Question about Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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Monny needs her gurus help please.

Hi smartsolve, here I am back again already. I don't know which catagory I'm supposed to be in but I guess you will find me.
I'm on a new mission now. I have been trying to download a movie and I'm stuck because it says I have to set up port forwarding. I tried following the instructions but they are quite technical. It was pretty scary I can tell you as I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or if it was a safe thing to do & I was a bit reluctant to do too much after all your hard work in getting me sorted with the last issue. I thought I had better ask first :-) I went onto PortForward.com and there was a list of all the types of routers you could configure automatically. I was rapt as I thought this is going to be easy. Wrong! Of course I have to have one that needs to be done manually. It started getting into all sorts of things I've never seen or heard of before; that's when I retreated. I have a D-Link DSL 504G ADSL Router. Can you help me please my friend or is it too much of an ask. You can be brutal and tell me if its going to be too hard.
I look forward to hearing from you when you can. I see you are really busy and this isn't that important. I should give you my email.
Warmest wishes,
Monny

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  • 2 more comments 
  • Monny2 Jun 15, 2008

    Hi smartsolve, thank you so much for getting back to me so promptly. I really didn't expect you to. My PC is ticking over like clockwork thanks to you. Also a BIG thank you for taking the time to look into my new mission for me. I think your idea of a temporary mail is a great idea. Over the next couple of days I will look at some more movie sites & see if they have the same requirements. Your explanation was sooo good as to what port forwarding is. I had to read it 2 or 3 times for my brain to absorb it & understand it though. I honestly didn't have any idea. What is a static IP Address? I have absolutely no idea how to even find out if I have one or not. Sorry.

    One other thing you mentioned, which you will probably regret doing, is backing up my PC. Hmmmm. I've tried to do this too on several occassions (LOL) but I have too much stuff on my hard drive and when I try to do the backup it always says it won't fit. I have heaps of graphics etc due to my work. OMG I can't tell you how many times I have worried over this. I know you are right though about doing it as every day I add more photos etc to the already bulging folders.

    With that said I suppose before I do anything now I will have to try & do the backup again. My brother in Australia told me about a year ago that I should get an external HD and copy it onto there. It sounded too hard so I haven't done it as yet. Do you think this is the correct way to do it and if so is it difficult to do? I have a 160GB HD with about 70GB of space left.

    I will do as you ask and go onto the links at Portforward.com; & do a bit more research on the movies also will try to organise the back up. Crikey- sounds like I'm going to be busy.

    Wish me luck; I have a feeling I'm going to need it. Take care my friend. Thank you again.

    Warmest wishes,

    Monny

  • Monny2 Jun 16, 2008

    Hi there smartsolve, when I saw all the work you had put into my question I was amazed. Thank you most sincerely for going to all that trouble for me to explain in laymans terms. You are very knowledgable & I do take on board what you tell me. You have no idea how much I appreciate your time. I must thank you for taking the time out of Fathers day to help me. I felt dreadful that I had taken you away from the family. So very sorry.

    It is now 1.45am and I'm just finishing up for the day so haven't had the opportunity to have a look at the posts you gave me yet but I will definitely do so. Too much work isn't good for one. You would know this in your line of work and yet you find the time to be kind and help people such as myself. I am always very grateful as I have told you. Anyway I like chatting to you too.

    I haven't had a look at the cost of HD's yet. I need to get to town. I don't think we have the brand you mentioned just the major brands that I am aware of.

    Oh by the way I think I have everything that's going on this computer. LOL. I have anti-virus, spyware protection, firewall, popup stopper and anything else probably you can think of. I'm a hoarder on my computer. I spend all day and most of the night on it as I do a lot of business around the world.

    Oops!! just looked at the clock again and it's nearly 2am. Must sign off. I would love to stop and chat but you will have better things to do than listen to me prattling on. I'll try and get some of my homework done later on. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day at work and take care.

    Warmest wishes,

    Monny

  • Monny2 Jun 19, 2008

    Hi smartsolve, thank you so much for getting back to me. Now I know you are extremely busy, I feel uncomfortable knowing that and your are taking time out of your relaxation time to help me with what is probably really trivial.

    I realise you are right about getting my back up done, so with that in mind I will have a look at the HD's available although in saying this I really don't know what to look for. If I was to get one that will take double what I have on here at the moment, would that be ok or should I get something larger? If you could just answer me this I would be ever so grateful. I've opened up a temporary private account so if you feel you would like to communicate further you can write to me at monnyer@gmail.com. If I get too many unwanted mails I shall close it at a later date.

    I hope you haven't done too much today & please only reply to me when you can. Thanks a million. Have a nice night.

