Leo's Answers #259 – November 30, 2010

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

What is a "broken digital signature", and is it a problem? If so, why?

My (free version) AVG software is warning me of several "broken digital signature(s)" on my computer. Why are these a problem?

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They may not be.

I've seen several people wondering about this error that apparently started with a recent update to AVG.

It's possible that it's a false positive - an error that's not really an error.

It's also possible that AVG is checking something new that most anti-malware programs don't check and discovering something - something that might be true, but still not necessarily a problem.

Continue reading: What is a "broken digital signature", and is it a problem? If so, why?
http://ask-leo.com/C4665

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Why are electronic greeting cards a bad idea?

I recently sent a friend of mine an electronic greeting card. He replied that I shouldn't have. He said that because of my good intentions, he'd now be getting even more spam than ever. Is he right? Did I just screw up?

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Electronic greeting cards seem like such a good idea. A quick point and click at a e-card service and you can send a cute virtual "card" via email. Quite often they're even animated, and with sounds or music in the background.

Unfortunately, all too often they have a hidden agenda.

You may be "giving" more than you think.

Continue reading: Why are electronic greeting cards a bad idea?
http://ask-leo.com/C2435

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How does what I do on my computer use bandwidth?

Not being too knowledgeable about bandwidths etc, I thought that all the massive movie streaming, TV catchups etc. that were being urged to watch (and my wife does due to the hours she works) would use more bandwidth than just downloading file-sharing material or am I wrong? I have music playing on the internet all day, am I being greedy? What's an acceptable limit for daily use? Why don't ISPs give us programs and guides to let us monitor our usage? Why don't ISPs limit the amount of customers they take on if there's not enough to go around?? Getting back to the original question, I think I read somewhere that they can only track what we upload and not download, or am I wrong. It's all so confusing.

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I agree it is confusing.

Fortunately bandwidth itself is pretty simple.

But the different ways that bandwidth can be used, and how it all adds up and how our ISPs limit and possibly monitor it is anything but.

I'll see if I can clarify a few things.

Continue reading: How does what I do on my computer use bandwidth?
http://ask-leo.com/C4627

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How do I get my menu and toolbar back in Internet Explorer?

I have lost my internet toolbar which allows me to go to my tools, file, internet options, etc. What do I do about this?

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From your description, I'm going to assume you mean that all this is happening within Internet Explorer.

There turn out to be a couple of things that make it easy to hide things, and as a result make things difficult to find.

I'll examine those, and show you how to get your toolbar, menu or whatever it is that you're missing, back.

Continue reading: How do I get my menu and toolbar back in Internet Explorer?
http://ask-leo.com/C4626

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How do I change my email address in Facebook?

My email address has changed; how do I change my email address in Facebook?

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Changing your Facebook email address is pretty easy, it's just ... different ... than most email and other services out there.

To truly change your email is three step process.

However, it's possible you may not need all three; Facebook allows you to add email addresses to your account without removing the old unless you want to.

Continue reading: How do I change my email address in Facebook?
http://ask-leo.com/C4625

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*** Comments

How can I tell what program is crashing my machine at night?

Peter writes:

Hello Leo,

From time to time I also encounter problems with the Black Screen of Death. For that I use the free program 'BluescreenView' of Nirsoft (http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html). It scans all the minidump files created during 'blue screen of death' crashes, and displays the information about all crashes in one table. It marks the drivers that their addresses found in the crash stack, so you can locate the suspected drivers that possibly caused the crash.
It's not a solution for every problem but at least it gives you a clue which driver could be suspicious. Peter

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

Alex writes:

Wow. These people who refuse to apply Windows Updates are the reason so much malware is being written! Refusing to apply updates when they come out, especially with "zero day" exploits is just plain crazy! I have had computers running Windows since 1998, and have religiously updated. The only things I have ever been "burned" by are viruses and junk I picked up on my own.

Micro$oft normally doesn't release an update until it has been checked out thoroughly. Running a Windows computer without updating is like riding a motorcycle at high speeds over rough terrain without a helmet. You will probably be OK for a while, but...!

