Leo's Answers #250 – September 28, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

Why is my PDF so large compared to the original?

I publish a newsletter for two Ham Radio Clubs; I use Open Office Writer to format and save eventually to PDF to send out. I noticed that the file before converting (ODT to PDF) is quite a bit smaller than the PDF file is. Especially when I have a page of photos. What is added to my newsletters to make the file swell up a bit? I use Adobe for the PDF.


PDF (Portable Document Format) files are a common and popular way to distribute documents. Their primary “feature” is simply that they look pretty much the same on just about any computer.

And of course a PDF file typically mimics the layout and feel of an actually printed document, only in electronically displayed form.

Why might it be larger than the original word processing or other original document? I can think of a few possibilities.

Continue reading: Why is my PDF so large compared to the original?

* * *

How do I change my name on my computer?

I recently married and need to change the name on my computer – not just the name of the computer – where do I go to change it?


As your question alludes to, it depends somewhat on which name you mean: your computer’s name, or your login name.

Computer name: easy to change.

Your login name: easy to change – mostly. There’s one part that, when it comes down to it, is pretty close to impossible to change.

Continue reading: How do I change my name on my computer?

* * *

Should I use “quick” format, and what is quick format anyway?

I recently purchased a 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate. When I try to format my flash drives, quick format is checked by default. In order to full format I uncheck the quick format box. However, a full format takes several minutes. Is there any disadvantage in using just quick format every time I format my flash drives?


Quick format is typically a lot faster, particularly when used on actual hard drives. The reason, of course, is that it does a lot less work.

I’ll look at the differences between a quick and a full format, and why you might want to choose one over the other depending on the situation.

And I’ll also talk about why flash drives are a special situation when making that decision.

Continue reading: Should I use “quick” format, and what is quick format anyway?

* * *

How do I uninstall Internet Explorer 9?

I downloaded Internet Explorer 9 released by Microsoft.Corpn. My OS is Windows 7 Professional. However, I was encountering problem such as slowing down computer, accessing Gmail etc. I therefore, tried to uninstall IE 9. However, I am getting the message ” An error occurred. Not all of the updates were successfully uninstalled” What does that mean? Kindly guide me how the IE 9 be uninstalled.


It seems every time that there’s a new version of a product immanent we run into this problem.

Here’s the thing: Microsoft hasn’t released IE9 yet.

I realize that they’ve made a version available and seem to be promoting it heavily, but the fact is it’s not “released”.

I’ll explain why I say that, what you should have done, and what your options are at this point.

Continue reading: How do I uninstall Internet Explorer 9?

* * *

How do I clean up after free software made a mess of my machine?

A few months ago I installed free software to convert audio/video files. Apart from the program not working very well, it hijacked Internet Explorer and Firefox by installing menu bars, home pages and other things I didn’t know were going to be installed from ask.com. I am using Windows XP pro fully updated and used ‘Remove programs’ to uninstall the software and all the ask.com stuff.

It turned my desktop PC into a mess! It killed my network, printing and audio services. I think I have fixed the network and printing issues but not audio.

[… lengthy list of additional woes removed …]

Many years ago I tried a so called reputable registry cleaner (on the same PC) which did more harm than good and I’m wondering if they are any better today? If you think it is worth a try I will but if not I can kind of live without audio as most of what I do is graphics related. If you know of something else I could try instead that would be great.


I know exactly what you need.

And you’re not going to like it.

I’ll review how you got here, what to avoid in the future, and a couple of straws you can grasp at.

I’ll also tell you what I expect you really need to do.

Continue reading: How do I clean up after free software made a mess of my machine?

* * *

How do I move my Thunderbird-based email from one machine to another?

My laptop is having problems, and I want to copy off my email before it dies and move that to another machine. How do I do that? I use Thunderbird.


Full disclosure: That’s a question I asked myself this morning.

After returning from a road trip my laptop started to act “funny”. I realize that’s not the best of technical terms, but that’s about the most accurate I could come up with before further diagnosis.

It was running, and I wanted to start some potentially multi-hour diagnostic, so I needed to move my email to my desktop machine.

One of the reasons I love Thunderbird: this is really, really easy. Easier than most email programs I know.

Continue reading: How do I move my Thunderbird-based email from one machine to another?

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*** Comments

Does blocking junk mail senders help?

Mike writes:

FWIW, I don’t spam legitimate emails that I’ve requested, but do take the time to unsubscribe. It’s only the ones that I’ve unsubscribed several times over months, and still they come, that I finally relegate them to the spam domain they so much deserve. Interestingly, this seems to be a major problem with print magazines that I once subscribed to, some years ago, and few other legit businesses.

