Leo's Answers #188 – July 21, 2009

A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

How do I stop my neighbor from using my IP address?

My neighbor used my IP address to send out emails. How does this work? Can I change my IP address? I have googled this topic and the answers are very confusing.

It all depends on how you think he got your IP address, and in fact whether it’s really yours at all.

There’s at least one common scenario where this does represent a true security risk, and we need to nail that down. But there are also scenarios where it’s not really an issue in your control.

Continue reading: How do I stop my neighbor from using my IP address?

* * *

How do I move my emails from one provider to another?

For years, my wife & I have used an email service with an annual fee. It has always met our needs, but there is probably no good reason to continue paying fees for what is available free elsewhere. However, even after pruning, we have hundreds of old emails stored on servers at our current service. Is there any way we can transfer the old emails to a new email provider in bulk? We would probably transfer to gmail or yahoo.


This outlines one of the drawbacks of working with an web-based email service.

I’ll describe why, and what I recommend you do instead.

Continue reading: How do I move my emails from one provider to another?

* * *

Does reporting spam help?

Does it really do any good to forward spam emails to SpamCop, Knujon or the FTC? Or am I wasting my time? Can they really do anything to stop spammers?

Yes and no.

I really with I could give you a definitive yes or no, but sadly the situation just isn’t that simple.

Let’s look at where spam originates, and what these services might, or might not be able to do about it.

Continue reading: Does reporting spam help?

* * *

How do I remove a virus?

I opened a screen saver program & was rewarded with a trojan. It attached itself to the task bar and sends pop ups which shows me a private security program I do not want or need. I have McAfee installed. What should I do.

I’m revisiting this question because it’s another one that shows up every day. The scenarios may be different, but the problem is the same: someone’s machine has been infected with a virus or other form of malware, and they’re having trouble getting rid of it.

Often, as is the case above, with anti-malware software installed that “should” have taken care of it.

What to do, what to do…

Continue reading: How do I remove a virus?

* * *

How do I keep my domain registration private?

My hosting service registered my domain with a domain registrar and currently all my private details i.e. name, address, email, and phone number are all available to anyone who checks whois.

I notice some web hosting services provide something called “ID Protect” to protect their clients details. Mine doesn’t. Apart from changing hosts can you suggest a way to keep my details private/secure as I feel the current situation makes me vulnerable to identity theft, email & telephone scams.

You’re right to be concerned. Many people register their domains without realizing that the information they provide becomes public record.

Privacy services are one approach, though even when available they typically involve some extra cost. There are other approaches, often also involving extra cost, that offer a little more flexibility as well.

I’ll show you how I’ve handled the issue.

Continue reading: How do I keep my domain registration private?

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*** 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?

Paul Higgins writes:

Personally, I’d forget all the advivce here and get a new friend/housemate. If he’s messing with your digital privacy, you can bet he won’t/hasn’t stopped there.

While I typically don’t do relationship advice (I’m a computer geek, after all), it’s hard to argue with your point.



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

Bao Huy writes:

Why don’t you to use Windows On-screen keyboard to enter your username and password? Keyloggers do not recognize these virtual keyboard signals as it do with physical keyboard’s.

Start MenuProgramsAccessoriesAccessibilityOn-Screen Keyboard

No. And I may need to write a full article on this. A keylogger can log much more than keys. It could, for example, take a screen shot each time you click the mouse. This would capture whatever you do with the on-screen keyboard as well. I’m not saying that all keyloggers do, but that they can, and relying on an on-screen keyboard my give you a false sense of security.


*** Leo Recommends

Help for Instant Messaging and more

Instant messaging is a popular topic of Ask Leo! questions, second only to email related issues, I would guess. BigBlueBall is a resource for both the latest news and support for all popular IM clients and technologies.

From the site:

Like many people, technology has helped me keep in touch with friends and family. I’ve used technology to collaborate with associates, co-workers and clients. But I couldn’t find one, comprehensive web site that covered all the different messaging, collaboration and networking technologies: AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live Messener, Meebo, Digsby, Facebook, Twitter, Google Talk, Trillian, Gaim, Jabber… the list goes on.

And so, BigBlueBall.com was born.

Continue reading…
BigBlueBall – Help for Instant Messaging and more


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

No. Just … no. (And yet, people keep asking.)

Would you please recover my password? My account has been hacked or I’ve forgotten it.

  • Someone hacked my Hotmail account and changed my password and my secret question. I have emailed customer service for help but I haven’t gotten an answer. Can you get it back for me?

  • Someone has hacked my email address and has changed my password, my personal information and my secret question. I can’t log into my own email account! Please help me recover my password. The id that has been hacked is *****. Please rescue me.

  • I am not able to log into my Yahoo account that I’ve been using for the past 10 years. I clicked on the “forgot password” link and filled in all the details. It’s asking me for answer to my secret question – “who’s my friend?” How would I remember who would it be 10 years ago? Please reply and save a soul. I have very important information in my mails.

  • I’ve forgotten my password and the answer to my secret question. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can you send my password to *****@*****.com?


There is nothing I can do. I have no way to help you.

Here is what you can do…

Continue reading…
Would you please recover my password? My account has been hacked or I’ve forgotten it.

*** Thoughts and Comments

I had an interesting observation from a reader this week that I thought I’d share:

So often I read the suggestion that important files on one’s C: Drive should be backed up to other media, especially an external drive. I agree with that 100%. However, any hard drive is subject to a “meltdown”. I backup important files–that I cannot afford to lose–to an external hard drive, but then, backup those files to a DVD disk just to be doubly safe. This might be something in which your readers would be intested.

These are good thoughts, to which I have two reactions:

I feel like I’m one step earlier in the process, just trying to get people to make any backup. So many folks do nothing, it’s frightening. No copies. No backups. No nothing. I figure if I can get them to do something – anything – I’ll have, in part, succeeded. I’m reluctant to confuse that point, or make it seem like any more work than it absolutely has to be, otherwise people never get around to it.

An additional layer of safety on top of that is just icing on the cake. But I gotta get them to have that cake first. Smile

My second reaction is to be careful with the assumptions you’re making: hard disks do die, but then again DVDs and other media have failure modes and aging issues as well. Current thinking is that hard drives – loaded up and stored away – are among the most reliable approaches.

But ultimately, I’m with you. I have copies of my copies, and backups of my backups.

Notice anything different?

Thought so. Smile

In response to some of the survey comments, and in conjunction with some of the changes on the web site to make these easier to find and read, I’ve shuffled slightly the layout of the newsletter.

The concept is very simple: New stuff in the big column on the left, and the things that don’t change as often in the smaller blue column on the right.

The thinking is that the stuff you subscribe to the newsletter for – the articles – along with the obligatory ad and my ramblings, are there, easy to read, top to bottom, no muss no fuss.

Other things, like reference links to the site, administrivia, fun stuff like “what I’m reading” are still there, and easy enough to find, just not in the flow of the primary content.

Let me know what you think.

’till next time…

Leo A. Notenboom

A great tip .. thank you!!
– Adil

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Posted: July 21, 2009 in: 2009
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3815
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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.