Ask Leo! #586 – Negative Reviews, Browser Cache’s, Ransomware and Backups, and more…

Leo's Blog

Another reason I don't do negative reviews

Continue Reading: Another reason I don't do negative reviews


What's a browser cache? How do I clear it? Why would I want to?

The browser cache appears in more answers than questions, but it often causes even more questions.

Even when following instructions to empty the cache, many people aren't clear on what this piece of magic really is, or why clearing the cache does anything at all.

Let's review the browser cache, what it is and why it exists. Along the way, we'll review the steps to clear it in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome and try to dream up some reasons why that sometimes helps.

Continue Reading: What's a browser cache? How do I clear it? Why would I want to?

Will Ransomware Encrypt Backups?

I wonder if a backup system that uses an external disk is safe from Ransomware. I have Acronis True Image 2015 ' paid version, and do a full backup once a month and an incremental daily. Can Ransomware get to that backup? It is, in reality, just another disk in my system.

The best we can say is … maybe.

It actually depends on a lot of different things, including the type of backup, where it's stored, and the specific characteristics of the ransomware involved. That's perhaps the biggest unknown: there are many different types of ransomware, each with different characteristics.

Of course, what to do about this "maybe" also represents a trade-off between getting regular backups and keeping those backups safe.

Continue Reading: Will Ransomware Encrypt Backups?


Backing Up 101

Previous Issue

Most recent forum posts

Glossary Term


A backup is nothing more than an additional copy of data, ideally kept in a different location than the original.

If there's only one copy of something – say a photograph on a mobile phone – then it's not backed up. If that device were to fail or be lost, then the photograph would be lost forever as well.

Computers are excellent at making copies of digital data, and backups are one important use of that functionality.

It's generally recommended that important data be backed up in at least one, ideally more, separate devices or media, such as an external hard disk. In addition, it's recommended that critical data also be backed up in another physical location, such as a different building, or online.

More than anything, the important concept is that there never be only a single copy of important data. That's not backed up.

See also: back up

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

Featured Comments

Someone's sending from my email address! How do I stop them?!

Christina writes:

Leo, I often tell people that spoofing is similar to someone putting an addressed envelope in a mailbox but using YOUR address as the return address. You can't stop it, and you can't stop the letter from being returned to you if it is returned not deliverable. It doesn't make a difference who put the envelope in the mailbox, where they did it, or who they sent it to.

For some reason spoofing is really hard for many people to understand. The "envelope with a wrong return address" analogy often helps them get the picture.

Introducing the Ask Leo! Forum

Reid writes:

Not meaning to point away from the AskLeo! site, but when it comes to forums, one should have several in their arsenal as all have their special strengths. Until Leo's is fully formed, I've always found the Windows Secrets Lounge ( very helpful. It's actively used and you'll get great feedback to your questions.

Do I Need this Add-on Recommended by this Software Installation?

Terry writes:

This problem is especially prevalent if one downloads software via a "third party" site. I recall once downloading Adobe Reader, bit NOT from This download didn't even ask if I wanted to change my home page, or search engine, or include options, it just did it. When I questioned the site, their comment was, "In the Agreement, which you had to click, "I Agree" to get Adobe, you'll see that you also agreed to let us change certain things" NOW, I only download from the official site of the software I want.

Dan O writes:

Terry, I think you've put your finger on the biggest loophole, and one that's rarely mentioned. A software vendor can install *anything* it wants if it's in the user agreement and you click "Agree", no matter what you opt out of in the installation process. Who reads the agreement? Nobody I know, and that's by design, at least by the unscrupulous vendors. The EULA can be written in impenetrable language designed to be unreadable, and unintelligible if read.

To my mind the one and only failsafe is to have a current full-image backup, so if something goes wrong you can wipe the harddrive and do a complete reinstall.

Ask Leo! on Business

Recent posts...

Set Up Your Email

We have a domain and we have hosting. Now I'll walk through the process of creating and configuring an email account.

Read: Set Up Your Email

Use Your Own Domain for Email

You have your own domain; now put your email on it. This is not optional.

Read: Use Your Own Domain for Email

Leo's Books

Backing Up 101 Saved! - Backing Up with Macrium Reflect - 2nd Edition Saved! Backing Up With EaseUS Todo
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: February 9, 2016 in: 2016
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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.