Ask Leo! #514 – Why Closed Accounts Send Spam, Preparing to Lose Your Hotmail Account, A Rough Week and more…


What is about:blank, and how do I get rid of it?

I think I am running Windows 7. I get the "about:blank" whenever I log on IE. I didn't even know it was a ‘whatever' until recently. What is a simple, fool-proof way to get rid of it?

About:blank is simply a benign page that's built in to your browser. It's not something to "get rid of".

It's the page that your browser displays when it has nothing else to display. That's all.

The problem, of course, is that about:blank can show up unexpectedly, and people get confused about why, and what to do next.

Continue Reading: What is about:blank, and how do I get rid of it?

Recover Your Microsoft Account Later by Setting Up a Recovery Code NOW

Here at Ask Leo!, I hear daily from people with lost, hacked and inaccessible accounts.

And nowhere does this seem to happen more frequently than with Hotmail and accounts, now known simply as Microsoft accounts.

Particularly, given the rising importance of Microsoft accounts for everything from email to cloud services and even the ability to log in to your PC, losing access to that account can have dramatic and dire consequences.

Microsoft has instituted a relatively new security measure that can help you regain access to your account should you lose it: the recovery code. The only "catch" is that you have to set it up before you need it.

So let's set it up right now.

Continue Reading: Recover Your Microsoft Account Later by Setting Up a Recovery Code NOW

5 reasons your closed account still sends spam and what to do about it

I closed an e-mail account that had been hacked and was sending my contacts spam. Even after closing the account, though, the spam to my contacts continues. Why?

Either because it's not really closed, or it doesn't matter that it's closed.

People frequently write to me asking how to close an email account that has been hacked into. Quite often they're particularly desperate and insistent that the account must be closed, and immediately.

This question illustrates why my recommendation is: don't waste your time.

Closing the account, in all likelihood, won't help: the damage has already been done.

Continue Reading: 5 reasons your closed account still sends spam and what to do about it


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Glossary Term

top-level domain

A top-level domain (or TLD) is that portion of a domain name that appears at the end.

For example, ".com" is a top-level domain, as are ".net", ".org", ".edu" and so on. Technically the domain names that we use every day – like "" – are sub-domains of the top level domain on which they are registered. "askleo" is a sub-domain of ".com".

Until recently the top-level domains were restricted to a set of common domains (".com" and so on), and country-specific top-level domains such as ".ca" for Canada, ".uk" for the United Kingdom, and so on. Changes implemented in recent years have opened up the domain name space to "generic" top-level domains (gTLD) just about any term as a top-level domain, so we'll soon be seeing things like ".guru", ".buy", ".bargain" and so on.

Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.

Featured Comments

How do I get the old homepage back?

Edwardo writes:

It is all about CONTROL and we can do nothing about it.

Mark Jacobs writes:

In that, we actually have a lot of control. There are dozens of web portals to choose from. If you don't like MSN, look around for one you like. You might even find one you like better than the old MSN. And if enough people who don't like it switch to another, you can be sure MS will make changes to adapt to the market. MSN is essentially an online magazine and a guide to what you may be interested in on the Web. Yahoo has a portal, AOL has a portal. It doesn't have to be a portal. Every newspaper and magazine in the world (even Playboy) has a website you can set as your home page. You can even set as your homepage :) . Maybe this is an opportunity to discover what's available to choose from.

How do I change my Hotmail or password?

tony kelly writes:

What a load of bollox! I still can't change my password because I am asked a question about a code which I don't have, and it won't accept a second email account with hotmail because "it is associated with my account"!!

I NEED to change your password. What the f? Surely it's possible to maintain security, especially given that we are CONSTANTLY TOLD to change our passwords 'regularly'. Obviously, some Microsoft scam ... as usual!

Connie Delaney writes:

It would be interesting to open a conversation between people who have had their accounts hacked and lost everything, and those who are having problems with security features. See who really has the worse problem. Unfortunately we can never have a conversation with people whose accounts have not been hacked because of the security - because we will never know.

Why do things that aren't broken keep changing?

James B writes:

I'm glad technology has changed. I don't have to try and shift gears while driving. I can warm up my food quickly or defrost something frozen in a couple minutes. I don't have to pound away at a typewriter and then re-type the page because I decided to make a change. I don't have to carry a two-by-four sized telephone.

The trend in technology is to change things for the better. They might not get it right all the time, but I'm glad that technology does change.

Leo's Blog

How Fragile Things Can Seem

As regular readers know, I'm an advocate – often an annoyingly persistent advocate – for backing up.

As I write this, it's been kind of a rough week here at Ask Leo! world headquarters – not for me, but for some of the organizations and people that I support in my spare time.

While the issues at hand are getting resolved – and I'll walk through some of them as a bit of an example – it all served to remind me just how fragile our digital lives can seem at times.

And that beyond backing up, one of the most important things we can control is exactly how we react when things go wrong – because sooner or later things will go wrong.

Continue Reading: How Fragile Things Can Seem

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