Leo's Answers #242 – August 3, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

How do I report a bug in Windows?

In Windows 7 Ultimate x64, open up Notepad. Turn Word Wrap off, and then maximize the Notepad Window. Type a long sentence that runs off the screen by a good amount. Then try to select the text from the right. That is, try to highlight that line from the right. Notepad has a glitch, and will not scroll left for you. If the Notepad window is not maximized, or if you select it from the left instead, it will scroll across for you as you try to select the line. However, when maximized and selecting from the right, it does not.

This is a Windows problem, as I duplicated it on another machine that is running another copy of W7 Ultimate x64. I tried using Microsoft Connect, but they won’t take any Notepad or Windows bugs. My only option is to pay to call them and submit this as a support request or do it over the internet – for a charge. I feel it’s unfair for me to pay to tell Microsoft about their product problems. Any solutions?


At least one.

I’ll describe that as well as the “Microsoft Connect” you refer to.

And then I’ll tell you why I wouldn’t bother.

Continue reading: How do I report a bug in Windows?

* * *

What’s the difference between hotmail.com, msn.com and live.com?

Is there no longer a hotmail.com? I am so confused. I sign into hotmail and it automatically sends me to hotmail live. It would not take my old password, so I had to change it. But, there is nothing in the account. How do you retrieve information that was in hotmail.com. This is crazy!!How can I get my messages from my old account or is this really something that has happened. Is there no longer a MSN hotmail.com? or is this a joke of some kind.


It’s no joke.

Microsoft continues a long history of confusing the heck out of us with the names they choose for their services – and then changing those names as they go along.

Hotmail is MSN Hotmail is Windows Live Hotmail. That’s easy. But there’s more to it than that.

For the record: none of it involves losing any email. That’s something else entirely.

Continue reading: What’s the difference between hotmail.com, msn.com and live.com?

* * *

Does “Windows is checking for a solution…” actually do anything?

I bought a Windows 7 64-bit computer last fall (Dell XPS8000). Hi-def monitor. Yeah! I WAS enjoying it much. Soon I get “Windows Media Player has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution and will notify you…..” Or something to that effect.

The rub is that Microsoft apparently anticipated that under some circumstances Windows Media Player would quit working because they included this error message. Yet, 8 months later, there is not (as far as I’ve been able to determine) a solution in sight. Windows hasn’t notified me of anything.

Is Windows doing anything more than popping up an error message? Or is this problem so abstruse that it is taking all these months find a solution? My hunch is that Windows is just up a dead end street, and I’m up a creek sans paddle.


Microsoft didn’t anticipate that Windows Media Player would have that specific problem.

What they anticipated is that any program can have a problem that might stop it from working.

That message isn’t from Windows Media Player, it’s from Windows itself, and might appear for almost any program.

Personally, I appreciate the message, but am concerned that it sets an unrealistic expectation.

Continue reading: Does “Windows is checking for a solution…” actually do anything?

* * *

My Yahoo account was stolen and recovered, but now I’m getting suspicious emails. What should I do?

My free yahoo email account was stolen and a fake email was sent to my contacts asking for money as I was in the U K and robbed. I did get my email back but my contacts were deleted. After changing my password, I got an email from the U K asking me to purchase their Firewall and computer protection. I unsubscribed to that email. Should I have just deleted it? How else has my computer been compromised? I am starting to get email with offers I did not subscribe to, such as Publisher Clearing House email winner. Should I just delete or unsubscribe which may be adding more viruses to my computer.


First, congratulations on getting your account back. Many people do not, and end up losing the account permanently. That your contacts are gone is not terribly surprising, though.

The real question that you might be asking yourself is “what else did they do with my email account while they had control of it?”. Unfortunately, we may never know.

So, what to do?

Continue reading: My Yahoo account was stolen and recovered, but now I’m getting suspicious emails. What should I do?

* * *

Is this “Account updates!!!!!” email legitimate?

I recently received the following email, supposedly from MSN, is it legitimate?


No, it’s not.

Let’s have a look at that email, and the various signs therein that tell us that it’s not legitimate. Looking for those same kinds of things in other emails can help you decide if something is safe, or a potential phishing scam.

Continue reading: Is this “Account updates!!!!!” email legitimate?

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*** Comments

How long should a hard drive last?

