Leo's Answers #141 – August 26, 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 an incremental backup?

I have a mental 'block' on backing up which unnerves my approach to it. I have managed one full backup (32gb) on an external hard drive. I have just read your article on maintenance but do not understand what is meant by incremental backup. Does it simply 'update' or overwrite the existing backup or does it create something else that only contains whatever is new since the previous backup? I think the latter is what I would prefer.

There are actually typically three different types of backups: full, incremental, and differential. Understanding which is which, and how they should be used it pretty important to making sure you're appropriately backed up while not simultaneously eating up disk space at an exorbitant rate.

Continue reading: "What's an incremental backup?"

* * *

If everything's infected, how do I get anything done?

If everything Java is infected what other choice do I have to run Java applications? ie. Java ire, Java runtime and so on? My security system made me remove all Java from my PC.

Everything Java is not infected.

I know that reading all the dire warnings you might see every day might make it seem like just turning on your computer is an exercise in dangerous futility, but it's just not that bad. With a little caution on your part (and perhaps a better security system), you can use the internet, including Java, quite safely.

Continue reading: "If everything's infected, how do I get anything done?"

* * *

Why can't I rely on System Restore for backups?

This is actually a synthesized question that reflects an extremely common line of thinking I see in questions and comments I receive.

I can kind of understand the thinking; it might make sense to rely on something called "System Restore" to restore your system.

Unfortunately, that's not even close to what it does. Add a couple of additional pitfalls, and relying on System Restore without completely understanding what it is - and more importantly what it is not - could lead you down a very dangerous path.

Continue reading: "Why can't I rely on System Restore for backups?"

* * *

How can I tell from where an EXE file is being run?

I am just about fed up with Windows Vista running so much stuff in the background that I don't understand. I've become obsessed with checking out what processes are running and then Googling them. The problem is most sites then tell me it's a legit MS program - often described as being important for stability - then in the next paragraph they say that the same exe file is a registered Trojan or virus.

The latest was 'csrss.exe' (two at the same time). When I looked it up it was explained it should be in the system 32 folder, but I have one in there and another somewhere else that I can't find - task manager will not show the file location for either!

I can certainly sympathize with Windows Vista's complexity. This isn't a simple operating system any more, and it's not something that can be "pared down" to just a couple of running programs. Vista will always have lots of processes running. It's not a good thing, it's not a bad thing, it's just a thing ... a reflection of a large and complex operating system that's trying to do a lot.

But the point you raise is a good one. Virus writers often try to obfuscate what they're about by naming their virus files the same as system executables. As you've seen, csrss.exe in one place is critical to system operation, and yet csrss.exe run from some other place is most likely a virus.

How do you know which is which?

Continue reading: "How can I tell from where an EXE file is being run?"

* * *

Why are some pictures blocked in email, and how do I stop that?

My computer constantly queries me "Some pictures have been blocked to prevent the sender from identifying your computer. Click here to download pictures". How can I delete this annoyance?

It depends on the email program you're using, but I'll show you how in Outlook Express and you can probably find the equivalent in your own email program.

Then I'll tell you why you don't want to change it; this behavior is exactly what you want. Honest.

Continue reading: "Why are some pictures blocked in email, and how do I stop that?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

How do I fix this high CPU usage svchost virus or whatever it is?

Mary writes:

Hi Leo....I luckily found your web site regarding this issue when I did a google search for svchost. I have spent days with tech support to try to resolve this issue that something was using 100% of my cpu. I thought it was my internet provider...a virus...my computer...etc. One tech called me back at 3 am this morning after doing many scans to find the problem, only to tell me he could not fix it. He recommended I reformat my computer. I started to google svc this morning and came across your site. I followed your instructions to download the Process Explorer and to run it to find out what the problem was. When I discovered through that what was using 100% of my cpu...I immediately knew that was my problem. It showed me only 1 .dll file to be the problem, and it was my NEW HP printer software. I called HP, and a tech helped me delete files and re-install my printer...and guess what...my cpu went down to 2%!!!!!!!!!!Thank you so much, and I wish others success in solving their issue with svchost 100%cpu problem


Parental Monitoring Software: My child figured out how to turn it off - what can I do?

Htebezele writes:

*Giggle* You DO realized you just told even more kids how to turn it off? You could have been more vague in the question right?

Yep. But as the article points out - the information is already out there, and my addition is a drop in the bucket. It's important that parents be aware what kids have access to.



What backup program should I use?

Richard writes:

I have backed up my Windows XP and Office on a 16GB Flash Drive. If my hard drive fails, can I just boot from the Flash Drive, then copy all the backed-up files to the replacement drive? Or, will I need some interim step?

It really depends on how you're backing up. Some backup programs will do as you describe, but most do not. You'll likely need some kind of interim boot disk at a minimum.


