Leo's Answers #162 – January 20, 2009

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom


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*** Contents

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

Are there any legitimate uses for peer-to-peer file sharing programs?

My son installed Torrent on the house computer. This of course, without asking first as is the rule. This program slowed my computer down so much that I could not get online. I found out that as it was downloading, it was also uploading with unlimited bandwidth. I could not find any information on what it was uploading. I dislike P2P because of past experience with them, virus, spyware and the feeling I am stealing from the programmer, this program was promptly uninstalled. Is there any legitimate use for P2P programs?

This is a very sad case of some very amazing technology getting smeared with a bad reputation because of how some people choose to use it.

Absolutely, there are many legitimate uses for peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs like BitTorrent.

In fact, I wish it were used more.

Continue reading: "Are there any legitimate uses for peer-to-peer file sharing programs?"

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When I delete private email at work, can it still be found?

If I access my private AOL e-mail from my company computer, read and delete it, where does it go? Specifically, is it stored/saved on the company's own server or on my computer's hard drive? Does it pass through the company's server and do they have access to it after it is deleted?

The short answer is that there's no way to know, really. It depends on your companies networking setup, their savvy, and how intrusive they want to be.

But it certainly can be, even though you might access your email via any of several different methods.

Let's look at how.

Continue reading: "When I delete private email at work, can it still be found?"

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How do I access my Windows administrator account?

I created two accounts on my computer, One Administrator and one limited. My computer does not go to the login screen so I don't get the option to log onto my Administrator account. It automatically goes to the limited account. What can I do to fix this?

As you've surmised, for many reasons "administrator" is special. It's actually considered dangerous to be logged in as administrator all the time since any malware you might encounter would have administrative privileges. As a result, Microsoft has slowly made Administrator just a little harder to access with each version of Windows.

And yet, sometimes you just need to be Administrator.

I'll look at both XP and Vista, and also recommend what you might want to consider instead of logging in as Administrator.

Continue reading: "How do I access my Windows administrator account?"

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How did you clean up your friend's infected machine?

In a previous article, Why won't this "Your Computer Is Infected" warning go away? I described some of the symptoms I was faced with when a friend called me for help on his infected machine.

It was seriously infected by one, if not more, currently common forms of malware.

As an example of some of the steps you might consider if faced with a similar situation, let me describe what I did.

Continue reading: "How did you clean up your friend's infected machine?"

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Why won't my program use more than 25% of the CPU?

I am running a VERY LONG Excel'03 Spreadsheet (can be configured to loop calculating alternatives for hours using an imbedded Basic Program/Macro). I am running this on a Quad Core Intel Q6600 with 4 GB under Win XP Pro.

When I check in Task Manager, the System Idle Process will not drop LOWER than 75% and the Excel Process will max out at 25%. I've tried upping the priority of the process and have checked the "affinity" to ensure it's using all 4 processor cores. The Performance Tab does show activity / load on all 4 processor windows.

What's up? Why can't I utilize more than 25% of my system when I want to use it for a high priority and very lengthy task?

It's one of the most frustrating things to experience. Here you go and spend extra money to get that super fast dual or quad core processor, throw a huge task at it expecting it to go 2 or 4 times faster...

And it just pokes along.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that there's nothing wrong. The bad news is that ... there's nothing wrong. This is expected, depending on the software you're running.

Continue reading: "Why won't my program use more than 25% of the CPU?"

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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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Why shouldn't I include my email address in a Twitter post or 'tweet'

Rahul Mehta writes:

IMHO... obfuscating is not the answer... When a spammer's tool can look for "@", it also can look for "at" and its variants. They even scan image files.

The answer to the question is king of a cold war, a constant struggle to outwit the human at the other end.

You're correct, however the operational theory is that because there are so many non-obfuscated email addresses available for spammers to harvest, most will not take the time to try to decode the techniques we might dream up. But yes, it's not an absolute solution.

-Leo

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Where is my Outlook "PST" file located?

Gord writes:

Daniel Petri has a good article on repairing pst files using scanpst.exe, my pst file gets corrupted from time to time

If your PST gets corrupted from time to time, you really need to look into why and solve that. There's no need for it to ever happen.

-Leo

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Why won't this "Your Computer Is Infected" warning go away?

Rahul Mehta writes:

My strategy is - I know which anti-malware software I have installed and I follow warnings from that software only. No other pop-up/warning will make me follow its instructions no matter where it came from or in which important company's name it is given. At the best a warning may prompt me to run a scan of my known installed software.

This is very good advice. Many people are not aware of what's installed on their machine (it's preinstalled, for example), so they may not recognize legitimate messages from legitimate software. It's worth taking the time to understand and familiarize yourself with what you have.

-Leo

*** 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. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  3. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  4. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  5. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  6. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  7. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  8. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?
  9. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?
  10. Where is my Outlook "PST" file located?

*** Leo Recommends

RoboForm
Password Manager and more

I think that I have about 80 - 100 passwords that I use on a regular or somewhat regular basis. I always remember my network and computer logon passwords, but beyond that I often have to check my a) Outlook notes on my PC at work, or b) when at home on my Mac, my little black notebook stuffed in the bottom of drawer.

Is storing my passwords on Outlook notes safe for my bank and tax filing accounts? Are online password managers or 'safes' secure? Do you have any suggestions for how best to manage the proliferation of passwords for online accounts?

I don't really have a good cross-platform solution for you, though I do have a couple of odd ideas.

However, I have developed a very strong recommendation over the past couple of months for a product called RoboForm - which happily includes a free version!

Let me touch on your first two questions first...

Continue reading: RoboForm Password Manager and more

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 happens from time to time:

My Taskbar is missing and I have no Start button - what do I do?

All of a sudden my taskbar is gone. I can't find it, so I have no Start button to click on, no quick launch start programs from - I can't even see what time it is! How do I get it back?

There are a couple of different ways that the task bar can disappear, or appear to disappear. Naturally the solutions are different, as are the workarounds.

Continue reading...
My Taskbar is missing and I have no Start button - what do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/my_taskbar_is_missing_and_i_have_no_start_button_what_do_i_do.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

As you might expect I'm the "go to guy" for a handful of friends when it comes to computer problems. Last week a friend brought me his very very infected machine, and this week's article How did you clean up your friend's infected machine? is the story of its recovery.

All I can say is prevention is so much easier than the cure.

You've heard me mention Twitter a time or two here, and I won't belabor it much more - you can follow me, or not, at LeoOnTwitter.com. However my friend Randy Cassingham of This Is True wrote up a summary of Twitter for his readers that does a great job of explaining why Twitter matters, and just what the heck it is: Twitter: Why You Should Care.

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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