Leo's Answers #149 – October 21, 2008

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

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

What's my IP address?

What's my IP address?

As you probably already know your IP address is the "address" or logical (not physical) location of your computer or router connected to the internet.

There are plenty of sites that will tell you your IP address. In fact, any web site you visit can see it.

I'll do the same, but also try to explain, a little, exactly what it is you're seeing.

Continue reading: "What's my IP address?"

* * *

I have annoying malware, but my anti-malware tools don't remove it. What do I do?

I got hit with some sort of adware / spyware/ malware that keeps popping up a task bar icon telling me i have security problem and then it keeps trying to download XPAnti-virus or some other type of spyware blocker. I have MacAfee, Windows Defender, Ad-Aware, and Spybot S&D all loaded in my machine, yet I can't seem to get rid of this problem. It keeps popping up every 5 to 10 seconds, making doing ANYTHING almost impossible. I have even tried to do a system restore, and I can't do that either. Any suggestions?

I'm actually starting to hear this a lot more frequently in recent days.

As always, it's the never-ending race between the malware creators and the anti-malware tool creators.

If I found myself in your shoes, there are a few things I would look into.

Continue reading: "I have annoying malware, but my anti-malware tools don't remove it. What do I do?"

* * *

I've installed anti-virus software, but Windows says I haven't. What do I do?

I have a new machine running Windows Vista, and I purchased an anti-virus program, but it is saying that I have no virus protection? I am sooo new to this, but when I purchased it, I sure thought that I would have virus protection! Can you give me any idea what to do, because I am at a loss.

While I'm not familiar with the specific product you purchased, I'd say it's likely that you do have Anti-Virus protection.

Windows just doesn't know about it.

Let's look at how that can be.

Continue reading: "I've installed anti-virus software, but Windows says I haven't. What do I do?"

* * *

How do I add a program to my Start Menu?

I have quite a few programs that are not listed in my programs menu. How do I get them on to my programs menu list?

The "Programs" or "All Programs" list on your Start menu is a convenient place to find most of the software that takes the trouble to place itself there on installation. Fortunately, it's very easy to add (and remove) things from your start menu.

And it starts (so to speak) by realizing that the Start Menu is really just a folder on your hard disk.

OK, maybe two folders.

Continue reading: "How do I add a program to my Start Menu?"

* * *

How do I uninstall software that doesn't provide a way to uninstall?

How do I uninstall a program that does not show up in the add and remove section in Win XP? I have programs in various sections of my computer which i would like to clean out but they either do not show up on add/remove or they don't have an uninstaller included. I'm aware that just deleting software is not a good idea.

And yet, carefully deleting things turns out to be the only real option.

Here's what I would suggest when dealing with this situation.

Continue reading: "How do I uninstall software that doesn't provide a way to uninstall?"

* * *

My computer is crashing and having troubles, is it time to replace the power supply?

We have a 400w power supply in our 80G computer and lately it crashes and tries to continually restart when I have appliances connected, ie printer, video machine for copying dvd's, speakers etc. I can only run the screen and hard drive at present and the noises coming from the hard drive sound to me like it is really struggling. We have a lot of software loaded and our problems really started when I loaded the last software for my new samsung phone and a new digital camera. I've been to a computer shop and other than costing a small fortune, told me there was nothing wrong with my computer. I've had an electrician in and he's checked everything is okay but asked about the power for the computer. What I would like to know is what would be the best size wattage to upgrade to, ie would 500 or 550 watts be sufficient or try to go bigger. And finally, is this a job easy enough to do ourselves or do we need a computer tech to do it for us. Finding a decent computer tech is not easy! Another problem seems to be turbo lister (ebay software) - when I go into turbo lister that's when I also encounter problems, ie my computer seems to freeze - could this also be related to insufficient power?

You've got a lot going on, and unfortunately that means that the answers aren't going to be clear. Yes, it all might be power supply related, but in all honesty that's not where I'd start.

I'd start with a concept called "software rot".

Continue reading: "My computer is crashing and having troubles, is it time to replace the power supply?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

Why can't I have an Audio conversation using MSN Messenger?

David writes:

I downloaded wlm 9 beta and there are a few issues. I will just name 2. 1. I cannot setup a video call with the new beta version of live. 2. To uninstall it is a headache. It appears that no uninstaller was included in the "package".

To me it appears as a deliberate and "pirate" attitude on the MICROSOFT to do such a thing to users of its software. No one should be held at ransom to any software company at any given time. If anyone has experience similar problems let me know.

