All About FTP

Setting Up A Ftp:

Well, since many of us have always wondered this, here it is. Long and drawn out. Also, before attempting this, realize one thing; You will have to give up your time, effort, bandwidth, and security to have a quality ftp server.
That being said, here it goes. First of all, find out if your IP (Internet Protocol) is static (not changing) or dynamic (changes everytime you log on). To do this, first consider the fact if you have a dial up modem. If you do, chances are about 999 999 out of 1 000 000 that your IP is dynamic. To make it static, just go to a place like h*tp:// to register for a static ip address.

You'll then need to get your IP. This can be done by doing this:
Going to Start -> Run -> winipcfg or and asking 'What is my IP?'

After doing so, you'll need to download an FTP server client. Personally, I'd recommend G6 FTP Server, Serv-U FTPor Bullitproof v2.15 all three of which are extremely reliable, and the norm of the ftp world.
You can download them on this site: h*tp://

First, you'll have to set up your ftp. For this guide, I will use step-by-step instructions for G6. First, you'll have to go into 'Setup -> General'. From here, type in your port # (default is 21). I recommend something unique, or something a bit larger (ex: 3069). If you want to, check the number of max users (this sets the amount of simultaneous maximum users on your server at once performing actions - The more on at once, the slower the connection and vice versa).

The below options are then chooseable:
-Launch with windows
-Activate FTP Server on Start-up
-Put into tray on startup
-Allow multiple instances
-Show "Loading..." status at startup
-Scan drive(s) at startup
-Confirm exit

You can do what you want with these, as they are pretty self explanatory. The scan drive feature is nice, as is the 2nd and the last option. From here, click the 'options' text on the left column.

To protect your server, you should check 'login check' and 'password check', 'Show relative path (a must!)', and any other options you feel you'll need. After doing so, click the 'advanced' text in the left column. You should then leave the buffer size on the default (unless of course you know what you're doing ), and then allow the type of ftp you want.

Uploading and downloading is usually good, but it's up to you if you want to allow uploads and/or downloads. For the server priority, that will determine how much conventional memory will be used and how much 'effort' will go into making your server run smoothly.

Anti-hammering is also good, as it prevents people from slowing down your speed. From here, click 'Log Options' from the left column. If you would like to see and record every single command and clutter up your screen, leave the defaults.

But, if you would like to see what is going on with the lowest possible space taken, click 'Screen' in the top column. You should then check off 'Log successful logins', and all of the options in the client directry, except 'Log directory changes'. After doing so, click 'Ok' in the bottom left corner.

You will then have to go into 'Setup -> User Accounts' (or ctrl & u). From here, you should click on the right most column, and right click. Choose 'Add', and choose the username(s) you would like people to have access to.

After giving a name (ex: themoonlanding), you will have to give them a set password in the bottom column (ex: wasfaked). For the 'Home IP' directory, (if you registered with a static server, check 'All IP Homes'. If your IP is static by default, choose your IP from the list. You will then have to right click in the very center column, and choose 'Add'.

From here, you will have to set the directory you want the people to have access to. After choosing the directory, I suggest you choose the options 'Read', 'List', and 'Subdirs', unless of course you know what you're doing . After doing so, make an 'upload' folder in the directory, and choose to 'add' this folder seperately to the center column. Choose 'write', 'append', 'make', 'list', and 'subdirs'. This will allow them to upload only to specific folders (your upload folder).

Now click on 'Miscellaneous' from the left column. Choose 'enable account', your time-out (how long it takes for people to remain idle before you automatically kick them off), the maximum number of users for this name, the maximum number of connections allowed simultaneously for one ip address, show relative path (a must!), and any other things at the bottom you'd like to have. Now click 'Ok'.

From this main menu, click the little boxing glove icon in the top corner, and right click and unchoose the hit-o-meter for both uploads and downloads (with this you can monitor IP activity). Now click the lightning bolt, and your server is now up and running.

Post your ftp info, like this: (or something else, such as: 'f*p://')

User: *** (The username of the client)

Pass: *** (The password)

Port: *** (The port number you chose)

So make a FTP and join the FTP section

Listing The Contents Of A Ftp:
Listing the content of a FTP is very simple.
You will need FTP Content Maker, which can be downloaded from here:

1. Put in the IP of the server. Do not put "ftp://" or a "/" because it will not work if you do so.
2. Put in the port. If the port is the default number, 21, you do not have to enter it.
3. Put in the username and password in the appropriate fields. If the login is anonymous, you do not have to enter it.
4. If you want to list a specific directory of the FTP, place it in the directory field. Otherwise, do not enter anything in the directory field.
5. Click "Take the List!"
6. After the list has been taken, click the UBB output tab, and copy and paste to wherever you want it.

If FTP Content Maker is not working, it is probably because the server does not utilize Serv-U Software.

