Ask Leo! #353 – Full headers in Gmail, IE8 & 9, destroying a hard disk and more…

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Can I move my old computer's hard drive to my new computer?

My sister has a computer with Windows 98se. However, it is crashing on her. She got a new computer with Windows XP. My question is, can she install her old hard drive with 98se onto her new PC so she can transfer her files over to her new hard drive with XP? She is very illiterate when it comes to computers.


The good news is that a working hard disk that was formatted for use by any prior versions of Windows can certainly be read by Windows versions that come later. Your Win 98 disk can be read by Windows XP and later, and Windows XP disks are readable by Windows Vista and Windows 7.

The not-so-bad news is that you'll have to open the box, extract the drive, and do something with it.

I'll admit it: That's not for everyone.

Continue reading: Can I move my old computer's hard drive to my new computer?

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How do I view full headers in Gmail?

I'm trying to figure out an email problem and the ISP support said I needed to send them the "full email headers" of the message. Huh? What's that and how do I get it? I use Gmail.


There's a more to email than meets the eye.

In fact, there's a LOT more.

Bundled with every message is typically a list of information, including the mail server that it originated from, the servers that it traveled across along its way, as well as a bunch of other optional information relating to who sent it, anti-spam information, mailing list unsubscribe information, and much, much more.

It's a bunch of geekery that you really don't want to see every time.

But if you do, it's easy to get at it, particularly in Gmail.

Continue reading: How do I view full headers in Gmail?

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Should I Install Internet Explorer 8? Internet Explorer 9?

Should I install IE8? What do you think of it?

I installed IE8 and it broke _____ - how do I fix it or revert back to what I had before?


Yes, you should install IE 8 if you're on Windows XP and IE 9 if you're running Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Both have stabilized to the point where prior versions of Internet Explorer are simply no longer advisable. In fact, Internet Explorer 9 specifically is a more compatible and more secure browser overall and deserves serious consideration.

Oh, and I'm not saying that you need to ditch your alternative browsers, like Chrome or Firefox.

Continue reading: Should I Install Internet Explorer 8? Internet Explorer 9?

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AnswerCast #16 - Drilling a hard disk, running two monitors, selective cloning, deleting Facebook and more...

Continue reading: AnswerCast #16 - Drilling a hard disk, running two monitors, selective cloning, deleting Facebook and more...

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*** Comments

Can my computer be hacked if it is turned off?

Fred Nerd writes:

My reply (to a normal user) would be "No, BUT your gmail/Hotmail/Facebook/bank/anything-else-online account can be."


Can I set up my own static IP address for my internet connection?

Ken B writes:

Another reason that ISPs charge more for static IPs is that they have a fixed number of IP addresses available to them. A static IP address is assigned to one computer/router, and only that computer/router. If you go away for a two week vacation and turn it off before you leave, that IP address is still assigned to you. If they have 1000 IP addresses available for static use, then they can only use it for 1000 clients.

A dynamic IP address, on the other hand, can be reassigned to anyone, at practically any time. If they have 1000 IP addresses available for dynamic use, they can (theoretically) sell their services to as many clients as they want. As long as no more than 1000 clients are connected at any given time, everything still works.

In short, they can charge more because, to those who need it, it's worth more.

As for the original poster's question, it comes down to whether or not you "really" need a static IP address. As Mack Peters points out, it may suffice to have a fixed domain name which points to your dynamic IP address. There are numerous free and paid services available for this.

Finally, as Leo pointed out, depending on your ISP, dynamic IPs may not change very often, especially for broadband providers with always-on routers. For example, my IP address has changed, I believe, only 3 or 4 times during the past 12 months, and one of those times was after turning the router back on after returning from vacation. Even of your service "needs" a static IP, as long as there is a way for you to say "my address changed, here's the new one", that may suffice as "good enough".


Why should I pay for free software?

A RICHTER writes:

Payment could be in kind. Those who have no money to spare may write a review at a download site, recommend the software they are so happy with, and rate it. Sharing with others helps.

A very good point - I like it.



How do I fix my dial-up modem after being in a lightening storm?

AT writes:

From experience the easiest way to progress is to obtain a cheap USB modem. It will either work, issue resolved, or not thus disproving the modem as being at fault. I always used to keep an old USB modem lying around for emergencies and just such events as you have experienced.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Bring Questions!

On Sunday I'll be taking your questions live as part of Webinar #12 - Q&A. That's Sunday the 13th (yep, a special Mother's Day edition) at 1PM PDT / 9PM UTC.

Seating is limited, so you do need to register first. Webinar #12 - Q&A has the link to do just that.

The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Speaking of mom, if you're visiting her this weekend perhaps you can give the gift of backups?

No, I don't have anything to sell you, just a gentle reminder that backing up is the one thing that many over look as being too difficult, and yet it's the one thing that can save you or your mom from almost any disaster.

External drive, cloud, manual, automated, ... whatever; do something. If there's ever a disaster she'll be extremely grateful that you set something up.

What backup program should I use? has an overview of some of the issues you might want to take into account.

A "Sneak Peek"

When the first volume of my Maintaining Windows 7 books on backing up goes on sale next month or so (see, I will have something to sell you eventually Smile) there will be a companion web site available with bonus content for those who purchase the book.

The book itself will be fairly large in that I'm using a lot of images as I walk you through backing up using two different backup programs. But sometimes video really is the answer.

It's one thing to describe what I'm doing in a book, even with pictures, but often watching what I'm doing in video can help clarify exactly what's what.

That's what I plan to make available exclusively to book owners.

Have a peek at for a preview of things to come.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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