Leo's Answers #251 – October 5, 2010

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

How do I get PDF files to open inside my browser? Or not?

There are forums full of questions relating to “my pc will not open pdf’s in browsers although I have Adobe Reader v9 as suggested in the resulting error message”. I have this issue as well.

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There are forums full of almost any question you can think of, easily answered or not. Smile

This one falls into the “surprisingly complex to answer” category.

Personally I hate having PDFs open within the browser. I find that the PDF reading application, like Foxit, Acrobat or others, generally provide me much more control over how the document is presented in turn making it much easier for me to read.

It’s one of the first things I change when I configure a browser.

But, of course, not everyone feels the way I do.

Continue reading: How do I get PDF files to open inside my browser? Or not?
http://ask-leo.com/C4476

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Is it safe to multitask while burning a CD?

It used to be that it was risky to switch to another Windows app while your CD burner was working. It could cause corruption on the CD. Is this still the case with modern CD burners? I’ve still kept up the habit of leaving the machine alone while burning, but would love to be doing something else in the background if it’s now safe.

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You and I have had the same experience.

“Back in the day” once you started a CD burning you were wise to keep your hands off the computer until it was done. “Back in the day” that often meant for a full hour if the disc was to be filled, as the CD writers worked at 1x speed.

More than a few things have changed since then.

As a result, “multi-task within reason” is my response.

But I guess I need to explain what I mean by reason.

Continue reading: Is it safe to multitask while burning a CD?
http://ask-leo.com/C4475

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How do I prevent spam and scam emails from being sent to me?

Is there anything that can be done about the myriad of e-mails from ” Nigeria, England, the FBI, etc., that want to give me millions to answer their e-mail? With my email all I can do is to mark then as “block sender” but this seems to be ineffective. I wish there was an address I could forward them to and let someone else have the “enjoyment” of reading them. Naturally, I don’t answer them or click on the attachments. I just wish I could stop them.

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Your question really boils down to “how do I stop spam?”

If there were an easy answer to that spam would no longer be the scourge that it is.

So, no, you can’t stop them.

But there are things you can, and should, do.

Continue reading: How do I prevent spam and scam emails from being sent to me?
http://ask-leo.com/C4474

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There’s a porn star on the internet with my name, what should I do?

I googled my name last week and found a porn star with my name that had a free video. Since I am the only one in the city I live in with my name, and since the porn star looks to be my age, and somewhat looks like me, have I been setup by someone who does not like me? How hard would that be to setup someone one to look like a porn star? Or is this purely a coincident? It is very annoying and I think I am going to legally change my name.

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While I suppose that it’s possible someone’s setting you up (it would be pretty easy), I’m of the opinion that this is simply coincidence.

My question to you: is it really so horrible as to be worth the expense and hassle of changing your own name?

Let me explain why I ask that.

Continue reading: There’s a porn star on the internet with my name, what should I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C4473

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My mail account has a virus, how do I get rid of it?

My MSN email account has a virus and I can’t seem to get any help via MSN to get rid of it…this is why I feel that I must close it. Do you have suggestions for how I might get help with the infection and keep my account or should I do as you suggest and just stop using it?

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I believe you’re heading off in the wrong direction.

Yes, if you want to close your account then absolutely stop using it.

But the question actually shows a very common misunderstanding of what’s probably really going on.

You see … email accounts don’t get viruses.

Continue reading: My mail account has a virus, how do I get rid of it?
http://ask-leo.com/C4471

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*** Comments

Why is using Hotmail for my business such a bad idea?

