Leo’s Answers #280 – April 26, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

How can I backup my computer to that of a friend remotely?

I am trying to find a way to backup my computer automatically to a hard drive at another physical location (my parent's house). Is there a way to do this?

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This is a pretty interesting scenario, and one that I personally used for some time while my wife had a retail business at a different location from my home. I would regularly backup in both directions - simultaneously achieving "off site" backups for each.

But there were, and still are, limitations.

Today there are a couple of approaches to "peer-to-peer" backup; I'll cover the most appropriate.

There are also a couple of things that people often think should work, and would work in concept, but simply can't work for practical considerations.

Continue reading: How can I backup my computer to that of a friend remotely?
http://ask-leo.com/C4802

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Are my accesses of Google Docs recorded? For how long?

A friend sent me an email containing a sensitive legal document in the form of a Google Doc. I did not ask for this document. I did not and do not want it. I deleted the email containing the document. I can still view the document in Google Docs. It seems that my email address will now forever be associated with this document on Google records. I suppose that it's useless to try to get Google to remove this association. Because of this, I will never use Google Docs in any way. My question is: Is there any way to predetermine if an email contains a Google Doc? If it does and if I don't open it, will my email address still be forever associated with that document on Google's records?

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There are a few misconceptions in this question that I want to clear up.

There are also a few questions that simply cannot be answered.

But I do want to cover the privacy and security issues that it raises, because my gut reaction is that you're overreacting by forever avoiding Google Docs.

Continue reading: Are my accesses of Google Docs recorded? For how long?
http://ask-leo.com/C4801

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Can I backup files to another partition on the same hard disk?

I am going to do a clean install of Windows 7 x64 to hopefully fix some errors, which means that I need to back up my files. The problem is that I don't quite have the means to back up my hard drive. Can I simply create a new partition on my existing drive (1TB), copy my files to that, and then perform a clean install on the existing Windows partition? Afterward, I would transfer the files back and delete the "backup" partition. Would that work or am I heading in the wrong direction?

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Yes, but...

There are risks. In fact, you're running a huge risk without even doing a thing.

Because people often ask if backing up to a separate partition is a valid backup approach, let's examine the scenario in more detail.

Continue reading: Can I backup files to another partition on the same hard disk?
http://ask-leo.com/C4800

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What does "To help protect your computer, Windows has closed this program" mean? And what do I do?

When I move files (mainly video files, but it also happens with other file types) from one directory to another, I get an error message that says that for safety reasons (to better protect my computer), Windows XP has decided to shut down Windows Explorer. I use XP, service pack 3. I presume that I need to reset some safety features, but I haven't got a clue which ones. Other than that, the PC runs fine. Any idea on what I can do to fix this?

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The error message in question - "To help protect your computer, Windows has closed this program" - is a result of DEP, or "Data Execution Prevention", a security feature in Windows.

While we could turn that off, that would not be the right thing to do.

Copying files simply shouldn't result in a DEP error.

Continue reading: What does "To help protect your computer, Windows has closed this program" mean? And what do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C4799

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A computer crash lost my Outlook data file - what should I use instead of Outlook to prevent this in the future?

My Outlook files/database was eliminated when my computer crashed. What organization do you recommend as an email provider that will not be destroyed when the computer goes "kaput"? I am a travel writer and have stored articles/research/meeting information on Outlook - and now, the information is no longer available.

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First, I'm sorry that you lost so much work. And you're right in trying to take action to prevent that from happening again.

But, there are a couple of misunderstandings in your question that I want to clear up. Fundamentally, what I think you're asking isn't actually going to help you the next time that your computer crashes.

Put another way, it wasn't Outlook's fault.

And regular readers will know almost immediately what I'm about to recommend as the solution.

Continue reading: A computer crash lost my Outlook data file - what should I use instead of Outlook to prevent this in the future?
http://ask-leo.com/C4798

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

Where did my folders go in Windows Live Hotmail?

