Leo’s Answers #298 – August 30, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

How do I fix "The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed"?

My OS is Windows Vista. Every time when installing a program that uses Windows Installer, I receive a message like this: “The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if the Windows Installer is not correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance. ” Do you know any reason why this is happening and what have to be done?


Unfortunately, the situation can occur for several different reasons - some of which are understood and some of which are not.

As a result, I don't have the answer, but...

I do have something to try. Something that I have heard that can help get past the situation in many cases and should work in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Continue reading: How do I fix "The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed"?

* * *

What does "host name lookup failure" mean in an email bounce?

I sent an email to someone who I normally email. But now I get a Mail Delivery (Undeliverable) Message back three hours after I sent the original email that says permanent fatal errors and then: Deferred Name Server: xxx.com host name lookup failure Message could not be delivered for three hours, message will be deleted from queue. And then, it says Action Failed Status: 4.4.7 and says Remote MTA DNS etc. I have tried this twice and gotten the same message back. What does this mean? Is it possible that they forgot to renew their domain name? Or could it be that I am now in their spam or something? Thanks for your help!


Three hours seems pretty quick for the server to give up on something like this.

There are a variety of possible problems here; some of which could last for longer than three hours and yet resolve themselves automatically.

In your case, it's unlikely that you are flagged as sending spam and I would certainly try to email the person again the next day, or perhaps using an alternate email address on a different domain.

Let's look at how this works and what some of the possible failures could be.

Continue reading: What does "host name lookup failure" mean in an email bounce?

* * *

Encrypting using Truecrypt

I recommend Truecrypt as perhaps the most flexible, the most useful way to encrypt your computer, particularly if it's portable or you're concerned about it being stolen.

It's not necessarily a way to share files with other people, but its usage is so easy, so simple that once you understand the basic model behind TrueCrypt, it becomes something that is just second nature.

In this video excerpt from an Ask Leo! webinar, I'll walk through setting up a Truecrypt volume and using it.

Continue reading: Encrypting using Truecrypt

* * *

Is deleting a file and emptying my recycle bin enough?

If I have deleted documents/photos from my PC and the Recycle Bin, is there a way that people can still find them? Or have I deleted them completely from my PC/hard drive?


It is possible that the files could still be recovered.

It's also possible that they could not.

There are additional steps that you should take if you want to ensure that a deleted file actually is and stays deleted.

Continue reading: Is deleting a file and emptying my recycle bin enough?

* * *

From where can I legally download mp3 files?

This is a question that has been bugging me for a long time: do you know a decent site from where I can download legal MP3 files? I ask this for a relative, because I myself am old-fashioned: I either buy the CD or get the CD from a national library here in the Netherlands with 300,000 titles. I then rip the CD to Ogg Vorbis format and listen to it on my computer (Ubuntu Linux with Banshee music player) or on my BlackBerry (which, surprisingly, plays Ogg Vorbis). But this relative of mine asked me how he could download music to create and burn his own CDs. If someone wants to download music legally, I would suggest they look at iTunes, but with DRM and all that, I don't know if you can burn CDs from that.


My experience is that iTunes will let you burn some songs to CD, but not others. As I understand it, it's up to the music publisher of each song as to whether that's allowed. (And yes, it's frustrating when it's not.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a specific recommendation for you in the Netherlands. I'll touch on a few possibilities for getting music legally, but it's a surprisingly difficult question to answer in a useful way that makes it clear what is and is not legal.

I also want to address something in your question that has me a little concerned:

You might already be violating copyright law.

Continue reading: From where can I legally download mp3 files?

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

Just how easy is it to sniff network traffic?

Snert writes:

Privacy. Yeah, right. I never send ANYTHING over any unsecured Wi-fi that I wouldn't want published on the front page of our local 'gossip-rag'. Never ever. It's not that hard to set up encryption 'tween you and whomever you need to send critical info to and from. I use snail mail, pretty secure, to send the encryption codes to my contacts. Paranoid? Mayhap, but I feel safer.


