Ask Leo! #401 – Defragging: What? Why? When?, second hand machine, upgrading Windows 2000, after death email and more…


The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

What is 'defragging' and why should I do it?

"Defragging" is short for "de-fragmenting" and it's a process run on most hard drives to help make accessing the files on that disk faster.

Traditionally, it's something you need to do periodically as files on the disk become more and more fragmented over time (hence, the term "defragmenting").

So, what does it mean to be fragmented? Why does it get worse over time?

I'll review that, as well as how to defragment, when to defragment, and even if you need to worry about defragmenting at all.

Continue reading: What is 'defragging', and why should I do it?
http://ask-leo.com/C2123

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*** Answercast

Answercast #64 - File-open protection, white screen, second-hand machine, tiny printing, disconnecting router and more...

Ever wonder what happens to email accounts when someone passes away? Is your print too small or your screen flashing white? What if malware prevents you from booting or you can't get into a secondhand machine? All that and more in this Ask Leo! Answercast.

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #64 - File-open protection, white screen, second hand machine, tiny printing, disconnecting router and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5949

Why is Windows Explorer slowing down?
There are several things to look at. One is folder size. If files are accumulating in the folders, then Windows Explorer has to do more work to enumerate the list of files.
Continue reading: Why is Windows Explorer slowing down?
http://ask-leo.com/C5950

What's my upgrade path for a machine running Windows 2000?
It's not so much the operating system version that you're running that matters in this kind of an upgrade. It really depends on the power of the hardware that operating system is running on.
Continue reading: What's my upgrade path for a machine running Windows 2000?
http://ask-leo.com/C5951

I'm having trouble getting access to a second hand machine. What can I do?
There is no way to rename the administrator account. Windows doesn't work that way.
Continue reading: I'm having trouble getting access to a second hand machine. What can I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5952

My printer prints things too small. What can I do?
It's not the printer. Software on your computer is controlling print size. Therefore, it's the settings on your computer or in the application that you use to print that you'll need to adjust.
Continue reading: My printer prints things too small. What can I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5953

My machine now gives me a completely white screen. What do I do?
I'm hoping that you have backed up. If not, this is a very good reason to. We don't know that your data hasn't been completely overwritten!
Continue reading: My machine now gives me a completely white screen. What do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5954

Malware prevents me from booting, even in Safe Mode. What do I do?
We'll try a bootable malware CD. But in situations like this, where malware has gotten itself so entrenched into the system, sometimes reinstalling is the most pragmatic answer.
Continue reading: Malware prevents me from booting, even in Safe Mode. What do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5955

My router disconnects every few days. What do I do?
Every few days is a bit much! Wi-Fi routers do need to get rebooted every so often. But I'm talking more like a number of weeks or months... not days.
Continue reading: My router disconnects every few days. What do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5956

Can I install the VC++ 2008 runtime even though I have the 2005 version installed?
Runtime versions are a bit of a mess, absolutely! Fortunately, you should be able to have both of them installed at the same time.
Continue reading: Can I install the VC++ 2008 runtime even though I have the 2005 version installed?
http://ask-leo.com/C5957

What happens when an email account holder passes away?
In general, if an account holder suddenly stops logging into that account, the account will go through a series of steps and eventually be closed down.
Continue reading: What happens when an email account holder passes away?
http://ask-leo.com/C5958

Is there technology that would allow a file to be opened only once?
I'm not aware of any technology that will do what you're asking; and in all honesty, I wouldn't trust any technology that did.
Continue reading: Is there technology that would allow a file to be opened only once?
http://ask-leo.com/C5959

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*** Comments

How do I set up an email address once and never again have to tell all my contacts of a new one?

Ken B writes:

A quick look through Internet archives shows that, sometime between December 2011 and June 2012, the site went "offline". A "whois" shows that the registration records for forevermail.com was last updated April 9, 2012. (The domain's anniversary date was May 7, so it's quite possible that the domain was sold to someone prior to expiring, and they have yet to do anything with it.)

It's too late to do anything about your "forever" mail, but it's not to late to restart and do the right thing... Domain names are super cheap nowadays, and sites like GoDaddy let you register a domain for 10 years for under $15. As long as you pay the registrar's bill, the domain is yours, and you can change ISPs, webhost providers, etc. etc. etc. without anyone knowing or caring, as your e-mail address (and website, should you build one) remain the same.

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Why does a file grow dramatically after I add only a small amount?

Rick writes:

You can also try 'saving as' to reduce file size.

For all the reasons mentioned, a file that is edited and saved can often become bloated. Some programs perform worse in this regards than others. I work in the printing industry and I often see this (and in the extreme) when it is necessary to edit a client pdf's.

After a number of edits a 5 meg pdf may become 20 or 30 megs (and even more) even though the pdf content was just re-arranged rather than added to. Performing a 'save as' will always bring these 'bloated saves' down to a more reasonable file size.

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What is the IP address 127.0.0.1 and why is it called localhost?

James writes:

The HOSTS file thing is actually pretty straight-forward, once you understand how web browsers access content on the internet.

Browsers get the content by going to a specific numerical address (e.g. 1.2.3.4). But since we humans would have a hard time remembering all those numerical addresses, we use names (e.g. ask-leo.com). So the first thing a browser does is look up the numerical address, and the first place it looks is the HOSTS file on your computer (mine is at c:WindowsSystem32DriversEtc).

By adding entries to the HOSTS file, you can redirect where the content is accessed from. For example, an entry of 127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net would tell your browser to access the content of ad.doubleclick.net on your own computer. And since you are not running a web host on your computer, or even if you are, you probably don't have the file the browser is looking for in the correct directory structure, the browser can not access the content.

I use this to block a lot of the annoying advertising that are on websites that I frequent - you know, like that flashy ad that says in giant print that "hot singles in my area are dying to meet me"? You only need to get a few of the big advertising websites and suddenly the amount of advertising you see goes way down.

Of course hackers who could gain access to your HOSTS file (perhaps through getting you to unknowingly install a new HOSTS file) could wreak havoc. They could for example, make up an entry like: 1.2.3.4 yourbank.com

They could then set up a server at 1.2.3.4 that mirrors your bank's website and get your banking information.

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Does having my video card on the motherboard mean I can never upgrade?

Dan writes:

Gordon and Boozer are correct. I put a much better graphic's card on our OEM computer for my son to play his games, and it started hanging. I had to also update the power supply to handle the new power needs. So - these systems can be upgraded, but it may mean you have to upgrade more than just the one item... Power supply upgrades are a little more complex than Video cards, since you have to remove the old and install the new and replace all the connections, but it is doable. If you are worried about connecting it all back the same way when done, use a camera and take a picture of each step you take in removing and connect back in the reverse order. Some jobs are scary the first time you try them - but turn out to be fairly easy to accomplish.

*** Leo Recommends

CCleaner - Windows Cleaning Tool

CCleaner's been around a long time and with good reason: it provides several very valuable and useful functions.

Several of CCleaner's functions may well duplicate some tools that you already have, but its primary claim to fame is its ability to clean up files, history, and other things from your computer that you might not need or want to keep around.

It lives up to its name as a cleaner.

Continue reading: CCleaner - Windows Cleaning Tool
http://ask-leo.com/C5033

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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