Leo's Answers #151 – November 4, 2008

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

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

Can a virus be transmitted in a picture?

My old computer was severely infected with viruses. So badly that the viruses cut off task manager, changed my background to a screen warning me about spyware and also tries to restart my computer every five minutes. My anti virus pops up with a new virus its found every few minutes as well. I'm not really interested in fixing the old computer. I'm purchasing a new one in a week or so. My question is can these viruses I have be transferred through pictures I have put on a cd-rom? These are priceless pictures. My mother who uses the same computer as me would be devastated if I couldn't put these on the new computer.

Short answer: probably not. In fact it's highly unlikely that viruses actually travel in pictures.

However, there are a few things to be aware of, and a few steps that will increase the security of your result.

Continue reading: "Can a virus be transmitted in a picture?"

* * *

Can a virus destroy my computer or hard drive?

My wife opened a file that appeared to come from UPS and that was the end of my computer. It tried to install files called Antivirus XP, then it tried to install an XP Security Center and wanted me to register to rid my computer of the virus and give them my credit card#. My McAfee is disabled on every boot and Spybot won't run. It also wants to change a registry value and run buritos.exe. It has also changed my wallpaper with "Warning!" message that can not be changed. A diagnostic through one of the geek services says my hard drive is damaged. Is there any way to get rid of this virus without having to pay a fortune in a new hard drive plus all the other geek service charges? Or should I just get a new computer?

Your hard disk is not physically damaged. I'm hoping that the technical service company didn't really mean that. (If they did ... well, I'd use a different service next time.)

But you do have some work ahead of you nonetheless.

Continue reading: "Can a virus destroy my computer or hard drive?"

* * *

How do I set up a system with more than one screen?

I have a second CRT monitor which I want to use with my system. How do I hook it up and what advantages can I derive from this hook-up? My present OS is Windows-XP.

Windows XP actually does a very good job of handling multiple monitors and display devices. In fact, I'm writing this on a dual monitor system right now.

There are a couple of approaches to connecting more than one screen to your display.

And you don't even have to stop at two. Add three, four, or more screens if you like.

Continue reading: "How do I set up a system with more than one screen?"

* * *

Should I get the 64 bit version of Windows?

I recently bought a new computer with Windows Vista 64. What are the advantages/disadvantages of 64 bit over 32? I can't get my HP Deskjet 712c printer to work on a 64 system, is there a way?

I suspect I'm going to get some disagreement on this one, but so far I've voted with my virtual feet: all my machines are running 32 bit operating systems, even though several of them could run 64 bit.

So you can guess what I'm going to recommend for the average user.

And, in fact, your very question highlights one of the reasons why.

Continue reading: "Should I get the 64 bit version of Windows?"

* * *

Why does my email program ask for a username or password when I try to download mail?

Why does Microsoft Outlook ask for a username and password when I press send and receive?

There are two levels to this question, and I'm going to address them both.

One: in addition to an email program you need an email account in order to send and receive email.

Two: your email program needs to know about that account.

Two-and-a-half: OK, sometimes your email program can get confused.

Continue reading: "Why does my email program ask for a username or password when I try to download mail?"

* * *

Should I password protect my BIOS?

Does a boot up BIOS password add any real security to my computer? I know that if a system isn't physically secure, it isn't ultimately secure at all. But since it's so easy to overcome the Windows password using a boot disk, I'm wondering if the addition of a boot up BIOS password, which must be entered before the CD drives boot, adds any real security.

In my opinion, it does. It's an additional barrier to entry.

However, we need to make sure we understand just what the limitations, and risks, of using a BIOS password really are.

Continue reading: "Should I password protect my BIOS?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

What does "Pri Master HDD Error" mean on boot?

Adrian Martin writes:

I have an elderly Windows 98 SE machine which displays the message "Primary Hard Disk Fail" every ten or so times I boot it up. I just switch off, remove the power cable from the back of the machine and then insert it again a couple of times to discharge static. The machine then boots up normally!

I hope you're backing up. Someday what you're doing won't work, and it's possible that all the data on that drive will be gone.

*** 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. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  4. How do I put a picture in a comment on myspace.com?
  5. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  6. How do I send someone a large file?
  7. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?
  8. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  9. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  10. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?

*** Leo Recommends

Fujitsu ScanSnap
A Fast, Sheet-fed Document Scanner

This might appeal to only a small portion of my audience, but I've fallen in love with this device, and wanted to share it with those who'd find it as useful as I do.

I'm all about computers; I think you get that. But that also means that I'm all about using them - particularly when it comes to documents and document management. I find digital documents easier to store, backup and search than their paper counterparts. In general, I'd much prefer someone send me an email or give me an electronic copy of whatever document they're wanting to share - no need to waste paper for me.

On the other hand, between home ownership, running a couple of businesses and more, people are sending me paper every day. Paper that, in all honesty, I should keep - at least for a while. And yet, I'd really rather not.

You might guess that my ideal would be to scan all those documents into digital form, and then discard or shred the physical paper in favor of storing and backing up the documents on my computer. The problem is that traditional flatbed scanners are slow and cumbersome for any volume of scanning. And slow. Did I mention slow? And cumbersome?

The Fujitsu ScanSnap solves those issues.

Continue reading: "Fujitsu ScanSnap - A Fast, Sheet-fed Document Scanner"

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

This is another one of those questions that I get on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the answer's not what most people want to hear...

How do I remove myself from the search engines?

It was unwise of me to take part and put in my name in some guestbooks. I'd like to remove my information from the search results of the major search engines: Google, Yahoo and so forth. I tried in vain to contact the webmasters of those sites. I'm becoming fussier about that and it's getting more awkward as far as my profession is concerned. Would you please assist me in dealing with this problem?

Search engines are amazing. They've collected and indexed billions of pages of information out on the internet. And while we think of Google, Yahoo, MSN and other "name brand" search engines, the reality is that there are hundred of search engines that could all be indexing pages on the web.

Getting into the search engines is not terribly difficult. Getting out? The news is not good.

Continue reading...
How do I remove myself from the search engines?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Last week I mentioned my wife's business, which we're closing, was selected for an audit. Lots of prep work on my part, since I'm also the bookkeeper. While it's not over, it's a "so far so good" situation.

I decided to formally recommend my ScanSnap this week, partly because of the workout it's been getting as part of the audit. I'm retrieving lots of paper documents, as you might imagine. My technique has been to quickly scan them and then make those PDFs available to the auditor. It turned out to be a pretty smooth operation. I also took my "too be filed" pile of paper that's been accumulating over the past six months (ok, I'm a little behind in my filing) and turned it into a "to be shredded" pile by scanning almost all of it.

So the bottom line is that I've been having fun with it. (And yes, if having fun with a scanner doesn't make me an uber-geek, I'm not sure what does. Smile)

'till next time...

Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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

Posted: November 4, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3555
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