Leo's Answers #255 – November 2, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

I visited an online store and someone else's information appeared; should I be worried?

When visiting an online shopping site I didn't log on - I just clicked the site from a google search. Someone else's shopping cart and info popped up. I'm concerned because I ordered from them recently. Of course it gave the option 'if I'm not "user name" click here', but why would I get someone else's information in the first place?


That's a little scary.

I'd want to see the amount of information that was presented before I passed final judgment, but even so - even if it was something as simple as their full name I'd consider that a privacy breach.

And I'd seriously reconsider shopping at that site again.

Let me review how this might have happened.

Continue reading: I visited an online store and someone else's information appeared; should I be worried?

* * *

Can you tell me how to set up a new email account with Yahoo?

Can you tell me how to set up a new email account with Yahoo? I want to start using it for email.


You bet.

Yahoo! is the third largest free email service these days, behind Hotmail and Google Mail. Interestingly enough, though, Yahoo! offers to many other services that it's quite possible you already have a Yahoo! account and a Yahoo! email address.

Let's look at what to do if you do, and how to create a new one if you don't.

Continue reading: Can you tell me how to set up a new email account with Yahoo?

* * *

What does "chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" mean?

I think I've got a problem with my hard disk, and tried to run chkdsk but I keep getting this "chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" error. What's that mean and what do I do to fix it?


Chkdsk is an important and little understood command line utility that comes with every version of Microsoft Windows. It's purpose, as it's mangled name implies, is to "check" your "disk".

In order to do it's work chkdsk needs total and exclusive access to the disk it's about to check. If it doesn't have that "chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" results. ("Volume" in this case really means "the disk that's being checked".)

I'll look at why, what to do, and what it looks like as it happens.

Continue reading: What does "chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" mean?

* * *

A failed install is taking up a lot of disk space and I can't uninstall. What can I do?

There isn't a lot of free space on my main drive, and I wanted to install software on my PC but it was not installed successfully. However, it got 2GB of the space on that drive, and its not possible to uninstall or remove that program in "add or remove program". How can i remove it?


It's too bad that the failed install didn't clean up after itself.

A good installer/setup program should do exactly that: if it fails for any reason clean up. That means not taking up 2 gigabytes of space for something that didn't work.

However, you're in that situation, so I'll look at some of the approaches I would take recover that space.

Continue reading: A failed install is taking up a lot of disk space and I can't uninstall. What can I do?

* * *

Where's my disk space going?

Under your previous question "How can I tell what's taking up so much disk space?" I ran chkdsk /f and this ran but didn't free up any space? Then I downloaded diruse and this wouldn't run? I wondered if you could please help me further? Our disc drive is split into a C and a D drive which both have between 30 and 40 gig on each, we only ever save on the D drive, however the C drive is up to about 31.9 Gig with 540 meg left available! Apart from about 5 gig of photo's I can't understand what is taking up all the memory? The memory seems to continually go down and is now getting to a critical level. I have run spyware and adware checks and deleted all critical errors, but still not been able to free up any memory. I can't even defrag as I need 20% free to run this option.


I wanted to revisit the "what's taking disk space" issue so I could recommend a tool that might be better for most people than the command line tool diruse I recommended in that previous article.

However, this question also gives me an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions and some terms that don't mean what you think they mean.

Continue reading: Where's my disk space going?

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*** Comments

From where should I get driver updates?

Les Meyers writes:

Your advice on the driver update programs is 'Spot On', Leo. I have tried at least 3 driver update programs from very reputable software companies. While they usually recommended the correct update, they occasionally miss-identified the correct update resulting in failure of the device. I found that the PC manufacturer is the best source for driver updates even long after the PC warranty has expired.


I got burned by Windows Update, should I just avoid it?

manoel caraballo writes:

Mr. Leo, you must consider which operating system the user has... then, ask what kind of video, Flash? Silverlight? 9 MS tech support can't ask him that? and oh tell him there is a IE9 beta that should fix his problem... if not, Firefox is a very nice alternative. That is not a virus but a corrupt install of IE8, can only fix it with a browser update.

IE9 Beta should not not not be considered a solution to any problems until it's actually been released.



How did I get all these viruses if I have anti-virus software?

Dave Markley writes:

I have owned a computer repair business in South Florida for over 4 years now. In that time, (aside from people who just never installed any anti-virus, and believe me there are plenty), the vast majority of customers whose Windows were infected beyond all hope were using either McAfee or Norton Anti-Virus. I hate to publicly put down any business but the facts are the facts. I have taken as many as 400 malware incidents out of a single computer whose anti-virus was up-to-date and real-time scanning activated. Needless to say the Windows by that point needed re-installed and they lost most of their photos, stored music, files etc. Leo made the points that your anti-virus MUST scan daily and be updated daily, but don't forget also to make sure that your Windows updates are current. Many people don;t realize that a critical update is just that. It's there for your protection, not Microsoft's.


How did I get all these viruses if I have anti-virus software?

John Neeting writes:

I wrote an article on anti virus software and unfortunately, Norton came out as less than adequate [ without using strong words ]. Since using Malwarebytes Anti-malware in conjunction with Avast professional. I have caught stuff nothing else see's. What's not documented in Avast is the fact IF you run Malwarebytes scan on it's own with Avast running real time, it handshakes with avast and together they BOTH scan the same files so what one misses, the other picks up. So far not a sausage has managed to defeat them in 2 years. I update every 24 hours in the wee hours of the morning when the PC is idle.

*** Leo Recommends

MacMost - News and Help for Mac users

My strengths are Windows, PCs and the internet in general, with a small smattering of Linux thrown in for fun.

Notably missing from that list is Apple, and more specifically the Macintosh. I have a MacBook, but I use it only occasionally, and I don't have an iPhone or even an iPod.

I'm very pleased to discover that my friend Gary Rosenzweig has a very helpful gem of a resource, hidden in MacMost - a site dedicated to "Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple TV Help and Tutorials".

It looks like a news site. It is a news site. A pretty good Mac related news site at that.

But it's also something much more helpful.

Continue reading: MacMost - News and Help for Mac users


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

Privacy and security are common topics to the questions I get. As you might imagine I get this question from both directions: people wanting to find someone, and people not wanting to be found.

Can someone find my home address or telephone number from my email address?

I want to give someone my email address but make sure they cannot get my home address or telephone number. How can I guarantee this? In other words can someone find my home address or telephone number by knowing my email address?

The short answer is that no, they cannot.

The longer answer is that no, they cannot, unless you've been careless.

Let me explain.

Continue reading...
Can someone find my home address or telephone number from my email address?

*** Thoughts and Comments

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Thanks for that.

And now that I mention it, I think it's time to make a pot... Smile

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom

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Posted: November 2, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4510
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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.