Ask Leo! #419 – Embracing Change, securely deleting files, unwanted additional toolbars, printer defaults and more…


The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

The Most Important Attitude

I recently wrote about The Most Important Skill, a plea for greater emphasis on language skills and specifically English-language skills, among both native and non-native English speakers. It was slightly off-topic, because it's not necessarily directly related to computers.

Today's article is a bit more on-topic, because one single attitude, one single approach to life, can have such a dramatic impact on people's ability to deal with technology.

The frustration that some people feel is something I see every day, and it just makes me shake my head.

Why?

Because it doesn't have to be this way, if folks simply approached technology - and life itself - a little differently.

I also expect this'll be a tad more controversial than using proper English.

Continue reading: The Most Important Attitude
http://ask-leo.com/C6178

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*** Answercast

Answercast #82 - Insecure bank messages, unformatted drives, disconnecting network drives, printer settings and more...

Do you feel that you need to delete "My Documents" from your Start menu or want to change printer default settings? Having problems with Flash, formatting a drive, or downloading MP3s? Struggling with annoying toolbars or recoverable files? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #82 - Insecure bank messages, unformatted drives, disconnecting network drives, printer settings and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C6175

Why do my network drives disconnect when my computer goes into a power-saving mode?
Power mode settings may disconnect network drives when the computer goes into standby or hibernate. Depending on your drivers, there may be available adjustments.
Continue reading: Why do my network drives disconnect when my computer goes into a power-saving mode?
http://ask-leo.com/C6176

How do I format a drive that's showing up as unformatted?
Formatting a drive that is showing as unformatted can be done directly in a USB enclosure.
Continue reading: How do I format a drive that's showing up as unformatted?
http://ask-leo.com/C6177

How do I delete the My Documents option from my Start menu?
You can delete options from the Start menu through the dialog box that is activated by a right-click.
Continue reading: How do I delete the My Documents option from my Start menu?
http://ask-leo.com/C6179

Why can't I download mp3s in Chrome when I can in IE?
Downloading mp3s in Chrome can be enhanced by using Google Reader, which can also help manage your RSS feeds and podcasts.
Continue reading: Why can't I download mp3s in Chrome when I can in IE?
http://ask-leo.com/C6180

Will securely deleting recoverable files leave my actual files intact?
Deleting recovered files can be done with several utilities to clean up free space and make the old files completely unrecoverable.
Continue reading: Will securely deleting recoverable files leave my actual files intact?
http://ask-leo.com/C6181

Why can't I get Flash to work in Internet Explorer on my 64-bit Windows 7 machine?
Flash in 64-bit Internet Explorer won't work if it is the 32-bit version of IE running on a 64-bit machine. Confused? You're not alone!
Continue reading: Why can't I get Flash to work in Internet Explorer on my 64-bit Windows 7 machine?
http://ask-leo.com/C6182

How do I download Picasa without getting an additional toolbar?
If your download is getting an additional toolbar, you may need to check Advanced options before allowing the files to download.
Continue reading: How do I download Picasa without getting an additional toolbar?
http://ask-leo.com/C6183

Why is my bank sending me secure messages as attachments?
A bank sending messages as attachments doesn't understand security. This sounds like phishing.
Continue reading: Why is my bank sending me secure messages as attachments?
http://ask-leo.com/C6184

How do I change the default settings for my printer?
Default settings for printers are located in Properties for the printer icon. Settings configured there should become the default settings.
Continue reading: How do I change the default settings for my printer?
http://ask-leo.com/C6185

Why did Microsoft not provide the option of Windows 8 without Metro?
Windows 8 without Metro is possible through several desktop interface options. But really, it's better to move forward.
Continue reading: Why did Microsoft not provide the option of Windows 8 without Metro?
http://ask-leo.com/C6186

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

How can I see what websites a person has been to on my computer, even if they deny it?

keith writes:

As a computer shop owner, I've had this conversation with a few people. I personally think that keyloggers are not a good idea. Imho, it breeds a sense of distrust if/when they are discovered. That said, I'm not the parent of a rebelling teenager...yet.

