Ask Leo! #327 – Getting ‘remembered’ passwords out of your computer, backing up Yahoo!, download accelerators and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** New Articles

How do download accelerators work?

I recently downloaded two sizable content files, each 1.1GB. My FIOS is 20/5. The first file took X minutes to download. The second download link (from the same company) to me to a "content downloader" and the file of the same size took less than half the time. I mean, it was quite noticeably faster. I wonder how their "downloader" program can cut the download time of a huge file in half since my internet connection is still 20/5.


Download accelerators certainly don't make your internet connection any faster, but they do sometimes seem like they do.

A normal file download is essentially a file copy operation. A file on some remote server is copied to your computer.

A download accelerator does that too, but it can make use of a few tricks to simply be more efficient at it; sometimes much more efficient.

Continue reading: How do download accelerators work?

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How do I recover my email password from my mail program?

If you've forgotten your email password, perhaps because you let your email program - Outlook Express, in this example - remember your password for you, there are totally legitimate tools that will display what your email program has remembered for you. That's both convenient ... and scary.

In this video from an Ask Leo! webinar , I'll walk through the fate of Outlook Express and point you at the tool that can be used to display what it's remembered for you.

Continue reading: How do I recover my email password from my mail program?

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How do I backup my Yahoo! Mail?

Every message that I have sent and saved is on my Yahoo! account. I would like to download all of this material - to a CD, a memory stick, my computer, anywhere! I don't know how to do this. Could you help me on this?


This is one reason why I rarely recommend Yahoo! as an email provider. They have a nice UI and it's a reasonably good service, but they provide no officially supported way to back up your email.

So, we have to go through some slightly unofficial back doors.

It may seem a tad intimidating at first, but it's well worth it - without a backup, you're at risk of losing everything.

Continue reading: How do I backup my Yahoo! Mail?

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

2011 Most Popular Questions

John writes:

Thanks for the 2011 Top Ten list-it was fun!

Computer security (or the lack thereof) is amazing to me...I buy used computers to tinker with all the time & have been surprised to see what people give away without wiping the hard drive. Twice in the past six months, I have come across completely intact systems right down to e-mail accounts & financial info still being in place. I immediately wiped the drives with DBN & also used White Canyon's Wipe Drive after that on them to be sure...with both set to military standards. A dishonest person could have wreaked havoc in their lives with this kind of info. The other amazing thing is when folks sell computers in eBay, they post pictures of the COA License with the numbers clearly visible...thieves cruise that site looking to steal them, too. Happy New Year & best wishes for a wonderful 2012!


What is a clipboard?

Jim writes:

BTW, one other thing to know about effective clipboard use is the importance of mastering the Ctrl-X (cut), Ctrl-C (copy) and Ctrl-V (paste) keyboard shortcuts.

One of my friends was repeatedly using her mouse to go to the Edit menu for all of the clipboard operations before I showed her how much quicker the keystroke combinations worked...


How do I get a Hotmail password reset if my alternate email address is invalid?

David Trujillo writes:

I'm amazed at how many people don't use the provided security features provided by all email providers. I've been with, which is also part of the Windows Live Team. This is my business email address. I also use Gmail and Yahoo!, as disposable addresses, and have for many years. They all provide very good security measures. I have never had any problem with any of these, and if you have the security measures in place, you will be notified when anyone attempts to make changes to your account. Free or paid services, all are only as safe as we ourselves make them. Good work, Leo! Kudos to the repeated replies that you provide for email address recoveries. Excellent newsletters and advice.


How do I delete my Facebook Account?

Alex Dow writes:

I occasionally wonder about such situations and similar such as when one is told that "all the information about you has been removed".

What about all the earlier backups?

In my working career on computers, we backed up the computers at the end of each working day, on an incremental basis.

These tapes were re-used on the same day of the following week.

At the end of each month (apart from the "Final Month" below, we did a Full Backup, the tapes being re-used in the same month of the following year.

At the end of the Final Month each year, we did a Full Backup.

In the 15 years of doing so, NONE of those YEARLY Backup Tapes were re-used, as some contracts required the data to be retained for 20 years from generally the agreed Delivery/Handover Date of the project.

Thus, such information theoretically could be available for around 25 years after it had apparently been deleted from the "present-day" working files.

I don't know the situation with Facebook and similar operations - BUT it does make me wary of what I do post on the internet on all types of system.

Regarding my local Hard Disks, I remove them from the PC being discarded, keeping those HDDs at home, as being relatively safer than any re-formatting.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Don't forget the webinar!

My next webinar will be this Sunday at 1PM US Pacific time (9PM UTC).

Topics this month will include RSS and using Google Reader to keep track of RSS subscriptions. I'm a firm believer that RSS is one of those hidden gems that not a lot of people really "get", but that once understood can be a truly powerful way to keep track of information being posted on dozens, hundreds even thousands of web sites if you're so inclined.

I'll also cover what I call "searching effectively". When I see people search for things, I'm often struck by how just a few simple tricks and ways of looking at search could make it so much more useful of a tool. I'm not just talking about searching on Ask Leo!, I mean search in general.

As always, seats are limited, pre-registration is required. Click here for more information.


Are you in or around the Savannah, Georgia area? I'll be in Savannah for a conference the first week of March and I am considering a meetup at a local Starbucks (of course Smile).

Keep an eye on this space in the next couple of newsletters, or "Like" my Facebook fan page where I'll certainly post any last minute updates.

You can also expect a "special guest" or two ... the conference I'll be attending includes some names you might recognize.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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