Leo's Answers #194 – September 1, 2009

[raw]
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’s the difference between streaming and downloading a video, and how does it impact the limits my ISP imposes?

If I put a YouTube video in my Favorites folder on the site, does each viewing of the video from the Favorites site count towards my download usage allowance with my ISP? Presumably the video is streamed each time I view it, but does this actually count as downloading? If it does, what is the difference between streaming and downloading in this case?

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I’m honestly not sure exactly which “My Favorites” you’re referring to, since there could be several. I’ll assume you mean the feature of the YouTube website itself.

YouTube actually works using “download”, not “streaming” – which is of course confusing. It gets worse, since whether or not it gets downloaded each time you view it depends on how long ago you last viewed it, and how busy you’ve been since.

Continue reading: What’s the difference between streaming and downloading a video, and how does it impact the limits my ISP imposes?
http://ask-leo.com/C3857

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Scheduling Automatic Backups with Acronis TrueImage

So far we’ve manually created a single, full backup of our machine.

While that’s useful for various purposes, our next step will be to automate the process so we don’t have to think about it. We’ll use Acronis to schedule an automatic, daily backup.

Continue reading: Scheduling Automatic Backups with Acronis TrueImage
http://ask-leo.com/C3856

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Should I consider the 64 bit version of Windows 7?

My computer has the 32 bit version of Vista Home Premium on it. I’ve ordered Windows 7 Professional. My computer is actually capable of handling 64 bits. Should I install Windows 7’s 64 bit version, or stick with 32 bits when the new software arrives?

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This is actually a fine question, and one that I’ve been struggling with myself. My primary desktop machine is currently running 32 bit Windows XP, my laptop is running 32 bit Windows Vista, but both are quite capable of running 64bit operating systems, and in doing so perhaps using up to 8 gigabytes of RAM.

It’s lucrative, at least for me.

I’ll walk through my thinking, the steps I plan to take, and the one major roadblock that was removed for me just this week.

Continue reading: Should I consider the 64 bit version of Windows 7?
http://ask-leo.com/C3855

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How do I upgrade from XP or Vista to Windows 7?

I am running Windows Vista Ultimate on one home computer, and Windows Vista Home Premium on another. I have just had too many issues with Vista, and I would like to upgrade them both to Windows 7 when it is released. Upgrading the one with Home Premium is easy, since it just requires inserting a disk for the upgrade, but to upgrade Ultimate to a Win 7 system lower than WIN 7 Ultimate, requires a clean install, basically starting all over. How is this done. What is the recommended procedure, and can non-techie user manage the process?

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I’ve actually had several questions on how to upgrade to Windows 7. Most are actually about the upgrade path from Windows XP, but the case above is similar, in that you can’t just insert the Windows 7 media and upgrade in place.

You need to perform a clean install.

But then, that’s what I recommend regardless of what you have.

Let me explain why, and how.

Continue reading: How do I upgrade from XP or Vista to Windows 7?
http://ask-leo.com/C3854

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Why doesn’t accessing a site by its IP address work?

There is a website [some random service]. Its name is [somerandomservice.com]. Many people seem to access this site just fine, yet many others just get a blank page. If I PING the site everything looks good. The IP address that PING gives me is [72.3.249.232]. If I try this IP address in my browser I get a page that says

“If you can see this page, then the people who manage this server have installed cPanel and WebHost Manager (WHM) which use the Apache Web server software and the Apache Interface to OpenSSL (mod_ssl) successfully. They now have to add content to this directory and replace this placeholder page, or else point the server at their real content.”

But again, the most confusing part is that many people on several soap forums say they have no problems at all accessing this site – how could this possibly be?

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I’ve changed the site and IP address above, but the idea is the same.

The short answer is that what you’re seeing is totally expected. The IP address actually isn’t enough to identify the site you want to go to. That’s true for many sites, including the one in the original question and http://somerandomservice.com.

It’s also true for http://ask-leo.com.

I’ll discuss why.

Continue reading: Why doesn’t accessing a site by its IP address work?
http://ask-leo.com/C3853

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I thought my posts were private/anonymous/protected?

A few days ago, Google was ordered to reveal the identity of an otherwise anonymous blogger as part of a defamation court case. And of course, said no-longer-anonymous blogger is now planning on suing Google in return.

One of the very common topics here on Ask Leo! is, in fact, privacy, along with its companion topics anonymity and security. As a result,I think it’s very important that everyone consider carefully what all this implies.

I am not a lawyer, and I’m in no way going to suggest that laws were or were not broken, that one side or the other is right or wrong. This is about understanding what’s possible and realizing that the things you say on the internet – even “anonymously” – can often be traced back to you.

Continue reading: I thought my posts were private/anonymous/protected?
http://ask-leo.com/C3851

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*** Comments

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

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How do I scan computers at my nuclear power station for viruses without an internet connection?

Mike Toecker writes:

I’m a control system security designer at a major power engineering firm, and have been doing the type of work in the above article for 4 and a half years.

A few issues:

1. Full anti-virus scans are resource intensive, and can cause slowdowns. Slowdowns often cause alarms to queue up, and remove the operators awareness of the process. It’s best to perform scans when equipment is offline, i.e. during a planned or short notice outage window.

2. Patches and updates to these systems can be done, but should be done during regularly scheduled maintenance intervals, and performed by your vendor as part of your support agreement. If it isn’t in there, NEGOTIATE it in. Believe me, you aren’t the first to ask your vendor to provide support for cyber security.

