Leo’s Answers #314 – December 20, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

What do I do when Windows Explorer crashes?

Windows Explorer keeps crashing on me. Sometimes, all that I need to do is open a folder in it, and *poof* - it's toast. Why? And what do I do?

And to be clear, I'm talking about Windows Explorer - not Internet Explorer.

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Windows Explorer is a very special program. In many ways, it "is Windows", in that it's actually the program that's responsible for displaying the task bar, the Start menu, the task-switcher, and a fair amount more.

Oh, and it's also the program that you can use to browse around your hard disk to look at files and folders.

It's definitely completely unrelated to Internet Explorer, but there is one characteristic that they share that can cause the kinds of problems you're seeing.

They can both be extended.

Continue reading: What do I do when Windows Explorer crashes?
http://ask-leo.com/C5014

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A brief overview of AutoHotkey

It's not uncommon to want to remap keys on your keyboard, or create keyboard macros that in effect type a large series of characters for you in response to just a couple of actual keystrokes. AutoHotkey is a tool that does this and much, much more. I use it heavily.

In this video for an Ask Leo! webinar, I'll show off a few of its features.

Continue reading: A brief overview of AutoHotkey
http://ask-leo.com/C5013

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Why is my email being immediately deleted?

Help! When I receive an email, it's getting immediately deleted and moved to my Trash folder! Why won't email stay in my inbox?

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I've had this problem reported to me periodically for quite literally years.

Even though email programs and services and other tools have changed, this particular problem seems to persist, rearing its ugly little head occasionally.

Unfortunately, the most common cause appears to be the very tools that are designed to keep you safe.

Continue reading: Why is my email being immediately deleted?
http://ask-leo.com/C2332

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How do I repair Windows 7 with a re-install?

You told me that one of the ways to recover from my current situation may be to perform a "repair" reinstall of Windows. Great. How do I do that? Windows 7, by the way.

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Windows 7 made this interesting.

In previous versions of Windows, such as XP, "Repair your current installation" was one of the options at setup time.

Not so with Windows 7 setup. At least, not explicitly.

However, if you meet a few criteria, you can in fact perform a repair install that's very similar to the older Windows XP repair.

Continue reading: How do I repair Windows 7 with a re-install?
http://ask-leo.com/C5012

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My machine won't boot, how do I get at the files on it?

I have Windows XP; it does not startup right away. I have to shut it down and open it several times until it works. It just hangs after the Windows logo and you feel you can work with it, but nothing's there. You can move the mouse, but there's no connection. It is a completely frozen PC. Today, it does not want to start or to work at all.

I have files that I want to save before I can format it.

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At the risk of annoying some of my regular readers (who'll know exactly where I'm heading with at least part of this answer), I wanted to address this for one simple reason:

It's oh so common.

A dead machine, with important files on it.

In fact, the dead machine is the only place that those important files happen to be.

I'll look at a few ideas on recovering those files, but perhaps most importantly, I need to make sure that everyone learns an important lesson from this situation.

Continue reading: My machine won't boot, how do I get at the files on it?
http://ask-leo.com/C5011

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

How do I tell what program is slowing down my machine?

Black Dahlia writes:

A decent amount of people only boot up their PCs for relatively short internet sessions and also have an antivirus or security suite set to update daily/constantly and scan on startup if the scheduled scan is missed - a perfect storm of CPU cycles, memory, and bandwidth.

Yes. For folks that operate like this there's a strong argument for starting your computer an hour or so before you need it to let it do its scanning and updating.

-Leo

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How do I share files on my Windows 7 machine with my Windows XP machine?

Ken B writes:

I have the opposite problem. My Vista and Win7 boxes can access shares on some of the XP boxes, but not on others. (And it's the same set, regardless of whether it's Vista or Win7 trying to access them.) I haven't found any common properties between those that "work" and those that "don't work". I even created new accounts on the XP boxes that are only 7 characters long and without any spaces or punctuation in the name or password, just in case it was some weird compatibility thing. Yet, the XP boxes that can't be accessed from Vista/Win7 remain. Note that the other XP boxes have no problem accessing them, and that they can access the Vista/Win7 shares w/o problem. (Since I can transfer files by initiating them from the XP box on the rare occasion I need to do so, I haven't looked any further into the problem that what I described above. However, it's still nagging me as to what's the actual problem.)

Yep, this is the kind of thing I was referring to when I mention how hard networking is.

