Ask Leo! #335 – Accidentally exposing your on-line status, unexpected downloads, wiping free space and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

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How often should I wipe my disks free space?

I read your article about CCleaner's file deletion overwrite, which I tried on my Windows Vista. Mine took about three hours to do. My question is how often should I use this file deletion in general? Once per month? I am really clueless about that. I am referring to the CCleaner's wipe section.


Well, let me put it this way....

I never run it.

With that having been said, let's look at why you might want to run it, and from that, see if we can come up with some ideas for how often it might make sense to run.

Continue reading: How often should I wipe my disks free space?

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How does my friend always know when I'm online?

I find that whenever I log onto the internet, a certain unwelcome friend immediately knows that I am online. How can I stop this? Can it be done through my ISP?


It doesn't really have anything to do with your ISP, but more likely, it's the software that's running on your machine.

Software that essentially says "I'm here!" as soon as you connect.

I'll look at the most likely causes.

Continue reading: How does my friend always know when I'm online?

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Why did I not get the download I wanted?

A note about c|net Recently, any download now puts a c|net download manger and that program downloads your file (and a toolbar). Hidden slightly is the direct download, but most people will not find it or even notice it.


I'm not seeing a download manager, but your comment raises a very common and troubling practice: extremely misleading advertising.

And confusingly hidden download links.

It's a serious problem that at best confuses people and at worst causes them to download and install junk.

Junk that they didn't want in the first place.

Continue reading: Why did I not get the download I wanted?

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*** Comments

Why I don't like System Restore

DavidW writes:

I'm with Leo. As a system builder/repairer, I've seen far too many times when system restore was useless or disabled completely by malware. When it works, it's great. However, those who have never had system restore fail are in the minority. The system backup (we prefer images via Acronis True Image) is our preferred method of backing up our own systems and what we've recommended to customers for years. Another thing to consider is that backing up to the same hard drive as the operating system is on - is really no backup at all if that hard drive fails. So there's no such thing as "my computer is too full to permit me to backup everything." I've got 4x 1 TB hard drives running in RAID 0, with three partitions on it. Windows can't currently see more than 2TB partitions, so any partition backup will fit on an external 2TB drive. One and two TB hard drives are cheap now, so no excuse not to have several if you have that much to backup. Just food for thought. :-)


Why I don't like System Restore

Jason B writes:

I have been a repair technician for several years and I do like System Restore, but it is not perfect. You should never put all your eggs in one basket. Use System Restore along with back ups. As a tech, I get many calls to fix problems that were easily fixed with System Restore and many that are not. Sometimes System Restore is blocked from opening from a virus, sometimes the date has been moved ahead a thousand years and locked out from going back to get a proper restore point, and sometimes, it just fails. Fixing other computers almost never involves using a backup to restore stuff since they did not use a back up that leaves you with the hope of System Restore or finding the problem manually or a reinstall.

In short, System Restore is great, but not perfect.


How long do ISPs keep data on you?

Glenn P. writes:

So, Leo has (apparently) been asked:

          "What information about you do ISP's keep, and how long do they keep it?":

Well now, I'm afraid that the only truly safe  answer to that question can only be:

          "Everything, & Forever."

Have fun, folks.         :(


How do I get my files back from a closed upload site?

Robert Miller writes:

Using websites or anything in the cloud to store personal data places that data at risk of loss, as experienced by users of MegaUpload. Don't join the bandwagon to using cloud-based computer programs or storage. Maintain backups of any data on devices that you can see and touch.

My advice is different: go ahead and use cloud services as is appropriate to what you are trying to do - just be sure to BACK UP.


*** Thoughts and Comments

Don't forget Sunday's webinar!

No agenda, just your questions and hopefully some good answers on my part.

Sunday, 1PM U.S. Pacific Daylight Time. In the U.S., that's the start of Daylight Saving time so I'm not going to try to guess what other time zones will be. Instead, I'll Tweet and post a Facebook update about an hour before.

But do register before hand if you want to attend.

FREE Kindle Book!

You can get the Kindle version of my ebook Internet Safety - Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet for FREE!

But, sadly, there's a catch...

It's free today and tomorrow Saturday and Sunday - March 10th & 11th, 2012 - only.

That's a $2.99 value, completely free. Right here.

And of course, if you do get it and find it helpful and informative, I'd sure appreciate your posting a review on Amazon.

Y'all ... (OK, I've come back from the south, but I may have picked up a few ... habits ... while there).

Anyway, you keep surprising me.

Last week, I asked for feedback on what ebook I should do next and the results were not what I would have predicted.

This is why I ask and why I so deeply appreciate your taking the time to respond.

By a two-to-one margin, Maintaining Windows 7 seems a clear winner.

As I said, not what I was expecting.

So, stay tuned as I flesh out the strategy and begin my work.

By the way, if Windows 7 wasn't your preference, don't despair. Based on the feedback that I've gotten, I'm also taking the results of this survey as a kind of "prioritization" step for future books as well.

I'm hoping to do more than one a year. Smile

Thank you again for your feedback!

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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Posted: March 9, 2012 in: 2012
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.