Leo's Answers #243 – August 10, 2010

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A Weekly Newsletter From
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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

Should I Leave Windows 98 behind?

I am having problems finding an antivirus for Windows 98 (Sorry, but it still works for what I need). AVG discontinued support for Windows 98, so I switched to Avast. And now Avast sent me an email saying “Windows 98 is no longer supported.” I’m also concerned about downloading some malware from a site that offers free antivirus. Am I condemned to getting a new computer? I can get a rebuilt computer with Windows XP installed) at a local computer store. Or should I just buy a new one with Windows 7? I really do not like Microsoft’s profit system of coming out with a new OS every 2 years. Has Linux improved since your last update? My son runs Linux on the net, and he downloads Utube, etc. fast.

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While I disagree with your assessment of Microsoft’s motives, whether we agree or disagree the bottom line is that at some point it’s just time to move on.

It’s probably past time.

There are some real risks now to continuing to run Windows 95, 98 or Me. Unless you’re in some very specific situations, something else is called for.

I also wouldn’t call it “condemned”, unless faster and safer and more capable is your idea of hell. Smile

Continue reading: Should I Leave Windows 98 behind?
http://ask-leo.com/C4391

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Can backups be infected? And if so, what good are they?

I have read your many archives and there you suggested to backup regularly. I agree. But honestly I want to know that backup images (I use Paragon Backup & Recovery) can be infected by virus? I’ve 500GB of HDD and I backup all my data regularly to my another 100GB partition but if virus still can infect those image files then what does it worth?

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Can a backup be infected with malware? Absolutely. I’ll explain how that happens.

Does that make the backup useless? Absolutely not. I’ll explain how the backup continues to remain both important and valuable even if it happens to contain malware.

And finally, I’ll review how to avoid the situation in the first place.

Continue reading: Can backups be infected? And if so, what good are they?
http://ask-leo.com/C4390

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How do I delete a folder in the new Windows Live Hotmail?

There USED to be an option at the bottom of the list of folders in Windows Live Hotmail called ‘manage folders’. In their infinite wisdom, at the last so called ‘upgrade’ they took that option away. Now I have no idea how to delete folders.

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You and a lot of people.

After posting a pretty silly workaround that I couldn’t believe, a reader chimed in with the answer.

It’s hidden. In plain sight. No, I wouldn’t have thought to click there.

Continue reading: How do I delete a folder in the new Windows Live Hotmail?
http://ask-leo.com/C4389

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How do I view full headers in Windows Live Hotmail?

I have the Windows Live version of Hotmail. What do I need to do to make the complete headers show when i receive emails?

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For the longest time, it didn’t seem like this was even possible.

Fortunately, with recent updates to Windows Live Hotmail you can view additional headers as well as the complete message source – both of which can be interesting and valuable.

I’ll show you how.

Continue reading: How do I view full headers in Windows Live Hotmail?
http://ask-leo.com/C3141

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How do I recover my Facebook log in password?

I stupidly forgot my Facebook log in password and can’t get on. Now what do I do? Can I have Facebook send it to me?

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No, unfortunately Facebook won’t email you your password. I would hope that like most sites doing proper security they don’t actually know your password but instead just have a way to know that you’ve typed it in correctly.

There are two approaches that are worth looking into.

The official way, and the … well, the not-so-official way. Even if you don’t use the not-so-official way you should know about it, since it actually represents a possible security threat.

Continue reading: How do I recover my Facebook log in password?
http://ask-leo.com/C4388

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*** Comments

How do I back up my installed software?

Jacob writes:

Excellent points made on backing up data. I would say at the very least users should backup their pictures. My old companies fee for data recovery starts at $300 and goes up to around $600 bucks. It’s so worth investing in a data backup solution.

As far as backing up software goes I personally have a image backup program. It takes a complete backup of my computer every week ( Incremental after the first backup )so I do not have to worry about re-installing software on the same computer. If it every went down. As a home based business I also backup that image online as well using an online data backup service. This protect me against theft, fire, water and the like.

If I were to purchase a new computer I could use a program like PCMover to transfer over my software programs to the new computer. However if my old computer was not working because of a hardware failure I would be unable to go that route.

Love reading Leo’s responses. I have to break down and buy his answers book. It would be great reading! I’m just waiting for a coupon or discount Cough, Cough 😉

Cough. Newsletter subscribers get 20% off anything. See the bottom of every emailed newsletter. Smile

-Leo

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Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?

Mobeen writes:

For many people I have found out that if their task manager has been disabled most likely by a virus, the regedit has also been disabled, if this is your case do a system restore to a few days back, I did it and it worked as the restore points save registry settings

The article does point out that this is most likely due to a virus, and that you should start by ensuring you’re virus free. Your approach can sometimes work, but in all honesty once infected you never really know that you’re clean. More here: How do I remove a virus?

