Leo's Answers #246 – August 31, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

How do I safely use a free email account?

My hotmail account was hacked into. I have had this account for almost 9 years, and have never had this happen. I follow a lot of the advice you have given in your article. Now I do remember my password, but do not remember my secret answer. I have spent a great amount of time trying to get help from so called customer service from MSN, but to no avail. As you said it’s free, so I guess you get what you pay for. Everyone I know for the most part has been contacted that the email they received is a scam, I don’t care about recovering my old email account, just my contacts. Is there any help you can offer.

We have Verizon FIOS, what email do you recommend for the highest protection available today?


Unfortunately you’d have to regain access to your account to get your contacts back (and also hope that the hacker didn’t delete them, which they often do).

Obviously you’ve been unable to get the account back, so I’d consider it a lost cause.

I want to spend a little time with your closing question. I’ll phrase it a different way, though, and we’ll look at what you need to do so you can most safely use a free email account – or any email account for that matter.

Continue reading: How do I safely use a free email account?

* * *

How do I get rid of Bing?

I have to be honest – this question threw me for quite a loop. But after I’d received it for about the third or fourth time it was clear I had to figure out what was going on.

My initial reaction? Bing’s a web site – http://bing.com – it’s not something you “get rid of”. If you don’t like Bing, well then just don’t visit that web site.

It couldn’t be that simple, so I must be missing something.

What I was missing, of course, was that what people were really asking about was the Bing toolbar.

I hate to say it, but terminology matters. A lot.

Continue reading: How do I get rid of Bing?

* * *

Does Google read my email?

In your previous news letter you answered some questions related to Quarantine in anti virus and another one about FTP. When I opened your newsletter in my inbox (gmail-free account), on the right hand side I could see lots of advertisements related to anti virus and FTP tools etc. How do they come if Google doesn’t read my email content? what about privacy then??


Ads are, of course, one of the prices you pay for your use of a free service like Google’s Gmail. Naturally it’s in Google’s best interest to show you the most interesting, and relevant ads possible. In fact it’s kind of in your best interest too.

So yes, to do that Google does read your email. But Google doesn’t really read your email.

I know that’s a tad confusing and I’ll try and sort it out.

Continue reading: Does Google read my email?

* * *

How do I change the location of the Windows temporary files folder – and should I?

How to change the default location for the temporary file folder to a different hard disk?


In most cases there’s no reason or need to fiddle with this setting; it’s default setting is quite appropriate for most common usage.

However… Smile

That “different hard disk” you mention in your question actually opens the door to some scenarios where it actually is a useful setting to change.

I’ll show you how, then discuss some of the scenarios where it might make sense to change.

Continue reading: How do I change the location of the Windows temporary files folder – and should I?

* * *

How do I route my email through Gmail?

You’ve mentioned that you use Gmail as your spam filter even though your email address is not a Gmail address. Can you describe how you do that?


Gmail’s a great spam filter. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that as I write this they are perhaps the best – a small amount of spam makes it through, and very few false positives are thrown. It’s not perfect, but no solution is.

The trick, as you say, is to “hook it up” to a non-Gmail mail address. I’ll show you how to do that and use it like any other POP3 email address, just as I do.

Along the way you’ll see how you can use Gmail as your email client for your own personal email address should you purchase your own internet domain.

Continue reading: How do I route my email through Gmail?

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*** Comments

How do I get Hotmail to stop changing things?

pam writes:

you’re exactly right – they all gotta keep up with the joneses if they don’t want to lose business to the joneses. BUT there is one huge advantage to keeping our emails online – they won’t be lost when computers crash.

i’d love to read what you have to say about the various paid email options but don’t see a link at this story? i’ll try searching and see if i can find the info…

thanks for helping us all better understand all things computer. 🙂

That’s correct. Your email will instead be lost when your account is compromised or you otherwise lose your password or account access. There are pros and cons to either approach.

I talk about paid services here: What for-pay email providers do you recommend?



