Leo's Answers #179 – May 19, 2009

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


You are such a big help!! Seriously!
- Bernadette

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*** Contents

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

Why are there duplicate entries in Task Manager, and how do I clean it out?

In Task Manager I have many duplicated lines, e.g CCSVCHST.EXE twice and IEXPLORE.EXE twice but with all are different PID'S and memory sizes. How do I stop this and clean it up? It seems a big drain on memory. Also some progs like WINWORD.EXE don't clear task manager when closed but will close if I use END etc. Any ideas?

Ideas? You bet, I have plenty.

Things are actually more complex than they appear. The extremely short version is that you actually don't want to "clean it up", because things are likely working exactly as they should.

Or, in some cases, exactly as you've instructed.

Continue reading: "Why are there duplicate entries in Task Manager, and how do I clean it out?"

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My Windows Live Hotmail contact list has been hacked, how do I recover?

My husband's Hotmail contact list has been hacked and a phishing paragraph was sent to them. Now it appears whenever he tries to forward an email. How do we get rid of it?

It's unusual that only the contacts would have been hacked into, and it's more likely your entire Windows Live Hotmail account has been compromised.

Frankly, I'm surprised you still have access.

But, given that you do, there are several steps you should take immediately, to recover from the damage that's been caused. One of those steps should take care of the phishing paragraph that's showing up.

Continue reading: "My Windows Live Hotmail contact list has been hacked, how do I recover?"

* * *

How do I install SP2 if I get "Access Denied" or some other failure when I try?

I have a Dell that was preinstalled with XP. I installed SP2 and had to uninstall it due to printer compatibility problems. Now, to install PhotoShop, etc., I need SP2 and SP3. I tried to reinstall SP2 from the CD I ordered from Microsoft but now it will not install properly. I get an error message "Access Denied" about half way through the installation process. Any ideas?

Well, I don't know what's causing your "Access Denied". Given the state I suspect your machine is in, it could be any of many different things. I did find one possibility, and I'll point you at that so you can give it a try.

Should that not work, however, I do have an idea on how to move forward, and what I would do in your shoes.

The only problem is that I suspect you won't like it.

Continue reading: "How do I install SP2 if I get "Access Denied" or some other failure when I try?"

* * *

Do I need a computer memory upgrade?

Do I need to install additional memory? I have a Windows XP 2002 eMachine W6409 with 448 MB of RAM & 1112 MB of virtual memory. I have a HP Photosmart printer & therefore am always downloading from my camera to my computer. Wondering if a computer memory upgrade is called for.

I've said it before: upgrading your computer's memory is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing its performance.

However, it's not a silver bullet. Whether or not it will actually help you depends on many things. And of course, whether or not you actually can add more memory is something we also need to look at.

Continue reading: "Do I need a computer memory upgrade?"

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What is an email quota and what does "over quota" mean?

After I did a recovery on my computer, Outlook Express has not worked properly as far as the inbox is concerned. I used to be able to get 700-800 or more emails in my inbox (if I went on vacation or didn't check for a while) and after the recovery once I reached about 80 emails it started bouncing my messages saying I was OVER QUOTO!!! How can that be? It is getting worse now. I can have only 40 messages in my inbox and it will start bouncing my messages, still saying I am OVER QUOTO! Soon, I won't get ANY messages!

A couple of clarifications:

First, it's over quota, not quoto.

Second, believe it or not, being over quota has nothing to do with the inbox on your PC, or even what email program you're using.

But it might have everything to do with how your email program is configured.

Continue reading: "What is an email quota and what does "over quota" mean?"

* * *

How do I block Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from being automatically installed?

In a prior article, I discussed uninstalling Internet Explorer 8 once it had been installed.

IE8 is now also becoming available via automatic updates. While it's not a required update, it is marked as "important" and will persist such that if you do nothing else you'll need to turn it off each time.

We'll look at how to turn it off, and keep it off, in Windows XP.

Continue reading: "How do I block Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from being automatically installed?"

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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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How do I block Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from being automatically installed?

Henaway writes:

Unless there is a VERY specific reason for not installing IE8, I believe it is irresponsible to discourage people from installing this rather important update to WINDOWS, not just the browser.

Explorer is deeply tied into the entire OS, and the rendering engine is used by many other Windows applications.

And it also undermines the legions of web developers out there wishing and hoping that people will FINALLY upgrade to IE8, and hoping the automatic update push will be our salvation. Why? Because IE8 is the closest Microsoft has ever come to building a reasonably non-broken, mostly standards-compliant browser that won't break sites on a whim, or cause endless hours of headaches tracking down and fixing IE-only rendering errors.

Be responsible ... don't tell people to skip important Windows updates. That's what gave us Conficker for cryin' out loud!!! How to roll back to IE7 if 8 breaks your computer ... okay, I can see that. But disabling it? Most non-kosher.

I guess we'll just disagree then. I think it's totally reasonable to allow people to prevent automatic installation of software that may cause them problems. It's reasonable to allow them to disable repeated and ongoing notifications that will only train them to ignore subsequent notifications when in fact they should pay attention.

I'm sure that IE8 will someday become the stable and important update it could be, but what's irresponsible is forcing it on people when it clearly has so many issues.

-Leo

*

NoScript - A Firefox addin that makes browsing safer.

Mike writes:

I don't find it a problem that I have to "allow" sites I want to use Javascript. What I'm worried about is when going to allow it, many times there are multiple sites are listed. I understand this is by design and not a bug in NoScript, but I don't know what should be allowed and shouldn't.

