Ask Leo! #474 – Disappearing webmasters, making yourself disappear from a computer, laptops and TVs, CryptoPrevent and more…

*** Featured

How do I remove myself from a machine?

How do I remove myself from a machine?

The scenario looks like this: you're ending a long and successful relationship with your employer (or maybe a not so long or successful one). But while you were there, you were allowed to make use of your assigned computer to do things like check your personal email, use an instant messaging client, check in on Facebook, and maybe even surf the web occasionally for non-work related things.

Now on your way out the door, you'd like to make sure that your personal account information isn't left behind. And perhaps clean up a few other traces of your activities as well.

Continue Reading: How do I remove myself from a machine?

My webmaster left. What do I do?

My webmaster has gone AWOL and my site is having problems. I don't know who to talk to or how to retrieve my site's back up. What can I do?

This was the case for the website for an organization to which I belong. In fact, it happened twice, and we got very lucky each time.

I'll review what happened to us, how I recovered, and what every website owner should do to prepare for exactly this scenario.

Continue Reading: My webmaster left. What do I do?

*** Answercast

Answercast #137 - Hotspot troubles, Preventing Crypto, Open ports, Do you need a firewall and more...

Do you wonder if you really need a firewall, or what to do if you don't have a DVD drive? curious about open ports or firewalls? Want to use your television as a monitor? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

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

Why am I getting limited connectivity at my local open wifi hotspot?
When you are connected to a wireless network, but cannot get to the internet, it's because an IP address has not been assigned to you. So how do you fix that?

Continue reading: Why am I getting limited connectivity at my local open wifi hotspot?

If my anti-virus is working properly, do I still need a firewall?
There is no such thing as perfect anti-virus software, so it's wise to have another line of defense when online.

Continue reading: If my anti-virus is working properly, do I still need a firewall?

How do I use my television screen with my laptop?
It is common to use an external screen, or even a projector with a laptop. More than likely you can set up your TV using the same connectors.

Continue reading: How do I use my television screen with my laptop?

Why haven't you mentioned CryptoPrevent?
Preventing one type of malware is not going to help you in the long run. And if it does help in the short run... then you may have a bigger problem!

Continue reading: Why haven't you mentioned CryptoPrevent?

What do I do if I can't boot from a CD or DVD drive?

Many computers are now built without DVD drives. This can cause big problems when you need to restore your computer.

Continue reading: What do I do if I can't boot from a CD or DVD drive?

What's an open port?
With one exception, having an open port is not dangerous. But the way that ports work is interesting!

Continue reading: What's an open port?

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week


A domain registry service or registrar is an organization authorized to sell, or more correctly lease, internet domain names.

Registrars are themselves registered with and authorized through ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or one of its international designees.

A registrar's basic function is to register ownership of an internet domain, and publish that information, as well as indicating which "name servers" are to be used for retrieving information about the domain such as the IP addresses of any servers hosting that domain or the email associated with it.

It's very common, though definitely not required, that the registrar also provides the name servers, as well as website parking and/or hosting, email and other services – typically for additional fees.

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

Why does this ad imply I have a criminal record?

James writes:

I learned something today. I've always wondered how I can get search results that match what I'm searching for and when you click on the link, the resulting web page has nothing to do with what I'm looking for.

I agree with Leo. They are very misleading and it is a bad tactic. It is a colossal waste of time looking through search results which don't relate to what you are searching for. I promptly leave their website without looking at anything on their site. So they fail with me every time.

How can I make a computer "Crash Proof?"

kptech writes:

Wikipedia estimates that there are of somewhere around 45 million lines of code in Windows XP. I don't know about Windows 7 or 8 but probably at least as many, most likely more.

Imaging trying to find a mistake somewhere in those 45 million lines of program code. --It would be like trying to find all the typos and punctuation mistakes in every newspaper in the country! --No matter how many you find, there will always be more!

Do I need to worry about the latest security breach?

Mike Regan writes:

Doesn't a good password manager like LastPass prevent keyloggers getting your details? When I do have to occasionally type ... I use osk.exe which is a small onscreen typewriter that you use the mouse instead of keys.

Leo writes:

No. A sufficiently sophisticated keylogger could log a password manager's action of entering the password for you. On screen keyboards are also no guarantee, since a keylogger could also be logging screen shots and mouse clicks. The bottom line: don't let keyloggers on to your system. Like ANY malware, once they are in place, all bets are off.

Why haven't you mentioned CryptoPrevent?

Mark Jacobs writes:

Cryptolocker is just malware (I hesitate to say just as its effects can be so devastating) and as such should be detected and stopped by any decent AV program by now. I use Avast and their website specifically says it detects and blocks Cryptolocker. As my driving instructor told me years ago: "the car that hits you is the one you don't see coming." In other words, it's best to be prepared for the next one we don't know about yet by following all-around safe computer and internet practices.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Just a reminder to check out the Ask Leo! YouTube channel at I'm trying to illustrate assorted articles with videos, and I'm also now publishing the weekly answercast as an audio-only video.

Just a reminder that with the holidays coming, I'm actually going to take a couple of weeks off.

Sort of.

Next week's newsletter will a normal one, but the two that follow will be somewhat abbreviated, since we'll have put them together before the holidays.

In addition, the "ask-a-question" form on Ask Leo! will be turned off for most of the holiday. This is where the "sort of" comes in to play.

In the last month Ask Leo! has received over 6,500 spam comments. That's way more spam than there are legitimate comments. Fortunately you don't see most of those because of the technology behind the web site that does a pretty good job of detecting them when they're entered.

Unfortunately the spammers have now detected the ask-a-question form, which does not use the same technology, and are pummelling it to death with spam. My assistants, in particular, are having to deal with the bulk of it all.

That just ain't right.

So over the holidays I'll also be re-tooling the ask-a-question page to use the same spam-fighting technology that is used to deal with comment spam. Hopefully come the new year all will look pretty much as it does today, except that we'll be seeing less spam.

If, during that time, you have a pressing question you can find me on Facebook. I can't guarantee I'll be responding in a timely fashion (it is the holidays after all), but I just know that I won't be ignoring it completely either.

Till next time...

Leo A. Notenboom
Facebook - Google+
YouTube - Twitter

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