Ask Rick 2009 & Houston We Have a Problem 09



Ask Rick 018, 16/01/09


AVG Update Stalled

I have used Grisoft’s AVG anti-virus software for a good while, as recommended by you. I’m currently on version 8.0.176. This morning I find I am unable to download updates – I simply get the message ‘Invalid Update CTF File.’  I know of one other person locally who has had the same problem for several weeks now. I’ve checked on the AVG website but can find nothing to help resolve the problem.  Can you help?

Eric Jeans, by email


It seems quite a few people have been suffering from this problem, which appears to be due to AVG’s auto update control .ctf file being corrupted. Fortunately there’s a very simple solution. Open Windows Explorer and navigate your way to: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\avg8\update\download.  There you will find two files with a .ctf extension, delete them both – they will be replaced on the next scheduled update -- and all should be well once again.



Hitting on Google

I am floundering and do hope you can help me. I am launching an Internet dyslexia consultancy, have had a website built and need to get it on to Google so that when people type in 'dyslexia' they find us. No one I've spoken to knows how to do it. Can you point me in the right direction?

Patricia Lewis, by email


If I knew how to do that I would make a fortune! Google and the other major search engines will eventually find your site as their automated ‘bots’ trawl the entire web every few weeks but they have long since stopped using single keywords to generate search results. With a relatively common word like dyslexia it’s going to be an uphill struggle to get your site noticed but if it’s genuinely useful and innovative it will be.


In theory at least, when you type in one or more keyword the results you get back should be ranked according to their relevance. Exactly how Google and the other search engines manage this are closely guarded secrets but it is mostly based on the number of other legitimate sites that provide a link to your site, and that only happens when others get to know about your site. Google uses some very sophisticated algorithms to weed out opportunists, scammers and porn sites that go to extraordinary lengths to get sites recognised by Google and pushed higher up the search rankings.


You can help the process along by registering your site with Google and other major search engines, but don’t expect miracles; the word ‘dyslexia’ gets more than 7 million hits!  Here’s a few free search engine site submission forms to get you started:


Some search engines charge for this, however, so give them a miss and beware of promotions or ‘web site optimisation’ companies that offer to do it for you. Their value is questionable and many of them are blatant rip-off merchants. There’s a lot you can do to promote your site yourself and generate those all-important website links. You should take every opportunity to give the site a plug in the forums and discussion pages of relevant bodies and organisations. Send out press releases to magazines and journals in the field and make sure that all of your contacts colleagues know what you are up to, and ask them to help promote the site on the web.



Dat’s a Problem

I am running Windows XP Professional and I get a box, which says: Error deleting files and folders. Cannot delete ntuser.dat. It is being used by another person or program…’ When I click OK it disappears. Any idea why this is happening and how I can stop it?

John Stoyles


Ntuser.dat is a Registry file containing a user’s account details and personalised settings for the software they use. Normally when a user logs off all of the Services – programs that run in the background – that they’ve been using are terminated. But some don’t, and that’s when the message you are seeing can appear. It sometimes happens when launching Outlook Express and the solution in such cases is to backup your messages, delete the mail account and start a new one. When it happens with other applications it’s worth trying a small service utility patch for W2K and XP provided by Microsoft. It slows down log off, allowing program Services a little more time to shut down. It’s available from the Microsoft Download Centre at:


Seventh Heaven?

I imagine that you must be swamped with queries over the new Windows 7 download.  I run Windows Vista Family Edition, is Windows 7 compatible with it? I cannot find a download site; even Microsoft Home seems coy about providing a link. I imagine that Windows 7 has no relation to Internet Explorer 7?

Richard Longridge



Internet Explorer 7 is a web browser, Windows 7 is the much-anticipated replacement for Windows Vista and it will probably be launched later this year or early 2010 if things don't go according to plan (which they rarely do...).


The download to which you are referring is the beta test/evaluation version, the last stage before its commercial release. Basically Microsoft are encouraging interested parties (manufacturers, experts and enthusiasts) to try it out, and by putting it in the hands of several million unpaid guinea pigs there's a good change any remaining bugs will be revealed and hopefully fixed before it goes on sale. 


This version stops working on August 1st 2009 so it's not a way to get a cheap or free upgrade. It's actually rather good with lots of new features (though under the skin it’s pretty much like Vista) but it’s certainly worth trying if you have a spare PC. It should run on any fast XP or Vista capable computer, but don't use it on your main PC, it's only for testing and Microsoft aren't providing any technical support. You'll find the download file on the Microsoft Tech Net website (, it's quite large, around 2.4Gb, and you'll also need a DVD writer drive and an ISO burning application to create an installation disc. You’ll also have to hurry. Originally Microsoft intended to limit the download to 2.5 million copies but it has been incredibly popular so they’ve extended the deadline to January 24th.






© R. Maybury 2008 2912


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