If you get this error message:
StatusCode = 550
LastResponse was : 'Unable to open local file test-ftp'
Error = 550 (Unable to open local file test-ftp)
Error = Unable to open local file test-ftp = 550
Close and restart FTP Content Maker, then try again.

error messages:

110 Restart marker reply. In this case, the text is exact and not left to the particular implementation; it must read: MARK yyyy = mmmm Where yyyy is User-process data stream marker, and mmmm server's equivalent marker (note the spaces between markers and "=").
120 Service ready in nnn minutes.
125 Data connection already open; transfer starting.
150 File status okay; about to open data connection.
200 Command okay.
202 Command not implemented, superfluous at this site.
211 System status, or system help reply.
212 Directory status.
213 File status.
214 Help message. On how to use the server or the meaning of a particular non-standard command. This reply is useful only to the human user.
215 NAME system type. Where NAME is an official system name from the list in the Assigned Numbers document.
220 Service ready for new user.
221 Service closing control connection. Logged out if appropriate.
225 Data connection open; no transfer in progress.
226 Closing data connection. Requested file action successful (for example, file transfer or file abort).
227 Entering Passive Mode (h1,h2,h3,h4,p1,p2).
230 User logged in, proceed.
250 Requested file action okay, completed.
257 "PATHNAME" created.
331 User name okay, need password.
332 Need account for login.
350 Requested file action pending further information.
421 Too many users logged to the same account
425 Can't open data connection.
426 Connection closed; transfer aborted.
450 Requested file action not taken. File unavailable (e.g., file busy).
451 Requested action aborted: local error in processing.
452 Requested action not taken. Insufficient storage space in system.
500 Syntax error, command unrecognized. This may include errors such as command line too long.
501 Syntax error in parameters or arguments.
502 Command not implemented.
503 Bad sequence of commands.
504 Command not implemented for that parameter.
530 Not logged in.
532 Need account for storing files.
550 Requested action not taken. File unavailable (e.g., file not found, no access).
551 Requested action aborted: page type unknown.
552 Requested file action aborted. Exceeded storage allocation (for current directory or dataset).
553 Requested action not taken. File name not allowed.

Active FTP vs. Passive FTP, a Definitive Explanation

One of the most commonly seen questions when dealing with firewalls and other Internet connectivity issues is the difference between active and passive FTP and how best to support either or both of them. Hopefully the following text will help to clear up some of the confusion over how to support FTP in a firewalled environment.

This may not be the definitive explanation, as the title claims, however, I've heard enough good feedback and seen this document linked in enough places to know that quite a few people have found it to be useful. I am always looking for ways to improve things though, and if you find something that is not quite clear or needs more explanation, please let me know! Recent additions to this document include the examples of both active and passive command line FTP sessions. These session examples should help make things a bit clearer. They also provide a nice picture into what goes on behind the scenes during an FTP session. Now, on to the information...

The Basics
FTP is a TCP based service exclusively. There is no UDP component to FTP. FTP is an unusual service in that it utilizes two ports, a 'data' port and a 'command' port (also known as the control port). Traditionally these are port 21 for the command port and port 20 for the data port. The confusion begins however, when we find that depending on the mode, the data port is not always on port 20.

Active FTP
In active mode FTP the client connects from a random unprivileged port (N > 1024) to the FTP server's command port, port 21. Then, the client starts listening to port N+1 and sends the FTP command PORT N+1 to the FTP server. The server will then connect back to the client's specified data port from its local data port, which is port 20.

From the server-side firewall's standpoint, to support active mode FTP the following communication channels need to be opened:

FTP server's port 21 from anywhere (Client initiates connection)
FTP server's port 21 to ports > 1024 (Server responds to client's control port)
FTP server's port 20 to ports > 1024 (Server initiates data connection to client's data port)
FTP server's port 20 from ports > 1024 (Client sends ACKs to server's data port)

In step 1, the client's command port contacts the server's command port and sends the command PORT 1027. The server then sends an ACK back to the client's command port in step 2. In step 3 the server initiates a connection on its local data port to the data port the client specified earlier. Finally, the client sends an ACK back as shown in step 4.

The main problem with active mode FTP actually falls on the client side. The FTP client doesn't make the actual connection to the data port of the server--it simply tells the server what port it is listening on and the server connects back to the specified port on the client. From the client side firewall this appears to be an outside system initiating a connection to an internal client--something that is usually blocked.

Active FTP Example
Below is an actual example of an active FTP session. The only things that have been changed are the server names, IP addresses, and user names. In this example an FTP session is initiated from (, a linux box running the standard FTP command line client, to (, a linux box running ProFTPd 1.2.2RC2. The debugging (-d) flag is used with the FTP client to show what is going on behind the scenes. Everything in red is the debugging output which shows the actual FTP commands being sent to the server and the responses generated from those commands. Normal server output is shown in black, and user input is in bold.

