Leo's Answers #152 – November 11, 2008

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

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-Alex

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*** Contents

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

Does sharing a router make me vulnerable to those I share with?

Is it possible for a person to access my previous correspondence via email and MSN via our router? The 4 of us share one router. I delete my email correspondence but I am a little afraid that my old correspondence can or may be accessed by some means via the router. Some of the correspondence is of a personal and business nature and I would not like the info to fall into the hands of a person not screened to view it. If it is possible to draw old correspondence via the shared router, how do I go about preventing such an eventuality?

There are several possible scenarios that your question might be asking about. I'll try and cover the most common.

But the short answer is that, yes, you do need to understand whether the people that share your router can be trusted. If not, you need to take steps.

Continue reading: "Does sharing a router make me vulnerable to those I share with?"
http://ask-leo.com/does_sharing_a_router_make_me_vulnerable_to_those_i_share_with.html

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Where did the Windows Live Hotmail Reply and Forward buttons go?

My Windows Live Hotmail changed a few days ago to a new version; a slightly new look according to them. I can't see how to forward messages and I can't reply them. I do not see any button to perform this task.

Reply and Forward are pretty fundamental, so they certainly didn't disappear.

As the message from Hotmail said, they're just slightly different.

And perhaps in a different place.

Continue reading: "Where did the Windows Live Hotmail Reply and Forward buttons go?"
http://ask-leo.com/where_did_the_windows_live_hotmail_reply_and_forward_buttons_go.html

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Are there any issues listening to streaming music over the internet?

I have DSL and a pretty old system, running WinXp and I'd like to run continuous radio music on my computer. I'm very confused as to the best way to do that. I read that some programs take too much memory. Others too much bandwidth. I also don't know if I'm supposed to have an RSS feed or what. I simply want to hear some continuous Oldie's music through my computer (that is always left on), without stressing out my old shaky system too much. I already seem to have a lot of problems with its lackluster speed and freezing up on me.

I have listened to some with the Windows Media Player and somehow itunes (didn't even realize I had that installed) but am afraid to continue doing so until I get your recommendation.

I'll put it this way:

As I write this, I'm listening to streaming music over the internet. In fact, it's been running continuously for days.

Let's look at the requirements, issues and ramifications of doing so.

Continue reading: "Are there any issues listening to streaming music over the internet?"
http://ask-leo.com/are_there_any_issues_listening_to_streaming_music_over_the_internet.html

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How to find the IP address of my computer?

How to find the IP address of my computer? Is there any command?

Sure there are commands.

But I have to ask you a question first:

Which IP address do you want?

Continue reading: "How to find the IP address of my computer?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_to_find_the_ip_address_of_my_computer.html

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What's a port scan, and should I be worried about them?

Should a computer user be worried about every port scan? My firewall for example, has been blocking what it calls 'attacks' from three different ip addresses that all belong to an ISP called Chinanet. My firewall blocks UDP packets sent from Chinanet through my netbios port and other ports like port 8000. I also notice that when I turn on my computer that my computer tries to send UDP packets to the same IPs from Chinanet, through the netbios -ns port. Is that weird? I always run virus scans regularly and my computer has nothing. My computer seems to be fine and has not been acting strangely lately. I don't know whether or not it's a port scan. Are things like port scans normal? Is every port scan always someone intentionally trying to access your computer? With all the things hackers can be capable of, what are the chances of a casual user being targeted? People say that if something like hacking occurs, to contact your ISP, but is there really anything to be done? Hacking might not be as common as a computer being infected with a virus, but how common is it?

Port scans happen all the time. And I do mean all the time. Steve Gibson of grc.com coined the term "internet background radiation" for all the random traffic that's continually happening on the internet due to unpatched and infected machines, and machines that are continually scanning the internet for other machines to infect.

And that's exactly why everyone needs a firewall.

However, there is one aspect of what you describe that is troubling.

Continue reading: "What's a port scan, and should I be worried about them?"
http://ask-leo.com/whats_a_port_scan_and_should_i_be_worried_about_them.html

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*** Featured Comments

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

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Can a virus destroy my computer or hard drive?

