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Leo's Answers #237 – June 29, 2010

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A Weekly Newsletter From
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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

Why won’t my files open even after they’ve been transferred to my new PC?

Recently I needed to purchase a new computer. I arranged for all of the data from my old computer to be placed on an external drive. When I open a file, it says that there is information there, but the programs will not run.

It is my assumption that the program, which was originally on a C drive is looking for information on a C drive instead of E where the information actually is.

Is there some way, other than purchasing the programs again that I would be able to make them work?

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It really all depends on what you specifically mean by “open a file”.

Placing all of your old hard drive’s contents on an external drive is an excellent approach to moving from one computer to another.

But it’s not the only thing you need to do.

Continue reading: Why won’t my files open even after they’ve been transferred to my new PC?
http://ask-leo.com/C4353

* * *

How do I create a bootable Windows XP CD using BartPE?

Back in the “old days” (think before Windows XP) when you wanted to create something to boot from you’d grab a floppy, format it, run the “SYS” program to install the boot sector and a couple of basic files into the disk and then copy whatever other files you wanted and you’d be done.

Life’s not so simple any more.

Mostly to prevent piracy, but also in part due to the shift to CD-ROM and DVD-ROM, Windows can’t by itself be used to create a bootable disc.

Nonetheless I found myself in need of a copy of Windows I could boot from CD-ROM. I wanted to use the backup program DriveImage XML. to restore a backup image. That meant I couldn’t boot from the hard drive I was planning to restore to.

I needed a Windows boot CD.

So, using “BartPE”, I made one.

Continue reading: How do I create a bootable Windows XP CD using BartPE?
http://ask-leo.com/C4352

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How do I create a Windows XP SP3 “slipstream” disc?

If you run Windows XP, it’s very likely that you have a Windows XP SP2 CD, which has Windows XP with SP2 already applied. You may even have an original Windows XP CD with no service packs applied at all.

What you want is a single Windows XP SP3 installation CD. It can be handy to satisfy the system file checker, and it can save steps if you find yourself reinstalling Windows XP from scratch.

Fortunately, you can make one.

But we are going to get just a little geeky.

Continue reading: How do I create a Windows XP SP3 “slipstream” disc?
http://ask-leo.com/C4351

* * *

Is MAC address filtering a viable wireless security option?

I’ve read your posts on network/router security and using WPA to secure your network. I use MAC address filtering and don’t use WPA. I realize that that means I must physically enter each pc/printer/tv/etc. that wants to connect to my network, but I believe that MAC address filtering is also a viable security solution (with or without WPA or WEP), though using all is probably the most secure. I haven’t seen any comments from you on using MAC address filtering, could you comment on this as a security configuration please?

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I do hear about MAC address filtering from time to time. At first it sounded kind of intriguing, but ultimately it turns out to be kind of like a cheap padlock – keeping only honest people honest.

It’ll certainly keep the casual or accidental connection from happening, which is fine as far as that goes.

But as for true security it’s actually pretty close to not having any at all.

I’ll explain why.

Continue reading: Is MAC address filtering a viable wireless security option?
http://ask-leo.com/C4350

* * *

Are free email services worth it?

This article was originally written in November of 2004, and revised in June of 2010. One would hope that in the intervening years things would have gotten substantially better, but sadly I have to report that this is not the case. Not even close.

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear of problems with one of the major free email providers. In fact, I can fairly safely say that not a day has gone by in over 5 years.

It really begs the question: are free email services like Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Google Mail and others worth the cost?

My position: Yes.

And: Absolutely Not.

As always, it depends on your needs and your expectations. Unfortunately, many people’s expectations are very, very wrong.

Continue reading: Are free email services worth it?
http://ask-leo.com/C2217

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*** Comments

How do I best extend my wireless network for laptop access?

Pat Van Dusseldorp writes:

Another alternative would be to use Power-line networking. We live in a home constructed in brick with steel I-beams throughout. As you can guess, wireless connectivity is a challenge. We put in a point-to-point Power-line network between the home office & the family room. There were a couple of gottcha’s but once resolved the connection is rock solid. The gottcha’s were: open ground, hot neutral reversal, requirement of connect directly to wall outlet – meaning no filtration allowed. When you live in an older home these can be daunting to find & fix but well worth the effort for not just networking but for your over-all electrical system as well.

Powerline’s an interesting technology – I guess I’d lump it together with the wired approach to somehow get an additional access point elsewhere in the house (or perhaps just a wired connection to a single computer). Definitely worth investigating for many folks.

-Leo

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How do I unblock email to me that my ISP is blocking without asking?

Coly Moore writes:

We run a volunteer anti-malware forum which sends email to members who have opted to follow a topic, notifying them of a new reply. We have had endless trouble with Yahoo mail, Hotmail, AOL, and many others. Often they don’t even put our mail in a spam folder – they simply bounce it back and the member doesn’t see it at all.

Writing to the ISPs has not had much if any success. Some will let our mail through for a while after I correspond with them, and then go back to bouncing it.

We tell our members to use Gmail. The one time they bounced our mail, they fixed the situation when I wrote to them and since then have given us no trouble at all.

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What’s the minimum amount of internet security software I need?

Glenn P. writes:

Automatic updates?

No, NO! Turn them OFF!

But DO be sure to visit the Microsoft Update page, religiously, about ten days after (you’ll see why in a moment) every Patch Tuesday, and click Custom (NOT Express!) so that you can see precisely what updates you are getting.

Be sure to subscribe to “Windows Secrets”, which gives you the low-down on which updates are problematical, and should be skipped. (This is why I said earlier to wait ten days after Patch Tuesday — “Windows Secrets” needs this time to examine the various patches and/or to receive complaints or reviews about them from subscribers). Not all patches are useful to you, and some may actually be harmful (How about that! Microsoft, the very maker of your computer’s operating system, distributing a harmful patch! Who woulda thunk it!?). I’ve “hidden” more than one update in my day; believe me, you’ll end up doing the same.

The person who enables Automatic Updates and simply takes absolutely “EVERYTHING” as it comes is, in my opinion, begging for trouble.

Automatic Updates is for simpletons who are too stupid to know how to use a computer.

If that shoe fits, you’re more than welcome to wear it — please, enable Automatic Updates and good luck to you.

Otherwise, turn them OFF, and go the Manual route.