There are a few interesting things to consider about this dialog. Notice that when the PORT command is issued, it specifies a port on the client ( system, rather than the server. We will see the opposite behavior when we use passive FTP. While we are on the subject, a quick note about the format of the PORT command. As you can see in the example below it is formatted as a series of six numbers separated by commas. The first four octets are the IP address while the second two octets comprise the port that will be used for the data connection. To find the actual port multiply the fifth octet by 256 and then add the sixth octet to the total. Thus in the example below the port number is ( (14*256) + 178), or 3762. A quick check with netstat should confirm this information.

testbox1: {/home/p-t/slacker/public_html} % ftp -d testbox2
Connected to
220 FTP server ready.
Name (testbox2:slacker): slacker
---> USER slacker
331 Password required for slacker.
Password: TmpPass
230 User slacker logged in.
---> SYST
215 UNIX Type: L8
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> ls
ftp: setsockopt (ignored): Permission denied
---> PORT 192,168,150,80,14,178
200 PORT command successful.
---> LIST
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for file list.
drwx------ 3 slacker users 104 Jul 27 01:45 public_html
226 Transfer complete.
ftp> quit
---> QUIT
221 Goodbye.

Passive FTP
In order to resolve the issue of the server initiating the connection to the client a different method for FTP connections was developed. This was known as passive mode, or PASV, after the command used by the client to tell the server it is in passive mode.

In passive mode FTP the client initiates both connections to the server, solving the problem of firewalls filtering the incoming data port connection to the client from the server. When opening an FTP connection, the client opens two random unprivileged ports locally (N > 1024 and N+1). The first port contacts the server on port 21, but instead of then issuing a PORT command and allowing the server to connect back to its data port, the client will issue the PASV command. The result of this is that the server then opens a random unprivileged port (P > 1024) and sends the PORT P command back to the client. The client then initiates the connection from port N+1 to port P on the server to transfer data.

From the server-side firewall's standpoint, to support passive mode FTP the following communication channels need to be opened:

FTP server's port 21 from anywhere (Client initiates connection)
FTP server's port 21 to ports > 1024 (Server responds to client's control port)
FTP server's ports > 1024 from anywhere (Client initiates data connection to random port specified by server)
FTP server's ports > 1024 to remote ports > 1024 (Server sends ACKs (and data) to client's data port)

In step 1, the client contacts the server on the command port and issues the PASV command. The server then replies in step 2 with PORT 2024, telling the client which port it is listening to for the data connection. In step 3 the client then initiates the data connection from its data port to the specified server data port. Finally, the server sends back an ACK in step 4 to the client's data port.

While passive mode FTP solves many of the problems from the client side, it opens up a whole range of problems on the server side. The biggest issue is the need to allow any remote connection to high numbered ports on the server. Fortunately, many FTP daemons, including the popular WU-FTPD allow the administrator to specify a range of ports which the FTP server will use. See Appendix 1 for more information.

The second issue involves supporting and troubleshooting clients which do (or do not) support passive mode. As an example, the command line FTP utility provided with Solaris does not support passive mode, necessitating a third-party FTP client, such as ncftp.

With the massive popularity of the World Wide Web, many people prefer to use their web browser as an FTP client. Most browsers only support passive mode when accessing ftp:// URLs. This can either be good or bad depending on what the servers and firewalls are configured to support.

Passive FTP Example
Below is an actual example of a passive FTP session. The only things that have been changed are the server names, IP addresses, and user names. In this example an FTP session is initiated from (, a linux box running the standard FTP command line client, to (, a linux box running ProFTPd 1.2.2RC2. The debugging (-d) flag is used with the FTP client to show what is going on behind the scenes. Everything in red is the debugging output which shows the actual FTP commands being sent to the server and the responses generated from those commands. Normal server output is shown in black, and user input is in bold.

Notice the difference in the PORT command in this example as opposed to the active FTP example. Here, we see a port being opened on the server ( system, rather than the client. See the discussion about the format of the PORT command above, in the Active FTP Example section.

testbox1: {/home/p-t/slacker/public_html} % ftp -d testbox2
Connected to
220 FTP server ready.
Name (testbox2:slacker): slacker
---> USER slacker
331 Password required for slacker.
Password: TmpPass
230 User slacker logged in.
---> SYST
215 UNIX Type: L8
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> passive
Passive mode on.
ftp> ls
ftp: setsockopt (ignored): Permission denied
---> PASV
227 Entering Passive Mode (192,168,150,90,195,149).
---> LIST
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for file list
drwx------ 3 slacker users 104 Jul 27 01:45 public_html
226 Transfer complete.
ftp> quit
---> QUIT
221 Goodbye.

The following chart should help admins remember how each FTP mode works:

Active FTP :
command : client >1024 -> server 21
data : client >1024 <- server 20 Passive FTP : command : client >1024 -> server 21
data : client >1024 -> server >1024

A quick summary of the pros and cons of active vs. passive FTP is also in order:

Active FTP is beneficial to the FTP server admin, but detrimental to the client side admin. The FTP server attempts to make connections to random high ports on the client, which would almost certainly be blocked by a firewall on the client side. Passive FTP is beneficial to the client, but detrimental to the FTP server admin. The client will make both connections to the server, but one of them will be to a random high port, which would almost certainly be blocked by a firewall on the server side.

