Ask Leo! #356 – Booting from CD, Backing up TrueCrypt, about:blank and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** New Articles

What is about:blank, and how do I get rid of it?

I'm too dumb to understand the "Dummies" books. I think I am running Windows 7. I get the "about:blank" whenever I log on IE. I didn't even know it was a 'whatever' until recently. What is a simple, fool-proof way to get rid of it?


I almost discarded this question because it starts with one of the things that frustrates the heck out of me.

Please: never, ever refer to yourself as too dumb.

You're admitting defeat before you even start and that really makes it difficult for me or people like me to get enthused about even thinking about your question.

I don't care who you are – you're not too dumb.

With that mini-rant out of the way, let's talk about about:blank – it confuses many people (who, by the way, aren't dumb Smile).

Continue reading: What is about:blank, and how do I get rid of it?

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How do I back up my Truecrypt encrypted data?

I'm very confused about Truecrypt and how I should back it up. Do I back up the files? The container? What if I'm using whole-drive encryption? How do I back up the encrypted stuff? I'm very confused.


That's actually a condensation of several questions that I get about Truecrypt and backing up.

Backing up is critical, without a doubt. But when you're using Truecrypt to protect sensitive data, there's no one answer on exactly how you should be backing up. It depends a lot on exactly how you're backing up and a couple of decisions that you might want to make along the way.

But first, we have to start with a clear understanding of the two ways that Truecrypt can work and how that looks on disk.

Continue reading: How do I back up my Truecrypt encrypted data?

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How do I boot from CD/DVD?

I burned DBAN to a CD, and then rebooted the machine with the CD inserted in the drive. To my surprise, it just booted right back into Windows. What gives? How do I get the computer to boot up from the CD?


This is actually a pretty common problem with a relatively simple solution.

Your computer's BIOS needs to be instructed to check for a bootable CD or DVD before it tries to load whatever is on the hard drive. Right now, your computer is configured to either ignore the CD/DVD at boot time or check the hard disk first.

And because there's something bootable on the hard disk – namely Windows – that's what it boots into.

As I said, a simple solution conceptually.

The devil, as they say, is in the details.

Continue reading: How do I boot from CD/DVD?

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Answercast #19 - Freezing hard drives and mice, internet stealth, dual core processors, Java, salutations and more...

Continue reading: Answercast #19 - Freezing hard drives and mice, internet stealth, dual core processors, Java, salutations and more...

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week


Spyware is a class of malware that, as its name implies, is typically designed to spy on you or your computer, silently collecting information that is subsequently sent on to others for typically nefarious purposes.

Various forms of advertising, including additional toolbars, homepage hacks and data insertion, while technically not spying on you, are often also included in the term spyware.

While very similar to viruses, spyware detection differs from virus detection in that it's more behavioral, watching what your computer is doing to determine the presence of spyware. Virus detection is more typically data-based, looking for specific patters of data in files that indicate the presence of a virus.

In reality the lines between spyware and other forms of malware tend to blur, though typically a protection solution for each is still required.

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

TrueCrypt - Free Open Source Industrial Strength Encryption

TrueCrypt comes up frequently in Ask Leo! answers. Many people are concerned about things like privacy, identity and data theft, particularly on computers or on portable devices where they might not always have total physical control of the media.

Someone might gain access to sensitive data stored on your computer.

Encrypting your data renders that access useless, even when your computer or your thumbdrive falls into the wrong hands.

And TrueCrypt makes it not only easy, but nearly un-crackable.

Continue reading: TrueCrypt - Free Open Source Industrial Strength Encryption

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 22, 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.