Leo’s Answers #283 – May 17, 2011

A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom

Hello!

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 Outlook 2010 to deliver multiple accounts to a single inbox?

Outlook 2010 seems to set up a separate inbox for each email account. I have five accounts! That's five different inboxes that I have to keep looking in. It wasn't that way in previous versions. How do I get it back?

*

If you're using IMAP as your email access protocol, I believe that separate folders are required. However, if this worked for you in previous versions, then you're probably using POP3.

I'm not really sure why, but Outlook 2010 seems to now default to setting up a new inbox for each account you have. Heck, if I read things right, it might even default to setting up a new .pst file for each account.

We should be able to tell Outlook 2010 where to go ... er, I mean, where your email should go.

Continue reading: How do I get Outlook 2010 to deliver multiple accounts to a single inbox?
http://ask-leo.com/C4820

* * *

How strong does my Windows password need to be?

We know the importance of strong passwords for online access to bank accounts, PayPal, email, Facebook, etc, but what about the Windows login password? If there's no concern about someone with physical access to the computer's keyboard gaining unwanted access, is it still advised to use a complex password with a mix of upper/lower-case, alphanumeric, and special characters versus something simple that can be typed quickly? In other words, how does a complex Windows password prevent a remote hacker from accessing my PC, assuming that I have all other defenses in place (i.e., firewall, antivirus suite, etc.)?

*

It's an interesting question because the answer can vary so dramatically.

There are scenarios where it's very important to make sure that your Windows password is indeed what we would normally consider to be a "strong" password.

However, there are other scenarios where it might actually make sense to have no password at all.

I'll discuss what's probably the most important consideration when setting up your Windows login password.

Continue reading: How strong does my Windows password need to be?
http://ask-leo.com/C4819

* * *

How do I change system fonts in Windows 7?

How do I change my fonts? On Windows 7, where are they?

*

I assume that you mean your system fonts - the fonts used by the system itself as it displays windows, menus, and other things.

There used to be a handy little dialog that allowed you to change all sorts of system-related appearance settings. The trick is finding it.

Continue reading: How do I change system fonts in Windows 7?
http://ask-leo.com/C4818

* * *

How do I determine my router's IP address?

I lost the IP address of my router. How do I find the address that allows me to configure the router?

*

Most routers work on one of a couple of different IP addresses. Rather than just show you those two, I'll show you how to determine your router's most likely IP address.

It's not a 100% solution, but it's pretty darned close.

Continue reading: How do I determine my router's IP address?
http://ask-leo.com/C4817

* * *

Can I switch back to Windows XP from Windows 7?

At present, I'm running Windows 7 and find it really complicated. Is it possible to change back to Windows XP Home Edition which is easier to use?

*

Yes, it's possible.

It's a bit of work and I'll review what it means to do that.

But...

I'll also share with you my thoughts on why I believe doing so would be a mistake.

Continue reading: Can I switch back to Windows XP from Windows 7?
http://ask-leo.com/C4816

* * *

Not found? Not acceptable. Websites can do better.

404

Not Found

The requested URL was not found on this server.

Those are words that no internet user ever wants to see.

So why are websites so quick to show that message for even the smallest error?

Yes, the requested page wasn't found. Fine. Stuff happens.

But did your site even try to see if it could do something better than give up? Did it even try to see if the user's intent could be inferred from what was given?

Did the site even try to give the user what they wanted anyway?

Continue reading: Not found? Not acceptable. Websites can do better.
http://ask-leo.com/C4815

*** 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!
https://cart.pcpitstop.com/go.asp?id=500140

Advertisement. Ask Leo about advertising here.

*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

How can I tell if my computer is being hacked?

Jeff writes:

I'm always curious as to what techniques people use when they feel that their computer might be compromised

A hacker can do anything they want with your machine, except get physical access. I would turn the machine off. Then you can stop panicking and rushing to do everything. The hacker cannot turn it back on (all though I have no idea what 'turn on via LAN' or those type options do) and you are safe. Now, you can research, using another machine, at your leisure, what to do about the situation.

But the first thing to do if you're computer has been violated is turn it off (or even unplug it).

An alternative solution could be to unhook the internet cable.

Also, since Windows machines seem to need to be re-installed every couple of years, you can clean your machine by using this opportunity to do your bi-annual installation.

*

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

Dan writes:

The point I was trying to make earlier is that the store is not at fault for these computers being loaded with crap. Yeah if the computer was on display then the situation is worse than if it came fresh out of a box there may be viruses and malware, but name brand computers are loaded with crap by the manufacturer before they are even put IN the box!

And if you restore the computer to factory defaults using a recovery disk, a hidden partition, or a disk created from a hidden partition, your computer is going to be left in a sorry state, full of aptly-named "crapware." Your valuable disk storage is hogged by this stuff, your computer is probably running a dozen "helper" apps, slowing everything down, and your registry is full of questionable values.

Manufacturers load up new computers with partially functional demo software and advertisements because they will get a kickback if you end up buying the software or signing up for the service.

Your best bet is to reinstall Windows using a real Windows installation disk--NOT restore the computer to manufacturer defaults. Then install the software that you want to use, not the stuff that your computer's manufacturer wants to sell you.

