How to Use File Shredder to Permanently Delete Files

In the article “How to Securely Delete a File” we saw that using Windows to delete a file is not the way to do so securely. To completely delete a file you have to overwrite it multiple times with different patterns; something Windows has no capability to do. In this article we discuss how to use the free program File Shredder to securely delete files. [Click on pictures to expand them.]

File Shredder is a program that allows you to securely shred one or multiple files using algorithms up to the Guttmann 35-overwrite algorithm. The program will also overwrite and clear all of the free space on a disk and, if you wish, will install a link to the program into the right click context menu for Windows Explorer so that if you are in Explorer and right click on a file you will have an option to shred it or mark it for later shredding.

Installing File Shredder is easy. It comes with a Windows installer that operates much like any other Windows installer. The program installs into the C:\Program Files\File Shredder\ directory by default but you can change that if you need to.

Once installed, to start the program you need only double click on the program icon and you see the main screen…

File Shredder 01 Program Screen

The left menu controls the actions of the program. You have links for adding files or folders or removing them from the file list in the right side of the screen. Below those is a link to shred free disk space and below that is a link for Shredder Settings. That’s the first one you want to take so you can make the program behave as you wish…

File Shredder 02 Settings Dialog

If you want to have the File Shredder option appear in the right click context menu for Windows Explorer make certain the first box is checked. Because file shredding completely removes a file from your system you should also make certain the confirmations are all checked. If you were to make a mistake without confirmation the program would execute your command and if it’s a file you really wanted to keep they you’d have to restore from backups (you do keep backups don’t you!?). With confirmations at least you will have a second chance to bail out before making a mistake.

The Algorithms tab in the Settings dialog allows you to select the exact method you want used to overwrite and “shred” files…

File Shredder 03 DoD Setting

The DoD 5220-22.M standard of three passes over the file with specific patterns is the default selection. Unless you have very sensitive files to delete this will likely do. To recover anything at this level would require very advanced techniques and may not even be possible then. It’s also the fastest secure algorithm in the options. The other two to consider would be the 7 and 35-pass algorithms. These certainly will be more secure than the DoD but will take that much longer to execute. Your choice however. Use what you feel comfortable with.

The Visual Options tab presents options on how the program looks when started…

File Shredder 04 Visual Options

These should be pretty obvious selections. You likely want the program to be visible when you choose to run it and does anybody really want a small utility program to fill the entire screen when it starts???

After shredding individual files you might want to clear the free space on your hard disk. Why? Because the hard disk is divided into sectors of a given length and if a file does not have enough data to fill the last sector written to then whatever was in that sector stays on the disk and could be accessible to any utility that reads the disk byte by byte. If it just happens to be part of a previous version of your password file that data could be useful to someone. The link to clear free space is just above the Settings link in the left menu. When clicked you see the drives on your system…

File Shredder 05 Shred Free Disk Space

Check the one(s) you want to clear the free space on and then select the algorithm to be used. As before, the DoD is probably good enough for most uses unless you are really paranoid or have things that just should not see the light of day on your system. When done setting things up, click on the Next button…

File Shredder 06 Start Menu

The next screen provides some summary information with a Start button. Once the Start button is clicked the free space shredding begins. This can take significant time to complete depending on the size of your disk, the number of files on it, and a variety of other factors specific to each computer system. Do not start this process if you can’t let the computer run. The program will give you an option to abort the process if you need to but even that takes a bit of time while the program cleans up after itself before stopping the process.

Now that things are set up, let’s see the program in action. CKnow set up a test machine and ran the program against several copies of the same 2.4 megabyte file using different algorithms and captured the results in a Flash video. The results can be viewed by clicking on the graphic below…

Well, not quite yet. Still have to edit the video.
[Coming Soon]

Finally, File Shredder will add a shortcut to the right click context menu for Windows Explorer if you told it to do so in the settings above. This gives you the option of having quick access to the program from Explorer…

File Shredder 07 Secure Delete Files

You can see the result in the graphic above where CKnow right clicked on the File Shredder icon and then selected that option. You have the option to immediately shred the file in question using the defaults presently set in the program, mark the file for later shredding, or opening the program itself with the file selected.

That’s File Shredder in a nutshell. Interested in the program? Go to their page and read more or downloadWeb Link.

