Leo's Answers #159 – December 30, 2008

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

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

Why don't PDF's print at the same size as the original?

Why do my PDF's print out smaller than the original copy?

I'm going to assume you mean slightly smaller, since that's a very, very common scenario. I see it myself all the time.

The answer, in a word, is margins. And depending on the PDF document and the capabilities of your printer, you may, or may not, be able to work around it.

Continue reading: "Why don't PDF's print at the same size as the original?"

* * *

Can I delete pagefile.sys? What is it?

How to delete pagefile.sys. Is it safe to delete?

Sure, you can delete it. It takes some special steps, but it's not really all that difficult.

The problem is that you probably don't want to.

Continue reading: "Can I delete pagefile.sys? What is it?"

* * *

Does accessing my computer's hard disk over the network impact the computer's performance?

Whenever I am doing processor intensive tasks on my main computer (i.e. burning a disc, encoding a movie, etc.), I will leave my computer alone and not do anything else on it until the task is finished (I will even go as far as shutting off my screen saver). I do this so that as much processor power as possible can be devoted to performing the task, and the task can be completed as quickly as possible--not to mention that I hope to avoid introducing any errors into whatever task is being performed.

I will, however, work on another computer in my house. If I need a file from my main computer, I will access it over the network from a mapped drive I have set up.

A friend has told me that accessing files through the network, though not as intensive, is almost as bad as performing it directly on my main computer while it is performing the burning or encoding. I disagree, thinking that by accessing these files over a network, I am using only the main computer NIC card and hard drive (and perhaps very minimal processor power).

Can you please tell me which of us is correct?

Sure! You both are.

You see, it really depends on exactly what you're doing. Some of your scenario leads me to believe that you are right, and other portions of your scenario have me siding with your friend.

I'll give you the slight edge here because I can't see your friend's "almost as bad" comment really coming into play.

Continue reading: "Does accessing my computer's hard disk over the network impact the computer's performance?"

* * *

My anti-virus performed a virus removal but I still have a symptom, how do I get rid of it?

My machine was recently infected by a worm called _____. My anti-virus removed it, but I am still getting _____. How do I fix that last left-over symptom?

That's a composite question since I get many variations of it on a regular basis.

The scenario is simple: you've been infected with a virus of some sort, and your anti-virus program reports, much to your great relief, that it has cleaned it out for you. And yet, there's some nagging leftover specific symptom.

The solution isn't nearly as simple as the scenario.

Continue reading: "My anti-virus performed a virus removal but I still have a symptom, how do I get rid of it?"

* * *

How do I get wireless internet?

We have dial-up at our house and I'm sick of it. I can get on the internet from my iPod at the edge of my property but I want internet on my desktop IN my house. What do I need to connect up?

I want to use this question to clear up a misconception that appears to be surprisingly common.

Wireless internet is not just "out there" for you to connect up to. You need to take steps, whether it's setting something up, paying for something, or at a minimum, asking for permission.

It's definitely not the case that you can just grab a wireless card and suddenly be connected anywhere you want. The wireless capabilities of your computer are only half of what's needed.

Continue reading: "How do I get wireless internet?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

How do I add a signature with a picture to my emails?

Steve writes:

Form a business standpoint - HTML formatted emails make no sense to me. HTML formatting only increases the chances of some SPAM filter stopping your email. HTML emails are much larger in file size than plain text and thus take longer to send, longer to process, longer to traverse the net and longer to receive. Plain Text with a concise signature stating contact information is a courtesy to your recipients.

I tend to agree. Some time ago I wrote about this in more detail on my "Taming Email" site: Use Plain Format - Substance Over Style.



Can my computer get a virus from my camera?

Bob Conlin writes:

What about inserting a camera card in the card machine at Wal-Mart to make prints? Can I pick up a virus by doing that? I use Wal-Mart because I can't print on my own computer for anywhere near their cost, for paper and ink alone.

I don't know. I would assume that those dedicated single-purpose devices are not prone to infection, and I've not heard of it happening, but ... it seems like it could if the particular device is poorly architected or configured. Right now I consider the risk very low, but would be interested to hear from others if they've heard of or experienced an infection from a photo-printing kiosk.



When do I actually need to run a virus scan?

Asif Dange writes:

Hi Leo,

I have a small query. I have an antivirus on my machine. The Real time scan is always ON. But when i do a manual scan i find some of my files were infected with virus which the Real Time scan didn't find out. Can u suggest me what was the possible problem as to why The Real Time Scan didn't notice about the virus?????????

