Leo's Answers #156 – December 9, 2008

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

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

How do I convert to NTFS?

How can I change my Windows from FAT32 to NTFS?

First, we need to be clear about something, it's not Windows that you are converting, but the way that Windows stores information on your hard disk.

It's the disks that use either FAT32 or NTFS as they "file system" for storing data.

Converting from FAT32 to NTFS is relatively easy. Converting back ... not so much.

Continue reading: "How do I convert to NTFS?"

* * *

What do I do if a program requires 16 bit color?

I'm downloading a game, and it's failed to download because I have 24 bit color and it requires 16 bit color. Should I take the game back or can i change it and is it wise to change it?

First, I'm certain that it downloaded just fine. A download won't fail simply because of your color settings.

What it probably did was fail to install, which is what happens after the download completes.

There are a few different ways to handle this without resorting to returning the game.

Continue reading: "What do I do if a program requires 16 bit color?"

* * *

What is "signature scanning"?

What is the definition of signature scanning? What does signature scanning do from an anti-virus program's stance?

It's a term that we throw around a lot, but it's easy to overlook that it's not all that clear what we mean by a "signature". There are several definitions, so I'll try to clarify what it means when it comes to anti-malware tools.

First, we have to step back and take a look at exactly how computers store data, keeping in mind that computer programs are themselves just data of another sort.

Continue reading: "What is "signature scanning"?"

* * *

How do I change my Windows Live Hotmail password?

I cannot get into the account summary page or options of my Windows Live Hotmail account. I needed to change my password.

This is something that's also changed recently with Windows Live Hotmail updates. As I've said before, if you use Windows Live Hotmail, you should expect change. Sometimes small change, sometimes dramatic change, but change nonetheless.

Let's walk through how to change your password in the current design.

Continue reading: "How do I change my Windows Live Hotmail password?"

* * *

What does "There is a problem with this website's security certificate" mean, and what should I do?

I have a laptop that consistently has a problem when it accesses a site online each and every time I get the same message from the site I am visiting. The message is strange and I have no knowledge of how to correct the implied problem.

The message is: "There is a problem with this website's security certificate. The security certificate presented by this website has expired or is not yet valid."

This message appears when I try to access my email account.

The problem is most likely not yours to correct. In the case you're asking about, more often than not, it's a problem with the web site itself.

Though you still need to be careful.

Let's look at security certificates on https connections, what they mean and what you should do when faced with messages such as this.

Continue reading: "What does "There is a problem with this website's security certificate" mean, and what should I do?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

Why is using Hotmail for my business such a bad idea?

Rory writes:

I agree with the point about perception. Once a business has registered their domain name, they could sign up for Google Apps for Business at no cost. This will give them professional looking email addresses for all of their employees with a great, easy-to-use webmail interface. Best of both worlds!

While I'm reluctant to endorse relying on a free service for business related email, this is definitely an approach to consider particularly if you also include in your backup strategy a "what if we lose our Google account?" contingency.


What kind of maintenance should I do to avoid software rot?

Mauro Lembert writes:

Leo, perfect explanation!!I think my windows is at the point I'll have to reinstall it from scratch. Just wondering here if anyone can give me a clue on how to save all the driver updates I've done - and don't even remember where they are - so I won't have to go through all the pain of updating all of them again??

In general, there's no easy answer to that. Typically you do, when installing from scratch, have to start over - including driver updates. One way to mitigate this is to take a backup image of your system after taking all the updates (and ONLY taking updates, no other installations), and use that as a snapshot to start over with next time.


What kind of maintenance should I do to avoid software rot?

John writes:

Usually with new software, I create an appropriately named Restore point (Before installing Program XYZ). Then if I decide fairly quickly to uninstall the new software, I can restore the system without any hassle, cleaning up the "rot" at the same time.

System restore does not restore everything you think it does. Yes, it does backup and restore the registry, but assorted other files that may have been left behind by an improper uninstall (a common contributor to software rot) will not get cleaned up.
More on that here: Why can't I rely on System Restore for backups?

*** 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. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  4. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  5. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  6. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  7. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  8. Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.
  9. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  10. What kind of maintenance should I do to avoid software rot?

*** Leo Recommends

Darik's Boot And Nuke

I get questions surrounding data recovery fairly often. People are often concerned that files they've deleted might be recoverable after the fact, and it's good and security conscious of them to be concerned.

At the other end of the spectrum are people who give no thought at all to the potential recoverability of their data, and discard old computers and hard drives without giving it a second thought. We often hear about people who've picked up an old computer at a recycler or yard sale, only to find that the hard disk is full of the previous owner's sensitive data.

Identity theft often follows.

DBAN, short for Darik's Boot And Nuke, is a free utility dedicated to doing one thing, and one thing well...

Erasing hard drives.

Continue reading: "DBAN - Darik's Boot And Nuke"

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

Another frequent topic that people ask about is IP tracing. People are frequently in a near panic that they might be "found" via their IP address, or conversely, people are absolutely convinced that given an IP address they can find whoever it is that's at the other end.

Nope. At least, not easily.

Getting all worked up over IP tracing

How far can people really get with an IP address?

A frequent question I get on Ask Leo! relates to IP addresses, and how much you can find out from one.

It get this from both sides. On one hand, I hear from people who are concerned that someone can track them down physically - perhaps find out their home address - based on their IP address. On the other hand, I also hear from people who want to find out who's at some IP address, because they're being contacted in some form, and that's the only bit of potentially identifying information they have to grab on to.

Continue reading...
Getting all worked up over IP tracing

*** Thoughts and Comments

DBAN came up as this weeks recommendation because I found myself using it. Smile

As long time readers might remember, my wife is shutting down her business, and it's all coming to a close this month. Naturally that means that her IT Department (aka me) has started to tear down the infrastructure that was used to support it. With the departure of our two employees last week, two computers were freed up as no longer needed.

One, an ancient (in computer terms) Dell 333Mhz desktop running Windows 2000 is destined for the scrap heap / recycler. Before doing that, though, it was important - critical even - that all data on the machine's hard disk be erased. I didn't think there was anything sensitive on it, but that's not a chance I'm willing to take.

A few minutes with DBAN, and problem solved. All data gone. Machine ready for recycling.

So, my question for you: what did you do to protect your data the last time you got rid of a machine?

'till next time...

Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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

Posted: December 9, 2008 in: 2008
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3587
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