Random Tech Questions you want answered.

CaptainCrowbar wrote:
misplacedbravado wrote:

There have been a few threads about antivirus/anti-malware software but none of them have been active in a while, and I just got a new PC, so I'll just ask here.

Is Windows 11's built-in antivirus considered sufficient, or should I get something else? If so, what?

I'd been running Malwarebytes plus Windows 10's built-in stuff on the previous PC.

The built-in AV in both Windows and Mac is very good these days. It's probably enough by itself for most users. I use Malwarebytes as well because I'm paranoid and MWB is the only third party AV product that still has a good reputation.

Make sure to use a proper ad blocker (such as uBlock Origin) on your browser too.

I've been using MSI Afterburner with my 3060Ti for about a year now, mostly to fix fan speed at 40% during normal use. Before, the GPU fans would spin up at full speed during office work, when the temp rose above 50C, then turn completely off, rinse repeat. Very annoying when working from home.

Somewhere in September, I deleted GeForce Experience from my PC - not the drivers of course. Until last week, that went fine but then the PC started crashing while gaming. Afterburner showed temps up to 83C, but the fans wouldn't spin up to full speed leading to a full crash.

So I reinstalled GeForce Experience + the latest drivers (I was 2 versions behind), which fixed that issue.

But now MSI Afterburner cannot find my graphics card anymore (no devices available), and the fan cycle issue has returned. I tried reinstalling Afterburner, rebooting, and looked for Nvidia settings that might block external control.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

edit: nevermind, reinstalled MSI Afterburner and now it works.

Can anyone suggest what might cause sudden hard reboots, other than a faulty PSU?

Windows memory test didn't show errors, and it doesn't seem to be temperatures. It seems to only happen when a game is running, but randomly - sometimes within a minute after starting a game, and sometimes not for 30 minutes or more. No recent hardware changes or new programs or drivers, so a hardware failure is all I can think of.

Alternately: any way to rule a faulty PSU in or out, if I don't have a voltmeter or a spare PSU handy? I can monitor various voltages via software, but nothing seems to spike or drop right before crashes occur.

Might not be the power supply, but the power from the outlet could be dirty. Variations in the voltage or draw available could be causing your issue and only affecting you while your system is in a power hungry state. In that instance, the easiest solution (might even be the cheapest all things considered) is to put it behind a decent UPS to condition the power through a battery.

fenomas wrote:

Can anyone suggest what might cause sudden hard reboots, other than a faulty PSU?

Windows memory test didn't show errors, and it doesn't seem to be temperatures. It seems to only happen when a game is running, but randomly - sometimes within a minute after starting a game, and sometimes not for 30 minutes or more. No recent hardware changes or new programs or drivers, so a hardware failure is all I can think of.

Alternately: any way to rule a faulty PSU in or out, if I don't have a voltmeter or a spare PSU handy? I can monitor various voltages via software, but nothing seems to spike or drop right before crashes occur.

The fact that it happens during a game leads me to conclude the power supply isn't providing enough power on one of the rails during heavier draws (assuming you've got a PS connected GPU in there). I had a similar issue with my PC when I put a 2080Ti in. The PS I had was supposedly sufficient, but was a few years old. The PC would run normally, but was rebooting when trying to play games. Replaced it with a higher wattage unit and the problems went away.

And man, I hate swapping power supplies.

Um. So tests are still undergoing, but there's a chance that the case power button got into some weird half-pressed state, and it was just occasionally registering a "power held for ten seconds" reboot.

I will keep you posted.

fenomas wrote:

Um. So tests are still undergoing, but there's a chance that the case power button got into some weird half-pressed state, and it was just occasionally registering a "power held for ten seconds" reboot.

I will keep you posted. :D

Oh that would be novel. Trinary operation! On, Off, and Kinda?

Where should I look to see about disabling my computer's reset button? I found the Windows setting to disable the power button while the system is on, but that screen didn't have anything for reset and all my attempts to Google the answer just point me to the answer for the power button.

Had a problem with some games not containing the mouse inside the monitor the game was being played on. I got app called DMT or Dual Monitor Tool. This worked great and it also has a bunch of other tools that come with it.

One of the other tools is wallpaper changer. I usually use wallpaper engine but sometimes I want to use my own pictures so I also used a old program called John's wallpaper changer. DMT is way better and does stuff I was wishing for. I can have a different set of pictures on each monitor. I can give a weight to the pictures making certain pictures more or less likely to show up. So if you are looking for a wallpaper changer or way to lock the mouse to one monitor give DMT a try.

