Ask Leo! #403 – Drowning in Spam, Anti-malware boot disks, your phone knows who you are and more…


The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

I'm drowning in spam. What can I do?

I receive about 300 emails daily. I have no one to help me and I would like to be able to block all this crap. I am not very smart about PCs and need the simple instructions that I can follow. If I continue to receive certain pornographic or offensive emails, how do I ban them? If I open it up to get their email address to try to block them, what happens then? I need all the help that I can get because this is too much to take care of daily. I do delete my history daily, but I don't think that helps in blocking them. I use Yahoo as my mail provider and am on Windows 7.

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Assuming you mean you get 300 spam emails a day, I'll agree that's a fair amount. Between my various email accounts, I suspect that I get probably around half that.

The question is not how to stop spam. Ultimately, there's no way for you and I to do that.

The questions are really how to deal with it when you get it so that it's merely a minor annoyance rather than an overwhelming chore and how to avoid it (or at least minimize it) in the first place.

Continue reading: I'm drowning in spam, what can I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5979

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Windows Defender Offline - Scan your computer for malware without booting Windows

One of the more common and difficult situations to find yourself in is to be faced with a malware-infected machine that either won't boot or won't allow you to run anti-malware tools because of the infection.

The most common approach is to get a copy of a bootable anti-malware disc. Download, burn to CD, or install on a USB drive, configure your BIOS to boot from CD or USB, reboot, and you're running a anti-malware tool that can then scan the hard disk in your system.

There are several and I'll list a few as well, but my first choice is Microsoft's own Windows Defender Offline.

Continue reading: Windows Defender Offline - Scan your computer for malware without booting Windows
http://ask-leo.com/C5974

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*** Answercast

Answercast #66 - Switching power supplies, not liking "Like", crashing Shockwave, is YouTube watching and more...

Ever get a haunting suspicion that your phone knows who you are or that "share" buttons follow you everywhere? Want to print or back up your emails? Need to stop Shockwave from crashing or figure out what's showing in Process Explorer? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #66 - Switching power supplies, not liking "Like", crashing Shockwave, is YouTube watching and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5975

How do I print a list of emails from my email program?
At this point, I don't have an answer for you other than it can't really be done - at least, not easily.
Continue reading: How do I print a list of emails from my email program?
http://ask-leo.com/C5976

How does my phone know my YouTube subscriptions if I've never logged into it there?
There's nothing clandestine or hidden behind the scenes. It's simply the case that your YouTube account and your Google account are the same thing.
Continue reading: How does my phone know my YouTube subscriptions if I've never logged into it there?
http://ask-leo.com/C5977

I can't send HTML email or attachments; they get stuck in my outbox. What do I need to do?
I'm not leaning towards Microsoft Outlook being the problem here. I think it's something related to your ISP or email service and the size of the emails you are attempting to send.
Continue reading: I can't send HTML email or attachments; they get stuck in my outbox. What do I need to do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5978

Why does my backup use all available RAM and fail?
This is really behaving like a confusion between the terms "RAM" and "disk space." It's rare for lack of RAM to cause backup failures.
Continue reading: Why does my backup use all available RAM and fail?
http://ask-leo.com/C5980

How do I get rid of 'Like', 'Send', 'Share,' and so on, that slow down so many web pages?
It's the website that you're visiting that's putting those social icons there and there's really no way for you to turn them off.
Continue reading: How do I get rid of 'Like', 'Send', 'Share,' and so on, that slow down so many web pages?
http://ask-leo.com/C5981

Can I use a power supply with a higher wattage rating on my laptop?
What matters is that the voltage and polarity of the power supply is a match. There is no substitution for that.
Continue reading: Can I use a power supply with a higher wattage rating on my laptop?
http://ask-leo.com/C5982

Should I backup my emails with Dropmyemail?
Configuring a PC based email program to use IMAP and have it constantly downloading email as a backup is a reasonable way to go.
Continue reading: Should I backup my emails with Dropmyemail?
http://ask-leo.com/C5983

Can I use my router's DMZ to attach my IP-based phone to the internet?
On a NAT router, any unrequested outside connection is blocked. Using the DMZ is a good workaround.
Continue reading: Can I use my router's DMZ to attach my IP-based phone to the internet?
http://ask-leo.com/C5984

Shockwave keeps crashing. What can I do to fix it?
Shockwave isn't really used as much as Flash. You might be able to just get rid of it.
Continue reading: Shockwave keeps crashing. What can I do to fix it?
http://ask-leo.com/C5985

How do I find out what all these programs are in Process Explorer?
I often recommend Process Explorer because it's a really good way of identifying programs that are misbehaving.
Continue reading: How do I find out what all these programs are in Process Explorer?
http://ask-leo.com/C5986

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*** Comments

Why is the Maxthon browser always setting itself as the default browser, and how do I stop it?

