Ask Leo! #343 – Https Security, Burning a CD, nine more answers in Answercast 6 and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

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Why is there a slash through the https in my browser's address bar?

Sometimes when I'm on a secure website (https in the URL), I notice that the https has a slash through it, seemingly meaning the site is NOT secure. Is this true? And if so, why is it happening?


Https, for secure http, is used instead of http to do two things: confirm the identity of the site you're connecting to and keep your communications with that site secure by encrypting it all.

If something is wrong, the browser will often display a warning, but in some cases, it will do nothing more than turn the https indicator red or put a line through it.

Unfortunately, "something is wrong" can mean many things, ranging from a serious security issue to a benign oversight by the website's owner.

Continue reading: Why is there a slash through the https in my browser's address bar?

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How do you burn a CD?

How do you burn a CD? I used Real Clear, DivX, others and my computer doesn't record any audio or visual.


The concept of burning a CD can be a little difficult to grasp and is complicated by the fact that not all types of CDs or DVDs are burned the same way.

In this audio excerpt from a recent Ask Leo! webinar, I'll review what I use to burn CDs and DVDs.

Continue reading: How do you burn a CD?

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AnswerCast 6 : Purple monitors, blue screens, downloading Vista, file locations, security info, processor speeds and more...

Continue reading: AnswerCast 6 : Purple monitors, blue screens, downloading Vista, file locations, security info, processor speeds and more...

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*** Comments


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

Mike writes:

But if you're replacing a hard drive, why would you ever want to use the initial system image? Wouldn't you want to use the most recent good image to avoid having to reinstall all your stuff?

Absolutely. But that's not why an initial system image is valuable. You'd use an initial system image if, for some reason, you ever needed to start over, such as those cases where "Install Windows from scratch" is what you're wanting to do.



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

Ken B writes:

Quick note... You say that writing to a file "can't be cached." That's not true as operating systems often cache writes to improve performance. Multiple writes to the same disk location can be combined, for example, or the order of the writes can be rearranged for better throughput. However, such caches are typically written to the physical drive relatively quickly, and you can often force the O/S to flush the cache immediately.

Indeed. And I'd presume the little keep-alive program is telling Windows to flush the cache as well.



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

John writes:

I feel that power consumption would be fairly minor compared with the wear and tear of having it running all the time, especially when they are spinning at such high RPM. To have it running all the time would have to shorten the hard drive's life!

Actually, it's unclear that this is the case. The act of starting up and slowing down, and heating and cooling, also "wears" on the drive. In many cases, leaving the drive running continuously is actually easier on the drive. The one factor that someone mentioned earlier is interesting, though: because many portable drives often do not have fans, it's possible that they're simply not designed to be left on continuously and their lives might be shorter due to overheating. Either way, it's not as simple "always running is bad for the drive," as that's not always the case.



How do I clear up these lingering problems after a malware infection?

Kevin writes:

Really only one way...even after running anti malware and seemingly deleting the to revert to an image backup that you trust. Other things like photos, etc. can be backed up separately in the interim and then just revert is safest and surest in the long term

*** Thoughts and Comments

Survey Results

I promised you the results of your comments in response to a few questions I asked about Windows 7 and specifically backing up in Windows 7 in preparation for my book "Maintaining Windows 7".

I swear, every time I ask I get a surprise, and that's a great thing. I really appreciate your taking the time to give me such valuable feedback. As you'll see below, I take action on it.

My biggest surprise - and a real forehead slapping moment for me - was your response to the very first question:

"What's your biggest fear or frustration when it comes to backing up in Windows 7?"

The winner, by far, was variations on a very simple theme:

"That it won't work when I need it."

This makes so much sense. Backups are a great safety net, as long as there's no gaping hole.

How do you know there's no hole?

In response to your feedback, I've added an entire chapter dedicated to that issue in Maintaining Windows 7 - Volume 1: Backing Up called "Testing Your Backups".

Thank you for that.

Most common responses to the other questions:

"What's your single biggest question about backing up in Windows 7?"

"What is the best method/software for backing up?"

I'll answer that in Volume 1: Backing Up.

"What's your biggest fear or frustration with maintaining Windows 7 in general?"

"The frequent updates; knowing which update to install; problems installing updates."

"What's your single biggest question about maintaining Windows 7?"

"Why so many updates and do I need all of them?"

Oh yeah, I'll definitely make sure to cover updates in expanded detail in Volume 4: Keeping Up.

Those were the most common themes in response to each of the questions, but there's a bunch more feedback that I got from you that I'll definitely be using to make sure that I'm covering what matters to you.

Again, thank you.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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