Leo’s Answers #302 – September 27, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

Is Facebook going to start charging?

A friend just posted this on Facebook:


Is it true?


No, no, a thousand times no.

This silly hoax has been going around for a long, long time and that's all it is: a hoax. There might be many problems with Facebook, but being charged for it isn't one of them.

In fact, the answer is there right in front of you every time you login.


Continue reading: Is Facebook going to start charging?

* * *

What is Windows Live?

I see “Windows Live” everywhere, but I can't decide if it's a program or a website or something else. From what I can tell, Windows Live has almost nothing to do with Windows. I'm confused. What is Windows Live all about?


I'm actually somewhat surprised that this is a common question, but on reflection, it actually makes sense.

I've long held that Microsoft doesn't do product names well. It's not that the names are bad, it's just that they're often chosen without regard to just how confusing they are or may easily become.

Windows Live is just one such example.

It's not a product at all, it's a "brand".

And yes, it didn't really occur to me until just now, but very technically, Windows Live actually has little to do with Windows.


Continue reading: What is Windows Live?

* * *

How can I recover my encrypted data from my flash memory device?

Truecrypt Issue: I cannot read disk even though I successfully mounted Windows 7 Professional, Truecrypt 7.0a

Following your recommendation, I decided to use Truecrypt to encrypt a SD card that contains personal data to keep it off the work laptop. This has worked very successfully for about three months until this morning. When I entered the password to mount the volume, it mounted as usual with no error messages. However, when I tried to access the mounted drive (volume), it said, “You need to format the disk in drive Z: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?” Of course, I clicked No.

I consulted the Truecrypt user manual that said that I should restore the volume header. As recommended, I dismounted the volume, then used Tools > Restore volume header using the “Restore the volume header from the backup embedded in the volume” option, and the normal password worked. I got the message saying the volume header was successfully restored. However,, the same problem persists, "You need to format the disk....." as above.

This is a real disaster for me, I need the drive contents. Do you have any idea what to do next?


I do not.

I may have one straw to grasp at, but overall, I'm concerned that this situation cannot be recovered.

I'll explain why I think that is and what I would have done differently.

I'll also ask my readers for any additional ideas.

Continue reading: How can I recover my encrypted data from my flash memory device?

* * *

What does a gigabyte limit on my internet plan really mean?

I have a 2.5 gb/per month internet browsing plan. What does it mean? Does it include download & upload?


As ISPs face ever-increasing internet use, they're often looking for ways to either throttle how much their subscribers use or charge more to those who use a lot.

One of the ways that they do that is by imposing caps on your data transfer. A certain amount of transfer is included as part of your plan and if you go over that, you pay more or run into other restrictions.

But just what does "data transfer" mean?

Continue reading: What does a gigabyte limit on my internet plan really mean?

* * *

Why is it important to have different passwords on different accounts?

Is it safe to have the same password for all of my email accounts? If one has an account in Yahoo! mail, Gmail, rediff mail, etc., and sets the same password for all of them, will it be easier for a hacker or phisher to find out about it?


Using different passwords is much safer than using one password everywhere.


Because hackers know that most people don't take the trouble to set that up.

And they know that we typically have more than one account.

Continue reading: Why is it important to have different passwords on different accounts?

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

I don't have an installation CD for Windows XP - what if I need one?

Steve writes:

I fixed my particular problem (see my previous posts for the gory details)! In my case, at least, the solution was very simple and straightforward.

Using the information I gained from Leo's article that manufacturers such as Dell copy an image of the Windows XP CD-ROM to the C:i386 folder BUT the Windows error boxes weren't letting me point Windows to the C:i386 folder, I simply fired up my DVD burner software and burned a copy of the C:i386 folder to a blank dvd as a plain data disk. I named the disk i386 (not sure if the disk name has any importance here at all). I then placed the newly burned dvd containing the C:i386 folder and its contents in my first CD/DVD drive (the drive my computer always looks to for any bootable removable media-- but again I didn't make a bootable DVD, just a plain data disk).

