Leo’s Answers #304 – October 11, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

Why would one disk defragmenting program take so much more time than another?

My question pertains to disk defragmenting programs. I'm not having any issues, but I would appreciate a little clarification on how one may differ from another and their effectiveness, if any. I have Windows Vista 32-bit W/SP2 installed. I have a 320GB hard drive that's three months old and the OS was a fresh install also at that time. I'm currently using 55GB and 10GB of that are allotted for system restore points. I have two defrag utilities currently installed and I am thinking of purchasing one of them. I don't use Windows defragger at all. As a rule, I try to not let the disk get above 10-15% fragmented. I defrag about once a week for now. One of the programs never takes less than 45 minutes to do a normal defrag and the other never takes more than 10 minutes to complete the task. How effective or thorough can a program be if it's finished before you can blink an eye? And is this a fair assessment of how good a utility is, by how fast it can complete the task? They all say that they're the best thing since sliced bread and lightening fast, but I have to wonder if quality is being sacrificed for speed. I would appreciate an objective opinion if you have one on this subject.


I'll start by saying that disk defragmenting is highly overrated.

I'm not saying it's unimportant. It is important. I am saying that it's just not as important as many people make it out to be.

Let's look at disk defragging, why one program might take hours while another might take minutes, and what we might infer from the difference.

Continue reading: Why would one disk defragmenting program take so much more time than another?

* * *

Why is it so easy and quick to accidentally move a file when copying takes so much longer?

On three or four occasions, I have jerked my hand when I am trying to open or move a file and the file disappears. I don't understand how I moved that file 20x faster than if I had tried to copy it.


Well, moving and copying may seem similar in some ways, but as you can see from the results, they are really two completely different things.

Except when they're not. (I know, I know - but everything has its exceptions).

I'll explain the differences.

And I'll show you the quick and easy way to recover from accidental moves.

Continue reading: Why is it so easy and quick to accidentally move a file when copying takes so much longer?

* * *

Three ways to find Outlook's PST file

Unlike many other email programs, Outlook places all of your information into what it calls a "PST" or Personal STorage (or just "store") file.

All of your email, contacts, calendar entries, notes, journal, and whatever else that you choose to use Outlook for are stored in PST files.

It can often be important to know where the PST file is kept, perhaps for recovery purposes, but more often for backup.

It's not always easy to find the PST file, so I'll show you three separate ways to locate Outlook's PST file.

Continue reading: Three ways to find Outlook's PST file

* * *

A brief overview of Macrium Reflect Backup

Backups are an often-discussed topic on Ask Leo!, but options for how best to perform backups and what tools to use can be both confusing and difficult to find.

In this video excerpt from an Ask Leo! webinar, I'll provide a brief overview (not an in-depth review) of one of the options: Macrium Reflect.

Macrium has a fairly good feel to it and it's likely to be the backup solution that I dive into more deeply in the future.

Continue reading: A brief overview of Macrium Reflect Backup

* * *

Why is it so bad to leave the email addresses in an email I forward?

When forwarding an email, what risks or problems are there when all of the prior email addresses are included?


Well, first of all, I want you to make sure that you really want to forward that email. If it's something that's pages and pages of email addresses followed by some content, it sure does feel like it might be an urban legend that shouldn't be forwarded at all.

But, assuming that the email is something to legitimately forward, it all boils down to a couple of things:

Spam and privacy.

Continue reading: Why is it so bad to leave the email addresses in an email I forward?

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

A brief overview of Paragon Backup and Recovery

Drew writes:

After making your restore/boot cd, be sure and try using it to be sure you can restore your image. Both Paragon and Macrium would not access my images on a external HD. EaseUS Todo and Windows 7 backup work however.

Sage advice (to test), which I believe I mention in a subsequent part of the original webinar. But I want to clarify - it wouldn't read from your external drive - that doesn't mean everyone would experience that. All the recovery discs will, sadly, not recognize all external drives, but they will recognize most. Hence the importance of testing before you need it.



