Ask Leo! #480 – Spam. Tech Support is Hard.

*** Featured

How do I stop all this spam?

I receive about 300 emails daily. I have no one to help me and I would like to be able to block all this crap. I am not very smart about PCs and need some simple instructions to follow. If I continue to receive certain pornographic or offensive emails, how do I ban them? If I open it up to get their email address to try to block them, what happens then? I need all of the help that I can get because this is too much to take care of daily. I do delete my history daily, but I don't think that helps in blocking them. I use Yahoo! as my mail provider and I am on Windows 7.

Assuming that you mean you get 300 spam emails a day, I'll agree that's a fair amount. Between all my various email accounts, I suspect that I get probably around that much.

The question is not how to stop spam. Ultimately, there's no way for you or I to do that.

The questions are how to deal with it when you get it so that it's merely a minor annoyance rather than an overwhelming chore and how to avoid it, or at least minimize it, in the first place.

Continue Reading: How do I stop all this spam?

*** Answercast

Answercast #141 - Networking Windows, website spam, Facebook fairness, XP to 8 and more...

Do you wonder if it's fair to require a Facebook login, or how to run an old DOS program on a new computer? Do you want to move from XP to Windows 8? Are you getting website spam? 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 get my Windows machines to network with each other?
Home networking can be very difficult. But I have a little trick that works easily for me.

Continue reading: How do I get my Windows machines to network with each other?

Why am I getting empty form submissions from my web site?
Spam, spammers, and hackers. They make website management quite difficult, and you may be experiencing this with your web form.

Continue reading: Why am I getting empty form submissions from my web site?

Can my image backup of Windows XP be used on my Windows 8 computer?
Backing up, particularly with backup image software, is for recovering from a disaster. It can also be handy when moving to a new machine, but probably not in the way you are thinking.

Continue reading: Can my image backup of Windows XP be used on my Windows 8 computer?

Did my boot defragmenter tool actually fix my boot problems?
A bad sector on your hard drive could be causing strange intermittent problems. I'll show you an easy way to find out.

Continue reading: Did my boot defragmenter tool actually fix my boot problems?

Is requiring a Facebook or Google Account fair?
Free is never really free. Just like everywhere else, the information delivered online has been created using basic business principles.

Continue reading: Is requiring a Facebook or Google Account fair?

I have an important MS DOS program that won't run in Win 7 - what do I do?
Sometimes you need an old program that won't run on your current operating system. No Problem! Virtual machines to the rescue.

Continue reading: I have an important MS DOS program that won't run in Win 7 - what do I do?

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Featured Reader Comments

Is application-provided encryption secure?

Bob writes:

I, too, have all of my passwords on an Excel spreadsheet. However, I keep that spreadsheet in a TrueCrypt container. The only password I have to remember is the TrueCrypt password, which is verrrrrry long. That password is no where to be found in my house; only in my head. Just recently I gave it to one of my sons, who lives many states away, as my only backup. Just a piece of paper with no reference to what it is for, in case someone finds it in his house.

How do I deal with one email account on two machines?

Bill Lavezzi writes:

Thanks for this article. I work with an organization that uses email to keep in touch with a large volunteer base who use every conceivable device to read their email. This is a good explanation of some of their basic email choices.

I use POP3 pretty happily on multiple machines because long ago I got used to configuring the machines as outlined by several of your other readers. For organizational records, we keep virtually all old email (not spam, of course); the archives amount to several GB of data, which stays pretty comfortably on the master machine and is backed up along with everything else.

I've thought of switching to IMAP for my personal email account but have been held up by inadequate explanations of the differences. Yours is excellent. Thanks.

How do I protect my Windows XP after they stop sending updates?

Connie Delaney writes:

I have learned that changes in computers are not really as drastic as they first look when using a new operating system. Year's ago my older brother taught me to read the manuals when I got new equipment. These days all you need are a few minutes on a forum, or Microsoft knowledge base, and you are off and running. So I say go right to Windows 8, spend a few minutes reading how to use it - and you'll be off and running.

Mark Jacobs writes:

You say you can't trust Microsoft after hearing the NSA leaks. I'm not going to argue about whether MS is building back doors for the NSA, but the unpatched vulnerabilities that will turn up in XP will be back doors which hackers much less adept than the NSA will be able to exploit. Personally, I'd prefer to take my chances with the NSA than the thousands of hackers who really are interested in what's on my computer such as my bank info, my passwords as I type them in etc.

Why do people I don't know email me?

Roger Bryant writes:

One of my email addresses is my first and last name separated by a "dot", I sometimes get email addressed to someone in another part of the country who has the same name, but with no "dot" in the middle. On these emails there is sometimes a "this email was sent to", which clearly shows that it was sent to an address that is NOT mine (it lacks the "dot"), but I still get it. I think this is a failure at gmail, who can't seem to recognize the presence or absence of the dot. I have advised gmail's help system of this issue, but they have never responded or resolved the issue. I feel bad for the other fellow's mssing some of his emails, and wonder if some of mine may be going to HIM. Suggestions?

Leo writes:

Actually that's a feature of gmail. The dot is explicitly ignored (it's in the gmail documentation somewhere). TO be clear there is one and only one account, it is yours, no matter where the dot appears. Others who are sending to that are mistyping an email address. I get it too.

*** Leo's Blog

Technical Support is Hard

It's fashionable to criticize the technical support offered by many companies.

And it's not without good reason. I've run into too many instances myself of completely incompetent, incomprehensible, or seemingly robotic technical support.

And yet, after doing Ask Leo! for over a decade, I've also developed a lot of sympathy for the folks that are trying to do it right. Ask Leo! affords me a small window onto their world.

There are days where (to put it bluntly) it ain't pretty.

Continue Reading: Technical Support is Hard

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*** Leo's Books

The Ask Leo! Guide to Routine Maintenance Maintaining Windows 7 - Backing Up Backing Up 101 Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide Saved! - Backing Up with Windows 7 Backup

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