Leo's Answers #172 – March 31, 2009

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

You da man! Thank you.
- Oz


If you're having problems with the formatting of this newsletter in email it's always available on the web here: http://ask-leo.com/currentnewsletter.html

Share Me!

Do you know someone who would benefit from this newsletter? Forward it to them! (See below for details.)

Did someone forward this email to you? Subscribe to get Leo's Answers in your own inbox every week.

*** Contents

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

What's a Batch File?

I've seen you mention a "batch file" a couple of times in articles. What is that? What's it good for?

A batch file, or command file, is a very simple text file that contains a list of programs and commands that Windows can then execute when you "run" the batch file.

The "problem" is that batch files date back to the days of MS-DOS, and are designed to contain commands that you would run within a Windows Command prompt.

I'll show you what I mean with a simple example.

Continue reading: "What's a Batch File?"

* * *

Someone has stolen my email address can you help?

Dear Mr. Mrs.

To home is my concern from couple months ago some one has my e mail address stolen and I dont know haw I can report for this till some one till me about this web Sid and my email address was ******@hotmail.com and my password is 123456 please give me an answer as soon as you can you can call me ###-###-####

Thank you
Email owner
(name redacted)

With the exception of the obviously removed information, this is a question exactly as I recently received it, sent to my personal email address.

Now, set aside the fact that this email is clearly written by a non-English speaker; that's very common, as the site is visited by people from all over the planet.

There are several very serious problems with this email that I want to make sure you never, ever duplicate.

Can you see them? One of them is absolutely frightening.

Continue reading: "Someone has stolen my email address can you help?"

* * *

What will happen when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP?

When Microsoft discontinues support for XP, what will happen if I need to reformat? Will I still be able to get all the updates?

It depend on exactly when you're thinking of. Microsoft won't just stop supporting XP, they'll phase out support. Where in that phase out you happen to be will make a lot of difference.

Fortunately, we have examples of what they've done in the past to make some guesses as to how they'll handle XP.

Continue reading: "What will happen when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP?"

* * *

Is online banking safe?

I would think that no PC would be immune from malicious threats if they landed on some corrupt site that then installed malware or key-capture software. Is there any reasonable way to continue to safely do online banking?


Avoid getting infected.

That sounds trite and flippant, and I don't mean it to be so. Ultimately, though, all the advice boils down to exactly that: do what it takes so that you don't get infected, and you'll be safe.

I regularly bank online. In fact, I much prefer it over the alternatives.

Continue reading: "Is online banking safe?"

* * *

How do I contact Windows Live Hotmail customer service?

This is a question I get a lot. And what's interesting is that the answer keeps changing.

Things are getting better, but it still feels like we're dealing with variations on the theme of "no".

Of late, however, there's a little hope.

Continue reading: "How do I contact Windows Live Hotmail customer service?"

*** A Word from our Sponsor

Free PRINTABLE PLANNERS, a brand spanking new web site

More than 200 planner and organizer refill pages you can download and print, in PDF format.

Seven different sizes are available to fit many popular organizers by
Franklin Covey, Day-Timer, Day Runner, and more.

Get organized for free.

Advertisement. Ask Leo about advertising here.

*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

How do I set up an Out Of Office (OOF) message?

Mary writes:

Not to mention the possibility (probability?) of alerting spammers they have a live email address which will generate even more spam.

Indeed. Just another reason that Out of Office Replies are Evil. Smile



Someone has stolen my Windows Live / MSN Hotmail Account and is scamming my contacts. What can I do?

Novice writes:

Last month my GMail and Hotmail accounts were stolen when I checked mail from my cousin's zombie / hacked PC. I was able to recover both the same day. I want to share what helped.

1. thanks to Leo's suggestions, I had been using Outlook and Thunderbird, so there was no loss of any important emails.

2. since I had my emails, I had accurate information to fill out the detailed account recovery form of Gmail. Plus, my data backup habit and memory helped in filling out some information.

3. Gmail is such a great service that in a few minutes (10-15 minutes) they verified all the information and emailed me a reset link. The Gmail was also the alternate account for my hotmail, so I recovered hotmail by sending a reset link to the alternate account.

4. My cousin used hotmail's recovery form, and they took several hours to send her the account reset email. I don't know whether hotmail took the time or she didn't provide enough information.

With all the stories of lost accounts and failure that I hear all the time, it's good to hear not only of a scenario that worked, but the steps that lead it to work. Thank you.



How do I stop my computer from being a zombie?

Bob Greene writes:

In prescribing recovery for a machine already infected with malware, Leo counsels a backup for the infected machine before a complete format of its boot drive and reinstallation of Windows.

However, the logic of this escapes me, since the malware almost certainly will be imaged to the backup, and if the image is ever restored, so will be the malware.

