Leo's Answers #256 – November 9, 2010

A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom


Do you have a tech question? Ask it here. Newsletter questions? Check the newsletter administration page. You can also unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of this email.

*** New Articles

How do I see the results of a chkdsk that ran on boot?

OK, so CHKDSK ran when my machine rebooted, and displayed some stuff. Problem is I have no idea what it displayed, since it then proceeded to reboot the machine when it was done. How do I get it to stop, pause or otherwise let me see what it did?


It's not obvious, I can tell you that.

For a recent article on CHKDSK I actually carefully timed a few screen shots of CHKDSK running in a virtual machine so as to get the results.

Besides not being useful to the average user, it turns out that's overkill.

Way overkill.

Continue reading: How do I see the results of a chkdsk that ran on boot?

* * *

How can my ISP tell that I'm downloading copyrighted files?

I recently changed from Verizon DSL to Charter Cable internet services. About a week later, I started receiving warnings via email from Charter telling me to stop downloading music from limewire (copyright infringement?). After that they sent notices to stop downloading movies from UTorrent. What's funny is that both were files that never finished downloading. What I want to know is how do they know who I am, where I go on the internet and when I choose to save something to my computer? How does someone else know when your on a website downloading anything?


Well to start with, Charter isn't just any "someone else" ... they're your ISP.

And as your ISP they know a lot about you, and have the ability to do a lot with that information.

Verizon could have but for what ever reason choose not to.

Let's look at that in a little more detail.

Continue reading: How can my ISP tell that I'm downloading copyrighted files?

* * *

What's the difference between an intranet and the internet?

What's the difference between an intranet and the internet? At my work we have a page on our website that everyone at work calls the intranet but it's just a hidden page that only staff who have been given the link and login password know how to find, but I don't consider this an intranet (even though I'm not entirely sure what an intranet is defined as). I thought an intranet would be a server that is not accessible to anything outside the network which is definitely not how we have our 'intranet' set up. anyway I thought maybe you could shed some light for me and others.


There's no real hard-and-fast definition ... or rather what definitions exist tend to get used and abused to the point of being very, very fuzzy at best.

I'm with you in my general belief of what intranet should mean.

But "should" and "does" are often at odds, especially as usage changes and definitions struggle to keep pace.

Continue reading: What's the difference between an intranet and the internet?

* * *

To whom do I report these IP addresses attempting to hack my computer?

Hi Leo, I have two Russian IP addresses constantly trying to hack my computer. My question is, I have their IP address, to whom do I report this? It's driving me crazy and freezes my computer every time they do it. Thankfully, Norton catches it.


Only two?

You're in good shape then.

What you're seeing is extremely common, and one of the reasons that folks like me are constantly telling everyone to use a firewall.

Sounds like Norton's doing that for you.

I'll review what's happening, what you can do, and what you should do.

Continue reading: To whom do I report these IP addresses attempting to hack my computer?

* * *

Why do I get disconnected before I finish composing my message?

My wife has a Lenovo laptop with Cox as provider. As she finishes a long email, not typing too fast, the screen goes blank, with the comment she was disconnected losing the email message she was writing. How can the "writing" time be extended, before the disconnect note?


In general, the "writing time", as you call it, cannot be extended. That's set by the service you're using.

I'll explain why it exists, how it works, and why it's a good thing ... really. Smile

And of course, I'll suggest a way to work around it.

Continue reading: Why do I get disconnected before I finish composing my message?

*** Our Sponsor

NEW! Tune-up, Speed-up & Boost PC Performance..
Captain Optimizer 2011 is finally here!
Newest release by Softarama Labs
Scientifically designed to diagnose & repair all PC problems
for increased speed & stability of your PC.
Run a FREE Scan Now -

Advertisement. Ask Leo about advertising here.

*** Comments

How hard is it to learn programming?

Frank writes:

I am one of the "dinosaurs" of computer programming (my first college level programming language was FORTRAN in 1965). During the first part of the class I was totally lost, but managed to get it right by the end of the semester. My eyes really opened wide when I took an assembly language programming course - with some machine language instructions sprinkled in - and I really began to understand programming. By learning how the computer works I began to understand the logic on which higher level programming languages were built. I would say if you don't get it after 2-3 college level programming courses then you need to make a course correction and change majors.


