Ask Leo! #520 – Crashing Windows Explorer, more Wi-Fi Security, BoxCryptor, the return of the Podcast, and more…


BoxCryptor - Secure Your Data in the Cloud

One of the hidden issues in online storage is that of privacy. Specifically, almost all online storage providers have the ability to examine your data or hand it over to law enforcement even if the provider has encrypted your data.

Hopefully, most of us will never have to deal with the law-enforcement scenario, but even the realization that a rogue employee at an online data storage provider could peek into what we keep online can cause concern. For some, it's enough concern to avoid using cloud storage at all.

The solution is simple: encrypt the data yourself.

Unfortunately, implementing that "simple" solution isn't always that simple or transparent and can add a layer of complexity to online storage that some find just as intimidating.

BoxCryptor Classic is a nicely unobtrusive encryption solution and free for personal use.

Continue Reading: BoxCryptor - Secure Your Data in the Cloud

Does having a publicly visible Wi-Fi password add security compared to an open Wi-Fi hotspot?

I handle the Wi-Fi hotspot for a library and have been using WPA2 with an openly distributed passphrase. Another library has no security whatsoever. Is there a greater risk using no security because for our library the passphrase is so openly available to possibly bad guys?

The short answer is absolutely!

Using WPA2 with a password – even a publicly visible one – adds significant levels of security beyond an open Wi-Fi hotspot. Yes, even if everybody in the room knows the password.

When you've got an open Wi-Fi hotspot, all of the information that's being transmitted by each of the computers connected to that hotspot is being transmitted in the clear. That puts the onus of security on each individual computer user. That's not necessarily a good assumption to make.

Continue Reading: Does having a publicly visible Wi-Fi password add security compared to an open Wi-Fi hotspot?

What do I do when Windows Explorer crashes?

Windows Explorer keeps crashing on me. Sometimes, all that I need to do is open a folder in it, and *poof* – it's toast. Why? And what do I do? And to be clear, I'm talking about Windows Explorer crashing – not Internet Explorer.

Windows Explorer (also known as File Explorer in Windows 8 and later) is a very special program. In many ways, it "is Windows", in that Windows Explorer is actually the program that's responsible for displaying the task bar, the Start menu, the task-switcher, and a fair amount more.

Oh, and it's also the program that you can use to browse around your hard disk to look at files and folders.

It's definitely completely unrelated to Internet Explorer, but there is one characteristic that they share that can cause the kinds of problems you're seeing.

They can both be extended.

Continue Reading: What do I do when Windows Explorer crashes?


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Featured Comments

Should I back up to DVDs?

SDEDE writes:

I have graphics and movies of over 10TBs of data over several HDs and External HDs ("EHD"). I am sure there are many others in my situation. It seems to me that backup options have not kept up with progress. The largest EHDs on the market today are 4TBs; I can ill afford doubling the amount of EHDs in order to back up my data. But, I assume there really isn't any choice here, correct?

Leo writes:

I know of no other cost effective way to back up - and with that much data on a single drive you an lose it ALL in an instant if it's the only copy. For that much data I'd invest in a NAS or another computer so that the data would actually be on a completely separate device.

Uday Rege writes:

What happens if your backup external hard disk fails? I have had a 1 Terabyte internal hard disk fail, though I got a replacement as it was within the warranty period. But I lost a lot of non-critical but valuable (to me) data. I now have an 2 TB external hardisk. I am backing up 1 TB to 2 TB. But heaven help me if that fails? Is there any program which can monitor the harddisk and warn of impending failure?

Leo writes:

If you lost data by the death of a single drive THEN YOU WEREN'T BACKED UP! Remember, if there's only one copy it's not a backup - it's the only copy. Doesn't matter what you call the drive it's stored on, a single copy of data can, and will, be lost by drive failure. As you saw external drives can and do fail as well. The only way to protect yourself is to make sure that the data they're backing up still exists somewhere else. For most people that means they have two copies: the original and the backup. If they lose either they always have the other.

External hard disk not recognized? A story of data loss.

Leo writes:

"If there's only one copy, it's not backed up."


Not sure how much clearer I can make it. :-)

Leo's Blog

The return of the podcast - kind of

Over the years Ask Leo! has had two separate incarnations of podcasts.

Recently I've decided to give number three a whirl and see what you think of it.

In fact, I've been quietly podcasting for a couple of weeks already.

Continue Reading: The return of the podcast - kind of

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