Sunday, July 29, 2007

You Have Been Scammed!

Did you recently win a million dollars in an online lottery or get a job offer that pays you royally for meagre work hours? Or are you among the 'lucky' few chosen ones to share millions of dollars for nothing with a Nigerian in distress?

Enter the world of online scamsters.

And there isn't just one, but many out there, vying to get YOUR money. Here are some of the top scams doing the rounds in the virtual world.

Urgent and Confidential: The Nigerian Scam

You get an e-mail marked confidential from a total stranger seeking your trust and help to transfer their millions of dollars into your account. The concerned parties are in exile, and seek to transfer their investments with you acting as the mediator.

And you don't have to do a thing. Just send them your bank account number and they will share millions with you.

Interesting? Yes, but dubious as well! Don't get taken in by it or else you will be swindled off all your savings.

Also known as the Advanced Fee Fraud (AFF) or the '419' scam (the number being the section of the Nigerian criminal code dealing with financial frauds), it comes in numerous variations.

How to identify such a scam? Well, for one, the confidential e-mails are usually from fraudsters posing as Nigerian officials. It is written in capitals and is riddled with bad grammar and misspelled words.

Two, if you seem willing to conduct the transaction, at the last moment they will request for a fee, usually in lakhs of rupees. Don't fall prey to such requests.


No, it is not 'fishing' misspelt. But everything about it is fishy. In other words it means identity theft.

Phishing usually uses e-mails or fraudulent websites designed to fool unsuspecting people into disclosing personal information. It is an Internet scam that uses spam mails to deceive you into disclosing your personal information like your bank account, credit or debit card number, passwords etc.

Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information.

Congratulations! You Have Won a Million Dollars!

Did you receive a mail on these lines? Well then, congratulations, you have been spoofed!

This is the lottery scam. The victim is notified through e-mail that they have won a prize in a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. To access the winning amount you will have to transfer fees or send your personal information like your bank account number etc.

How to identify them? Most of these lottery scam mails are sent from free email accounts such as Yahoo, Google, or Hotmail etc.

The names of the organisations running these operations change all the time and the wordings used in the mails are usually similar.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Installing software under Linux

The installation of Linux as an operating system has become just as
easy as installing Windows. Where problems do turn up now and again,
however, is when it comes time to install individual programs. The
biggest problem is that there are no wizards to help users set up
software written for Linux.

Those who use the widely distributed SUSE Linux, though, do have use of
program called Yast2. It provides a convenient way to install software
- or delete it. The program offers a built-in search function that not
only lists software included in the Suse package by name, but also by
its function.

Installation of selected software often transpires much more simply
than under Windows, says Andrea Müller from the publishing house Linux
New Media in Munich.

"As soon as somebody highlights a program for installation, the package
manager automatically selects further software that is required for the
program to function properly," Müller says.

This process is known as resolving dependencies. Somewhat trickier is
later installation of Linux software downloaded from the Internet. "All
too often the packet manager reports that it cannot import the software
because other required files are missing," explains Müller, a Linux

Konquerer, an internet and file browser, can be used by users of the
KDE desktop interface to download and install software, reports Andreas
Jaeger, product leader for the Desktop system of SUSE Linux. A click on
the "Install program with Yast" option is sufficient, he claims. This
is only required if the program is not contained in the distribution's
CDs or DVDs.

Programs like Yast for Suse Linux or apt for Debian can be of service
if the software to be installed is available as so-called RPM or Debian
packages, respectively. The source can be a CD, DVD, or the internet.
APT (Advanced Package Tool) is another package management system for
software installation in Linux, explains Andreas Gebhard, Press
spokesman for the LinuxTag trade fair which is to be held from June 22
to 25 in Karlsruhe, Germany. "APT allows for very easy installation of
a program package or even an entire system," Gebhard says.

APT exists in both text-based console and graphical interface versions.
Like Yast, it automatically resolves dependencies.

Gebhard names Smart Package Manager, up2date for Red Hat and urpmi,
which is used with Mandrake Linux, as further installation tools that
offer a graphic front-end.

Yet new software often comes only as source text packets, packaged in
so-called tar.gz or tar.bz2 files. The user must then compile the
source text prior to the actual installation.

Compilation is the name of the process for turning source code written
in programming languages like C or C++ into binary code that the
computer can read and use.

Compilers, as the software that performs the task is known, come
bundled with all larger distributions. One frequently used version is
gcc. For all of this to happen, however, the so-called developer's
tools need to be installed along with the operating system. This can
also be done afterwards if it was forgotten during the initial
installation, however.