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

Carlos Coquet writes:

What I tell my clients is that there is absolutely, positively NO GUARANTEE you will not get a virus no matter what software is protecting you. The reason is simple. Somewhere, viri are being written 24 hours per day and most antivirus software depends on someone reporting the virus to its developer, which must analyze it to figure out its "finger print" ("signature"), then it must be added to the latest database, and then the user has to download those latest definitions. That means that between the time each and every virus is written and when the AV software can detect it weeks can elapse. If you frequent social networks, music downloading sites, entertainment places in general, you will probably get "tagged". Some AV programs claim to detect viri heuristically, i.e. by their behavior. Problem is, it does generate false positives. You can't always be a good judge of behavior. Example, a father notices a questionable looking character in a playground following his young daughter's every move. Suspecting a pedophile, he calls the police. Problem is, when questioned, the guy pulls out his id and business card and he happens to be a talent scout for Sesame Street. Annoyed, he leaves and the possible TV star loses out.


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

Jerry writes:

The big problem is still YOU. You're driving the Computer, As far as I know, over the period of time I've operated a personal computer, I've never had a problem. Do I subscribe to file sharing, no. Do I invite anything that might undermine the sanctity of my system? No. Do I allow someone else to use my system? No. The fact of the matter is, that whoever uses that Computer has got to have the knowledge that safe guards the integrity of that system. I saw some information proposed that is " bleeding edge" But the real value is you and knowing what to do, and what not to do.


Why do I get disconnected before I finish composing my message?

Oliver Walter writes:

Leo's solution is also what I often do (using a simple text editor such as Notepad). For the FireFox browser you can obtain (free) an add-on called Lazarus that remembers what you type into web pages and enables you to recall it if the web page suddenly disappears (e.g. in an inactivity timeout or if you accidentally close the page).

*** Leo Recommends

ScamBusters.org - Keep Yourself Safe from Internet Scams and More

Anyone who's been a reader of Ask Leo! for some time knows that in addition to technical topics I often cover many issues related to the non-technical side of keeping yourself safe on the internet. Things like account theft, phishing, privacy and more are all common themes that show up in my inbox as people ask me questions every day.

ScamBusters is a site run by my friends Jim and Audri Lanford who are dedicated to providing education and information to educate and protect folks like you and me from the vast array of schemes and scams that are out on the internet.

At ScamBusters.org you'll find tons of free resources on how to avoid scams, identity theft threats, and urban legends that are making the rounds.

Continue reading: ScamBusters.org - Keep Yourself Safe from Internet Scams and More


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 actually came up at a conference I was at recently. There are two sides: it a powerful marketing tool, and an invasion of privacy - or is it?

Are you being tracked online?

This week there was news of a movement to create a "do not track" registry for the internet, much like the "do not call" registry.

Yep, big brother may not be tracking you, but it's likely that Madison Avenue is.

Most people don't realize how much their online activities are being tracked by retailers and advertisers. Most don't think about it, and those that do typically have a serious and often paranoid misconception about exactly what's happening.

For example a retail store might place your customer number in a cookie on your machine so that the next time you visit the site automatically receives that cookie and knows who you are.

Advertisers can also place so-called "third party" cookies on your machine. Since the same advertiser may be displaying ads on thousands of websites they can track where you go across those sites, even the sites you've never been to before.

So here comes the paranoia: "Oh my God, you mean advertisers are tracking ME?"

Continue reading...
Are you being tracked online?

*** Thoughts and Comments

(Welcome to the 2^8th newsletter. Couldn't let it slide by.)

I just returned from a conference in Greenville, South Carolina. A lovely town, but to be honest my conference buddies and I all spent most of our time inside geeking out. What can I say?

One side effect is that last week Ask Leo! was on auto-pilot. Another side effect is that I was pooped this weekend! The other side of the country is a long ways away! A more concrete result is that my to-do list has probably quadrupled in size.

So if I wasn't tired before... Smile

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom

*** Administration

Help Ask Leo! Just forward this message, in its entirety (but without your unsubscribe link below) to your friends. Or, just point them at http://newsletter.ask-leo.com for their own FREE subscription!

Need more help with or have questions about the newsletter? Check out the newsletter administration page.

Newsletter contents Copyright © 2010,
Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.
Ask Leo! is a registered trademark ® of Puget Sound Software, LLC

Posted: November 9, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4536
« Previous post:
Next post: »

New Here?

Let me suggest my collection of best and most important articles to get you started.

Of course I strongly recommend you search the site -- there's a ton of information just waiting for you.

Finally, if you just can't find what you're looking for, ask me!

Confident Computing

Confident Computing is the weekly newsletter from Ask Leo!. Each week I give you tools, tips, tricks, answers, and solutions to help you navigate today’s complex world of technology and do so in a way that protects your privacy, your time, and your money, and even help you better connect with the people around you.

The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition

Subscribe for FREE today and claim your copy of The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition. Culled from the articles published on Ask Leo! this FREE downloadable PDF will help you identify the most important steps you can take to keep your computer, and yourself, safe as you navigate today’s digital landscape.

My Privacy Pledge

Leo Who?

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.