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What are iso files, and how do I open them?

saikumar writes:

hello, i have downloaded a book, which is in .iso format. i had extracted by WINRAR and then I got the setup.exe file and some more files. then, I have installed the book, while opening the book, it is asking me that " it can't be opened without the original CD placed in the disk. please give me the solution to open the book.

thanking you

saikumar

If you've received an ISO file and not an actual CD I can only assume you've obtained the book illegally. In either case, contact the publisher either for assistance if this is how they sold it, or purchase the book and get the CD and you'll be fine.

-Leo

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Password Recovery Questions; how do they work and can I make up my own?

Andrew O'Thinny writes:

"The single biggest failure? Forgetting the answers. - By far. - This surprises me too"

Why does it surprise you? I think you're missing the point. I don't forget the answer because I entered a nonsense answer, but because the question was a nonsense question - one that simply doesn't have a unique or memorable answer for me.

Favourite pet? Didn't have one. First teacher? Can't remember. Favourite movie? I have lots, but in a few weeks time I'm not going to remember which particular one I chose as my favourite today.

Unless there is an opportunity to define your own question, the system is deeply flawed.

My surprise comes from the fact that it's so important, and people apparently don't understand just how important it is or they would pick something that they would make absolutely sure they could remember - regardless of whether it made sense or not.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

What Security Software do you recommend?

What anti-virus software should I use? How about a firewall? And what about spyware? Should I use one of the all-in-one packages that claim to do everything? Anything else I need?

As you might imagine, I get these questions in various forms all the time. As a result, I do have recommendations in various articles all over Ask Leo!.

Here's the short version that sums it all up.

Continue reading: What Security Software do you recommend?
http://ask-leo.com/C3517

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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

Yeah, I'm a Windows guy. But perhaps surprisingly, quite often the answer to this next one is ... yes.

Should I convert to Linux?

I gave my eleven year old son my old laptop to surf with but it's too slow with a 1 gigahertz CPU, 384 megabytes of RAM (maxed out)and running Windows XP. With 1 PC and 3 laptops in the household upgrading isn't really an option, and besides, it's a great laptop.

What do you think about converting it over to Linux, or am I wasting my time? What applications and utilities are compatible ie. browsers, anti spyware, virus protection etc.. How would you go about setting the computer up. I have moderate experience, utilizing forums and sites like yours when encountering major problems.

Linux is a great way to extend the life of older computers, simply because the resource requirements of many Linux distributions are so much less than that of Windows.

There are naturally a few "gotcha's" along the way.

But before we even go there, we need to make sure that we're solving the right problem.

Continue reading...
Should I convert to Linux?
http://ask-leo.com/C3216

*** Thoughts and Comments

For the past couple of weeks I've been moving servers, and probably will still be at it until the end of the year. Without getting into all the geeky details I'm switching from two dedicated servers that host Ask Leo! and all my other sites, to five, maybe six, virtual private servers. All together the results should be a faster more flexible setup, and at about half the total monthly cost to boot.

But moving's a pain, so I'm taking it slow and easy.

A site I just moved yesterday is one you might not know about: Leo's Mailbag. It's been in the site search results for a long time, so you might already have stumbled onto one or two of its pages.

I get somewhere between 50-100 questions and comments a day, on average, but post only about 5 new articles each week. I wish I could do more, but there are only so many hours in the day. However I do answer many questions directly via email - again, not all, but way more than five a week.

That's where the mailbag comes in - many of the questions that I answer directly via email are also automatically posted there. In fact, I recently updated my question processing system to make it easier to make things appear there.

Visually it may not be much to look at (it mimics the look of plain text email after all), but a lot of answers end up getting posted there now. As I write this it looks like about 50 responses got "cc'ed" there in the last week.

As always, the best way to use Ask Leo! is to use the search bar at the top of every page. Mailbag answers are included in the search.

But in case you ever wondered what those funky looking pages were, now you know - just me trying to make more answers available to more people.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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