Grover writes:

I've used UBCD4Win to clean up malware. I've also been the computer repair guy and had to explain these same choices to a customer: I can clean your system, but it will take me at least 6 hours at $30/hr, or can reinstall at the same rate for 2 hours. Most choose option 2, but, fortunately for the bank balance some choose option 1...

I would guess that those who choose the more expensive option have data that hasn't been backed up that they can't afford to lose.
-Leo

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Can a virus destroy my computer or hard drive?

Kenneth Crook writes:

Backup, Backup, Backup!!!

Once a month, after Microsoft updates on Tuesday, I use Acronis TrueImage to make a full image backup of my disk drive to an external disk drive. Weekly I make a backup to an external disk drive of my "MY Documents" folder. And during the week if I make any updates to documents I copy them to a USB pen drive. I keep several months of Acronis TrueImage backups so if necessary I can go back farther than the past backup if somehow some virus slipped through my anti-virus scans.

Reformatting and reinstalling everything is like torture, and to be avoided at all costs. Acronis TrueImage is simple, easy, fast, and has saved me a couple of times.

PS: The virus I got seem to have come from geek sites I went to researching some problem.

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Should I get the 64 bit version of Windows?

Judith writes:

My only choice on the Vista Ultimate computer I wanted was 64-bit. I admit I am being overly careful about what I connect to it or download on it. My HP 2710 All-In-One printer took a special download from HP and, thankfully, it is working very well. I researched the 64-bit issue before purchase and decided to go with it (after crossing my fingers); however, I knew before hand that I still have my XP desktop and a laptop to fall back on if I run into trouble. Had I not had the backup I have, I would have probably chosen another computer that offered the 32-bit Ultimate.

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Can a virus be transmitted in a picture?

Grace writes:

The article was helpful but not so explanatory. How do I know a 'picture that is not a picture?'. And, if I were the guy who asked the question, how do I get rid of the virus? Do I have to reformat my system?

Good question. If the file is already on your machine you could, of course, run a virus scan to hopefully get rid of it. The problem is that these are most often used on malicious websites where you don't have a chance to "look before you leap". The best advice is simply to keep your machine up-to-date with Windows patches, since it's unpatched machines that these things take advantage of, and stay away from questionable web sites. This article may help on what to do when you're infected, regardless of the cause: My computer's infected with a virus, how do I clean it up?
-Leo

*** 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 delete my Hotmail account?
  5. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  6. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  7. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  8. How do I put a picture in a comment on myspace.com?
  9. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  10. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Ever install or upgrade your video card or monitor, only to find you're back at 640x480, or 800x600 on a device that should get you much more?

Why is 640x480 my only resolution option?

I got a new Dell PC with 19 inch screen. I cannot change the resolution to be greater than 640 by 480. What can I do to change it? In this mode the Start menu itself goes off the top of the screen.

640 by 480. There was a day when we were excited to have it - and with all of 16 colors. Now, 640x480 is so "small" as to be unusable in most cases. Even the most basic new computer supports at least 800x600, if not 1024x768 or much higher.

But what if it appears that 640x480 is your only option?

Continue reading...
Why is 640x480 my only resolution option?
http://ask-leo.com/why_is_640x480_my_only_resolution_option.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

Last week Microsoft rolled out another update to the Windows Live Hotmail interface, and as happens, I got flooded with questions and concerns from people who don't like it, are having problems with it, and who would like to go back to the old interface.

I found this blog posting from the Windows Live team: Update on the new Hotmail which answers many of the questions that people are having.

The bottom line is that it's changing and there's nothing you as a user can do about it.

As of this morning, that blog post has over 1400 comments on it - mostly negative.

When I see the flood of questions I get about it all, I continue to wonder myself: if people are so upset about Hotmail's changes, why do they continue to use it? There are so many alternatives that if you honestly don't like it, you can change to something else.

But I just shake my head and answer the questions that I can.

And continue to remind people how I feel about putting all their eggs into a free email basket.

But I do have to say this: handling and even embracing change is one of the most important things you can do to be successful and comfortable using technology. Whatever you're using today will change, sometime, somehow. Hopefully for the better, but not always in ways that you'll appreciate. It's inevitable.

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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