Ask Leo! #332 – Does Google know all? Viewing hidden files, locating product keys and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** New Articles

How do I find the product key that was used to install my system or application?

How can I find the XP installation CD key used on my system without having the CD or its box?


It's important to save that box, sleeve, or whatever else your product key was originally distributed on.

Under certain circumstances, you can retrieve it from the system that it's installed on, but unfortunately, under other circumstances, you cannot.

I'll look at a couple of tools that you can use to see if it's available for you.

Continue reading: How do I find the product key that was used to install my system or application?

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How do I view hidden files and folders?

I have my old Outlook .pst file on a flash drive, but I cannot get it to my hard drive. The location of the newly created Outlook .pst file is in the location - c:UsersUsernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftOutlook - but when I try to step into that location in Richard, there is no "AppData" folder. What am I missing? I'm trying to install Outlook 2007 into Windows operating system.


Windows is trying to be helpful by protecting you from yourself.

Or perhaps it's trying not to confuse you with too much data.

Or maybe it's trying to protect itself from you.

Whatever ... Windows is hiding that folder.

We know what we're doing, so we'll tell it to stop.

Continue reading: How do I view hidden files and folders?

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Does Google's new privacy policy mean they know everything about me?

p>If I use an email account based on a pseudonym on Google Groups, will Google match that with my real name and compromise my secrecy? If so, would creating a new pseudonym fool Google? Or is the bottom line of their privacy policy such that anyone using any account via a particular IP address runs the risk of being identified?


I've received several questions about Google's privacy policy "change" of a few weeks ago.

I'll certainly admit that I've not read it in excruciating detail, but it's my understanding that little has changed significantly in Google's privacy policies. The new policy simply brings all of the separate policies that they had set up for all of their separate services before under one umbrella.

Your concern about your anonymity actually transcends these policies, whether they change or not.

It's my belief that there are really two questions at play here.

Continue reading: Does Google's new privacy policy mean they know everything about me?

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*** Word o' the Week


A certificate (really a digital certificate) is a blob of encrypted data that is generally used for two purposes:

  • To confirm the identity of a website, server, or person.
  • To encrypt data exchanged with that website, server, or person.

Certificates are built using public-key encryption and rely heavily on digital signatures.

How Do Certificates Work?

Continue Reading: Certificates

Word o' the Week features a computer term or acronym taken from the Ask Leo! Glossary. If there's a word you're not sure of and would like to see defined, click here to let me know.

*** Leo Recommends

Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free

I've been using Dropbox for a quite some time now and recently came across perhaps the most compelling reason to finally recommend it to you.

One of the common questions I get is "how do I share [files, photos, documents, whatever] with my [friends, business associates, contacts] without using email, and without having them show up on the public internet?

Dropbox solves that, and a lot more.

Continue reading: Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free

Each week I recommend a specific product or resource that I've found valuable and that I think you may as well. What does my recommendation mean?

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