You will be amazed at how much faster your computer is, and how much disk space you have.

The situation here isn't about crapware. While I agree it's an issue, the issue this article addresses was the free and easy access of your new machine by the general public who've been doing lord-knows-what. The store has a responsibility, in my opinion, to provide you that machine in factory original condition. It's at that point, then, we start complaining about crapware. :-)

-Leo

*

How should I erase my hard drive before I give it away?

menja writes:

Just Reinstall windows

Unfortunately that won't overwrite the entire disk, and thus will leave things potentially recoverable from the free space that remains after the installation.

-Leo

*

How can I tell if my computer is being hacked?

Steuart B writes:

Many people who have been hacked will find their traditional antivirus, anti-malware and process viewing tools compromised and providing false feedback. A hacker of the kind that leaves Jeff paranoid would not want to tip off the user that something is wrong. Hostage-ware hacks, on the other hand, intentionally disable things the user would notice. The hidden kind are by far the hardest to deal with. I assume that everything running in a hacked machine's native environment is lying to me. Most of the hacks and rootkits I have encountered were specifically designed to hide from Windows, so running tools in a non-Windows environment often lays them bare. I use a boot disk (usually BartPE) loaded with some partitioning and process tracking tools which don't rely on Windows to run.

Compare a CD-launched process viewer with the one running on the compromised machine to see what's different and then do some research to see why. A partitioning tool can reveal a small place on the drive used to store the hacking tools. A registry cleaner can sometimes identify where hidden files are because it cannot link the registry entry to the hidden file and will identify it as an obsolete key. I even found one by accident when I turned up a deleted FTP log file using a data recovery/undelete software. The guy wanted accidentally deleted pictures of his daughter's birthday party recovered. I got back the pictures and discovered a keylogger and probable rootkit in the process. Prior to that there was no sign at all that anything was amiss.

What I hate most about these things is that I never feel sure I really got it all. The best we can do is clean what we find, update and patch everything, beware of what you type, and hope for the best.

*** Leo Recommends

Recuva - A free, easy to use undelete and file recover tool

As you might expect, I have a small collection of useful tools that I keep available for assorted system maintenance and troubleshooting tasks. However, for the longest time I haven't really carried a file un-delete utility with me. Not because there aren't some good ones out there, but more because I never really got comfortable with any of the ones I had tried. I certainly was not comfortable enough to recommend any.

I recently discovered Recuva, which I just added to my toolkit. It's free, it's easy to use, and it's from the same people that bring you CCleaner, which gives added credibility.

When you delete a file, the contents of that file are not necessarily immediately overwritten or removed. Instead, the space used by that file is marked as "available" so that it can be used the next time data is written to the disk. As long as that doesn't happen and the old data is not overwritten by something new, there's a chance you can recover the file.

This is where utilities like Recuva come in. They scan the available space and the control information on the hard disk to identify files that might be recoverable.

Recuva starts with a Wizard that allows you to specify what drives to scan, and what classes of files to look for. Let's say you just deleted a picture on your flash drive by mistake, you can tell Recuva to scan all the removable media for pictures, and it'll do exactly that. Or, you can dive right into the program's advanced interface and have it scan a specific drive you specify, and then filter the results based on type or name.

Continue reading...

Recuva - A free, easy to use undelete and file recover tool
http://ask-leo.com/C3605

*

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 a real and common problem; not just in technology, but in almost any walk of life where you're looking for answers or advice.

Who should I believe?

I was researching a question on the internet, and I find it very strange that what one expert recommends another advises against. I refer to various posts on discussion forums and advice sites such as yours, all of which are most helpful not often contradictory. One finds those who swear by a product and others who don't reckon much to it. That leaves novices like me rather bewildered to who to heed and who not.

Who do I believe?

I understand the frustration. When all you're looking for is an answer, it's puzzling to come up with various differing opinions.

I'll try to explain why I think that is, and what I do when faced with it myself.

Continue reading...
Who should I believe?
http://ask-leo.com/C3374

*** Thoughts and Comments

Thanks for the great response to my survey of best times for a webinar last week. I closed the survey and my assistant is tabulating the results as I type this note.

*

Speaking of assistants, please welcome Andrea to "team Leo". She's my new virtual assistant, and will be handling all manner of randomness that I generate. Smile I'm glad to have her on board, and don't be too surprised if you occasionally get a response from her rather than me.

*

As we speak I'm working on the cover art for my next book. The book's actually all done, I'm just needing to make it look pretty before I unleash it on the world.

What book, you ask?

Well ... my next one. I hope to announce it this week or next, as soon as i's are dotted and t's crossed. It fits what I see as an ever increasing need - or perhaps a need for awareness - based on all the problem reports I see every day. It won't be a direct fit for most of you (especially those of you who've been paying attention), but it'll definitely be something valuable for those arriving here for the first time after a certain class of problem.

Vague enough? Smile

Stay tuned. It's likely that those on my Twitter and Facebook feeds will hear about it first, but I'll spill all the details as soon as I can right here in an upcoming newsletter.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
Twitter - Facebook

*** 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