Leo's Answers #187 – July 14, 2009

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

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

What is "RAID" and why is "RAID 0" such a bad, bad idea?

I regularly get questions from people experiencing problems with their hard drives, and one configuration I've seen more and more of is something called "RAID 0". It's such a bad idea, in my opinion, I wanted to draw attention to it and detail why.

Of course that means I also need to touch on just what RAID is, since other variations of RAID are actually quite valuable.

Continue reading: What is "RAID" and why is "RAID 0" such a bad, bad idea?

* * *

How do I copy a picture out of a PowerPoint presentation?

A friend has sent me a beautiful collection of slides from Switzerland which I can only open using PowerPoint Viewer. I would like to use one of these pictures on my desktop in the center with all the usual icons around it on a black background. However, PowerPoint does not let me send one of the pictures by e-mail to myself in order to reduce it and then use it on the desktop. I checked everything I could to find a solution without success. Would you have any idea on how to do this ?

The good news is that anything you see on your screen can be copied, so absolutely we can do this.

How you do it depends on whether or not you have PowerPoint yourself.

Continue reading: How do I copy a picture out of a PowerPoint presentation?

* * *

Should I allow Outlook Express to compact messages, and how do I get it to stop asking me if I don't?

About 6 months ago I started getting a message (apparently from Outlook Express, but even when OE is not running) saying "To free up disc space OE can compact messages. This may take up to a few minutes. -OK/Cancel". This has become very invasive and, even after OKing (and losing use of the commuter for several minutes), can pop up again within seconds/minutes and re-pop up within seconds of being canceled. Cause and cure? I've deleted a lot of spam and deleted messages in case these were the trigger.

My honest opinion?

Change email programs.

I'll discuss that option, the bug that you're seeing, and what you might do. But first, I'm going to spend a couple of minutes explaining why I hold that opinion.

Continue reading: Should I allow Outlook Express to compact messages, and how do I get it to stop asking me if I don't?

* * *

Why can't this trojan be removed?

I got the following infection warning "Trojan horse Downloader.Generic8.ABKH" followed by "Object is white-listed (critical/system file that should not be removed)"

Questions: Is this true? What does white-listed mean? Aren't Trojan Horses" bad? And if it's critical, why does it keep popping up everyday on the virus scan as an infection.

There are two ways that malware can enter your system:

First, they can install additional files on your system that contain the malicious code. No real surprise, I suppose.

Second, and perhaps most dangerous, they can place themselves inside existing files. And if those existing files happen to be files that comprise part of Windows itself, things get ugly, fast.

And I'm guessing it's this later scenario you're seeing.

Continue reading: Why can't this trojan be removed?

* * *

Can I tell if a keylogger has been installed on the machine I share?

We are two people using the same computer. I used to trust this person until I found out that he had my Facebook password. I changed it, and a second time he was able to get it. I suspect keylogging software. I don't want to open this computer again before knowing what to expect. I read that such software run invisibly and that I can temporary deactivate it when I log in by checking the processes running. I need your help to explain to me what I am about to do. If I stop the process, does it really deactivate the keylogger, and how I can find out which software is downloaded and what to do about it?

For obvious reasons keylogging software falls into the broader category of "spyware", since its very point is to spy on you.

Ultimately, my news for you is not good.

I do have some advice. Unfortunately, you probably won't like it.

Continue reading: Can I tell if a keylogger has been installed on the machine I share?

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

Can I tell if a keylogger has been installed on the machine I share?

kptech writes:

I'm afraid I have to agree 100% with Leo. Most of the spyware & keyloggers that are caught by anti-spyware scanners are the kind that are either deposited by malicious web sites or not very well written freeware.

I have a client that asked me to install monitoring software they purchased onto all of their employee's (company owned) systems. To be sure it wouldn't be detected, we tried scanning with their anti-virus software (Norton), AdAware, SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware. None of these well known products detected a trace of the monitoring software, which includes a keylogger.

As you can see, this well-written commercial product was able to successfully defeat several reliable scanners, so, it can be done.

The only way to secure your computing experience is to use your own system with a userid/password combination known only to you.

Keep in mind, as Leo has mentioned countless times before, it's best to also limit physical access to the system as there are many password crackers readily available that can be used to access your system

without your knowledge.

*** Leo Recommends

More Help for Microsoft Windows

If you ever search Ask Leo!, you'll note that below the site-specific search results is a option to search "partner sites" for more answers.

At the top of that list is annoyances.org. OK, ok, the list is alphabetical, but still - it's on the list, and for a very good reason: you'll find a lot of Windows specific answers there.

Continue reading...
Annoyances.org - More Help for Microsoft Windows


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

A common problem, with many common causes:

Why am I not getting all messages sent to the mailing list I'm on?

I'm on a fairly active mailing list that I read diligently. Yet, I often seem to be missing some of the messages. I frequently find conversations in progress where I never saw the beginning. What's going on?

Getting email delivered reliably is getting harder and harder. Mailing lists are a particularly precarious position as more and more roadblocks are set up to prevent spam.

But spam's just the biggest reason. There are actually several other possibilities.

Continue reading...
Why am I not getting all messages sent to the mailing list I'm on?

*** Thoughts and Comments

I had someone ask me last week "Several newsletters back you mentioned that you were going to wait for IE8 to settle down before you installed it. Any thing new on that, and have you installed yet?"

Well, the only thing "new" since I said that is my article on how to remove IE8: How do I remove the latest IE update - Internet Explorer 8?

I guess that should tell you something Smile.

I've not yet installed it on any system that I actually use, though I have installed it on one test system where I encountered some disturbing initial crashes. It's been OK with light use thereafter.

The bottom line is that I continue to advise waiting and avoiding IE8 if given a choice. Many people are doing ok with it, but unfortunately too many I hear from are not.


Hate the pop-up?

A few folks used the survey of a few weeks ago to comment on the pop-up that appears when you visit the Ask Leo! web site asking you to subscribe to the newsletter.

I do want to be clear, you're not supposed to be seeing that every time you visit. It's actually only supposed to display twice a year, unless something is interfering with your browser cookies. I've actually had an article on the issue for some time: Why do I keep getting a newsletter subscribe pop-up on your site?

The "problem" is that the web site has no way to know that you already are a subscriber to the newsletter. It uses cookies to keep track of whether you've seen the popup within the last 180 days, and if so, doesn't bug you.

I am investigating some alternatives, but even those will likely involve cookies to some degree. While I know that some are concerned for their privacy, this is exactly the type of benign functionality that cookies were designed for (and that, sadly, only cookies can provide).

So, check your cookie settings, and check your anti-malware software, to make sure cookies are being preserved.

And check back - as I said, I'm investigating additional ways of disabling the popup for subscribers to at least reduce the number of people affected.

(And to those of you who would say "just get rid of it" - I can't. It works. Right now I'd even say that the continued growth and success of the newsletter depends on it.)

'till next time...

Leo A. Notenboom

What I'm Reading

How We Decide

How We Decide
by Jonah Lehrer

A great companion to "Brain Rules", this book give lots of insight on how irrational, or rather emotional, our decision making process really is, and why it often is exactly the right thing to "trust your gut".

Challenger's Hope (Seafort saga)

Challenger's Hope (Seafort saga)
by David Feintuch

Good escapist reading during my recent travels.

More of what I've been reading in
Leo's Reading List

* * *

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

Posted: July 14, 2009 in: 2009
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3809
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