Leo's Answers #143 – September 9, 2008

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


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

Share Me!

Do you know someone who would benefit from this newsletter? Forward it to them! (See below for details.)

Did someone forward this email to you? Subscribe to get Leo's Answers in your own inbox every week.

*** Contents

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

What happens when I die?

This is actually a question I heard on an episode of Security Now with Steve Gibson and "the other Leo", Leo Laporte. They speak frequently about tools and techniques to keep data secure, and the question was - in that light - how to make sure that data is actually available to those we might leave behind on our death.

It struck a chord because I regularly hear the other side of the scenario. I frequently hear from those left behind, frantically attempting to access important, sentimental, or highly critical data that a recently deceased friend or family member has locked up extremely tight.

Think about it; what happens to your encrypted data, your online accounts, your pictures, your digital-whatever if for some reason you're not around to access it?

What if you're the family money manager and suddenly your spouse needs access or information and has none?

It's not particularly pleasant to think about but with all the security measures we put into place these days to keep bad people out, it's worth also having a plan for letting the good people in, should the need arise.

Continue reading: "What happens when I die?"

* * *

Do icons on my desktop mean programs are running or will they otherwise slow down my system?

I have [a lot of applications on my desktop}. Would my desktop load faster if I put all of these apps and utility programs into one desktop folder rather than having all the icons appear on my desktop? Seeing them doesn't bother me and my desktop loads pretty fast, but my kids are horrified by all they see on my desktop. They say that even though these apps are not listed in my Startup Menu or in Start Programs and even though the apps don't appear to be running in Task Manager processes, they are running and using valuable CPU. Can you enlighten me and my kids?

I'm with your kids, sort of. I'm horrified, but not for the reasons that they're horrified.

And even though I am, if I were you I'd likely not change a thing.

I know that seems like contradictory advice, but it all boils down to being a matter of taste, and nothing more.

Continue reading: "Do icons on my desktop mean programs are running or will they otherwise slow down my system?"

* * *

Why is my PC's clock wrong?

Why is Internet time four or five minutes ahead of Network TV time? I set my VCR according to my computer and recordings are late to start and last too long. Had to put it back the way it was.

My experience is actually the opposite of yours - a couple of networks seem to "run late" and I end up missing the crucial last minute or two of shows from time to time.

So I can't speak for the TV networks, other than to suspect that some simply don't do time very well, perhaps intentionally or otherwise.

But we can look at your computer and this concept of "internet time".

Continue reading: "Why is my PC's clock wrong?"

* * *

What are these entries in my system hosts file?

I've looked in my "windowssystem32driversetchosts" file and found a number of entries that all begin with

1. What are all those identical seemingly IP addresses,

2. The sites listed, are they on my system and bad or are they being blocked from my computer to reach them (just like what you had stated Sasser, sometimes does to reach Anti-virus sites for definition updates?

3. What should I do with this list? Shall I delete these sites and only keep the localhost line? is "special", and refers to your own computer. It's used for both good and evil. The trick here is to understand which, and perhaps how these entries appeared on your computer in the first place.

Continue reading: "What are these entries in my system hosts file?"

* * *

You may want to rethink your recommendation of this product I had problems with.

I read your newsletter every week. One of the applications you mentioned was TweakVI. I downloaded the free version and tried it for a while. In all such situations, if I like the software, I try to patronize the developer by purchasing some commercial version of the product.

The commercial version was a disaster.

You never endorsed the application and I don't expect you to be the Better Business Bureau. I just wanted you to be aware of a potential issue. If you don't hear any more stories like this, then I guess you can dismiss my problem as a fluke. However, I suspect other people are in the same boat.

I truly sympathize with your plight. Regardless of how good a product may or may not be, it's going to fail to meet someone's needs or expectations eventually. Apparently, that was the case here, and it sounds like it wasn't handled well by the company producing TweakVI either.

But there's another problem here as well that is worth understanding.

I've never recommended TweakVI. In fact, until I received your email, I'd never even heard of it.

Continue reading: "You may want to rethink your recommendation of this product I had problems with."

* * *

Why does Outlook tell me it wasn't closed properly?

