone anywhere in the world for free. To use Skype you will need a webcam (most laptops have these built in), speakers and a microphone.  So lets take a look at how you set this up.  This tutorial uses Windows XP but the steps work on all Windows based operating systems.

First thing to do is to download Skype.  If this is your first time using Skype you will be asked to create an account.  Make your username unique and your password memorable. Once your account is set up double click your download to start the installation.

On the first page pick your language and then click next.  On the following page you are asked about Skype Click to call.  Unless you have signed up for this uncheck the box and click continue.  Your installation will now start.

Once installed you will be taken to the sign in screen.  Enter your details that you created earlier and make sure you tick the “Sign me in when Skype starts box”.

Next Skype will get you to test your speakers and microphone.  Click “Test sound” under your speakers  and you should hear a test sound.  If not check your speakers are turned on and plugged in.  Next click ‘Video’.  You should see yourself on the screen.  If not again check the connection and power.  Adjust the microphone setting to the the sound level you require.

On the next page you will be asked if you want to add a profile picture.  Your choice if you want to or not.  And that is it.  Skype has been successfully installed.

Now we have to find people to talk to!! The best way to do this is to use the search function on the top left of the screen.  Type in a name and Skype will display the people with that name.  You just pick your friends and add them as a contact.  To call a friend right click them in your contact list and then choose call.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

Dropbox


Today I am going to introduce you to a different way of sharing files.  That way is Dropbox.  Dropbox is a piece of software that allows you to store all your files, securely, online.  With your files stored online  you can then access them from anywhere with an internet connection.

How does Dropbox work?

Dropbox installs a folder onto your computer during initial set up.  Anything you store inside that folder is then automatically synchronised with the Dropbox online servers allowing you to access your files from anywhere.  It is that simple.  You can run Dropbox on Windows, Linux and Mac which allows easy set up of a cross platform network.  It can also provide a solution when accessing network resources from tablets too.

How much does it cost?

Personal

You get 2 Gb free.  It costs $9.99 for 100 Gb or $19.99 for 200Gb.  All these prices are per month.

Business

For business Dropbox charges $795 for 5 users with additional users costing $125.  These prices are per year.  For this you get 1 Tb of storage space with 200 Gb added for every user.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages

1. Folders are synchronised automatically.

2. Allows file sharing across multiple platforms.

3. Files can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

4. Very easy to set up.

5. You get 2Gb free!!

Disadvantages

1.. Bandwidth.  If you upload large numbers of files or big files then you are going to use up your ISP allowance very quickly.

2. Your data is being stored off your premises and looked after by someone else.

Personally I use Dropbox as a sharing and backup solution and in both cases I am very impressed by it.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

File sharing on Linux


The following tutorial will show you how to set up samba on a Linux system allowing you to share files and folders with a either a Linux or a Windows client.  All the following steps work on Linux Mint 11 but should also work on any other distribution using gnome.  For kde the only thing which differs is defining shares (usually through the kde control center).

On the Samba Server

First thing is to check samba is installed.  Open up a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install samba

Type your root password when prompted.  Then install smbfs by typing:

sudo apt-get install smbfs

and then type your root password again.

Now open up your smb.conf file by typing:

gksu gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf

Locate the line WORKROUP = WORKGROUP and change it to the name of your network.  So for instance mine would be changed to WORKGROUP = MINT_HOME.  Save the file and exit.

Now we have to add users to the smbpasswd file which is located at /etc/samba/smbpasswd.  Only users specified in the smbpasswd file will be able to access your samba shares.  Open a terminal as root and type:

smbpasswd -a user (where user is the name of the person allowed to access the shares).  When prompted enter their new password twice.

Next we have to define the samba shares.  Type:

sudo shares-admin

With the GUI open add your samba shares, save and exit.

Note, everytime you update the smb.conf file you must restart the samba service so type:

sudo service smbd restart

Now we have to check the configuration so far.  Type:

testparm

If there are errors in the xorg.conf file testparm will tell you.  If everything is Ok then type:

smbclient -L 192.168.1.10 (where 192.168.1.10 is the ip address of your samba server).  This will show you the list of all your available samba shares.  At this point if you have no errors your server is configured correctly.

Linux Clients

Install smbclient and smbfs either using the package manager or apt-get install.  Now we have to mount the available shares.  First decide where you are going to mount them.  I will mount them in /media/dev/share but first I will have to make the directory dev so:

cd /media

sudo mkdir dev

and then ls which should show us the new dev directory in media.  Now time to mount the shares.

sudo mount -t smbfs //192.168.1.10/(share name) /media/dev/share where 192.168.1.10 is the ip address of your samba server.  This will mount the share but only as long as you are logged in.  To make the link persistent you need to enter the following line into /etc/fstab.

//192.168.1.10/(share)   /media/dev/share      cifs       username=user,password=pass,user,rw,noatime     0              0

Windows Clients

We have to change the workgroup to MINT_HOME and then add the ip address of the samba server to the hosts file (must open as administrator).

Once this is complete map the shares to your computer.

