Ask Leo! #619 – Shortened URLs, Where Links Take You, Disappearing External Drives, Always Learning, and more…

Excel Macros for Beginners

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Leo's Blog

Are You Always Learning?

I was challenged to think about what my "one word" might be. I talk about that, how I arrived at it, and why it feels better as a phrase.

Continue Reading: Are You Always Learning?


Is There a Way to Know Where a URL-shortened URL Is Going to Take Me?

Before deleting spam, I often hover over the link to see where it is supposed to take me. These days, most spammers use a TinyURL. Is there a way to find out the real URL without clicking on it?

Yes. In fact, there are a couple of ways.

But first, let's talk about links in email and short links in general.

Continue Reading: Is There a Way to Know Where a URL-shortened URL Is Going to Take Me?

Can I Tell If Email I Sent Has Been Read by the Recipient?

I sent an email to a friend and he claims never to have gotten it. I don't believe him; things he's said lead me to believe that he did get it and that he did read it. Is there a way I can tell for sure?

I'm fairly amazed at the number of questions I get that boil down to people just not trusting each other. Not that there isn't cause, I suppose, with spam, phishing, and viruses running all over the place. But this seems like the simplest case of all ' was your email read or not?

The answer to your question is no, there is no way to tell – for sure – that your email has been delivered, or that it's been read.

I always get a lot of pushback on that.

Continue Reading: Can I Tell If Email I Sent Has Been Read by the Recipient?

Why Doesn't My External Drive Appear When Plugged In?

Recently, when attempting to back up my new Windows 10 laptop, I inserted one of my external USB drives and … nothing.

Now, to be clear, I don't have an answer as to "why" it didn't appear.

But I can tell you what I did to make it show up.

Continue Reading: Why Doesn't My External Drive Appear When Plugged In?


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Glossary Term


URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator.

A URL is a way to specify a resource, such as a file or a service, on the internet. In what is by far the most common usage, a URL is simply the full web address of a webpage. For example, this page is identified by the URL

A URL is made up of several components.

  • Protocol or "scheme": the "language" used to exchange data for this specific type of resource.
  • Server or host: the computer (or computers) on the network that provide the resource.
  • Location or path: the location on the server containing the resource.
  • Name: the name of the resource to be accessed. (Technically considered part of the location.)
  • Parameters or query: additional information used to customise the resource, or to be included with the request for other purposes.
  • Anchor or fragment: additional information that indicates which portion of the resource should be accessed.

Many of the components are optional.

The most recognizable indicator of something being a URL is the "://" between the protocol and server. Using the terms above in brackets, a URL is constructed as follows:


Http and https are two examples of protocols, but you may also commonly see "ftp", for File Transfer Protocol, and others.

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

Featured Comments

Two-Factor Authentication Keeps the Hackers Out

David writes:

Hasn't NIST said that SMS as 2FA is not secure?

Leo writes:

Yes, No, and Not exactly. While it's technically spoofable, using it is still much more secure than having no two-factor at all.

How do I gain access to files that Windows says I don't have permission to access?

Cam writes:

Ever since I installed Windows 10 on a new SSD probably close to a year ago, I've been unable to access many files on my old Windows 7 hard drive which is still in my computer. The icalcs command FINALLY allowed me to access my files! Thank you so much for this helpful guide!

How do I remove a document stuck in my printer's queue?

Toni writes:

Thank you so much. This is the first time I have ever managed to fix a problem using online instructions. They were clear and well laid out. I 'suffer' with learned helplessness but this has been a real boost to my confidence.

How Do I Repair Microsoft Office?

Richard Bergman writes:

Leo, I started reading this article on repairing Office and then it occurred to me you are talking about a smartphone app and not a laptop.

Could you please warn us ahead of time?

Connie (Team Leo) writes:

This article is not about a smartphone app. It's about Microsoft Office installed on a Windows computer.

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: September 27, 2016 in: 2016
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