Ask Leo! #615 – Windows Subscriptions, Apps versus Applications, Space on Reserved Partitions, and more…


Attention Montreal: I'll be in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, next Monday (September 5) and we're having a gathering near Notre Dame for readers of Ask Leo!, and HeroicStories, as well as Randy Cassingham's This is True readers.

We don't have the exact time on Monday or the exact location, but if you're nearby and can come, drop me a line with the subject Montreal (just reply to this newsletter and change the subject line) and I'll let you know the details when they firm up.

I have another trip planned at the end of the month with an even more exotic location. No idea if I'll be able to pull off a reader gathering there, but I'll get you more details as plans firm up.


Leo's Blog

Charging an Annual Subscription for Windows? Nope.

There's a persistent and bogus rumor that Microsoft is planning on charging a monthly or annual subscription fee for Windows. I discuss why it's bogus, and the folks that continue to persist pushing the rumor are, at best, Microsoft haters, and at worst... trolls.

Continue Reading: Charging an Annual Subscription for Windows? Nope.


What's the Difference Between an App and Application?

Yes, there's a difference.

In one of the more frustrating recent turns of terminology, the term "app", which one might think is shorthand for "application", now more commonly refers to something quite specific and quite different.

The adoption of the app/application difference in Windows started in Windows 8, and is carried forward in Windows 10 with a vengeance. It's driving people who are trying to explain things – you know, people like me – absolutely nuts.

And, particularly when it comes to Windows 10, the distinction turns out to matter.

Continue Reading: What's the Difference Between an App and Application?

Why is My Backup Program Saying There's Not Enough Space on System Reserved Partitions?

System Reserved partitions 60% full and this is preventing my backup program from running. What should I do?

Honestly, I'd have to see the exact error message to be sure, but there is one thing about this scenario that concerns me.

The amount of free space in a system reserved partition should have nothing to do with your ability to back up.

Continue Reading: Why is My Backup Program Saying There's Not Enough Space on System Reserved Partitions?


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Glossary Term


A partition is a division of the area on a physical hard disk (or disk-like device).

In many systems and on many disks, the two are effectively synonymous: a single partition is constructed that encompasses the entire available space on on a hard disk.

Dividing a hard disk into multiple partitions is simply a method of organizing the available physical space. A single 100GB drive, for example, could be divided into two partitions of 50GB each (ignoring overhead). Once formatted, these two divisions could be mounted as two separate volumes (perhaps C: and D: in Windows), when in fact there is only one physical drive.

Partitioning is commonly used by computer manufacturers to place data, such as a pristine system image or other installation media, onto a hard disk when an operating system is pre-installed. A small partition ' typically hidden, so as not to be visible by default ' is created to contain this recovery information, and the remainder of the disk is set up as a separate, visible, partition.

See also: volume (disk).

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Featured Comments

How Do I Encrypt a Disk?

Macmike writes:

Would file encryption work to thwart Ransomware? How about encryption on a Mac or Linux?

Mark Jacobs (Team Leo) writes:

No. If you use file encryption, that would only mean that your encrypted files would be encrypted a second time by the ransomware.

Ray Smith writes:

"Would file encryption work to thwart Ransomware?" - No. Not at all.

Leo writes:

Actually it's not quite that black and white. Or, as my most common answer goes, "it depends".

MOST ransomware encrypts only certain file types, typically based on the extension of the file name. So it might encrypt ".docx" files, along with a lengthy list of other commonly valuable file types. (One of the variables in ransomware is, indeed, the length of that list - the number of different types of files that it'll attempt to encrypt.)

IF your encryption technique involves renaming the file - for example renaming "important.docx" to "important.docx.axx", and ".axx" is not on the of file types encrypted by the particular ransomware variant encountered, then the file will not be impacted by that ransomware. And yes, this implies that simply renaming a file to a non-targetted extension would also cause that ransomware to bypass it.

As you can tell, whole disk encryption, as discussed in this article, doesn't change file names, so Ray's and Mark's answers stand: whole disk encryption has no effect on ransomware. HOWEVER other recently discussed encryption techniques - specifically TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt vaults, individual file encryption and so on - do stand a reasonable chance of bypassing most (though not all) ransomware threats.

It's worth noting that ".zip" files are likely to be targeted simply because they're ubiquitous - thus using .zip for some kind of ransomware protection is not particularly useful.

In fact, I'll go one step further: relying on your own encryption is not a way to plan for, mitigate, or otherwise "protect yourself from" ransomware. Do all the things you do to protect yourself from all malware - including those all important backups. The topic remains interesting, though, for those folks who have been impacted by ransomware - some of the files on their machine may have dodged a bullet depending on the encryption they may have used, and the specific attack targets of the specific ransomware encountered.

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: August 30, 2016 in: 2016
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