Luckily, there is somewhat of a compromise. Since admins running FTP servers will need to make their servers accessible to the greatest number of clients, they will almost certainly need to support passive FTP. The exposure of high level ports on the server can be minimized by specifying a limited port range for the FTP server to use. Thus, everything except for this range of ports can be firewalled on the server side. While this doesn't eliminate all risk to the server, it decreases it tremendously.

23 Ways to Speed Windows XP

Since defragging the disk won't do much to improve Windows XP performance, here are 23 suggestions that will. Each can enhance the performance and reliability of your customers' PCs. Best of all, most of them will cost you nothing.
1.) To decrease a system's boot time and increase system performance, use the money you save by not buying defragmentation software -- the built-in Windows defragmenter works just fine -- and instead equip the computer with an Ultra-133 or Serial ATA hard drive with 8-MB cache buffer.

2.) If a PC has less than 512 MB of RAM, add more memory. This is a relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade that can dramatically improve system performance.

3.) Ensure that Windows XP is utilizing the NTFS file system. If you're not sure, here's how to check: First, double-click the My Computer icon, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Next, examine the File System type; if it says FAT32, then back-up any important data. Next, click Start, click Run, type CMD, and then click OK. At the prompt, type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and press the Enter key. This process may take a while; it's important that the computer be uninterrupted and virus-free. The file system used by the bootable drive will be either FAT32 or NTFS. I highly recommend NTFS for its superior security, reliability, and efficiency with larger disk drives.

4.) Disable file indexing. The indexing service extracts information from documents and other files on the hard drive and creates a "searchable keyword index." As you can imagine, this process can be quite taxing on any system.

The idea is that the user can search for a word, phrase, or property inside a document, should they have hundreds or thousands of documents and not know the file name of the document they want. Windows XP's built-in search functionality can still perform these kinds of searches without the Indexing service. It just takes longer. The OS has to open each file at the time of the request to help find what the user is looking for.

Most people never need this feature of search. Those who do are typically in a large corporate environment where thousands of documents are located on at least one server. But if you're a typical system builder, most of your clients are small and medium businesses. And if your clients have no need for this search feature, I recommend disabling it.

Here's how: First, double-click the My Computer icon. Next, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching." Next, apply changes to "C: subfolders and files," and click OK. If a warning or error message appears (such as "Access is denied"), click the Ignore All button.

5.) Update the PC's video and motherboard chipset drivers. Also, update and configure the BIOS. For more information on how to configure your BIOS properly, see this article on my site.

6.) Empty the Windows Prefetch folder every three months or so. Windows XP can "prefetch" portions of data and applications that are used frequently. This makes processes appear to load faster when called upon by the user. That's fine. But over time, the prefetch folder may become overloaded with references to files and applications no longer in use. When that happens, Windows XP is wasting time, and slowing system performance, by pre-loading them. Nothing critical is in this folder, and the entire contents are safe to delete.

7.) Once a month, run a disk cleanup. Here's how: Double-click the My Computer icon. Then right-click on the C: drive and select Properties. Click the Disk Cleanup button -- it's just to the right of the Capacity pie graph -- and delete all temporary files.

8.) In your Device Manager, double-click on the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers device, and ensure that DMA is enabled for each drive you have connected to the Primary and Secondary controller. Do this by double-clicking on Primary IDE Channel. Then click the Advanced Settings tab. Ensure the Transfer Mode is set to "DMA if available" for both Device 0 and Device 1. Then repeat this process with the Secondary IDE Channel.

9.) Upgrade the cabling. As hard-drive technology improves, the cabling requirements to achieve these performance boosts have become more stringent. Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all of your IDE devices with the connectors properly assigned to the matching Master/Slave/Motherboard sockets. A single device must be at the end of the cable; connecting a single drive to the middle connector on a ribbon cable will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA hard drives, these signaling problems will prevent the drive from performing at its maximum potential. Also, because these cables inherently support "cable select," the location of each drive on the cable is important. For these reasons, the cable is designed so drive positioning is explicitly clear.

10.) Remove all spyware from the computer. Use free programs such as AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Once these programs are installed, be sure to check for and download any updates before starting your search. Anything either program finds can be safely removed. Any free software that requires spyware to run will no longer function once the spyware portion has been removed; if your customer really wants the program even though it contains spyware, simply reinstall it. For more information on removing Spyware visit this Web Pro News page.

11.) Remove any unnecessary programs and/or items from Windows Startup routine using the MSCONFIG utility. Here's how: First, click Start, click Run, type MSCONFIG, and click OK. Click the StartUp tab, then uncheck any items you don't want to start when Windows starts. Unsure what some items are? Visit the WinTasks Process Library. It contains known system processes, applications, as well as spyware references and explanations. Or quickly identify them by searching for the filenames using Google or another Web search engine.

12.) Remove any unnecessary or unused programs from the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel.