The only possible defense of this approach is when the user has NO backup of any kind of system data, and must make one before the format, or lose the data. In that case, the user should restore selectively only the data required, but not the whole image.

Anyone contemplating this process should understand the difference between restoring a full image and a restoring selectively.

You're absolutely correct. The sad truth is that most people don't backup. And they should. It's scary. So I counsel a full image backup prior to a reformat/reinstall to capture any and all files and data that might be required later for individual, and careful, recovery.


*** 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. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  3. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  4. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  5. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  6. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  7. How do I uninstall Windows Messenger?
  8. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  9. Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.
  10. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?

*** Leo Recommends

Word Tips
Microsoft Word Tips, Tricks and Answers

I don't know everything. I know that's a shock to maybe one or two of you, but it's the truth. One of the techniques I use to make it look like I know more than I really do is to know where to look for information.

Allen Wyatt's Word Tips is one of these places. Yes, I've used Microsoft Word for many, many years and know it very well ... but Word Tips has more answers and more suggestions than I could ever hope to have.

Continue reading...
Word Tips - Microsoft Word Tips, Tricks and Answers

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

Here's something that many people don't realize until it's too late ... much too late.

Will I lose my email if I don't check it for a while?

I just moved and was not able to check my email for 3-4 weeks. Will I still receive emails sent in that time period?

Probably, but it depends on a couple of things: the rules that your email provider might impose and just how popular you are.

But it is definitely something worth planning ahead for.

Continue reading...
Can Will I lose my email if I don't check it for a while?

*** Thoughts and Comments

I stumbled across a free newsletter the other day, and discovered only after deciding to subscribe that it belonged to my friends Audri and Jim Lanford, of ScamBusters fame! I love coincidence. Smile

Your Inspirational Quote is a weekday morning email that'll help you kickstart your day with a bit of inspiration and a smile. I'm a "good news" kinda guy, and in the current environment where the only thing we seem to hear is bad, it's refreshing to start the day with a thought provoking, inspirational and always positive message.

And, as they've said, "All in just 12 seconds a day."

Give Your Inspirational Quote a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

By the time you see this my wife and I should be on our way back home from a short vacation in Los Angeles, visiting friends and of course a certain cartoon mouse. After our trip to Orlando in January (where I lost my cell phone, my computer died, and we got drenched in rain - twice) we decided that we needed to head south for some sunshine and R&R.


And if this was sent on time, it means that this time my computer survived the trip. (Can't predict what might happen to my cell phone this time, or the likelihood of any rain.)

'till next time...

Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

A selection of Leo's articles are available for free re-use at http://articlesbyleo.com.

Visit the Ask Leo! Facebook fan page.
Subscribe to Ask Leo! on your Kindle.
Get some Ask Leo! Stickers.

Some of Leo's other sites: The Ask Leo! Store, Leo's Online Business Card, Forwarded Funnies, Taming Email, MovableType Tips, Leo's Blog, Buy Leo a Latte (or a Beer), A Letter To Myself, Corgwn.com

*** Newsletter Administration

Do you have a question? A comment, perhaps? Visit http://ask-leo.com/ask to submit your questions.

I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - I just can't answer everyone. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, every email gets read.

Leo's Answers Newsletter is a weekly publication of Ask Leo! and Leo A. Notenboom. It's also available as an RSS feed at this URL: http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.xml. Archives of previous newsletter issues can be found on the Ask Leo! web site, http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.html.

Forward Me! You're quite welcome to forward this email in its entirety; it's a great way to help Ask Leo! grow. But you should probably delete your unsubscribe link below, so your friends don't unsubscribe you by accident.

You may forward individual articles from this newsletter only if you include all and only the text of that article as found in this newsletter, including any links therein. You may not copy full articles from the Ask Leo! website - more on that in my section on copyright: http://ask-leo.com/terms.html#copyright.

I'd sure appreciate it if regular readers got a subscription of their own. You can sign up at http://newsletter.ask-leo.com.

Interested in advertising on Ask Leo! or in this newsletter? Advertising details here.

Newsletter contents Copyright © 2009, Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: March 31, 2009 in: 2009
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3691
« Previous post:
Next post: »

New Here?

Let me suggest my collection of best and most important articles to get you started.

Of course I strongly recommend you search the site -- there's a ton of information just waiting for you.

Finally, if you just can't find what you're looking for, ask me!

Confident Computing

Confident Computing is the weekly newsletter from Ask Leo!. Each week I give you tools, tips, tricks, answers, and solutions to help you navigate today’s complex world of technology and do so in a way that protects your privacy, your time, and your money, and even help you better connect with the people around you.

The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition

Subscribe for FREE today and claim your copy of The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition. Culled from the articles published on Ask Leo! this FREE downloadable PDF will help you identify the most important steps you can take to keep your computer, and yourself, safe as you navigate today’s digital landscape.

My Privacy Pledge

Leo Who?

I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.