Leo’s Answers #307 – November 1, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

What's the difference between SATA, PATA and IDE?

This “SATA” stuff is new to me. What does it mean? It's something about hard disk drives, I know, but I don't understand what. I went to get a new hard drive for my machine and the one that I wanted was SATA. But when I told the salesperson what computer I had, he said I didn't want it and instead, I needed something called PATA or IDE? I'm very confused.


Well, one part of this is easy: IDE and PATA are two names for the same thing.

The rest - well, the easy part is that SATA and PATA are two different ways of connecting a hard drive to your computer. Your computer will have one or the other and what you purchase must, in general, match.

When we go further, however, things start to get a little complex.

Continue reading: What's the difference between SATA, PATA and IDE?

* * *

How do I get Foxit Reader to let me click on links?

In your documents, you have words highlighted in blue to click for more info. When I click on them, I receive a message: “In Safe Mode, this document does not allow connection to your site. If you want to enable this function, please check the Trust Manager preference to disable safe reading.”

How do I do this?


PDF format has become the latest target for malware. As it turns out, there are assorted vulnerabilities in various PDF readers, as well as in the very definition of PDF format itself. Hackers are creating malicious PDF documents in an attempt to infect your computer with malicious software.

The net result is that PDF readers have begun implementing various security measures to allow you to read PDF documents in safety.

"Safe Mode" is one such measure in Foxit Reader.

It's easy to turn off and I'll show you how. I'll also discuss the threat that it's protecting you from.

Continue reading: How do I get Foxit Reader to let me click on links?

* * *

A brief overview of Dropbox

Dropbox is one of several applications that I install shortly after setting up the basics of any new machine or rebuilding an existing one.

In this video created for an Ask Leo! webinar, I'll walk you through some of Dropbox's features and functionality.

Continue reading: A brief overview of Dropbox

* * *

I installed Microsoft Security Essentials and now things are worse! How do I recover?

I followed your recommendation and installed Microsoft Security Essentials. It's been a nightmare ever since. Things are worse than before. I don't know how you can recommend something like that. What do I do to get this mess cleaned up?


I stand by my recommendation.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a solid anti-malware tool that works and works well in the vast majority of cases. I like it because it's a one-stop solution for a fairly broad base of protection and it's kept up to date by Windows Update.

So why'd it mess up your machine so badly?

I have a theory.

And I have some steps for you to try and dig out of this mess.

Continue reading: I installed Microsoft Security Essentials and now things are worse! How do I recover?

* * *

Why is my BRAND NEW domain immediately getting spammed?

I just purchased a domain and got it all set up. When I made my email accounts for it, I instantly started getting spam. This is a brand new domain - are the spammers in bed with my registrar or is something else going on? How'd they start spamming me so quickly?


Something else is going on.

While it's possible that spammers are looking at newly registered domains (I don't think that they need any special backdoor access to your registrar for that), that doesn't seem like a particularly useful thing for the spammers to be doing. Newly registered domains aren't likely to have a lot of email recipients and email recipients are what the spammers want.

No, I think something significantly more mundane is happening here.

In fact, it's possible that we might have a hard time calling some of those emails spam at all.

Continue reading: Why is my BRAND NEW domain immediately getting spammed?

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

What can someone tell from my email address?

pirate-com writes:

when one googles ones email handle.if you do not like what one sees,how does one eradicate the information?

Short version: you don't. Longer version: you contact the websites on which your information is appearing and hope that they will honor your request to remove it. Most do not, hence the short version.



How many machines can I install a single copy of Microsoft Office on?

Paul East writes:

Microsoft provides a tool. Here's the link: http://www.microsoft.com/About/Legal/EN/US/IntellectualProperty/UseTerm s/Default.aspx


Why Outlook Express Must Die

Linde writes:

Funny, that people reacted so negatively to your indication against Outlook Express. Obviously free speech has it's limitation. So, I absolutely agree with your view of OE. Just try it with my slow third world internet, it does not work at all. I would like to add another alternative programm, I have been using incredimail for many years now, and it is really a very smart solution for many problems even in its free version.

I personally dislike Incredimail for a couple of reasons. I do see a fair number of problems, but more than anything is that it's purpose seems to be to allow and even encourage people to create email that is 99% fluff and distracting pictures and graphics in which their actual message is often lost.



