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Ask Leo! #459 – Internet for Everyone, Monitoring Your System, Search Engines, Cloning and more…

*** Featured

Monitoring your system with Resource Monitor

When diagnosing a system problem or even just monitoring the health of a working system, it's useful to peek "under the hood" to see what's going on.

Windows 7 added a handy utility called Resource Monitor that does just that. It provides more information than the existing Task Manager without getting into all of the esoteric and often confusing detail of Process Explorer.

Resource Manager is a useful tool to have in your back pocket.

Continue Reading: Monitoring your system with Resource Monitor

Shouldn't everyone have internet access?

Last week, I shared on the Ask Leo! Facebook page an article from my local Seattle newspaper. It originated in the New York Times with the upshot that, "Roughly 20 percent of American adults do not use the Internet at home, work, school or by mobile device…"

My thought: How do we fix this?

Surprisingly, I got several comments to the effect that it's not something that needed fixing.

I don't think I could disagree more.

Continue Reading: Shouldn't everyone have internet access?

*** Answercast

Answercast #122 - Cloning to back up, jpg errors, the perfect mouse-keyboard combo and more...

Are you looking for the perfect mouse/keyboard combination, having problems opening jpg files or worried about search engines tracking you? Has your cursor disappeared? Are annoying folders opening at startup? Get those answers and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo! - AND get more tips on staying safe on the internet.

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

Is cloning to a second internal drive a viable backup strategy?
Any backup system puts you ahead of the game. But a few "gotchas" could sneak up on you when relying on cloning a hard drive.

Continue reading: Is cloning to a second internal drive a viable backup strategy?

Can search engines track my searches?
Search engines have numerous (and quite amazing) ways to gather information on people and the way they search. It's nothing to worry about unless you have some critical need for privacy.

Continue reading: Can search engines track my searches?

How do I prevent this folder from opening on startup?
The symptom described is usually a leftover startup entry. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to remove this.

Continue reading: How do I prevent this folder from opening on startup?

Why does my cursor disappear while typing?
This might be a feature that you can adjust in the Windows Control Panel. If not, we might have to dive a little deeper.

Continue reading: Why does my cursor disappear while typing?

Can I put everything but the operating system on an external drive?
Using an external drive is not going to work like you think in the long run. In the end, a backup image is the most convenient tool to use when reinstalling Windows.

Continue reading: Can I put everything but the operating system on an external drive?

Should I provide my credit card to sites that are free?

Free services should not ask for a credit card. While this could be a scam, there are some legitimate reasons why a site may ask for a credit card number.

Continue reading: Should I provide my credit card to sites that are free?

Why do I get an error when viewing JPG files?
Your email should be able to open image files if your Windows Explorer can. Fortunately, I have a few possible solutions to this problem.

Continue reading: Why do I get an error when viewing JPG files?

Can I use both a wireless mouse and keyboard without plugging in another USB receiver?

Several technologies run wireless mice and keyboards, so you should be able to find the features that you want.

Continue reading: Can I use both a wireless mouse and keyboard without plugging in another USB receiver?

I'm being abused by email. What do I do?
Once something is posted online, it can remain public virtually forever. It's important to understand how that works and take steps to protect yourself where needed.

Continue reading: I'm being abused by email. What do I do?

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week


ISP is an acronym for Internet Service Provider. (Do not confuse it with IP, which is completely unrelated.)

As the name implies, an ISP is the company or service that provides the physical connection between your home or place of business and the internet. Along with that connection, they may provide additional services such as email, web hosting, or more.

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

On Steve Ballmer leaving Microsoft

kinhunter25 writes:

I couldn't have said it any better than Roy. While I "loved" Windows 7 from the first day I saw it, I have hated Windows 8 exactly that much and still do. Fortunately there are companies that have managed to "fix" some of the major problems with Windows 8 with programs of their own. I immediately bought one and now have one that fixed the parts I HATE on "8" so that I now have the appearance of Windows 7 (the desktop loads immediately and I never see or look at the screen with all the little boxes of apps, etc. yet I have maintained the speed of the Windows 8 operating system - best of both worlds! I hope Microsoft soon realizes their customers are of two very different types - the kids of any age that want to shove "cute" things around and play with their electronic equipment (even if they are working) and the others of us who do NOT want anything like this but prefer to treat electronic equipment like the tools we think they are!

How risky will it be to keep running Windows XP?

Alex Dow writes:

"you are intentionally choosing to take on some additional risk."

I suggest that it should read-

"you are intentionally choosing to MAINTAIN THE PRESENT LEVEL OF risk.

The vulnerabilities within XP (in this case) remain the same, so there is no difference in the level of potential risk, ie it remains the same whether later versions of WINDOWS are introduced or not, as XP itself is not being supported or updated after April 2014, there will be no truly additional risks added to it.

How many "bug corrections" have introduced their own new risks?

And as at present and in the past, all or any of those potential vulnerabilities only become actuals if someone discovers them and produces associated malware, whether that be by direct research and examination; or by back-engineering Microsofts updates etc.

As more people move on to later versions of WINDOWS; XP usage reduces by natural attrition, fewer will find writing malware for a reducing XP community an attraction, so generally the risk seems more likely to diminish.

Has anyone made any observations of the corresponding situations over the earlier transitions of WINDOWS to later versions?

Leo writes:

I stand by my statement: 'you are intentionally choosing to take on some additional risk.' - While the vulnerabilities are still there, the increasing risk comes from their eventual discovery and accumulated exploits over time. The fact that XP's market share remains high means that this risk will remain, and indeed increase, before it gets better.

As someone else said comparisons to previous Windows transitions are, essentially, invalid. Windows XP was a watershed moment for Windows - no version has had as many people hang on to it for as long as they have XP.

Jo writes:

I understand your explanation, and it makes sense, thanks.

But what I can't understand (and never have) is why Microsoft always insists on fixing what simply isn't broken! I haven't come across a single person who's upgraded to Vista, W7 and W8 who doesn't yearn for the simplicity and user friendliness of XP.

I upgraded to W7 and quite frankly, I hate it.


For me XP was just about perfect.

Leo writes:

"I haven't come across a single person who's upgraded to Vista, W7 and W8 who doesn't yearn for the simplicity and user friendliness of XP."

Well, count me then as the first person you've encountered who honestly prefers Windows 7 (and yes, even 8).

In fact, I hear often from people who share my sentiments and prefer 7 or 8. The problem is that people who dislike 7 and 8 are the ones more likely to complain about it, so it can often seem that they are the only ones out there. In reality the rest of the people who are just fine with 7 and 8 are quietly moving on and getting work done.

Tony writes:

Count me in too. I learnt on Windows XP, but when my computer crashed it got upgraded by the technician, and I simply came back home and learnt the new way on Windows 7.

I think a lot of hate comes from reluctance to accept change or learn new things. My grandparents didn't refuse to use electric lights in favour of the old oil lamps or candles.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Congratulations to Peggie, the most recent recipient of an activation code for a copy of Macrium Reflect Pro, as well as a copy of my Windows 7 Backing Up ebook.

Three winners to go. Visit 10th Anniversary Drawing if you haven't already entered.

The next couple of weeks are going to be pretty busy for me, including amateur radio support at Bike MS this weekend as well as a little time on the Pacific coast.

Hope you have a great week...

Leo A. Notenboom
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