13.) Turn off any and all unnecessary animations, and disable active desktop. In fact, for optimal performance, turn off all animations. Windows XP offers many different settings in this area. Here's how to do it: First click on the System icon in the Control Panel. Next, click on the Advanced tab. Select the Settings button located under Performance. Feel free to play around with the options offered here, as nothing you can change will alter the reliability of the computer -- only its responsiveness.

14.) If your customer is an advanced user who is comfortable editing their registry, try some of the performance registry tweaks offered at Tweak XP.

15.) Visit Microsoft's Windows update site regularly, and download all updates labeled Critical. Download any optional updates at your discretion.

16.) Update the customer's anti-virus software on a weekly, even daily, basis. Make sure they have only one anti-virus software package installed. Mixing anti-virus software is a sure way to spell disaster for performance and reliability.

17.) Make sure the customer has fewer than 500 type fonts installed on their computer. The more fonts they have, the slower the system will become. While Windows XP handles fonts much more efficiently than did the previous versions of Windows, too many fonts -- that is, anything over 500 -- will noticeably tax the system.

18.) Do not partition the hard drive. Windows XP's NTFS file system runs more efficiently on one large partition. The data is no safer on a separate partition, and a reformat is never necessary to reinstall an operating system. The same excuses people offer for using partitions apply to using a folder instead. For example, instead of putting all your data on the D: drive, put it in a folder called "D drive." You'll achieve the same organizational benefits that a separate partition offers, but without the degradation in system performance. Also, your free space won't be limited by the size of the partition; instead, it will be limited by the size of the entire hard drive. This means you won't need to resize any partitions, ever. That task can be time-consuming and also can result in lost data.

19.) Check the system's RAM to ensure it is operating properly. I recommend using a free program called MemTest86. The download will make a bootable CD or diskette (your choice), which will run 10 extensive tests on the PC's memory automatically after you boot to the disk you created. Allow all tests to run until at least three passes of the 10 tests are completed. If the program encounters any errors, turn off and unplug the computer, remove a stick of memory (assuming you have more than one), and run the test again. Remember, bad memory cannot be repaired, but only replaced.

20.) If the PC has a CD or DVD recorder, check the drive manufacturer's Web site for updated firmware. In some cases you'll be able to upgrade the recorder to a faster speed. Best of all, it's free.

21.) Disable unnecessary services. Windows XP loads a lot of services that your customer most likely does not need. To determine which services you can disable for your client, visit the Black Viper site for Windows XP configurations.

22.) If you're sick of a single Windows Explorer window crashing and then taking the rest of your OS down with it, then follow this tip: open My Computer, click on Tools, then Folder Options. Now click on the View tab. Scroll down to "Launch folder windows in a separate process," and enable this option. You'll have to reboot your machine for this option to take effect.

23.) At least once a year, open the computer's cases and blow out all the dust and debris. While you're in there, check that all the fans are turning properly. Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for bulging or leaks. For more information on this leaking-capacitor phenomena, you can read numerous articles on my site.

Following any of these suggestions should result in noticeable improvements to the performance and reliability of your customers' computers. If you still want to defrag a disk, remember that the main benefit will be to make your data more retrievable in the event of a crashed drive.

10 reasons why PCs crash

Fatal error: the system has become unstable or is busy," it says. "Enter to return to Windows or press Control-Alt-Delete to restart your computer. If you do this you will lose any unsaved information in all open applications."

You have just been struck by the Blue Screen of Death. Anyone who uses Mcft Windows will be familiar with this. What can you do? More importantly, how can you prevent it happening?

1. Hardware conflict

The number one reason why Windows crashes is hardware conflict. Each hardware device communicates to other devices through an interrupt request channel (IRQ). These are supposed to be unique for each device.

For example, a printer usually connects internally on IRQ 7. The keyboard usually uses IRQ 1 and the floppy disk drive IRQ 6. Each device will try to hog a single IRQ for itself.

If there are a lot of devices, or if they are not installed properly, two of them may end up sharing the same IRQ number. When the user tries to use both devices at the same time, a crash can happen. The way to check if your computer has a hardware conflict is through the following route:

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager.

Often if a device has a problem a yellow '!' appears next to its description in the Device Manager. Highlight Computer (in the Device Manager) and press Properties to see the IRQ numbers used by your computer. If the IRQ number appears twice, two devices may be using it.

Sometimes a device might share an IRQ with something described as 'IRQ holder for PCI steering'. This can be ignored. The best way to fix this problem is to remove the problem device and reinstall it.

Sometimes you may have to find more recent drivers on the internet to make the device function properly. A good resource is If the device is a soundcard, or a modem, it can often be fixed by moving it to a different slot on the motherboard (be careful about opening your computer, as you may void the warranty).

When working inside a computer you should switch it off, unplug the mains lead and touch an unpainted metal surface to discharge any static electricity.

To be fair to Mcft, the problem with IRQ numbers is not of its making. It is a legacy problem going back to the first PC designs using the IBM 8086 chip. Initially there were only eight IRQs. Today there are 16 IRQs in a PC. It is easy to run out of them. There are plans to increase the number of IRQs in future designs.

