Leo’s Answers #295 – August 9, 2011

A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom


Please do not reply to this email.

If you have a tech question 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 online at http://ask-leo.com/currentnewsletter.html, where you'll also find links to complete archives.

*** New Articles

How do I figure out who owns an IP address?

How do I figure out who owns an IP address?


It's critically important that you realize that you will not, on your own, be able to get the name, location, phone number, email address or any other specific information with just an IP address. Not only can an IP address change or be shared among many computers (and hence people), but the information that you're seeking is considered private and is protected by the ISP who owns that IP address.

To get that information, you'll need a legal reason to require it and that typically means a court order of some sort.

Let's look at what you can determine from an IP address on your own and a few tools that will help you determine at least the ISP that owns it.

Continue reading: How do I figure out who owns an IP address?

* * *

Why aren't illegal sites easier to track down?

How do banned/illegal organizations host their websites on the internet? I mean how can Al Qaeda host their websites/forums to recruit followers without getting caught? How do they get their domain registered? My second question is related to the first one. How can Taliban/Anonymous (hacker group) tweet or use Facebook without getting caught? Why can't they be caught from their IP Address?


This is actually a very complex question that involves some amount of technology - and what can and can be done with it.

More than anything else, though, it's about international law, politics, and a very, very stark realization.

Not everyone on the planet thinks as we might.

And that "planet" part is important.

Continue reading: Why aren't illegal sites easier to track down?

* * *

How do I use an "unallocated space" partition in Windows 7?

What does “unallocated space” on a hard drive mean? Is it just sitting there, waiting to be used when needed or what? My hard drive is now divided into two halves of 250GB each. I would like to have the whole hard drive clean and free. I searched your archives but there is nothing on deleting a stuck partition.


Well, in a sense, it is just sitting there, waiting to be used. The problem is that it's waiting for you to tell it how it should be used.

Basically, you have an empty, unused partition and you need to decide how you would like that space to be used. Then, you need to tell Windows to use it.

Fortunately, this is pretty simple in Windows 7 and doesn't require any additional tools; basic partition management and rearrangement is built right in.

Continue reading: How do I use an "unallocated space" partition in Windows 7?

* * *

How do I reset my router's password?

My router is not accepting my password. How do I reset it?


I'll assume that you mean your router's administrative password - the password that you need to make changes to your router's configuration.

The specific answer will depend on the manufacturer and model of your specific router, but the good news is that a reset is almost always very easy to do.

Continue reading: How do I reset my router's password?

* * *

Managing Lots of Passwords

Password management is fundamentally a conflict between passwords that are easy to remember and passwords that are secure. The thing that we end up having to do is to consider using technology to help us remember what the passwords are.

In this video excerpt from an Ask Leo! webinar, I'll walk through using LastPass.

Continue reading: Managing Lots of Passwords

*** 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.

*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

Two-Factor Authentication

Mark J writes:

European banks have had two-factor authentication since the 90s. They mail you a TAN (Transaction Account Number) list and each number can only be used once to perform a transaction such as a transfer to someone else's account.

This is now being phased out by some banks in favor of something even more secure. The TAN system is flawed in that people often leave their TAN lists in vulnerable places and even write their PIN on the list.

Now many are using such things as Mobil Phone TANs, TAN calculators which generate a one time TAN in various ways, USB dongles etc. This second factor of authorization has made European banking much more advanced than in the US.

With that system, it is possible for anybody to easily transfer money to anyone else's bank account without having to set up a payment with their bank.


Can I move my system drive to another computer and have it work?

Terry T writes:

When attempting to move an existing operating system on a drive to a new computer, I have always booted into 'safe mode with networking' to start. Then you have a chance to install/update drivers with the least chance of conflicts. It has worked for me more than once...


Two-Factor Authentication

Brad writes:

Online banking thru my bank has started something similar, at least a 'second layer' of so-called security.

I say so-called because it is completely bogus.

I am asked several questions based on 'public records' that they presume I should know the answer to. The questions are so poorly configured as to be IMPOSSIBLE to answer correctly. Example: 'Where does own property?' A list of localities follows the question. The person referred to is my former wife. I don't know where she lives, let alone where she does/does not own property. The last answer choice is: 'None of the above or you do not know this person.'

And there is the problem. I cannot answer that question correctly.

...and every time I've been asked the question, my best guess answer (the last choice noted above) is wrong. The result is I am locked out of my account. I then have to call the bank, press this number, that number, some other number on the phone...then wait to talk to an agent.

Once, I called them mid morning PDT and got a recording (after pressing all the phone buttons to GET to 'online banking') telling me they were CLOSED, then I was told the 'normal hours' they were open. Of course, I was calling smack dab in the MIDDLE of that timeframe.