Rick Lane writes:

You might be a little behind the times with your knowledge of Maxthon, though the OP may only be using Maxthon Classic or Maxthon2, in which case your analysis is correct. But if he is using Maxthon3, the latest edition of the Maxthon family of browsers, then your information is incorrect. M3 uses the webkit engine that it includes in the installation file by default but also gives one the ability to use the Trident engine(from one's IE installation) if some web pages don't work properly with the webkit engine. And in M3, one goes to Menu>Options>General> and uncheck "Keep Maxthon as Default Browser" to keep it from making itself the default browser. The go to Firefox (in this case) and make it one's default browser. There are similar options in MC and M2. So, to repeat, Maxthon3 is not "built on the same technology as Internet Explorer" but can be used in that way in it's "retro" mode. Otherwise it is a webkit based browser that loads it's own version of the webkit engine.

Thanks for the clarification. I'll admit my knowledge of Maxthon is limited and it's good to hear they're now more than just a pretty wrapper on IE. :-) Still annoying if, indeed, it always sets itself as default browser when run, though.

-Leo

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Can you recommend an anti-virus tool that will work in a 256MB system?

James writes:

mkstallings1, it bothers me when people say that this particular Linux distribution (or Linux itself) is secure from viruses (or malware).

The fact is that I don't know of any OS that is secure from viruses, unless they have a bullet-proof scanner built in.

The better phrasing would be "not a target for viruses." The virus and malware makers target particular OS's because of the number of people/ease of infecting the system. That's why most are aimed at Windows OS. More are starting to target Macs now that Mac is getting a respectable toe-hold. I'm sure that in a few years time, they'll be aiming at Linux.

We shouldn't get lazy and think that Linux is secure from them, so that when they do come after Linux, we'll be prepared.

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How do pixels and DPI and resolution and picture size and file size all relate to each other?

James writes:

Leo's given a great explanation. The original poster's problem is that colleagues don't understand this and include photos which are just way too big.

I blame that on high-speed internet. By the time photo sharing came a long, a lot of people already had high-speed internet. So few people realized how big their photos were (or if they did, they didn't realize what the effect was).

I on the other hand only recently made the switch to high-speed. I often deleted emails with attached photos directly from the server without looking at the photos, simply because it would take too long to download on dial-up. My wife had a friend who would send a photo newsletter of her family's activities. The newsletter would often be 8 or 9 mb and the mailbox limit was 10 mb.

I, on the other hand, would use Paint Shop Pro and reduce the file size, by simply resizing to 4.5" x 6" x 72 pixels per inch. A 541 kb picture would shrink to 35 kb (of course I kept the original exactly as the camera output it, in case we wanted to print a copy).

My wife's parents enjoyed seeing the pictures of our children (their grandchildren), because on screen a 72 PPI 4 x 6 picture looks as good as the original, and I could upload them on dial-up fairly quickly.

Many people who have only sent pictures over high-speed internet don't understand this.

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I'm having trouble getting access to a second hand machine, what can I do?

John Germann writes:

Unfortunately, most of the computers that I have dealt with were purchased at some big box store like Best Buy or Staples and the previous owner did not have a copy of Windows to pass on with the machine. Thus, reformatting and reloading windows is not a true option for those machines without spending a hundred bucks for a copy of Windows.

And yet it remains the only truly safe and secure option. Malware and worse can cost way more than a copy of Windows would. Alternately, install Linux, which is free. But ultimately this is why I so often harp on making sure that you get installation media when you purchase the machine, OR you immediately create an image backup of the pristine system.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

FastStone Image Viewer - An easy to use tool to view, organize and manipulate images

After the demise of Firehand Ember, my previous favorite image viewing program, I began searching for a suitable replacement. Window's built in "Picture and Fax Viewer" just doesn't cut it for me.

After much experimentation with various products in this class, I've settled on FastStone Image Viewer.

FastStone includes not only basic display and print ability, but also a number of simple modification tools, a slideshow creator, a contact sheet creator and more.

At it's heart, FastStone, like many similar products, is much like a Windows Explorer tailored for viewing photos. Fire it up and you'll get the familiar navigation tree on the left, and images on the right:

Continue reading: FastStone Image Viewer - An easy to use tool to view, organize and manipulate images
http://ask-leo.com/C3486

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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