Ask Leo! #539 – Handing Over Your Wallet, Duplicate Files, Blue Screens, Disconnecting Backup Drives and more…

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Would You Give Your Wallet to a Stranger?

If someone were to walk up to you on the street and ask you for your wallet, would you hand it over?

I'm not talking robbery here. I mean that someone you've never met before simply walks up, gives you what sounds like a semi-plausible reason, and asks for your wallet.

Would you hand it over?

Of course not.

And yet when it comes to computers, I hear of people doing much, much worse almost every day.

Continue Reading: Would You Give Your Wallet to a Stranger?


Why are there duplicate files on my computer?

Glary Utilities has a section called "Remove Duplicates". I tried it and it does get stuck when one chooses "delete all checked files". The question is: How come there are duplicate files on the computer? If one is working on a file and then saves it, it should go to the original file and not create a new one. An explanation would be very welcome.

First let me say this: I strongly advise against blindly deleting duplicate files. Done incorrectly, you can quickly render your computer unbootable.

Duplicate files happen for a number of reasons, and surprisingly, what you and I do isn't at the top of the list of the most common causes.

Continue Reading: Why are there duplicate files on my computer?

Why does my computer blue screen?

I keep getting a "blue screen of death" and the following error message: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA and a bunch of other lines and the computer locks up. What is causing this and how can I fix it?

Unfortunately, with only that to go on, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible answers. To really diagnose, we'd need a lot more information about the system it's happening on, the software and hardware installed, and what was happening at the time the problem happened.

I'll throw out some guidelines, so perhaps you can narrow down the diagnosis.

Continue Reading: Why does my computer blue screen?

Should I Disconnect My Backup Drive When I'm Not Backing Up?

I keep hearing of viruses that encrypt your hard drive, and even the files on your external hard drive. Doesn't that mean that my backups would be encrypted as well? Friends are telling me I should disconnect my backup drive when I'm not using it, but that doesn't feel right either. What should I do?

My opinion is that you run a higher risk of not being backed up if you disconnect the drive than you do having your backups encrypted by ransomware.

Put another way: leave the drive connected and continue to let your backups run automatically.

I'll explain why I feel that way, and what you can do to mitigate the risk of ransomware.

Continue Reading: Should I Disconnect My Backup Drive When I'm Not Backing Up?


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Glossary Term

dark web

The term dark web is a general and rather imprecise term used to refer to sites and services that are not directly accessible on the internet. Access to such sites is typically only provided through gateway services or proxies. One common example would be sites that are only accessible using the TOR anonymizing service. These services are variously used to either control or restrict access, or to ensure the anonymity of both site ownership and location as well as visitor identity.

Strictly speaking if a site is directly accessible via an http or https connection it's not considered to be on the dark web. Sites which have simply removed themselves from search engine results but remain on the public internet are classified by the equally general and imprecise term deep web.

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

Featured Comments

A Different Approach to a Book About Backing Up

John Tyler writes:

I've been backing up for many years. I started using Acronis about 8 years ago and really liked it's GUI. Then with their 2014 release there are problems that Acronis won't let your computer shutdown and their tech support wouldn't respond. I've also tried Novastor but had a difficult time creating a boot disk. Their tech support did help me create the boot disk. They don't have a home user friendly GUI but I still use it on an older computer.

I did switch to Macrium after hearing so much about it in the Ask Leo newsletter. I did upgrade to the paid version of V5 last year now they want an outrageous fee to upgrade to V6. So am I at risk of not getting a proper backup if I don't upgrade ? Another concern is I alternate my backup locations from a second internal hard drive to an external hard drive. I've read in other comments that backups should never be done to a second internal hard drive. Then my last concern with Macrium is the XML file really necessary ?

Leo writes:

V5 should continue to work without problem.

Backups to an internal hard drive are better than no backup at all, but take on additional risk of failing at the same time as the primary drive due to other hardware failures - like power supplies - that are shared between the two.

The XML file is needed only if you want to schedule backups to happen automatically.

Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends, and publicly, for free writes:

Is there any difference between Dropbox and Google - My drive. I've been using Google for years with no problems and it offers much more memory. Also allows file access to my phone.

Leo writes:

Dropbox can be installed on your phone (iPhone, Android and I'm sure Windows Phone as well). They are very similar. I don't think Google has the file history feature that DropBox does.

Why can't the poor just pirate software?

Tim writes:

When someone other than you owns something you do not get to decide whether they continue to sell it or how much they charge. If you steal a copy of something just because the owner no longer makes it commercially available you are still stealing it.

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Leo's Books

Backing Up 101 Saved! - Backing Up with Macrium Reflect Saved! - Backing Up with Windows 7 Backup Saved! - Backing Up with Windows 8 Backup
Just Do This: Back Up! The Ask Leo! Guide to Internet Safety The Ask Leo! Guide to Routine Maintenance Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide


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Posted: March 17, 2015 in: 2015
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