Leo's Answers #130 – June 3, 2008

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom


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*** Contents

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

Is it illegal to download torrent files?

Downloading Torrent Files, is it illegal?

No it's not.


Before you run off and start downloading last week's bootlegged theatrical movie release, you really need to understand why that particularly download and others like it probably are illegal.

Continue reading: "Is it illegal to download torrent files?"

* * *

How do I know when it's time to replace my computer?

How do you know when your computer is ready to be replaced? Over time (6 years) mine has crashed more and more frequently. It's to a point that when I re-format the hard drive and try to re-install XP, it crashes halfway through the installation, usually with some sort of VxD error. I only have 512 megabytes of memory. Would more memory help, or am I just throwing away money?

Oh, I wish there were a clear answer to this one.

In reality it's a complex equation involving your time and your budget.

Let's look at what you've shared about your computer specifically, and then generalize a little into the things people should be thinking about when faced with that decision.

Continue reading: "How do I know when it's time to replace my computer?"

* * *

Is there any way to completely stop downloads and updates to my PC?

Is there ANY way to completely stop downloads/updates to my PC? I bought some software. I got it just how I wanted it and all of a sudden, the settings are all changed. No notice, nothing. Microsoft isn't the only one doing this without notification. The updates aren't a virus so my antivirus software ignored. The updates weren't in my registry so I don't know how to get my program back to what it was BEFORE the company made it's download. I uninstalled it but it keeps changing. I don't know where they keep making the changes.

Short answer: no.

Medium answer: it depends.

Long answer: you really don't want to stop all updates. Honest.

Continue reading: "Is there any way to completely stop downloads and updates to my PC?"

* * *

How should I save my old emailed love letters?

I have 400 emails with romantic words and memories. Wish I wrote these love letters the old fashion way because now the computer is getting old and needs to be replaced. Is there a way (other than copy/paste) to get the email text into a document? The computer is old, no USB, windows 2000.

You raise a very good scenario around data retention, file formats, computer upgrades and the like.

Let's face it, it's often not only love that needs preserving.

Continue reading: "How should I save my old emailed love letters?"

* * *

Internet Explorer pictures not displayed - how do I bypass security so that they are?

I am finding it very annoying that pictures in Internet Explorer 7 are not getting through because of some security settings. When opening a website with technical info and the illustrations are not displayed, they are useless. Is there a way to disable these settings in IE 7 and damned the consequences?

Well, to begin with pictures shouldn't be getting blocked based on security settings. You can turn pictures off entirely, of course, but that's a speed-up intended for slow connections.

Let's double check that setting, consider a couple of other issues that might be causing this problem, and then also see about what it means in IE7's security settings to, uh ... ignore ... the consequences.

Continue reading: "Internet Explorer pictures not displayed - how do I bypass security so that they are?"

* * *

Where can I get a free antivirus for my computer?

I know I need to get an antivirus program, but most want some kind of periodic subscription. I can't afford that. Where can I get a free antivirus for my computer? Which would you suggest?

In the long run, the price of anti-virus software pales in comparison to the price of contracting a virus. It can take a lot of time and effort to recover. So much so that the price of the software - even including the subscription - might well seem cheap.

However, I do understand your position as well.

The good news is that there are, indeed, some reasonable free alternatives.

Continue reading: "Where can I get a free antivirus for my computer?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

Why does the mouse pointer jump around the screen?

Jim Droppo writes:

I found out why my cursor started jumping around the screen... The person in the next office got a new portable computer with a wireless mouse -- which my remote mouse sensor "sees" -- and the cursor follows her movements... So far I have no solution.

That's fascinating, thanks for the report!

The only solutions I can think of are for one of you to go to a wired mouse, or for one of you to switch to a different wireless technology such as bluetooth.



How do I totally delete a virus on my computer?

Lorne Babcock Sr. writes:

There is a only one way to be absolutely sure that you have removed a virus from your computer and that is to do a full format and reinstall.

I have been doing computer work in a small business for years and I have learned over the period of time that while the format and reinstall is tedious you will save time and money in the end. You could use Acronis and as soon as you have done your reinstall and your updates you could then backup your system using Acronis to a USB hard drive. You would then disconnect the drive and put it away somewhere until you need to do a reinstall and then and only then would you bring it back and reinstall from the drive. I have not gone to quite that extreme except that I have made backups to more than one drive on my system with the hope that if I do get something especially virulent it will not have inserted itself on the other drives and especially into the backup which as far as I know will not happen but I have always tried to error on the side of extreme caution.

