Ask Leo! #339 – Sleeping hard disks, Using RSS and an all new …. Answercast?

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** New Articles

In the very first "Answercast," I discuss what this experiment is all about and also address:

  • Is an external drive sized improperly due to other drives being RAID? »»

  • Dealing with not getting the download speed you expect from your ISP. »»

  • Reasons why a flash drive might stop working. »»

  • Multiple disk warnings in the Event Viewer. »»

  • What to do with a folder named "d7317587fdf43be2336eca86b603d5bc". »»

  • The Windows Live Hotmail closing your account scam. »»

  • Anti-malware tools that automatically charge your credit card every year. »»

  • Is Norton 360 plus Microsoft Security Essentials too much? »»

  • Wildcard website blocking. »»

  • Windows Vista just hanging 30 days after installation. »»

Continue reading: Answercast #1: Raided drives, download speeds, event viewer warnings, Hotmail scams and more...

* * *

Why is there a delay when I try to access my external hard disk?

I have an HP Envy 15 notebook PC running Windows 7. I have a 3 TB Western Digital external hard drive I use for a backup drive. I do manual backups from my C drive to it. I bring up the backup directory on that hard drive and keep it minimized until I want to back up a file or directory (or a collection of those) to it. Frequently when I click on a directory on the backup drive, that widow turns white and my cursor spins causing an irritating delay in doing the backup. This must occur to other PC users as well. Do you know what causes that and what I can do to stop that from occurring?


It's extremely common. I run into this all the time.

Even better - I'll bet it only happens "sometimes".

The problem isn't really a problem, per se, it's "by design".

And we can't even blame Windows.

Continue reading: Why is there a delay when I try to access my external hard disk?

* * *

Using RSS

RSS is a publication mechanism that websites can use to provide their content in a slightly different form that can be used in some very, very interesting ways.

In this video excerpt from a recent Ask Leo! webinar I'll show how RSS and Google's RSS reading website can be used to keep track of a large number of websites and information streams with ease.

Continue reading: Using RSS

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

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

John McCurdy writes:

I'm an independent computer consultant, and these days I'm spending a lot of time setting up new Windows 7 computers for my clients and transferring their data from their old Windows XP systems. I used to do that by removing the hard drive from the old computer and connecting it temporarily to the new one to copy everything off of it, but that means spending a lot of time deciding what to copy and trying to be sure the client hasn't hidden anything important in a non-standard location. And, it can also entail a nightmare of permissions issues in some cases.

These days the very first thing I do is make an image of the entire old drive using Macrium Reflect (which IMO is by far the best imaging/backup software currently available), and then I copy that image file into a folder on the new system's hard drive. Then I install either the trial or the free version of Macrium Reflect (depending on whether the client is willing to buy the full version, which most are once I explain the dangers of not backing up) on the new computer, and after that it's a simple matter to mount that image file as a temporary drive in the system and copy anything I want from it.

Since modern hard drives have far more space than most of my clients will ever need there's plenty of room to keep that old image, and then if we later find that I missed something when I restored their data it's easy to open the image again and find it. There is no chance of losing anything important after they dispose of the old computer, and there are no permissions problems.

These days I seldom bother with file backups, because for myself and 99% of my clients a good image made by a solid and reliable imaging program like Macrium Reflect is easier and far more valuable. (And no, I have no relationship whatsoever with Macrium.)


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

Lou writes:

I thought that Windows 7 Home Premium did not support Remote Desktop Connections, so how did the technician connect? I would like to be able to help my friends by connecting to their computer so how was it done?

Remote desktop is a feature in Windows that's not enabled for Home edition. However there are many third party solutions to do the equivalent, such as LogMeIn, TeamViewer and more.



How do I fix Windows 7 boot problems?

Paul Schmidt writes:

You may have to do the "Startup Repair" three times because the utility repairs one item at a time (out of 3 possible). Keep running it until you get the pc to boot.

*** Thoughts and Comments

It's been a busy, busy week here at Ask Leo! world headquarters! Lots to talk about today.

First, I've started working on Maintaining Windows 7. I don't recall if I mentioned this before but my plan is to divide this book up in to 5 volumes. Not only will that let you choose the volumes you care about, but it also means it'll take me less than a year this time to have something to show for it all Smile.

Volume one will be all about backing up. Whether you're "maintaining" your Windows 7 machine with an eye to longevity or not, I suspect this'll be a popular, if not the most popular, volume of the series.

Before I get too far along I want to make sure I'm taking your needs into account.

So... I'd appreciate it deeply if you could answer a couple of open-ended questions about backing up and about Windows 7.

Please click here to give me your thoughts.

It'll probably take me more than a week to summarize the responses, but I'll report back here in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of books, the Ask Leo! 2011 Archive is now available. All the articles published last year in a single, downloadable PDF.

And Kindle!

I uploaded it to Kindle yesterday, so hopefully you'll also see a link on the book's page to Amazon where you can purchase the archive for a significantly reduced price. (Unfortunately I can't offer discounts or coupons on Kindle titles, but I did say seriously reduced Smile.)

And by now you're probably wondering "What the heck is an 'Answercast'????".

I alluded to the issue on Facebook yesterday. Here's the deal:

As a newsletter subscriber you have access to a link that lets you ask questions that get put at the head of the line, so to speak. (It's at the top and bottom of every emailed copy of the newsletter.) I can't answer all questions, but I do try and get through the queue of subscriber's questions within a couple of days.

The problem is that for everyone else it's a really long line. If you go to the "regular" ask-a-question page ( you'll see that I'm currently wading though questions that were asked over a month ago.

I'm not happy about that, and am looking to do something that lets me answer more questions faster.

Hence the "Answercast" - an audio podcast where I simply answer questions for 15 to 20 minutes, which is then transcribed and posted.

So far it appears that I can get through questions a lot faster.

We'll see. I'm interested in your feedback after you listen to the podcast. It definitely needs polish, but I'm actually pretty excited about the possibilities here.

(And a big tip of the hat to JB Glossinger of for the inspiration and example Smile.)

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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