Ask Leo! #600 – Backup Programs, Uncaught Exploit, Windows Live Mail 2012, and more…

600? 600!!

As you might notice this is the 600th issue of The Ask Leo! Newsletter.

Six Hundred!!

I can hardly believe it myself. I've been doing this since November 1, 2005. (If you're wondering why the weekly math doesn't quite add up it's because I did twice-weekly issues for a while.) That's over 10 years. Wow.

And for the curious, all 600 of 'em are archived over at

Thanks, as always, for being here. I couldn't do any of this without you.

Leo's Blog

What's Up WIth Microsoft and Email?

In the wake of Microsoft's announced withdrawal of support for synchronization with Windows Live Mail 2012, I review some of the implications, including an update to my position on getting free email programs from Microsoft.

Continue Reading: What's Up WIth Microsoft and Email?


What Backup Program Should I Use?

Backing up is kind of like eating healthier: everyone knows we should, and few of us actually do. Much like the heart attack victim who no longer binges on french fries, when it comes to backing up, the most religious are those who've been bitten hard by a failure in their past.

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. In order to choose what's going to work best for you, there are several questions to ask.

Continue Reading: What Backup Program Should I Use?

Why Wouldn't an Exploit be Caught by My Anti-malware Tools?

Why would an exploit not be caught or detected by my antivirus program (Avast) or Malwarebytes (running in the background)? If not detectable, how much "damage" can the exploit actually do if users follow prudent operating precautions? Would System Restore be usable if infected? I have also followed your advice and routinely image my Dell laptop.

We need to clear up a little terminology, but your question is a very good one: how can malware get past anti-malware programs to infect the software installed on your machine?

And more importantly, what can you do to protect yourself?

Let's define some terms with what I'm thinking is my silliest metaphor ever, and then talk about how to stay safe.

Continue Reading: Why Wouldn't an Exploit be Caught by My Anti-malware Tools?

4 Alternatives for Windows Live Mail and

Is the attached really true and how can I keep all my emails in hotmail on my PC and work with those when I am off line? I also store all my emails on my PC in WLM as well as have many groups created for my bulk mail-outs.

That's just one of several questions that arrived recently in response to Microsoft's announcement that their Windows Live Mail 2012 desktop email program would no longer support email accounts, including email addresses at,,,, and more.

Naturally, this took a lot of people by surprise.

As it turns out, the dire warnings, while certainly significant, may not be entirely accurate. And, of course, the warnings fail to mention some very viable alternatives that don't involve Microsoft.

Continue Reading: 4 Alternatives for Windows Live Mail and


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Glossary Term

Animated GIF

An animated GIF is file format that contains a sequence of individual images in a single GIF file that are intended to be displayed in sequence over time. The result is that an animated GIF can be used to contain short videos and animations.

Animated GIFs are often used in place of traditional video file formats when the animation is short and sound is not required, as GIFs have no sound capability.

The video sequence is often played automatically by most GIF-displaying software, which can also be instructed to loop the video a specified number of times, or infinitely.

See also: GIF.

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

Featured Comments

Clearing Up Some Windows 10 Misconceptions

Ray Smith writes:

I completely agree: privacy is something we need to start paying more attention to. I'm not talking about "Microsoft is spying on me" type paranoia, but rather the big picture implications of the fact that so much of our data is now held in databases and subject to being sold, traded and aggregated, sometimes without our knowledge and consent. Some comments I made in relation to another post....

To take this a little further, I'll add that most people have little understanding about the extent to which they're tracked. You've got companies collecting social data and aggregating it with financial information, purchase history records obtained via customer loyalty programs as well as numerous other data points/sources (search: data brokers). You've got companies tracking you across whatever devices you use, irrespective of your cookie/privacy/telemetry settings (search: probabilistic cross-device tracking). You've got companies tracking you in a whole bunch of other ways - some overt, some covert. And all of this happens in what is very much a legal grey area with little legislative control or oversight. You've got no idea which companies track you, no idea what data they hold about you, no control what they do with that data and no ability to correct inaccuracies.

Currently, this tracking is predominantly used for the purpose of serving up targeted advertising, which probably isn't too much of a problem is many peoples' eyes (mine included). However, it can be used for other purposes too. Online retailers already use demographics/profiles in order to adjust pricing on a per-customer basis (the price you see may not be the same as the price that I see). Travel comparison sites have even been found to display higher prices to Mac users (Mac users have a higher average income than Windows users, so are likely to be willing to pay more). Target used purchase history records - of things like calcium, magnesium, unscented moisturizers and charcoal-flavored ice cream - to work out which customers were pregnant (search: Target pregnancy). How much longer before picking up a friend's anti-cancer meds - and putting it on your CVS loyalty card - starts affecting your life insurance premiums? There have even been instances of data brokers selling information to criminals who subsequently used it to fraudulently withdraw millions of dollars from peoples' bank accounts (search: FTC vs LeapLab).

Of course, it's not all doom and gloom. Data collection/big data has the potential to be enormously beneficial. Never before have we had access to so much data about people on such a massive scale, and that data can certainly be put to good use. For example, aggregating the data from fitness tracking devices - such as Fitbits - with social and socioeconomic data pulled from other sources could provide us with an unprecedented level of insight into how a wide range of issues affect our health and wellness.

The bottom line is that pretty much every aspect of our lives is recorded in a database somewhere: where we shop, what we buy, how much we exercise, what our heart rates are, how many flights of stairs we climb in a day, how much money we have, how much we owe, who we're friends with, what we read, what we search for, etc., etc., etc. And all of that data is subject to nebulous privacy policy policies - that companies can change without notice - and is subject to be sold, traded and aggregated, either in anonymized or non-anonymized form. We need to start thinking about how we want that data to be used, who we want to be able to access it and put a proper legislative framework in place to ensure that it isn't misused.

As Spider-Man once said, 'With big data comes big responsibility' (okay, maybe that's not exactly what he said, but it's nonetheless true).

Ask Leo! on Business

Recent posts...

The Best Keyword Research Tool

Many people spend a lot of time on keyword research, or worrying about keyword research. While it's important, the best keyword research is already right in front of you.

Read: The Best Keyword Research Tool

To Date or Not to Date Your Posts

Whether or not to date your posts can quickly turn into a religious argument. I'll review the reasons to date your posts, and the reasons not to, and the overriding theme to keep in mind when making the decision.

Read: To Date or Not to Date Your Posts

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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