A brief overview of Windows 7 Backup

Bob Greene writes:

There is a history of fundamental and long-standing Microsoft aversion to providing its licensed end-users the option to make and retain system images. That aversion is most dramatically expressed in its nominal "Windows Backup".

Many suspect Microsoft's notorious failure to provide an imaging option for versions previous to Windows 7 is a direct fiat from MS legal counsel-- expressing fear that if MS sanctions any system image-making by end-users, it will compromise its efforts to impose licensing controls.

While licensed end-users never have been challenged by Microsoft on the widespread practice of using third-party tools to make an image, users need to understand it is in their own best interest to acquire and use regularly an imaging utility (free or commercial). Someday, it may save their bacon.

That feels borderline conspiracy theory to me - I'm certain that MS legal hasn't issued ny such fiat. I think Microsoft's backup offering suck primarily because it's not been high on their list of priorities, and they're concerned about competing with backup software vendors. They've had a similar situation with anti-malware tools, and are only now providing something that can be said to compete with other offerings in that space, after years of there being an issue and opportunity. The one thing Windows 7's backup does and does well that goes against your theory is that it can and does make system images. My sense is that's about all it's really good for. Regardless you are correct in that we should all be making sure to backup our machines regularly.



I spilled water into my laptop, how do I get it working again?

haunt writes:

Hi,I have sprayed a body deodorant over a dell laptop keyboard for cleaning the keys when power is ON at night. When i got up morning when turn on my laptop, i found my keys are not working.... Please suggest me anything....

You probably need to replace the keyboard. Whoever told you to use deodorant gave you some very bad advice.


*** Leo Recommends

Fujitsu ScanSnap - A Fast, Sheet-fed Document Scanner

This might appeal to only a small portion of my audience, but I've fallen in love with this device, and wanted to share it with those who'd find it as useful as I do.

I'm all about computers; I think you get that. But that also means that I'm all about using them - particularly when it comes to documents and document management. I find digital documents easier to store, backup and search than their paper counterparts. In general, I'd much prefer someone send me an email or give me an electronic copy of whatever document they're wanting to share - no need to waste paper for me.

On the other hand, between home ownership, running a couple of businesses and more, people are sending me paper every day. Paper that, in all honesty, I should keep - at least for a while. And yet, I'd really rather not.

You might guess that my ideal would be to scan all those documents into digital form, and then discard or shred the physical paper in favor of storing and backing up the documents on my computer. The problem is that traditional flatbed scanners are slow and cumbersome for any volume of scanning. And slow. Did I mention slow? And cumbersome?

The Fujitsu ScanSnap solves those issues.

Continue reading: Fujitsu ScanSnap - A Fast, Sheet-fed Document Scanner


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

A virus infection can be a painful fix, but it won't physically harm the computer.

Can a virus destroy my computer or hard drive?

My wife opened a file that appeared to come from UPS and that was the end of my computer. It tried to install files called Antivirus XP, then it tried to install an XP Security Center and wanted me to register to rid my computer of the virus and give them my credit card#. My McAfee is disabled on every boot and Spybot won't run. It also wants to change a registry value and run buritos.exe. It has also changed my wallpaper with "Warning!" message that can not be changed. A diagnostic through one of the geek services says my hard drive is damaged. Is there any way to get rid of this virus without having to pay a fortune in a new hard drive plus all the other geek service charges? Or should I just get a new computer?

Your hard disk is not physically damaged. I'm hoping that the technical service company didn't really mean that. (If they did ... well, I'd use a different service next time.)

But you do have some work ahead of you nonetheless.

Continue reading...
Can a virus destroy my computer or hard drive?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Thanks to everyone who responded to last week's survey! We had a great response, and I'm chewing on the results as we speak.

While I'm thinking about the newsletter and what it is, should be, will be and might become, I'd like to find out one more thing about the sections that you find valuable.

Once again, I've put together a quickie one question survey and I'd very much appreciate your taking a minute or two (I'd be surprised if it was two Smile) and letting me know your thoughts.

It's important to me that I put together something that you find valuable, and the most obvious (and often overlooked) method is to simply ask.

Thanks very much!

'till next week...

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

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Posted: November 1, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4970
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