When manually installing Linux software, experts speak of the rule of
threes: this refers to three crucial installation commands
./configure@, make@, make install@. ./configure@ seeks out the files
needed for the installation. Problems often surface with this first
step, however, forcing the program to abort its work and display an
error message. "This is why you absolutely should take a look at the
Readme file before starting the installation," advises Andreas Jaeger.
Readme files offer details on peculiarities of the piece of software.

If a program required for the installation is missing, ./configure will
provide a message to that effect. In a crunch, the missing program can
be installed later using the package management. Make and make install
tend to produce relatively fewer problems. If make ends up aborting its
task, then a file may be missing. The error message should indicate the
source of the problem. Jaeger notes that the "rule of three" can often
lead to an incorrect selection of options. Beginners should use
finished packages, Mueller recommends.

Whether manually or automatic: If you have problems with an
installation, help can be found in the Linux user groups. Reading
through the pertinent Internet forums can also be helpful. Users can
also ask for help directly from the distributor, Andraes Gebhard
claims. "In many cases you're not the first one to stumble over a
specific problem."

10 Reasons to Switch to Linux

1. It Doesn't Crash

Linux has been time-proven to be a reliable operating system. Although the desktop is not a new place for Linux, most Linux-based systems have been used as servers and embedded systems. High-visibility Web sites such as Google use Linux-based systems, but you also can find Linux inside the TiVo set-top box in many living rooms.

Linux has proved to be so reliable and secure that it is commonly found in dedicated firewall and router systems used by high-profile companies to secure their networks. For more than ten years, it has not been uncommon for Linux systems to run for months or years without needing a single reboot.

2. Viruses Are Few and Far Between

Although it is possible to create a virus to target Linux systems, the design of the system itself makes it very difficult to become infected. A single user could cause local damage to his or her files by running a virus on his or her system; however, this would be an isolated instance rather than something could spread out of control.

In addition, virtually all Linux vendors offer free on-line security updates. The general philosophy of the Linux community has been to address possible security issues before they become a problem rather than hoping the susceptibility will go unnoticed.

3. Virtually Hardware-Independent

Linux was designed and written to be easily portable to different hardware. For the desktop user, this means that Linux has been and likely always will be the first operating system to take advantage of advances in hardware technology such as AMD's 64-bit processor chips.

4. Freedom of Choice

Linux offers freedom of choice as far as which manufacturer you purchase the software from as well as which application programs you wish to use. Being able to pick the manufacturer means you have a real choice as far as type of support you receive. Being open-source software, new manufacturers can enter the market to address customer needs.

Choice of application programs means that you can select the tools that best address your needs. For example, three popular word processors are available. All three are free and interoperate with Microsoft Word, but each offers unique advantages and disadvantages. The same is true of Web browsers.

5. Standards

Linux itself and many common applications follow open standards. This means an update on one system will not make other systems obsolete.

6. Applications, Applications, Applications

Each Linux distribution comes with hundreds and possibly thousands of application programs included. This alone can save you thousands of dollars for each desktop system you configure. Although this is a very small subset, consider that the office suite is included as well as the GIMP, a program similar to (and many people say more capable than Adobe Photoshop); Scribus, a document layout program similar to Quark Xpress; Evolution, an e-mail system equivalent to Microsoft's Outlook Express; and hundreds more.

For the more technically inclined, development tools, such as compilers for the C, C++, Ada, Fortran, Pascal and other languages, are included as well as Perl, PHP and Python interpreters. Editors and versioning tools also are included in this category.

Whether you are looking for Instant Messaging clients, backup tools or Web site development packages, they likely are all included within your base Linux distribution.

7. Interoperability

More and more computers are being connected to networks. No system would be complete if it did not include tools to allow it to interoperate with computers running other operating systems. Once again, Linux is very strong in this area.

Linux includes Samba, software that allows Linux to act as a client on a Microsoft Windows-based network. In fact, Samba includes server facilities such that you could run a Linux system as the server for a group of Linux and Windows-based client systems.

In addition, Linux includes software to network with Apple networks and Novell's Netware. NFS, the networking technology developed on UNIX systems also is included.

8. It's a Community Relationship, Not a Customer Relationship

Other operating systems are the products of single vendors. Linux, on the other hand, is openly developed, and this technology is shared among vendors. This means you become part of a community rather than a customer of a single manufacturer. Also, the supplier community easily can adjust to the needs of various user communities rather than spouting a "one size fits all" philosophy.