Also Wallpaper Engine is great for animated backgrounds and now can also work as a screen saver.

fenomas wrote:

Um. So tests are still undergoing, but there's a chance that the case power button got into some weird half-pressed state, and it was just occasionally registering a "power held for ten seconds" reboot.

I will keep you posted. :D

My brother once had a PC case which kept triggering ACPI shutdown. We never figured out what was causing it. I disconnected the power button, etc., and it kept doing it.

Because it would often happen quickly after boot, it would look like a power fauilure. But eventually we noticed that, if the boot lasted long enough to get into Windows, it wouldn't hard power-off, but instead it would go through the Windows shutdown process. Thus, we realized it wasn't a power issue, it was ACPI shutdown being triggered.

Problem went away forever when we migrated the entire build to a different case, and banished the cursed case to the trash heap.

Vargen wrote:

Where should I look to see about disabling my computer's reset button? I found the Windows setting to disable the power button while the system is on, but that screen didn't have anything for reset and all my attempts to Google the answer just point me to the answer for the power button.

I would unplug it from the motherboard if I wanted to be sure it was disabled.

-BEP

bepnewt wrote:
Vargen wrote:

Where should I look to see about disabling my computer's reset button? I found the Windows setting to disable the power button while the system is on, but that screen didn't have anything for reset and all my attempts to Google the answer just point me to the answer for the power button.

I would unplug it from the motherboard if I wanted to be sure it was disabled.

-BEP

Oh right. That would do it.

I'll open it up after the toddler goes to bed and see how difficult that is. I can't remember if everything has its own little plug on this case or if they're bundled.

Tyrian wrote:
fenomas wrote:

Um. So tests are still undergoing, but there's a chance that the case power button got into some weird half-pressed state, and it was just occasionally registering a "power held for ten seconds" reboot.

I will keep you posted. :D

Oh that would be novel. Trinary operation! On, Off, and Kinda?

Fenomas' case actually has a quantum reset button. The problem is, global warming has sufficiently raised ambient temperature to cause its superposition to collapse, triggering random power state errors.

Vargen wrote:

Oh right. That would do it.

How could you not thin--

Vargen wrote:

I'll open it up after the toddler goes to bed

You are excused.

Yes. Toddlers and computers don't mix. Or cats sometimes. I have 2 of those plastic cover buttons now. One for power button on top of case and one for reset button too. Cat managed to step exactly on the reset button somehow... and after the SECOND time he did it a week later, had to protect it.

What's a good alternative to lastpass? I use lastpass for work and want to move my personal stuff to something else. Would like something that is easy to import from lastpass, has an iphone app, a firefox extension, and is free.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

What's a good alternative to lastpass? I use lastpass for work and want to move my personal stuff to something else. Would like something that is easy to import from lastpass, has an iphone app, a firefox extension, and is free.

I switched from Lastpass to Bitwarden a while back and haven’t had any problems with it. It meets all of your criteria.

misplacedbravado wrote:
EvilHomer3k wrote:

What's a good alternative to lastpass? I use lastpass for work and want to move my personal stuff to something else. Would like something that is easy to import from lastpass, has an iphone app, a firefox extension, and is free.

I switched from Lastpass to Bitwarden a while back and haven’t had any problems with it. It meets all of your criteria.

Ditto. I have a couple qualms with it, but it works.

-BEP

EvilHomer3k wrote:

What's a good alternative to lastpass? I use lastpass for work and want to move my personal stuff to something else. Would like something that is easy to import from lastpass, has an iphone app, a firefox extension, and is free.

I use keepass2 which has a desktop app and mobile app. I put the database on google drive. I'm not sure if it can import from lastpass. It can import a csv file. So if lastpast can export to csv that might work.

There are multiple ways to enter passwords but i use the keyboard method mostly or the auto method. Keepass includes its own keyboard so I just switch to it when needed and either press the keepass button to look up the password or hit user/password buttons if it knows what to enter. The auto method is when I go to a page that requires signing in it will display a popup that auto fills the info. It doesn't do that all the time though, I don't know why. It sounds more complicated than it is.

--Edit--

I fixed this by finding an option to change the pin and changing it to exactly the same pin.

