Leo's Answers #137 – July 22, 2008

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


Feel free to forward me to a friend! (See below for details.)

If you're having problems with the formatting of this newsletter in email it's always available on the web here: http://ask-leo.com/currentnewsletter.html

*** Contents

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

Can I prevent a file from being deleted?

Can I prevent a file from being deleted? I have a file that is encrypted so that only I can read it. Now the problem is that although no one can read it, they can still delete it. I want to prevent that file from being deleted.

The short answer is no. You can't prevent it.

The longer answer is you can make it more difficult, but if someone is determined to delete the file, they probably still can.

Continue reading: "Can I prevent a file from being deleted?"

* * *

How does flushing DNS help resolve some issues, and while you're at it what's DNS?

I suddenly started to encounter 'time-out' error messages with certain sites - yours being one of them! On looking further, I could not find any logic to the dozen or so sites I regularly visit being unavailable. I tried accessing these sites through an online proxy - the sites loaded. I re-booted and ran all the adware / spyware / virus programs - all to no avail. I managed to Google the problem and found some obscure forum with the response 'go to command line prompt and type "ipconfig /flushdns" ' which I duly did. Perfect - problem solved - but why did I need to do this, what is a DNS flush and how can I avoid this problem in the future?

Well, I can't really say why that fixed your problem, since a reboot is also another way of flushing your DNS. In fact, it's one of the many reasons that so many tech support folks insist you reboot as the first step when investigating just about anything.

But you seem to indicate that a reboot actually didn't help.

But, conceptually at least, it sometimes can help, and it's much faster than a reboot.

Continue reading: "How does flushing DNS help resolve some issues, and while you're at it what's DNS?"

* * *

How do you remove wireless connections in Vista?

In my neighborhood there are several wireless networks. All of these are unsecured. As the signal of one of these is stronger than that of my own router, my laptop sometimes attempts to connect to this other network. I am running Vista and have repeatedly deleted all the neighboring networks from the list in the network center. Nevertheless, it reappears the next time I start up the laptop. Are there other ways to remove this competing network than just deleting it from the list?

Deleting it might well be exactly the wrong thing to do.

I believe what you really want to do is leave it in the list, but tell Vista not to use it.

Continue reading: "How do you remove wireless connections in Vista?"

* * *

Can I move my system drive to another computer and have it work?

I would like your take on installing a C: Hard drive from one computer into another computer. Would that computer boot up normally with the C: Hard drive from another machine?

This is a classic case of "maybe".

Ultimately, it might work, and it might not. Or something in between.

It depends on how similar the two machines are.

Continue reading: "Can I move my system drive to another computer and have it work?"

* * *

How do I format and partition my new external hard disk?

I have a new 500GB external USB hard drive and would like to format and partition it. How do I do that?

Well, to begin with, you may not need to. Most come pre-formatted as a single partition.

But if it didn't, or if you don't like the default setup, changing it is easy. And of course you'll want to do this before you load that disk up with data.

Continue reading: "How do I format and partition my new external hard disk?"

*** A Word from our Sponsor

Your PC will continue to get slower ...

The more you use your computer, the slower it will get.
Research shows, that after only months of use, your PC will be
performing at just a fraction of its original performance.
Run the all new, no cost PC Pitstop Optimize 2.0 scan now and
in just minutes - discover numerous ways you can keep your
PC running like new. Scan Now!


Advertisement. Ask Leo about advertising here.

*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

Can I install programs on an external drive?

Vik writes:

How to protect my data on my portable hard drive, from infections, while connecting to other people's pc ? Thanks for any info.

If your hard drive (or USB thumb drive) has a physical "read-only" switch to prevent writing to the device, use that. Unfortunately, not many do these days for some reason.

From a purely pragmatic point of view the answer is that you really can't ... at least not with 100% certainty. The best steps to take include:

  • ONLY connect to PCs you absolutely trust

  • turn off "auto play" on your own computer

  • virus scan the drive immediately on connecting it back to your own computer.



How do I transfer my email from one ISP to another?

Bevin writes:


When you say PC based program are you referring to something like Outlook (not Outlook Express)? I am not sure I understand your term 'web-based email' Since I have all my emails stored on my PC, I assume from what you are saying that Outlook must be acting as a client since I can backup and archive my emails. Am I correct in this?



Bevin: a "PC Based" email program is, as you say, a program like Outlook Express or Outlook or Thunderbird or any of several others that run on and typically download email to your PC.

A "Web Based" email is something like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, GMail and others where you manage your email by visiting a web page in your web browser.

Some ISPs provide both approaches to viewing your mail.



Thunderbird - A Free, Open Source, and Powerful Email Client

Novice writes:

my question is email client versus web based access. is it necessary or better to have an email program? i use webmails and never felt the need. i have tried windows live. i like its vista look but i find web based access faster.

at least in gmail (web) i can filter items and send them to whatever folders i create. i can access such sorting from any place unlike in the case of email programs.

am i not utilizing the mail programs efficiently or do i actually not need them?

im talkin about home use. i have lotus notes at work and cant change that.

