Leo’s Answers #3 – December 2, 2005

Leo's Answers
A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom

Hello!

Last weekend wasn't the quiet weekend I had been planning.

My wife and I have three Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs. Wonderful dogs, we love 'em to pieces. We're also members of a mailing list, Corgi-L, which boast something like 2000 members, world-wide. I'm also a moderator on that list, and the new webmaster of the list's website.

Notice the word "new" in front of webmaster? Well, the transition's been a little rocky. In particular, I spent much of this last weekend frantically moving the site to it's third (yep, third) new location in as many months. When that kind of thing happens, I try to turn it into an article for Ask Leo!, as there are always many lessons to be learned. This week's article "My webmaster left, what do I do?" is a result of that experience.

The dogs, on the other hand, don't care. At least not about that. Corgis are typically focussed on one thing: food. Not edible? Not interesting.

It's simple life. But I'll admit, it has its appeal.

*** Contents

Instructions for unsubscribing are at the end of every newsletter.

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

Where is it alright for svchost.exe to be?

I was told that the file svchost.exe should only exist in the windowssystem32 directory. I was also told that if I find it in another directory, it is part of a virus. I have WinXP and found the svchost.exe file in the windowssystem32 directory. However, I also found it in the windowsServicePackFilei386 directory and in the windows$NtServicePackUnistall$ directory. Is this a problem? Should I delete the svchost.exe files in the non system32 directories?

Indeed, you were told correctly ... kind of.

I just took a look at my machine, and found all those copies and one more. Fortunately they are not the result of a virus, and you and I are quite safe.

Let's look a little more closely as to why.

Continue reading: "Where is it alright for svchost.exe to be?"

* * *

How do I download Process Explorer?

I'll admit it: I'm a newbie. I've seen you talk about downloading something called "Process Explorer". Great, just how do I go about doing that? Did I mention I'm a newbie?

Not a problem. Process Explorer is one of my favorite, can't live without it, tools. I recommend it's use frequently when diagnosing problems.

But rather than describing how to download it, let me show you.

Continue reading: "How do I download Process Explorer?" Article Includes Video

* * *

Online Shopping – Just how safe is it?

It's the holiday season, and there's lots of shopping going on. Why are some afraid to shop online?

Continue reading: "Online Shopping – Just how safe is it?" Article Includes Audio

* * *

My upgraded computer keeps shutting down - what should I do?

I recently upgrade my computer from an AMD Athlon 900 Mhz to AMD Athlon 64 2800+ including a new AMD motherboard. I also upgraded my graphics card from NVdia 8Mb Vanta to ATI Radeon 9600 256Mb, and my hard disk from 20Gb to 120 Gb, as well as the memory from 64Mb to 512Mb. However, I still use the same old casing, with one fan. It keeps shutting down after quite sometime and reboots. What could be the problem?

Sounds like you've upgraded your machine quite nicely. I'm guessing it runs much faster, and much smoother.

Until it dies, of course.

There's one component you didn't upgrade that I suspect as being the likely cause of your problem.

Continue reading: "My upgraded computer keeps shutting down - what should I do?"

* * *

How do I become a computer programmer?

My son wants to become a video-game programmer or designer. What advice do you have?

This is a very common question. Particularly with video games, kids really enjoy playing them, and are often drawn to the potential of creating them as well. There's even a series of TV commercials that play on exactly that scenario.

I've hired a lot of programmers in my career. I've also not hired even more. So I definitely have some thoughts and advice.

Continue reading: "How do I become a computer programmer?"

* * *

My webmaster left, what do I do?

My webmaster has gone AWOL, and my site is having problems. I don't know who to talk to, or how to get my site's back up. What can I do?

This was essentially the case for the web site for an organization I belong to. In fact, it happened twice, and we got very lucky each time.

I'll review what happened to us, how I recovered, and what every website owner ought to be doing to be prepared for exactly this scenario.

Continue reading: "My webmaster left, what do I do?"

* * *

*** Popular Articles from the Ask Leo! Archives

I love it when people ask their questions and include all the information I need to understand the issue that they're having. Sadly, it's rare, but I really appreciate it when it happens. Here are two items from the archive that really help:

Can I avoid retyping error messages when I need to report them?

In short: yes, sometimes.

In one of the shortest Knowledgebase articles I've ever seen, Microsoft points out how. And, as short as it is, the article even manages to include an error!

As of Windows 2000, and in it's successor, Windows XP, if you're presented with an error message, press CTRL+C. You'll hear a beep, but there's a good chance the message just got copied to the clipboard. Fire up notepad, and hit paste and if you get the message box text, then the the function is supported for that message.

Continue reading...

* * *

What's a Screen Shot, and how do I make one?

A screen shot, or screen capture, is a way to "take a picture" of your computer screen.

Why?

Say you're trying to explain a computer problem to a technical friend of yours, and you're trying to describe what you see on the screen ... the dialogs, the buttons, the messages, whatever. You're not sure of the terms to use, and your friend is having a difficult time understanding your description of what you see.

You know what they say ... "A picture is worth a thousand words." And it can go a long way to eliminating miscommunication.

Let's take a picture of your screen, and email it to your friend.

Continue reading...

*** Interesting Sites and Useful Resources

Did you ever wonder how you'd know if your firewall is doing the job? (You are using a firewall, right? No? Go here. Now.) In most cases you wouldn't know you didn't until it was too late - after an infection or compromise of some sort.

Steve Gibson's an internet security guru, and his site Gibson Research is coming to be known as the place for security tests and related utilities.

I really have only two qualms about the site: it can be a little difficult to navigate, and Steve tends to use what I'd consider to be fairly alarmist wording. But don't let that get in the way ... in particular, visit his "Sheild's Up" security checking tool. It's well worth a few minutes of your time to see just how vulnerable you may be.

If you don't have a firewall, you may find yourself running out to get one soon after you run the tests.

*** Newsletter Administration Department

Do you have a question? A comment, perhaps? Newsletter subscribers can drop me a line at leo <at> ask-leo.com. (I only give that email address to newsletter subscribers, so I'll know it's from one of my loyal readers.) If you like, you can make sure you get past any spam filters by simply posting your question or comment using the Ask Leo! Question Form.

I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - in fact you'd be surprised at how many. I simply cannot answer absolutely every one. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, I read every email I get.

Leo's Answers Newsletter is a weekly publication of Ask Leo! and Leo A. Notenboom. It's also available as an RSS feed at this URL: http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.xml?UD=nl. Archives of previous newsletter issues can be found on the Ask Leo! web site, here.

You're quite welcome to forward this email in its entirety, but you should probably delete your unsubscribe link below, so your friends don't unsubscribe you by accident. You may forward individual articles from this newsletter only if you include all and only the text of that article as found in this newsletter, including any links therein. You may not copy full articles from the Ask Leo! website - more on that in my section on copyright.

I'd sure appreciate it if regular readers got a subscription of their own. You can sign up here.

Till next week!

Leo Notenboom