This means you can select a Linux vendor that appears to best address your needs and feel confident that you could switch vendors at a later time without losing your investment--both in terms of costs and learning.

9. It's Not How Big Your Processor Is...

Because of a combination of the internal design of Linux and development contributions from a diverse community, Linux tends to be more frugal in the use of computer resources. This may manifest itself in a single desktop system running faster with Linux than with another operating system, but the advantages go far beyond that. It is possible, for example, to configure a single Linux system to act as a terminal server and then use outdated hardware as what are called thin clients.

This server/thin client configuration makes it possible for older, less powerful hardware to share the resources of a single powerful system thus extending the life of older machines.

10. Linux Is Configurable

Linux is a true multi-user operating system. Each user can have his or her own individual configuration all on one computer. This includes the look of the desktop, what icons are displayed, what programs are started automatically when the user logs in and even what language the desktop is in.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Folder Lock without any S/W

Many people have been looking for an alternative way to lock folders without the use of any alternative software. So, here you go.

Open Notepad and copy the below code and save as locker.bat. Please don't forget to change your password in the code it's shown the place where to type your password.
Now double click on locker .bat
First time start, it will create folder with Locker automatically for u. After creation of the Locker folder, place the contents u want to lock inside the Locker Folder and run locker.bat again.

I hope this comes in handy J

title Folder Locker
if EXIST "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}" goto UNLOCK
echo Are you sure u want to Lock the folder(Y/N)
set/p "cho=>"
if %cho%==Y goto LOCK
if %cho%==y goto LOCK
if %cho%==n goto END
if %cho%==N goto END
echo Invalid choice.
ren Locker "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}"
attrib +h +s "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}"
echo Folder locked
goto End
echo Enter password to Unlock folder
set/p "pass=>"
if NOT %pass%== type your password here goto FAIL
attrib -h -s "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}"
ren "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}" Locker
echo Folder Unlocked successfully
goto End
echo Invalid password
goto end
md Locker
echo Locker created successfully
goto End

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How to Delete Undeletable Files in Windows

Many times when trying to remove an unwanted program, especially a piece of adware or spyware, you may run across a file that is undeletable by any normal method. When you try to remove it you'll receive the error message shown below telling you "access denied" and explaining the file may be in use. You may also receive one of the following messages.

Cannot delete file: Access is denied
There has been a sharing violation.
The source or destination file may be in use.
The file is in use by another program or user.
Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

So if the file is in use, how do you delete it?

Manual Method

If you already know the path to the file, please skip to Step 7
  1. Click on Start, Search, All Files and Folders
  2. Type the name of the undeletable file in the box shown
  3. Make sure the Look In box shows the correct drive letter
  4. Click Search and let the computer find the file
  5. Once the file is located, right-click on it and choose properties, make a note of the file location. Usually this is something similar to

  6. Close the search box
  7. Click on Start, Run, and type CMD and Press Enter to open a Command Prompt window
  8. Leave the Command Prompt window open, but proceed to close all other open programs
  9. Click on Start, Run and type TASKMGR.EXE and press Enter to start Task Manager
  10. Click on the Processes tab, click on the process named Explorer.exe and click on End Process.
  11. Minimize Task Manager but leave it open
  12. Go back to the Command Prompt window and change to the directory where the file is located. To do this, use the CD command. You can follow the example below.

    Example: to change to the Windows\System32 directory you would enter the following command and Press Enter

    cd \windows\system32
  13. Now use the DEL command to delete the offending file. Type DEL where is the file you wish to delete.

    Example: del undeletable.exe
  14. Use ALT-TAB to go back to Task Manager
  15. In Task Manager, click File, New Task and enter EXPLORER.EXE to restart the Windows shell.
  16. Close Task Manager
Programs to automatically delete a file

Remove on Reboot Shell Extension
This is a nice extension that loads into the right click menu. All you have to do is right-click on a file and choose "Remove on Next Reboot" and the file will be deleted the next time the computer restarts. Although it probably should only be used by more advanced computer users since it may be TOO easy to delete files using this program.
A simple .exe file that you can use to delete undeleteable files, although the program will also delete temporary files, edit the HOSTS file, and more. A definite must have program when you are fighting an annoying spyware or adware program that won't remove.