My point is this: While attempting to increase security for banking functions is commendable, using functions that are impossible to navigate correctly benefits absolutely no one. ALL it amounts to is being a pain in the buttocks.

My reaction: you need a new bank. This one clearly doesn't "get" security.



How do I recover my data after a computer crash?

Stu writes:

We had a power spike a couple of years ago at school and three different hard drives were ruined. Unfortunately, one of them was the main student information drive and another was its backup! (The former "Tech Director", who had been warned by several of us about her weak data protection plans, has since been replaced.)

Anyway, we took bids from three different data recovery services. After checking their references, the most expensive was the only one that used detailed sector-by-sector recovery techniques, so they got the job. It took a few days, but over 98% of the data on the prime HD was recovered, and the missing 2% was recoverable from the backup. The lessons (both of which Leo has mentioned) are (1) have a good plan to protect your data, and (2) if something does happen, remember that you're likely to get what you pay for.


How do I recover my data after a computer crash?

Steve Burgess writes:

Leo, I mostly agree with the steps you laid out, but maybe not in the order that you laid them out. If they can boot, I'd start with a search. If the system won't boot, I usually tell people to first try starting in Safe Mode and see if they can locate their files. And if that won't work, I'd say the next step is to put the drive in a USB enclosure and mount as an external. I give this advice daily & I think more than half the people who call solve their problems thereby.

Although CHKDSK since WinNT is usually quite good, it can also make a further hash of things. That's why I'd next have them go with the data recovery software that (importantly) does not write to the source drive,

If the drive is making loud, bad noises, (and it's clear that the noise is coming from the drive rather the computer's power supply) and the data is worth those hundreds of dollars, it might be a good idea to just unplug the computer and not risk further damage before sending it to a data recovery house. There's some further advice in an article here: http://www.burgessforensics.com/article_what_to_do.php (it has a little bit of advertising in it).

*** Leo Recommends

The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is one of those sites that you could spend hours just browsing around. They've really gone the extra mile and are providing video and audio archives as well. It's an amazing site.

The Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine" is extra cool and a great resource if the website or page you were looking for has dropped off of the internet. It might still be in the Wayback Machine! Quoting the site: "The Internet Archive Wayback Machine puts the history of the World Wide Web at your fingertips. The Archive contains over 100 terabytes and 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present."

Continue reading: The Internet Archive


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 one surprises people still...

Why are some of my file names blue?

Why are some of my file names in blue font, while most are black?

It's a feature!

I'm assuming that you're referring to the Windows Explorer listing of files, probably in detail view.

The blue files are compressed.

Let's talk about what that means and how you can turn that display on and off.

Continue reading...
Why are some of my file names blue?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Whoopsie. Last week's newsletter should have been number 294, but it was incorrectly numbered as 295. This is #295.

Tomorrow, August 10th, is the 8th anniversary of Ask Leo!.

Holy cow!

Seriously, if you'd asked me eight years ago what I was doing and what it might turn into, I'd have just shrugged my shoulders. I had no real clue (but I did benefit from some excellent mentors).

Closing in on 300 issues of the newsletter, over 2,600 articles and holding at around a million and a half visitors every month, it's turned into quite something.

And I have you to thank for it.

So, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You! - For subscribing, for visiting, for telling friends, for your feedback and your questions. It just wouldn't be possible without you.

In keeping with the tradition, I've posted this year's collection of some of the strange, the odd, the indecipherable, and just plain weird questions I get. It's over on my personal blog in an article titled Who do they think I am?


Internet Safety - Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet

Just in time for the anniversary, one of the things that I've been working on in recent weeks is an update to my Internet Safety ebook. You might not recall but it was offered as a FREE bonus when you signed up for the newsletter. Updates are also free. Just head on over to my store and download a copy of Internet Safety - Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet. Even though it's at my "store", there's no purchase and no information required - it's a directly downloadable free PDF.

Don't forget this month's webinar this coming Sunday the 14th at 1PM PDT. The theme will be encrypting files, with demonstrations of assorted encryption technologies, including the most common way to use TrueCrypt. Attendance is limited, register now.

'Till next week...

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!

Newsletter Subscriber Benefits (only mentioned here)

  • Visit http://ask-leo.com/subscriber to submit your comments and questions and get to the top of the question queue.
  • Coupon code NEWS20 gets you 20% off everything in the Puget Sound Software Store, where you'll find my ebooks and other Ask Leo! related merchandise. That coupon code changes from time to time, so be sure to check here each week.

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: August 9, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4897
« 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.