How do I recover my data after a computer crash?

Chuck Ulmann writes:

. . . and in my opinion the final thing is to make sure can read what you backed up! Move it to another machine, copy some files and then make sure you can open them with the software in question. If it's a CD or DVD make sure another machine can read it. The best way is to test it on another machine/device/etc that is not connected to the source of the backup. I don't want to tell you the number of times I've seen unreadable backups and in 100% of the cases the party never tested the backup!!


How do I safely attach a wireless device that doesn't support encryption?

Georges Oth writes:

There is still another argument for avoiding the "solutions" with an open acces point, at least this side of the Atlantic: if your open network(-part) is used by someone driving by to do illegal things via on your network-connections, and you cannot prove that you have taken action to prevent this scenario, YOU are legally responsible for the consequences of the unwanted visitor's doings. And that can be very expensive (loss and damage, even time in jail, ....)


Do I need this add-on recommended by this software installation?

Dan writes:

I found some game software I wanted, and the site said it had to load its software to install it. Did that - then it said I had to load Realplayer to before I could install the software. After I loaded Realplayer, I did the research I should have done to begin with. I found out on the web that the internet company makes money by having users install foistware. It never did have the original software it promised. It just said it did so it could sucker me into loading other software. Uninstalled Realplayer, and it asked why in the installation process, so I posted about the company. When I tried uninstalling the original companies installation software, it hosed my system. None of my video or music editing software would work. I rebuilt my system and learned a lesson at the same time. Research everything before you try loading software. See if there is anything on the internet about companies that promise good deals, because you might be getting more than you asked for while not getting anything you wanted.

*** Leo Recommends

Kindle - Much more than an electronic portable book reader

Not quite three years ago (has it been that long?) I received my original Kindle as a Christmas gift from my wife.

I wrote an article back then So, what do you think about Kindle? and discussed some of its more immediately striking features. I ended that article with the statement "...I think Kindle might end up changing the way I read books."

2.5+ years later, I'm here to tell you that it has. And in some ways that, in retrospect, I never would have predicted.

Kindle's not about the device as much as you might think.

Continue reading: Kindle - Much more than an electronic portable book reader


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

System Restore frustrates me because I see so many people having unrealistic expectations of what it does, as well as seeing it fail often at times when people expect it to work.

Why can't I rely on System Restore for backups?

This is actually a synthesized question that reflects an extremely common line of thinking I see in questions and comments I receive.

I can kind of understand the thinking; it might make sense to rely on something called "System Restore" to restore your system.

Unfortunately, that's not even close to what it does. Add a couple of additional pitfalls, and relying on System Restore without completely understanding what it is - and more importantly what it is not - could lead you down a very dangerous path.

Continue reading...
Why can't I rely on System Restore for backups?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Those of you who are fans of Ask Leo! on Facebook already know this but I've taken my interviewing books out of my store and am in the process of putting the content online for free. Go visit Nailing Your Interview and over the course of the coming couple of weeks you'll see a new chapter get posted roughly every day. The original "Nailing Your Interview - inside advice on interviewing and getting the tech job you deserve" is almost complete, "Nailing Your Interview - for interviewers" is up next.

Facebook fans will also already know that I started a small new project that people have been asking for for a long time. The Ask Leo! Glossary is now under construction. If you have a term that you're uncertain of and would like to see me define just let me know. I'll of course announce here when the glossary goes live.

Acronis True Image Home 2012 came out last week and I've already purchased a copy in preparation for doing a series of videos and other how-to guides on backing up. They've made what I feel are some nice changes to the user interface that I think will please many people. My understanding is that the 2011 version had folks quite confused. Anyway, I've elected to make it the topic of our next webinar. That's scheduled for Sunday, September 11 at 1 PM Pacific time. I hope you can join me.

And lastly, I finally got around to updating my reading list. If you're curious as to what I've been reading lately I've posted it here. It seems a rather eclectic collection to me.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
Twitter - Facebook

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Posted: August 30, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4916
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