Unlocker is another program that runs from the right click menu. Its simple and very effective. The website even has a side by side comparision of other programs that accomplish this task.
Using one of the three tools shown above, you should be able to remove those annoying undeleteable files once and for all.

Computer mouse can cause arm pain!

Frequent incorrect use of a mouse when working on the computer can lead to a condition known as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), otherwise known as mouse arm, warn experts.

"Tingling, numbness, and weakness in the lower arm and hands are the first signs of overstressing of the tendons and nerves due to monotonous motion," explains Frank Bergmann, head of the German Association of Nerve Doctors (BVDN).

"Constant clicking with the computer mouse and an unnatural hand position cause damage to the tissues that over the long term can lead to inflammation of the nerve fibres," Bergmann says.

Even initially minor symptoms represent a danger that the brain may form connections between the pain and the activity of clicking.

"The mouse click movement on its own can then trigger pain, even if the physical damage in the arm has already healed," Bergmann points out.

Ergonomic working methods can prevent RSI. "Many programme functions can be executed with keyboard commands to restrict use of the mouse. Double clicks can also be reprogrammed onto the middle mouse button or the scroll wheel," the neurologist says.

The size of the mouse should also be appropriate for the size of your hand. Cold wrist rests can guard against inflammation. Padded rests for the ball of the hand can also reduce the strain on the arm.

Alternate input options like voice recognition or graphic tables should also be considered. "Stretching exercises, natural arm and hand movements as well as frequent brief breaks help keep the arm musculature relaxed," Bergmann recommends.

"If symptoms appear like a pulling in the lower arm or pain when weight is put on, go see a neurologist. The longer the delay in visiting the doctor, the higher the chances that the injury will become permanent," Bergmann says

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

ITR-1: That's your new income tax form

The Income Tax department has come out with eight new tax return forms. Of these, the ITR-1 (Income tax returns-1) and ITR-2 (Income tax returns-2) forms are most relevant for salaried individuals.
These two forms have come into effect from May 14, 2007, for filing tax returns for the financial year 2006-07.
ITR-1 is applicable to those individuals who have earned only salary and interest income during the financial year. ITR-2 is applicable to those who have other types of non-business incomes, such as income from house property, capital gains, etc.
Note: Those individuals claiming deduction on interest on housing loans would be required to file ITR-2 only.
Neither of the forms require the taxpayers to prepare the controversial cash flow statement (a statement of your income and expenditure for a year). The new forms have been made annexure free. What this means is you are not required to attach any documents to the tax return. Not even Form 16!
You will have the following options to file your tax returns:
  • Online filing of returns by those who have a digital signature. Such taxpayers will not be required to file a paper return.
  • Online filing of returns by those who do not have a digital signature. Such taxpayers will be required to submit a one-page duly signed verification form, Form ITR V, with the concerned income tax office.
  • Manual filing of paper return form.
  • Manual filing of bar coded return form.
Now, let's look at the important features of the ITR-1 and ITR-2 forms.
ITR-1 is relatively simpler and similar to the Saral Form, the Form 2D. Two versions of ITR-1 have been introduced. One is two-pager and the other is a three-pager. The only difference between these two versions is the latter is more spacious than former. Content-wise, both versions are identical.
Since you do not have to attach Form 16 to the tax return form, you will need to fill in certain details that appear in your Form 16 here.
One important aspect of the new form is that taxpayers are required to mention the amount of certain types of high value transactions carried out by them. These transactions are already being reported to the tax authorities through Annual Information Return filed by various agencies such as banks, credit card companies, mutual funds, RBI, property registrars, etc.
This section should be carefully filled in. Incorrect reporting of such transactions may trigger scrutiny of your tax return by the Income Tax department.
Under this section, the taxpayers are required to mention the transaction amount of the following:
Nature and value of transaction
Cash deposits totalling Rs 10 lakhs or more in a year in any savings account.
The important point here is that this clause is applicable if the total of all cash deposits during the financial year in a saving account is Rs 10 lakh or more.
Payments totalling Rs 2 lakhs or more in the year made against bills raised in respect of a credit card.
The important point here is that this clause is applicable if the total of all payments during the year for a credit card is Rs 2 lakh or more.
Let me explain: if you have used three credit cards during the FY 2006-07 and you pay a total of Rs. 1.9 lakhs against the first credit card, Rs. 1.4 lakhs against the second credit card and Rs 50,000 against the third credit card, then you need not report anything since you did not pay Rs 2 lakhs or more against a single credit card.
However, in FY 2006-07, if you pay total Rs 2.2 lakhs against the first credit card, Rs 2.7 lakhs against the second credit card and Rs 1 lakh against 3rd credit card, then you need to mention an amount of Rs 4.9 lakhs under this item. This is the total amount of payments against those credit cards whose total payment is Rs 2 lacs or more!
Payment of Rs 2 lakhs or more for acquiring units of a mutual fund.
This clause is applicable only if the amount of a single payment towards acquiring units of a fund is Rs 2 lakh or more.
Payment of Rs 5 lakhs or more for acquiring bonds or debentures issued by a company or an institution.
This clause is applicable only if the amount of a single payment towards acquiring bonds or debentures of a company is Rs 5 lakh or more.
Payment of Rs 1 lakh or more for acquiring shares issued by a company.
This clause is applicable only if the amount of a single payment towards acquiring shares issued by a company is Rs 1 lakh or more. This would cover payment of Rs 1 lakh or more made for IPO application or for obtaining shares under ESOP scheme.
Purchase property valued at Rs 30 lakhs or more.
This clause is applicable only if the value, as considered by registration authorities at the time of purchase, of any immovable property bought by the taxpayer is Rs 30 lakh or more. The clause is not applicable if the transaction value is less than Rs 30 lakh.
Sale of property valued at Rs 30 lakh or more.
This clause is applicable only if the value, as considered by registration authorities at the time of sale, of any immovable property sold by the taxpayer is Rs 30 lakh or more. The clause is not applicable if the transaction value is less than Rs 30 lakhs.
Payment of an amount or amounts aggregating to Rs 5 lakhs or more in a year for bonds issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
This clause is applicable if the aggregate of all payments towards purchase of RBI bonds exceeds Rs 5 lakh in a financial year.

