Leo's Answers #177 – May 5, 2009

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


Wow! A very simple, easy to understand explanation...
- Harris

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*** Contents

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

How do I do a computer defrag if I have no "My Computer" icon?

I wanted to defrag my computer, however, my "My Computer" file which should be on the desktop is not. I don't know where it is. Can you tell me how to locate it AND how to defrag my computer with/without the "My Computer" file.

The "My Computer" icon (technically a shortcut, not a file) is common on default desktops, but it's certainly not required.

While it's one way to access the computer defrag tool, it's not the only way. We'll look at how to get "My Computer" back, and how to defrag without it, too.

Continue reading: "How do I do a computer defrag if I have no "My Computer" icon?"

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Troubleshooting computer monitor problems: the sideways stretch

I've installed 22" flat screen Optiquest Q2201wb monitor to replace my several-year-old 17" CRT ViewSonic E771 monitor. Everything seems stretched out sideways: the icons on my desktop are now rectangular instead of square; all the letters in my posts seem wider; the people on the screen seem shorter and fatter; etc.

My neighbor thinks I need to replace the video card(?) in my computer tower. Is this true? Need I do any other things to accommodate the change in monitors. If 'Yes', can you tell me what to do and if they're things I can do rather than taking the tower to the shop where I got it?

I've seen this computer monitor problem myself. In fact, if I so choose, I can make that problem happen on my computer monitors without much effort.

Naturally, I choose not to.

The good news is that it is, likely, just that - a choice. But exactly what choice depends on the capabilities of your monitor and your video card.

Continue reading: "Troubleshooting computer monitor problems: the sideways stretch"

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Should I get a dual core or a quad core processor?

For a home user with no special programs and no gaming, am I better off with a single core processor or a dual core processor. I play no games. I simply have a few usual things (word processor, registry cleaners, anti-spy and security stuff & etc) but I need a new PC. This one is over 10 years old and only has 256 MB RAM and 10 gig HDD. It is SLOW even after cleaning the registry, defragging, optimizing and everything else. It is still slow and always runs low on virtual memory thereby forcing the paging file to be increased from the HDD. I think I need at least 1 gig RAM and 80 Gb of HDD. Would I be better off with a dual core or a single core processor?

Normally, I stay away from specific processor recommendations because things change so much, and so often, and I'm just not one of those people that wants to do a detailed comparison between processor A and processor B. There are plenty of other passionate people who'll happily do that all day long.

In this, however, I do have an opinion: more cores may be better, but too many may not be worth it.

Continue reading: "Should I get a dual core or a quad core processor?"

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Will adding a bogus entry to my address book stop viruses from emailing?

"[Long description of the technique adding a bogus email address to the beginning of your address book omitted] ... But, when it tries to send itself to AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA it will be undeliverable because of the phony email address you entered. If the first attempt fails (which it will because of the phony address), the worm goes no further and your friends will not be infected."

Will this work Leo?

No.

Flat out, no qualifications, no. Does no harm but does no good.

OK, it might do some harm, in a backhanded way.

Continue reading: "Will adding a bogus entry to my address book stop viruses from emailing?"

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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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No comments this week. Not a reflection on my many commenters, just a side effect of a busy travel week Smile. More on that below.

*** 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. What's hogging my machine for so long on startup?
  3. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  4. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  5. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  6. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  7. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  8. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  9. How do I uninstall Windows Messenger?

*** Leo Recommends

NoScript - A Firefox addin that makes browsing safer.

I think I've mentioned before that I run FireFox most of the time instead of Internet Explorer. One of the reasons I run Firefox is the wealth of addins that are available for it.

If, like me, you run FireFox, I strongly recommend that you consider the NoScript plugin.

Continue reading: "NoScript - A Firefox addin that makes browsing safer."

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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

Rather than coming to people like me after it happens, perhaps taking steps to prevent it in the first place might be more appropriate?

How do I keep from getting my account hacked?

My MSN Hotmail account has been hacked into several times. If I'm able to recover it, it just gets hacked again. Sometimes I can't recover it, and I have to start all over with a new account. What can I do to stop this all from happening?

No, I don't get this question a lot. But I really, really wish I did. What I get over and over and over again is the related "I've been hacked, please recover my account/password for me!"

Which, for the record I cannot do. No matter how often, or how nicely, you ask. The only salvation is in prevention, and this applies to email, IM and pretty much any passworded account you might have.

So what can you do to make sure your account doesn't get hacked into in the first place?

Continue reading...
How do I keep from getting my account hacked?

*** Sites of Interest

Book Cover

Some time ago at a non-profit luncheon I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. John Medina in person. Who'd have thunk that a developmental molecular biologist could be so entertaining? After you visit his site Brain Rules, and even more so after reading his book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, you'll find that not only is he an entertaining presenter and writer, he's using some of the very rules he discusses to be so.

Anyway, I just finished reading Brain Rules (on my Kindle, of course Smile), and have since been recommending it to lots of people. If nothing else, go visit the site for some videos that will give you a taste of what I'm talking about.

As for me, after finishing this newsletter, it's off to practice Brain Rule #1 ...

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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

Yes, there was more travel last week.

I visited the other coast of the country, flying Seattle to Boston to visit some friends and then driving up the coast to Portland, Maine for a business conference. I stayed at the very lovely Inn by the Sea, where I published last week's newsletter while looking out over this view:

Panoramic View from Inn by the Sea

That's a panoramic view created from about 5 photos that I now have as a desktop across my 3 monitors (be sure to check out the "all sizes" link for the 5440x1200 original). Even at that size it still wasn't wide enough to capture the expansive view. Here's another more traditional single-shot partial view from my room.

As with every semi-annual entrepreneurs conference that I attend, it's a lot of fun, very intense, and I walk away with many more ideas than I could ever hope to act on.

And it's why there are no collected comments this week. Something had to give.

And my one little trivial "because I could" accomplishment: I drove the eastern terminus of the Interstate 90 freeway last Friday in Boston as I headed to the airport, and made sure to drive the Western terminus in Seattle after leaving the airport (much) later the same day.

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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