Leo's Answers #192 – August 18, 2009

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A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom

Hello!

Do you have a question for Ask Leo!? Don’t hit reply! Head for the Ask Leo! home page and start by searching the site – around half the questions people ask are already answered there. Browse the archive, past newsletters and more. Still can’t find it? Then by all means ask your question here.

*** New Articles

What does “Cannot copy – the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error” mean, and what do I do?

I tried to copy a file to my flash memory, while I was copying this error message appeared “Cannot copy (file name): the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error” and I don’t know why?

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Well, it’s hard to say exactly why it happened, though of course I have theories.

The real question is what to do next. In the case of a flash drive the answer’s fairly clear. In the case of other types of media, there additional options.

Continue reading: What does “Cannot copy – the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error” mean, and what do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C3840

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How do I unsubscribe from all these unwanted emails?

I am receiving a lot of unwanted e-mails from diet pills to pet supplies and I don’t want to keep deleting 100 e-mails every time I check my mail. I hate going into each e-mail one-by-one to unsubscribe and I don’t know how safe it is for me to open those e-mails in the first place. I was wondering is there an easy free way to unsubscribe without needing to open the e-mail.

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I know that it’s confusing, but there are emails that you should unsubscribe from, and emails that you absolutely should never unsubscribe from.

I’ll explain why that is, and what the relatively simple rules turn out to be.

Continue reading: How do I unsubscribe from all these unwanted emails?
http://ask-leo.com/C3839

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Why do registry errors keep coming back?

A program which you recommended – [name removed] – promises a free download and a free scan. After installing it ran a scan and found over 1,000 errors on my PC and fixed only one, then ask you to purchase the program to fix the 1,000 errors. Fair enough, all they promised see above.

Now to the real question : Why is it that the running of a PC constantly creates these errors? Is it not possible to write a program like Windows which runs clean without cluttering up the registry and what have you? Would it really be that complicated to write an OS which does not constantly leaves all kinds of garbage behind?

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I removed the product name from the question because I did not, in fact, recommend it. My assumption is that the reader misinterpreted an ad (which is provided by Google) as a recommendation on my part. No matter what site you’re on it’s important to understand that advertisements rarely represent endorsements, and they certainly don’t here.

The answer to your real question – “why?” – does, indeed, get complicated.

But my recommendation turns out to be very, very simple.

Continue reading: Why do registry errors keep coming back?
http://ask-leo.com/C3838

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Why is there more than one “My Documents”? Does that mean it’s taking up extra space?

I notice that a folder called “My Documents” shows up in two places in Windows, and there’s another that seems to have the same things in it as well. Are all these copies taking up extra space on my hard drive? Which one should I use? Can I get rid of any of them?

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They’re not copies.

In an effort to be helpful (which we’ve heard before), Windows actually treats your My Documents folder differently … it’s “special”.

Which one is real? What are the implications? Let’s look at that.

Continue reading: Why is there more than one “My Documents”? Does that mean it’s taking up extra space?
http://ask-leo.com/C3837

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Creating Bootable Rescue Media using Acronis TrueImage Home

Once you’ve installed Acronis True Image Home, the first step may not be what you might expect. Rather than thinking about what to backup, we need to first prepare for a restore.

(Second installment in the “Backing Up” series.)

Continue reading: Creating Bootable Rescue Media using Acronis TrueImage Home
http://ask-leo.com/C3836

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*** Comments

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

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What’s a good password?

John Locke writes:

You can also just use words that don’t exist, at least that’s what I do.

For example table and chair are normal English words, but Vorlesmit and Garkolnat aren’t and then you combine such words and add numbers and special characters to em and upper/lowercase them and you have a password that can’t be found in any dictionary; “Vorles@Gark.159!”

no, that’s not my password, it’s just an example 🙂 (or is it?)

Great technique, but it leaves me wondering if you just managed to post foreign-language profanity on my site. Smile

-Leo

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Seagate FreeAgent Go – Portable USB External Harddrive

Susan writes:

I personally have a Seagate and would not do without it! When I purchased it, my purpose was to put all my music, photos and pictures there. It more than came in handy when my computer was discovered to have more than 100 viruses!

Two important things to keep in mind:

1) the external drive could fail – it happened to me. That means that if your data is only on that external drive, you could lose it all. The solution: backup. Make sure you have at least two copies of your data on different drives and/or in different places.

2) viruses can and do travel to external drives. If your machine had 100 viruses, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some had migrated to the external drive, and then migrated on to the next system you plug that drive into. Recent viruses have been known to propagate this way extensively.

-Leo

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My ISP has placed a bandwidth cap on my connection. What should I do?

Bevin Pettitt writes:

Here we go again!