3. You need to do a risk analysis on your systems to identify what impact they have to your operations if degraded or destroyed. Often times you can perform cyber security activities on a field HMI with few consequences, but the same on an OPC server may wipe out your ability to control plant hardware.

And lastly, the NRC has been developing cyber security standards and guidance. Get involved! There is an incredible amount of guidance coming from NRC, NEI, NERC, NIST, and several other acronym organizations. Or, you can give me a call, it’s what I do for a living.

Thanks for your great thoughts. If I were to emphasize any concept to people attempting to put in a Windows (or heck, any system) into a mission critical role such as this, it’s what you brought up: a detailed risk analysis. Understand and plan for the probability and the cost of failure and make sure that all is handled appropriate to your application.

-Leo

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How do these emergency recovery options compare?

Vincent Venturella writes:

Isn’t it true that with the Image Type you area also imaging many things that might be wrong with your system such as hidden malware and the like so that you would be right back were you started with nothing solved?

Yes, that is true. That’s why most recovery instructions stress going back to a known good/clean image.

-Leo

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How do I upgrade from XP or Vista to Windows 7?

Gene Thomas writes:

I have been using Vista Premium on a Gateway desktop for over a year. I have never had a problem, and rarely have to reboot, even though I install then uninstall a fairly large number of applications I want to try out (using Revo uninstaller).

Why is it that so many people have problems with Vista? Is it because they installed it on an XP machine, even if a clean install? Not enough memory? Incorrect drivers? For my money the less than truly expert should by a new computer, built and designed for the new operating system.

My sense in the years since Vista was released is that problems and complaints fall into three buckets: 1) upgrade versus clean installs. Installing Vista as an upgrade to XP has been known to leave problems. It’s a reason I always recommend clean installs for OS version upgrades. 2) hardware issues. Vista’s support of some hardware, especially initially, was lacking – particularly printers. That’s gotten somewhat better over time for various reasons. 3) taste. Some people simply didn’t like many of the user interface and behavior changes. These aren’t “problems” in the technical sense – Vista’s operating as designed – but if you can’t figure out how to make it do what you want, that’s a problem.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

SnagIt
Quick and Easy Screen Capture and Annotation

One of the more surprising questions I get fairly often has nothing at all to do with computer problems, Windows configuration or general computing. It’s very simple:

“How’d you get that cool tear-off look to your screen captures?”

I use SnagIt.

By the way, this is what they’re talking about:

Upper Left corner of a Command Prompt Window

As with any utility like this, I’m certain that there are many alternatives, but I’ve been using SnagIt for several years now and have been exceptionally pleased with how quick and easy it is to use.

But I had to be convinced.

Continue Reading…
SnagIt – Quick and Easy Screen Capture and Annotation
http://ask-leo.com/C3457

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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

This catches people by surprise from time to time.

Where do downloads go?

When I download ebooks off the internet, I can never find them. Where do they go on my computer?

It depends on how you download. Typically they go into your “My Documents” folder, so we’ll look at how best to check that.

But it’s also possible that they went into the same folder as the last download – which means that if you ever changed the download folder for one item, you might have moved where everything thereafter is placed. We’ll look at that, and how to fix it as well.

There’s another place that downloads often end up that’s kind of dangerous, as its “cleaned up” every so often – meaning you could eventually lose your download. We’ll look at what that is, and how to avoid it.

And we’ll look at how to find your file, regardless of where it landed.

Continue reading…
Where do downloads go?
http://ask-leo.com/C2775

*** Thoughts and Comments

This week on Twitter:

askleo: New Photo(s): How I Capture Video http://ow.ly/15MYqo

askleo: RT @Don_Crowther: Want to speed up #Windows? Performance myths that could actually hurt you! http://ow.ly/ngef [Leo: I agree with all but 1]

askleo: For those asking which 1 I disagree with (Performance myths that could hurt – http://ow.ly/ngef ) – System Restore http://ask-leo.com/C3477

askleo: IE8 update offered again? Turn it off … again. http://ask-leo.com/C3730 (Waiting for my next clean install or Win7 before allowing IE8.)

Remember that you can get those (and more) by following me on Twitter, if you like.

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Couple of thoughts actually come directly from those tweets this week…

How I Capture Video

Since my technique is a little different than some, I took that screen shot above to show exactly what I do when I’m recording video (click through for larger versions). That’s my Window XP desktop. The upper Window is Windows 7 running in a Parallels virtual machine, and the lower toolbar-like window is the Camtasia video recorder. Doing it this way allows me to record videos of parts of the operating system that are normally very difficult to capture, like start up, shut down, certain types of error situations, and as we’ll see in the coming weeks, booting into various types of recovery media.

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This is one you may want to pass on to friends and family before they get “bit” by an unexpected upgrade…

For those of you who dutifully turned off the IE8 availability notice in Windows Update, it’s back. For whatever reason Microsoft seems to have re-enabled it (could be accidental, or not). My current recommendation – and what I urge you to pass on to others – is to hold off on IE8. Visit How do I block Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from being automatically installed? if you need to find out how. (http://ask-leo.com/C3730 is an easier URL to pass along to your friends and family with that recommendation.)

Right now my position is to not take IE8 as an update to a working system. The flip side of that is that if you’re reinstalling Windows from scratch, it’s probably worth taking. My plan is to either wait for either that, or take it when I upgrade to Windows 7 later this year.

’till next time…

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

This information was very helpful. I have been trying to find this stuff out forever.
– Garrett

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