I closed Windows and turned off the computer with my newly copied DVD still in the DVD drive. Then I did a cold boot up and voila-- Windows stopped complaining apparently because it was able to find the files it needed from the copied DVD and silently fixed the unrecognized file versions in the background as I worked. I opened up and used all my usual programs and ran through my usual operations. No Windows complaints and the system was working back at its previous speed which I hadn't experienced in a few weeks. Then I took the copied DVD out of the DVD drive and shut down Windows and the computer completely. Shut down went normally and quickly. Then I booted up again without the copied DVD and so far my computer is behaving as it should and is back to normal health and so am I.

Sometimes simple and direct works.


Why didn't Microsoft fix this horrible bug?

Saetana writes:

A most sensible and intelligent article, as Leo said, bug-free software really doesn't exist, anyone who has even the smallest experience with computer programming (6 months of a university degree for me personally) should realize just how complicated computer programming and testing is, unfortunately that only accounts for a fairly small amount of computer users so the rest of you need to rely on experts like Leo for accurate and (relatively) easy to understand information on these issues. Also remember that Windows Update and the Service Packs will sometimes fix bugs, although the Patch Tuesday download is mostly concerned with anything that impacts on security, understandably.

Trying to track down the source of any PC problem related to software can be an absolute nightmare, even for experts, so please cut Microsoft and all the other software developers a bit of slack here. I've been using Windows since version 3.1 and, even with all its faults (Windows 7 has been a HUGE improvement in this respect), I would not swap it for a different operating system if you paid me. Linux isn't suitable for me as I'm a heavy computer user and the sheer amount of work involved in getting everything I use to work with it puts me off. I wouldn't touch Apple because I detest everything they stand for, but that is a personal opinion.

I find it staggering to believe people actually blame Bill Gates for their problems, use a bit of common sense here people and also look closer to home for solutions before blaming Microsoft/Apple/whoever for your software issues.


What is the Event Viewer, and should I care?

ric writes:

over here we run competitions for who can waste the most of their time. "we've blown a fuse" you'll have to wait while I restart my computer" etc


Should I try Windows 8?

Robert Waller writes:

I'd just like to reiterate what Leo has said, I sometimes play with Beta versions, and have had disastrous things happen, luckily I always keep backups of backups of everything, I also use a test machine which only has my media software on it, so I can listen to music whilst doing other things on my main computer

*** Leo Recommends

Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free

I've been using Dropbox for a quite some time now and recently came across perhaps the most compelling reason to finally recommend it to you.

One of the common questions I get is "how do I share [files, photos, documents, whatever] with my [friends, business associates, contacts] without using email, and without having them show up on the public internet?

Dropbox solves that, and a lot more.

Continue reading: Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free


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

Perhaps a slightly humorous title, but still an important topic if you have children - or others - on your local network that you can't quite trust to be security conscious.

How do I protect myself from my children?

We're a family where the adults use the Internet for serious reasons but we can't take a chance on having our children screw things up - intentionally or by accident. How should we set up our home network?

Normally, we think of threats as being "out there" on the internet. The problem is that not all of them are. As much as we might know and do to protect ourselves, sometimes the threat is nearby, right in our own home.

In the children's bedroom.

The good news is that you can protect yourself from the kids. You just have to look at your network a tad differently.

Continue reading...
How do I protect myself from my children?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Oh, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook ... what are we going to do with you?

This week the old "Facebook's going to start charging!" meme started making the rounds again - so much so that I posted an article which includes a YouTube video that you can share, embed, point people at or whatever - that puts this hoax to rest. And make no mistake, it is a hoax.

Then, of course, there's all the wailing and gnashing of teeth surrounding Facebook's new interface, set to roll out in the coming weeks. No, I've not seen it, but the amount of feedback from those who have has been interesting, to say the least.

Facebook's biggest bugaboo is privacy - as in there pretty much isn't any. The safest approach, by far, is to treat absolutely everything you place on Facebook as if it were going to be published on the front page of your local or national newspaper. (And I do mean everything - many things you think are private might well not be.) If that's ok, then you'll be fine. For now.

If you are on Facebook I'd recommend you "Like" my friend Mari Smith's fan page. She's all about social media and has a lot of perspective on how best to approach it - both casually and for business.

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom
Twitter - Facebook - Google+ - YouTube

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Posted: September 27, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4940
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