Ask Leo! #452 – Windows Disk Cleanup, Shutting Down 8, Facebook password, CAPTCHA and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

How do I shut down Windows 8?

I was having a discussion with an acquaintance the other day and he mentioned that he knew someone who had a two-hour phone call with some form of tech support, trying to figure out how to shut down Windows 8.

Now, I get that it’s not obvious. I even get that it’s frustrating until you discover the magic.

But … two hours?

Because it’s not obvious, particularly to Windows 8 newcomers, let me quickly show you how.

Continue Reading: How do I shut down Windows 8?

How do I recover my Facebook login password?

I stupidly forgot my Facebook login password and can’t get on. Now what do I do? Can I have Facebook send it to me?

Unfortunately, Facebook won’t email you your password. But that’s a good thing. I would hope that most sites with proper security don’t actually know your password. Instead, they just have a way to know that you’ve typed it in correctly.

You can try two approaches: the official way and the … well, the not-so-official way. Even if you don’t use the not-so-official way, you should know about it because it actually represents a possible security threat.

Continue Reading: How do I recover my Facebook login password?

Using Windows Disk Cleanup

Over time, it’s not uncommon for files to accumulate on your system – unused files, old ones, or files you no longer need. There are many reasons for this, but most are pretty valid when you get down to the details.

Fortunately, you don’t need to get into the details to clean things up. Windows includes a disk-cleanup utility that’s helpful for cleaning this type of thing right up.

Let’s walk through the steps of using Windows Disk Cleanup.

Continue Reading: Using Windows Disk Cleanup

*** Answercast

Answercast #115 - New mail notifications and CAPTCHA, failed installs, junk mail and more...

Do you want your Yahoo mail to give you a notification for a new email or to stop giving you a CAPTCHA? Wonder if downloads are shortening a smartphone's life or how to restore XP mode? Worried that too many open tabs are slowing your internet connection? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen Now!
(Includes the raw transcript on which the articles below were based.)

How do I remove a failed Windows XP install?
Installing a new operating system wipes the old files out with no path for reconstruction. I'll give you three options for moving forward.

Continue reading: How do I remove a failed Windows XP install?

Does restoring Windows 7 from a backup also restore XP Mode?
When you create a backup image of your machine, it contains everything; that's the definition of a backup image.

Continue reading: Does restoring Windows 7 from a backup also restore XP Mode?

How do I get a new mail notification for Yahoo! Mail?
The first thing to understand is the difference between an online program (such as the Yahoo website) and a program running locally on your computer. Then I can point you in the right direction.

Continue reading: How do I get a new mail notification for Yahoo! Mail?

How do I remove only my personal information from a computer?
Unfortunately, there is no practical way to determine what is and what isn't personal information. Securing a computer to give away is an all-or-nothing proposition.

Continue reading: How do I remove only my personal information from a computer?

Why do I keep getting a CAPTCHA?
Most of these major email providers are doing what I would call behavioral analysis. They're looking for signals that indicate spam and then posting a CAPTCHA.

Continue reading: Why do I keep getting a CAPTCHA?

Why isn't Outlook's junk mail filter stopping more spam?
Outlook is doing the best that it can with spam, but your expectations that it can block spam based on the From addresses is a tad off the mark.

Continue reading: Why isn't Outlook's junk mail filter stopping more spam?

Does opening multiple tabs affect my network speed?
Without a doubt, having lots of tabs open can impact a computer's speed. Whether or not it slows down the entire network will depend on exactly what all those tabs are doing.

Continue reading: Does opening multiple tabs affect my network speed?

Does downloading a lot on my smartphone shorten its life?
Constantly writing to an SD card will shorten its life. The question is how much? That's going to depend on several factors.

Continue reading: Does downloading a lot on my smartphone shorten its life?

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week


CAPTCHA is an acronym for “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart.” It’s trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University.

Technically a CAPTCHA is any problem or test displayed by a computer that, in theory, is beyond the capabilities of current computational technology to figure out in a reasonable amount of time, and yet something that is relatively easy for an actual human being to understand.

The most common forms of CAPTCHA are visually distorted letters where the user is instructed to type in the letters displayed. This type of analysis is currently practically impossible for computers to perform.

CAPTCHAs are most frequently used to prevent automated programs from creating new accounts at various services, or to prevent automated programs from sending spam.

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

Can I play my old games on my 64-bit computer?

James writes:

I had a piece of software I needed to use that wouldn't work in Windows 7. The cost to replace the software with a newer version was prohibitive. That's when I discovered Oracle's Virtual Box and created a Windows XP virtual machine on my laptop. Works perfectly. Can't say about games, though.

Leo writes:

Aside from the hassle of starting up the VM when you need it, I've found it an invaluable tool for running other and older operating systems and software.

How do I slow down my router at night?

Geldhart writes:

When it comes to kids and computers, I like to tell my clients to stick with simple solutions. . . .

1. Change the administrative passwords on the router, and use GOOD ones the kids won't guess. For example, a password I used to use, it's been changed is "LoggingIntoThisRouterIsABadIdea!". Long to type, difficult to guess, but easy to remember. If your router doesn't allow such a long password, use "Litriabi!"

2. Keep the router in a secure location as Leo mentioned. Your bedroom is a good idea, if your kid tries sneaking in there, you have bigger problems to deal with.

3. Some routers have some form of parental controls where you can disconnect the Internet from certain computers after a certain time of day, but still allow access to the local network (so he can still print his term paper to the networked printer) - I think this can even be done by MAC address. However, failing that option, the lamp timer still works - or just unplug it yourself.

4. Finally, and most importantly, BE THE FRIGGING PARENT. If you don't want the kid on the Internet after 2200, then don't let him be on the Internet, and enforce your own rules. Don't allow excuses from them or yourself. If that means they can't get their school work done, tough. If they know the Internet shuts down at 2200, they need to prioritize around that - it's a useful skill in the real world.

*** Thoughts and Comments

With the dogs guarding the homestead, I've taken to the road this week to visit my good friend Randy Cassingham (of This is True fame) in southwest Colorado.

Among other things I learned that it's a 20 hour drive (Google Maps claimed 19.5 hours), and 1224 miles. That's a whole lotta driving!

It's also a whole lotta listening. I made heavy use of, listening to a couple of books (with more slated for the return trip).

However I started my trip listening to an old favorite: several episodes of The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. A showcase of indie Irish & Celtic music, I've been listening to it on-and-off for a long time. Unfortunately for the last year or so it was mostly "off". It was an enjoyable and energizing start to my trip. If that style of music is at all interesting to you give The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast a listen.

Leo A. Notenboom
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Posted: July 16, 2013 in: 2013
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.