Word of warning here about firewalls.  Either turn them off or add exception rules for traffic on ports 137-139 and 445.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

Qualifications vs Experience


Here is a question for you, which is more important qualifications or experience in a particular field?

The reason I ask such a question is that recently I got asked if I had the qualifications that I say I do and that got me thinking.  The short answer is yes I do have the qualifications and anyone who wants can go and check them, but what about experience surely that is at least as important if not more important.

You see before I started ComTech back in April 2010 I had been playing around with computers for years.  I used to upgrade this, change that, learnt new Microsoft software and learnt Linux to name just a few but to get recognised in the IT field I had to study for my qualifications.  It does seam sometimes that if you have the piece of paper then you must know what you are talking about.  Believe me when I say I have met quite a few people in both IT and my former field, Construction, that have the qualifications but do not have a clue about what they are doing.

Ok so which is best? My own personal view is that you must have a balance.  Yes qualifications have their place, it proves that you can study to a particular level, but only through experience can you apply what you have learnt.

So what do you think?

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

 


How to transfer DNS Zones in Windows Server 2008 R2


Today we will having a look at Windows Server 2008 R2 and in particular how you go about transfering DNS zones between two or more DNS servers.

On the DNS server hosting the primary DNS zone open up DNS Manager.  Expand the menus until you locate your domain and right click.  Go to properties.  You should get the screenshot below.

On the general tab it is good practice to change Dynamic updates to Secure Only.  Doing this only allows updates from trusted sources.  Once completed click on the Zone Transfers tab.  You should get the screenshot below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Allow Zone Transfers and then it is a good idea to click on “Only to the following servers”.  This allows DNS data to only be replicated to trusted servers.  Enter the ip address of the trusted server and wait until the FQDN appears.  Once the data is entered and verified click Apply.  The DNS data will now be replicated between your servers.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients throughout Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

Staying safe online


We all use the internet but how many of us really know how to stay safe online? Today we shall outline 10 of the most important ‘must do’s’ when using the internet.

1. Antivirus.  You must have antivirus installed and it must be upto date when using the internet.  If not you will be leaving yourself open to a heap of problems.  I would recommend BitDefender for both home and business clients.

2. Firewall.  Again this is a must.  Most modern operating systems come with a firewall installed but you must make sure it is turned on.

3. Passwords.  These should be complex and not stored on your computer.  Do not use password123.

4. Email.  Be wary of opening any email from people you don’t know, especially if they contain attachments.  This is a common way of infecting systems with a virus.  Banks will never contact you by email.

5. Credit cards.  If you use credit cards online make sure the website address starts with https.  If it doesn’t then anyone can intercept your card details and use then online.

6. Do not store bank details on your computer.  If someone gains access to your system then you will just have handed them access to all your money.

7. Dodgy websites.  Be careful which websites you access.  If it looks a bit dodgy then leave the site.

8. Downloads.  If possible do not download torrents.  Torrent sites are usually where most of the viruses are located.  Also be careful when downloading free trials to ‘fix your computer problems’.  These types of software will always find something wrong with your system even if it is working flawlessly.

9. Emailing passwords and usernames.  This is not a good idea but if you have to send passwords and usernames use separate emails.

10. Updates.  Make sure that your operating system is fully updated.  That way known vulnerabilities will be taken care of.

I hope that these tips will be of value.  Just remember them and you should be safe while using the internet.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

How to set up a DHCP server on Linux Mint 12


Recently I did a tutorial on setting up a Linux dhcp server using the dhcp3-server package.  With the arrival of Linux Mint 12 the configuration is slightly different so I shall revise the tutorial to show this.

First thing to do is to give your server a static ip address. For details on how to do this read this.

Now we need to install the dhcp package.  Open up a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install isc-dhcp-server

There are two main files /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server and /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf which we will need to configure so lets take the first.  Open up a terminal and using your favourite text editor type:

sudo gedit /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server

You should get the following:

———————————————————————————————–

# Defaults for dhcp initscript
# sourced by /etc/init.d/dhcp
# installed at /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server by the maintainer scripts

#
# This is a POSIX shell fragment
#

# On what interfaces should the DHCP server (dhcpd) serve DHCP requests?
# Separate multiple interfaces with spaces, e.g. “eth0 eth1”.
INTERFACES=”eth0″

————————————————————————————————–

Replace eth0 above with the name of your network interface that you want the server to lease addresses on.  Onto the next file.  Open up a terminal and type:

sudo gedit /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf

which should give you the output below.