-Leo

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Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper - Clean malware from your machine

Schnazola writes:

I burned MSSS (32-bit) to CD and booted from it. Everything seemed to be going well until I got the following error code: 0x8004cc05. (Note that error code is different from ones commented upon earlier.) I discovered that the code is related to -- of all things -- floppy drives. My PC is ancient, but it doesn't have a floppy drive. I went into the BIOS setup anyway to see if anything regarding floppies was enabled. I found a floppy drive interface controller set to ENABLED, so I disabled it. That did the trick. When I rebooted, MSSS started up w/o a problem, and I was able to run a full scan.

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How do I remove a virus if it prevents me from download or installing anything?

Dale writes:

ok, i've been scammed. I don't have a problem with reformatting& installing everything from scratch BUT ... want to know if it is safe to back up my non-executable files such as outlook express email, picture .jpg files & word .doc files? And can I safely transfer these files via shared files to another computer? Or ... will this compromise the other computer? Help ..... dumb then, smarter now!

I would backup everything, and then restore only what you need - possibly scanning what you're about to restore first. More here: How do I safely backup an infected drive?

-Leo

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Macrium Reflect 2: Creating Rescue Media

Glenn P. writes:

What I'm  looking for is a "Rescue Media" that not only allows one to restore  a backup, but also to actually create  one from scratch as well, since I most emphatically do NOT  trust any  backup software that operates while Windows is up, active, and running.

So: Can the Macrium "Rescue Media" create  backups, as well as restore them...? Leo?

Great question, I had to go research it. The Linux-based rescue media is restore-only and runs a dedicated restore-only application. But the Windows-based rescue media appears to run a full-fledged version of Macrium does appear to support full image backups (no incrementals) and File/Folder backups.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

ScamBusters.org - Keep Yourself Safe from Internet Scams and More

Anyone who's been a reader of Ask Leo! for some time knows that in addition to technical topics I often cover many issues related to the non-technical side of keeping yourself safe on the internet. Things like account theft, phishing, privacy and more are all common themes that show up in my inbox as people ask me questions every day.

ScamBusters is a site run by my friends Jim and Audri Lanford who are dedicated to providing education and information to educate and protect folks like you and me from the vast array of schemes and scams that are out on the internet.

At ScamBusters.org you'll find tons of free resources on how to avoid scams, identity theft threats, and urban legends that are making the rounds.

Continue reading: ScamBusters.org - Keep Yourself Safe from Internet Scams and More
http://ask-leo.com/C3438

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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

From your camera? No. From its memory card? Quite possibly...

Can my computer get a virus from my camera?

Can my computer get a virus from my camera? I got a nasty virus on my computer and I couldn't send photos because the photos were failing the virus scan. I plugged my camera into my laptop thinking it was safe to send the photos through that computer to someone else in email but again I couldn't send the photos that I just took because they were infected. So my camera must now be infected. Does this mean I need a new camera and have to discard my memory card with all my photos of my son for the past 2 years. Is there any way to save them?

I'm actually going to reverse a statement I made in an article over 4 years ago.

Yes.

Yes, it is possible that your computer can catch a virus from your camera's memory card.

We need to understand that, though, because I didn't say from the camera, I said from the memory card.

Continue reading...
Can my computer get a virus from my camera?
http://ask-leo.com/C3595

*** Thoughts and Comments

A New Ask Leo! Feature

One of the sections that will not be present in the new twice weekly Ask Leo! Newsletter at the beginning of the year will be the "Popular Articles" section. Over the years this section has highlighted some of the better, interesting and perhaps most relevant articles from the Ask Leo! archives.

You know, kind of a "best of" thing.

One of the requests I get occasionally is to print full articles in my newsletter so that you don't have to click through to read the whole thing. (Here's why I do that, by the way.)

So, let's combine those two things, shall we?

Announcing: The Best of Ask Leo! - a new weekly email subscription that contains one hand-picked article from the Ask Leo! archives. The articles chosen for The Best of Ask Leo! are those of enduring significance or importance, often updated with information that's come up since they were original published.

And each email contains the entire article. No clicking through to read the rest of the article.

The Best of Ask Leo! is a new subscription - I'm only going to send it to those that want it. All you need do is head over to http://bestofaskleo.com and sign up. It's totally free.

Go to http://bestofaskleo.com to learn more about The Best of Ask Leo!, and sign up today.

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My sincerest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Thank you, as always, for being here.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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