What for-pay email providers do you recommend?

Ken B writes:

It still amazes me how many times someone gives me a business card with their own domain name for a website, and a yahoo.com (or gmail, aol, hotmail, etc.) e-mail address.

Me too. I just shake my head. It’s wrong in so many ways. Particularly: Why is using Hotmail for my business such a bad idea?



Is a periodic password change a good thing?

Dave writes:

I appreciate your thoughts on changing passwords Leo. I teach technology and among the my classes is a 2 hour class on Internet Security. I’ve also been thinking about the reasoning behind changing passwords and like you, I couldn’t think of any strong reasons to include that practice in my class.

Here are a few good articles on the current state of passwords.

Bruce Schneier spends a lot of time thinking about security & passwords. He’s also the creator of a free, open source password manager called Password Safe. Although this article goes back to 2007 it really opened my eyes to the automated side of password cracking.

This article is from the Carnegie Melon School of Computer Science about choosing good passwords and includes a couple of interesting techniques to do it.

A recent article by Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) about new hardware developments that could alter password security:

And a CNN article about GTRI & their research that includes additional information:

Dave (at) TechTeachToo.com

*** Leo Recommends

Word Tips – Microsoft Word Tips, Tricks and Answers

I don’t know everything. I know that’s a shock to maybe one or two of you, but it’s the truth. One of the techniques I use to make it look like I know more than I really do is to know where to look for information.

Allen Wyatt’s Word Tips is one of these places. Yes, I’ve used Microsoft Word for many, many years and know it very well … but Word Tips has more answers and more suggestions than I could ever hope to have.

Continue reading: Word Tips – Microsoft Word Tips, Tricks and Answers


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

Occasionally people get quite concerned when this happens. The good news, if you want to call it that, is that there’s nothing to be concerned about. Annoyed, maybe, but not concerned.

Why am I getting spam from myself?

I get email from:

someone@somedomain.com <myemail@hotmail.com>

where “someone@somedomain.com” is someone I don’t know, but “myemail@hotmail.com” is, in fact, my email address. It as if the email was sent by me, but I did not send it.

How do I stop these email from coming into my box? It’s usually for drugs or financial services that I don’t need or would never be interested in. How can they use my own email? I can’t block them as it says it is illegal to block my own email.

I’ll start with the bad news: there’s almost nothing you can do.

This is spam, pure and simple. Abusing your email address is only one of many techniques spammers use to throw their garbage into our mail boxes.

The remedies are pretty standard, albeit less than 100% effective.

Continue reading…
Why am I getting spam from myself?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Ask Leo! is just Leo, right?

Well … not quite.

I happen to be a client of today’s advertiser. While I absolutely write every Ask Leo! article – various other parts of Ask Leo! “behind the scenes” are handled by virtual assistants. I didn’t really catch on to the concept until I read The Four Hour Work Week, but I’m a believer now. No, I’m not working a 4 hour work week, but as a team we’re doing way more than I could alone – and that’s great.


One of the very common things I see are the same questions over and over again. Fortunately it’s not the same people asking them each time … it’s new folks who’ve lost their passwords, had their account hacked, have a computer problem or something else that lead them to search and find Ask Leo!.

What I so often wish is that they had read the article I eventually point them at before they had a problem – it’s often the case that they could have avoided whatever crisis they find themselves in.

You can help.

Forward this newsletter to friends (remove your unsubscribe link at the bottom before you press send, though). Tell a friend about Ask Leo!. If you have a favorite article that you think they could benefit from, send them a link. If you’re not sure, I consider Internet Safety: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet? to perhaps be the most important article on the site – that’s a great place to start.

The point is pretty simple: hopefully you can help your friends and family avoid a future disaster by getting them to the articles, answers, tips and tricks before they need it.

Hopefully they’ll thank you.

I certainly do. Smile

’till next week…

Leo A. Notenboom

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Posted: August 31, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4427
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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.