Ask Leo! #333 – Letting a technician through your firewall, fixing Windows 7’s boot, image backups and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

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Is an image backup useful if I need to restore to a different machine?

Regarding the option of using a complete disk image backup versus a files backup only: I carefully read your recommendations and understand the difference between the two and the advantage of having a full image backup for the case that the computer might fail to start or the hard disk might become unusable. But, along with this, from some more reading, I understand that a full image backup (including the operating system) can only be helpful if you have to restore to a machine having an identical or almost identical hardware. Otherwise, a full image restore probably will not work. What about the case that you have to completely replace your machine with another one having (most probably) different hardware? If you only have a full image backup of the previous machine, is it still possible to use this backup for restoring the entire system? Or will it be much better to have a file backup of all of your software programs installation *.exe files (setup) plus all your data, and, even at the expense of having to reinstall the entire software, to be able to rescue the entire contents instead of NOT being able to restore at all?


There's a lot of confusion around what you can and cannot do with an image backup.

As you say, because it's a complete snapshot of your machine, an image backup can be used to completely restore everything that was on that machine at the time that the backup was taken.

But what if the machine changes?

Things may get slightly more complicated, but that image backup is still critically valuable.

Continue reading: Is an image backup useful if I need to restore to a different machine?

* * *

How do I fix Windows 7 boot problems?

Windows 7 won't boot - something about the boot loader. How do I fix it without formatting the hard disk? I have important data in it.


Occasionally, the information on the hard disk that tells your computer how to boot into Windows can become damaged or even deleted.

In the past, that required some fairly arcane tools and incantations to handle the situation.

The good news is that Windows 7 includes a repair facility that may very well clear it right up.

Continue reading: How do I fix Windows 7 boot problems?

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Why didn't I have to tell my firewall to allow a technician remote access?

I recently allowed a tech from a VOIP voice router company to remotely take over my computer in order to try and fix a router problem. I was amazed at how quickly he manipulated things within my computer and router, but I have been thinking, although I gave permission, which was only protocol from his company to ask for, how easy it must be for a pro hacker to do the very same without any permission. Then I'm thinking how good was my firewall, etc. It didn't even seem to have a clue as to what was going on; I would have thought that I might have needed to shut down my firewall for him to get access to my computer, but no, it was just too easy. I wonder what your thoughts are on this. I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.


This is a wonderful example of how even the best, most securely protected computers can still get infected.

No, I'm not saying that you got infected. Chances are what you allowed was above board and without malicious intent.

But understanding how it happened (that your firewall wasn't involved) is pretty key to understanding how malware can still spread.

You invite it in.

Continue reading: Why didn't I have to tell my firewall to allow a technician remote access?

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

7 Things Your Sysadmin Probably Won't Tell You

Leigh Headley writes:

There's a dimension to this discussion that goes beyond trust. I have seen many of my customers effected by vendors that they knowingly or not trusted with aspects of their business only to have these vendors go out of business leaving them in the lurch for access to their own critical programs, website, servers, email, etc. I think the other take away from your article should be to understand the technical aspects of your business well enough to understand just what you are trusting both your contract labor as well as your employes with.


7 Things Your Sysadmin Probably Won't Tell You

Glenn P. writes:

...And  having read all that about your SysAdmin, now feel free to ignore all of it completely.

Because -- quite frankly -- there is no Earthly you way you will ever be able to do without him.

I disagree - strongly - with your suggestion that it be ignored. This information is critically important to know and understand for the very reason you mention - you can't do without a sysadmin of some sort. What that means is that it's critical you know and understand their abilities so as to understand how critical it is you find someone capable and trustworthy, and how equally critical it is that you walk away from someone in that position whom you do nor or cannot trust.



How do I use Facebook safely?

Karl writes:

I use some of the apps on Facebook, there is a few trust worthy apps that will only post what you tell it to post. On the other hand there is a lot of rouge/scam apps that will post stuff without you're consent, also you can get malware/rouge browser addon from them.

Privacy on Facebook is only as good as you're setting and friends settings. Say you have set you're privacy setting to friends only, you are only sharing with friends unless one of you're friends has theirs set to public or friends of friends, in this case anything you post on that friends wall is shared with everyone of their friends.

In short you're Privacy is only as strong as you're weakest friend. Only one way to be 100% private on facebook is to set you're privacy settings to only me that way nothing is shared with anyone except maybe the Facebook Devs.

Now for keeping up with scams I like Hoax-Slayer and Sophos, Another good one is Facecrooks, they keep on top of the scams, hoaxes and rouge malware infested junk on facebook. I check all 3 of these daily.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Last year I published Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide; you may have seen it advertised from time to time in the newsletter. It's been very well received - actually exceeding my expectations.

I'd like to do more.

You're a much better judge of what would help you than I am. So rather than my guessing what would be most appealing, I'd like to ask you using this one question survey.

This is pretty high level, and if there's a strong preference I may well come back and ask for a little help refining the subject matter.

But for now, if you can take a moment to click here to help give me a little direction.

Many thanks!

At the risk of asking for too much... Smile

As a newsletter subscriber you hopefully got a copy of my ebook "Internet Safety - Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet" for free. (If not, let me know and we'll get you a copy.)

A couple of months ago I made it available for Amazon Kindle.

If you've found the book helpful I'd certainly appreciate a few reviews on Amazon. As you probably know reviews play a large part of how books get noticed out there and of course I'd love for more people to find the book and get a little safer.

Thanks very much.

I'm traveling this week! Ask Leo! world headquarters has temporarily relocated to the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. I'm here attending a couple of conferences.

It's been a busy week, so I don't really have a lot more to add here. Next week it's back home and a return to as-normal-as-it-gets. Smile

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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