Leo's Answers #138 – July 29, 2008

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom


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*** Contents

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

How does Windows delete files, and what can I do to keep my files secure?

Is it reasonable to assume that recovering overwritten information is expensive?

How does Windows deal with a normal File Save?

Are there snags to password protecting a file?

The original question is much more detailed, but I want to take it and talk about what's reasonable to expect, or not expect, when deleting files and keeping your data secure on your hard disk.

Continue reading: "How does Windows delete files, and what can I do to keep my files secure?"

* * *

What are the $NtUnstallKB* folders in my Windows folder, and can I delete them?.

In my Windows folder I have 294 folders named $NtUnstallKB******$. Each folder has 4 to 6 files. The names of the folders and files are all blue. There is a txt file in each folder but when I open it with notepad it is blank.

What are these and can I safely delete them? They are taking up 1.2 Gb of disk space. My guess is they are to uninstall windows updates, to delete them would mean I could not remove the update.

Your guess is exactly right.

Let's look at what you're looking at, and I'll describe the safe approach to dealing with this.

Continue reading: "What are the $NtUnstallKB* folders in my Windows folder, and can I delete them?."

* * *

What's the difference between a Mac Address and an IP Address?

What is the difference between a Mac Address and an IP Address? Are both traceable back to your computer? And can you hide them? If by hiding them is your computer safer from hackers. Also, are the free versions as good as the ones you buy?

Well, the last one is easy to answer: there's no concept of free versus paid IP or MAC addresses. As you'll see in a moment, IP addresses are assigned as part of connecting to a network, and MAC addresses are assigned at the time hardware is manufactured.

Even hiding a MAC or IP address is a concept that doesn't quite apply, but we'll get in to that too.

And whether MAC or IP addresses are hidden or not, if you connect to a network these are not the kind of things you should be spending your time worrying about to stay safe from hackers.

Continue reading: "What's the difference between a Mac Address and an IP Address?"

* * *

Why does my internet connection slow down sometimes?

Intermittently, my internet connection becomes really slow. The download speed seems to be OK (650 -700 kbps) but I periodically show a latency period as high as >3600 ms. My ISP says that is normal but I don't think they know what they are talking about.

I used to be with your ISP (the original question called out the ISP by name), and, well ... let's just say I'm no longer with them.

There are several reasons that internet speeds can vary, but in general I wouldn't expect latency (the time it takes for a response to arrive) of over 3.5 seconds.

Continue reading: "Why does my internet connection slow down sometimes?"

* * *

Why is my screen saver asking for a password, and how do I fix that?

I've been using a screen saver for years. I used to be able to just move my mouse and get back to my desktop. However, now when I move my mouse, it takes me back to the 'Welcome Screen' and I have to enter my password again. How do I undo that?

I can't say why it happened, but it's easy to fix.

But we'll want to make sure you really want to fix it, first.

Continue reading: "Why is my screen saver asking for a password, and how do I fix that?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

This comment was actually submitted via the question form, but I thought it warranted publication:

Margaret writes:

You cannot stress watching your kids around the computer often enough. My neighbor does not even know [how] to turn it on, but let the kids use the computer. She came to me asking what was wrong. Well everything! I had downloaded AVG free and told them to use it regularly. No they did not. The screen was white with a few icons, Virus Alert was jumping all over the place, and they could not get to their homepage. I ran the AVG and it picked up 5 trojans immediately. I took off some useless advertising toolbars. I went home to my computer and googled everything that was showing, it was a smitfraud. I downloaded an antispyware program, and ran it. It took me 3 days, I am not a computer expert. I got her homepage back. But the computer still is not right. I suspect the OS needs to be reinstalled. It is a Windows 2000 Pro. I have learned a lot. It was worth every penny I spent on my Antivirus and spyware programs. Since the only thing they use the computer for is to do email, and they don't store files or do banking, they are okay. I drilled the kids if it starts acting strange, and tries to download anything, close down the internet and run the AVG immediately. They don't have the money for an expert to look at it. When the kids are on the computer be sure and supervise, and after they get off run the spyware program.

Your points are well taken, simply because your story is all too familiar. Parents need to watch and educate their kids on proper internet usage. Quite often that means that the parents need educating as well! But it's key, not just for keeping things like viruses off of your machine, but for keeping your kids safe from some of other dangers that lie out there in cyberspace.



*** 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 are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  6. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?
  7. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  8. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  9. How do I hack into someone's account?
  10. How do I delete my Hotmail account?

*** Leo Recommends

Quick and Easy Screen Capture and Annotation

One of the more surprising questions I get fairly often has nothing at all to do with computer problems, Windows configuration or general computing. It's very simple:

"How'd you get that cool tear-off look to your screen captures?"

I use SnagIt.

By the way, this is what they're talking about:

Upper Left corner of a Command Prompt Window

As with any utility like this, I'm certain that there are many alternatives, but I've been using SnagIt for several years now and have been exceptionally pleased with how quick and easy it is to use.

But I had to be convinced.

Continue reading: "SnagIt - Quick and Easy Screen Capture and Annotation"

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

One of the things my virtual assistant does is regularly remove email addresses from the bodies of comments posted on Ask Leo!. Why? This article explains why you never want to put your naked email address anywhere publicly on the web.

Why shouldn't I post my email address in a public forum?

So many discussion forums and technical assistance sites, including yours, ask for an email address to post comments, and yet friends tell me never to put my real address in. Sometimes I need to include my email address as part of my comment or question, but I'm told that's even worse! Why is that, and what should I do?

The why is easy.

The what to do? Not so much.

Why is it a bad idea? In a word, spam.

Continue reading...
Why shouldn't I post my email address in a public forum?

*** Thoughts and Comments

The folks from 123 Inkjets got back to me just a hair too late for last week's issue, but the ad above has updated codes that should last through the end of the year this time. Smile


Randy Pausch passed away last week. Like many I was deeply moved by the Carnegie Mellon professor's "Last Lecture". It's a deeply insightful presentation in the face of terminal cancer, and is in my opinion a must-see.

Another summary as well as the video of the Last Lecture itself can be found here: Randy Pausch.


Follow me on twitter? Then you'll know I've been grousing about food of late Smile. A recent tweet: "Age old secret to weight loss revealed! Eat less. Move more. (Just sucks when in my heart of hearts I yearn for just the opposite.)"

All grousing aside, I did have to punch new holes in my belt yesterday. Whoo hoo!


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

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

Posted: July 29, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3460
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1 thought on “Leo's Answers #138 – July 29, 2008”

  1. I just had one of my computers re-built, it runs on WinXP. When I put my 2gb memory stick in to transfer some files across, nothing showed up, not even the fact there was a memmory stick in the machine, I did the same to another 2gb stick, the same result. I have now put the same two sticks in my other computers and the same thing is happening, neither are showing up as being there. I tried another stick in my other compters and that is fine and reads it. My problem is I have a lot of info on the two sticks not being read now. Can I recover that info, well first of course I need to be able to recognize there is a memory stick in the computer. I ahev taken the machine involved back to the technician, but of course that doesn’t help my problem. David

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