Leo's Answers #128 – May 20, 2008

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom


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*** Contents

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

Why don't people back up?

I recently posted a recommendation for a specific backup program, but it got me to thinking about backing up in general.

It's a common topic here on Ask Leo!, and for a good reason. Not a day goes by that I don't see somebody suffering for lack of a backup. Not a day goes by that I don't see somebody who could have avoided a serious problem simply by having had a backup.

So why don't people back up?

Continue reading: "Why don't people back up?"

* * *

Do I need MS Office updates if I only have the viewers?

I have downloaded MS Word Viewer and MS Power Point viewer as I do not have those complete programs. MS says there is a security patch for Word and PowerPoint which is pretty large. As I have only the viewers do I need that patch? MS info does not mention this possibility.

There probably never will be a clear answer on this. It kind of depends on exactly how those view-only versions of the programs were created.

But you can guess what I'm going to recommend as the most likely, safest scenario.

Continue reading: "Do I need MS Office updates if I only have the viewers?"

* * *

Why is DSL so much more complicated to setup than cable?

Due to cable problems I got DSL to try it out for awhile. I now have both cable and DSL. I have a WRT54G Linksys router for the cable and WRT54GL for the DSL and separate pcs for each 'network'. Since the routers are almost identical I expected similar setup but was quite surprised at the differences between cable and DSL. Cable was pretty straightforward as I remember. Mostly it was plug it in and it worked. The DSL was much more complicated and the ISP complicated that to no end by forcing me to sign up for a lot more than the plain internet access I wanted. Why is cable and DSL so different? Both modems output an Ethernet connection, why isn't connecting to both of them as simple as 'plug in your router and go'?

Most of the time it is or can be that simple.

But not all ISPs are created equal.

Continue reading: "Why is DSL so much more complicated to setup than cable?"

* * *

My computer froze, and I lost my work in progress - what can I do?

While using a Excel work sheet my computer froze. After reboot the worksheet appeared minus all the data. What happened? How do I recover?

Anyone who's used computers for any length of time has been in exactly this same situation. I know I have.

And you'll find that most of us have developed a habit that you might want to consider as well.

Continue reading: "My computer froze, and I lost my work in progress - what can I do?"

* * *

Why am I getting a bounce to an email I sent from someone I didn't send it to?

I recently sent my husband an email. He received it but I also got this message: "Undeliverable mail returned to server." The weird thing is that it's his boss's email that was "undeliverable", and I never typed it in. I didn't even know his email. Does this mean his boss is spying on him? Is it possible his boss is receiving a copy of every mail he gets?

So you send an email to person "A" and get a bounce from person "B"?

Something's fishy, that's for sure.

If it is what you think it is, then his boss screwed up. But if that was a company email account, then he has every right to do exactly what you - and I - suspect.

Continue reading: "Why am I getting a bounce to an email I sent from someone I didn't send it to?"

* * *

Why am I not getting some emails in my MSN Live Hotmail account?

I have a problem receiving email in my Hotmail accounts. I have my friends and family that are able to email without a problem. Suddenly these past few weeks I can't get emails from my father. I have checked the filters and all and there is no indication as to why. I have contacted Hotmail and their response is to check my filters, unblock them and that will work. As I said, I'd already done that. Their next idea was to see if the sender got a bounce back but they didn't. There is nothing indicating this issue is on my side or the sender's other than I am not receiving emails and I don't know if this could be a problem for anyone else as I just heard this from my father. Do you know of anything that I can do?

This turns out to be a fairly common problem, and not just for Hotmail. Yahoo and other email services seem to suffer the same problem from time to time.

And no, I know of nothing you can do.

Strike that, I do know of one thing you can do, but you won't like it.

Continue reading: "Why am I not getting some emails in my MSN Live Hotmail account?"

* * *

How can I archive old hard disks?

We have several old computers (10 years old & newer) in our office which the boss doesn't want to throw out just in case he might need one file from one down the track sometime. I have nowhere to put my feet as the computer graveyard is under my desk. What would be the best way to save information from the computers which we can then later retrieve if needed so we can then wipe them and donate them to charity?

I have a similar graveyard, of sorts, and I know of many organizations facing similar issues. Consider yourself lucky that it's just under your desk, these organizations are littering the hallways of their buildings with old and outdated equipment.

There are actually several options, depending on how much effort and perhaps money you want to put into this project.

Continue reading: "How can I archive old hard disks?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

How do I post a long link in email?

Arthur writes:

For me this article was an eye-opener! It explains why some of my e-mail recipients can open a long newspaper link while other recipients cannot do so. Even better, the article explains the PURPOSE of tinyurl. I had seen references to tinyurl but I couldn't figure out the value of it. I just visited tinyurl.com <http://tinyurl.com/> and it works well. Live and learn....