This article is part of a series about secure file deletion. The others in the series include: “How to Securely Delete a File” and “How to Use Moo0 FileShredder to Permanently Delete Files“. Related would be the article “What Files to Delete to Maintain Your Privacy [Coming Soon].”

How Do I Remove Add/Remove Programs Entries?

Generally, you would use the Control Panel’s Add/Remove Programs tool or Vista’s Default Programs | Programs and Features page to uninstall programs from your computer. Now and again some of these uninstalls will leave program names behind which, when clicked on, either produce errors or no action. You can remove these invalid entries using the method described here.

Note: To use the method described here you will be editing the registry. Editing the registry is tricky in that if you do it wrong you can cause problems with your computer up to and including rendering it inoperable. So, start by first making a restore point using the Windows System Restore utility. Close all open programs and then access the utility through the Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore menu sequence. Pick the Create a restore point radio button and then follow the instructions in the wizard. You will be making other backups as we go along as well.

Note: The procedure described here only removes the references to an invalid entry in the Add/Remove Programs tool; it does not remove or uninstall a program. If a prior uninstall left residual materials on your hard disk in program directories or user data directories and/or other registry entries you will have to clean these up manually. Because each program is different in how it installs, instructions for doing that are beyond the scope of this document.

OK, caveats given, let’s start:

  • Start the Registry Editor (Start | Run and then type “regedit” [no quotes] into the dialog box — in Vista just type “regedit” [no quotes] into the Start menu search box)
  • Navigate to this key value in the left pane:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall
  • Right click on the Uninstall entry. Select the “Export” option from the menu. Give the exported .REG file a name you can remember and store it in a location you can remember. Doing this makes a backup you can recover from if you make an editing error in the steps below.
  • Locate the specific key you wish to delete. It will likely have the name of the program but, in case not, scroll down each entry and look at the value for DisplayName. The key you want is the key that contains the same display name as you are trying to remove from the Add/Remove Programs menu.
  • If you want to be extra safe, right click on this key and again select Export and save the .REG file.
  • Once you have located and backed up the key containing the DisplayName you wish to delete from the Add/Remove Programs menu, delete that key from the registry. Delete only that key; do not delete the entire Uninstall entry or any other entries.
  • Close the Registry Editor (changes made to the registry via the Registry Editor take immediate effect so you don’t have to save anything before closing the editor).
  • Open the Add/Remove Programs utility from the Control Panel (in Vista use Vista’s Default Programs | Programs and Features page) and verify that the invalid entry is gone and that the other entries are still there.

That should do the job. If you made an error along the way and need to recover either the specific key you deleted or the entire Uninstall key then double click on either the key’s .REG file or the Uninstall key’s .REG file. When you do this you will cause the Registry Editor to restore the values in that key to what they were before you attempted your edit. Should the worst happen and you change something in the registry that you should not have then you should be able to use the System Restore Utility to recover the system to the restore point you created and then start over again.

Comments from Original Article:

#2
ross
Said this on 2010-02-08 At 04:32 pm
hi sorry to bug you but after going back through my add/remove program the file i am trying to remove is still showing up it is called chief architect it takes up 3.5g and i have never used it there is no option to remove it only a change option i did the stips you said and removed the key and sub keys but it still remains
any advice

thanks Ross
#3
DaBoss
Said this on 2010-02-08 At 04:47 pm
In reply to #2
What’s described here is a way to just remove bad entries in the add/remove menu and not a way to actually remove the programs themselves. Check for an uninstall program in the folder where the program itself is located. If found, run that to remove the program itself. If not, look in the All Programs menu. Sometimes companies will insert a link to an uninstall there instead of using the Windows Add/Remove menu. If nothing else works and you are certain you have no need for the software simply remove the folder where the program resides (you’ll likely have to do this as an administrator). There will likely be things associated with the program left on the system (registry entries, maybe a program data file for options, etc.) but these should not bother you.

#4
kamal
Said this on 2010-04-22 At 11:12 am
when ever i have installed any software the should not come in add reomve progrmas what i should do pl reply me
#5
DaBoss
Said this on 2010-04-22 At 11:34 am
In reply to #4
Look at the Start Menu item for the program. If there is no uninstall option in Add/Remove then there usually is an Uninstall program in the Start Menu folder for the program. Pick that. If there is none then contact the maker of the program for help.

