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Ask Leo! #440 – Just how many bits do you need? Software Rot, Emptying the Trash and more…


The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

64-bit and 32-bit: Which Do You Want? Which Do You Have?

The difference between 32-bit and 64-bit computers and versions of Windows remains a point of very common confusion.

It's really no surprise because the concept is actually fairly geeky and not something a typical computer user should need to worry about.

And yet, it turns out that it's important to realize that there is a difference. When installing software, including the operating system itself, using the wrong flavor can lead to anything from decreased performance to installations that don't work at all.

It's also important to know what you already have, if for no other reason than to be able to select appropriate software and possibly system updates in the future.

Continue reading: 64-bit and 32-bit: Which Do You Want? Which Do You Have?
http://ask-leo.com/C6392

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*** Answercast

Answercast #103 - Improving network security, mobile apps, paying for updates, destabilizing a computer and more...

Do you wonder if you should empty your trash or turn off Network Discovery for security? Afraid to install lots of programs or use a banking app? Want to make your public hotspot safer? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #103 - Improving network security, mobile apps, paying for updates, destabilizing a computer and more...

Does emptying trash in email keep others from seeing the email I deleted?
Most individuals wouldn't be able to access emails that you've deleted... but that doesn't mean that someone at the ISP wouldn't be able to find the message.
Continue reading: Does emptying trash in email keep others from seeing the email I deleted?
http://ask-leo.com/C6401

Does turning off Network Discovery improve wireless security?
Unfortunately, network sniffing is a very simple thing to do and it has actually nothing to do with the network discovery option.
Continue reading: Does turning off Network Discovery improve wireless security?
http://ask-leo.com/C6402

Does turning off remote access keep me safer?
Turning off remote assistance is an incremental improvement. But it is a very small increment in a much larger puzzle.
Continue reading: Does turning off remote access keep me safer?
http://ask-leo.com/C6403

If I delete files from my disk drive will they be deleted from the backup?
Old backups typically will have all of the files that were on your machine at the time the backup was taken.
Continue reading: If I delete files from my disk drive will they be deleted from the backup?
http://ask-leo.com/C6404

Is there a fee for all of these updates that are ready for your computer pop-ups?
The important thing is to develop a sense so you can recognize what the Windows Update message looks like.
Continue reading: Is there a fee for all of these updates that are ready for your computer pop-ups?
http://ask-leo.com/C6405

Does installing lots of programs destabilize my computer?
Skip the apps. Install the software that you're going to use and use your computer the way you want to use it!
Continue reading: Does installing lots of programs destabilize my computer?
http://ask-leo.com/C6406

Does cleaning cookies force me to re-verify my bank login?
It's a pretty quick process to identify all the internet domains that need to be listed in CCleaner as exceptions - so that you can easily login to your favorite sites.
Continue reading: Does cleaning cookies force me to re-verify my bank login?
http://ask-leo.com/C6407

Can I install Windows XP on a machine that comes with Windows 8?
If you can find a copy of XP, and if you can find drivers for the new hardware it's possible that it may work okay.
Continue reading: Can I install Windows XP on a machine that comes with Windows 8?
http://ask-leo.com/C6408

Does having a publicly visible Wi-Fi password add security compared to an open Wi-Fi hotspot?
Using a password protected WPA2 is a minor inconvenience for a very significant level of additional security. I'll explain...
Continue reading: Does having a publicly visible Wi-Fi password add security compared to an open Wi-Fi hotspot?
http://ask-leo.com/C6409

Is it safe to use a mobile banking app over an open Wi-Fi connection?
Checking that all apps are doing it right is not feasible, but I set up a sniffer to verify that Gmail was using an https secure connection. The results?
Continue reading: Is it safe to use a mobile banking app over an open Wi-Fi connection?
http://ask-leo.com/C6410

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week

SSID

SSID is an acronym for Service Set IDentifier. More commonly, it's the "network name" that's assigned to a Wi-Fi wireless access point.

The SSID is typically broadcast by a Wi-Fi access point to announce its presence and to allow computer users to identify the access point and network that they might then connect to. Broadcasting the SSID is actually optional and can be used to keep a network from appearing in "nearby networks" types of lists.

Word o' the Week features a computer term or acronym taken from the Ask Leo! Glossary. If there's a word you're not sure of and would like to see defined, click here to let me know.

*** Featured Reader Comments

What password should I change on my router for security?

Andy writes:

The only thing I would say about the SSID is that hackers target routers with default SSIDs because they assume that if you haven't changed such a simple thing, you will most likely not have changed passwords either. As long as you've changed your passwords to something far from default and a strong password (if you're not sure, there's multiple password strength meters online) you should be fine, but it's always worth remembering and it's nice to customize the SSID anyway.

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Can I remove all these updates listed in add/remove programs?

DSU writes:

CCleaner also allows you to remove the items from the list. I do that as part of my monthly running of CCleaner.

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There's Just No Need to Hate Windows 8

John Browne writes:

Great article, Leo, as always. But a few things I've found via Win8 vs Win7 et al that you might not have bumped into yet.

Windows 8 Store apps (those that are represented by tiles in the Windows home page) only run as full screen or a fixed size "snapped" to another app. So this means two things: either you have one app visible or two. Period. And there's no options to resize them. So, for example, if you want to run Skype and Outlook and see both at the same time, you have very few options. For this you probably want to jump into the desktop and use the traditional version of these apps--but you'll have to find the "desktop" version of Skype, as the version that comes with Windows 8 is a Windows Store app only.

You'll also have to deal with the fact that even running Classic Shell (which I rely on completely) the charms menu will pop up when your mouse hits the side of the screen. You can cancel that behavior in the configuration of Classic Shell.

If you don't run Classic Shell and you're not using a touch-based computer you are hosed.

For me the good news is similar to what you found: under the hood Win8 is a great OS, fast, light, and robust. The UI, however, will drive you crazy if you've used Windows for any time at all. (Frankly, having used Win8RT on my Acer tablet for several months now, I'm less than awed with the touch experience compared to an iPad, but that's just my opinion).

*** Thoughts and Comments

For the past 10 years I've owned the domain ask-leo.com, and that's where Ask Leo! has lived it's happy little life.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be able to pick up askleo.com (the one without the dash). Since I got it I've had it simply redirecting to ask-leo.com so there was no real difference, and no matter what you used you got to where you thought you were going.

As of yesterday I turned that part off. askleo.com is where the new Ask Leo! will live.

Now, before you run out there to poke around (and you're welcome to do so), a couple of notes:

  • The look is not the new Ask Leo! design. The current look is simply me selecting and tweaking a Wordpress theme to look kinda-sorta enough like Ask Leo! that I'd be OK with it going public. It's actually the same look as answercast.askleo.com and newsletter.askleo.com.
  • Not everything is there. In fact, not everything will be there, but that's another discussion. For now a few articles have been duplicated out there to get a feel for how things will work. (The impact on how we put together the newsletter is pretty dramatic, for example.)
  • It's possible ... likely even ... that new articles will soon be posted only on the new site beginning in the very near future. That shouldn't affect you, as links will still link and the newsletter will still point to all the right places. It's just that the edges might be a little rough.
  • I do have a new look-and-feel being designed as we speak, so don't worry if the font's too small or the site doesn't look pretty enough, that should also change in the coming weeks.

Honestly I'm very excited to see this transition happen. While its mostly about making Ask Leo! a more professional looking site and helpful experience, the changes that you don't see, the changes on the back end that affect how we put things together are pretty darned cool as well.

So, as the disclaimer on askleo.com says, "Thanks for your patience."

See you next week,

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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