    Warmest wishes,

    Monny

  • Monny2 Jun 20, 2008

    Thank you so much smartsolve. You have been such a help to me. I will follow up on all the information you have given me & should I have any further queries I will indeed be in touch. Take care my friend.

    Warmest wishes,

    Monny

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Hi Monny! I too have been trying to figure out a way for us to communicate by email without posting addresses here. I was thinking about maybe setting up a temporary free account - like a hotmail or something - that we could use to just exchange info, and then close it down. I have never used those type accounts though, so I am not sure about that. What do you think?

Before we get to the port forwarding matter, how has your computer been acting since the hotfix was "fixed"? Is everything working OK? It seems like it's only been just a few days since we got it working, right? I too would be hesitant to make significant changes too quickly, only because evidently your computer was completely dysfunctional for so long... So I think you did exactly the right thing when you said "hold up, this is a little complicated"! I also would hesitate to download from a site that requires you to make changes to your equipment - it really doesn't seem like it should be that way.

I have spent some time today researching this matter, and went to the portforward.com site to see what exactly was going on there. Did you look at this page, talking about how the one port / one program rule basically works?
http://portforward.com/help/portforwarding.htm

There are a couple more issues that I think are basic to this decision. You only have the one computer, and it is connected directly to your router, right? Port forwarding typically is used for programs where an outside party wants to connect directly to a server that is behind your router/firewall. (See http://www.portforward.com/cports.htm.) In other words, I am not certain I understand the reasoning behind the movie site requiring port forwarding - you aren't involving a server, and probably none of the programs listed on that page - and I am usually skeptical of any attempt by an external source to go around your router or firewall. That router/firewall is your basic system protection from all the "big bad wolves" out there.

To be a little bit "motherly" here, imagine in the fairy tale, the three little pigs without any of their houses... If they hadn't had the houses - the walls to be blown down - it wouldn't then have been a matter of the wolf trying to blow the walls down to get at the pigs! Your router is kind of like those walls - it is a critical piece of your protection from the big bad wolf. While I realize this may sound a bit paranoid, I am still trying to correct damage done to my daughter's PC by some unknown virus(es) or other malware she managed to pick up, after months during which she has been forced to ask permission to use mine because her's doesn't work now!

Aside from my natural protective nature, especially for those who I care about, this all may be a mute point anyway, as the guide for the 504G indicates that you must have a static IP address. That is not the typical mode of operation for most users - do you have a static IP address?

Now, with all this probably having bored you to death, I will stop for the time being. If you think you want to do this, and you have a static IP, let me know the movie site involved, and I will see if the software they are proposing to forward is supported through the site we've looked at. You might also check out another movie site or two and see if they all handle things this way - I really don't know what is typical in that area. Either way, I would suggest that you back up your PC, so that if something goes wrong we can get you at least back to where you are now. I will help you work through any of these things that I can, and look forward to hearing from you again!

Hope all is well -

smartsolve

Posted on Jun 15, 2008

  • 2 more comments 
  • Cheryl Whalen Jun 15, 2008

    Hi, Monny. Hope you're doing well today. I just love hearing from you - it gives me a reason to check my email! :-)



    I usually try to respond to questions or issues in the same order as you put them in your message. But this time, I have to add one comment first - PLEASE back up! Yes, I will elaborate on this later on. I may as well go ahead and raise another "ugly" topic - are you running antivirus, spyware protection, and/or firewall products? Your ISP or your router may have the firewall covered, but at the least you should have antivirus and spyware software, and if you have put on SP2 of Windows XP, you can just use that firewall. I will stop "sermonizing" for now.



    Port forwarding is a rather difficult topic to understand - it's complicated, and I really just touched on the surface, but I hope it was enough to give you a fair idea what it is.



    IP Addresses

    OK, as for a static IP, I figured I had given you enough technical junk at one time yesterday and didn't want to overload you even more, or go into detail about something you may already know. Let's start with IP first. Every computer on a network has an IP address - IP stands for Internet Protocol. When you are connected to the internet, because the internet is one huge network, this means you have an IP address. Think of it like this: your house has a street address, so that people can find you, and every address is unique, so that each location can be found. So on the internet, each computer has an IP address so that it can be found.



    Now it gets a little harder because you have to connect to the Internet through a router, right? This means you have to deal with external and internal IP addresses. The external IP is what the internet sees, so it can direct information to you, and is actually the address of your router. So the router is what has the "external" IP address, and this address is assigned by your ISP. If the information got to your router and stopped there, though, it really wouldn't do a lot of good because it hasn't gotten to your PC yet.



