August 2010

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Mysterious Random Folders

Ask the Doctor LogoI have four hard drives I use for storage. One of my drives is a 1TB WD Caviar Green. A folder named “35c7b77f9e7bab635e2efb4b74b9” keeps appearing, with a file “MPMiniSigStub.exe” and a bunch of files with names like “1.81.790.0_to_1.81.799.0_mpasdlta.vdm._p.” When I delete the folder a new one with a similar randomly generated name appears in its place, with similar files in it. I scanned with Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Norton 360 4.0, and Microsoft Security Essentials; none of them detected anything bad. I have also “hidden” the folder, but it reverts back to non-hidden status.

—Kevin Young

Read the Doctor's advice for Kevin after the jump.

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Migrating to Home Server

Ask the Doctor LogoI’ve been considering building a Windows Home Server. My problem is that I have three 1.5TB hard drives with media on them. Can I move these drives to a Windows Home Server machine without formatting them? They are currently formatted in NTFS on a Win 7 machine. I have everything for the home server except the case and power supply. I also have a 40GB hard drive that I had planned to install the Home Server software on. I don’t have the money to buy new drives to transfer the media from the other drives. Also, will I be able to stream .vob and Blu-ray files to Media Center on my other machines?

—Michael Engles

Read the Doctor's advice for Michael after the jump.

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Next-Gen Wireless Worse than Last-Gen?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have a Netgear WNDR3300 dual-band router that broadcasts both 802.11g and 802.11n signals. Today, I noticed that in certain areas of my house, the 802.11g signal is actually stronger than my 802.11n signal, by a lot! Shouldn’t this be the other way around? Currently, the router sits atop a bookcase in my basement as I don’t have anywhere to put it upstairs. The signal comes from a cable modem and is attached to a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit computer. What gives?

—Brian L.

Read the Doctor's answer for Brian after the jump.

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What Happened to AutoRun?

Ask the Doctor LogoI am using Windows 7 Home Premium and I have found that there is no longer an AutoRun option that permits the automatic startup of USB flash drives that contain software. I am particularly referring to flash drives that contain portable operating systems such as Portable Apps or SanDisk U3 Launchpad. The user is now presented with a prompt that permits viewing the files and double-clicking the application to be executed.

Is there a registry hack that I can use to restore the AutoRun feature for USB flash drives that contain applications?

—Bob Blum

Read the Doctor's answer for Bob after the jump.

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Streaming Internet Radio Room-to-Room

Ask the Doctor LogoMy PC is in my home office and my home theater system is in my living room about 30 feet away. I like to listen to jazz but my local jazz radio station changed format so I started listening to jazz streamed over the Internet on my PC. I would like to stream this music to my home theater system. I already have a CAT-6 cable strung from my router to the DVR in my living room for on-demand TV. I’ve tried to sort through all the streaming devices available but have only managed to be confused and overwhelmed by the features and specifications. I wouldn’t mind streaming video too, but that is not my priority. A unit that will play Blu-ray discs is an acceptable option as all I have on my home theater system is CD/DVD, but, again, that is not a priority. Can you suggest some viable options for me? Thanks a heap!

—David Winokur

Read the Doctor's advice for David after the jump.

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Which Power Connector?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have what I thought was a simple question, but I can’t seem to find a definitive answer. I have an Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard and a Core i7-930 CPU. Should I use my PSU’s 8-pin or 4-pin connector for the CPU?

—Craig

Read the Doctor's answer for Craig after the jump.

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Reinstall from Image to Defeat Malware?

Ask the Doctor LogoI have a system with anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed. I also made a backup image with Acronis True Image some time ago. Now, somehow it got a bad malware infection that nothing can remove completely. The usual method is to reformat and reinstall Windows, but what if I use a clean image from Acronis to restore my system? Can that be done? Will it get rid of all the malware, or will some be left behind?

—Ted Bunny

Read the Doctor's answer for Ted after the jump.