#7
Michael ware
Said this on 2011-04-13 At 05:34 am
hey what’s up my name is Michael i am having problems removing the crawler toolbar software from my add/remove programs every time i click on change/remove it pops up but then closes before i am able to click on next i have tried removing this crawler toolbar several times already i even went to crawler.com they told me how to do it but , its still doing the same thing the window pops up for me to uninstall it but then it closes quickly , i even down loaded a software to remove unwanted tool bars but i don’t think it worked can you please help me remove this crawler toolbar i would really appreciate it thanks

[Sorry, never used it. But the instructions on their site seem straightforward. Make them help you. –DaBoss]

#8
Pat
Said this on 2011-04-26 At 06:22 pm
Trying to follow these steps but none of the stuff I want to remove is appearing on the list under Uninstall.

[These steps are for entries in the list that have no program associated with them. If you want to uninstall a program not on the list check the All Programs menu off the Start Menu to see if there is an uninstall link under that program’s entry. In other cases, programs sometimes have an uninstall option in the program itself. Finally, go to the Program Files folder were the program is located and look for an Uninstall executable to run. –DaBoss]

How Do I Find Autostarting Applications?

Frequently when Windows starts a number of other programs start with it. Some of these you will see as small icons in the System Notification Area at the bottom right of your screen by the clock; for example…

System Notice Area

Others may not leave an icon but run in the background anyhow. Using one of a number of utilities (or looking in the task manager = press the CTL-SHIFT-ESC keys together) usually displays their names. Often these are programs you want running in the background. Sometimes, however, a program that doesn’t have to autostart will impolitely install itself as autostarting without giving you the option. When this happens, how do you stop it from running every time you start Windows?

First, be certain you know the name of the program you are trying to stop from autostarting. If you just let the mouse cursor rest over an icon the name of the controlling program will usually pop up after a short period. If it doesn’t try right-clicking on the icon to see what menu pops up and work from there. Autostarting programs also usually have a counterpart in the Start|Programs menu; you can look for matching icons. Or in the Windows Task Manager (the window that pops up when you press the CTL-SHIFT-ESC keys together) you can find the names of running programs.

Once you have the program name there are several places to look for the command that starts it when Windows starts. Try them in order as some are more commonly used than others (and easier to work with):

CKnow Information Startup Folder

Polite programs will install autostart shortcuts into the StartUp folder (\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp in XP and \Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup in Vista). Any shortcut found in this folder when Windows starts will be run as part of the Windows startup routine. Open the Windows Explorer (right-click My Computer and pick Explore). Navigate to the above-named folder to see what’s there (you can get a quick look by clicking Start|Programs|StartUp). Edit as necessary (Computer Knowledge recommends you drag the shortcuts you are removing onto the desktop or into a temporary folder until you are certain you don’t need them; they’ll be easier to replace than recreate if you make a mistake).

Be careful. Some things may not be obvious. Try removing one thing at a time and then restarting the computer to see what happened. Changing more than one thing will make it difficult to detect which is at fault if problems occur.

One you probably should consider deleting would be Microsoft FindFast. That program is supposed to speed file searches in Office but more often than not is the source of problems.

CKnow Information Using MSCONFIG

Microsoft provides one utility (MSCONFIG) that can manage some of the startup files found in the registry and other common locations. It’s not perfect but can be used for quick testing and diagnosis for startup files found in common locations.

Start the utility by clicking on Start|Run and then typing “msconfig” (without the quotes) into the dialog box that appears or, in Vista, just type it into the Start menu’s search box. When open, you should see a number of tabs that can be used to examine the various programs and services that start when Windows starts. Check each tab for the program or service you are looking for. If found, uncheck it and then click OK to close the utility. When you do, you will be asked to restart to make the change active. Do so and see if this fixes your problem. If so, you can just leave the entry unchecked or you can look in the locations below to find the specific entry and actually delete it.

CKnow Information Registry

The registry contains much information of importance to both Windows and programs running under Windows. For this reason one has to take great care in working with the registry. A backup is critical before doing anything with the registry. This is easily done from within the registry editor.

