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Leo's Answers #129 – May 27, 2008

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

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*** Contents

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

How do i totally delete a virus on my computer?

How do i totally delete a virus on my computer? I have scanned and cleaned my computer when I got a trojan not long ago, but I still think it's just lurking in my computer.

It kind of depends on why you think it's still lurking. If subsequent scans still show that you're infected, that's pretty obvious, but if it's just that you're uncomfortable and don't know ... well, I'm not sure how to make you feel better.

Well, I shouldn't say that. There is, in fact, one way to make sure that you're no longer infected. In fact, to be completely honest, it's the only sure way.

But you're not going to like it.

Continue reading: "How do i totally delete a virus on my computer?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_totally_delete_a_virus_on_my_computer.html

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On Kids, Parents and the Internet

I'll start by stating that I'm not a parent. I know that saying so will invalidate my opinion in the eyes of some. Naturally it doesn't stop me from having an opinion.

Not a day goes by that we don't hear about internet related harassment and crimes committed against, and frequently by, children.

There are actually strong arguments as to whether or not the magnitude of the problem as reported in the mainstream media is, in fact, as large as they portray it. Some say that child predation is significantly less than you might come to believe by watching night time news programs. Some say it's worse. Some will tell you that bullying and intimidation has grown by leaps and bounds as the internet has enabled a level of anonymity accessible to all - children included.

I'm not going to argue the numbers one way or the other.

But as someone who was bullied in school I can only shudder at what my life would have been like had that technology been accessible to my tormentors.

And it leads me to ask: where are the parents?

Continue reading: "On Kids, Parents and the Internet"
http://ask-leo.com/on_kids_parents_and_the_internet.html

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Why can't my anti-virus program open certain files?

While running Antivir Personal Edition Classic, these 2 messages displayed: "[WARNING] C:hiberfil.sys The file could not be opened!" & "[WARNING] C:pagefile.sys The file could not be opened!" What do I do now?

Nothing.

I'm not at all surprised that those files can't be scanned. Depending on the technology used by your anti-virus program, and whatever else your computer is doing at the time, there may be other files that cause this as well.

The reason's actually pretty simple.

Continue reading: "Why can't my anti-virus program open certain files?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_cant_my_antivirus_program_open_certain_files.html

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How can I delay programs that start automatically?

I have several programs at startup that access the internet before my firewall and anti-virus programs are loaded and read someplace that you can change the startup sequence for programs that load when you boot your P.C.

I would like my firewall and anti-virus to load first before anything else accesses the internet.

I forgot where I read it and don't remember how it's done so maybe if you get the time you can answer explain how this is done.

I have the same problem - in some cases some of the packages that start up try to access my VPN before the VPN has actually been established.

While Windows has no built-in support for this, there are third party tools available.

Continue reading: "How can I delay programs that start automatically?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_can_i_delay_programs_that_start_automatically.html

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Why is mail being sent to all my contacts?

For the last two days and previously about a month ago, I have mails sent to all my contacts that are stored in my address book. These mails have an advert attached for a discount firm located in China. I've written to the firm and told them what is happening but I get no reply. I thought if I deleted the addresses I no longer want and keep those that I do want but not stored in my computer, I could solve the problem. But I just can't find how to delete these addresses. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

The contents of your address book is not the problem.

In fact, you likely have a much larger problem that you need to address an entirely different way.

Continue reading: "Why is mail being sent to all my contacts?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_is_mail_being_sent_to_all_my_contacts.html

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Is it safe to perform maintenance on a recovery partition?

I have a Compaq notebook with Vista Home Premium 32 bit. HP/Compaq machines have D: recovery partitions, and I'd like to know if I cam run Clean Disk, Check Disk, and Defrag on D:.

Vista from HP has by default C: and D: on a monthly defrag schedule. My Security program tells me C: is 1% fragmented and D: is 15% and recommends I defrag D:. My security program just sees D: as a drive and not a recovery partition I assume. So, I don't know if I am allowed to defrag D: or perform any basic maintenance on it. I also don't understand how D: got 15% fragmented to begin with.

Personally I'm amazed at how little information manufacturers give you sometimes about how they decided to set up your machine. HP and Compaq aren't the only ones to create a D: partition and use it for recovery, my Dell laptop came the same way.

I mean, they could at least tell you what's on it and what it's for.

So, what's safe to do to it?

Continue reading: "Is it safe to perform maintenance on a recovery partition?"
http://ask-leo.com/is_it_safe_to_perform_maintenance_on_a_recovery_partition.html

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Does installing a chat program pose any additional risks?

My 14year-old daughter wants to install an MSN chat program on my computer. Does this pose an additional risk for viruses and/or crashes to my computer? I need my computer for work and can't afford any of those problems.

Yes and no.

In the proper hands, with the requisite amount of common sense and awareness a chat program need be no more dangerous than any other program you install. But naturally in the wrong hands it does open some additional windows of malicious opportunity.

I guess it kind of boils down to this: how much do you trust your daughter to be safe?

Continue reading: "Does installing a chat program pose any additional risks?"
http://ask-leo.com/does_installing_a_chat_program_pose_any_additional_risks.html

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*** Featured Comments

A sampling of some of the comments that have been posted recently on Ask Leo!

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Why don't people back up?

