Leo’s Answers #101 – October 26, 2007

Leo's Answers
A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom


*** Contents

*** This Week's New Articles on Ask Leo!

Can I remove the "ServicePackFiles" folder from my Windows folder?

I just installed service pack 2 for my Windows XP Home Edition. Can I remove the service pack files folder in my windows folder?

Yes, but you probably don't really want to.

Let me explain why.

Continue reading: "Can I remove the "ServicePackFiles" folder from my Windows folder?"

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How can I recover files encrypted with Windows filesystem encryption?

It all started some months ago when I changed the properties of most of my personal files to encrypted just because I thought they would be safe from hackers. Of course as I don't share my computer with anyone I could open and edit them all I wanted without any trouble. I never really thought that property was special in a functionable way.

Last week I took my computer to have a new hard disk added, in the new hard disk Windows XP was installed and my old data was kept in my other hard disk, remaining as a 'slave' (I think that's the term). Unfortunately my main and only user session was deleted. Now I'm stuck with an administrator user that can't change the properties of my files back to normal. I can't listen to my music nor edit my documents, I can't even view my pictures. I'm so sad, I don't know how to fix this. I fear that there's nothing I can do because, obviously, creating a new user with the same old name won't work as the files are now on my old hard disk and I can't move them to other location.

If there's any solution regarding this case, I'll be forever grateful. If the solution involves programming skills I'm counting on my boyfriend who knows about that stuff.

My gut reaction?

You are so screwed.

Sorry to be so blunt, but what you're experiencing is one of the major drawbacks of Windows' built-in encryption.

I'll throw out one straw to grasp at, but then I'll explain why this happened in the first place.

Continue reading: "How can I recover files encrypted with Windows filesystem encryption?"

* * *

Can my work track what I do on my home computer via a remote connection?

If I connect to my home computer from work, can they track what I do on my home computer? I know they are able to see what internet web pages I browse at work, but if I were to do things on my home computer using remote desktop, can they track what I do on that too?

Can they?


Do they?

Maybe. It's easy to do, but it's hard to manage. It really depends on just how you connect to your home machine and how aggressive your company is about tracking you.

Continue reading: "Can my work track what I do on my home computer via a remote connection?"

* * *

How hard is it to learn programming?

Although I have been in the IT industry for 6 years, I have never touched programming in my life. The reason is that I always thought I'd end up in the network administration, in fact, the AS degree I was pursuing had an emphasis of network administration. I've started my major preparation and I am currently taking my math requirements, which I enjoy but leads me to my first question.

How much math is used in programming and how? So far, I've managed A's in my mid level classes and have managed a 3.88 GPA so far in 60+ units of college, but it only gets harder from here. I will be taking Calculus, Physics and three entry level computer science classes in the next semesters before I can transfer to a 4 year University.

My other question is, how hard is it to learn programming? Is is something where either you get it or you don't? Can someone with my lack of experience in programming just learn it in school?

Lastly, when you get hired as an entry level programmer/software engineer, what is your job like? Any suggestions are welcomed.

OK, one more :-) should I learn a language before transferring and which one?

Lots of questions, but lots of good questions that I do get asked fairly regularly. In fact I'm guessing software engineers at successful companies like Microsoft and Google probably get asked something of this flavor quite often.

It's a difficult question to answer because there are several components to being a successful programmer. One is "what you know" - that's the stuff you can learn.

The other is "how you think". That's more difficult.

Continue reading: "How hard is it to learn programming?"

* * *

Why is my IP blocked at a website I visit regularly after I changed ISPs?

I just installed a new Express Card with Verizon Broadband wireless last night. Had tons of fun accessing the web from places I usually cannot, (we are in trucking) until I got to my favorite forum. It's a public place I have been to thousands of times, but instead of happily browsing all the daily news events and checking to see if the world blew up yet, I found myself blocked by a big white screen that said YOUR IP ADDRESS HAS BEEN BANNED.

What can I do? I can't go to the forum owners to tell them it's just lil 'ol me. Besides, I have picked them up on all other wireless connections at various hotspots I run into, so what's up? Do they not like my new Verizon service?

I'm sure they like the Verizon service just fine. What's more likely is that someone else who also used the Verizon service broke a forum rule or something and that got him banned.

Unfortunately this demonstrates one of the problems with IP-based banning or identification. It frequently doesn't work. There's a good chance that you're blocked instead and the original user can get right back in.

There are roughly three things you can do.

Continue reading: "Why is my IP blocked at a website I visit regularly after I changed ISPs?"

* * *

The problem with blocking a technology

Blocking BitTorrent is an inappropriate knee-jerk solution to a couple of problems.

Continue reading: "The problem with blocking a technology" Article Includes Audio

* * *

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

This one still comes up periodically today. Not surprising, since even after all this time the feature in question simply doesn't work for most people.

How do I turn off the unread message count on the Windows XP login screen?

It's a feature. Really. When you see the Windows XP login screen, underneath each account listed there's frequently a message that says "XX unread messages".

How does it get set? And how do you get rid of it?

Read more... How do I turn off the unread message count on the Windows XP login screen?

*** Thoughts and Comments

A quick shout-out to Geoff at Walker Mobile and everyone else who sent well-wishes for last week's 100th issue. It's most certainly appreciated.

And a concerned shout-out to all my readers and subscribers in southern California. Two friends of mine had to evacuate due to the wild fires down there, though thankfully they were able to return to undamaged homes. I hope that any of you in that region have avoided any damage or issues.

And finally (and I know this is pretty random): I'm not sure how many doll collectors are on this list, but just in case, and if you're in the Bellevue, Washington area: my wife's doll shop is hiring. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Smile

'till next time...


* * *

The Latest: at Forwarded Funnies: "Unknown Windows Tricks... [PICS]"

Some of Leo's other sites: The Ask Leo! Store, Leo's Online Business Card, Taming Email, MovableType Tips, Leo's Blog, Buy Leo a Latte (or a Beer), A Letter To Myself, Dolls and Friends, Corgwn.com

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Newsletter contents Copyright © 2007, Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: October 26, 2007 in: 2007
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3193
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