Sam Merchant writes:

I work at a data recovery lab and most of the drives we receive for data recovery services are large capacity drives. There is no favourite drive manufacturer; all are destined to fail at some point in time. In many cases I have seen newer and larger capacity drives going down within days of use.

Having a mirror set, RAID-5, or RAID-10 for redundancy is an excellent idea, yet does not guarantee against the data loss as we get RAIDs of all configurations with multiple failed drives quite frequently for recovery.

If your data is important for your person or business then there is no better alternative to have regular data backups at multiple locations.


How should I make my files accessible via the internet?

John writes:

I have been using Drop Box. I have a free 2 GB folder in the cloud. It automatically syncs with a Drop Box folder on each of my computers. I do zero work, do not have to initiate back ups etc. It is the exact answer that this poster is looking for. It is also a backup of my working files in another physical location. All my files are also accessible from other computers through a browser. I had been skeptical of cloud storage but this is a perfect well thought out solution. It is so good that I decided to upgrade to 50GB storage for 10 dollars a month. www.dropbox.com

Good suggestion. I use dropbox to make mp3s (podcasts) and other documents available to my Android-based phone as well as all computers I happen to have it installed on.



Someone has stolen my email account. What can I do to get it back?

Toni writes:

Referring to “ALL” questions and “ANSWERS” shown above. I have changed my “password” so many times I lost count. It does not matter or work for me. Whoever has hacked my account knows every password I have and knows when i change it. And comprimises that password too.

Yep. Read this article and you’ll quickly see why, and what to do about it: Is changing my password enough?



Is this “Account updates!!!!!” email legitimate?

Mark Jacobs writes:

I’ve gotten some very professional phishing emails. One for example was purporting to be from PayPal. It was flawless and when I clicked on the link, it sent me to a great replica of the real PayPal website. I filled in some fake log on data, and when I clicked log-in I immediately was sent to the real PayPal log-in page. This would have raised very few suspicions as the person trying to log in would most likely thing they just got their password wrong and try again. Bottom line: assume all “Official” e-mails are suspect and NEVER EVER click on a link in an “Official” e-mail.

Bank of America sends me a monthly e-mail telling me to click on a link to download my monthly statement. This is legit but stupid. I’ve e-mailed them about this warning them that they are sending a bad signal to their customers, but they, being a know-it-all multinational, ignored me. Anyway, even though I know it’s legit I still log in through a bookmark I’ve saved so as not to get into a bad habit. Let’s just hope the phishermen don’t figure out how to spoof bookmarks on your browser.

Excellent advice.


*** Leo Recommends

Thunderbird – A Free, Open Source, and Powerful Email Client

Mozilla’s Thunderbird is my choice for email. I use it all day every day, and I can heartily recommend it as an often more powerful and capable replacement for mail programs like Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail and many other desktop email applications.

The feature list is long, but I want to call out some of my favorite features and some of the things that personally draw me to Thunderbird and cause me to make it my recommendation for almost anyone using a desktop email program.

Continue reading: Thunderbird – A Free, Open Source, and Powerful Email Client


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

Sometimes this bothers me more than any other statements people can make to me…

The most frustrating thing I hear…

As you might expect, I hear a lot of things as people ask me questions. I get lots of different scenarios, problems and complaints, as well as excuses and justifications.

There’s one statement that stands out as the most frustrating. I just shake my head when I hear it, and it sometimes makes me wonder if there would be any point in answering whatever question is being asked.

Continue reading…
The most frustrating thing I hear…

*** Thoughts and Comments

I think I mentioned last week that I’d run into a dying hard disk which delayed some of my work.

The replacement arrived and after slapping Acronis around a bit (it really doesn’t like restoring a 1.5 terrabyte partition to a 1 terrabyte drive, even though there was only about 60 gigabytes of actual data involved) I got my system restored and running within a few hours. The original 1.5 terabyte drive went on to spend a full five days in SpinRite – which now claims it’s in good shape. Given that I have a working system I’m not going to tempt fate by reinstalling it as my primary, though. I’ll carefully ease back into using it – perhaps as storage for backup images that I regularly save.

1.5 terabytes is kinda hard to pass up, so I’m reluctant to just toss it.


Oh, and for those wondering, it ended up being more like 50 Corgis, and I survived. Smile

’till next week…

Leo A. Notenboom

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Posted: August 3, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4386
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