Download Manager Tips, Reader Q&A

A significant message for FlashGet users, plus how exactly to fix weird PC clock problems–and a whole new time-wasters section.

Presented by PCWorld

I simply got an awful surprise from FlashGet, the best download manager. It offers a big, inviting security hole that let an awful Trojan worm its way onto my system. I’m not the only person having to fight the attack. Users on the FlashGet and Kaspersky Labs forums first raised the flag.

My at-the-moment favorite antivirus program, Kaspersky, spotted and deleted Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Agent.kht. I didn’t give it another thought; a number of the files I download are, to state minimal, suspect. [You, too. –Editor] And I didn’t connect the Trojan with FlashGet.

But the following day, Kaspersky hollered again–and this time around it was soon after launching FlashGet. THEREFORE I did some digging and found a Viruslist blog entry that explained the FlashGet exploit.

FlashGet’s servers may actually have already been infected and FlashGet merrily passed along the Trojan to users. That is why despite the fact that Kapersky caught it the very first time, FlashGet allow it through again. You can read Aleks Gostev’s explanation at Viruslist.

The problem is that FlashGet’s security breach was not fixed. For all I understand, the site may be attacked again, with FlashGet users still at risk. Up to now there was not an acknowledgment of the problem on the FlashGet site and the Chinese developer hasn’t replied to my obtain comment.

I favor FlashGet, but I also just like a Trojan-free PC. THEREFORE I struggled with whether to uninstall and replace FlashGet with another download manager. Finally I decided that with Kaspersky and my anti-spyware program, CounterSpy, watching over me, I could safely continue to utilize the download manager.

If you are feeling apprehensive, uninstall FlashGet and find out about some alternatives–as well as other downloading tips–in “Get Smart About Downloads.” Here is a quick list:

  •  Download Accelerator Plus
  •  Fresh Download
  •  Crawler Download Manager
  •  DOWNLOAD FREE Manager

Why Use a Download Manager? Utilizing a download manager is essential if you are scarfing up multi-part videos or plenty of files from the web. To begin with, you can build up a large number of files and the manager will download them automatically. The other benefit is you could set a schedule therefore the manager downloads the files when you wish, say, late during the night after you’ve attended bed. Finally, and probably most significant, is you don’t need to worry if your browser crashes midway while downloading a big file–mine are usually 700MB–because this program will resume the download.

Time Inaccurate? Change Your Battery I get plenty of e-mail requesting help, such as this one from Cynthia M.:

“So today, my normally reliable computer at the job starts changing enough time. First it thinks that it is 5 p.m. on Monday. Unfortunately, it’s already Tuesday. Oddest thing, though, it correctly identifies that I’m on Pacific Daylight Time. Fast forward through several resets, reboots, McAfee Virus Scans, and deleting and reinstalling the Windows Daylight Savings Time patch. Better, but no cigar: Now enough time is resetting back again to 10:25 a.m., although it’s at least recognizing it really is Tuesday.”

The problem, I informed her, is a weak system battery. The symptoms may also exhibit as a temperamental PC, say, providing you a horrifying message that the hard disk drive doesn’t exist when you make an effort to book up. Another boot, however, will be normal.

A battery stores a PC’s CMOS settings, and enough time and date, among other activities. A dying battery confuses the settings. Changing it really is straightforward, but frustrating. You can grab a fresh coin cell battery at under $7 at any electronics store.

First record your computer’s existing CMOS settings. Boot up and head for your system’s Setup screen. Do this by watching the screen for instructions. For example, my PC wants me going to the Delete key; my notebook informs me to use F10.

After the Setup’s visible, use an electronic camera to snap a graphic of every page; the other option is to jot the knowledge down using pencil and paper.

BTW, some computers have a handy program for saving your CMOS settings. You need to hunt around in your PC’s manual to see if you are among the lucky ones. Read “Make a Backup of Your CMOS” within an old (but nonetheless useful) Answer Line column for details.

Once you have recorded the CMOS settings, print the tutorial at LiveRepair. Now switch off and unplug the PC, remove the cover, and follow the tutorial’s step-by-step battery replacement instructions.

Boot one’s body and step through each page of the setup, changing the settings to fit your original settings, and you’re all set.

Dig This: RIP As newsletter subscribers have noticed, PC World sends out an e-mail with a web link to my column online. Unfortunately, way too many subscribers have written asking why there aren’t any “Dig This” items–though there always are, just interspersed in to the text.

When I first started writing the newsletter, I popped time wasters in to the copy so that you can break things up. My editor and I decided it’s probably easier to batch everything in the bottom of the newsletter, therefore the items are simpler to find. We also made a decision to ditch the “Dig This” title. [Sorry, Randy.]

So here it really is, the first-ever weekly “Time Wasters” section.

Time Wasters If your hard disk drive goes south, you can always take it to a chain’s repair service rather than doing the heavy lifting yourself. On the other hand, after watching this Computer Repair Undercover Investigation, maybe not.

The question is, just how many cannibals could the body feed? Well, it sort of depends on whether you retain kosher or are determined to go vegan. Wait until after lunch to determine.

Take careful aim and see when you can avoid doing what I did–missing the apple.

Here are a few golden rules for birders. Number 1: Always keep the mouth area closed when you’re finding out about at birds.

It’s hard to trust anyone would spend enough time grabbing what appears like, I dunno, 30,000 URLs and matching logos. But AllMyFaves did it. [Thanks, Tom L.]

Here is a decent illusion in one of these wacky Japanese TV celebrity shows. I must provide them with credit–it sure appears like the guy’s walking through a table.

Steve Bass writes PC World’s monthly “Hassle-Free PC” column and may be the writer of “PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition: How exactly to Fix the Most Annoying REASONS FOR HAVING YOUR INDIVIDUAL Computer,” available from O’Reilly. He also writes PC World’s daily Tips & Tweaks blog. Register with have Steve’s newsletter e-mailed for you every week. Comments or questions? Send Steve e-mail

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