Leo's Answers #111 – January 11, 2008

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


*** Contents

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

My computer's infected with a virus, how do I clean it up?

As a Mom of a couple teens, I get viruses all of the time. This latest one I cannot find a solution to; here goes - my control panel is GONE! There is a popup every time I start the 'puter with the filename of "mustafx2.exe" I can't find it anywhere in English. I am using AVG, Ad Aware and Spy-Bot as well as Windows Defender. I have Windows XP version - never mind; can't look that up anymore either....UGH! Nothing has helped. Got any clues?

I have a couple of reactions to this question.

One, of course, will be the steps I'd take to try and recover in this case. I'll outline those in a second.

But first, my other reaction, which you may not like Smile.

Continue reading: "My computer's infected with a virus, how do I clean it up?"

* * *

Can I recover my MSN Hotmail password rather than reset it?

I've forgotten my MSN Hotmail password and I could easily reset it, as I DO still have access to my alternate email account that I provided and I DO remember the answer to my secret question.

However, it is imperative that I do not change/reset the password, but instead recover the old one. It's very complicated, but basically I have used the same password for several things and I cannot afford to lose it.

What I am really asking is "Is it possible to merely recover my MSN password rather than reset it??"

I normally don't respond to password requests any more unless there's something new, like a change in Windows Live Hotmail's password recovery mechanism.

I've been getting the question above off and on for years. Even though many requests are possibly legitimate, I can't tell which, and thus have to address them as password hacking attempts. In other words, I have to ignore them.

But it dawns on me that there are some valuable lessons to be learned here.

Continue reading: "Can I recover my MSN Hotmail password rather than reset it?"

* * *

Should I disconnect my modem cable when I'm not using my computer?

Should I physically disconnect my modem cable when I'm not on my computer? Can hackers access my computer when it's not turned on, but the modem cable is still attached?

The short answer is no, you do not need to disconnect your modem cable.

But the longer answer is that you do need to make sure you have a certain amount of security in place.

Continue reading: "Should I disconnect my modem cable when I'm not using my computer?"

* * *

Can I use a USB 1.1 cable with a USB 2.0 device?

In an earlier article, you mentioned that you can use a USB 1.1 cable on a USB 2.0 device. But will the device run at the higher USB 2.0 speeds? I recently bought a digital camera that is a USB 2.0 device and my computer has all the USB 2.0 ports (hardware and software). However, when I look at the cable, it looks exactly the same as the cable from my older camera (from 5 years ago and the older camera is definitely USB1.1).

The cables will most definitely look the same. That's because the connectors didn't change between USB 1.1 and 2.0.

But not all cables that look the same are the same.

Continue reading: "Can I use a USB 1.1 cable with a USB 2.0 device?"

* * *

Why doesn't Windows show all 4gigabytes of memory I have installed?

Could you do a short piece explaining the RAM limitation in 32-bit Vista? Since I was given some memory by a friend, I've got 4 MB installed on my new HP computer with Vista Home Premium. However, my computer's System Properties only reports 3.25 MB of "Total Physical Memory" available. What is the reason for this? Is there any way to access or use the lost 0.75 MB in any way? I know some folks who are a little upset about this, especially since they were offered 4 MB of RAM, and paid for that much RAM, when they purchased their machines with 32-bit Vista installed!

You've just described my laptop. My brand new Dell last year, with Windows Vista Business edition, has 4gigabytes of RAM installed.

And yet, Windows reports only 3326 Megabytes of RAM are being used.

Let's look at why that is and what it might take to actually use all 4gig.

Continue reading: "Why doesn't Windows show all 4gigabytes of memory I have installed?"

* * *

What about Vista SP1?

Windows Vista SP1 is on the horizon. Should you jump in?

Continue reading: "What about Vista SP1?" Article Includes Audio

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*** This Week's Most Popular

The ten most popular articles in the last 7 days on Ask Leo!

  1. How do I put a picture in a comment on myspace.com?
  2. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  3. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  4. How do I put a picture into the caption of a picture on myspace.com?
  5. Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.
  6. How do I hack into someone's account?
  7. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?
  8. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  9. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  10. How do I delete my Hotmail account?

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Here's something that free email accounts are perfect for:

How can I send anonymous email?

I want to send email to a person I'm talking to on a dating service but I don't want them to be able to get my real email address and find me. what do I do?

Anonymous email is actually pretty easy...

Continue reading...
How can I send anonymous email?

*** Thoughts and Comments

What should Leo read next?

As some of you may recall, my wife got me a Kindle for Christmas. I've been using it quite a bit, to the point where it's really helped kick-start my reading habit which had slacked of in recent months.

The first fiction I read on it was, ironically, Neuromancer, a Sci-Fi classic that I hadn't gotten around to until now. It's known for coining the now-ubiquitous term "cyberspace" and was an interesting read.

On the non-fiction side I've read Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life, a follow-on to Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity which I'd previously read in paperback, and Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day where I found that I was already using about half the tips!

I can recommend all those books by the way. Good ideas across the board.

Currently I've got a sample of Snow Crash to look at, and I'm part way through Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.

So why do I mention all that here?

I'm fishing for ideas. I want you tell me what you think I should read next. Smile

As you can tell, I have a Science Fiction and Fantasy bent - I grew up on the greats: Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Tolkien and have a fairly broad taste for authors including Eddings, Anthony, McCaffrey and many more. And of course you can see I also dabble in productivity and business related titles.

So, what's on your must-read list? Only requirement is that it be available on Amazon in a Kindle edition.

No, of course I'm not going to guarantee to read all of the suggestions, but I know that you'll have some good ones. With so much to choose from, a little advice from my readers seemed like a great way to get a head start.

Just make your suggestions using the subscriber question form and it'll hit my desktop directly.


As always, if you appreciate this newsletter or the site, one of the best ways you can say "Thank You!" is simply to tell a friend or colleague. Just point people at askleo.net.

'till next time...


* * *

The Latest: at Forwarded Funnies: "UNDERSTANDING WOMEN"

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

*** Newsletter Administration

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I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - I just can't answer everyone. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, every email gets read.

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Newsletter contents Copyright © 2008, Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: January 11, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3264
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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.