This is why it's called Beta software. Problems are to be expected. In all honesty, if Beta software causes you problems, Beta software from anyone, then you really have no one to blame but yourself. Always backup prior to installing a beta, never plan on using a beta permanently or for any length of time, and plan on rolling back to that backup when done.
It's unfortunate that products in perpetual Beta, like many of Google's, have caused so many people to forget these important guidelines.


Should I defragment my USB Flash drive?

Cyclo User writes:

Actually, defragging your flash drive can have some benefit but only if your hardware needs it. For example, the CycloDS and many other MicroSD to DS adapters require the card to be mostly unfragmented to work properly. There is even a debate on the official forums about whether it is best to use a defragmenting program or to simply copy everything off, reformat, and restore everything.

In a case like that I would not defrag, and I would not reformat. I would simply copy all the files off, delete all files from the flash drive, and the copy them back. Reformatting isn't needed, and would likely perform more writes to the flash than is necessary.


I have an emachines restore XP disk. How can I put XP on my old computer which runs 98se?

Allison Joyner writes:

How do I restore my information back on my hard drive when I have used the recovery disk. The disk said that it would erase my hard drive and I want to get my information back that the disk had erased.

The short answer is that you probably cannot. That's what the recovery software means by "erase your hard disk" - it erases your hard disk. After recovery and installing whatever you've re-installed it's likely that all your old data has been wiped out. Typically this is another reason why regular backups are so incredibly important.


A program is telling me to uninstall its competitor; should I?

David writes:

I don't like Spybot or Adaware anymore, they both have become very bloated apps and it seems all they catch are cookies. While I do use 2 antivirus apps (avira - realtime, kaspersky - non realtime), I feel my best protection is Acronis TrueImage. I have partitioned my c: drive to only 10 gigs (only 5 is used) used only for my os (xp sp3) and a d: drive for everything else. It's easy to move your mydocs to d: and a simple registry hack to move your "Program Files" to d:(google "moving "program files" to d:). So if anything at all happens to my os it's just a few minutes to reinstall my imaged c:. My surfing habits take me to many questionable sites and yet I sleep very well at night.

I agree: having good backups is one of the best sleep-aids I know of. :-)


*** 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. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?
  3. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  4. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  5. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  6. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  7. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  8. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  9. How do I put a picture in a comment on myspace.com?
  10. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?

*** Leo Recommends

CA Anti-Virus - solid, reliable anti-virus protection.

One of my most common requests is what anti-virus software people should be using.

There are many good packages out there, but I've used CA Anti-Virus for many, many years. It's been rock solid, quietly updating its virus definitions and scanning my computers for threats every night since before I left Microsoft.

Yes, before I left Microsoft.

And that's one of the reasons I began recommending it: then called "eTrust", it was the corporate anti-virus solution within Microsoft for a few years prior to my departure. In fact, as part of Microsoft's security strategy, we were encouraged to take it home and use it on our computers there as well.

Which I did.

Continue reading: "CA Anti-Virus - solid, reliable anti-virus protection."

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

A common problem with a few interesting approaches to a solution:

How can I find out what program keeps popping up in my taskbar and disappearing before I can click on it?

I've seen 'em too. You really start to wonder what the program is, and before you can even reach for your mouse, it's gone. Or even if you do manage to click on it, it disappears from view.

There are several techniques I use to track these guys down. Not all work in all cases, but between them all I can usually figure it out pretty quickly.

Continue reading...
How can I find out what program keeps popping up in my taskbar and disappearing before I can click on it?

*** Thoughts and Comments

(Non-tech content follows. If you're just here for PC stuff, you can skip this.)

I shook Edward James Olmos' hand yesterday.

Olmos is currently best known for his role as Commander Adama in Battlestar Galactica, but will be known to others for his Oscar nominated role in Stand and Deliver, as well as his Emmy award winning role in the original TV series Miami Vice.

So what was he doing anywhere near the likes of me?

Olmos is also known for his passion for various causes including the homeless and children. He was the keynote speaker at a fundraising luncheon yesterday for a local social service agency, Hopelink; an agency I'm very proud to be associated with as a board member and volunteer.

I mention all this not to name-drop (well, ok, maybe just a little Smile), but to ask that those of you able to do so, consider supporting you local food bank, emergency shelter or similar social service agency. As we weather what look to be some tough economic times, these agencies are seeing the perfect storm of increased need and decreased donations. Be it a can of food or a small (or large!) cash donation, everything helps.

And yes, because of your support and the popularity of Ask Leo!, agencies like Hopelink have benefited. While I don't normally publicize it much, a portion of the revenue generated by the advertising on Ask Leo! is donated to help local folks in crisis.

With the expectation that things will get worse before they get better, and that this is a national and global issue, I encourage you to consider helping out as well.

OK, off the soapbox.

* * *

'till next time...

Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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

Posted: October 21, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3539
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