The Plight of the Average User

CP Gray writes:

One thing the pc industry has had a great deal of difficulty digesting, is that the "average user" is like the average car driver. He expects to get in the car, put the key in the ignition and drive the car, any car, from any manufacturer. He doesn't give a wit about how the car works and doesn't know a connecting rod from a piston from a pinion gear,etc. What's more he doesn't want to know,doesn't have time to learn and he shouldn't have to. Until the computer industry can digest this concept, we'll continue to curse and swear and get frustrated and Leo and others like him will remain employed.


I've lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

Bhavani.S writes:

I have another alternate solution for this issue. We can also use Windows Password reset disk if created and boot the system through the disk and reset the password. If no password reset disk then we can boot the system to safe mode and reset the password there. It will work in Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Most people don't make a Windows Password reset disk for their system, and I believe you must create it before you need it.

Also, booting into safe mode is great - *if you know the password*. The whole point here is that you do not know that password. Booting into safe mode still requires that you log in. No password, no login.



What do normal people do?

Barbara writes:

Leo, You've helped me more than anyone w/your site information. You explain things in terms that I - as a Dummy out here - can understand. The high Techie parts, I just figure I will/can learn about them later! So far, so good. And I am glad to hear you say that NO ONE has all the answers...pc's seem to be like Doctor's anymore... each one does it a different way. THANK YOU for all your help and I'm very satisfied w/your "walking the fine line" to reach each and every one of us. Very sincerely, Barbara

Thanks. But I know that I'm definitely not reaching everyone, nor could I. I regularly get feedback from some people that I'm being too technical, and from others that I'm not being technical enough :-).

More here: http://ask-leo.com/the_plight_of_the_average_user.html



Why don't people back up?

Mary writes:

I began using a computer late in life. I now do backups. But one of the most frustrating things for me was trying to understand the terminology used in the backup program. Even today, I STILL get frustrated when I read something like, "Your new backup system is completely compatibile with any disk mirroring / striping / spanning / RAID scheme." Honestly, that tells me squat. I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier but I can't be the only person who reads stuff like that and says, "Oh well, trying to backup my system is just too hard."

Sure, many programs claim to be user friendly and say things like "even a novice can use it", but in reality, that's just not the case. I found I needed a lot more knowledge to make educated choices on what, when or how to backup my system. Some people don't have the time or desire to put that much effort into it. If manufacturers make it sound daunting by using fifty dollar words to describe a fifty cent process...

Bottom line is, if I can turn my computer into a giant paperweight with just a few inadvertent keystrokes or clicks of the mouse, my backup program should be just as easy. :-)


*** This Week's Most Popular

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

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

Acronis TrueImage Home
Backup Software

As long time readers know I frequently mention backing up as one of the biggest and most important missed opportunities that too many people are overlooking to protect themselves. And I get reports every day of people who've lost important data, sometimes everything, that a simple backup solution would have protected them against.

If you're still without a backup solution I recommend Acronis True Image Home as an easy to use solution for anyone who should be backing up but isn't. Acronis is easy to set up, can back up files and folders, or your entire machine, and can similarly restore individual files and folders, or your an entire machine image, quickly and easily.

When used with an external hard drive Acronis True Image can be a nearly "set it and forget it" backup solution.

In fact, it's what's running on the very machine I'm using as I write this.

Continue reading my recommendation: "Acronis TrueImage Home - Backup Software", or just order Acronis True Image Home now.

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

In keeping with what's turned into a theme for this week's newsletter, here's a podcast (with transcript) from three years ago that gives yet another reason to be backed up.

Are you ready for your computer to be stolen?

Anyone who's worked with computers for any length of time has experienced a disaster of some sort. The crash that happens just before you save your document to disk. The failure that renders a disk unreadable. You know the drill.

You are prepared for that, right?

Continue reading...
Are you ready for your computer to be stolen?

*** Thoughts and Comments

I don't know if it's dropping the podcast, or the change in the publication schedule, but it feels like I'm answering more questions as a result of something. Hopefully it's a trend that'll continue ... lord knows there are more questions than I could ever hope to answer.


If you want a small peek into the chaos that is often my life, I occasionally post random tidbits to Twitter, where my ID is "askleo". Sometimes on topic, sometimes off the wall, sometimes perhaps even interesting. Or not. (What's Twitter? I'll let my pal Bob Rankin explain: What is Twitter?)

Anyway, I continue to play with Twitter. Feel free to follow along.


Thanks for subscribing, reading, and for your feedback.

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...


* * *

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

*** Newsletter Administration

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

Posted: May 20, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3389
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