ITR-2 is more comprehensive and seeks more detailed information.
Some of the important schedules in ITR 2 are:
Schedule S on salary income
This requires the taxpayers to divide their salary income into:
1. Salary (Excluding all allowances, perquisites and profit in lieu of salary)
2. Allowances exempt under Section 10 such as HRA, LTA, conveyance, medical reimbursement, etc.

Allowances not exempt such as shift allowance, special allowance, taxable portion of HRA/ LTA, etc.
Value of perquisites in the form of rent free accommodation or interest free loans, etc.
Profits in lieu of salary
The amount of items 2, 4 and 5 is generally mentioned in the Form 16 itself. However, many taxpayers will have to work out the amounts under items 1 and 3 by themselves. The amount under the first head would include only the basic salary. The amount under the third head would include gross salary as mentioned in Form 16 minus amounts under 1 and 2.
Schedule HP for Income from House Property
Taxpayers are required to mention the full address of each of the properties owned by them. They are also required to mention the name and the PAN (mentioning of tenant's PAN has, however, been kept optional) of the tenant.
A detailed computation statement is required to be filled in for each of the properties owned by the taxpayer. The form enables the taxpayers to fill in the details of upto two residential properties. If a taxpayer owns more than two houses then s/he may have to attach an annexure to provide complete details.
Schedule CYLA for current year losses adjusted
Details of income after set off of current year losses are required to be furnished in a tabular format. For most taxpayers this would apply since the setoff of loss from properties (arising due to interest on housing loan) against salary income has to be shown in this schedule.
Schedule AIR for transactions reported through annual information return
This is the same as what we discussed for ITR-1in the table above.
To summarise
~ What taxpayers would like the most is the fact that the tax returns are annexure free.
~ Enhanced use of technology would help the tax department to find the tax evaders more easily. Honest taxpayers may benefit since tax rates may go down if the compliance level increases.
~ The two-paged ITR-1 is relatively simpler. However, the six-paged ITR-2, which would be applicable to all the individuals owning a house, is relatively complex. Those filing ITR-2 are more likely to seek professional assistance in preparing their tax returns.

Beware of automated call from 0800

The virtual crooks are becoming smarter and less visible. This time they have devised a novel way of sending a routine text message much like the one that pops on your mobile phone screen everytime a major transaction happens in your bank account. But beware if you receive an automated 0800 call from your bank because the caller may ‘vish’ away your bank balance to zero.

These new smart alecks are called vishers and are a different species from the phishers (who send fake email to gather information). The fraudster ‘war dials’ hundreds of mobile numbers through VoIP telephony — simply put, internet based telephony . Typically, a war dialling program — available on the web — refers to dialling hundreds of numbers from your computer. You as a customer, may receive an automated call from your ‘bank’ .