    This is why you have “internal” IP addresses. Your router and your PC both have internal IP addresses. This is the way the router and the PC can "see" (locate) each other in order for them to communicate. So, when your router receives data from the internet, it uses the IP address of the PC to know where to route (forward) that data. Then you see that information on your PC!



    You can also see a fair technical diagram of IP on the first link from yesterday's post - just look at the graphics there.



    Let’s work through an example of this from beginning to end. You want to download a graphic from a particular web site, which we’ll call pics.com (hypothetical only). For this example let’s assume the following: your PC has an internal IP address of 192.168.1.2; your router has an internal IP address of 192.168.1.1 and an external address of 68.114.812.55; and the company running pics.com has a server running the web site that carries the address 75.800.91.200. All of this is completely fictional, and only for the purposes of this example. I don’t know if there are sites or addresses that equal these, and if there are, there is no intended correlation; in other words, this is like one of those programs on TV or a book disclaimer where they say that all characters, etc., are the author’s creation and none of it is intended to refer to real people, etc., etc. :-) I created these numbers and so forth just to be able to show you how the process works, and there are all kinds of standards surrounding actual IP numbers, and other processes that happen, that I have completely ignored.



    Here goes. This is the outgoing process. You open Internet Explorer (IE) and type in the address www.pics.com. Your PC sends a request to the router to go to that site. In IP terms, your PC (internal IP 192.168.1.2) sends the request to the router (internal IP 192.168.1.1). The router then uses its external IP (68.114.812.55) to connect to www.pics.com (IP 75.800.91.200). [NOTE: This ignores the fact that you have an ISP in the middle of the router to web site connection, which is obviously essential but would only complicate this example.] So now you see the pics.com site on your computer, and let’s pretend that the graphic you want is magically right there on the home page. Ha! Ha! You say that’s the one I want, and click some button to tell pics.com to download the graphic to you (for free of course). We’re also going to ignore all the stuff that happens on the site’s server when you click that button to tell it to send out the data that makes up that graphic.



    Now the process goes in the reverse direction - the incoming process. IP 75xx sends the graphic to IP 68xx. Since IP 68xx then transforms into IP 192.168.1.1 and knows to route the data to IP 192.168.1.2. In human, understandable terms, this reads: pics.com sends the graphic to your router’s external address. Since your router’s external address then transforms into your router’s internal address and knows to route the data to your PC. And voila! You have the graphic on your machine!



    I presented the information in the incoming direction using the IP addresses simply to illustrate how computers communicate, that is by using numbers. We, as people rather than machines, understand and communicate using the words and letters; but computers don’t understand those words and letters. They are all translated into numbers. This is done through a process called NAT (Network Address Translation), which basically translates the numbers to words and vice versa. Of course, NAT is an entirely separate process about which we could have a whole separate discussion. But this gives you the basic idea, I think. It’s kind of like a language translator. When a person speaking Spanish communicates with a person speaking English, for instance, the translator is another person who understands both languages and speaks in the relevant language to each party so they can talk. The NAT does the same thing for the computers and people so they can interact effectively.



    Sorry, tried to post this and had exceeded the maximum allowed size, so continue on to the next comment for the rest of this discussion.



    smartsolve

  • Cheryl Whalen Jun 15, 2008

    To continue:



    Static IP

    As to IP addresses, there are two types, static and dynamic. Static is a fixed number and dynamic is a number that changes randomly. Remember that you have two types of basic IP addresses, external and internal? Well, both can be either static or dynamic. Let’s focus on external, since that is what the Internet sees. In our example, we ignored the ISP (Internet Service Provider), which is the company through which you subscribe to get to the Internet. The ISP runs a big network that allows your router to talk to their server, and communicates with the internet on your behalf, then gives the information back to your router. (In other words, more IP addresses in the middle of our example…)



    In order for the ISP to provide these services, they assign an IP address to your router. This is most often dynamic, meaning that they can assign a random number to your router when it connects, based on the number of people connected, their system, and so forth. This gives them much more flexibility in running their service and accommodating varying, large numbers of connections. So each time you connect to the internet, your router has a different address. Usually, if an ISP offers a static IP option, there is an additional fee for this, because that means you get the same address assigned every time. The number is reserved only for you and can’t be used for any other connection. This reduces their flexibility, and therefore they normally will charge more.



    Summary

    I’m sure I’ve thoroughly confused you by now - I hope not too much! I thought to summarize by demonstrating the process in more easily understood “human” terms. Remember your house’s street address that we referred to at the beginning of this? (That is obviously a static address.) OK, you have a country, a city, a street, and a house number that go together to form your unique external address. No one else has exactly the same one - if they did, imagine the confusion that would occur when someone tried to reach you. Within your house, you probably have a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom, a bedroom, etc. These are all areas that could be considered internal addresses.