Aimee writes:

Neither of the above situations pertain to me. I had to reset my password for my account and when I signed back in the next day all my inbox messages from before 4-4-11 were gone as were the folders I created. How else can I find them?

I'm guessing that unless you had them backed up elsewhere, you cannot. You didn't say why you had password problems, but if, for example, your account had been hacked the hacker could have deleted everything permanently.

-Leo

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What is the Event Viewer, and should I care?

Faith writes:

Wow! This is such a relief and I am amazed to see that people like me also got the same call. He wanted me to allow him to give him remote control and File Manager access, that's when I snapped! He kept on persuading me to do it but kept saying no then he lost his patient swore at me, that's when I hung up. Bless you Leo for posting this!!!

This scam does seem to be pretty common right now. This article covers it in more detail: Is my ISP calling me to clear up my problems with Windows?

-Leo

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How can a message I send by using "Reply" bounce?

realist writes:

You forgot Reason 3. All those companies who put "no-reply" or "do-not-reply" in the From line and just send you "visit website" messages. The scary part is that this happens with reputable companies (particularly the larger ones) and it's not only the spammers. It seems some companies have an aversion to being contacted even when you want to actually buy something let alone ask for information.

While it is bad practice to put "do not reply" or "this address isn't monitored" kind of email addresses, I can sympathise with the reasons for doing so. Every time I send a newsletter I get *flooded* with out-of-office and other messages. Often "real" messages are simply lost in all that. That's why I strongly recommend people contact me only via the web forms and not via email.

-Leo

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Why Outlook Express Must Die

Anita writes:

I am really offended by your comment on Outlook Express. I have been using it for 10 years and it has been nothing short of great! I have been a part of Yahoo groups for all of the above 10 years which has meant a large volume of emails per day, almost without exception these have had attachments. During the afformentioned period I have discovered the pleasure of creating email stationary and learning how to script my stationary to do some pretty cool stuff.

My comments aren't intended to offend, and I don't see why they should. My opinion is based on the experience I have seeing people lose their email on a regular basis simply because of Outlook Express, and knowing that there are no more updates coming for it to fix any of the problems it has. My opinion is meant simply to warn people that I honestly believe continuing to use Outlook Express is putting your email at a level of risk that is both unnecessary, given the many alternatives, and in my opinion unacceptable.

-Leo

*** 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
http://ask-leo.com/C4540

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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

Ever lose track? I know I have...

Can I find out where my email address has been used?

I want to find out what public sites my email address is attached to. Is there a website that I can go to, put my e-mail address in, and have it scan and tell me if my email address was used on sites like MySpace or anything else that I have signed up for?

The short answer is no, there is no place to find out where or what sites are using your e-mail address for registration.

However, there is at least one interesting thing you can do to find out how your e-mail address is being used.

Continue reading...
Can I find out where my email address has been used?
http://ask-leo.com/C3358

*** Thoughts and Comments

A friend recommended Today We Are Rich (Tim Sanders) a few weeks back, and that recommendation inspired me to re-kindle (accidental pun ... wait for it) my reading habit. One of the principles in the book is simply "Feed Your Mind Good Stuff" - which I've been neglecting for too long.

So, in the past several weeks I've read that, as well as Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill), Love is the Killer App (Tim Sanders), 8-minute meditation (Victor Davich), The Corporate Storyteller (Elaine Stirling), Poke the Box (Seth Godin), Linchpin (Seth Godin).

I'm currently reading: Learned Optimism (Martin Seligman), Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves), Meditation Made Easy (Lorin Roche, Ph.D.), How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (Dale Carnegie).

And my to-be-read pile? Oh my, has it been growing.

Well, virtually growing that is. I do all my reading on Amazon Kindle (pun complete) these days. I have it on my HTC Incredible phone, my Motorola Xoom tablet, my laptop and my desktop computers - and, oh yeah, I have my old version 1 Kindle lying around here too, and my wife has her version 3. (I have to say, though, that it's so cool that you don't need to purchase a Kindle device to read books available on Kindle - the Kindle software's a free download for most other devices).

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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