Leo’s Answers #284 – May 24, 2011

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

What is "Print To File" used for?

I am puzzled by a little item "Print to file". I am loathe to experiment with it (from other painful experience !!) but nevertheless would like to know what it is, what it does, what its for, if or when I should actually use it . Does it have any practical benefit or is it simply a technical appendage?


I vote for appendage.

The super-short version is that it's somewhat of a relic, and that unless you know you have a specific need, you can safely ignore it.

It's highly unlikely that you'll ever have a specific need.

But since you're curious...

Continue reading: What is "Print To File" used for?

* * *

How do I use two computers with only one display, keyboard and mouse?

I have two computers but only one monitor, keyboard, & mouse. I would like to set up a network (I have a router), but do I need any other software or hardware so that I can see & work on each computer without plugging & unplugging cables into each?


Not only are computers cheap and their displays often somewhat expensive, but there's only so much room on people's desks and in homes. Setting something up so that you can access more than one computer from a single station makes a lot of sense.

Given that I have perhaps half a dozen computers that I deal with from time to time here at home, this kind of set-up is more than just sensible - it's a requirement.

I'll discuss one common option, why I don't use it (though you might), and what I do instead.

Continue reading: How do I use two computers with only one display, keyboard and mouse?

* * *

What does "No Signal" mean?

I am using Window XP and just started to get a No Signal message when trying to start up. When I push the Panic button on the tower, it starts. Everything works normally after the start. What's going on?


This message actually confuses many people, so you're not alone.

The issue here is that the message is not coming from your computer.

In fact, that's the problem.

Confusing, I know. I'll explain.

Continue reading: What does "No Signal" mean?

* * *

CHKDSK - what is it and how do I run it?

I have disk problems and you said I should run CHKDSK. Great. What is that?


Fair enough. It's easy for us computer geeks to take things for granted that we simply shouldn't.

CHKDSK is a command line tool that checks disks.

I'll talk about what I mean by command line and even what it means to check a disk.

I'll also show you how to run CHKDSK step by step.

Continue reading: CHKDSK - what is it and how do I run it?

* * *

How do I uninstall Internet Explorer 9?

I downloaded Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) released by Microsoft Corp. My OS is Windows 7 Professional. I was encountering problems, such as my computer slowing down, not being able to access Gmail, etc. I tried to uninstall IE9, but I am getting the message, 'An error occurred. Not all of the updates were successfully uninstalled.' What does that mean? Kindly guide me on how the IE 9 be uninstalled.


It might be possible to uninstall IE9. Unfortunately, there are also a few things that might cause it to be not possible.

Personally, I recommend that you stick with IE9 unless it's causing you serious system instability; even then, uninstalling it still might not be the right thing to do.

Let's cover both how to uninstall it (if you can) and what I recommend doing instead.

Continue reading: How do I uninstall Internet Explorer 9?

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

How do I keep my email address when I switch ISPs?

Ken B writes:

It still amazes me how many times I see a business card or advertisement with a web address with their company name for the domain name, yet the contact e-mail address is yahoo.com, aol.com, or some other free service. They've taken the time to get their own domain name, yet they don't use it for their e-mail address.


How do I keep my email address when I switch ISPs?

Bob writes:

It's also quite possible that you have ties to a school, college, or university, that provides free lifetime email addresses to their alumni. Check with your alumni association.


What's the difference between i3, i5 and i7 processors?

John Palmer writes:

To see the relative speed of most current processors from both AMD and Intel, take a look at PassMark Software's CPU Benchmark page:



What media players do I need?

jonrobby writes:

Leo, thanks for stating clearly that the video/codec situation is a mess. I thought there was something wrong with ME.


What's the difference between i3, i5 and i7 processors?

David from Brevard writes:

Intel processors are fast, buy I think AMD processors generally give me more bang for the buck. I'd like your take on the AMD v Intel question. Or should I ask this one level up, perhaps?

Much like the whole i3,5,7 discussion, I actually pay very little attention to AMD vs. Intel, and I think that by-and-large the original factors I list for average consumers is more important then brand. Naturally those who are more deeply invested in squeezing every possible ounce of performance out of their processors will have opinions, but a) that's not me, and b) it's not something the average consumer needs to worry about.


*** Leo Recommends

Web Of Trust - Website Trust Ratings from Other Internet Users

A question that I get pretty regularly is "How do I know if a website is safe?" In general, it's difficult for the average person to ascertain without help.

Web of Trust, or simply WOT, at mywot.com, is one very valuable form of help.

WOT collects user ratings from internet users just like you and me and makes those ratings available in various forms to make it easy to "look before you leap" when clicking on a link.

Continue reading: Web Of Trust - Website Trust Ratings from Other Internet Users


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 an important article for two reasons: A) people who've actually lost their administrator account password can get it back; B) everyone else needs to understand just how easy it is to get into a machine to which you have physical access.

I've lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

When I set up my machine I did set a password for the Administrator account, and then I promptly forgot it, since I never use that account. Now I need it. What can I do?

Do you have physical access to the machine?


You can reset any Windows password on that machine that you like.

And if that doesn't scare you, I really need to drive home a point.

Continue reading...
I've lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Secure Your Account! Windows Live Hotmail edition - An Ask Leo! Checklist

As promised, Twitter and Facebook followers got the news first: I'm (slowly) rolling out my next book: Secure Your Account! Windows Live Hotmail edition - An Ask Leo! Checklist.

As you can imply from the title there may be a "Secure Your Account!" series, and potentially more checklists as well. I say "may" because of course I want to focus my efforts where needed. The demand for, and success of these titles will help tell me exactly where the need is greatest and whether this is an appropriate resource for people.

I chose account security, and specifically Hotmail account security, simply because of the number of Hotmail account compromises I hear of every day. I can't say whether the people that really should get this information will make the effort to, but I can absolutely state that it meets my "where the need is greatest" criteria. And then some.

I mentioned last week that many of my regular readers won't need this checklist. If you've been following Ask Leo! for any length of time you can probably create a checklist of your own that would probably match what I've pulled together pretty well. Though having an actual checklist would be handy ... wouldn't it? Smile

And checklist is pretty literal, but it's more than that. There's a one page, 12 bullet list, of course, and an expanded one page list with additional sub-bullets. Then there's 60 more pages expanding on each item with background information, screen shots and how-to instructions for each item.

The PDF download is available now, and on sale until the end of the month. With your newsletter subscriber discount you can actually get it for under $10. Shippable CDs and a paperback version are on deck and should appear in the next few days.


I'm always glad I ask first. The "what's the best time to do a regular webinar" results are in, and surprised me. Time of day was pretty evenly spread, but Sunday came up as a fairly strong winner for day of week; not what I would have predicted.

So, tentatively, set aside 1PM Pacific time on the second Sunday of every month, beginning on June 12th.

More news here as we get closer.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
Twitter - Facebook

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Posted: May 24, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4827
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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.