2014's Most Popular Articles
2014 marked the eleventh year of Ask Leo!.
What's remarkable about the most popular articles of this year is that they show how little some things change. And, of course, how little our reaction to change itself changes.
Continue Reading: 2014's Most Popular Articles
Do I need a firewall, and if so, what kind?
The very short, very easy answer is: hell yes! Absolutely, positively you need a firewall.
With all that happens on the internet these days, it's simply too risky to let your computer sit "naked" on the internet unless you really know what you're doing. The real question is what kind of firewall do you need?
The very good news these days is that it's very likely that you're already behind a firewall and don't need to do a thing.
But you should make sure.
Continue Reading: Do I need a firewall, and if so, what kind?
Can I Delete Setup Files I've Downloaded?
The answer is both yes and no.
Assuming you've run the set up to install the programs they contained then yes, you can delete setup files safely. The programs will continue to work without them.
However, the answer is also no: you don't want to delete them. You want to do something else instead, for reasons that aren't always obvious.‹...
Continue Reading: Can I Delete Setup Files I've Downloaded?
The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet
- Ask Leo! #528 - Hard drives in dead computers, Deleting multiple emails, Are they really deleted?, Avoiding Bitlocker, and more...
- How do I get data off of the hard drive in a dead computer?
- How do I delete multiple emails when I have a lot to delete?
- Why I Avoid BitLocker
- Are deleted emails really deleted?
A firewall is a barrier between something that is potentially dangerous and something that you want to keep safe.
The term comes from the automotive industry where there is a wall of metal behind your dashboard that is designed to keep the passengers safe should the engine catch on fire. Hence, the term "fire wall".
In computing, a firewall is typically a networking device, often a router, that is designed to understand network traffic to some degree. Its job is to block malicious or unauthorized network traffic from crossing the firewall into a protected network.
The most common example of a firewall are most consumer and small-business routers. These devices not only allow multiple computers to be connected to a single internet connection but they also act as a type of firewall, protecting against malicious traffic from the internet. There are also dedicated hardware appliances that act only as firewalls and there is software that can be installed on PCs to act as a firewall as well. Recent versions of Windows include a built-in software firewall.
Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.
How do I get data off of the hard drive in a dead computer?
Per Leo's comments about an external drive enclosure, those of you who are inclined to troubleshoot your own hard drive issues would be well served owning a hard drive dock. Just search Amazon for "hard drive dock usb 3" to see a whole list of options. One that holds both 3.5" and 2.5" drives is preferred. Having one on had is beautiful when things go wrong. Note that they will almost all have the SATA interface. If you're dealing with an IDE drive, you can acquire a USB hard drive adapter/converter. Something like this would suffice for both, http://www.amazon.com/C2G-Cables-30504-Serial-Adapter/dp/B000UO6C5S, but the docks are much cleaner for a few dollars more.
I own a cable pretty much like that as well, and yes, it can come in handy. It's this one: http://go.askleo.com/ama/B000JJM2GW
I prefer the full enclosure approach for people that don't do this often because when done they're typically left with a quite useful external drive for just the cost of that enclosure.
10 steps to keep from getting your account hacked
Hi, do you know if most sites store alternative email addresses, and secret question answers, hashed, similar to passwords?
Typically they do not for email addresses at least. Secret answers - also probably not. Unlike passwords, most answers are not case sensitive, and that breaks the ability to use a hash.
Can I Delete Setup Files I've Downloaded?
the person said they have files that go back as far as 5 years. wouldn`t those downloads be out of date? to say the least. but it sounds like this person is in need of a clean re-install. wasn`t it you Leo who we should do a clean re-install at least twice a year? if they`re trying to speed up their computer that`d be the first place i`d look. 5 years! imagine the clutter.
Not twice a year, no, but periodically is indeed a good idea. Two years is what I've been doing, but of course it depends on how you use your computer. Setup files won't be impacting speed however - they're just benignly taking up space.
Let's Get More People to Back Up
In an editorial post a few years ago, I bemoaned the state of backing up. The post, entitled "Why don't people back up?" discussed the many varied (and somewhat reasonable) reasons individuals might not be backing up their precious data.
I also discussed many scenarios in which people lose that precious data completely and forever… scenarios in which a backup solution would have protected them in some way. In fact, almost any backup solution would have helped. As I say in What backup program should I use?, "Asking what backup program to use is very much like asking, ‘What's the best exercise program?' The best program for exercise or backup is whichever one you'll actually do."
Anything is better than nothing.
The good news is that more people are backing up – or at least attempting to.
The bad news is that we still have a long way to go to get more people to back up. I know this by the number of panic-stricken emails I receive.
Continue Reading: Let's Get More People to Back Up
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