Start the registry editor by clicking on Start|Run and then typing “regedit” (without the quotes) into the dialog box that appears or, in Vista, just type it into the Start menu’s search box. Click OK or hit return. Navigation in the registry editor works just like navigation in Windows Explorer. First navigate to the key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

There you will see, in the right window, more programs that Windows runs at startup. If you intend to delete or modify any of these entries first export the key to a file you can use to reinstate the entries should there be problems. With the Run key selected click on Registry|Export Registry File. Pick a name and location you can remember for the exported file and then export the key.

Now, edit the registry as necessary and then immediately restart Windows. If there are no problems, great; if there are problems double-click on the Run key registry file you created and then restart Windows. Double-clicking on the file will install it into the registry and restarting Windows should put things back the way they were.

Now, repeat the whole procedure above with the key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

(Never said this would be easy![Smile]

CKnow Information WINSTART.BAT

You remember batch files from DOS (if you are old enough — if not, see the CKnow tutorial on batch files). These are text files that run commands in them; line by line. If you have not found the autostart program you are looking for do a search for the file WINSTART.BAT. It will usually be in the root directory of the drive. If found while your computer is starting this file will be given control before Windows itself starts. The errant autostart program may be hiding here. Use any text editor to look at the contents of the file if one is found (this is rare but possible).

CKnow Information AUTORUN.INF

An AUTORUN.INF file is designed to hold the information necessary to allow a disc, like a CD-ROM, to autostart when loaded. As the disc is detected by the operating system the AUTORUN.INF file is detected and the information in that file directs the operating system to, perhaps, start a particular program on the disc. This can be very convenient but it also can be a problem in that the operating system does not restrict itself to just CD-ROMs for AUTORUN.INF. If that file is found in the root directory of the system boot drive (usually C:\) then it will be accessed and the directions in the file followed during system boot. Thus, AUTORUN.INF becomes yet another way of autostarting something during Windows boot. If you find and need to delete an AUTORUN.INF file you may have to change its attributes first; if copied from a CD it’s likely to be a read-only file (right-click the file, choose “Properties” and uncheck “Read-only”).

CKnow Information WIN.INI

This is a startup holdover from Windows 3.x. No matter; if found in the \Windows directory later versions of Windows will read and process the file. Navigate to the \Windows folder using Windows Explorer and look for a WIN.INI file. Use any text editor to look inside the file. What you are looking for is a line starting with either “load=” or “run=” in the section [windows] which is usually right at the start of the file.

If found, make a backup of the file and then edit those lines as necessary relative to your autostart program problems. Restart Windows and see if that fixes things. If not, use the backup to put things right and restart Windows to continue searching.

CKnow Information AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS

These startup leftovers from DOS still run on startup if found in the root directory of your main drive (usually C:\). While of little practical value they may contain older “real mode” drivers and programs that must load before Windows because the hardware these drivers control is not able to be reconfigured dynamically (Plug and Play). To see if any real mode drivers are active right-click on My Computer, select Properties, then click on the Performance tab (or, in Vista, the menu item of the same name). Look for any real mode drivers listed. If found, decide if you need the drivers and, if not, edit either AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS to delete them (instead of deleting the line just put the letters REM and a space in front of the line so it’s not executed; makes it easier to reinstate the line if necessary).

The easiest way to check to see if these files are needed is to use Windows Explorer to rename them (right-click on the file and select Rename). Then, reboot and see if there are problems. If not, great; if there are follow the prompts to boot into Safe Mode (if needed) and then rename the files back to their original names. After restarting again the problems should disappear.

Final Notes

We’ve described a number of places programs that start automatically when Windows starts can hide. And, we’ve described how these places can be modified to stop these programs from autostarting. But, you need to know that Windows is a very complicated operating system and can be fairly sensitive to changes. It’s very important that you have a good backup before attempting to make any changes to any autostarting programs and then proceed with great caution; changing one thing at a time and then testing to see if the change caused any problems. This incremental approach will take much longer but is considerably safer.

Good luck.

How Do I Find Out What a DLL File Does?

Sometimes, you might want to know about a particular file; not a data file, but a particular .DLL or .EXE file. While this can be a daunting process because of the sheer number of such files, several sites exist that attempt to give you that information:

  • ProcessLibrary.comWeb Link
    ProcessLibrary.com is a product of Uniblue Systems Ltd. the people behind PowerSuite 2009, a program that combines Uniblue products RegistryBooster, SpeedUpMyPC and DriverScanner, creating a complete solution for updating your PC and delivering improved system stability and increased computer speeds. The website is derived from many system scans from users around the world.
  • Filename.infoWeb Link
    Filename.info is a developing database of programs and .DLL files. Each file in the database on that site has basic information about which program owns the file, version and size information, checksum data, and other data as available.
  • Microsoft DLL Search
    Microsoft maintained a DLL search engine for all of their products. The DLL Help application was retired on February 8, 2010 and is no longer accessible.