*** 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 change my MSN Hotmail password?
  4. How do I put a picture in a comment on myspace.com?
  5. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  6. How do I put a picture into the caption of a picture on myspace.com?
  7. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  8. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?
  9. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  10. How do I change my MSN Messenger or Hotmail password?

*** Leo Recommends

Process Explorer
A Free Powerful Replacement for Windows Task Manager

OK, I admit it, I'm a geek. And part of reason I say that is because I actually have Process Explorer as an auto-start entry on my two primary machines. It runs automatically whenever I boot up. Not only do I find that I refer to it that often, but I'm just the kind of person who likes to know what's going on inside his computer. You know, a geek.

Now, you may not need or even want to know what's going on under the hood. Let's face it, for most computer users you shouldn't have to. Computers are supposed to "just work", and you should never need to be bothered with things like processes or resource utilization or what not.

And we all know how well that's working. Smile

This is where process explorer comes in. Process Explorer - or frequently just "procexp" - provides a window into the world of all the programs running on your computer, and offers up a level of detailed information that Task Manager could never hope to approach.

Continue reading my recommendation: "Process Explorer - A Free Powerful Replacement for Windows Task Manager"

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

After all these years, it's still a point of confusion:

What's the difference between COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE?

I've seen references to both "COMMAND.COM" and "CMD.EXE" as being called "the DOS prompt" in Windows XP. When I run each, via Start-Run, they seem similar, and yet I can tell that there are differences. For example I can't figure out how to "CD" to the "Program Files" directory using COMMAND.COM. What are they, and which should I use?

My advice is simple: forget about COMMAND.COM. It has a long, and venerable history, but for most practical purposes, it's no longer needed.

Understanding why is a trip down memory lane for MS-DOS and Windows.

Continue reading...
What's the difference between COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE?

*** Thoughts and Comments

I want to thank everyone who wrote to wish me well after missing last week's newsletter due to my illness. I can't hope to respond to you all individually (I should probably focus on questions and answers) but I want you all to know that it's very much appreciated - including the two (2!) recipes for chicken soup. Smile

This was quite the head cold; the worst I can ever remember having, so perhaps it was more than just a head cold. The good news is that I'm feeling much better, and I've been able to resume normal operations. Even after two weeks, though, I still have a bit of a cough. I'll be very happy when it's all gone.


One of the things that I'm sure didn't help is that this cold couldn't have come at a worse time. We're in the process of moving my wife's business from her old retail "brick and mortar" to a temporary internet-only location here in our home. For various reasons we're "between spaces" while we find a new location for the shop.

Of course that meant that being sick just wasn't an option. Computers needed to be moved and working to keep the business running, after which there were many heavy things that needed to be moved. (One of my many titles: "lifter of heavy things".) Our lease is up on Sunday, so delaying just so I could feel better wasn't an option.

The good news is that the majority of the move is over, with a few trips of smaller "stuff" and cleanup to happen this week.


In other news, you may recall a few weeks ago I mentioned that the power supply for one of my two monitors had died and that I was having difficulty finding a replacement.

I received several suggestions from readers. Not all of them worked out, but one did and that's all it took! A big thank you to reader Nathan who pointed me at Jameco Electronics who had exactly what I needed. (Well, almost exactly - some splicing and electrical tape was required to get the right plug.) I'm happily running my original dual monitor setup once again.


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...

Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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: August 26, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3481
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2 comments on “Leo's Answers #141 – August 26, 2008”

  1. Hi Leo,

    I noticed there an antivirus is still running on my computer after uninstalling it, the name of the antivirus is Bitdefender. Inside the program files the folder still exist and everytime i try to delete it it tells me it’s in use, so i went to the antivirus website and there i found out that once you uninstall bitdefender from the control panel there is usually some remains on the computer and to remove it completely there is a software to be use to remove all the remaining components and its registry values. To my suprise the sofware worked but the problem now is the registry still have it registered there and when i try to install another antivirus it keeps telling me another antivirus software is stil running and windows security center alerts me everytime i restart the system that the bitdefender antivirus is out of date. What can i do.

  2. when I type into my own url without the http//
    I can’t upload it.
    Yet other people say you don’t have to use the htt;// Why is that? I sent for my e-mail cards and they don’t have the http:// my e-cards don’t have the http:// are they still useful?

    I note that you mistyped it a couple of times in your comment, so perhaps that’s part of the problem. When used it needs to be exactly http://

    Some browsers will assume http:// if you don’t type it into the address bar. Some email programs will assume that anything that looks like a domain name should be a clickable link.

    Note the use of “some” in that statement. It doesn’t always work. It’s always safest to include the http:// – that way there’s simply no question.


Comments are closed.