Ask Leo! #323 – Downloading Windows 7, perhaps even legally! Broken keyboards, image formats and more…

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Where can I download Windows 7?

I've lost my Windows 7 installation disk, but I possess the product key. What should I do if I want to reinstall Windows on my computer?


Take a full system image backup as soon as possible and use that as a fallback. You can always restore to that image in lieu of a reinstall and you'll be back to where you were at the time that the backup was taken.

You should also get in touch with the vendor who sold you the computer - if they provided you with a copy once, perhaps they'll be willing to get you a replacement copy.

You could, I suppose, go buy a new copy. Most people aren't interested in doing that because they're stuck paying for something that they feel they already have.

That's when most people resort to downloading a copy. If you do it right, it might even be legal.

Let me explain...

Continue reading: Where can I download Windows 7?

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I'm having keyboard problems, can you help?

Using XP Professional Service Pack 3, I must have inadvertently changed something. My Del key now has a period after each delete and I can't find how to stop this. Can you help?


Probably not; not directly, anyway.

Your question is actually very common. I get a number of questions that boil down to a keyboard misbehaving in some way.

What surprises me is the fact that most people don't think of something else first.

Continue reading: I'm having keyboard problems, can you help?

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What image format should I use?

JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, GIF ... it seems like there are too many image file formats to keep track of. There are dozens of different formats created at different times for different reasons.

In this video from an Ask Leo! webinar on Photo Manipulation, I'll review a couple of the common file formats that we see and use every day and I'll describe what they're good at and when you would want to use each.

Continue reading: What image format should I use?

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*** Comments

How do I remove spyware from a computer I loaned to a former friend?

Ken B writes:

Under "get professional help", you state "Obviously this will most likely cost money."

My wife has been doing such cleanups for clients for years, and she charges $185 for her services. (And most people are happy to pay it.) Of course, unlike those "big box" stores, she does everything she can to clean the system and save the data, leaving the wipe/reinstall as a last resort.

Take that into account, along with "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".


What do I do when Windows Explorer crashes?

Me writes:

I'm not sure if this will be of help to another user, but I used to have issues when opening Explorer to a specific folder with media files in it. I eventually traced it back to a codec attempting to generate thumbnails for a corrupted video file.


I don't have installation media for Windows - what if I need it?

Mary writes:

It's possible to download an official Microsoft Windows 7 with SP1 ISO from Digital River. (Digital River has long been Microsoft?s partner for fulfillment of online distribution for downloadable Microsoft products.) If you search for "Official Windows 7 SP1 ISO Digital River" you should find their website.

The ISO download is about 2.5GB and once you've saved it to your computer you'll have to burn it to a DVD. They also have instructions for creating a "universal" install media that contains all versions of Windows 7 w/SP1. A valid Product Key is required to activate.


I don't have installation media for Windows - what if I need it?

Garry Brown writes:

Retailers who cater to computer hobbyists often sell "OEM" discs of various Windows products which are not manufacturer specific. These are more correctly titled "for system builders" and differ from the retail packages in several ways. They are somewhat cheaper. They are intended to be sold with motherboards or significant computer components (maybe just a hard drive). The price includes no telephone support from MSFT (which is supposed to be provided by the system builder, which would be you if you buy and install it). The copy is intended for use on a single particular machine, which means once it is installed and activated, no fair trying to use it on another computer.

These differ from the "OEM" installation media you were referring to, which are sold by the computer manufacturer and will often not even run on a computer they were not intended for, even if it is of the same brand.

*** Thoughts and Comments

There are too many choices when it comes to social media. It's difficult to keep track of them all.

I have to balance my time, somehow.

Now that they've been out for a while, and I've been on them all for a while, I'm starting to realize that I can't do justice to all of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

So, I'm going to cut back.

I'll still be on all four, but only one will really get the greater slice of my attention.

I'd like you to tell me which one it'll be.

I have one question for you: please click here for my Social Media Usage survey. Even if you don't use any social media sites, there's an option for you as well, I'd love to hear it. I'll report back here on the results next week.


'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
Facebook - YouTube
Twitter - Google+

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