Leo's Answers #154 – November 25, 2008

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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

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

My computer has started to shut down randomly, could it be the fan?

For some reason, my computer randomly shuts down a lot. It's been happening even more and more. It started around the start of summer. It usually would shut down for no reason. Yesterday, it said Over Temperature. This shutting down thing is annoying. When I'm trying to do work, I lose it all and the computer shuts down. I asked my cousin, he said that it could be my fan. I haven't checked yet, I'm going to ask you first, is it my fan? Or is it another problem?


The "Over Temperature" is definitely a clue, and the fan is a definite possibility.

But ... let me tell you a little story about dust bunnies, first.

Continue reading: "My computer has started to shut down randomly, could it be the fan?"

* * *

How do I print or capture the information from a "blue screen" error?

When I get an error it takes up the whole screen, and I lose my ability to print. How can I print the actual page with all the error information? There are a lot of numbers and it's very hard to copy them all down.

Yep, that's a problem. How do you print when you can't print? How do you copy to the clip board when there's no more clipboard?

It's a real, and honest problem that has no elegant solution. Sometimes Windows has an error so severe it simply cannot continue running at all.

Continue reading: "How do I print or capture the information from a "blue screen" error?"

* * *

What is "ping", and what does its output tell me?

Sometimes when I search for solutions for my home networking problem, I frequently see some people suggesting that I ping my PC by IP and/or by computer name. What does PING command actually do? What's the point of using this command? How do we read and understand the results (sent, received, and lost) of the packets?

Ping is perhaps one of the oldest and most basic network diagnostic tools. In concept the tool is very, very simple: it sends out an "are you there?" kind of request, and expects to hear back a "yes, here I am!" kind of response.

Very basic, very simple, and yet very powerful as a first line of network diagnosis.

Continue reading: "What is "ping", and what does its output tell me?"

* * *

How do I connect a monitor to my laptop and have it work?

How do I hook up a monitor to my laptop? I can not get the monitor to work.

I see people struggle with this all the time. It's actually somewhat frustrating, since the answers are actually simple, just not obvious.

You need to know the magic keystroke.

And you need patience. Just a few seconds worth, but you absolutely need it.

Continue reading: "How do I connect a monitor to my laptop and have it work?"

* * *

How do I print my email with the latest Windows Live Hotmail?

Since Hotmail's recent change of format, we are unable to print emails from our inboxs. The right hand side of the page is cut off and only the first page prints.

I had a suspicion that I knew what Hotmail had done, and sure enough, I went to check and said to myself "they didn't!"

They did.

The answer is not to use the print button, but to use the print button instead.

Now in case that's not clear Smile, let me explain.

Continue reading: "How do I print my email with the latest Windows Live Hotmail?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

What is the .NET Framework, and do I need all these versions?

Bill Yourconis writes:

I have had the experience you mentioned in this answer. I thought that if version 3 included parts of 1 and 2, then why not uninstall .NET 1 & 2? The result: several programs wouldn't run until I re-installed .NET 1 & 2. I agree: keep them all. You just do not realize what you have until you lose it!


How can I get the old Windows Live Hotmail back?

Linn Barringer writes:

Leo, Excellent, full-bloodied, completely deserved, totally customer-focussed (though they might not see it that way), justifiable rant.

I would also like to remind people that there's no such thing as "free" even if it looks free. And if it looks free, what does it say about a business that has its own domain name like mydomain.com yet still uses mycompany123(at)aol.com or even worse, mycompany345(at)hotmail.com. How unprofessional is that? Great article.


Are automatic updates a good thing?

Bill Nelson writes:

I have Automatic Updates enabled and like the feature, except for one irritating behavior. Some updates require a restart to take effect. I understand that, but I don't understand why Microsoft insists on doing the restart without permission. They give a brief notice and then do the restart. Several times, I've been working on something and have been called away from the computer momentarily. I know I should save before leaving, but I don't always remember. I hate it when I return to discover that the computer has automatically rebooted and I've lost what I was working on. Is there any way to disable this behavior and give me the notice so I can initiate the reboot when I'm ready for it?

The way to deal with this is to have Automatic Updates set to notify you but NOT install automatically. That way you can choose when to install the updates that are available and handle any possibly required reboots.


Google Mail - Free Email that works and leaves you in control

Chris writes:

"I now have a nice pebble and rocks background when I log in to GMail." That's funny cause that was actually my first and only choice this morning.. :)

You also forgot to mention that GMail uses colorful labels instead of folders, but they act just the same with the plus of looking like, just that: labels. Add those to the filters, and you get a nice, colorful, organized inbox like I do.

Also, GMail allows you to attach email accounts to your primary GMail account. By this, I mean you can give gmail the username and password of any of your other email addies and you can now compose or reply to emails, using any of those accounts in the "From:" field! I can reply as my .edu account, my @gmail account, or my @msn account.

Also, my college just transferred all their student email accounts to GMail's email service.. That tells ya something right there about reliability and use.

I still hope that they're backing up all that email somehow, though, outside of GMail.

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

*** Leo Recommends

Google Mail
Free Email that works and leaves you in control

The fact that I'm recommending a free email service at all will come as a shock to most of my long time readers. I've long ranted against using free email services being used as the sole repository for your important information. Most people read that as being "against free email", but it's really "against putting all your eggs in someone else's basket and only in someone else's basket".

Free email accounts have a place in your overall email strategy.

And one of the reasons I recommend GMail, Google's free email service is that it allows you to take control of your email in ways that the other services will not. In fact, I can see situations where GMail might be your primary email account.

Just never your only email account.

Continue reading: "Google Mail - Free Email that works and leaves you in control"

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 don't know if it's fame or fortune people are after, (both are difficult to achieve), but this continues to be a frequent question. Hopefully people are simply following their passion.

How do I become a computer programmer?

My son wants to become a video-game programmer or designer. What advice do you have?

This is a very common question. Particularly with video games, kids really enjoy playing them, and are often drawn to the potential of creating them as well. There's even a series of TV commercials that play on exactly that scenario.

I've hired a lot of programmers in my career. I've also not hired even more. So I definitely have some thoughts and advice.

Continue reading...
How do I become a computer programmer?

*** Thoughts and Comments

First, a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States celebrating the holiday on Thursday. (And a very happy Thursday to everyone else Smile). We're expecting guests and a fairly full and frenetic time, so my apologies in advance if next week's newsletter turns out a little lighter than usual.

I hope that with my formal recommendation of GMail this week that I'm clarifying my position on free email accounts somewhat. I'm not against 'em, per se, and I'm not even against any particular service for that matter. What I am concerned about are people who have lots and lots of important information that's kept only in a free email account. Stuff happens. I hear about it all the time. Frequently there simply is no recourse, and all that data is gone forever.

It's a tired old song, but backup, backup, backup. It's the only way to be sure.

That's why GMail. Aside from being very good in so many other ways, its flexibility of access makes backing up and using it safely a snap.

'till next time...

Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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

Posted: November 25, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3574
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