Leo's Answers #230 – May 11, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

How do you use more than one anti-virus program?

I keep reading that no one anti-virus protection software can capture all viruses, etc, and that multiple programs should be used. However, for just about every program I have tried, not only can you not use other anti-virus programs, it’s nearly impossible to disable or even remove them totally. Plus some of them disable critical computer functions.

How can one use multiple anti-virus programs? Any examples?


The reason you keep hearing people like me say that you can’t rely on a single anti-virus tool to catch everything is more about education than anything else. We’re typically not trying to get you to run more than one.

But, beyond that education there are a few practical guidelines and things you can do that do involve more than one anti-virus program.

I’ll look at both.

Continue reading: How do you use more than one anti-virus program?

* * *

Someone’s stolen my email account and is scamming my contacts for money, what do I do?

My email address has been compromised and someone is sending bogus pleas for help and requests for money to everyone in my address book. What should I do?


I’m seeing this a lot lately. Scammers mange to gain access to someone’s email account and then make up wild stories – usually something about your having taken a sudden trip overseas, and now in some kind of position that you desperately need your friends to wire you money.

Of course you’re not overseas, and you’re not asking anyone for money.

Your email account has been compromised, and I’m not sure that there’s much you can do.

But we’ll try.

Continue reading: Someone’s stolen my email account and is scamming my contacts for money, what do I do?

* * *

How do I get a pinned taskbar item to run with administrative privileges in Windows 7?

I run into this often enough that I thought I’d share this quick tip for Windows 7 users.

Pinning something to the task bar so that it’s always there ready to be run is convenient, but if you also, as I do, occasionally need to run items as the administrator, it’s not obvious where the “run as administrator” option is. In fact, it’s also not obvious how to run a second instance.

I’ll show you.

Continue reading: How do I get a pinned taskbar item to run with administrative privileges in Windows 7?

* * *

What is “Windows.old” and can I delete it?

I am using Windows 7 and one time I had to reinstall it.

I reformatted the drive but it tells me that the drive can’t be formatted because there is an operating system on the drive, so I re-install over the old OS but during the installation process, it informs me that the installation will backup the current OS in a folder called “windows.old”! I install correctly and everything works normally. I thought formatting was supposed to wipe the drive so a fresh install could happen, but windows won’t let me delete the entire “windows.old” folder – apparently there is something in it that is system sensitive and off limits.

My question is, why does the new install create that “windows.old” folder and if it is safe to get rid of it(I understand it is!), how do I manage that?


A reinstall of Windows should allow you to reformat the drive. It may warn you that there’s an operating system already on the drive – as it should – but ultimately you should still be able to indicate that you know what you’re doing, and that the drive should be erased.

If you bypass that and install without the reformat – as apparently you have – Windows setup basically tries to be helpful by saving the prior installation.

Getting rid of it, if that’s what you want, should be fairly easy.

Continue reading: What is “Windows.old” and can I delete it?

* * *

Is a periodic password change a good thing?

I read many articles, including on Ask Leo!, that recommend you should change your passwords from time to time. But what is good practice in this respect? Should it be related to frequency of use? For instance, some passwords are used frequently, some less often and some rarely. Or should it be related to the level of security needed? For instance, passwords for online banking are more sensitive than passwords for magazine subscriptions.

Good practice in a corporate environment seems to be to force network and other password changes every 30 days or so. However, this would seem to be overkill in the home environment as it could result in some accounts being accessed more often to change a password than to do anything else.

The problem is that, unless you get into a good routine, much like doing data backups, password changes will only get done sporadically, if at all.

Do you have a view on how to build such a good routine?


As you say, routines for things like this are difficult to set up, and if not automated, are easily forgotten. Automation may be the answer in many cases, but it’s not always available – at least not in a convenient form.

But before we even get to that I want to talk about that “change your password periodically” rule of thumb. I think I’m about to change my mind on it.

Continue reading: Is a periodic password change a good thing?

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*** Comments

Where is Windows Mail, or Outlook Express, in Windows 7?

Elizabeth Boston writes:

Some manufacturers preload Windows Live Mail on their new computers, so check before you start downloading.

I have set up Windows Live mail for quite a few customers migrating from XP to Windows 7, and most of them are quite happy with the change. A few miss the identities feature, but with a few rules, you can set Windows Mail up to deliver messages from different email addresses to different folders. Most of the time, my customers are happy with that setup, and usually comment that it is faster than switching identities.


Thanks Elizabeth!
For others, Elizabeth publishes a weekly newsletter and runs Ask The Computer Lady – another fine resource.



Internet Safety: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet?

MmeMoxie writes:

Leo, just went to your store and found the FREE PDF file, Internet Safety – Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet, about this very subject. I must tell you, this is an awesome PDF file!!! I have already downloaded it and plan on passing this file to everyone that I repair or build a PC for, which means family and friends. I also, plan on using my ‘copy’ as a training tool, for others.

Thank you for caring about your readers. This is a wonderful tool for everyone, newbie and expert alike. No matter how knowledgeable you are about computing, you simply need to have material available as a reminder or refresher or for educating.

Thanks for your kind words! You’ll be pleased to know that there’s an updated version, which will remain free, in the works.
Internet Safety – Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet is available here for free.



If I get this particular backup device, can I then use it to restore my entire system?

Robert P writes:

One major problem with most backup systems, both hardware and/or software, is you don’t really know if they worked. I have tried all the popular methods, Paragon, Acronis, MS Backup, etc, and I assume they work, but unless you try a recovery, you cannot be certain. This is why after years of various backup methods, I finally settled on Casper. It makes a full copy to a second HD or external HD, all files, even Windows files, and because it uses VSS and VSC, the backup is dynamic and bootable. A file by file identical copy. Once a month or so, I change the boot sequence in BIOS and boot to the backup, just to make certain it’s there and it works. Also, if you lose a file, photo, whatever, you have a instant copy on the backup without having to run any kind of recovery.

Posted: May 11, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4305
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