Ask Leo! #481 – The Evils of Autoplay (the other one), Missing Installation Media and more…

*** Featured

I don't have installation media for Windows. What if I need it?

I need to reinstall Windows, but I don't have an installation disc. I never got one. What do I do?

It's becoming more and more common to have a completely legal installation of Windows without installation media such as CDs or DVDs. This can cause some panic when you're later instructed to make sure that you have media ready before installing some other software or hardware or if you ever find yourself needing to reinstall your system from scratch.

Let's look at how to prepare for this day and what straws you may have to grasp at should you arrive unprepared.

Continue Reading: I don't have installation media for Windows. What if I need it?

*** Answercast

Answercast #142 - Too many incrementals, spying cams, lost emails, employee privacy and more...

Are you wondering if it is safe to use your personal email at work, or to burn a year's worth of incrementals? Curious what happens when you delete, or if you should put tape over your webcam? Hoping you can get back a lost Hotmail inbox? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

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

Can I just keep making incremental backups after I've made a full image backup?
Incremental backups, in a practical sense, have a limited shelf life. I'll explain why a full backup once a month is just about right.

Continue reading: Can I just keep making incremental backups after I've made a full image backup?

Should I cover my webcam when not in use?
Sure, you can cover your webcam with tape. But that won't solve the real problem... you've got malware on your computer!

Continue reading: Should I cover my webcam when not in use?

Can my company see my personal email?
In a work environment all bets are off. If they're looking hard enough, an employer can see everything you do on a work computer.

Continue reading: Can my company see my personal email?

Does deleting things really delete things?
Deleting items on your computer usually doesn't wipe them clean. That's an extra step.

Continue reading: Does deleting things really delete things?

Can my backup programs restore my settings to a new machine?
Programs and settings aren't easily migrated to a new machine. For the most stable upgrade you'll want to work from scratch.

Continue reading: Can my backup programs restore my settings to a new machine?

How can I get my lost Hotmail emails back?
The answer isn't going to be too hopeful, though I do have a few small straws you can grasp at.

Continue reading: How can I get my lost Hotmail emails back?

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Featured Reader Comments

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

GiddyUpGo writes:

For years I have used drive trays, with their own hard drive, that you plug into your computer. On one tray I have Windows XP and on another I have Windows 7. I have another internal hard drive that I use to store data from either OS. I find that this system will give 100% active use of each OS without one effecting the other.

One drawback is that you have to turn your computer off, change trays, and then reboot the computer from the changed tray.

I too have some programs that will not run on W7, but with this they have their own OS.

How do I stop all this spam?

Bruce, Houston writes:

Having used several web based email services as well as my own domain, I've found that Gmail's ability to filter spam is virtually perfect. I've been using it since it was in beta and in all those years it has trapped virtually all spam and blocked legit emails only twice. I originally got the Gmail as a throwaway account but after seeing how well it worked it became my primary account. I even forward my own domain email to Gmail just for the filtering.

Leo writes:

My experience is the same as yours, and in fact I've been doing what you do for some time now. All my email is routed through Gmail.

Is application-provided encryption secure?

RayB writes:

I put a lot of faith in Adobe PDF to encrypt secret data or use Steganos Locknote BUT how do we know that the programmers of those applications don't have a backdoor to the code? I'm especially concerned with freeware out of eastern Europe.

For that matter if you want to get further into conspiracy theory who is to say Microsoft have not been required by US government to encode a backdoor.

Leo writes:

If you go completely down the conspiracy theory path, you should walk away from the internet completely. Seriously, you have to have some basic trust in someone and some things.

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

John O'Meara writes:

There is one other part of Windows Peer-to-Peer networking that you mention in passing, but you might add to that checklist - namely that files and folders must actually be shared. I have several times run across networks set up correctly that don't 'work' because nothing was actually shared.

*** Leo's Blog

Auto-play is evil

No, I'm not talking about what happens when you insert a DVD or CD into your computer, or even what happens when you plug in a USB device and things automatically happen. That can be evil, and often is, but that's not what this little rant is about.

This is for all of the website owners, designers, and maintainers out there.

Auto-play anything on the web is evil.

Because so many website owners insist on auto-playing things, I apparently need to explain why it's such a bad idea.

Continue Reading: Auto-play is evil

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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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Posted: February 4, 2014 in: 2014
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