The call will tell you that a major transaction has taken place in your account and instruct you to call back if you want further details. On calling back, an automated voice asks you to input credit card number/bank account number for ‘account security reasons’ . Once a visher has your bank account /credit card details, he may withdraw from your account as per his wish.

The phone number is often 0800 number with a spoofed caller ID of the financial company it is pretending to represent. If you happen to ever receive such a call, it’s better to hang up, say experts.

“If anyone calls pretending to be a credit card provider and requests a card’s three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV) number, the card owner should immediately hang up and call the phone number on the back of the credit card to report the attempt,” says Srkiran Raghavan, Regional head, RSA Security, world leader in network security.

Vishing is very hard for legal authorities to monitor or trace as the IP of the call is fake. “Rather than provide any information, the consumer is advised to contact their bank or credit card company directly to verify the validity of the message,” he adds.

A visher can pose as a customer care agent of your mobile phone operator, bank, insurance company, share broking firm or a loan agency. The fraudsters also use social engineering messages like ‘you’ve been selected for a 2% downgrade on home loan rate’ or a ‘free upgrade to a platinum credit card with a gift.’

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How to Create a Currency Converter With Microsoft Excel

Ever needed to know how many pesos were in a dollar? Or how many yen equal a pound? Here's a simple way to create a currency converter within Excel that gets the exchange rates from the Internet automatically!
Start Microsoft Excel, and create a new workbook.
Starting in Column D, enter cell content as shown here:

What you should have once you complete Step 2

Instead of typing all the names of the major world currencies, import them plus the current exchange rates from an External Data Source. Start by clicking Data > Import External Data > Import Data.

Importing external data

Import the MSN MoneyCentral Investor Currency Rates file found in the My Data Sources folder as follows:

Find the MSN MoneyCentral Investor Currency Rates

Import the data from the file into a New Worksheet like so (but DON'T press "OK" yet):

Importing External Data Dialog box

Before you import, click on the Properties button and make the following changes: Click the "Refresh Every..." checkbox and set it to whatever value you want, and click "Refresh on Open" which will get the new rates whenever you open the document.

Customize the properties

Click OK on the Properties window and on the Import Dialog window.
Once the data is imported into the new worksheet, change the name of the new worksheet to Conversion.
Now we have all the rates and the names of the major world currencies but to make this work, we need the names of the currencies in our first worksheet. Click on cell B5 first and then using the arrow keys on your keyboard, hit the left arrow once.
Copy all cells from A5 through to A56.
Paste the cells into your original worksheet in column B as shown here:

some of the world currencies but not all

Now that we have all the currencies, we should create a dropdown box to make sure we get the name of the currency right. Click on cell D5, and then click on the Data menu and then Validation.
In the validation screen, choose List as the type of allowable values, and the source is the range of cells that have the names of the currencies in them. Ensure that the In-Cell Dropdown option is checked.

Creating the dropdown

Repeat the previous step in cell D12.
In cell E6, enter the following formula:

=SUM(VLOOKUP( D5,Conversion! $A$5:$C$56, 2,FALSE)* E5)

This will use a lookup function that will find the matching value to whatever currency is set in cell D5, and multiply it by the quantity found in E5.

X currency in terms of a US dollar

To get what a US dollar is worth in x currency, we need to modify our formula a bit. Type

=SUM(VLOOKUP( D12,Conversion! $A$5:$C$56, 3,FALSE)* E11)

US dollar in other formats

You're all done!

In step 6, don't go below 30 minutes because quotes can be delayed 20 minutes or more due to network traffic.
In Step 8, if you click on the currency name, it will automatically open a link to MSN Money to give you additional information such as the 52 week high.
There is a limitation to this spreadsheet in that you can only go against the US dollar, but given that most world currencies are measured against it, this makes sense. Enjoy!

MSN Money and other many websites only quote wholesale exchange rates. Wholesale (also known as the "interbank" rate) is only for huge banks when they trade with one another; usually in amounts over 5 million USD minimum. Individuals won't be eligible for this rate and will get a retail rate instead. Retail is almost never as good as wholesale. To find what retail rate you'll get, you'll need to contact the institution you actually buy your currency from. Example, if you buy from Wells Fargo, call Wells Fargo and ask for their rate.
Sometimes data and the formulas won't work. Be patient!

Things You'll Need
Microsoft Excel
Internet Connection