How Do I Run Older Programs Under Windows?

Many older computer programs may not run correctly if you just click on the program’s executable file in Windows; this is particularly true of older game programs. There can be many reasons why. Perhaps the program uses DOS calls that XP does not know about. Perhaps there are graphic hardware considerations. Perhaps…who knows.

Indeed, some older DOS-based programs, in order to speed up the display, wrote directly to the computer’s hardware. These, Windows XP and newer operating systems will not allow to run at all. In order to run these you will have to find a computer with an older operating system.

For those in between, there is some hope in using Windows XP’s (and Vista’s) Compatibility Mode.

Open Windows Explorer and navigate to where the program is located. Then…

  • Right click on the program file (the .EXE or .COM file).
  • Select Properties from the menu that pops up.
  • Select the Compatibility Tab in the dialog.
  • Change the options so the program opens in Windows 95 or 98 compatibility mode. Note the other options in the dialog as you may have to experiment a bit and change some of them as well.

Basically, this action creates a PIF file that Windows uses to determine options to use to run the program in compatibility mode instead of native Windows 32-bit mode. Hopefully, this will allow the program to run.

DOSBox

There is another option for running older DOS programs under newer Windows operating systems: the DOSBox project. DOSBox emulates an Intel x86 PC. It is a developing option because the project is still refining the code. But, you can find it at its Sourceforge home…

http://www.dosbox.com/Web Link

If these suggestions don’t work for you, you are back to finding a computer with an older operating system.

How Do I Read an Internet Product Page

First, and foremost, keep in mind that the sole purpose of a product page found on the Internet at a product site is to sell you something. Free stuff is available but the page(s) that describe it are usually quite clear. Sale pages, however, will go to great lengths to describe features, use superlatives, have come-ons, and maybe even mask the fact that money will be asked for and/or how much the product costs.

Second, and maybe even more important, is that words mean things; specific things.

For example, a “free scan” is just that: a free scan. There no promise in those two words to fix anything that the scan uncovers. This is an important concept as come-ons like free scans are often used to show errors that are then used to justify why a product should be purchased to fix those errors. There is nothing wrong with this and it’s not bait-and-switch as the words did not say or imply there would be a fix; that came from your interpretation of the words and perhaps the surrounding text on the product page. In short, it’s a meaning that you put on the words and not a meaning in the words themselves.

In line with the words mean things concept, product endorsements on the product page may or may not be helpful. Providers are fond of displaying ringing endorsements; maybe even with pictures of the people and graphic signatures. Such endorsements, however, are almost universally giving praise to the product without any details whatsoever about how the product specifically helped in a given situation. Thus, while it might be useful to know that so-and-so finds the product useful; that knowledge is tempered by the fact that you have no idea why so-and-so found the product useful. So, if so-and-so praises the product for some unnamed purpose you may have an entirely different purpose in mind for the software and the endorsement therefore would not apply to you. But, you rarely have enough information to know that. So, while you may read product endorsements, give them little weight in your purchase consideration unless you personally know one of the people quoted in which case you’ll want to ask them directly about the product.

Similarly, look carefully for use of jargon: complex, industry-specific language. Sites that are full of jargon are either trying to sell to a very technical audience or they are trying to impress you with technical talk. Either way, if you don’t understand what the page says and how the product can help you, then consider carefully if you need that product and how that vendor might act if you have a problem with the product.

Third, ignore formatting. As this is being written the product page format in vogue is the narrow column that runs down the middle of the browser window with solid color on both sides or maybe a background graphic on both sides. The copy is laced with superlatives, different color text, different sized text, and so on. Ignore all this. The pitch…

Simply the BEST dog food on the market!!!

…tells you absolutely nothing about why you might want to buy the product and what benefits it will have for your dog over and above table scraps or the cheapest brand you can buy at the local market (yes, I know dog lovers would not do either; I’m using hyperbole for effect here).

The same is true for most bold, different color text on product pages. Read right through the formatting and see what the words actually say.