I echo the recommendation of OpenDNS as a great free option. It works at the router level which makes it apply network-wide and is more difficult to circumvent. They also maintain an extensive blacklist for you so you don't have to manually be adding sites/domains yourself.

As far as recovering the browsing information, for someone like me, or a forensic computer scientist, a lot can be uncovered. The problem is that this type of analysis requires expensive software, and at times, expensive hardware.

The obvious places to look are at browser history, autocomplete info, cookies, and temporary internet files. A less obvious place to look would be the router log files. As Leo states though, any competent surfer can easily delete these tracks (except for router logs - if they don't have admin access). The trick at that point becomes a combination of knowing the surfer's habits and data recovery efforts.

I have to agree with Leo that it is a personal problem. If someone is searching something on your computer that you do not want them to, then you should tell them to stop or stop letting them use your computer. If a minor is concerned, then you might consider more drastic methods like monitored web usage, obligatory whitelists, "nanny", etc...

But before you do anything, make sure you think through the consequences.

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Can I block all animation in web advertisements?

Eric Brightwell writes:

James is absolutely right. I used to have no problem with ads, but when they started moving I changed to a different browser which can easily block all of the annoying ones. Leo doesn't like me saying which browser I use, which is fair enough, but I don't understand why my blocking of ads can affect Leo's site. The advertiser does not know that I am blocking the ads, and if I did actually see the annoying ads I wouldn't buy anything from them anyway as a matter of principle. So it makes no difference. So Leo, can you please explain why my blocking out annoying ads is a problem for your site.

"I don't understand why my blocking of ads can affect Leo's site."
There are two ways: If I get paid for displaying the ad "X" times, then your visit to my site prevents that from happening and I don't get paid. Second, if get paid only when someone clicks on an ad then if there's no ad displayed there's nothing to click on and I don't get paid. Now, I know everyone says that they never click on ads, but the fact is that they *do*. Certainly not often, but often enough to pay for free sites like Ask Leo!, and often enough for ad-blocking to have a negative impact on my ability to keep the site running.

-Leo

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Which is better for computer longevity, turning it off when not in use, or leaving it on?

Texas Mike writes:

As an electrical engineer for nearly 40 years, I have to entirely concur with Leo. Neither one is the ideal solution; there are pros and cons to both. To reiterate, both will wear down your computer, just in different ways. In my (and most engineers') experience, MOST failures occur during power-up and power-down. Most, not all. Parts do still wear out even while running.

If you only use your computer for an hour a day, shutting it down is probably the best way to prevent wear, but no guarantee. Remember, powerdown and powerup can be a problem, but that's just the luck of the dice. If you use your computer 12 hours a day, you won't see any improvement in wear and tear by shutting it down for a few hours.

Me, I'm working with my computer all day and all night long. Often my computer is working on something even when I'm not there. I have not turned off my computer in years. Well, not exactly true. When updates demand that I restart, then I do so. And there have been times that a cold reboot has been necessary.

The point is that my computers have lasted for years while constantly running. And shutting them down momentarily has not decreased their life expectancy by any measurable value. Really, it's not so different than cars or trucks that run hundreds of miles a day. But those that are only used to go to the store once a day are not left running.

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Which is better for computer longevity, turning it off when not in use, or leaving it on?

KRS writes:

Several years ago, I read that Windows has a counter that maxes out after about 6 months, causing a crash. Is this just an urban legend, or if true has it been fixed?

That's one HECK of an urban legend / conspiracy theory. While it might be unusual for Windows to stay up that long, it's not because there's some artificial counter to force it.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

Ask Dave Taylor - More free tech support online

You might find it surprising that I'd be recommending what looks very much like competition to Ask Leo!. Well, the internet's a big place and there's room for all of us. I'm happy to point you to resources that I know might help you get your questions answered.

Dave Taylor's Ask Dave Taylor is indeed very similar to Ask Leo! - in fact over the years we've occasionally acted as resources to each other and traded questions.

Dave's a respected author of many books, and has a strong Macintosh background - something I lack. Dave tends to take on a wider range of topics than I do, ranging from business issues to Mac, the iPhone, Linux, Web design and much more.

Continue reading: Ask Dave Taylor - More free tech support online
http://ask-leo.com/C2521

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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