Ask Leo! #325 – Getting Windows 7 machines to ‘see’ each other, repairing Microsoft Office, is this a scam? and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** New Articles

Why can't my Windows 7 machines 'see' each other on my network?

I just replaced my router and now all of a sudden my machines can't see each other. They were working fine before the replacement and I could regularly access files and make remote desktop connections between the machines. They all see the internet just fine, just not each other. What gives?


That was actually me a few days ago.

I replaced my router to address a network performance issue and all of a sudden, my machines couldn't see each other.

My opinion of Windows networking for the average consumer isn't very high, so when I discovered what was happening, how easy it is to miss, and how easy it is to fix, I realized that it was time to write up my discoveries.

Continue reading: Why can't my Windows 7 machines 'see' each other on my network?

* * *

How do I repair Microsoft Office?

When I want to open a file in Excel, a dialog box appears: "PROGRAMMER ERROR: EXCEL.EXE has generated errors and will be closed by Windows. You will need to restart the program."

How do I fix this?


This can happen for a number of reasons. In fact, it can happen to any of the Microsoft Office programs, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, and others.

Fortunately, the Microsoft Office actually has an option to help deal with situations like this.

You can repair Microsoft Office.

Continue reading: How do I repair Microsoft Office?

* * *

Why is Thunderbird saying your newsletter might be a scam?

Thunderbird thinks my newsletter is scam.

Well, it does by default, anyway.

It's actually an interesting feature in Thunderbird, but it can also be misleading or flat-out wrong.

Case in point: my newsletter is no scam.

In this video from an Ask Leo! webinar , I'll show what Thunderbird is looking for, and what it thinks is a scam.

Continue reading: Why is Thunderbird saying your newsletter might be a scam?

* * *

Does this email address that shows for auto-complete mean my computer or account has been hacked?

I need your help with a problem I am having with Yesterday, after selecting an item to purchase at check out, I was required to sign in. When I entered my first initial, the drop-down menu of my email address appeared. However, there was also an email address which is unknown to me. I contacted Amazon by phone, but I was disconnected. My question is: How did someone gain access to my account on Amazon's website to enter an unauthorized email address in the first place? I thought Amazon's website is secure.

I thought about sending an email to the unauthorized email address, but decided that it might open my computer to something worse. Is there any way to find out where this email might have come from?


Believe it or not, this actually has absolutely nothing to do with or whatever site you might be logging into. Amazon wouldn't have been able to help you even if you had made contact.

To be even clearer: the appearance of that address in the Email field does not mean someone gained access to your Amazon account.

To understand where that email address did come from, we need to understand just a little bit about how your web browser works and the teeny, tiniest bit about HTML.

It's not scary. Really.

Continue reading: Does this email address that shows for auto-complete mean my computer or account has been hacked?

*** Our Sponsor

Free Windows 7 Guide: From Newbies to Pros.
This 46-page guide will go over software compatibility issues, the
new taskbar, how to customize Windows Aero, what Windows 7 Libraries
are all about, and how easy networking is with Windows 7. The advice
within this guide will also help those who are on the fence about
purchasing W7 decide if it would be a good idea.
Get your Free eBook Today!

Advertisement. Ask Leo about advertising here.

*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

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

Jim H writes:

A friend of mine hosted a party and he found someone he knew and considered a friend at his computer. The guy had screens open and was busily engaged with what he was doing. My friend asked the guy what he was doing and he was told "house cleaning" by putting things in folders and deleting unnecessary files because the computer was all cluttered up and poorly organized. It didn't go over too well.

Now, I'm a big proponent of computer privacy and I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams nosing through someone's computer unless I was specifically asked to and poking around was required to accomplish what I was asked to do. I liken it to rearranging someone's furniture or reading their mail without permission.

The guy who was mucking around with the computer had a 'computer repair service' on the side, meaning he worked out of his house and did computer calls at people's homes: mostly family, friends, and friends of the same. There's nothing wrong with a business like that if the tech knows his business.

However, it was later discovered that whenever this guy worked on someone's computer, he installed something and configured the computer so that he could remotely access it. He never told anyone whose computers he worked on that he had done that or installed anything. After my friend's mother had worse problems with her computer after this guy had worked on it and she took it to a computer repair store and she found out that her computer had been configured for remote access.

The people at the repair shop told her the way it was done that there were no permissions needed from the owner/user to connect to the computer and nothing alerted the owner/user that the computer was being remotely accessed.

After his mom told him about it, my friend had his computer checked out and also found out the remote access software and configuration was installed on it. It had obviously been done at the party.

The same tech had worked on about 10 computers for that family and every one was later found to be remotely accessible. There was a file with his computer business name installed which was what called attention to it. When the tech was confronted about it, his explanation was that he did it as a convenience to his 'clients' so if a problem arose, he could be called any time and if he had his laptop with him or was at home, he could check out and likely fix the problem from his computer saving them a service call charge. He did his best to downplay it as "no big deal" and even suggested it was a common practice.

Considering that he never told anyone about that remote access ability before-hand and even after getting busted, never explaining the degree of control and access to everything he had, I think he had quite different ideas that what he said. He did a wonderfully clever job of downplaying what he did and although he lost a number of clients over it. Even though there's a shadow still over his reputation over it, I would bet he still does it. While I could almost understand his reasoning about why he installed it, doing so without the computer owner's knowledge, understanding, and permission is unpardonable.

As far as I know, nothing was ever tampered with or any information stolen. I knew the guy that did it from years ago when took some classes together, it would not surprise me to know he did a bit of spying not only with web cams but via the microphone a lot of PCs have built in or added on. It may also explain why he caters to people who are computer illiterate or new to the whole thing.

The point is, even when seeking help from professionals, you still have to be very careful and make sure you understand what they did.

*** Thoughts and Comments

I'm not often surprised, but last week, you managed to surprise me.

Last week, I asked you, "Which social networking website do you use most often?"

The surprise was not that the most popular choice was, "I don't believe in or have time for social networking on the internet" (45%). That I actually kind of expected.

What surprised me was the dominance of Facebook among those of you who are using social media. Over 37% of the responses indicated Facebook, as compared to roughly 4% each for Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

I really expected Twitter to be higher.

But the survey really got me what I needed: focus. Thank you to all who responded.

Twitter will continue to get automated announcements when new articles are posted and I'll experiment some with Google+ but Facebook is the place to be, it seems. You can find me there at

The largest complaints against social media involved issues with time, security, privacy, and a preference for actually in-person face-to-face communication.

I can understand all of those concerns.

But I can also say that I connect with more people more often and have re-connected with more people because of my presence on social media. In some cases, it's that persons' preferred way to communicate in general; in other cases, it's simply a convenient and fun way to easily stay in contact with people who might otherwise fall off my radar.

Security and privacy are issues, of course. But they can be managed with a little education and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Of course, what I also see is that skepticism keeping people away from social media altogether.

Like I said, I can understand that, too.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
Facebook - YouTube
Twitter - Google+

*** Administration

Help Ask Leo! Just forward this message, in its entirety (but without your unsubscribe link below) to your friends. Or, just point them at for their own FREE subscription!

Need more help with or have questions about the newsletter? Check out the newsletter administration page.

Newsletter contents Copyright © 2012,
Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.
Ask Leo! is a registered trademark ® of Puget Sound Software, LLC