Leo’s Answers #265 – January 11, 2011

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*** New Articles

What happens to my recovery partition when I upgrade Windows?

I plan on updating to Windows 7. My question is when I upgrade what happens to the recovery partition of my laptop? Does it get upgraded as well or do I just reformat it and free up the space? Other suggestions?

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I don't know.

It's not that I don't have some guesses (I'll share those in a moment), it's just that there's no standard for what should even be on a recovery partition, much less what might happen to it when you upgrade.

It's one more reason I really, really dislike recovery partitions.

It'll also depend on where you get your copy of Windows 7.

Let me run through the two scenarios and my alternative.

Continue reading: What happens to my recovery partition when I upgrade Windows?
http://ask-leo.com/C4701

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What's wrong with an email "blast"?

I mentioned to someone that as part of my business I was going to send out an email blast. It's a term I'd heard before, but my friend got quite upset at my use of it. Why?

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I'm with your friend; vehemently so in fact.

"Email blast" is terminology - and a way of thinking - that should be avoided.

Why?

Well, here's a clue: spammers "blast" email.

You shouldn't.

Continue reading: What's wrong with an email "blast"?
http://ask-leo.com/C4700

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CES Day 3 - That's a Wrap

I knew that coming to CES looking for things for "normal people" would be a difficult task, Overall I'm relatively pleased since I have some items mentioned in my previous reports that actually warrant some serious further investigation.

I heard from several people that there was more energy on the show floor this year than in the past couple. That's a good thing, and perhaps that's a reflection on the economy potentially recovering.

However, were there any truly eye opening products or demonstrations? Things that I really felt were both revolutionary and applicable to the masses any time soon?

No.

But there was some interesting stuff, without a doubt. And lots of it.

Here are a couple of the more ubiquitous...

Continue reading: CES Day 3 - That's a Wrap
http://ask-leo.com/C4705

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What is a valid Win32 Application?

What is a valid Win32 Application? Every time I try to install a new program, I get an error message saying "this isn't a valid Win32 application". Is this problem with my AVG security program? How do I fix this so I can download simple things like a Flash Player? I've tried the "fix" websites, but my computer won't allow me to download the fix programs because they're not a valid Win32 Application!

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Well, to be clear, you can download them just fine - you just can't run them after they're downloaded. The act of downloading just doesn't care if you're downloading a Win32 Application or anything else. It's only when the download completes and Windows tries to run what you just downloaded that the problem arises.

There are several possibilities, and I'll cover the most common ones I've seen.

I'll also explain, at a conceptual level, just what it means to be a "Valid Win32 Application".

Continue reading: What is a valid Win32 Application?
http://ask-leo.com/C4697

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CES Day 2 - Buzzwords, Swag, Clouds and more Backup

It amazes me that companies have logos or tag lines that, even after reading them you have no idea what the company is about or what its products actually do. It's like something out of a Dilbert cartoon buzzword generator.

And there were no shortage of companies at CES that made me ask .... "what?".

Also making me shake my head: the long lines attendees would get into simply to get some relatively cheap give-away or "swag", as it's commonly known as.

In my search for backup solutions, however, I did stumble on to something that currently doesn't meet all my requirements, but has a promise of things to come.

Continue reading: CES Day 2 - Buzzwords, Swag, Clouds and more Backup
http://ask-leo.com/C4704

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How can I make an income working online?

Is there a way you know that a person can "make an income" on the computer, without being a computer nerd?

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This is actually a very tough question, without a truly simple answer.

But it's a very common question, and perhaps even a more common unspoken thought.

I mean, to sit at your desk use your computer and make money ... sounds wonderful, right?

Well, it's difficult. It's absolutely possible, but...

Continue reading: How can I make an income working online?
http://ask-leo.com/C4695

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CES Day 1 - I Need Your Stories

The first day of the Consumer Electronics Show is always a frenetic one. Finding out where everything is, determining that it really is a long walk from the hotel to the convention center (or the monorail stop), and just getting oriented to life in sin city in general takes some time and energy.

Getting up at 4:45 AM to get here didn't help.

I have, however, been able to find a couple of potentially interesting products. I'll be reviewing them in more detail when I get home, but in the mean time, I'd like to know what your experience has been with them.

