Tech Xpress

How to Block Websites

Worried about your kids surfing habit? Here are a few ways to block access to sites from your computer. These methods aren't very difficult to circumvent. But nevertheless, it provides a first line of defense for you to protect your kids.

Block Websites using Windows HOSTS file

Windows HOSTS file can be used to completely deny access to a website from a computer. Here's how it can be done -

1. Locate the HOSTS file.
In Windows XP and Vista it is in C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\
In Windows 2000 C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\system32\drivers\etc\
In Windows 98 and ME it is in C:\WINDOWS\

2. Open it in Notepad and find the line localhost at the bottom. Add the following lines below it.

The above lines will block facebook and orkut. Include sites with and without "www". Try all possible combinations for accessing the website and enter them in the list; for eg, to deny access to yahoo websites, see the list below. (use your regional yahoo domain here like, "in" is for India, "mx" is for Mexico etc)

3. Save the file.
This will block the entered sites from being accessed by any browser from your computer.

4. To restore access, just delete the lines.

Block Websites in Firefox

Firefox has a nice addon, BlockSite, which can be used to block sites. The obvious disadvantage is, it only works with Firefox. So if Firefox is the only browser installed in your machine, this should be enough.

Conclusion: The advantage of using the HOSTS file is its simplicity and no additional software is needed. As I said before, these methods can be circumvented. If you are very serious about this, consider using commercial third-party software.
Sites can also be blocked with OpenDNS, your router settings, or with third-party software. These are more advanced which I'll try to cover later.

posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Sunday, August 30, 2009
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How to Edit PDF File

This article isn't about some piece of software that lets you edit a PDF file directly. This is about creating a new PDF document from an existing one, with some changes in the content. Here's how we are going to "edit" a PDF file.

1. Choose the PDF file you want to modify. Convert it to a Word document.
2. Now edit the Word document.
3. Convert the modified Word document to PDF again.

There you have it. All the services listed above are free. Enjoy!

posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, August 18, 2009
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Rename File Extensions in Windows

Changing file extensions in Windows through menus is quite a bit lengthy. If you love using the command prompt, here's a really easy way.

Change File Extension of a single file through command prompt

. Open up Command prompt. Go to Start >> Run. Type cmd and hit Enter.
2. Navigate to the directory which has the files. If the folder is D:\MyFolder, type the command
cd D:\MyFolder
3. Lets assume you want to change the file named sales.txt to sales.doc. Type the command
ren sales.txt sales.doc
This will change the extension .txt to .doc.

Change File Extension of multiple files together through command prompt (Batch rename extensions)

The command will be -
ren *.txt *.doc
This will change all .txt files to .doc files in the current directory.

Change File Extension through menus

1. In Explorer, go to Tools >> Folder Options.
2. Click View and uncheck the Hide extensions of known file types.
3. Now you can rename file.txt to file.doc directly.

More Tips:
How to Edit a Powerpoint Show(.pps or .ppsx) file
Rename Multiple files Simultaneously in Windows
Create File without Name
Copy all Filenames in a Folder to a Text file

posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Sunday, August 09, 2009
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