Leo's Answers #244 – August 17, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

How do I know that this web address is safe?

Security when clicking onto a web site confounds me. Some sites put the section of the site you are wanting ahead of the web address. Example http://photos.kodak.com and some put the section after example http;//kodak.com/photos. These examples are just made up but I hope you understand what I’m saying. How do I know if I’m on the secure website I’m supposed to be on? At times I see other addresses flashing by on the toolbar that are not the site I clicked on before the actual site appears. I’ve never see anyone bringing up some of this query.


This simple little question opens up a veritable Pandora’s box when it comes to URLS, and understanding what is and is not safe to click on.

The concepts are actually very simple, but the complexity in how those concepts can be combined is staggering. Particularly if someone is attempting to deceive you.

I’ll try to make some sense of it all.

Continue reading: How do I know that this web address is safe?

* * *

How do I get Hotmail to stop changing things?

Hotmail’s new format is horrible. It adds replies to other files I have and groups things I don’t want grouped. Can you get them to stop all this? It attaches things together I want to get rid of and can’t then get rid of. And I can’t get in touch with Hotmail. Can you?


I cannot.

I also cannot get them to stop changing things.

However, I do have one recommendation on how to completely and permanently fix the situation.

Strike that – I have two recommendations.

Continue reading: How do I get Hotmail to stop changing things?

* * *

Speeding up my CD/DVD-ROM: what are PIO and DMA, and how do I change the setting?

Windows 7 is taking over 2.25 hours to burn a DVD. I have read articles saying that my PC may have changed from DMA mode to PIO mode (though I do not profess to understand what it means) this would, they say, cause burning to become very slow. Suggestions have been made as to how to check and change these settings though having followed as far as possible I always meet a dead end and never find these mysterious settings in “device manager”. I feel like buying a new PC just to be able to burn DVDs though this is just pure frustration.

I do hope you can help, i am reasonably proficient but the pointers to finding any sign of PIO DMA result in no sign of them via device manager and i have been almost everywhere.


One of the problems with this setting is that it’s very possible that it’s in slightly different places on different computers. Another confusion is that while we talk about DMA and PIO as being a setting of the device – in your case the DVD player – it’s actually a setting of the controller that it’s connected to. Which means looking in a slightly different place in Device Manager.

I’ll show you mine, and perhaps that’ll help you find yours.

And then if you’re still around, I’ll briefly summarize what PIO and DMA are, and why they might make such a huge difference in speed.

Continue reading: Speeding up my CD/DVD-ROM: what are PIO and DMA, and how do I change the setting?

* * *

How do I get 32-bit software to run on 64-bit Windows?

I just purchased a 64-bit PC with Windows 7 Premium. I realized before getting this system that much of my 32-bit software would not work. I have heard of downloadable and free programs that will enable a wider variety of 32-bit software to work on a 64-bit system. Can you make any suggestions where to find such software?


Well, it’s one heck of a lot easier than I suspect you believe.

I’m running 64-bit Windows and can tell you first hand…

I think you’re starting with a very bad assumption.

Continue reading: How do I get 32-bit software to run on 64-bit Windows?

* * *

Literacy Grant Awards 2010

I’m very pleased to announce the recipients of grants totaling $10,000 as part of Ask Leo!’s 2010 – It’s About Helping People initiative.

The recipients of these grants were selected from your recommendations and represent a broad cross section of literacy efforts spanning the globe.

In addition, I’m announcing an additional grant to my own community in support of its literacy efforts.

Continue reading: Literacy Grant Awards 2010

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(Purchases over $5, expires 25-Aug-2010.) And thanks for being a subscriber and supporting Ask Leo! for the last 7 years.

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*** Comments

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

Mike writes:

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t bother to unsubscribe, anymore. Even legitimate companies tend to ignore Unsubscribes after multiple attempts over a number of years. Since they so routinely ignore Unsubscribes, I simply report them as Spam. Just like physical junk mail, it goes straight to the garbage.