The term bandwidth has had a clear unambiguous definition for at least 50 years, ie, bits per second (or its equivalents which is an instantaneous measure of capacity. But now it is being used to describe the quantity of data being transmitted over a relatively long period of time, ie accumulated volume.

The application of the term “bandwidth cap” as used by the ISPs is actually the limitation they apply if a user exceeds their allocation of data volume accumulated over the billing period. That is, the ISP reduces the bandwidth made available to the “naughty” user for the rest of the period or for some other rolling period.

So I blame the ISPs for being lazy and misusing the term bandwidth; From their perspective a user exceeded the accumulated volume allowance is a “bandwidth capping” case because that is what they impose as a consequence. But a more accurate and less confusing term would be “exceeded volume”.

But the REAL issue is that the vast majority of ISPs do not provide you tools to monitor your usage, or even provide you an advance warning. The warning message could easily be remedied by legislation, or fair trading requirement.

Increasing internet usage and the inevitable rise in exceeded volume events needs to be formally addressed.

*** Leo Recommends

Fujitsu ScanSnap
A Fast, Sheet-fed Document Scanner

This might appeal to only a small portion of my audience, but I’ve fallen in love with this device, and wanted to share it with those who’d find it as useful as I do.

I’m all about computers; I think you get that. But that also means that I’m all about using them – particularly when it comes to documents and document management. I find digital documents easier to store, backup and search than their paper counterparts. In general, I’d much prefer someone send me an email or give me an electronic copy of whatever document they’re wanting to share – no need to waste paper for me.

On the other hand, between home ownership, running a couple of businesses and more, people are sending me paper every day. Paper that, in all honesty, I should keep – at least for a while. And yet, I’d really rather not.

You might guess that my ideal would be to scan all those documents into digital form, and then discard or shred the physical paper in favor of storing and backing up the documents on my computer. The problem is that traditional flatbed scanners are slow and cumbersome for any volume of scanning. And slow. Did I mention slow? And cumbersome?

The Fujitsu ScanSnap solves those issues.

Continue reading…
Fujitsu ScanSnap – A Fast, Sheet-fed Document Scanner
http://ask-leo.com/C3552

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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

There’s often a bunch of software on your new machine that you might not want or ever need.

Shovelware: What do I do with all this extra software on my new machine?

I know of several people who received new laptops that came loaded with extra software, which none of them ever use. I’m told that trying to uninstall it always leaves some residue behind, and that it might be better to just wipe the disk clean and install only the desired software from CDs. Seems like a huge amount of work to me. What do you think? What do you do?

There’s a term for all that extra software: “shovelware” – as in computer manufacturers seem to just shovel in piles and piles of useless software for reasons unknown.

Well, the reasons aren’t totally unknown, and in a perverse way you should probably even be thankful that it’s there.

The question, of course if what to do with everything that’s been shoveled on to your machine.

Continue reading…
Shovelware: What do I do with all this extra software on my new machine?
http://ask-leo.com/C2757

*** Thoughts and Comments

I have some really smart friends, and every so often I like to tell you about them. What’s even more fun is when what they’re up to might actually be somewhat related to kinds of things I talk about here on Ask Leo!.

“Insert Title Here” The Easiest How-To-Build-Your-Own-Website Book. Ever! is a rather unwieldy name for what turns out to be a perfect ebook for anyone who’s got an interest in setting up a web site. From finding and purchasing a domain, to getting hosting, to setting up the software to manage your web site, it’s all about step-by-step instructions (with lots of pictures!) to walk you through it all. If you’ve never done any of these things, but were always wondering how, this is a great place to start. The author, Jodie Gastel, has lots of extras thrown in as well if you order quickly. (In fact, there’s one extra that “expires” on the 18th, the day this newsletter comes out, but since not everyone reads it the day it comes out, Jodie’s extended that offer just for Ask Leo! readers clicking through the link above. Told ya she was a friend. Smile) And Of course Jodie offers 100% money back if you’re not happy.

Local Email Club Profits is another unwieldy name for a very cool idea. Here’s the deal: you do email, right? In fact, you’re probably fairly good at it by now. Now, do you keep running into small businesses that don’t? Don’t you wish they did? Doesn’t it seem like they’re leaving money on the floor by not being more responsive to email, and by using it much more effectively? That’s where you come in. Leo Quinn has set up a opportunity to help you help those small businesses and others in your local community be more effective and generate more business. It’s a nifty opportunity, (even if he’s yet another Leo Smile).

Anyway, I know these folks and figured that what they were up to might be of some interest to you.

(And no, I have no idea why they unwieldy names. Perhaps all the good ones are taken?)

’till next time…

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

Thanks a lot man; I just used your site and it answered a lot of questions. Keep up the good work.
– Charlie

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