Continue reading: CES Day 1 - I Need Your Stories
http://ask-leo.com/C4703

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How do I set my Gmail alternate email address?

I created a Gmail account and did not put my everyday [alternate] email address. Consequently if I ever forget a password, whatever, Gmail cannot send info to my old address. How do I fix this?

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Like I said to someone who asked a similar question about another email service, it's good of you to note before you need it that your alternate email address hasn't been set.

And it's definitely something you want to set before you need it.

I'll show you how.

Continue reading: How do I set my Gmail alternate email address?
http://ask-leo.com/C4693

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*** Comments

How do I get data off the hard drive in my dead computer?

Michael D writes:

I work for a HD manufacture and your best bet is to have your data Backed Up. If your data is backed up a single hard drive failure is never an issue. We get that call all the time, and with the price of drive's being so cheap now, there is no reason not to backup.

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How do I keep my USB device from becoming infected?

JMJM writes:

I also use Panda USB Vaccine successfully. This can both protect your computer from being infected by a compromised USB device and also "vaccinate" a USB device against infection - double protection.

Also, "USB device" is not just a flash drive. I know of a case where a computer was infected by an infected digital camera.

Camera, video camera, mp3 player - anything that "looks like" a disk drive to Windows when plugged in.

-Leo

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The First 8 Things You Should Do With Your New Computer

James Nell writes:

Nope sorry , Do not agree with the windows update advice. I have had major issues with software not working after a Microsoft update. I keep my updates turned off and I stop the update service as well. Now my apps keep working and With F-Secure running in the background I never have any problems any-more , Except the ones I create . Like updating Nvidea drivers and suddenly my graphics apps don't want to work anymore. Also Microsoft tends to install stuff that you don't need and then they run in the background and hogs the system. Everything else is 100% . My Win7 OS runs for years and not just months and I'm on it up to 8hrs a day . I decide if I want or need a Microsoft update not them. But I never do and my Machine is as clean and fast as if I installed Win7 yesterday.

If you're savvy enough to watch every thing and decide, update by update, what is an important security update or not then by all means go for it. It's too much to expect the average computer user to be able to do that. The far safer of the remaining options is to have windows automatic update enabled.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

PDFCreator - Create PDFs from any application that can print.

About 6 months ago, perhaps more, I decided to go as paperless as I could. My prior recommendation of the ScanSnap document scanner was a big part of that and allowed me to empty three drawers of my four-drawer file cabinet, saving documents digitally instead.

Once you're in the habit of creating PDFs from paper documents, the ease with which PDFs can be used, saved and perhaps most importantly - backed up - becomes readily apparent.

As a result I've also cut down on the amount of actual printing I do by changing my default printer to the free PDF Creator virtual printer.

It's not at all uncommon to want to save something, say a sales receipt from an on-line purchase, by printing it. But it's rare that you actually need to save it on paper. Instead, I print to the PDF Creator printer which creates a PDF of the printed output that I save on my computer. If I need to actually print it to paper, either now or sometime in the future, I can simply load up that PDF in a viewer such as Acrobat or Foxit, and print to my real printer from there.

Continue reading...

PDFCreator - Create PDFs from any application that can print.
http://ask-leo.com/C3728

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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

One reason to consider the 64 bit version of Windows 7:

Why doesn't Windows show all 4gigabytes of memory I have installed?

Could you do a short piece explaining the RAM limitation in 32-bit Vista? Since I was given some memory by a friend, I've got 4 MB installed on my new HP computer with Vista Home Premium. However, my computer's System Properties only reports 3.25 MB of "Total Physical Memory" available. What is the reason for this? Is there any way to access or use the lost 0.75 MB in any way? I know some folks who are a little upset about this, especially since they were offered 4 MB of RAM, and paid for that much RAM, when they purchased their machines with 32-bit Vista installed!

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You've just described my laptop. My brand new Dell last year, with Windows Vista Business edition, has 4gigabytes of RAM installed.

And yet, Windows reports only 3326 Megabytes of RAM are being used.

Let's look at why that is and what it might take to actually use all 4gig.

Continue reading...
Why doesn't Windows show all 4gigabytes of memory I have installed?
http://ask-leo.com/C3251

*** Thoughts and Comments

Not much to add this week; I'm still in Las Vegas for a couple of extra days to attend another conference.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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