————————————————————————————————-

#
# Sample configuration file for ISC dhcpd for Debian
#
# Attention: If /etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf exists, that will be used as
# configuration file instead of this file.
#
#

# The ddns-updates-style parameter controls whether or not the server will
# attempt to do a DNS update when a lease is confirmed. We default to the
# behavior of the version 2 packages (‘none’, since DHCP v2 didn’t
# have support for DDNS.)
ddns-update-style none;

# option definitions common to all supported networks…
option domain-name “example.org”;
option domain-name-servers ns1.example.org, ns2.example.org;

option domain-name “comtech.com”;
default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;

# If this DHCP server is the official DHCP server for the local
# network, the authoritative directive should be uncommented.
#authoritative;

# Use this to send dhcp log messages to a different log file (you also
# have to hack syslog.conf to complete the redirection).
log-facility local7;

# No service will be given on this subnet, but declaring it helps the
# DHCP server to understand the network topology.

#subnet 10.152.187.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
#}

# This is a very basic subnet declaration.

subnet 10.0.0.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
range 10.0.0.150 10.0.0.253;
option routers 10.0.0.2;
option subnet-mask 255.255.255.0;

option broadcast-address 10.0.0.254;
option domain-name-servers 10.0.0.1, 10.0.0.2;

option ntp-servers 10.0.0.1;
option netbios-name-servers 10.0.0.1;
option netbios-node-type 8;
}

# option routers rtr-239-0-1.example.org, rtr-239-0-2.example.org;

#}

# This declaration allows BOOTP clients to get dynamic addresses,
# which we don’t really recommend.

#subnet 10.254.239.32 netmask 255.255.255.224 {
# range dynamic-bootp 10.254.239.40 10.254.239.60;
# option broadcast-address 10.254.239.31;
# option routers rtr-239-32-1.example.org;
#}

# A slightly different configuration for an internal subnet.
#subnet 10.5.5.0 netmask 255.255.255.224 {
# range 10.5.5.26 10.5.5.30;
# option domain-name-servers ns1.internal.example.org;
# option domain-name “internal.example.org”;
# option routers 10.5.5.1;
# option broadcast-address 10.5.5.31;
# default-lease-time 600;
# max-lease-time 7200;
#}

# Hosts which require special configuration options can be listed in
# host statements. If no address is specified, the address will be
# allocated dynamically (if possible), but the host-specific information
# will still come from the host declaration.

#host passacaglia {
# hardware ethernet 0:0:c0:5d:bd:95;
# filename “vmunix.passacaglia”;
# server-name “toccata.fugue.com”;
#}

# Fixed IP addresses can also be specified for hosts. These addresses
# should not also be listed as being available for dynamic assignment.
# Hosts for which fixed IP addresses have been specified can boot using
# BOOTP or DHCP. Hosts for which no fixed address is specified can only
# be booted with DHCP, unless there is an address range on the subnet
# to which a BOOTP client is connected which has the dynamic-bootp flag
# set.
#host fantasia {
# hardware ethernet 08:00:07:26:c0:a5;
# fixed-address fantasia.fugue.com;
#}

# You can declare a class of clients and then do address allocation
# based on that. The example below shows a case where all clients
# in a certain class get addresses on the 10.17.224/24 subnet, and all
# other clients get addresses on the 10.0.29/24 subnet.

#class “foo” {
# match if substring (option vendor-class-identifier, 0, 4) = “SUNW”;
#}

#shared-network 224-29 {
# subnet 10.17.224.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
# option routers rtr-224.example.org;
# }
# subnet 10.0.29.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
# option routers rtr-29.example.org;
# }
# pool {
# allow members of “foo”;
# range 10.17.224.10 10.17.224.250;
# }
# pool {
# deny members of “foo”;
# range 10.0.29.10 10.0.29.230;
# }
#}

————————————————————————————————

This needs a little bit of explaining.

1. Everything in bold needs adding to the file.  Adjust your settings according to your network requirements.

2. The option domain name is your dns zone name.  For example mine is set to comtech.com.

3. Range should be the range of ip addresses that you want the server to give out to clients.

Now restart the dhcp service by typing:

sudo service isc-dhcp-server restart

Thats it!! Your dhcp server should be running, however it is best to check.  Open up a terminal and type:

sudo netstat -uap

which will show you the following information:

————————————————————————————————

Active Internet connections (servers and established)

Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State PID/Program name

udp 0 0 *:55827 *:* 916/avahi-daemon: r
udp 0 0 chris-desktop.lo:domain *:* 1273/named
udp 0 0 chris-desktop:domain *:* 1273/named
udp 0 0 *:bootps *:* 4525/dhcpd
udp 0 0 *:17500 *:* 1768/dropbox
udp 0 0 *:54407 *:* 4539/VirtualBox
udp 0 0 10.0.0.255:netbios-ns *:* 1016/nmbd
udp 0 0 chris-deskto:netbios-ns *:* 1016/nmbd
udp 0 0 *:netbios-ns *:* 1016/nmbd
udp 0 0 10.0.0.255:netbios-dgm *:* 1016/nmbd
udp 0 0 chris-deskt:netbios-dgm *:* 1016/nmbd
udp 0 0 *:netbios-dgm *:* 1016/nmbd
udp 0 0 *:mdns *:* 916/avahi-daemon: r
udp6 0 0 [::]:domain [::]:* 1273/named
udp6 0 0 [::]:51853 [::]:* 916/avahi-daemon: r
udp6 0 0 [::]:mdns [::]:* 916/avahi-daemon: r

————————————————————————————————

This shows that the dhcp daemon is working.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

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