For example, NoScript lists for this very website four sites to possibly allow: ask-leo.com, pugetsoundsoftware.com, aweber.com, and kontera.com. Obviously, I want to allow ask-leo.com because that's the site I came to. But I don't know what the other ones are. I'm not saying they're malware; I'm only using them as an example. But as a web surfer, I only know that I want to allow ask-leo.com in this instance. I don't know what these other sites are and, if I allow them, would just be doing so blindly, negating the purpose of the add-on.

I view it as a matter of trust: if you trust the site you're visiting, then it's probably reasonable to trust the additional site that it includes. This is most commonly advertising related but in many cases additional functionality as well.
Let's use my site as an example:

- pugetsoundsoftware.com is my corporate/parent site, and where I have certain scripts that relate to commenting, content management and spam prevention.
- aweber.com is the email provider I use for my newsletters, and the scripts relate to the newsletter signup forms you'll find on my site
- kontera.com is an advertising service that helps support the cost of running Ask Leo! - it's the one responsible for the double-underlined links in text.

There are occasionally others like various google domains for site search, advertising and analytics.

You don't have to enable them. The cost, of course, is that whatever it is they represent won't happen. You might not be able to comment, I might miss out on advertising revenue to help support the site, and you might not be able to search the site, for a few examples.

So I go back to trust: if I trust the site I'm visiting, I typically allow that trust to transfer to all the scripting sites that it pulls in. If I'm not sure, I'll only allow the site itself, and enable others on a case-by-case basis if things aren't working.

And of course if I don't trust the site - or just don't know - I trust, and enable, nothing.

-Leo

*** This Week's Most Popular

The ten most popular articles in the last 7 days on Ask Leo!

  1. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  2. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  3. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  4. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  5. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  6. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  7. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  8. How do I uninstall Windows Messenger?
  9. Where is my Outlook "PST" file located?
  10. Is it safe to use hibernate all the time?

*** Leo Recommends

Process Explorer - A Free Powerful Replacement for Windows Task Manager

OK, I admit it, I'm a geek. And part of the reason I say that is because I actually have Process Explorer as an auto-start entry on my two primary machines. It runs automatically whenever I boot up. Not only do I find that I refer to it that often, but I'm just the kind of person who likes to know what's going on inside his computer. You know, a geek.

Now, you may not need or even want to know what's going on under the hood. Let's face it, for most computer users you shouldn't have to. Computers are supposed to "just work", and you should never need to be bothered with things like processes or resource utilization or what not.

And we all know how well that's working. Smile

This is where process explorer comes in. Process Explorer - or frequently just "procexp" - provides a window into the world of all the programs running on your computer, and offers up a level of detailed information that Task Manager could never hope to approach.

Continue reading: Process Explorer - A Free Powerful Replacement for Windows Task Manager

*

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

Three years later, I'm not sure that the answer's gotten any better...

How can I tell if an exe is "safe" or not?

Someone's pointing me to a downloadable program as solution for a problem I'm having. I'm really hesitant to download and run unknown EXE files. Is there any way I can scan it with some program or otherwise ascertain if it's clean or riddled with subtle spyware, viruses, or what ever else could be bad?

I was somewhat taken aback by this question. It's a perfectly good question, and in fact one that people should be asking themselves more often.

No, my reaction was due to the lack of a good answer.

It turns out that it's fairly difficult to ascertain whether or not something you've downloaded is about to play havoc with your system.

Continue reading...
How can I tell if an exe is "safe" or not?

*** Sites of Interest

A reader sends in:

Can I put forward our school site for your Sites of Interest?

http://www.ackworth.w-yorks.sch.uk/

It may be of interest because it was the 9th school website set up in the UK and has kept running ever since. (Although our management launched a newer site a few years back) Pretty much nothing has been deleted so the archive page shows our dabblings in various technologies like WAP, javascript and Flash as they came along.

The site also has a heck of a lot of multimedia. Most pages that mention any kind of music have videos 'under' the images which can be played or downloaded and the more recent drama pages do too.

I love seeing schools making use of technology. Smile

*

Sites of Interest are just that: sites I find interesting and just want to share. (Not an endorsement or guarantee.) If you have a suggestion or a website of your own that you think might be interesting use the regular ask a question form to suggest it. (Of course I can't guarantee I'll use your suggestion, I simply get too many.)

*** Thoughts and Comments

The box to the right is a challenge to myself. Yes, it's what I'm reading, but by making it public I'll be forcing myself to make sure it changes from time to time. Meaning that I'll prioritize some more reading time into my life. If it never changes, this little experiment's a failure.

If you're interested at all, I've set up a page in the Ask Leo! Store where you can see other books that I've either recently read, or am in the process of reading, in Leo's Reading list.

I'm slowly starting to get more questions about Windows 7. I haven't yet tried it myself and in fact recommend that most of you do not - at least not until it's been officially released. Of course if you want to play and understand that you need to act as if you could lose everything at any time, then fine, have fun.

My approach will be to try it within a Parallels virtual machine, just as I did creating a separate Windows XP installation on which I could play with IE8. Given that it's a 2.5 gigabyte download, I'm not in a huge rush to have it tie up all my bandwidth for five or six hours. When I finally get to playing with it, I'll let you know how it goes.

I was planning on giving you all (or at least, those of you who read this far) a sneak peek at a side project I'm working on, but of course at the last minute I decided to change a couple of things about it so I'll have to keep you in suspense for another week. (Like reading, mentioning it here also an incentive for me to actually do it. Nothing like telling 68,000 of your closest friends that you're going to do something to make it something you need to live up to. Smile)

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

What I'm Reading

Why some urban legends and advertising campaigns "stick", and how you might go about creating "sticky" ideas yourself.

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