Geert writes:

Hey Leo, I’ve read your article with interest. I use Windows Live Hotmail for my business. Of course, I have my business and personal domain name linked to hotmail using Windows Live Admin Center, so my e-mail addresses matches my domain names. I’ve never had issues of disappearing e-mails or e-mail that can’t be send. Once in a while a connection problem occurs, but that has always been resolved in a short moment. A few years ago, the hotmail spam filter caused some issues, due to blacklisted provider domains. That was a good thing, I think. Today, I seldom have a spam message in my inbox. In case of problems, you can always go to support.live.com. Never needed to do that because it just works fine. I have used multiple e-mail clients, using pop3, imap and http. No problem at all. Ok, I don’t use webmail (hotmail by using the website) to send e-mail, because that concatenates a footer to the e-mails. Recently, I even have ActiveSync pushing my (hot)mail to my phone. Some of my customers uses e-mail services that came with a hosting package. No, not a cheap package. I was hired to solve problems like ‘mailbox full’, ‘message to big’ and other malfunctioning. E-mail is a comodity and Microsoft serves it well. And it’s all free! Hurray! Oops, your article is from 2006, well maybe you’ve changed your opinion about hotmail (?)

My opinion about Hotmail has not changed. If anything, the intervening years have only served to further convince me.

You’re doing one thing right: you’re using your own email address (like whatever@somerandomservice.com) telling people that and having it forwarded to your Hotmail account. If you must use Hotmail for business, that’s the way to do it. It also means you can switch to any other service at another time without changing your public email address

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

Recuva – A free, easy to use undelete and file recover tool

As you might expect, I have a small collection of useful tools that I keep available for assorted system maintenance and troubleshooting tasks. However, for the longest time I haven’t really carried a file un-delete utility with me. Not because there aren’t some good ones out there, but more because I never really got comfortable with any of the ones I had tried. I certainly was not comfortable enough to recommend any.

I recently discovered Recuva, which I just added to my toolkit. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s from the same people that bring you CCleaner, which gives added credibility.

When you delete a file, the contents of that file are not necessarily immediately overwritten or removed. Instead, the space used by that file is marked as “available” so that it can be used the next time data is written to the disk. As long as that doesn’t happen and the old data is not overwritten by something new, there’s a chance you can recover the file.

This is where utilities like Recuva come in. They scan the available space and the control information on the hard disk to identify files that might be recoverable.

Recuva starts with a Wizard that allows you to specify what drives to scan, and what classes of files to look for. Let’s say you just deleted a picture on your flash drive by mistake, you can tell Recuva to scan all the removable media for pictures, and it’ll do exactly that. Or, you can dive right into the program’s advanced interface and have it scan a specific drive you specify, and then filter the results based on type or name.

Continue reading: Recuva – A free, easy to use undelete and file recover tool
http://ask-leo.com/C3605

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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

I’ll give you the short answer: no – not reliably. Here’s the very common question, and the longer answer:

Do email tracking services work?

Has anyone tried www.—.com? It’s a free email tracking service. How good and reliable is it? Is it safe to use?

That’s actually a comment that was posted to one of my articles on whether or not you could tell if email has been opened or read by the recipient.

The short answer is that there’s really only one email tracking technique currently in use, and it only works maybe half the time. In other words, it’s not all that helpful.

Let me explain how it works, and you’ll see what I mean.

Continue reading…
Do email tracking services work?
http://ask-leo.com/C3165

*** Thoughts and Comments

I spent a good part of the weekend working on the Maintaining XP eBook. It’s turning out to be much, much larger than I was expecting it to be. I’m perhaps one quarter of the way into the book, and I just crossed the 100 page mark. And that’s not including the bonus eBooks – like “Introduction to Process Explorer” – that are being created along the way as I discover topics that need just a little more explanation than would really make sense in the book itself.

One good example is partition management. It turns out that the “sacrificial machine” I’m using had a fairly odd partition setup. Unfortunately Windows XP has no partition management software included, beyond a basic and destructive create/delete. If you want to resize a partition without data loss you either need to use a commercial product … or Linux.

So that’s what I did. In the book there’s a section where I walk through using a Ubuntu Linux Live CD to alter the partitions of this machine’s secondary hard drive without data loss. I captured it all on video as well.

Sometime this week I hope to peel off a bonus eBook that takes what I’ve written in the book and expands on it to explain in a little more detail what this kind of partition management takes and means. Folks who are following along on the eBook’s progress at http://learn.ask-leo.com will hear about it first, and get a draft copy for free, of course.

’till next week…

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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