Terri writes:

Back up is time-consuming and not reliable. If you back up on your computer and your computer crashes, you have lost every thing. If you back up to a CD or DVD, it can scratch and you've lost every thing. If you back up to an external hard drive and it scratches and fails, you've lost every thing. If you back up to a zip disk and then it malfunctions, you've lost every thing. If you back up to a flash drive and the internal car fails or the thingamig USB gets loose, you've lost every thing.

Terri: Wow. I gotta say, that's a pretty depressing summary.

But in fact it's inaccurate.

Once you backup you now have two copies of everything you've backed up. Lose either one, and you're still ok.

In addition, the media isn't nearly as fragile as your scenarios outline, but even if they were, I'd simply advise making more copies, perhaps making each days backup a new one, or rotating through and re-using a number of disks, for example.

But media fragility certainly isn't an argument against backing up. On the contrary, it's an even stronger argument to backup often.

Leo

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Acronis TrueImage Home - Backup Software

Michael Horowitz writes:

I disagree with the concept of backing up Windows while it is running. You wouldn't backup a Word document while you are in the middle of editing it with Word. Acronis may be a great product and be able to do this, but it's an error prone thing to attempt. I prefer the easier-to-program approach of backing up Windows while it is not running, that is, from a bootable CD. This is, however, more work. To each his own.

While I totally understand the concern, I'm approaching it from a much more practical nature: the harder you make it, the less likely average folks are actually going to do it. Having to remember to take manual steps, particularly rebooting a couple of times, is a huge barrier.

In my experience Acronis actually does a fairly impressive job at this. (I'm certain it's not the only one, but it's the one I have experience with.) The bare-metal restores (a complete restoration of the machine image) I've performed have all worked exactly as expected.

I have seen Acronis fail a backup because things were "in use". My belief is that there may still be a few situations that it cannot handle safely, in which case it takes the safer of two evils, fails the backup and at least notifies. But it's rare (and might have even been a bug in ATI 10).

But in my opinion the importance of actually backing up regularly - and that means not having to think about it in most cases - outweighs what appears to be a very, very small risk, if it's an actual risk at all.

Leo

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Leo's Answers #128 - May 20, 2008

John writes:

How do I get copies of all the previous back issues of the newsletters? Thanks

All the newsletters are archived on the http://ask-leo.com website. You can find them by starting here: http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.html

Leo

*** This Week's Most Popular

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

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

*** Leo Recommends

7-Zip
File Archiving Utility

Most of you are probably familiar with "ZIP" files, which are compressed archives that pack one or more files into a single file. ZIP files are often a convenient way to distribute large numbers of files and folder structures in a single container.

You're probably also familiar with Windows somewhat cumbersome built-in support for ZIP files, as well as WinZIP, the shareware file compression utility that lets you create and extract files from ZIP formatted archives.

7-zip is a free, open-source utility roughly equivalent to WinZIP, that includes support for multiple file formats as well as a command-line interface.

I highly recommend 7-zip.

Continue reading my recommendation: "7-zip file archiving utility".

I recommend it.

Each week I recommend a specific product or resource that I've found valuable and that I think you may as well. What does my recommendation mean?

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

I frequently feel guilty that I can't give people the magical incantation to fix their problem simply, instantly, and without a lot of fuss. Unfortunately, things don't quite work that way.

Why can't you give a straight answer?

I've looked at your answers for problems that seem like they relate to mine, but everything seems to be "check this", or "it might be that". Why can't you just give me the specific steps I need to solve my problem. Why can't I get a straight answer?

It's a fair question, and I wish I could. Honestly, I really wish I could give everyone a simple step-by-step, here's how you fix it. In fact, when possible, I definitely try to do exactly that.

The problem is that most of the time it's just not possible to be that excruciatingly specific. Specific steps that work for one person may not work for another.

Let me explain why...

Continue reading...
Why can't you give a straight answer?
http://ask-leo.com/why_cant_you_give_a_straight_answer.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

Going completely off tech topics here, but I had a fun week, and I want to share a little.

As many of you know my wife and I own - or as some would say are owned by - three Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs. We're pet owners, not breeders, and we don't show or anything, we just enjoy the breed. They're incredibly smart, very strong willed, shed like crazy, and we love 'em. What can ya do?

We got all three of our dogs from the same breeder, with whom we've become very good friends. Last Monday we went for a visit because she had puppies. No, no plans to take any home, but rather to visit and get our "fix" of puppies. There's just nothing like sitting on the floor and being swarmed over by close to a dozen little furry critters. (Not to mention getting swarmed earlier by the dozen adult dogs that live in the home as well Smile).

But that's not enough! On Friday we had a get-together at our home for local Corgi owners. The result? 20+ Corgis running around our fenced back yard. We also do this from time to time (we think 40 was the most we've had in the past). As always, a good time was had by all.

I know, I know. I can hear those of you still reading saying "pictures! we want pictures!". OK, here's a peek: Some photos from our puppy visit, and while I don't have any from Friday's get-together, here's the same event a year ago.

And yes, I know, we're nuts.

To wrap this up with something that's vaguely tech-related: the get together's wouldn't be happening without the internet. I'm a moderator on a discussion list of Corgi owners world-wide, and these types of events happen all over, it's pretty cool. And I understand the same often happens for other breeds as well.

I find it fascinating how technology that some were so concerned would be isolating us "behind our computers", is in fact being used in a lot of fun ways to more easily bring us together as well.

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'till next time...

Leo

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