-Leo

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How long should a hard drive last?

Jon Schweitzer writes:

Just a little additional insight.

I work in the IT department at my current place a business. We maintain roughly 100 computers. We have had some hard drives work 10+ years after implementation and we have had them DOA (dead on arrival). It doesn’t really matter the brand either, we have had them all through our doors and have had them all – at one point or another – in our trash. Leo is 100% correct is stating that they can and are very inconsistent… Please be vigilant in your backups and always keep in mind that your drive may last 10 years or 10 minutes. Also take note in the reviews of any given drive. If it has 200 reviews with a 2 out of 5 star rating you may want to avoid. 4 out of 5 stars or higher is usually a stable and proven drive.

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Why won’t services just email me my password instead of making me set a new one?

James writes:

“They don’t know your password, they didn’t store your password, and they couldn’t tell you if they wanted to.”
I have been saying to anyone who’d listen, probably for 30 years, that this ought to be true. But to my consternation I’ve recently had proof that it isn’t, because www.guardian.co.uk actually emailed my password to me.

Admittedly, this is a free registration site, and doesn’t claim to be secure, but that’s not much of an excuse.

So Hey, let’s be careful out there!

Yeah, there are sites that do, and as I said in the article – if they can mail you your password, they’re doing security wrong. (I had one emailed to me just yesterday from another site. Sigh.)

-Leo

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The most frustrating thing I hear…

Louis Allen writes:

Leo,
Great article. I am 87 years old and a WWII veteran. I bought my first computer in 1992 with Windows 3.1 and telephone access to the net. I went through Prodigy, Compuserve,(pay per minute), metal tape backup systems,Comcast, and now Verizon. Every day I continue to amaze myself. It isn’t always easy. Lately, at my age I tend to panic at a problem. So I walk away and think about it and settle down. Then I try step by step to solve it. If I fail and can still get on the net, I do a Boolean search on Google and generally find an answer. there are great people out there. I do not envision life now without a computer.

*** 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 remains a very, very common way that people get infected.

I’ve received a popup telling me I’m infected and recommending a download to fix it. Should I?

I’ve recently started getting a new warning message when I visit some sites. It says that my computer has tracks of all the adult sites I’ve visited and that this will affect me in various ways. It recommends that I install a drive cleaning program to remove these tracks.

Does this mean that my computer was infected by a virus, trojan or some kind of tracking software? Have I been hacked by someone? And do you recommend that I install the drive cleaning software? Is it safe?

The short answer is that if you get warning message that indicates you are infected which recommends that you download a specific product to resolve the errors, the answer is simple: don’t.

There may be other things you want to do, but following some random pop-up message’s instructions to download a specific product isn’t one of them.

Continue reading…
I’ve received a popup telling me I’m infected and recommending a download to fix it. Should I?
http://ask-leo.com/C3107

*** Thoughts and Comments

Today marks the 7th Anniversary of Ask Leo!. Whoo hoo! Smile

That, of course, means it’s time for an annual tradition: the questions you didn’t see. This years round-up of the weird, nonsensical and just plan odd questions that I get is, as always, over on my personal blog: Lucky Number 7. If you haven’t seen that before, there are links to the 6(!) previous years collections as well.

Enjoy.

On a slightly more serious note, earlier this year I promised that I’d be making grants in support of English and computer literacy, and that I’d be asking for your recommendations to do so. I did, you did, and now it’s time…

I’m very pleased to announce the Literacy Grant Awards for 2010. Your response was extremely gratifying, and found I couldn’t hold myself to my originally envisioned 4 organizations.

To quote from the article:

As I’ve “done” Ask Leo! for the last 7 years, three things have slowly dawned on me:

  • A broad segment of our population does not have a high enough level of English proficiency to truly prosper and succeed in our English-speaking communities.

  • Too many students are leaving or even graduating from basic education in English speaking countries with insufficient English skills to prosper and succeed in their own communities.

  • The practical reality is that an immense amount of information on the Internet is in English, and improved English skills planet-wide can only serve to enable and empower people regardless of location, station or condition.

In short: English skills matter.

English skills matter more than most people realize, and they matter more globally than most people realize.

I hope that, by example, by repetition, or by whatever means it happens, that my grants here today do more than just support a few agencies in their important work. I hope that I’ve shined a light on what I believe to be a key component of individual success and achievement in our increasingly connected world.

Thanks again to all who’ve participated, and to all of you for helping make Ask Leo! successful enough to allow me to do this.

’till next week…

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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