In a similar vein, be careful with pages that go on and on and on. Most such pages use the techniques above to keep you reading until they get you down to the end where the final hard-sell is. By this time your eyes may have glazed over and the vendor hopes you’ll just click on the big “buy” link and give them your money.

Pictures should be considered to be words in disguise. Big, fancy product box pictures and other such page decorations are just that: decorations. Few products come in an actual box these days; most are direct downloads with the possibility of getting a backup CD and maybe abbreviated manual (usually an install guide and maybe a feature index) for an extra fee. Screen shots of the product may or may not be useful depending on what they show. Look carefully for meaningful pictures and not just random screen shots that really contain no meaningful information.

Look for links to other pages on the product site. One technique in use now is to bring users to a product landing page that stands alone and has no other links to any other page on the vendor’s website. The technique hopes to corral you into making a decision based on the landing page information alone. If this happens to you see if you can find other links manually. For example, if the URL is http://domain.com/product/productname.html and there are no links on productname.html then manually enter first http://domain.com/product/ and/or http://domain.com/ into your browser and see what page or pages those addresses bring up. What you are looking for are support links and maybe a knowledgebase about the product on the product’s website. A support forum may also be useful. Knowing what problems people have had with a particular piece of software and, perhaps more importantly, how they were solved (or not) should influence your purchase decision more than glowing praise from people you don’t know. If you can’t find such information on the company’s website you can search for it on the Web if you continue to feel the product is useful to you.

As advertising techniques get refined, the specifics of what to look for may change but the primary points on this page will continue to be important:

  • The vendor wants to sell you something. It’s up to you to find out if that something will be of value to you.
  • Words mean specific things. Don’t read more into the words on the page than is actually there.
  • Watch the context of the words. Fancy formatting, nice pictures, and glowing endorsements tell you nothing about the product itself. Find that information instead — even if it’s on a different page than the product page.

Now, for the perfect example, please see…

How Do I Set a System Restore Point?

Note: This article shows techniques for Windows XP. It will be updated for Windows Vista soon. (For the impatient: Use the same menu options as below. The utility that pops up differs but is pretty obvious; just be certain to click on the open System Protection link and then close the utility after the System Protection tab pops up.)

Before changing your system settings you should always set a System Restore Point in order to make recovery easier in case of problems. While Windows XP will set these points automatically at various times; setting a specific point can be useful if there are things you’ve done after Windows sets its automatic point that you want to keep. Recovery to a set System Restore Point can cause data loss from that point foward as that’s the purpose of the restore point: to restore the system to a particular point in time.

To set a System Restore Point…

  • Open the Start menu
  • Open the Programs menu
  • Open the Accessories menu
  • Open the System Tools menu
  • Finally, start System Restore
  • Pick the option for setting a System Restore Point and click on the Next button
  • Fill in a name for the restore point so you can find it and click on the Create button
  • Click on the Close button when done

If you need to restore the system to a particular point or change the options Windows uses to set restore points use the System Restore tool as well.

Restore Point Video
Show Me Please

More Information

  • A good technical reference can be found on the Microsoft site [guess not, the link has been removed 🙂 ].

Comments from Original Article:

2/25/09
sukesh
Said this on 2010-12-02 At 01:52 am
How to create auto restore point in window 2000xp

My laptop was having this feature & was able to restore back
but recently this not avilable.

Please guide

[See http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5728564.html among other tutorials. If it’s been disabled check the system for malware. –DaBoss]

How Do I Find Visual Basic Runtimes?

Frequently a program downloaded from the internet or obtain from other sources requires a file of the form VBRUNxxx.DLL in order to run. Sometimes these files are distributed with the program; sometimes they are not. This page attempts to address that topic.

What is VBRUNxxx.DLL?

VBRUN is a short form of Visual Basic Runtime. These files come in different versions, where the version number replaces “xxx” in the file name (e.g., VBRUN100.DLL, VBRUN200.DLL, and VBRUN300.DLL are the runtime libraries for Visual Basic 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 respectively — there are more versions). These runtime Dynamic Link Libraries (this is where the DLL comes in) do nothing by themselves. They, instead, support programs written in the Visual Basic language. By placing common program elements (e.g., file and screen management code) into a single file the need to duplicate these functions in every program written in Visual Basic is eliminated.

