Leo’s Answers #277 – April 5, 2011

A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom


Do you have a tech question? Don't hit reply! Ask it here. Newsletter subscribers using that link go to the head of the line.

Questions about the newsletter? Check the newsletter administration page. You can also unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of this email. The latest newsletter is always available on-line at http://ask-leo.com/currentnewsletter.html, where you'll also find links to complete archives.

*** New Articles

How do I get rid of the accounts created by the store from which I purchased my new machine?

I purchased a Dell Studio off the floor at a big box store recently. It runs on Windows 7 and has an i7 processor. I didn't have the store take off its loaded software. When I boot up, the computer defaults to the account that the store needed when customers were test driving it. I've attempted to delete that account. As I'm the only one using this computer, I don't need other accounts. How do I reconfigure the boot up sequence so that the computer goes to my account rather than default to the guest account? And, how do I delete the store-loaded items?


I'll give you what help I can, but I want to be clear about something:

"I didn't have the store take off its loaded software."

That's bad, for a number of reasons.

Most importantly: you have no idea what's on your new machine.

Continue reading: How do I get rid of the accounts created by the store from which I purchased my new machine?

* * *

Why Am I Being Labeled a Spammer?

As I write this, over 125,000 people have my email address. Probably more, but that's the number of people subscribed to my newsletter. Right there on the "From:" line is an email address.

Naturally, some of them will forward me jokes, virus warnings and other hoaxes or urban legends. I know that they mean well and do so with the best of intentions.

But, I mark them all as spam. I have to.

Because that's what they are.

Even if I don't, others may, and because of that, there's a very important lesson here in making sure that the rest of your email keeps getting delivered.

Continue reading: Why Am I Being Labeled a Spammer?

* * *

Can I put more than one machine's backup on an external drive?

I'm new at this backing up stuff. I've lost some information over the last few years, but I don't put my life on my computers. I'm old fashioned and keep PAPER copies, DVD, and CD Hard copies. Anyway, I was wondering if you can mix your formats on say a one-terabyte "My Book Essentials" external hard drive. I want to put two computers and one lap top on it and ALL of them have less than 50 GB each, so a total of approximately 150 GBs. Now my problem is, one is a Windows 7 SP-1, XP Pro SP3, And a MACBook Pro SnowLep. current version. What would be the best division of the one-terabyte hard drive and can I format the division for the MAC by itself ? I just want to clone all of my HDs as they are now. Is this even possible? Like Clone, Backup, Bootdisk needed, which program do I need to do these things with? I guess I want to clone my HDs in case they crash or they get infected by a bad virus and I want to just be able to put a clean operating system back in its place with all my programs working as they are today. I have Free Avast on the Win. 7 machine and Free Avira on the XP and Free Sophos on the MacBook plus a ton of anti-spyware like SuperAntiSpyware Pro, CCleaner, etc.


The short answer is that it's quite possible to place more than one machine's backup on a single external drive. I'll admit up front that the Mac's going to throw me a bit of a curve because I'm not that Mac-savvy. Perhaps some of my readers will chime in with some suggestions.

I'll review the tools, terminology and - perhaps as important - the habits you'll need to adopt for this to be successful.

Continue reading: Can I put more than one machine's backup on an external drive?

* * *

Why do so many companies use "Hidden URLs"?

Why do so many companies use hidden URLs? The ones that are hidden under some phrase, typically "Click here for more Information!" They are training people to trust what they can't see, which could lead them to a spam/malware site!


It kinda depends on what you mean by "hidden URL".

I say that because I can think of several different kinds and most of them aren't intended to be misleading at all.

In fact, the one that most closely matches your description is the very definition of how HTML and web pages were designed to work.

Continue reading: Why do so many companies use "Hidden URLs"?

* * *

Why am I not getting the email my friend sends me?

I have a friend in New Jersey who sends me a prayer list for friends to pray for. I have not received any in two weeks. I called her and she has been sending them every day. Why haven't I received any?


There are actually lots of reasons why you might not get email from a particular person.

Ultimately, though, it all boils down to spam - specifically, the email being mistakenly labeled and disposed of as spam.

While a prayer list might not sound like spam to you, especially because you appear to want it, there may be other characteristics of the email that cause it to be treated as such.

Continue reading: Why am I not getting the email my friend sends me?

* * *

*** Our Sponsor

Free PC Matic - Performance & Security Scan

PC Matic is a collection of award winning
PC Pitstop technologies in one
integrated architecture. No other product on the
market today will do as much to improve the overall
performance, security & stability of your PC.

Run a Free PC Matic Scan Now!

Advertisement. Ask Leo about advertising here.

*** 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.



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.



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

Richard Lawrence writes:

Very good article. On a number of occasions just after logging-in I've started task manager, and that shows not much happening, usually c. 20% cpu. The computer won't do anything for me e.g. start Explorer or Word. So why not?

Check your hard disk. An awful lot of startup slowdowns are CPU related but hard disk thrashing. The CPU is basically idle most of the time just waiting for the hard disk to do whatever it's doing.


*** Leo Recommends

Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free

I've been using Dropbox for a quite some time now and recently came across perhaps the most compelling reason to finally recommend it to you.

One of the common questions I get is "how do I share [files, photos, documents, whatever] with my [friends, business associates, contacts] without using email, and without having them show up on the public internet?

Dropbox solves that, and a lot more.

Continue reading...

Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free


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

I don't always do it myself, but here why applications ask you to:

Why do some programs say to "disable anti-virus" before installing, and should I turn it on again after?

I recently purchased a new software package. I was told to disable my anti-virus software before I install the software. Why? What also has me concerned is that it does not say I can turn it back on after installation. What do you feel I should do?

Turn it back on.

There. For those with really short attention spans I wanted to get that incredibly important tidbit out there before you move on.

Now, as to why you had to turn it off in the first place, that requires just a little explanation.

Continue reading...
Why do some programs say to "disable anti-virus" before installing, and should I turn it on again after?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Not a lot to say this week - coming to you from Austin, Texas today where I'm preparing for a conference. I'll admit that when I woke up to rain this morning I thought to myself that I could've stayed in Seattle if that's what I'd wanted. The good news is that it appears to be clearing up and we should have sunshine and warm temperatures for the rest of our stay. (Unfortunately that doesn't help my wife back at home where the dogs get to run around in the rain and mud.)


'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 © 2011,
Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.
Ask Leo! is a registered trademark ® of Puget Sound Software, LLC

Posted: April 5, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4789
« 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.