Ask Leo! #494 – More Software Engineers Needed, Speeding up Computers, Misleading Advertising and more…

*** Featured

How can I make my computer run faster?

Please tell me how I can make my PC run faster. My machine's just getting slower and slower.

There are a number of steps that you can take to attempt to speed up your system.

Most require simply tweaking the software you already have, not adding more.

But there are also steps that go beyond tweaking and right to removal.

Continue Reading: How can I make my computer run faster?

*** Answercast

Answercast #155 - Identical spam, spying eyes, misleading advertising, popups and more...

Is there a solution to misleading advertising on the internet or annoying popups? Do you wonder why you need two browsers or what spyware can do? Is your account sending spam? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

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

I got two identical spam messages from two friends. Which of us has been hacked?
It's unlikely that you've been hacked. It's possible that your friends have both been hacked, but this kind of thing can happen without anyone being hacked at all!

Continue reading: I got two identical spam messages from two friends. Which of us has been hacked?

Can spyware see what you did before the spyware was installed?
When a hacker gets ahold of your computer they can do anything. Keeping them off is the best plan.

Continue reading: Can spyware see what you did before the spyware was installed?

Who's responsible for monitoring misleading advertising?
If an ad claims that they will fix your computer for free, be skeptical. You know they are trying to make money, and besides you may be able to handle the problem yourself, for free.

Continue reading: Who's responsible for monitoring misleading advertising?

Do I need more than one browser? Why?
As you'll see, website-browser compatibility is a bit of a mess. The solution is just what you suggest: have more than one browser ready to go on your computer.

Continue reading: Do I need more than one browser? Why?

Can we no longer view websites without getting popups?
In reality, the web is not free. Someone is paying for it. Advertising helps them make money. But there are some bad guys out there who pack your computer with pop-ups.

Continue reading: Can we no longer view websites without getting popups?

Why does my account keep sending out spam?
Unfortunately most of this is out of your hands now. There are a few things you can check for, and then you'll have to just get on with your life.

Continue reading: Why does my account keep sending out spam?

*** Our Sponsor

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Companion videos and digital formats included.
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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Featured Reader Comments

How do I remove PUPs, foistware, drive-bys, toolbars, and other annoying things I never wanted?

david writes:

Doesn't everyone have System Restore? Leo, I'd have thought that should be your first solution. Assuming one spots the foistware as it comes in or very soon afterwards . . . Whenever I click on a link that takes an age (about 1 minute before anything comes up) - and the computer totally jams up so I get 'Not Responding' all the time - I get the sinking feeling in my stomach that the computer is being hijacked so I'm inclined to run System Restore every single time. Apparently it works (though I never actually see what's been added or removed!) . . . So isn't S.R. the complete solution for everyone? Isn't it on everyone's computer? . . . (Or is it just a feature of X.P.? - In which case, yet another reason for staying with X.P. I would have thought!!)

Mark Jacobs writes:

System Restore is great when it works, but it has so many problems, that it's not good to rely on it as a solution. Even if it works, it won't necessarily remove every kind of foistware.

How do I protect the files on a portable hard drive?

Alex Dow writes:

I agree with Leo, have multiple copies/backups of your files, and as Leo describes, when you stop and think about it, you almost certainly have various HDDs lying around, that could be used.

One additional point. I have extensive files, photographs etc, covering my family's history and genealogy.

As well as being covered by the above, over the years I have sent copies of those specific files on DVDs to various relatives etc, widely scattered over the globe, partly intended for them to develop their own specific parts; and partly that should I catastrophically lose the items on all of my "local" disks, virtually all of it will be recoverable via those relatives.

How do I learn more about computers?

John Weegan writes:

Hi Leo.

I am just over 80 years old.

Have been playing with computer for abt 20 years , low level.

There is not a week that I don,t read your articles, and always benefit from them.

Since I started using macrium as a backup, I feel much more confident in experimenting. It saved my BUTT many times. I now do things now I would never been game to tackle.

In my opinion there is no better way for learners to give it a real go.

Should you download a virus, or stuff up, 20 minutes later, all is back to normal.

Keep up the good work Leo.

John Weegan.

*** Leo's Blog

Is There Room in the World for New Software Engineers?

I get career related questions from time to time. This week I got one that I thought was absolutely worth a detailed response.

The individual asking is finishing up high school here in the US.

I wanted to ask if you thought that there was room in the world for new software engineers?

Not just yes, but HELL YES. :-)

Continue Reading: Is There Room in the World for New Software Engineers?

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*** Leo's Books

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

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Posted: May 6, 2014 in: 2014
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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.