Programs requiring one of the VBRUNxxx.DLL files will usually say so in their documentation. You need to know the exact version needed as the program will not run without it. Also, later versions do not work with programs that need an earlier version of the DLL (i.e., VBRUN300.DLL will not service requests for items in the VBRUN200.DLL file). As indicated, some programs will install the DLL for you and others won’t.

If the new program does not install the proper version of VBRUNxxx.DLL there is still a good chance you already have it on your disk. The files are supposed to be in your \WINDOWS\SYSTEM subdirectory, so look there first.

If not found there, you can do a search starting in the C:\ directory with the Search All SubDirectories option activated. If found in another directory, move the VBRUNxxx.DLL file(s) to the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory so every program can find them.

How Do You Get VBRUNxxx.DLL?

If you do not have the proper VBRUNxxx.DLL file you can download it from many different sources. A few are linked below. Different sites maintain different versions so check each if you can’t find the version you need.

Where to Install VBRUNxxx.DLL

Once you have obtained the appropriate VBRUNxxx.DLL file (unarchive if necessary) move that file into the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory on your computer. (Note: Move only the DLL file into the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory, not the archive file; programs will not recognize the archive file you downloaded, only the DLL.) Also, later versions may require the DLL file to be in the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directory instead.

Once you have the VBRUNxxx.DLL file in \WINDOWS\SYSTEM you do not have to install the file again. All programs requiring this file should then find it there. (To save time, it might be useful to simply search for the VBRUNxxx.DLL files on your system now and, if not there, download and install them.)

How Do I Use My Browser for FTP?

You don’t need to have an FTP program to download files from an FTP site. Just use your Web browser.

Using a special Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or Internet address you should be able to log into most any FTP site and navigate the file tree at the site by clicking on directory listings. The general format of the URL is…

ftp://user:password@host:port/path

This looks imposing at first glance but, in reality is fairly simple.

First, note that the URL does not start with http:// but, instead, ftp://. This tells the browser to use its FTP routines instead of its normal Web browsing routines.

Second, note that there is a part before the host domain that tells the FTP site the login information: user:password@. These are optional but, if the site needs a login you will have to provide one at some point. If you leave out the user, the browser will assume that this is an anonymous login and use that along with whatever E-mail address you have put in your browser preferences as the password (anonymous FTP sites demand an E-mail address as the password for various tracking or notification reasons). So, if the site requires a real user login then you must provide the username at least so the browser does not attempt to log in as user anonymous. If there is a password required and you leave it out of the URL a dialog box should pop up and ask for the password as part of the connection process to the FTP site. And, remember that all of this is taking place in the open so all user names and passwords are being transmitted in clear text; not encrypted. Some versions of Internet Explorer have special ways of entering the password; see the more info link below.

After the @ sign you see host:port. This would be the domain name for the host followed by the port to be used for connection. In the vast majority of cases you can ignore the :port part as the browser assumes the standard FTP port 21 will be used for the connection and the vast majority of sites are configured that way.

Finally, if there is any special path to a particular directory that you need, it would go after the host domain name. So, a fully qualified example might look like (I certainly hope this one doesn’t work! 🙂 )…

ftp://billgates:moremoney@files.microsoft.com/special/secretplans

Once you are logged into the FTP site you will generally see a directory listing. By clicking on other directories you can see what’s in them (assuming you have the right to — otherwise they will be blank or you will be asked for a password). By clicking on a file the browser should either attempt to display it (e.g., a .TXT text file will often be displayed along with any .HTML file) or ask if you want to download it. For downloading, just pick a location on your system where you want to store the file and wait for it to be completely downloaded.

More Information

Comments from Original Article:

#2
lobin
Said this on 2011-05-03 At 07:08 pm
I have been able to make this work in Firefox. In Safari, I am only told that my user/pass is incorrect (thought it isn’t). When it works in Firefox, though, there is no way to log out. So if I want to log in as a different user, i cannot; even if I close the window.

Any ideas of what I’m doing wrong?
Thanks!

[The connection should break when the window closes or when you connect using a new URL with a different ID in it. Not certain why that’s not working for you. However, I would suggest that if you have lots of FTP work to do that you use an FTP client as it’s much easier and more reliable. I use FileZilla, a free client, but there are others both pay and free. –DaBoss]

#3
kurt
Said this on 2011-05-27 At 07:55 am
Is there anyway to use this to upload files? Or a reputable web based ftp client.