    In this instance, Country = Internet, City = ISP, Street & House Number = External IP Address. However, your house number then becomes both external and internal, as it refers to your location on the street (external - the view from outside) and represents your living space (internal - the inside of the house). Within the house (internally), you move from one room to the other, just as the data moves from your router to the PC.



    Backup

    I know we all get tired of the “doomsayers” who tell us to back up at least nightly, run every security product out there, etc. But I really do believe you need a good backup. I don’t know if you need to run it nightly, as that really depends on the amount of activity you have on a daily basis. I personally don’t back up as much as I should, but I try to make sure I back up routinely when there has been a fair amount of work done on my PC that would be virtually impossible to recover if my drive went bad. Believe me, it is a VERY scary situation if you even think your drive has gone out and you don’t have a current backup. If it really happens, it can be very costly to even attempt to recover lost data. This is even more important as you indicate that you have a lot of graphics relevant to your work.



    Your drive is really nowhere near to being full, given a 160 GB drive with 90 GB used. It sounds like you may have been trying to back up to the same drive. Is this right? If so, it would really not help you at all if the drive fails, as you wouldn’t be able to get to your backup to restore. Your brother was right when he advised you to obtain an external hard drive for backup. Given the way prices have come down, such drives are much more affordable than they were even a year ago. I am not sure where you are (for some reason I thought maybe you were in Australia) or how prices run there, but in the US you can get a 250 GB or 500 GB (or even more) for a very low price now. For example, I recently purchased a 250 GB Western Digital Passport, which is portable and quite small (3 x 5 inches, and .5 inches “tall”) - it is easy to carry around anywhere - for less than $100 US. The external drives that are larger in physical size, but not so readily portable, can be obtained with more storage space for lower costs.



    Also, most external drives come with some brand of backup software, recognizing that many times external drives are purchased primarily for this purpose. I personally have become attached to the Retrospect software which is put out by EMC (previously Dantz). Most of the time when this comes with a drive, it is the “Express” version, which is very easy to operate, and has always functioned flawlessly for me. In fact, when it comes to external drives that I don’t really care about carrying around with me, and that I use mostly for backup, I have chosen them most often considering the software that is provided with it as well as the cost and value for the price.



    There are a number of maintenance tasks that should really be run on your PC, but I wouldn’t recommend doing anything else to it that could possibly endanger your data until you have backed it up!! Once you have a good backup, you can rest assured that if something goes wrong, there is a way to recover.



    I am going to sign off for now, as this is obviously a LOT of information, and I have actually been working on this (believe it or not) for several hours. (And, it’s Father’s Day here.) I have also burdened you with two posts worth of information to take in, and I know it’s a lot. Hope you have a great day!



    smartsolve

  • Cheryl Whalen Jun 18, 2008

    Hi, Monny. Thank you so much for your kind words - they really make a difference! Please don't apologize. I help you because I really like to correspond with you. In fact, I have had very little time for FixYa issues as of late, but I have gotten in the habit of checking on you before I wrap up for the night, even if I can't get to it right when I get home.



    Unfortunately, last night I goofed and left my laptop at my client's office, and was not able to check on you. I am so glad to hear that you are running protective software. You might try taking a look on the internet to see if there is a good deal there on a hard drive, and I can help you if you see a few that look like they are affordable and you need help. I can also help with the choice as relates to software, as I have used most of the backup packages at one point or another.



    I often check amazon.com (that's the US address) to get an idea what I want, and even if I don't purchase it straight from them, I can at least decide what is available in the price range I am looking to spend. If there is something like this for you, I would be happy to look at it with you. I have found, especially with the price of gasoline these days, that often online is a good alternative, as well.



    I know I gave you a TON of material to digest all at once, and we both have work to do (and lots of it, I think). I will wait to hear back, and if you want to work through one thing at a time, that may be easier. Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions about the information!



    Thanks again - I always look forward to hearing from you! Have a good day. It is just now midnight here (FL, US), and I am getting ready to wrap up. I have an early (and long) day ahead. Hope all is well - have a good day, or night!

    Take care-

    smartsolve

  • Cheryl Whalen Jun 19, 2008

    Monny:



    My general thoughts in regard to drive size are that 2 to 3 times the size of the drive you are backing up should be sufficient. There are lots of folks who would tell you to buy the biggest thing you can find, I am sure, but prices keep going down, and so I would buy the best value. In other words, if you can get a 500GB drive for about the same cost as a 320GB, that's what I would suggest. This will give you room for growth in addition to allowing for other uses.



    Thanks as always for your communication, and for using FixYa!



    smartsolve

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