I'd still appreciate advice on how to stop this happening again.

For reference my laptop ran out of power but I hadn't entered any incorrect pins.

Just tried to use my laptop and got this message.

This sign-in option is disabled because of failed sign-in attempts or repeated shutdowns. Use a different sign-in option, or keep your device powered on for at least 2 hours and then try again"

What the actual f*ck is this!

It's probably due to the laptop trying to startup from sleep in order to fully shutdown as the power ran out? Maybe?

misplacedbravado wrote:
EvilHomer3k wrote:

What's a good alternative to lastpass? I use lastpass for work and want to move my personal stuff to something else. Would like something that is easy to import from lastpass, has an iphone app, a firefox extension, and is free.

I switched from Lastpass to Bitwarden a while back and haven’t had any problems with it. It meets all of your criteria.

Another vote from me, I really like Bitwarden. I use 1Password for my job and I actually prefer Bitwarden pretty much across the board.

Free will probably suit your needs, but the Premium version is only $10/year.

The initial migration had some hiccups (I forget the specifics, I think there were some characters that didn't import properly), but I switched to Bitwarden around when Lastpass got acquired by Logmein.

Edit: Found what it was: https://bitwarden.com/help/import-from-lastpass/

And even that appears to be a Lastpass export issue, not a Bitwarden one.

Some users have reported a bug which changes special characters in your passwords (&, <, >, and so on) to their HTML-encoded values (for example, &) in the printed export.

If you observe this bug in your exported data, use a text editor to find and replace all altered values before importing into Bitwarden.

It wasn't even the acquisition itself, but support for the product felt like it got a lot worse. The Firefox extension was just wholesale broken for months. At the time I used Firefox for work and that just wasn't acceptable for me. Another annoyance at the time was if you setup multiple 2FA methods, it couldn't "fallback" to one of the alternatives. If you had it setup for Google Auth and you didn't have your phone, you couldn't click a button and use your hardware key instead. Which was baffling because then why let you add multiple methods to begin with. Really basic stuff they were failing at.

All that may be resolved by now, but it didn't seem like a good indicator of a company that cared about the consumer version of their product, so I jumped ship. No egrets.

Sounds like the consensus is Bitwarden. Thanks, all.

Stele wrote:

Yes. Toddlers and computers don't mix. Or cats sometimes.

I had a case that would reset the computer if a cat brushed against the front panel. There was no reset button, just brushing against the front. Some kind of loose cable? No idea.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Stele wrote:

Yes. Toddlers and computers don't mix. Or cats sometimes.

I had a case that would reset the computer if a cat brushed against the front panel. There was no reset button, just brushing against the front. Some kind of loose cable? No idea.

Static electricity!

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Sounds like the consensus is Bitwarden. Thanks, all.

Bitwarden is fantastic. Especially the lightweight Vaultwarden self-hosted option. But I'd still recommend Bitwarden even for non-selfhosters.

This one has me puzzled:

So, I have this Lenovo Legion laptop. It is 4 years old. I will admit I haven't used it all that much since I got it. I bought it because I was thinking of leaving my job and going independent. I've done that, but my clients so far have been providing the laptops, so I've had little use for this one.

Until today. My next client actually does not provide a laptop, and I will have to use my own. Which is fine.

This laptop has lots of problems (and I plan to replace it next year). The biggest one, and one that I would like to fix before I start working in January, is the battery life. If I'm using it plugged in, then pull the plug, I'll be able to get some time out of it (probably 2 hours, maybe more if I'm lucky). The issue though, is if I leave it off for a certain period of time (with battery at > 90% charged) and then boot it back up, I will be able to log in, and then the laptop will put itself in hibernation with the battery completely drained.

As a test, I charged it completely during lunch, switched it off at around 1PM with the battery at 97%. I booted it an hour later, and the battery has lost 10% while it was off.

So, it looks to me like the battery is a problem, but losing 10% in an hour while being turned off? That's extreme. Could there be something that drains it that I'm missing?

I'm running Windows 11, but the laptop had the same issue under Windows 10.

Sounds like the battery. Batteries degrade over time even without much use. A 4 years old battery could certainly exhibit those symptoms.

Do you have anything plugged into the USB ports while it is off?

LeapingGnome wrote:

Do you have anything plugged into the USB ports while it is off?

No, there was nothing plugged in.