Yes, sadly, occasionally legitimate email senders will wander into spam territory by ignoring unsubscribe requests. If they do that then I totally agree that they are spam. (Similarly it should never take “up to two weeks for your request to be processed”. No. There’s no longer a reason for unsubscribes to be anything other than immediate.)



How do I stop legitimate email from going to my spam folder?

bill writes:

Strong recommendation for using Gmail as a spam filter. They are very good at filtering out spam and learn from you what constitutes a good message.

Forward your email address to Gmail and use your email reader to get the mail from them. If you find a rare (after you have used it a while) spam that gets through to your email program, go back to Gmail and flag it as spam. Occasionally go out to Gmail and check your spam folder to look for accidental hits and correct them. These corrections are used to adjust the filter for your emails.

As a happy side effect, you solve another question that was posed. How to retrieve an old email. Since you can have around 7 gig of email, you never actually delete the messages on the Gmail server. It becomes the backup for old messages.

I wrote up a how-to for this a while back, since it’s essentially what I do: How do I route my email through Gmail?



How do I get rid of this infection that keeps coming back on my machine?

Steve Waskow writes:

Leo, please stop propagating the old advice to refrain from opening attachments from “people you don’t know.” Nowadays, it doesn’t matter if you know them or not…spammers and phishers have taken over millions of computers and many can access the associated contact lists and send out malware apparently “From” the infected computer “To” all contacts on the system.

One should open attachments only from folks you know when you are expecting them, or check BY PHONE OR IN PERSON before opening them, since if bad guys have taken over the sending email account, they can simply confirm the authenticity of the bogus attachment

I agree it’s no longer as simple as accepting “only” from people you know. You’re right – attachments need to “make sense” in that they’re expected and about something that makes sense in your normal conversations with the sender. If there’s ANY doubt, check with them first – not using that email address.

By the way, it’s rarely an infected computer, but rather a compromised email account where the scammers are out using the web interface to login and sent the spam/scam email.



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

Chris THompson writes:

i cannot access [email address removed]@hotmail.com. It tells me that my password has changed. i have not done so. also its been so long since i have this account i dont remember the information that i put in the account for the passport. what do i do

I know of no way to get it back. This is why it’s critical to remember and keep active the alternate email address or other information associated with the account.


*** Leo Recommends

refdesk.com – A Comprehensive, Free and Family-friendly Internet Reference Portal

There are reference sites, and then there’s refdesk.com.

I was always fascinated by the reference desk at my school or local library. There were always hundreds of books, encyclopedias and other materials that you could find in that one special place.

Refdesk.com is the internet version of exactly that. Just like the library version, I could spend hours browsing the various materials that refdesk.com points to.

Continue reading: refdesk.com – A Comprehensive, Free and Family-friendly Internet Reference Portal


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 is actually true for more than blog posts – just about any digital information on the web or in email can be copied in some form, some how, some way. My more recent summary: if it can be seen, it can be copied.

How do I prevent my blog posts from being copied?

I have a blog on blogger.com and every time i make a post the Post ends up on a couple different web sites,like a carbon copy. How do i prevent/stop this from happening. I’ve tried everything to stop the indexing/leeching but nothing works,do you have any ideas? Thank You for your time.

I’m not defending them, but now you’ll understand how the record companies feel. What you’re experiencing is a copyright violation and theft, pure and simple.

And for what it’s worth, I feel your pain.

The short answer is that you can’t stop it. Not entirely. However we can reduce it somewhat, and depending on the method being used to steal the content, we can even put it to use – sort of.

Continue reading…
How do I prevent my blog posts from being copied?

*** Thoughts and Comments

I’ve had it installed to play with for some time, but I decided to try making Google’s Chrome web browser my default browser this weekend. The missing piece was finding the Roboform add on for Chrome that used the PC-stored database, rather than the online storage option.

After 24 hours?

I went back to Firefox.

Two things bugged me: for some reason Chrome took a long time to establish initial connections to https sites. I’m not sure why. And one particular type of web authentication didn’t work with Roboform – a type I happen to use a lot.

Though to be honest, neither were so bad that I’d have reverted that quickly, but together they just added up to be an annoyance that I didn’t really need.

I encourage you to try Chrome. In other respects it’s pretty cool – fast with a nice clean design. What bothered me you may never notice, so it’s worth a peek.

And yes, IE9, which is in Beta and should be used only for testing, is on my list to check out. We’ll see how it does.

’till next week…

Leo A. Notenboom

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Posted: September 28, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4467
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