Every time I open Outlook it tells me that it was not closed properly and the data file is being checked for errors. How do I correct this issue?

Outlook's funny that way.

I would run into this issue from time to time when using Outlook myself. What I found was something that most might find surprising...

Exiting Outlook didn't always exit Outlook.

Continue reading: "Why does Outlook tell me it wasn't closed properly?"

*** A Word from our Sponsor

Your PC is Not Slow ... It Just Needs a Tune Up.

In just minutes, discover how you can improve the performance
of your computer and keep it running like new without the expense
of adding new hardware. Automatically diagnose problems with
your PC. 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 at peak performance. 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!

* * *

What is Error 8000FFFF when I try to install a Windows Vista Update?

Paul writes:

What worked for lots of others worked for me too. I'm on a Dell Latitude D830 with Vista Ultimate and 4GB of RAM. I downloaded the install file from Microsoft's website (Windows6.0-KB929777-v2-x86.msu) and tried to install it manually. The install failed. I went to Control Panel > Programs and Features > View Installed Updates and uninstalled the update. After the uninstall was complete, Vista prompted me to reboot so I did. When it came back up, I reinstalled the .msu file and this time it succeeded. Horray for the internet.

Do icons on my desktop mean programs are running or will they otherwise slow down my system?

Velocity Wave writes:

For those of you who are not as neat as Leo, and like to fill your desktop with tons of files and other stuff, there is a quick and instant way to get to your desktop.

Simply press: WIN+D

That means press the the windows key + D.

(An easy way to remember this is that the letter D stands for "desktop".)

It will instantly show you the desktop, and you can then click your programs and files there.

Press Win+D again to return to the program you were originally working on.

Otherwise if you are a neat freak, then you are better off following Leo's example!

(But in my experience most people don't spend time tidying their desktop. I guess their more of the mad-artist types, as opposed to the engineering-scientific type! So if you are one of mad-artist personality types then use the Win+D combination to reveal your chaotic desktop. It works great.)

*** This Week's Most Popular

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

  1. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  2. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  3. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?
  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. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?
  7. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  8. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  9. How do I put a picture into the caption of a picture on myspace.com?
  10. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?

*** Leo Recommends

Security Now

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: Security Now

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

Something I think that most computer proffessionals need to be reminded of from time to time. From 2005, a podcast with transcript:

They're not as savvy as you think

Most users aren't stupid. They're just not as savvy as we think. And they shouldn't have to be.

Continue reading...
They're not as savvy as you think

*** Thoughts and Comments

Here's one more article for you:

The Myth and the Truth of the IP Address Tracing.

That's out at my collection of articles available for reprint at EzineArticles.com. (And yep, if you'd been following me on Twitter this'd be old news. Smile)

OK, so I'm just not sure what to do with this one.

I now have stickers. To be specific, I now have brand new Ask Leo! laptop stickers, courtesy of my friends out at StickerGiant. They're oval, and I had them sized so that they would fit on laptops and be a much more appropriate logo than the laptop manufacturer's (sorry Dell). Here 'tis, direct from the back of my laptop:

Ask Leo! Laptop Sticker

Laptop stickers are pretty cool, and you'll often see them all over - sometimes laptops are totally plastered with 'em! (And most, I have to add, are coming from StickerGiant :-). Turns out they're an inexpensive way to promote something.

So yes, my laptop, my wife's laptop, and in a few minutes now that I think of it, my wife's employee's laptop will all have Ask Leo! stickers.

So what am I not sure of?

How to get them to you.

I'd love to be able to send a few stickers to anyone who wanted them, but to be honest between the work and the postage, I can't take that on. So I'm not sure what happens next. If you see me in person, by all means, ask for one - I'll usually have a few on me. But otherwise - well, I'm thinking about how to do it. If I come up with something, I'll letcha know. (On a similar note, if you have ideas, let me know :-).

And one last blatant plug for my friends at StickerGiant: not only do they do custom stickers in a wide variety of styles, but they've got an incredible inventory of ready-to-purchase stickers, buttons and more that span all sorts of topics from political (incredibly popular right now) to humorous to in-between.


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.

You can also subscribe to Ask Leo! on your Kindle.

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: September 9, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3496
« 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.