Leo’s Answers #286 – June 7, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

What's a firewall, and how do I set one up?

I keep hearing the term "firewall" and how I need one when I connect my computer to the internet. What's a firewall, why do I need one and how do I set one up?

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Many types of viruses and other types of malware can be prevented simply by using a good firewall.

In your car a firewall the "wall" of metal between you and the engine. Its purpose is to prevent engine fires from reaching you.

A firewall for your computer is much the same - the point is to keep you from getting burned.

Let's look at the two common types of firewall.

Continue reading: What's a firewall, and how do I set one up?
http://ask-leo.com/C1941

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What's that "+1" thing I'm seeing on lots of sites?

What are those +1 thingamajigs at the bottom of your articles? Some have counts, others have zero. I'm starting to see them on other sites. What's the deal?

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Those "thingamajigs" (it's not every day that I get to use that word :-) ) are Google's "plus one" feature.

Think of it as something along the lines of Facebook's "Like" button or a thumbs-up icon. It's a way to indicate that you find a page helpful/useful/whatever.

Clicking on the +1 does more than just increment a counter.

Continue reading: What's that "+1" thing I'm seeing on lots of sites?
http://ask-leo.com/C4836

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How do I turn off User Account Control (UAC) in Windows 7?

I am the ONLY person using an Acer notebook with Windows 7 and have full administrator authorization, obviously. Nevertheless, there are many things that I cannot do (like unmark 'Read Only' from some folders or move/copy files into them. I get a message saying, 'You need full administration rights to do this'). If I click Continue, nothing happens. So the question is: how do I TOTALLY disable ANY limitations on the operation of this computer and in Windows 7?

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As I discussed in an earlier article, Why does my computer say I need to be administrator, when I am?, even when you're logged in using an account that has administrative privileges, you're not really running as administrator. You'll still need to confirm administrative operations - those operations requiring what's called "elevation" to true administrator.

User Account Control, or UAC, is an important and, in my mind, very valuable security feature. It prevents malicious software that you might accidentally run from having administrative access and wreaking all sorts of havoc.

I don't recommend turning it off. Not at all.

However, for those that insist, I'll show you how.

Continue reading: How do I turn off User Account Control (UAC) in Windows 7?
http://ask-leo.com/C4835

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Do I need to backup my webmail?

I have a Mac and use both Gmail and Yahoo! Last week, Yahoo! suddenly lost my entire inbox, about 18,000 messages. They could not recover them. How common is this? Shouldn't they have some responsibility? And more importantly, is there a backup for email like Yahoo! or Gmail?

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While your exact scenario is infrequent, the results are all too common.

People rely too heavily on data stored "in the cloud" and, as a result, they are often at a loss when that same cloud somehow loses their data.

If your data is in only one place, it's not backed up.

And you do need to take responsibility for backing it up yourself.

Continue reading: Do I need to backup my webmail?
http://ask-leo.com/C4834

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Can I backup to an internal drive?

I have two very large internal hard drives. One has my OS on it that I use as my C: drive and for daily use and the other is one that I use for pictures and so on. Is it OK to backup the system (on C:) to the other extra internal HD? Or should I be using an external HD for that?

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Yes, but...

Backing up to an internal drive isn't really all that different from backing up to an external one.

Each has its pros and cons - as do some of the other backup options that you might consider.

I'll walk you through the most common options.

Continue reading: Can I backup to an internal drive?
http://ask-leo.com/C4833

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

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

David writes:

I work out of my home office, and have two computers...one is my "work" computer, and one is my personal "home" computer. I do NOT have them on the same network, as they are kept independent of each other from a connectivity viewpoint, due to work security issues. So I use a KVM switch. Once in a while (about once every two weeks or so) it will "hang", and I need to re-boot both computers. But otherwise, works great, and makes it easy to only have one monitor, etc. and to be able to easily switch back and forth between work and personal systems.

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Web Of Trust - Website Trust Ratings from Other Internet Users

Steve writes:

If you use Firefox and the NoScript add-on, WOT (and more) is available via Noscript. Set your cursor on the Noscript icon on your screen which opens a list showing other sites used by the current screen. (On this very screen as I type this I see Google.com and Google-analytics.com and more) Set your cursor on one of the URLs in this list and then middle-click or shift-Aclick (left click for righties) and you will get WOT and more info. I use it frequently. Of course, some say I am paranoid.

Very cool. I had no idea.

-Leo

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What is "Print To File" used for?

John. writes:

When one of Leo's article is worthy of adding to my 'tech info' folder I just 'print to file' without the need to kill another tree by making an unnecessary hardcopy. John. :-)

I'll reiterate that a "print to PDF" solution is more portable for this situation. The resulting files are significantly more likely to work as you change computers, printers and whatever else over time.

-Leo

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Can I rename my Hotmail account?

Christine writes:

Hi Leo

It is possible to rename a Hotmail address. See the following link. This must be a new feature since the article was written.

http://explore.live.com/windows-live-hotmail-rename-account-using

That doesn't appear for all accounts that I can tell, but it's very cool if they plan to roll out to everyone.

-Leo

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CutePDF Writer - Create PDFs from any application that can print.

Nancy Clinton-Ross writes:

Just installed CutePDF Writer...one caution. When you install it, they try to sneak Ask.com and Ask.com toolbar on you...also want you to make Ask your search provider. You must uncheck the boxes before installing the writer software. If you choose to use Ask.com, no problem. Just a warning...... I don't know about everyone else, but I'm getting tired of installing software (sometimes just for experimental purposes) and ending up with "extras".

It seems common, and annoying, but I understand that it's a potential revenue source that keeps the product free. As long as they allow me to opt out on install, I'll tolerate it.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

Webopedia - Internet and Technology dictionary and search engine

Ever come across an internet or computer related term or acronym that made absolutely NO sense? And yet the writer, perhaps even me, uses it as if everyone on the planet should know what it means?

Webopedia is the site for you. "The only online dictionary and search engine you need for computer and Internet technology definitions."

Continue reading: Webopedia - Internet and Technology dictionary and search engine
http://ask-leo.com/C2572

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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

I keep getting folks asking me this, but what they're really asking is something else completely. Torrents are quite legal, however the files that you're getting using torrents probably aren't.

Is it illegal to download torrent files?

Downloading Torrent Files, is it illegal?

No it's not.

BUT WAIT ...

Before you run off and start downloading last week's bootlegged theatrical movie release, you really need to understand why that particular download and others like it probably are illegal.

Continue reading...
Is it illegal to download torrent files?
http://ask-leo.com/C3403

*** Thoughts and Comments

Reminder: the first monthly webinar is this Sunday, June 12th at 1PM Pacific time. More details are available here: Webinar #1: Is This Thing On?, which includes a tentative agenda and registration instructions and the registration link.

It also links to a new article: How do I attend one of your webinars? (And what's a webinar?) that includes not only an overview of what the whole webinar thing's about, but step-by-step instructions to register and participate.

I look forward to having you there!

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
Twitter - Facebook

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