I’m concerned about your use of the “this is spam” button. It can do real harm when used inappropriately. For example I do not spam, but if enough people “unsubscribe” from my newsletter by saying “this is spam” it will hurt my deliverability and my business. Unsubscribe from things you subscribed to. If you didn’t subscribe, or the unsubscribe requests (for things you subscribed to) are being ignored – then by definition “this is spam”.



How do I report a bug in Windows?

Lee writes:

Hi Leo, great article. I think it’s hard to tell people sometimes that it’s not the software a lot of the time that’s causing the issue. For the business I work for we use a database program that is maintained by a relatively small company – which is good because if anything seems odd or ‘buggy’ I can just call them and get to speak to a real person and get a response straight away. But I rarely have to actually call them because the simple fact is most staff at my workplace complain of the software doing things on its own and blame it for deleting things or not doing what its supposed to. I find it hard to get across the idea to the users that programs don’t just do random, malicious things on their own, and after I investigate the issues 99% of the complaints against the software are operator based. Not saying all programs are faultless, but they are definitely not as faulty as a lot of people think. But its difficult to shift that mindset.

Also re: the complaint about notepad. If it copies OK left to right, then whats the big deal if it doesn’t do it right to left?!? Just copy left to right…problem solved!! 🙂


Account updates!!!!!” email legitimate?

Chris Marlowe writes:

Your response to this rather clumsy phishing expedition is amusing, but it does not address my concern: If I receive an e-mail request from an organization that I really do business with, and it appears to have no grammatical or formatting errors, should I respond to it? These phishers will, eventually learn how to write well. Should I simply ignore e-mail messages form my financial institutions?

If you’re even the slightest bit uncertain, a) delete the mail, b) visit the web site of the service yourself by typing in the URL yourself or using your own bookmark. Most often if there is a legitimate issue it’ll be presented when you login. Finally, you can always contact the bank or service directly by phone – they’d much rather have you do that than fall for a phishing attempt. In summary: never click a link in or reply to email unless you’re positive it’s legit.


*** Leo Recommends

What Security Software do you recommend?

What anti-virus software should I use? How about a firewall? And what about spyware? Should I use one of the all-in-one packages that claim to do everything? Anything else I need?


As you might imagine, I get these questions in various forms all the time. As a result, I do have recommendations in various articles all over Ask Leo!.

Here’s the short version that sums it all up.

Continue reading: What Security Software do you recommend?


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

Somewhat like your car, your computer can use some routine maintenance to keep running well.

What should I be doing to maintain my computer?

What I REALLY need to know is the basic, day-to-day regular preventive maintenance, etc. that I should be performing on this equipment. Stuff that is probably so basic to PC usage that no one has thought to tell me — what do I need to know and DO to keep my computer trouble as well as virus free?

The virus-free part is addressed in my article Internet Safety: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet? I consider that one of the most important articles here on Ask Leo!

But you raise a good issue – what other kinds of things should we be doing to keep our systems running smooth?

Continue reading…
What should I be doing to maintain my computer?

*** Thoughts and Comments

In case you missed it check out this week’s ad. I had intended to have an “anniversary sale” last week in celebration of Ask Leo!’s 7th, but it got lost in the shuffle.

The sale ends in one week, so be sure to check it out.

And thanks to everyone who corrected my grammar, typos and my English in general in my literacy articles and comments. It never fails that something would slip through on the very topic I’m attempting to promote. Smile

Though for several who wrote to tell me that “shined a light on” should be “shone” – I’ll take the “divided by a common language” defense; shone may be more proper in British English and variants, but shined is quite acceptable in American English. I think.

And we wonder why folks learning English have such a hard time.


Also, in case you skipped it, this week’s What Security Software do you recommend? in the recommendations section above is an update. I now recommend something that I hadn’t before. In fact writing this reminds me that I need to go update my wife’s machine.

I’ll leave the “what did you update?” answer to the article itself.

’till next week…

Leo A. Notenboom

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Posted: August 17, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4400
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.