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Leo's Answers #126 – May 2, 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!

Is it safe to post a picture of the product stickers when I auction a software package?

Is there any harm in showing the full Certificate of Authenticity in an auction photo, including the license key? Can the key be stolen and used on another copy of software? I see people showing everything in photos, and others blocking out the key, so I would like to know before I sell my software, thank you.

It depends entirely on what you're showing.

Some things are certainly perfectly valid to show.

Other things, like the license key? Well, you might as well be giving your software away.

Continue reading: "Is it safe to post a picture of the product stickers when I auction a software package?"
http://ask-leo.com/is_it_safe_to_post_a_picture_of_the_product_stickers_when_i_auction_a_software_package.html

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Why can't I undelete these files?

Before my power supply blew, I'd deleted a huge folder of pictures and subfolders of pictures to the recycle bin. After I retrieved my computer from the shop, the folder was emptied from the Bin. So, I performed 2 system restores, which I later found doesn't restore files. Then, I downloaded data retrieving software which allowed me to look at my deleted data.

In deleted data, I can see my current folders in "pictures" and the files I deleted from them, and I can see one deleted folder from "pictures". The one deleted folder is an earlier version of the huge folder the computer shop deleted, but not the exact folder they deleted.

It's been exactly 5 days since I've had my computer back. Even if some of the pictures in it were overwritten, some still wouldn't be, right? The software doesn't list ANYTHING which was in that folder (or the folder itself) ...and at least 400 pictures were in there.

Why can't I see that folder, or other folders I've deleted from pictures? Why can I see only the earlier version?

Given the scenario you've described, I'd honestly be surprised if you found any pictures at all.

In general, I think we view undelete utilities a little too optimistically. We should be surprised when they work, not the other way around.

Let's look at why your scenario, and scenarios like it, is so problematic, and what steps I'd take in a last ditch effort to retrieve your data.

Continue reading: "Why can't I undelete these files?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_cant_i_undelete_these_files.html

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How do I view what cookies I have, and which are safe to delete?

I use an anti-spyware program and on my weekly scans it shows me all the suspect cookies I have collected and asks me how I want to treat them (delete, quarantine, etc.). Most of these cookies are unrecognizable as to what sites they are from. Where can I get more information on cookies to know whether or not I want to keep them?

Cookies aren't nearly as dangerous as some folks think. In my opinion many anti-spyware programs make much too big a deal about cookies in general.

That being said, let's look at cookies using your browser instead of your anti-spyware tool (since I don't know exactly what information it's showing), and then I'll make a few recommendations.

Continue reading: "How do I view what cookies I have, and which are safe to delete?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_view_what_cookies_i_have_and_which_are_safe_to_delete.html

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Will Microsoft continue to support activating and patching Windows XP after they stop selling it?

I head that Microsoft is discontinuing Windows XP. Does that mean that I'll no longer be able to activate it? How about patches and updates, will those stop too?

There's "discontinuing" and then there's "discontinuing". Fortunately for you and perhaps millions of other folks, we're currently at the good version of "discontinuing". The bad version won't happen, we hope, for a long time.

Let me explain what I mean by good and bad...

Continue reading: "Will Microsoft continue to support activating and patching Windows XP after they stop selling it?"
http://ask-leo.com/will_microsoft_continue_to_support_activating_and_patching_windows_xp_after_they_stop_selling_it.html

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Windows XP SP3 is releasing, should I install it?

I've read that Windows XP Sp3 is to be released this week. Should I install it?

That depends on who you are, and your tolerance for risk. Smile

If you're someone like me, techie and proud of it, or willing to set an example for others ... well, then by all means go for it. I will.

On the other hand if you're not me ... you might want to wait.

Here's why...

Continue reading: "Windows XP SP3 is releasing, should I install it?"
http://ask-leo.com/windows_xp_sp3_is_releasing_should_i_install_it.html

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Podcasting, 3 Years Later

I'm considering discontinuing my podcast, and reflect on podcasting in general.

