Ask Leo! #369 – The perils of sharing your Wifi, reading ebooks, the return of Clippy? And more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

If I let my neighbor share my WiFi, can they see my network traffic?

I have a home network with three computers (two desktops connected with ethernet cables to a Linksys router; laptop is wireless). The wireless signal is encrypted and I gave my next-door neighbors my network key so they can wirelessly connect just to check email, do banking, etc. They are not on my home network, but can they still see where I am surfing (such as my bank site with passcodes, etc.)?

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Let me, at least, make one important correction to what you've described:

If you give someone access to your wireless access point, you have given them access to your home network.

They're on it.

Now, what they can see depends on a number of things but to be blunt...

I hope you trust them.

Continue reading: If I let my neighbor share my WiFi, can they see my network traffic?
http://ask-leo.com/C2395

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*** Answercast

Answercast #32 - Annoying kitties, faster wireless, Android firewalls, reading epub or mobi formats and more...

Ever wonder how to hook up a Solid State Drive; if you can turn off email scanning for more speed; how many clean wipes you need; or if those animated help kitties will ever come back? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #32 - Annoying kitties, faster wireless, Android firewalls, reading epub or mobi formats and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5543

How do I read epub and mobi formatted ebooks?
Kindle Reader and Calibre are two programs that can be used to read an ebook on a home computer. Setting up and using either of them is pretty easy if you know where to look.
Continue reading: How do I read epub and mobi formatted ebooks?
http://ask-leo.com/C5544

How do I use a solid state drive in my PC?
It is possible to set a new, faster SSD drive as the main drive in your computer. Many of the steps are the same as reformatting, so you'll start by backing up...
Continue reading: How do I use a solid state drive in my PC?
http://ask-leo.com/C5545

My printer stopped printing, what do I do?
When a wireless printer is giving you problems, a good first step is to uninstall and reinstall the software, but sometimes, you simply need to clear the printer queue.
Continue reading: My printer stopped printing, what do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5546

Does my Android phone need a firewall, and is tethering safe?
Hackers will target phone software more and more as time goes on, I look at a few issues related to tethering and firewalls on phones.
Continue reading: Does my android phone need a firewall, and is tethering safe?
http://ask-leo.com/C5547

Is it OK to turn off email scanning in my anti-malware program if it causes a problem?
Scanning email downloads in real-time can interfere with a smooth download. Sometimes, you need to adjust your settings.
Continue reading: Is it OK to turn off email scanning in my anti-malware program if it causes a problem?
http://ask-leo.com/C5548

If too many bad password attempts cause account locks, how do hackers hack in?
Hackers have a lot of ways to try to get into online accounts. Understanding how it works can help protect you online.
Continue reading: If too many bad password attempts cause account locks, how do hackers hack in?
http://ask-leo.com/C5549

Are there alternatives to CCleaner's free space wipe function?
Wiping free space on your hard drive with CCleaner will clean your drive with a few wipes. You may need to first clean up temporary files, caches and deleted files.
Continue reading: Are there alternatives to CCleaner's free space wipe function?
http://ask-leo.com/C5550

Are Clippy and Rover and the Kitty Cat ever coming back?
A minority of people are missing Windows helper animations... but that's not going to be enough to bring them back.
Continue reading: Are Clippy and Rover and the Kitty Cat ever coming back?
http://ask-leo.com/C5551

How do I get my wireless to run faster?
A wireless connection should be capable of the same speeds as a wired connection. I look at both distance and hardware as possible culprits in slowing down a system.
Continue reading: How do I get my wireless to run faster?
http://ask-leo.com/C5552

Is there an anti-virus for XP that doesn't require SP3?
There is a reason that virus protection developers are not offering installations for systems still running XP SP2. The upgrade to SP3 protects your system from numerous security problems.
Continue reading: Is there an anti-virus for XP that doesn't require SP3?
http://ask-leo.com/C5553

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

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How do I remove password protection from an Excel document?

Tudor Williams writes:

I genuinely forgot my password for an Excel spreadsheet and tried all sorts of methods to retrieve it. In the end the answer was simple; just open it in a program such as Open Office which is open source. This did the trick!

If it really was that simple (Open Office ignores the password?) then that's pretty scary, but really makes my case that application-provided document locking is risky at best.

-Leo

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How do I fix things on my computer left over from a virus?

Douglas A. Brace writes:

Leo, I enjoy your articles. I agree with you that backups are important. Backup, backup, backup...

There are ways to fix things and restoring to an image or reformatting and reinstalling isn't always an option.

I recommend browsing the BleepingComputer.com forums. Most of the the solutions that they have will recommend will include the use of ComboFix to solve a problem. Below is a basic guide on the how to use ComboFix. ComboFix is a VERY powerful utility. Just like anything else, proceed with caution.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix

There are moderators and will assist a person experiencing a problem and looking for help.

BleepingComputer also has a free utility that called "unhide" that will help restore shortcuts that were deleted from the Start Menu, IF they are still in the user's "%tmp%" directory. "unhide" will also change the file attributes to your entire "C drive" in the event that everything has been makes as the hidden attribute.

There are other tools on their site that may help you.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/windows

Another tool that I recommend if search results have been hijacked is TDSSKiller from Kaspersky.

http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363

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How do I get music to auto-play when email is opened?

Mary writes:

And all this time I thought I was the only one who hated unsolicited "noise" from emails and web pages.

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Can I move a program from one computer to another?

Michael Horowitz writes:

There is a type of Windows software designed specifically for this, the term used to describe it is "portable". I *much* prefer portable software and use portable versions of my email client and web browsers as a rule. In addition, portable software can be backed up, something that legacy/classic Windows software can not.

One source of portable Windows software is portableapps.com.

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Why you should never blindly trust an online recommendation (even mine)

John writes:

I do have one critique of your recommendations. When you switch recommendations for example Acronis to Macrium can you be more descriptive as to why you switched. What was better specifically. I bought and am happy with Acronis based on your recommendation a few years ago, but now you only recommend Macrium and that review never really said why, other than it was better.

I mention the reasons on Acronis TrueImage Home - Backup Software Unfortunately it's not feasible to mention it everywhere people might be looking for backup information.

-Leo

*** Thoughts and Comments

It's been a busy week!

KF7WPD - that's my new call sign having passed the amateur radio test and received my technician's license. Yep, I'm a HAM now. (Along with 3/4 of a million others here in the U.S.)

If you're a HAM, don't bother memorizing that - I've already applied for a vanity call sign (kind of like a vanity license plate for your car) so it'll change in the coming weeks.

Maintaining Windows 7 - Backing Up - just a reminder that the price will go up in a couple of weeks. Klick this link to go to Amazon and pick it up soon.

I've had a number of questions regarding non-Amazon options for the book. Unfortunately that does involve a little work and expense, so I want to make sure that I target the right platforms. Kindle was, by far, the most popular venue when I asked readers last year what they were using, so that decision was a slam dunk. The next platform to support - if, indeed, there will be any - isn't as easy a decision.

If you wouldn't mind: here's a one question survey. If you're passionate about a platform that isn't Amazon, or if you're just in the "anything but Amazon" camp, please do let me know what format I should consider next.

Wow. That's all I can say in response to the flood of supportive comments on my article earlier this week Why you should never blindly trust an online recommendation (even mine). I'm both humbled and very grateful for your support.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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