I have only one Antivirus running on my machine.

It's difficult to say without knowing exactly what anti-virus program you're using. Some "real time" scans only scan what's coming in over your internet connection, for example. If a file arrives some other way, say through windows networking, it might not be caught. Similarly some programs don't real-time scan everything even on the internet - they scan browser activity and email, but might skip peer-to-peer file sharing applications or other apps. As you've seen, a periodic full scan is an important step in addition to real-time.


*** This Week's Most Popular

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

  1. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  2. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  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. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  6. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  7. How do I put a picture into the caption of a picture on myspace.com?
  8. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  9. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  10. Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.

*** Leo Recommends

A free, easy to use undelete and file recover tool

As you might expect, I have a small collection of useful tools that I keep available for assorted system maintenance and troubleshooting tasks. However, for the longest time I haven't really carried a file un-delete utility with me. Not because there aren't some good ones out there, but more because I never really got comfortable with any of the one's I'd tried. Certainly not comfortable enough to recommend.

I recently discovered Recuva, which I just added to my toolkit. It's free, it's easy to use, and it's from the same people that bring you CCleaner, which gives added credibility.

When you delete a file the contents of that file are not necessarily immediately overwritten or removed. Instead the space used by that file is marked as "available" so that it can be used the next time data is written to the disk. As long as that doesn't happen and the old data is not overwritten by something new, there's a chance you can recover the file.

This is where utilities like Recuva come in. They scan the available space and the control information on the hard disk to identify files that might be recoverable.

Recuva starts with a Wizard that allows you to specify what drives to scan, and what classes of files to look for. Say you just deleted a picture on your flash drive by mistake, you can tell Recuva to scan all the removable media for pictures, and it'll do exactly that. Or, you can dive right into the programs advanced interface and have it scan a specific drive you specify, and then filter the results based on type or name.

Continue reading: "Recuva - A free, easy to use undelete and file recover tool"

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

I get lots of questions that I can't answer simply because they're not questions, they're impossible to understand, they don't have the information I need, the email addresses are wrong, and so on. As I'm prioritizing what questions I'm going to spend my time on, there are things you can do to stack the deck in your favor. Understanding why I might not answer (or even ever see) your question is a start:

Why didn't you answer my question?

It's a fair question. I don't answer all the questions I get, and I also don't respond to all the comments that are posted.

It's not that I don't want do. I can't. There are simply too many questions coming in every day for me to address each and every one.

But I can give you some tips that'll help increase the odds.

Continue reading...
Why didn't you answer my question?

*** Bonus Article

Resolve to Do the One Thing That Can Save You From Almost Any Computer Disaster

There's one thing that you can do that almost guarantees you'll never face the catastrophic loss of your important computer files including photos, documents, emails and more. That simple thing is backing up. A good backup can allow you to recover from almost any computer related disaster. Backups don't have to be confusing and complicated, and for the home and small business can be downright simple.

Read the Full Article.

(This bonus article is posted at http://articlesbyleo.com and is available for free republication courtesy of EzineArticles.)

*** Thoughts and Comments

This week's bonus article, a first, I might add, serves two purposes:

It's an important reminder. If you're making New Years resolutions, add backing up to the list. It's the closest thing to a magic elixir / silver bullet for recovering from problems that you'll ever find.

It content that you can republish. I do get asked from time to time if people can publish my articles in their newsletters, newspapers and blog. In general the answer is no, but the articles at http://articlesbyleo.com are available for exactly that purpose for free. Follow a few simple terms of service guidelines, and you're on your way. It's a great way to spread the word about technical issues, and about Ask Leo!.

I never thought I'd be so happy to see rain. Lovely, wet, grey, miserable Seattle rain.

We rarely get snow here, and when we do it's an inch or two at most, maybe every other year. This year was different. This year I measured 21 1/2 inches of snow in my back yard at its peak. (You can see some pictures out at LeoOnFlickr.com.) Given that this area has no infrastructure to deal with that much snow (we never need it!), that left us mostly house bound for the last week. Thankfully the power and internet connection stayed on for the most part, or we would have had some "interesting" times.

On Saturday we did take a rather harrowing trip to the grocery store which also convinced us that Sunday was another good day to stay home. Not until Monday did I venture out again for some routine errands.

Here's hoping your 2009 is a happy and healthy one, and that you only get the weather you and your local community always know how to handle. Smile

'till next time year...

Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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

Posted: December 30, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3606
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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.