Leo’s Answers #276 – March 29, 2011

A Weekly Newsletter From
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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

Why is my computer slow for a while after I start it up?

Faster warm up. I searched your articles but maybe didn't use the best terms. I have several registry programs e.g. Registry Mechanic, CCleaner (and tried others), and run them often. I also do a Disk Cleanup often and Defragment whenever it says I need to. I do several other things e.g. clear history, cookies, files (what ever I can think of), and none of it seems to make much difference. After about 30 minuets, the computer begins working at a decent speed but initially it's just dead in the water and I might as well take a shower and have breakfast. I know this is common but is there anything else that I might try?

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Besides breakfast and a shower? I make coffee.

But yes, I believe there is.

What you're experiencing is actually quite common. I have a couple of things to suggest that may well help.

Continue reading: Why is my computer slow for a while after I start it up?
http://ask-leo.com/C4778

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How do I Remove a BIOS Password?

How to remove bios password? I can't boot CDs; how can I fix this without knowing the BIOS password?

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You probably can't.

BIOS passwords - passwords that you enter before even booting to allow the process to proceed - turn out to be fairly tough items to crack. That's (mostly) great news if you're trying to protect your computer.

Unfortunately it's pretty bad news if you don't know the password and need to get in.

Let's review the options...

Continue reading: How do I Remove a BIOS Password?
http://ask-leo.com/C4777

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Why Outlook Express Must Die

I rarely make negative comments about specific programs or products. I prefer instead to present a more positive view on the products that I like and recommend rather than saying bad things about the products I don't.

Not long ago Microsoft introduced the Internet Explorer 6 countdown in an effort to publicize the fact that there's no valid reason to continue to use IE6. Its days are over. IE7, 8 and 9 are all available, more stable and more importantly: more secure. (And of course there's a host of other browsers as well, but I'm not shocked to find that fact missing from the Microsoft site.)

In my opinion they didn't go far enough. It's time for another program of that same era to go away.

Outlook Express must die.

Continue reading: Why Outlook Express Must Die
http://ask-leo.com/C4776

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How can I be sure I'm getting the internet speed I'm paying for?

I live in rural Arkansas and I have been paying for DSL at a premium. Most of the time, however, my system runs like dial-up rather than DSL. How can I check to see if I am actually getting what I am paying for?

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There are many things that factor into the speed that you actually get from your internet connection. If you read the fine print on most ISP agreements, they're quoting you a maximum speed, not a minimum, and there is no guarantee of throughput.

Nonetheless, if you're paying for 1.5 megabits and you're only getting 33 kilobits on average, then it's time to talk to the provider.

I'll look at some of the reasons that speed might vary and, of course, show you a quick way to test.

Continue reading: How can I be sure I'm getting the internet speed I'm paying for?
http://ask-leo.com/C4775

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What's a "fraudulent certificate" and should I be concerned?

A few days ago, Comodo apparently issued nine certificates used for https on behalf of a third party without properly making sure that the person requesting the certificate was indeed the person authorized to do so for that domain.

Put another way, someone in Iran can apparently set up an https connection that could work and fool your browser into thinking it was validly connecting to httpS://www.google.com and nine other sites, when in fact it was not.

I'll explain how certificates work to confirm you're connecting to who you think you are, what happened here, and what you need to do to stay safe.

Continue reading: What's a "fraudulent certificate" and should I be concerned?
http://ask-leo.com/C4774

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Why am I getting (or sending) emails that contain only a link or spam from my contacts?

If you're getting emails from a contact of yours that have either no subject line or one that doesn't make sense and the message consists of a link to a site that you've never heard of...

Your contact's email has likely been hacked.

If people are telling you that they're getting these messages from you... well, you can guess what it means.

It's your email account that's likely been hacked into.

Continue reading: Why am I getting (or sending) emails that contain only a link or spam from my contacts?
http://ask-leo.com/C4773

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*** Comments

How do I setup Acronis True Image Home 2011?

Rich A writes:

I'm a long time user of Acronis True Image. Been faithfully upgrading it since it first came out. Recently I upgraded my operating system to Win 7 Pro 64-bit. My most recent TI upgrade was the latest (ver 11) I've had nothing but trouble with it. I did some research and found many other 64-bit users are having problems as well. I finally removed the product and found a freeware imaging program that works okay. I'd like to go back to True Image, but I guess I'll have to wait for version 12. The problem that I and others seem to be having are unique to Windows 7 64-bit operating systems. It works fine on my XP 32-bit system. And I did check with Acronis before I paid for the upgrade to insure it was supported in a 64-bit OS.