Ziggie writes:

I use gmail's web client because it's convenient and syncs easily (as in, it's the same everywhere cuz it's web based).

But as Leo has pointed out before, what if Gmail were to go away tomorrow? What then?

If you don't care, then web based is perfect for you.

If the thought causes heart flutters, that's where Thunderbird comes in. I leave Thunderbird open on my computer simply to download and backup mail. No, it's not organized very well, if at all, but it's backed up. If gmail were to disappear I'd be inconvenienced (as it is my primary email address), but I would have all my email.

I rarely ever have to look for messages in Thunderbird. And it's nice to have it there if I need it.

Ziggie answered before I could Smile. I'll also point out this article: How do I backup my GMail?.



*** This Week's Most Popular

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

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

*** Leo Recommends

A Free, Open Source, and Powerful Email Client

Mozilla's Thunderbird is my choice for email. I use it all day every day, and I can heartily recommend it as an often more powerful and capable replacement for mail programs like Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail and many other desktop email applications.

The feature list is long, but I want to call out some of my favorite features and some of the things that personally draw me to Thunderbird and cause me to make it my recommendation for almost anyone using a desktop email program.

Continue reading: "Thunderbird - A Free, Open Source, and Powerful Email Client"

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

It's nice to be generous, but it's important to understand the risks.

If I let my neighbor share my WiFi, can they see my network traffic?

I have a home network with 3 computers (two desktops connected with ethernet cables to Linksys router; laptop is wireless). The wireless signal is encrypted and I gave my next door neighbors my network key so they can wirelessly connect just to check email, do banking, etc. They are not on my home network, but can they still see where I am surfing (such as my bank site with passcodes, etc.)?

Well, let me at least make one correction to what you've laid out:

If you've given them access to your wireless access point, they are on your home network. What they can see depends on a couple of things, but to be blunt: I hope you trust them.

Continue reading...
If I let my neighbor share my WiFi, can they see my network traffic?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Last week's ad for 123 Inkjets had a bad coupon code, and even called out a bad expiration date. (Sheesh, you'd think I'd have noticed that at least.) I've got a request in for a new coupon to share, but haven't yet heard back. Sorry for that little mix up. I'll post an update here when I get it.


Are you using the latest version of your web browser? I hope so, but apparently many are not. A research paper shows that over 40% of web surfers are using browsers with known vulnerabilities. While Internet Explorer has the highest insecurity rate, all browsers are represented to varying degrees.

One of the (many) things I feel like I sometimes harp on too much is keeping your system up-to-date. That includes your web browser as well as the operating system itself, and to be fair, just about every application you run. Yep, it can be a minor annoyance, but it's important to keeping yourself and everyone else safe on the internet.


As always, thanks for subscribing, for reading, and for your feedback. 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...


* * *

A selection of Leo's articles are available for free re-use at http://articlesbyleo.com.

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

Do you have a question? A comment, perhaps? Visit http://ask-leo.com/ask to submit your questions.

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.

Leo's Answers Newsletter is a weekly publication of Ask Leo! and Leo A. Notenboom. It's also available as an RSS feed at this URL: http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.xml. Archives of previous newsletter issues can be found on the Ask Leo! web site, http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.html.

Forward Me! You're quite welcome to forward this email in its entirety; it's a great way to help Ask Leo! grow. But you should probably delete your unsubscribe link below, so your friends don't unsubscribe you by accident.

You may forward individual articles from this newsletter only if you include all and only the text of that article as found in this newsletter, including any links therein. You may not copy full articles from the Ask Leo! website - more on that in my section on copyright: http://ask-leo.com/terms.html#copyright.

I'd sure appreciate it if regular readers got a subscription of their own. You can sign up at http://newsletter.ask-leo.com.

Interested in advertising on Ask Leo! or in this newsletter? Advertising details here.

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

Posted: July 22, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3453
« Previous post:
Next post: »

New Here?

Let me suggest my collection of best and most important articles to get you started.

Of course I strongly recommend you search the site -- there's a ton of information just waiting for you.

Finally, if you just can't find what you're looking for, ask me!

Confident Computing

Confident Computing is the weekly newsletter from Ask Leo!. Each week I give you tools, tips, tricks, answers, and solutions to help you navigate today’s complex world of technology and do so in a way that protects your privacy, your time, and your money, and even help you better connect with the people around you.

The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition

Subscribe for FREE today and claim your copy of The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition. Culled from the articles published on Ask Leo! this FREE downloadable PDF will help you identify the most important steps you can take to keep your computer, and yourself, safe as you navigate today’s digital landscape.

My Privacy Pledge

Leo Who?

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.

1 thought on “Leo's Answers #137 – July 22, 2008”

  1. Here is the problem my Gateway notebook computer went out, sent in for repair. they replaced mother bord and video card, said checked it our all is well. when I get back I want to set it back up to wireless network. Does not work because someone made up a wireless connection and it keeps asking me for key or passphrase which i do not have. Was told to format drive and reload this would remove wireless network. But guess what its back and it has the best connection and I can’t use it. How do I get rid of this wireless connection. Help Frustrated.

Comments are closed.