2. Bad Ram

Ram (random-access memory) problems might bring on the blue screen of death with a message saying Fatal Exception Error. A fatal error indicates a serious hardware problem. Sometimes it may mean a part is damaged and will need replacing.

But a fatal error caused by Ram might be caused by a mismatch of chips. For example, mixing 70-nanosecond (70ns) Ram with 60ns Ram will usually force the computer to run all the Ram at the slower speed. This will often crash the machine if the Ram is overworked.

One way around this problem is to enter the BIOS settings and increase the wait state of the Ram. This can make it more stable. Another way to troubleshoot a suspected Ram problem is to rearrange the Ram chips on the motherboard, or take some of them out. Then try to repeat the circumstances that caused the crash. When handling Ram try not to touch the gold connections, as they can be easily damaged.

Parity error messages also refer to Ram. Modern Ram chips are either parity (ECC) or non parity (non-ECC). It is best not to mix the two types, as this can be a cause of trouble.

EMM386 error messages refer to memory problems but may not be connected to bad Ram. This may be due to free memory problems often linked to old Dos-based programmes.

3. BIOS settings

Every motherboard is supplied with a range of chipset settings that are decided in the factory. A common way to access these settings is to press the F2 or delete button during the first few seconds of a boot-up.

Once inside the BIOS, great care should be taken. It is a good idea to write down on a piece of paper all the settings that appear on the screen. That way, if you change something and the computer becomes more unstable, you will know what settings to revert to.

A common BIOS error concerns the CAS latency. This refers to the Ram. Older EDO (extended data out) Ram has a CAS latency of 3. Newer SDRam has a CAS latency of 2. Setting the wrong figure can cause the Ram to lock up and freeze the computer's display.

Mcft Windows is better at allocating IRQ numbers than any BIOS. If possible set the IRQ numbers to Auto in the BIOS. This will allow Windows to allocate the IRQ numbers (make sure the BIOS setting for Plug and Play OS is switched to 'yes' to allow Windows to do this.).

4. Hard disk drives

After a few weeks, the information on a hard disk drive starts to become piecemeal or fragmented. It is a good idea to defragment the hard disk every week or so, to prevent the disk from causing a screen freeze. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Defragmenter

This will start the procedure. You will be unable to write data to the hard drive (to save it) while the disk is defragmenting, so it is a good idea to schedule the procedure for a period of inactivity using the Task Scheduler.

The Task Scheduler should be one of the small icons on the bottom right of the Windows opening page (the desktop).

Some lockups and screen freezes caused by hard disk problems can be solved by reducing the read-ahead optimisation. This can be adjusted by going to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System Icon-Performance-File System-Hard Disk.

Hard disks will slow down and crash if they are too full. Do some housekeeping on your hard drive every few months and free some space on it. Open the Windows folder on the C drive and find the Temporary Internet Files folder. Deleting the contents (not the folder) can free a lot of space.

Empty the Recycle Bin every week to free more space. Hard disk drives should be scanned every week for errors or bad sectors. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-ScanDisk

Otherwise assign the Task Scheduler to perform this operation at night when the computer is not in use.

5. Fatal OE exceptions and VXD errors

Fatal OE exception errors and VXD errors are often caused by video card problems.

These can often be resolved easily by reducing the resolution of the video display. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Display-Settings

Here you should slide the screen area bar to the left. Take a look at the colour settings on the left of that window. For most desktops, high colour 16-bit depth is adequate.

If the screen freezes or you experience system lockups it might be due to the video card. Make sure it does not have a hardware conflict. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager

Here, select the + beside Display Adapter. A line of text describing your video card should appear. Select it (make it blue) and press properties. Then select Resources and select each line in the window. Look for a message that says No Conflicts.

If you have video card hardware conflict, you will see it here. Be careful at this point and make a note of everything you do in case you make things worse.

The way to resolve a hardware conflict is to uncheck the Use Automatic Settings box and hit the Change Settings button. You are searching for a setting that will display a No Conflicts message.

Another useful way to resolve video problems is to go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Performance-Graphics

Here you should move the Hardware Acceleration slider to the left. As ever, the most common cause of problems relating to graphics cards is old or faulty drivers (a driver is a small piece of software used by a computer to communicate with a device).

Look up your video card's manufacturer on the internet and search for the most recent drivers for it.

6. Viruses

Often the first sign of a virus infection is instability. Some viruses erase the boot sector of a hard drive, making it impossible to start. This is why it is a good idea to create a Windows start-up disk. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Add/Remove Programs

Here, look for the Start Up Disk tab. Virus protection requires constant vigilance.

A virus scanner requires a list of virus signatures in order to be able to identify viruses. These signatures are stored in a DAT file. DAT files should be updated weekly from the website of your antivirus software manufacturer.

An excellent antivirus programme is McAfee VirusScan by Network Associates ( Another is Norton AntiVirus 2000, made by Symantec (

7. Printers

The action of sending a document to print creates a bigger file, often called a postscript file.

Printers have only a small amount of memory, called a buffer. This can be easily overloaded. Printing a document also uses a considerable amount of CPU power. This will also slow down the computer's performance.

