Leo's Answers #174 – April 14, 2009

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom


I took a look in your instructions and the problem solved!
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*** Contents

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

How do I uninstall only Microsoft Outlook?

I have a new PC with Vista on it. I have installed MS Office 2003. I do not want to use Outlook. I'd rather use Windows mail which came on the PC. How do I uninstall just the Outlook program? When I go to add/remove programs I have to delete the whole MS Office edition.

Actually it is a tad confusing, I agree. We tend to think of Outlook as a standalone program, and as such would expect to find it listed individually in Add/Remove.

The problem is, from Office Setup's point of view, it's not a program.

It's a feature.

Continue reading: "How do I uninstall only Microsoft Outlook?"

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Can I block email from certain sites?

I have Windows XP. Is there some way to automatically refuse mail from some sites? I looked on the web but all I found was offers to download something -- some costly, some scary. It seems like I should be able to set something in Outlook that would block mail from certain addresses.

What matters here is not what operating system you run, but what email program you use, and in some case, what email provider you have.

The option to block by domain (meaning "from some sites") is not always available.

Continue reading: "Can I block email from certain sites?"

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Why do cookies have my name in them, and do the sites I visit see that?

When I delete cookies on my computer I noticed my name is on them. Do other websites I visit see my name on the cookies they place on my computer? And how would I change my name for security and privacy concerns if this is the case? For example, If I visit the IRS website, I am not happy that they would have my name and know everything I visited. I know I could visit through another website where my id would be hidden, but that's a pain in the neck. I would think when I first register a new Microsoft Windows this is when my name gets listed onto my internal cookies.

I can't speak for what goes on inside a cookie - if you give your name to a site, then that site could easily store that in a cookie so that it can address you by name when you return.

But I don't think that's what you're asking about.

I'll bet that looking at cookies in Internet Explorer is what has you concerned.

Continue reading: "Why do cookies have my name in them, and do the sites I visit see that?"

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Why is Windows Live Hotmail rejecting email I send my friend?

Every e-mail that I have sent today to friends with a Hotmail account has been returned saying "550 REPLY: 550 SC-004 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons. A block has been placed against your IP address because we have received complaints concerning mail coming from that IP address. If you are not an email/network admin please contact your ..." or something similar. What do I do?

Sadly, the error message is pretty self explanatory: Hotmail thinks you are a spammer.

We'll look at why this might be, and what steps you might take to avoid the problem.

Note that I didn't say "fix" the problem.

Continue reading: "Why is Windows Live Hotmail rejecting email I send my friend?"

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What's your social media strategy?

A couple of weeks ago, I surprised someone by commenting that I was working on my "social media strategy". The reaction was along the lines of "who knew you'd need ... or even want ... a strategy".

As an online business person, I think it's important to not only be aware of, and participate in various social media venues, but to actually have a little bit of a plan.

Since that affects where and how I might show up, and if and when I might respond to you, I figured it's only prudent to lay out my current thinking.

Continue reading: "What's your social media strategy?"

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

How do I tell if my ex has installed spyware on my machine?

Rob writes:

@Karen: AdAware is a program for detecting and removing adware and spyware that can accumulate on your computer every time you browse the Web. It is not unusual to scan a computer with AdAware daily. I can not say whether or not your husband has installed spying software on your machine, but using AdAware would hinder, not aid, attempts to monitor your computer usage. However, even without any sort of spying software, anyone with unhindered access to your computer can learn a great deal about your internet browsing history, recently edited documents, and other usage history that is automatically saved by your computer's operating system. If your husband performs routine maintenance on your machine, he could easily stumble across some of these details, whether or not he is specifically looking for them. Perhaps you should ask yourself, do you have secrets? Mwaaah-ha-ha-ha-haaa! (Sorry, got carried away there at the end).

Rob's right, running Adaware is not a sign of prying eyes. However if you are concerned, the fact that your husband has physical access to your machine means he could be doing many other things. Only share machines with someone you actually trust.

-Leo

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How do I gain administrative access to a second hand computer?

Rahul writes:

There is one more easy way to get in without using any special access software.

Microsoft in its infinite wisdom does not set the password for the administrator account when it is installed. It just hides this account from general access. But then provides an easy way to access it. In fact two ways. If the seller of that computer is naive enough to leave the data on the disk, it is likely that he/she has not set this most important password. Take a chance on this one, after fully understanding the risks involved in accessing the system.

1. Boot in safe mode. That shows the Administrator account along with the other user account. And you are in....

2. Another way to get to the Administrator account is: Log off from the regular account and get to the log-on screen that lists all users. Here enter the keys ctrl-alt-del twice. A logon dialog pops up. Enter Administrator as username, no password and you are in....

Of course if this password is set, then the utility Leo mentions does the trick.

*** 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 resolve my MSN Hotmail sign in problems?
  3. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  4. Why is my MSN Hotmail Inbox suddenly empty?
  5. How do I gain administrative access to a secondhand computer?
  6. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  7. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  8. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  9. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?

*** 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

While the technology continues to improve, the fact is that flash memory has a limited number of times it can be written to. It can, in fact, wear out.

Can a USB thumbdrive "wear out"?

I have a database application that I share between multiple computers. We keep the database itself on a USB thumb drive and simply move that drive to the other computers as needed. The database is never copied off the thumbdrive, we just update it in place. Seems very simple.

A friend of mine just told me that I was asking for trouble. He said something about thumbdrives "wearing out", and that sooner or later, probably sooner, the data on my thumbdrive would become corrupt.

Is that true? Do these USB drives actually wear out?

Let me put it this way: I strongly recommend that you backup the contents of that drive - also sooner rather than later.

Flash memory, the type of memory used in USB thumb drives and other devices, is very, very cool. In fact I'm loading up a gigabyte SD-Ram card for my MP3 player as I type this. But there is a dark side that people don't talk about much.

Flash memory "wears out".

Continue reading...
Can a USB thumbdrive "wear out"?
http://ask-leo.com/can_a_usb_thumbdrive_wear_out.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

Not a whole lot to say this week, mostly because I just finished writing last week's comments a few minutes ago. Smile

Yep, I'm traveling again, and the majority of this weeks content was actually written a week in advance, so that I could concentrate on other things - like visiting This Is True World Headquarters in Ridgway, Colorado. All that's left for me is some cut-and-paste work on the Monday prior to this newsletter going out.

I occasionally get asked how much Ask Leo! costs to use. The answer, of course, is nothing. Ask Leo!, both the website and the newsletter, is a completely free service to you. Ask Leo! is advertising supported.

However, there are two great ways you can "pay me back", without spending a cent:

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Even if you do neither, that's OK too. I appreciate your subscribing and your being here.

I hope you find what I have to offer helpful in some way.

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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