Leo's Answers #260 – December 7, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

How do I change my computer's name in Windows 7?

I purchased a new computer June 2010 and it was named owner already. How do I change it to the name I want?


Yes, computers have names.

We're not talking "HAL", or "Colossus" or anything like that (though you could choose those if you like), just a name that allows computers to be uniquely identified when they're connected together on a network.

If your computer came pre-named (and many do), and you want to change it, I'll show you where and how.

Continue reading: How do I change my computer's name in Windows 7?

* * *

How do I get rid of the "Welcome to IE8" screen every time I start Internet Explorer?

I recently downloaded IE8, and it keeps displaying the "Welcome to IE8" instructions. How can I stop it from doing this?


It's annoying, and I believe it's gone in IE9 (I could be wrong, or that could change since at this writing IE9 is still in Beta).

It took me a moment to figure it out as well.

In a bit of draconian thinking ... you will submit.

Continue reading: How do I get rid of the "Welcome to IE8" screen every time I start Internet Explorer?

* * *

Can my IP address be linked to an illegal site without my knowledge?

Can my IP address be linked to an illegal site without my knowledge?


It really depends on what you mean by "linked to".

If you mean "identified as a visitor to that site?" then there definitely are scenarios that you need to be careful of.

If you mean "identified as the site", meaning your IP is somehow identified as being the illegal site, or hosting that illegal site's contents ... well, believe it or not there are some scenarios there too.

The good news is regardless of what you mean, there's a common villain.

Continue reading: Can my IP address be linked to an illegal site without my knowledge?

* * *

How does a VPN protect me?

I use a VPN - how and what are the protections of this versus just connecting through my ISP? What limitations does this have? Can they "see" what I'm doing (like using a Bit Torrent), and that it is coming from my account?


A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an approach to safely connecting to a remote resource. Depending on the VPN that privacy can extend from one end of the connection to the other, or it can protect you only for a certain portion.

I'll describe the different scenarios and how you are, and perhaps are not, protected by a VPN.

Continue reading: How does a VPN protect me?

* * *

How do I keep my USB device from becoming infected?

I put my USB device in many computers, XP, Vista and Win7 on a daily basis. What are some options to protect it from becoming infected and/or transmitting malware from one computer to another?


With the recent rash of malware that travels by infecting removable devices like USB devices, you're right to be concerned.

There are several approaches, but they depend on just what kind of control you have over the various computers you're using.

Continue reading: How do I keep my USB device from becoming infected?

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*** Comments

Someone's stolen my email account and is scamming my contacts for money, what do I do?

ladybugs064 writes:

I am presently trying to deal with the Hotmail people with regards to our hotmail account being compromised. Our account has been scammed to our contacts with the message of my husband being held up in Spain, requesting 2500 Euros, please send money to satisfy the hotel bill. I am presently feeling that the scammer has got more rights than me as I am having one hec of a time trying to regain access to close it down. I need to gain access to close it but they will not give me access until I validate all the information which I am not 100% sure of and can only go my memory. What a nightmare! A lesson well learned. I would never rely on any free accounts for business. I have presently set up a new account to communicate with them. Yes, I have a thread going back and forth with them but the confidence is just not there that I will get my problem resolved.


What are (and how do I get rid of) "Antivirus 2010" and "Vista Spyware 2010"?

AdoAnnie writes:

AntiVirus "Suite" 2010 has evolved. I had read about this on Ask Leo and knew what not to do, but my husband came in late from work a few nights ago, tired and bleary, just wanted to read his email and the next thing I hear him yelling and screaming at the computer. I glanced over his shoulder and knew what had happened. In his tiredness he'd simply clicked the wrong button and within seconds 2010 was full blown. Several of the comments above and Leo say to download a program from the net - no way, this latest iteration simply will not let you go to the net without redirecting you to its site to buy and download its malware. We simply closed down his computer. Next AM after he'd left for work I called the company tech center and we walked a landmine route two steps forward, one step back till we could get to a point where he could take over the computer. Thank goodness they have a program in place for this horror show, but it took literally hours (multiple scan searches to detect and then to make sure everything was clear) to clean this thing off my husband's computer and restore settings. Leo, you might want to make a comment that this malware is getting more malevolent.


My Windows Live Hotmail account won't close, what do I do?

Concerned email user writes:

I get the impression that people really aren't getting the help they've come for. I don't want to 'stop using my account' or 'ignore it', I want it closed. It should not be this hard to close an account. I've attempted canceling my Microsoft account, per the instructions that I got once trying to close my hotmail account. I'm getting taken in circles and I don't want to just 'not check' my hotmail account. It was compromised and people are receiving emails from 'me'. I've changed my password, I've deleted all of my contacts, to no avail. I just want the account closed.

Your account was compromised? You must (MUST) have control of an account in order to close it. This article, already on Ask Leo, discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options? - Personally I don't believe closing an account helps, since eventually the email address is returned to the available pool and someone can then create a new account with the same email address. All the machinations to close it simply aren't worth the effort. Tell all your contacts to ignore email coming from the old account and move on.


*** Leo Recommends

Word Tips - Microsoft Word Tips, Tricks and Answers

I don't know everything. I know that's a shock to maybe one or two of you, but it's the truth. One of the techniques I use to make it look like I know more than I really do is to know where to look for information.

Allen Wyatt's Word Tips is one of these places. Yes, I've used Microsoft Word for many, many years and know it very well ... but Word Tips has more answers and more suggestions than I could ever hope to have.

Continue reading: Word Tips - Microsoft Word Tips, Tricks and Answers


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 one of my more popular answers even three years later.

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

I have a disc which contains some information. I want to open it but I apparently don't have the right program installed on my computer. The file type is ".iso". How can I open it?

An "iso" file is just a disk image.

There are two ways to deal with a disk image: put it on a disk, or make it look like you put it on a disk.

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

*** Thoughts and Comments

I hope you weren't one of the users of the AVG security suite who got burned by their bad update last week. I believe it applied only to users of 64bit systems, but still - that's a lot of you.

This is, I think, the second time that AVG has had an issue like this and it's quite disconcerting. If there's one thing you want to be able to rely on it's the security software on your computer.

I winced when I saw the initial reports because not only do I use AVG on a few systems here at home, fortunately all 32bit systems, but I also include it as one of my recommendations for security software. While I primarily recommend Microsoft Security Essentials, I list both AVG and Avira (free editions) as viable alternatives for anti-virus tools.

I might end up making that list shorter. We'll see.


If you're not yet a fan of Ask Leo! on Facebook you might want to consider it. In the next week or so I'll be scheduling my first live webinar - and I'll be announcing it there, as well as to the (very patient) folks who've been helping me with ideas on my Windows XP Cleanup book.

And for the record, "first live webinar" is pretty equivalent to meaning "a test that could work really, really well, or go horribly, horribly wrong". Either way, I suspect it might be entertaining to watch. Smile

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom

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Posted: December 7, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4673
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