If the printer is trying to print unusual characters, these might not be recognised, and can crash the computer. Sometimes printers will not recover from a crash because of confusion in the buffer. A good way to clear the buffer is to unplug the printer for ten seconds. Booting up from a powerless state, also called a cold boot, will restore the printer's default settings and you may be able to carry on.

8. Software

A common cause of computer crash is faulty or badly-installed software. Often the problem can be cured by uninstalling the software and then reinstalling it. Use Norton Uninstall or Uninstall Shield to remove an application from your system properly. This will also remove references to the programme in the System Registry and leaves the way clear for a completely fresh copy.

The System Registry can be corrupted by old references to obsolete software that you thought was uninstalled. Use Reg Cleaner by Jouni Vuorio to clean up the System Registry and remove obsolete entries. It works on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE (Second Edition), Windows Millennium Edition (ME), NT4 and Windows 2000.

Read the instructions and use it carefully so you don't do permanent damage to the Registry. If the Registry is damaged you will have to reinstall your operating system. Reg Cleaner can be obtained from

Often a Windows problem can be resolved by entering Safe Mode. This can be done during start-up. When you see the message "Starting Windows" press F4. This should take you into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode loads a minimum of drivers. It allows you to find and fix problems that prevent Windows from loading properly.

Sometimes installing Windows is difficult because of unsuitable BIOS settings. If you keep getting SUWIN error messages (Windows setup) during the Windows installation, then try entering the BIOS and disabling the CPU internal cache. Try to disable the Level 2 (L2) cache if that doesn't work.

Remember to restore all the BIOS settings back to their former settings following installation.

9. Overheating

Central processing units (CPUs) are usually equipped with fans to keep them cool. If the fan fails or if the CPU gets old it may start to overheat and generate a particular kind of error called a kernel error. This is a common problem in chips that have been overclocked to operate at higher speeds than they are supposed to.

One remedy is to get a bigger better fan and install it on top of the CPU. Specialist cooling fans/heatsinks are available from or

CPU problems can often be fixed by disabling the CPU internal cache in the BIOS. This will make the machine run more slowly, but it should also be more stable.

10. Power supply problems

With all the new construction going on around the country the steady supply of electricity has become disrupted. A power surge or spike can crash a computer as easily as a power cut.

If this has become a nuisance for you then consider buying a uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This will give you a clean power supply when there is electricity, and it will give you a few minutes to perform a controlled shutdown in case of a power cut.

It is a good investment if your data are critical, because a power cut will cause any unsaved data to be lost.

Data Capacity of CDs

Data Capacity of CDs [Tutorial]

You can fit on a S/VCD without overburning:
- approx. 735 MB of MPEG data onto a 74min/650MB disc
- approx. 795 MB of MPEG data onto an 80min/700MB disc

You can fit on a CD-ROM without overburning:
- approx. 650 MB of data onto a 74min/650MB disc
- approx. 703 MB of data onto an 80min/700MB disc


Let us ignore for now the terms of megabyte for CD capacity and try to understand how the data is stored on a CD.

As well all know, the data is stored digitally as binary data. This means, however the actual information is actually kept on the disc, this information is in the form of "1"s and "0"s. Physically, the information on a CD is as pits on a thin sheet of metal (aluminium).

An a CD-R disc, the data is physically on an organic dye layer which simulates the metal layer on a real pressed CD.


How is the information structured
Now, on the CD, the information isn't just organised from beginning to end willy-nilly. Otherwise, it would be really hard to find a useful piece of information on the CD.

Rather, the information is organised in sectors. Consider a sector as like a page in a book. Just like you are able to quickly find something in a book if you know the page number, you can quickly find something on a CD if you know the sector number.

Now, remember that the CD was original made to hold audio data. It was decided, that the CD would would 75 sectors per second of audio. Although I cannot guess where this number comes from, it is quite appropriate for the audio CD. It means that you can "seek" an audio CD accurately to 1/75th of a second -- which is more than enough for consumer purposes.

Now, with this in mind, we can work out the total data capacity of user data for 1 sector.


The total data capacity of user data of 1 sector on a CD
CD audio uses uncompressed PCM stereo audio, 16-bit resolution sampled at 44.1 kHz.

Thus 1 second of audio contains:
16 bits/channel * 2 channels * 44100 samples/second * 1 second
= 1411200 bits
= 176400 bytes

Since there are 75 sectors per second
1 sector
= 176400 bytes / 75
= 2352 bytes

One sector on a CD contains 2352 bytes max.


The concept of different MODES and FORMS of burning
Now, audio CD was well and good, but the medium would become much more useful if you could store other data on the disc as well. This became to be know as CD-ROM of course.

Now, the audio-CD uses the ENTIRE sector for audio data.

However, for CD-ROMs this caused a problem. Simply, CDs and the CD reading mechanisms were not 100% faultless. That is, errors (indeed frequent errors) could be made during the reading. For audio CDs, this does not matter as much as you could simply interpolate from the adjacent audio samples. This will obviously NOT DO for data CDs. A single bit error could lead to a program being unexecutable or ruin an achive file.

