Ask Leo! #354 – Computers that start themselves, what happens when you say SPAM, Meebo, Truecrypt and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** New Articles

Why is my browser being redirected?

When I type in some URLs, such as or, instead of getting the real website, I appear to be redirected to some other site ending in .ru. But the site I typed in still stays displayed in the address line. Is this a virus or someone trying to take over my computer? How do I clean this up?


In a word: malware.

This is a fairly classic case of a browser hijacking.

There are many variations on the theme, but the idea is very simple: you try to go somewhere and you land ... somewhere else.

Continue reading: Why is my browser being redirected?

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Why does my computer turn itself back on from standby?

I have a desktop that, when I put it into the standby mode, it will turn itself on. This can happen in minutes or after many hours. At first, I thought it was the anti-virus software that I use attempting to get an update, so I disconnected the computer from the internet and disabled the anti-virus. It turned itself on overnight. I tried turning off as many running programs as I could; no help. I'm running Windows XP. This has been happening for a while, so I can't say that there was a specific event that occurred prior to this issue.


I want to be clear: I don't have "The Answer" for this.

I do have some suspicions and some directions to look in, however, based on some of my own experiences.

Continue reading: Why does my computer turn itself back on from standby?

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What happens when I mark something as spam?

I am on AOL and when I get an email from someone that I do not want to ever hear from again, I report it as spam. What really happens to it? Does AOL know what to do with it if it ever shows up again? Is there any protection for me? Does the person that sent the email know that I put it in the Spam folder?


There's no definitive answer on exactly what happens (for reasons that I'll explain in a moment).

However, there are definitely some general concepts that come in to play when you mark something as spam.

The first distinction is to understand whether you're marking as spam in an email program running on your machine or on a web-based interface.

Continue reading: What happens when I mark something as spam?

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Answercast #17 - Losing important folders, booting from a rescue disc, sharing photos, IE, Meebo, paging files and more...

Continue reading: Answercast #17 - Losing important folders, booting from a rescue disc, sharing photos, IE, Meebo, paging files and more...

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week


TLS is an acronym for Transport Layer Security.

The term TLS is commonly used interchangeably with SSL or in combination such as TLS/SSL.

TLS, like SSL, is a communications protocol intended to secure a point-to-point connection in two ways:

  • Confirmation that the connection is to the intended entity
  • Encryption of the data being exchanged to prevent eavesdropping

Technically TLS is based on SSL and can for the most part be considered a newer version thereof. TLS and SSL are not interoperable, but TLS does have the ability to "downgrade", if needed, to the older, slightly less secure SSL protocol.

In most cases the term SSL is still used to refer to secure connections, but in fact the underlying protocol used is most commonly TLS.

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

SpinRite - Repair hard disk failures and recover your data

"Cannot read from source file or disk" is often an indication that your hard disk has a bad sector and is quite literally unable to read some, or all of the file. Another error that you might encounter is the dreaded "CRC Error" which means effectively the same thing: a problem with the data on your hard drive.

Hard disks are fairly cheap these days and replacement is often a practical solution.

However, if the data that you can't get to is important, or the time and hassle of replacing the hard disk is too daunting, SpinRite could well be the answer.

Continue reading: SpinRite - Repair hard disk failures and recover your data

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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Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.
Ask Leo! is a registered trademark ® of Puget Sound Software, LLC

Posted: May 15, 2012 in: 2012
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.