Ask Leo! #357 – Ye olde ‘should I partition’ question, splitting data across DVDs and more…

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Should I set up two partitions on my hard disk?

I have an Inspiron 1520 with XP Pro and have just reformatted (NTFS) my hard drive into C: and D: partitions ... and have gained a huge amount of speed from so doing. I originally did that to speed up response time, as well as to be able to repeat the process on C: before waiting so long again. The C: is 48.8 GB and the D: is 100.0 GB. I would like to be able to load some applications into the D: drive (which has some room available), but even when I specify D:, it seems to want to overload C:. I think it is because of the master-slave relationship of the two drives (C: master, D: slave). Can you please explain to me how I can better manage my resources? I also have a larger external hard drive... and I'm winding up with C: full to the point that I cannot defrag it. I was originally trying to get the operating system on C: and other programs on D:, so that I could reformat C: having only to reload the OS and not all the other programs.


Your question brings up a lot of really good issues – and even some differences of opinion amongst folks such as myself.

Partitioning a single hard drive in to two partitions is an approach that's advocated by many as being faster, making backups easier and just generally being the best things since sliced bread.

As it turns out, it's not something I think really adds a lot of benefit as a general rule of thumb.

Continue reading: Should I set up two partitions on my hard disk?

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How do I save a large amount of information across multiple DVDs?

My new hard disk is 698GB and it only has 16.1GB used as I keep all my music, pictures, and so on using a Samsung 2TB eternal USB drive. Is there any way to burn/copy the 16.1GB to several blank DVDs for possible future re-installation of all files, like all Windows XP PRO, Microsoft updates, and so on?


Wanting to save a large amount of information across multiple CDs or DVDs is not an uncommon request. Yours is particularly specific and has a pretty clear answer, but as it turns out, the general case of just having "a bunch of stuff" that you want to save to DVDs or CDs is also fairly interesting.

I'll start with my recommended approach for your specific request and then branch out into some other alternatives – some even easier – for the more general purpose case.

Continue reading: How do I save a large amount of information across multiple DVDs?

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Answercast #20 - ISP tracking, CPU cores, backing up GPS units, a dreaded Blue Screen error and more...

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Continue reading: Answercast #20 - ISP tracking, CPU cores, backing up GPS units, a dreaded Blue Screen error and more...

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*** Comments


Why are there so many user accounts on my machine?


One thing I learned long ago with Windows. If it works, don't mess with it. I used to go through the files in every nook & cranny to see what was there, if it was needed, and if I could delete it. Big mistake. The more I learned, the more confused I got. It's amazing that it works at all [most times].

Also, I learned to resist the urge to peek into the event viewer. Just looking at it I would swear my PC was on the verge of imploding.


Are Limited User Accounts effective?

Jon5693 writes:

I use Windows 7 on my personal laptop where User Account Control has been revamped compared to previous versions. I log onto a limited account for nearly 99% of my activities. Whenever I need to use the administrator privileges it is just a simple task to type in my admin password. It Works great. I have had to login to my admin account twice in two years I recommend this setup to most of my customers because it is the best way to prevent viruses and malware. I also force my family members to use my computer under a guest account.

However we do have a family PC running Windows XP. Under Windows XP the user account control can be a pain constantly requiring you to log out of one account and log into another for the simplest of things. Only the most untrustworthy of family members access our family computer as a limited user and the rest run as administrator.


How do I read my Acronis backup data on a computer without Acronis?

Steve writes:

If you have Acronis running on any machine or any friend has it, you can make a recovery CD (or DVD) that will boot a windows machine directly into Acronis without installing it. It's a form of Linux, I believe. I have several of these disks that I keep around and travel with at least one copy.

Insert CD. Boot. Find the drive with .TIB files and restore files to desired location.

It can also be done with a USB flash drive. You should make a USB or CD boot disk whenever backing up. Acronis urges you to.

Afterwards, you reboot into Windows and can now use the files you recovered using Acronis.


Will turning off programs save me from hackers when I get online?

Cyndy writes:

We have been reading your posts for a few years and have learned so much from you. But we just had to know... You spend so much of your time helping answer so many people's questions... Do you get any kind of payment back for all the work you do??? We "assume" the advertiser-links on your page help pay for some of the costs associated with your website... but does anyone actually pay YOU? Your service is invaluable!

My revenue comes primarily from advertising (which is in decline, sad to say), and a small trickle from affiliate sales (">details) and contributions (i.e. Buy Leo a Latte). I'm currently working to increase the number of books I have available (on Amazon and in my store) to make up for the decline in traffic and advertising revenue.

Telling your friends, linking to my articles, sharing on Facebook are all fantastic ways to help as well.

But honestly on some days the best payback is simply a "thank you" - those can really make my day. :-)


*** Thoughts and Comments

Recall the whole DNS Changer kerfuffle a few weeks ago? News outlets basically used "the sky is falling" style headlines to point out that a few people might lose internet access in July when a temporary workaround for some two year old malware that had infected a number of machines would be removed. (Will I lose internet access in July? has the scoop.)

Well, apparently enough people remain infected that Google will actually warn them in search results if they do any Google searches. Google Adding DNSChanger Malware Warnings to Search Results is a PC Magazine article that discusses this, and includes a screen shot of what those who remain infected will see.

If you see that do pay attention.

Most of you won't, but for those that do, and then do nothing ... well, you will effectively lose internet access in July.

I hope you're enjoying the Answercasts - they're turning out to be a good and even fun way for me to get more questions answered. (Though I do believe it took me 20 episodes to finally realize I was positioning the microphone wrong. Smile).

I'm planning a couple of tweaks to the newsletter to make the list of Answercast answered questions more useful. Right now I've heard from more than one person that the title-only link doesn't seem as friendly as it could be. Not sure how soon that change will come about, but hopefully it'll make the newsletter more useful to you.

For those celebrating it, I hope you have a very happy Memorial Day weekend.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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