Thus, for CD-ROMs, part of each sector is devoted to error correction codes and error detection codes. The CD-R FAQ has the details, but in effect, only 2048 bytes out of a total of 2352 bytes in each sector is available for user data on a data CD.

This burning mode is either MODE1 or MODE2 Form1.


MODE2 Form2 sectors of VCDs and SVCDs
Now, for VCDs and SVCDs, the video tracks do not necessarily require the robust error correction as normal data on a CD-ROM. However, there is still some overhead per sector that is used for something other than video data (e.g., sync headers).

S/VCDs video tracks are burnt in what is called MODE2 Form2 sectors. In this mode, only 2324 bytes out of a total of 2352 bytes in each sector is available for user data.

This is MUCH MORE than for CD-ROMs, but still less per sector than audio CD.


The disc capacities of CD-ROMs, audio-CDs and VCDs
Now, obviously what ultimately determines the capacity of a disc is the total number of sectors it contains. This is similar to the total number of pages in a blank exercise book (if you recall the book analogy).

The secondary determinant is the burning mode of the disc.

For audio CDs, it is as if you could fill each page from top to bottom with audio data as the entire sector is used for audio data.

For CD-ROMs, it is as if you need to first rule a margin and then leave the bottom part of each page for footnotes (headers + ECC + EDC). The amount of text you can actually write per page is then less due to these other constraints.

For S/VCDs, we still need to rule a margin on the page, but we don't have to worry about the footnotes (headers). We can fit MORE text than a CD-ROM, but less than an audio-CD.

Now remember, 1 second on a CD = 75 sectors.

- 74 min CD = 333,000 sectors
- 80 min CD = 360,000 sectors

Data capacity in Mb for an audio-CD
74 min
= 333,000 sectors * 2352 bytes / sector
= 783216000 bytes
= 746.9 Mb

80 min
= 360,000 sectors * 2352 bytes / sector
= 846720000 bytes
= 807.5 Mb

Data capacity in Mb for a CD-ROM
74 min
= 333,000 sectors * 2048 bytes / sector
= 681984000 bytes
= 650.4 Mb

80 min
= 360,000 sectors * 2048 bytes / sector
= 737280000 bytes
= 703.1 Mb

Data capacity in Mb for a S/VCD
74 min
= 333,000 sectors * 2324 bytes / sector
= 773892000 bytes
= 738.0 Mb

80 min
= 360,000 sectors * 2324 bytes / sector
= 836640000 bytes
= 797.9 Mb


As you can see, the often quoted capacities of 650MB and 700MB refer to CD-ROM capacities.

Due to the fact that S/VCDs use a different burning mode where MORE of each sector is available as user data, the relatively capacities are HIGHER.

Now, since S/VCDs are not composed of PURELY video tracks and have some unavoidable overheads, the actually total capacity left for video tracks is a few Mb less for each disc (about 735 Mb for 74min discs and 795 Mb for 80min discs). This is where the often quoted capacities of 740MB and 800MB come from. They are quite accurate.

All these capacities are available BEFORE overburning. Overburning is where you burn MORE sectors than the disc is rated for. If you overburn, you can typically achieve about 1-2 minutes of additional capacity (depending on your drive and media).


How to Change Your Ip Faster

How To: Change Your Ip In Less Then 1 Minute

1. Click on "Start" in the bottom left hand corner of screen
2. Click on "Run"
3. Type in "command" and hit ok

How To: Change Your Ip In Less Then 1 Minute

1. Click on "Start" in the bottom left hand corner of screen
2. Click on "Run"
3. Type in "command" and hit ok

You should now be at an MSDOS prompt screen.

4. Type "ipconfig /release" just like that, and hit "enter"
5. Type "exit" and leave the prompt
6. Right-click on "Network Places" or "My Network Places" on your desktop.
7. Click on "properties"

You should now be on a screen with something titled "Local Area Connection", or something close to that, and, if you have a network hooked up, all of your other networks.

8. Right click on "Local Area Connection" and click "properties"
9. Double-click on the "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" from the list under the "General" tab
10. Click on "Use the following IP address" under the "General" tab
11. Create an IP address (It doesn't matter what it is. I just type 1 and 2 until i fill the area up).
12. Press "Tab" and it should automatically fill in the "Subnet Mask" section with default numbers.
13. Hit the "Ok" button here
14. Hit the "Ok" button again

You should now be back to the "Local Area Connection" screen.

15. Right-click back on "Local Area Connection" and go to properties again.
16. Go back to the "TCP/IP" settings
17. This time, select "Obtain an IP address automatically"
tongue.gif 18. Hit "Ok"
19. Hit "Ok" again
20. You now have a new IP address

With a little practice, you can easily get this process down to 15 seconds.

This only changes your dynamic IP address, not your ISP/IP address. If you plan on hacking a website with this trick be extremely careful, because if they try a little, they can trace it back

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...