Ask Leo! #336 – More on initial system images, free Kindle reading applications, overwriting files and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

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How do I read a Kindle book if I don't have a Kindle?

Kindle this, Kindle that. It seems that every time that I turn around, someone's talking about Kindle. Even you're publishing books on Kindle. Good for you, but what about those of us that can't afford a Kindle, or just don't want one? Am I out of luck?


OK, I totally made that question up, basing it on what I expect a lot of people to be saying as more and more publishers begin producing content on Kindle - either exclusively, or "exclusively-for-a-while."

Including myself.

You are most definitely not out of luck. Far from it.

And it's one of the reasons why I really like the Kindle publishing platform.

Continue reading: How do I read a Kindle book if I don't have a Kindle?

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What happens to my initial system image if my system takes an update?

In I don't have installation media for Windows - what if I need it? you stated, "That backup image takes the place of installation media in the case of system failures. If you ever need to reinstall from scratch, then you can simply restore that backup image and your machine will be exactly as it was when you took that backup." I have three questions:

1) If Microsoft installs an automatic update, will this update be added to the backup image in the next schedule incremental backup?

2) Or is the backup image "locked" not permitting any change?

3) If for any reason one file in the operating system becomes corrupted, can I restore just that file from the backup image?


With the way that the question is worded, I'm concerned that you may have missed the point of my statement.

If you don't have installation media, that initial image backup can be an important, occasionally even system-saving backup to have.

As it turns out, most of your questions are about what happens after that.

Continue reading: What happens to my initial system image if my system takes an update?

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If I empty the contents of a file and then save it, is the data really deleted?

You've recently spent some time on deleting files. I understand that just hitting Shift+Delete doesn't rid the hard disk of the file, but I've long wondered about some other things: Suppose I have an Excel or Word file that contains personal info (say a list of passwords or other sensitive information) and I decide that's not such a good idea. If I delete all of the information, then save the file, is that information gone forever? Likewise, suppose this file is called "password.xls," and I create a new (even blank) spreadsheet, save it as the same file (password.xls), and click 'Yes' to "Replace existing file?" Have I successfully hidden those passwords (or whatever) forever? Are they off my disk now? Any chance that life could be this simple?


Let me put it this way: when it comes to computers, life is rarely simple.

This situation is no exception.

The short answer to your question is of course not - the data might still be recoverable.

The longer answer is all about why.

Continue reading: If I empty the contents of a file and then save it, is the data really deleted?

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*** Word o' the Week


UAC is an acronym for user account control (or, depending on who you talk to, user access control).

User account control is a feature added in Windows Vista (and made less annoying in Windows 7) that prompts the user for confirmation or the administrator password when something potentially system-altering or malicious is about to take place.

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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

Seagate FreeAgent Go - Portable USB External Harddrive

As you might imagine, I get these questions in various forms all the time. As a result, I do have recommendations in various articles all over Ask Leo!.

Here's the short version that sums it all up.

Continue reading: Seagate FreeAgent Go - Portable USB External Harddrive

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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