[The basic technique won’t upload files but there are services such as net2ftp (as just one that comes to mind) that can be used. Just keep in mind that any web-based service will have your various passwords, etc. So, mind the privacy aspects. I prefer using FileZilla, a free ftp client (but not web-based) –DaBoss]

How do You Register/Obtain DLL or OCX Files?

Most programs use some form of library files to hold common routines used by multiple parts of the program. These files typically have the extension .DLL or .OCX and are distributed with programs that need them. Rarely, one needs to be re-registered with Windows.

When a program installs a library (DLL or OCX) file the program’s install routine will typically “register” the file with the system. This process tells the system the libraries in the file are available for more than one program to use. (Some DLL or OCX files are self-registering.)

Sometimes, if multiple programs are using a DLL or OCX file the system does not know about all of them. In this case, if you uninstall one of the programs its uninstall routine may delete the library in question not knowing that another program needs it. When this is done the library’s registration with the system no longer applies. And, if you just copy the DLL or OCX file back where it came from the system may not recognize it even if it’s in the proper place. While this is rare, when this happens you may need to “register” the library file manually.

You can find the full details about how to use the REGSVR32.EXE file at this Microsoft link…

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=249873Web Link

The process is non-trivial so you should study the referenced page quite closely if you are going to attempt to register a library file. Indeed, it just might be easier to reinstall the application in question and let its installer take care of the registration process as part of the install.

In summary, if you choose to manually register a library file you will have to restart your computer in command prompt mode (called DOS mode in some cases). Once there, you will have to issue a command of the form…

Regsvr32 [/u] [/n] [/i[:cmdline]] dllname

It’s possible this procedure may fail in which case you may need information from the developer of the library.

I guess the bottom line recommendation from Computer Knowledge would be to avoid this process if at all possible. 🙂

Where Do You Get DLL Files?

As mentioned above, all of the library files you need should have been provided by the programs that require them. In the rare instance that you need one and can’t find it on the Website of the program in question you might try…

DLL-Downloads.comWeb Link

Comments from Original Article:

#2
kalpesh
Said this on 2009-12-03 At 11:34 pm
how dll competible for mor than one program at server side
#3
DaBoss
Said this on 2009-12-03 At 11:54 pm
In reply to #2
A DLL file is simply a library collection of routines with defined entry points and parameters for the most part. It’s therefore quite possible to publish those interface standards for other programs to use and, if so, then that DLL file can easily work with other programs. A good programmer will register use of that DLL file so that Windows knows more than one program is using the file and will not erase it should the original program be uninstalled. If the DLL file is erased that can cause serious problems for the other program(s) using the DLL file.

#5
gift chinenye
Said this on 2011-02-15 At 04:40 am
how can i register with you, and how i be able to learn through the use of computer.

[I have no registration for site updates unless you follow the Twitter feed as I generally use that to announce a new page if I remember. -DaBoss]

#6
rick
Said this on 2011-05-26 At 10:26 am
dear mam/sir i have window7 in my laptop and i want to register to ocx files i ask if i register to ocx files there is no problem for my windows 7 and my laptop? thanks

[Can’t personally say. –DaBoss]

#7
ravi
Said this on 2011-10-10 At 06:36 am
Hi Experts
I have developed a activex control and registered on 64bit system. I have 64bit windows operating system and office 2010. When I install activeX using regsvr32.exe , it succesfully executed.
But the problem is when I try to use this activeX component in my application like in VBA7, it through an exception “Unspecified Error”. I am not getting what is going wrong with this.
I am added this component to my toolbox using choose component option. and while trying drag n drop this component it through a Exception .

Plz Help

Thanks in advanced
#8
Pooja
Said this on 2012-02-08 At 05:44 am
In reply to #7
Hi,

I created an 64 bit ocx in vs2010 in Windows server 2008 OS. I am successfull to register this ocx properly..Then i created a windows application in vs2010. I want to use this OCX in application but the ocx is not visible in tab choose toolbox items->com component in tools menubar. So how can i use this OCX. Please reply ASAP.

Thanks in advance
Pooja Kamra

[This article is for general information and not specific to any given product or compiler or installer. Please see the Microsoft instructions for specific information. –DaBoss]