Ask Leo! #345 – Lights are on but nobody home, small photos, backup terminology, a fully packed Answercast and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

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My computer lights up and turns on but nothing happens, why?

I'm having problem starting up my computer. When I press the Power button, it lights up and everything inside it runs, but nothing appears on my monitor. I don't know what's the problem. I already cleaned it and had reset the CMOS, but nothing works.


Well, I'll put it this way: just because the lights are on, doesn't mean anyone's home.

I get this and similar questions often. You turn on your computer. It makes noise, you can see lights - perhaps even blinking lights - and assume that it must be running.

It might be.

Problem is - it might also not be running at all.

Continue reading: My computer lights up and turns on but nothing happens, why?

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Answercast #8: Admin and Hotmail access, sudden shut downs, messy desktops, lost digital files, Ubuntu updates and more...

Continue reading: Answercast #8: Admin and Hotmail access, sudden shut downs, messy desktops, lost digital files, Ubuntu updates and more...

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How do I make a small photo larger?

I frequently get asked how to make a small image larger - meaning that someone has found an image on the internet (typically a thumbnail of some sort) and want to enlarge it to something bigger.

Unfortunately, image detail that was lost when the image was resized to be smaller cannot be recovered by resizing it larger again.

In this video excerpt from a recent Ask Leo! webinar on photo manipulation, I'll discuss what it all means.

Continue reading: How do I make a small photo larger?

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*** Comments

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

Cappy writes:

Sadly, with a couple of the newest variants of virus/malware such as "System Security 2012," it gets even worse. The nasty program creates one or two partitions on your hard drive with no volume labels. You merrily do a complete wipe and re-install, but unless you go in and delete those partitions, after you format C: and install everything, the virus re-installs itself and you're back where you started! Like Leo says, imaging, backup, and prevention are truly the only smart answers!

Wow. I hadn't yet heard of malware that creates hidden partitions, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised.



How do I fix Windows after removing a virus?

Saetana writes:

Reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows is the only solution I would ever consider to a virus attack. You have no way of knowing which parts of your software have been affected by the virus. Make sure your personal documents, photos etc are backed up to a disk or USB drive - yes, installing all my software again is a pain but this is not an area you should take any risks with. Also be wary of using disk images if you have no idea how long you have had the infection - you may well put the virus back on your PC if you took a backup image since the infection.


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

Jerry writes:

Whoa! Wait a minute!...There are serious implications of your claim that "you just don't know" if your system infection has been totally eradicated! If that is true, it means:

1) NO currently available antivirus/antimalware/antispyware or combinations thereof can detect all infections and the claims of both reviewers and the companies that they can - is a lie. If you know that they can't, so do they, and that means that they are purposely deceiving the public.

2) If they can't find the malware or evidence of its behavior on your system, then their claims that they can eliminate these infections is also untrue and they are encouraging a false sense of security in the public that their application can clean the customer's system.

3) If the antivirus, etc. firms cannot find and fix these problems, then it follows that even BRAND NEW systems may be infected with some lurking type of malware (i.e., a trojan) hiding inside the Operating System that even Microsoft, etc., could not find.

4) Your suggestion to not get infected in the first place is nearly impossible, since malware developers can hide their malware in so many ways. Basically, it means you can't go anywhere because what you think is a "safe" legitimate site may be another deception.

5) So, if nobody can find the infection, how do you know it even exists? So, now what? Junk the whole system? Stop using computers?

Ultimately, you are very correct (except for the deceiving part). There is no way to prove a negative - no way to prove that your machine is NOT infected. Obviously, it's not practical to let that terrorize you into avoiding computers all together. One can safely assume (but cannot prove) that your new machine is probably malware free. One can safely assume (but cannot prove) that anti-malware tools remove most malware - but even there is it known that not all anti-malware tools remove all malware. All this is to point out that once you know you've been infected, many of those unprovable assumptions that you previously made are no longer safe to assume. The probability has shifted and it is no longer safe to make those assumptions until you reformat/reinstall where you then revert to making those assumptions (that you cannot prove).


*** Thoughts and Comments

I was asked this week about my "Introduction to Process Explorer" ebook. It's something I wrote a couple of years ago and made available as part of launching Maintaining Windows XP.

Would I be updating it, now that I was working on Maintaining Windows 7?

The sound that followed was my forehead slap.

Of course! I should have thought of that!

So I did. I updated it.

You can still get the two-year-old Introduction to Process Explorer PDF for free, but the revised version - updated to reflect the latest version of Process Explorer (a few things have changed in two years), and updated to also reflect a couple of Windows 7 nuances, is coming. In fact, it's in editing right now (something that the earlier version didn't benefit from).

I hope to have it available in the Kindle store by this time next week. I'll price it at $0.99 for at least a couple of weeks, perhaps forever, and I'll look into scheduling a couple of those "free download days" at some point as well.

And as a reminder you don't need a Kindle to read a Kindle book.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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