For the record, my machine is 64bit and the examples above are all taken using it. I'll reiterate that I find the most problems with Acronis' fancier features. I stick to manual or scheduled disk backups only and it's worked for me. I'd heard of the issues with 2011 and was expecting problems but it went flawlessly for me.

-Leo

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How do I get people to stop asking me to fix their computers?

B Pearce writes:

When we ask you questions...why don't you get to the point,without going into detail about our queries..ie...how do I remove IE9 and replace it with IE8...simple...but you have to explain the ins and outs...that isn't what we want...straight answers please....

I'll readily admit that I do attempt to sneak in some education while I also give you the answer in the hopes that next time you won't need to ask me at all, but will be able to resolve your issues more quickly and efficiently on your own.

-Leo

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Can I protect my data from deletion?

jim gassner writes:

Greetings, Enjoy your news letter and have a comment on TrueCrypt. The contents of the TrueCrypt volumes are not hidden from the Windows search companion on my XP SP3 machine. Any key word or file extension will pull them up and open them even if encrypted.

That's actually an excellent observation. When a truecrypt volume is mounted its contents are accessible in their unencrypted form. If you have the content indexer running it may index the content of your encrypted drive. While the documents thereon are NOT accessible if the volume is DISmounted, naturally they are if the volume is mounted. In addition there could be information in the index that you might not want others to see as well. I strongly recommend configuring the content indexer to NOT index any sensitive volumes, be they TrueCrypt or anything else.

-Leo

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Can I use the internal hard drives from an old machine as an external drive on a new one?

Rob writes:

Seems to me to be an awful lot of trouble to go to when a new 1 terabyte Verbatim Hard Drive just cost me $68.00 - on sale of course, but I didn't have to reach for a screwdriver!!

Very true, drives are cheap ... but data typically is not. Most often this scenario becomes important when people are attempting to get valuable data off of one of these drives.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

NoScript - A Firefox addin that makes browsing safer.

I think I've mentioned before that I run FireFox most of the time instead of Internet Explorer. One of the reasons I run Firefox is the wealth of addins that are available for it.

If, like me, you run FireFox, I strongly recommend that you consider the NoScript plugin.

Continue reading...

NoScript - A Firefox addin that makes browsing safer.
http://ask-leo.com/C3718

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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

The ability to send truly anonymous or untraceable email is important for whistleblowers and others at risk of retribution to be able to safely communicate important information that would otherwise be withheld out of fear. Unfortunately the ability to send anonymous email is a double-edged sword.

How do I find out who's sending harassing email?

My son has been receiving harassing e-mails that is sent to his yahoo account and on Facebook. How do I find out the IP and where and who they are coming from?

I think it's kind of frightening how often I get questions like this one.

The sad reality is that the answer for most people is very, very simple:

You don't.

So what can you do?

Continue reading...
How do I find out who's sending harassing email?
http://ask-leo.com/C3333

*** Thoughts and Comments

Austin anyone? I'll be in Austin on Monday of next week, wanna meet? I'll be at the Starbucks (of course!) at the base of the Congress Street Bridge (111 E Cesar Chavez Street - Google street-view shows me that it's in the Radison Hotel at that address.) Monday, April 4, starting at 5:30 p.m. for at least an hour. With me will be Randy Cassingham (http://wwwThisIsTrue.com) and his wife Kit (http://www.WeGetGreener.com) and perhaps another surprise guest or two. I'll have Ask Leo! sticky-note pads and stickers for those who show, and I'm told Get Out Of Hell Free cards will be available as well. Just look for the guy wearing an Ask Leo! shirt, and playing with what looks like an iPad, but isn't...

XOOM! No, that's not a misspelling of zoom, I now have a Motorola XOOM - the Android-based iPad competitor. As I write this I've had it for less than 24 hours and am finding it an incredibly useful little device. Why not an iPad? Well, I chafe a bit at Apple's control over the device, most notably the rumors that Amazon's Kindle may eventually not be available on it due to Apple's licensing terms. That's a deal breaker for me. For the record, the Kindle software looks great on the XOOM.

For that matter, so does the digital download PDF of Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide Smile.

The paperback edition of Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide is now available. I got a surprising number of request for "real paper". Unfortunately I'm not able to offer it at as low a price as I would like (books are heavy and costlier than bits & bytes!), but I do have to say I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It's also available on Amazon.com but the price is even higher there. (Though if you have the book and feel like leaving a review there, that'd certainly be appreciated).

Thanks.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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