When I do a format and full reinstall I always disconnect from the Internet. When the install has been done and all of the drivers have been installed I then do my backup but I do not go on the Internet to do any updates from Microsoft until I have done my backup using Acronis. I will then reconnect to the Internet and do my downloads from Microsoft. When you need to do a backup you can go ahead and do so but you should remember that you will have to go to Microsoft and get their updates because those will not be in your backup.

I always backup to more than one place just in case my first backup is corrupted. That is to say I backup my system to D. drive and to E.Drive. That way if the one backup by some unlucky chance is no good I will then have a second similar backup on another drive.

*** 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. Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.
  3. How do I put a picture in a comment on myspace.com?
  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. 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. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?

*** Leo Recommends

Security Now
Security and Technology Podcast

Security Now is a weekly podcast covering technology and the security issues related to it. Security Now is a podcast I listen to and recommend.

From the site:

"TechTV's Leo Laporte and [Steve Gibson] take 30 to 60 minutes near the end of each week to discuss important issues of personal computer security. Sometimes we'll discuss something that just happened. Sometimes we'll talk about long-standing problems, concerns, or solutions. Either way, every week we endeavor to produce something interesting and important for every personal computer user. "

I subscribe to a number of podcasts, as you might imagine. There are few - very few - that get my attention nearly 100% of the time.

Security Now with Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte is one of those podcasts.

And it's not because the co-host's name is also "Leo".

Continue reading my recommendation...

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

This one still comes up almost every day:

How do I delete items I've been to using Google?

How can I delete items I have been to on Google?

That question could mean a couple of things: the history of web sites you've visited, or perhaps the responses that auto-fill shows you as you type in your next Google search. The 'trick' is that neither has anything to do with Google at all. But both have everything to do with your browser.

Continue reading...
How do I delete items I've been to using Google?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Making a mistake in front of 26,000 subscribers isn't fun. In case you didn't notice, I completely messed up the link to last week's recommendation: 7-Zip. One link went to the wrong product, and the others didn't work at all. I guess that's what I get for working on a holiday and pulling the newsletter together in a hurry.

For the record: 7-Zip can be found here: http://www.7-zip.org/.

Sorry for the confusion.


I'm 50 years old, and I play World of Warcraft.

There, I said it.

I had to, because I noted something on signing into the game the other day: a warning about a Adobe/Macromedia Flash vulnerability that's been apparently used to target WoW players and steal account information. Updated Flash players are available, and should be downloaded, of course.

News of the vulnerability has been making the rounds in the tech press, but I just thought it was really interesting that something as mainstream and as huge as World of Warcraft with its millions of players would go out of their way to publicize the vulnerability and recommend the update.

That's something you just don't see every day.

Oh, and for the WoW players out there: Bronzebeard. More than that, I'm not saying. Smile


As always, 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...


* * *

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

Posted: June 3, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3404
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3 comments on “Leo's Answers #130 – June 3, 2008”

  1. Thank you so much, you are so great,
    i have windows vista and i have this folder (((recently change)) if i delete any of the files or pictures it will delete in the original folder like picture , it is come more and more files in this folder and i do not know if it good or not to have it every

  2. after reading an article i saw that you mentioned WoW in it, so i decided to do a bit of a WoW search and low and behold, i find the “I’m 50 years old, and I play World of Warcraft.” article. i found it a bit comical. once i saw the name: Bronzebeard, i just had to do an armory search…everyone on the American servers with that name is a male dwarf (a majority of them being hunters)…only after i got all excited about my discovery of a man that actually offers help to others involving legitimate technical issues, i discovered that i spelled the name “Bronzbeard”, not the correct spelling (i forgot an “e” :P) i corrected my search and found nothing but guilds with no toons above 10. after realizing my stupidity and lack of spelling ability i saw the server Bronzebeard. i am one step closer to finding you on a server that i will most likely never play on.

    just thought you might like to know that there are people that have nothing better to do than post a comment that will more than likely be deleted having been read (or skimmed over).

    that being said, congrats on a very popular website.

    yours truly,
    random person that is currently bored.

    p.s. i hope you read this on a not so great day (i don’t mean for that to sound mean) and it cheered you up a bit knowing that there are some pretty smart dumb people out there putting a great deal of admiration in what you do to help people with technical issues they are having.

    if you get bored with your current server i wouldnt mind having a conversation with you about your technical background (classes you have taken, degrees you have attained, XP vs. Vista, WoW stuff you enjoy/want to be nurfed, anything really) i am currently in the training process to become A+ certified so i might have a basic comprehension of some of the things you might mention. email me at the address provided if you would like to continue this, if not, then thank you again for your insight on all things technical.

    Hash: SHA1

    Yes, you must be bored.

    For the record: I’m well over level 10. 🙂


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


Comments are closed.