A brief overview of Paragon Backup and Recovery

Alex writes:

Hi Dean, I am in England and I too have the option to make a differential (but not incremental) image. I think Leo's knowledge of anything "Computer" is encyclopaedic and I am an avid fan of his common sense easy to understand articles. In this case I think however that he possibly did not explore all the options that Paragon offers .As well as the differential image he also missed that it is possible to restore the C drive without using any external media. Paragon will simply ask for permission to reboot and then complete the restore without the use of a CD or flash drive. To be fair to Leo I think he uses Acronis so is not too familiar with Paragon. Regards Alex.

To be perhaps even fairer this was simply an overview, not an exhaustive feature exploration, and only of the free version at that. The segment is from a webinar where I explicitly indicated that I wasn't going deep, but simply examining some popular alternatives for Acronis with the intent of picking on to then go deeper into.



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

Ken B writes:

Another thing to remember when watching videos or listening to music is the difference between "streaming" and "downloading". When streaming, every time you watch/listen, it downloads the entire video/song. So, if you find some video on YouTube, and watch it several times, or show it to your friends, you might end up turning that 10MB video into 50MB of traffic. The same thing holds true for Internet radio stations, although audio needs much less data than video.


What is Windows Live?

Dan writes:

I have problems with the way they tie it all together. I liked to keep my hotmail and my IM separate. But now IM pops up in my Hotmail screen. And sometimes messages pop up there, and not in my IM screen so I miss them since I never look at them in my Hotmail screen. Make sense? Wish I could tell Hotmail to not bind with my IM anymore - it doesn't work nicely and only aggravates me. Windows live is not Facebook so it should quite trying to be! Otherwise I just might be moving on too!

*** Leo Recommends

Ask Bob Rankin - More Helpful Online Tech Support

Yes, I'm recommending my competition again.

The internet's a big place - as I've said before I can't answer every question I get, so I'm not afraid to endorse other resources that you might find useful.

It also helps that I've known Bob for several years and consider him a friend.

Bob's a technology writer and computer programmer who, like me, enjoys technology and the Internet and sharing what he finds. He's publisher of the Internet TOURBUS, author of several computer books, operator of Flowers Fast! and creator of the Lowfat Linux tutorial.

Continue reading: Ask Bob Rankin - More Helpful Online Tech Support


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

If you don't have installation media, this is the next best thing.

Is a backup an alternative to having no Windows installation CDs?

I took your advice and purchased an external hard drive and Acronis backup software. Now, as a novice, I bought my desktop with Windows XP Media Edition pre-installed (no CD's). Since I am now backing up my whole Hard disk, am I safe if something bad happens with the operating system? (Referring to a recent question on missing or corrupt windows file.)

First, let me say "good for you" for having a backup solution, regardless of what solution you chose. That already puts you ahead of the game compared to most other computer users.

A full initial backup is an excellent safety net and can cover for not having installation CDs in many cases. However, from the way I worded that you can probably guess that there may be issues, but the good news is that they're rare.

Let's review the best way to use a full backup in a case like this.

Continue reading...
Is a backup an alternative to having no Windows installation CDs?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Blame the cat.

Unfortunately I had to postpone last Sunday's webinar at the last minute because our elderly cat (often referred to - with much affection - as "d*mn cat") gave us a scare that resulted in a run to the emergency veterinarian. He's fine now but not before throwing a wrench into my schedule. At webinar time I was sitting in the vet's waiting room.

Oh well.

I've rescheduled Webinar #5 - Tools Sampler for this coming Sunday. If you'd like to attend live, be sure to register.

By the way, last week I mentioned I didn't have a topic, but I do now: tools. As I was reinstalling Windows on my desktop this week it occurred to me that I often get asked what tools I use. What better list to run down than the tools I install first and find the most useful. So I have a list on the webinar page and I'll do a short demo of as many as I can in around an hour.

Last week I had lunch with Mr. Groove. Who's Mr. Groove, you ask? He's the guy behind groovyPost, a fun tech tips, news and reviews site. We'd been meaning to get together for a while, since he's in the Seattle area as well.

In this week's recommendation of Ask Bob Rankin I said "The internet's a big place - as I've said before I can't answer every question I get, so I'm not afraid to endorse other resources that you might find useful."

I think you might find groovyPost useful.

'till next week...

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

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Posted: October 11, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4951
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