Continue reading: "Podcasting, 3 Years Later" Article Includes Audio
http://ask-leo.com/podcasting_3_years_later.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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Where do you hang out?

dunstergirl writes:

Another Luddite, I primarily use email as well. For me it's more about the amount of time spent on line socializing as opposed to actually getting things done - email is fast and easy and almost everyone I ever knew that I would still want to be in touch with has email addresses (my highschool was online long before Facebook etc. so I pretty much know whatever happened to so and so).

And my "active" social group (those in my own community) I see on a regular basis and have email for those short easy bits of communication. What ever happened to face-to-face conversations or even the telephone? We still use those methods a lot here out in the boonies...

I just find it a bit weird that electronic communications have almost superseded face-to-face (or even voice) connections even when people live practically next door.

I think perhaps email and other forms of electronic communication feel "safer" in some way, and I am guilty of same in certain situations. My kid is currently using email to reconcile with her father (who lives less than a mile away) - and I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

Thanks for a thought-provoking piece, even if it wasn't intended to provoke the thoughts I had...

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Windows XP SP3 is releasing, should I install it?

Rahul writes:

I was wondering if a system restore point will be of any help? As the first line of defense in addition to the backup. It is just that it is faster than a full backup/restore.

I'm actually not a big fan of system restore for this kind of thing. System restore is better than doing nothing, but it's important to know that system restore doesn't actually backup and restore *everything* ... only certain system files and the registry. Like I said, better than doing nothing, but with an update this large I would feel much safer with, and thus strongly recommend, a full backup.

Leo

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Why can't I undelete these files?

Marty writes:

Great article, Leo. Most people have *very* valuable data on their drives, but have absolutely no data protection plan in place. A perfect recipe for disaster, if there was one!

So, backup * regularly*, and also have a file recovery program installed on your PC at all times. The latter is important if you want to recover accidentally deleted files that were modified after the last backup. It is easier to recover such files without having to hunt for a solution after the deletion, and risk overwriting the file.

Regular backups + file recovery software = peace of mind + data protection.

*** 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. Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.
  5. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?
  6. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  7. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?
  8. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  9. How do I hack into someone's account?
  10. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Even though it's three years old, this article remains extremely popular, and in all honestly leaves me wondering why people still use Hotmail at all.

How do I resolve my MSN Hotmail sign in problems?

I continue to receive reports of people having trouble with MSN Hotmail sign in. The problems are as varied as the symptoms. But there is one thing that's consistent ...

... the frustration.

I've collected a number of ideas try to resolve the assorted problems you may be experiencing with your MSN Hotmail email.

Continue reading...
How do I resolve my MSN Hotmail sign in problems?
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_resolve_my_msn_hotmail_sign_in_problems.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

First, a quick reminder that the newsletter is switching to Tuesdays. What that means is:

  • No newsletter next Friday, May 9th.

  • The next newsletter, #127, will be on Tuesday, May 13th.

And yes, for some reason the geek in me did notice that this change is happening on issue #0x7F, for those that like to count in hexadecimal. And I do like to count in hex, where I'm only 32!

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I do want to thank folks who commented on my plans to discontinue my podcast. Some people expressed disappointment, which I appreciate, but most seemed to understand the issues involved.

I'm hoping to start doing a little more video in its place, when the answers call for it. Yep, video's a bunch of work also, so you might not see that for a while, but it can be a useful tool to explain some of the concepts that we deal with here every week.

In the mean time, in my next podcast I'll list a few of the other podcasts I listen to when I have the time. I won't call it my "last" podcast - never say never and all that - but it'll be the last for a while, and most likely the last in the three minute short form.

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

'till next time...

Leo

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Some of Leo's other sites: The Ask Leo! Store, Leo's Online Business Card, Forwarded Funnies, 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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