Ask Leo! #377 – Why do people forget their passwords? Downgrading Windows 7, whether computer experts exist, and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

Why do so many people forget their password? (And how do I avoid becoming one of them?)

In the nine years that I've been answering questions here at Ask Leo!, the single most common topic that I encounter is that of lost or forgotten passwords.

It's been the number one topic since day one.

In the early years, questions relating to lost Hotmail passwords were so overwhelmingly frequent that it became an inside joke among my friends – I was the guy to see about Hotmail passwords.

In the years since, the spectrum has broadened to include whatever system is popular; most recently, it's been Facebook .

Why are so many passwords forgotten? And what lessons can we take away to improve our own security, both online and off?

Continue reading: Why do so many people forget their password? (And how do I avoid becoming one of them?)
http://ask-leo.com/C5645

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*** Answercast

Answercast #40 - Keeping backups, following spam links, downgrading, finding history, cloned drives and more...

Do you get a lot of spam from friends? Ever wonder why there are so many refurbished machines, or if there are really any computer experts? That and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #40 - Keeping backups, following spam links, downgrading, finding history, cloned drives and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5643

How do I downgrade from Windows 7 Enterprise edition to the Home edition?
Downgrading is not as simple as upgrading. You will need to reformat and reinstall from your original disc.
Continue reading: How do I downgrade from Windows 7 Enterprise edition to the Home edition?
http://ask-leo.com/C5644

Why does Facebook tell me that cookies are blocked?
When a website can't set cookies to your machine, the first thing to try is clearing the cache. That, along with a few other ideas, should get you up and running.
Continue reading: Why does Facebook tell me that cookies are blocked?
http://ask-leo.com/C5646

Why does my cloned drive report as failing genuine validation?
Windows activation may be detecting subtle differences in the cloned drive. That will require a few extra steps to get up and running.
Continue reading: Why does my cloned drive report as failing genuine validation?
http://ask-leo.com/C5647

How do I get rid of 'Adware Games PUP'?
It sounds like malware. I recommend doing a deep scan with an additional set of tools to see if those will clean the computer.
Continue reading: How do I get rid of 'Adware Games PUP'?
http://ask-leo.com/C5648

How many full backups should I keep?
The number of backups to keep is a personal decision, I give both my recommendation and my own strategy for backup storage.
Continue reading: How many full backups should I keep?
http://ask-leo.com/C5649

Why are there so many of this particular model of machine on the refurbished market?
Refurbished machines can be a good deal, but you are increasing your risk and should take a couple of steps to protect yourself.
Continue reading: Why are there so many of this particular model of machine on the refurbished market?
http://ask-leo.com/C5650

Are there really any computer experts?
There absolutely are computer experts - but realize that not everybody on the internet is one!
Continue reading: Are there really any computer experts?
http://ask-leo.com/C5651

Is there a safe way to follow a link in spam?
It's best not to click on spam links. But if you must, there are a few steps above and beyond a sandbox that can add some more protection.
Continue reading: Is there a safe way to follow a link in spam?
http://ask-leo.com/C5652

Could I be getting more spam after my friend's email account was compromised?
When a friend's email account is hacked, it is likely that the spammers have stolen and kept the contact list. This will increase the amount of spam you get.
Continue reading: Could I be getting more spam after my friend's email account was compromised?
http://ask-leo.com/C5653

Is it possible to recover web pages accessed by a computer on a specific date?
Recovering browser history from a machine that is being used can be tricky as the necessary files could be deleted and the space they occupied overwritten.
Continue reading: Is it possible to recover web pages accessed by a computer on a specific date?
http://ask-leo.com/C5654

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

Why does CCleaner clean up Internet Explorer items when I don't use Internet Explorer?

texaretoosureofthemselves! writes:

Yeah but, no but, I have UNINSTALLED IE totally! So why is ccleaner showing files from ie constantly? Are you telling me that it is still used though i have uninstalled it? Is there no end to microsofts invasive m.o. !?

IE cannot be completely uninstalled because - yes - pieces of IE continue to be used by the system. It's not invasive, unless you consider intelligent re-use of software invasive. Many programs need to be able to display HTML - IE displays HTML - so programs that display HTML are allowed to re-use the portions of IE that display HTML.

-Leo

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I let a questionable technician remotely access my machine - what kind of risk have I exposed myself to?

BaliRob writes:

With regard to SUPERAntiSpyware - I have used this product for over four years now as a result of its ability to remove a problem that so-called 'big names' could not solve. Since then, I have found SAS to efficiently update and inform regularly and efficiently - all for free. Also, for the non-techs, it is extremely easy to understand and to operate.

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Should I upgrade to Windows 8?

Jim G writes:

My personal preference is to wait until the first service pack is released to upgrade. My experience with all versions of windows is the early adopters have problems that are generally sorted out by the time the first service pack is released.

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How should I set up my home network?

Ron Hirsch writes:

I set up my home network quite a number of years ago, using a wireless router. Since my home has rather large distances between the router, and other computers, I suffered from marginal connection speeds for many years, even though I had a booster amp on my main router.

I tried antennas with more gain, due to narrowing the directivity, but I finally decided that I would try the "black boxes" which use the household electrical wiring, and after researching what was available, I chose the WD Live Wire system. I liked the fact that they offered 4 Ethernet jacks on each module, and the reviews I read were very good.

Just plug one of the units into a household AC outlet, and then connect a network cable from the router to the unit. Then wherever you have another computer, plug in another module to an AC outlet, and using an Ethernet cable, connect another computer to it.

You must make sure that you do not connect the AC for the WD Live Wire unit to a surge protected AC outlet, as that will block the high frequency network signals from accessing the house wiring. And try to avoid any outlet which may have surge protectors connected to other outlets on the same powerline branch.

After I got all of this squared away, all my computers were now running at the peak speed of my main computer, connected directly to the router. I was very pleasantly surprised at the fantastic performance of the WD unit.

The units come in sets of 2, and cost from $80-100 per set. If you're unhappy with your wireless results at homer, this is an excellent path to take.

*** Leo Recommends

RoboForm Password Manager and more

I think that I have about 80 - 100 passwords that I use on a regular or somewhat regular basis. I always remember my network and computer logon passwords, but beyond that I often have to check my a) Outlook notes on my PC at work, or b) when at home on my Mac, my little black notebook stuffed in the bottom of drawer.

Is storing my passwords on Outlook notes safe for my bank and tax filing accounts? Are online password managers or 'safes' secure? Do you have any suggestions for how best to manage the proliferation of passwords for online accounts?

I don't really have a good cross-platform solution for you, though I do have a couple of odd ideas.

However, I have developed a very strong recommendation over the past couple of months for a product called RoboForm - which happily includes a free version!

Let me touch on your first two questions first...

Continue reading: RoboForm Password Manager and more
http://ask-leo.com/C2827

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.
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