Leo’s Answers #315 – December 27, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

I don't have installation media for Windows - what if I need it?

I need to reinstall Windows, but I don't have an installation disc. I never got one. What do I do?


There are circumstances where you may have a legal installation of Windows without installation media. This can cause some panic when you're later instructed to make sure that you have the CD or DVD before installing some other software or hardware, or if you have to reinstall your system from scratch.

I'll tell you how to prepare for this day and what straws you may have to grasp at should you arrive unprepared.

Continue reading: I don't have installation media for Windows - what if I need it?

* * *

How do I change what search engine is used by Internet Explorer?

The default search in MS IE8 (and 9) is Bing of Microsoft. How do I change that? On one of my computers, I can click on the search engine that I want to use for that search. How do I get all of them to use Google or Bing? Can I add also more options like Wikipedia?


It's really no surprise that Microsoft's Bing is the default search provider for Microsoft's Internet Explorer. And, to be fair, Bing's not that bad of a search engine.

Unfortunately, Bing's garnered a bad reputation with some people by virtue of what I'll simply call over-aggressive marketing. Many people found themselves with Bing as their search engine, their home page, and sometimes even more - and all of it quite resistant to change.

Even when it doesn't though, you may find yourself wanting to change the search engine used by Internet Explorer, or even simply add an additional search engine to those that are easily available.

Continue reading: How do I change what search engine is used by Internet Explorer?

* * *

A brief overview of Webdrive

I rely heavily on Webdrive to connect to the servers I own and maintain. Instead of firing up its own user interface, once connected Webdrive makes the remote site appear as another drive on your machine.

And that means that almost all of your Windows-based programs will work to manipulate files remotely.

In this video for an Ask Leo! webinar, I'll show you how it works.

Continue reading: A brief overview of Webdrive

* * *

What kind of router do I need?

This actually started out as an article answering "What's the best router" followed by some specifics relating to the questioner's situation.

What dawned on me is that we throw the word "router" around quite a lot, but in fact there are several kinds of routers that are used in several different situations. They differ based on how you connect to the internet, what your ISP actually provides and how you connect your computers.

So rather than try and answer the unanswerable (what's best?), let's instead take a look at the different kinds of routers that you're likely to encounter, and when you might use each.

Continue reading: What kind of router do I need?

* * *

How do I remove spyware from a computer I loaned to a former friend?

I have a classmate who borrowed my computer at school one day. He is really talented when it comes to computers and I am not. Now my problem is that he did something to my computer which allows him to access my web cam from his computer. I have no idea how he did that, but when I use the computer I can suddenly see the light indicating that my web cam is running and he can watch me. Its creepy and I don't know how to undo what he did. My question to you is how can I 'remove' his access to my web cam?


You're right, it is creepy.

And depending on where you live it might actually be an illegal form of harassment or even assault.

If this person is really your friend you would ask him to remove it, he would, and you'd believe him when he told you there was nothing left of his handiwork on your machine.

Since you've come to me instead I can only assume at least one or more of those conditions is not true.

Continue reading: How do I remove spyware from a computer I loaned to a former friend?

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*** Last Week's Articles

*** Comments

Macrium Reflect - Powerful Windows Backup Software

Dennis J writes:

One thing the article doesn't make explicit that's VERY important - remember to test your ability to actually boot from the recovery disk and access your backup images from that recovery boot before you commit to any particular backup software. Macrium Reflect has had some problems in the past with creating a recovery disk for 64 bit versions of Windows and certain hardware devices (like some USB flash drives that you've left plugged in to your computer between boot sequences), something you wouldn't want to have to deal with if your hard disk crashes and you have no option but to try to recover from the repair disk! If you can't actually successfully boot from the repair disk, access the device that contains the backup image(s), and navigate that device so that you can see the backup image(s), you won't be able to recover from a complete hard disk crash if the need arises!


How do I get a notification when anyone I send an email to forwards that email?

Ken B writes:

Regarding another poster's mention of readnotify.com...

I set up a trial account using one of my e-mail addresses. Then, using the instructions provided by readnotify, I sent an e-mail to another of my e-mail addresses. Despite my having received, and viewed, the e-mail, readnotify still says "not yet" under "opened".

All it did was add return-receipt requests (which I dutifully ignored), and converted my plain-text e-mail to HTML with embedded tracking images (which I dutifully did not show, even when enabling HTML).

As Leo said as his first sentence in his answer to "how do you"... "You cannot".


How do I get my login ID and password to stop showing on sites I log into?

Mike writes:

If you also want to stop it from showing suggestions when you type in text boxes, go to the privacy tab, then from the drop down menu select Use custom settings for history, then a set of checkboxes will show up including one that says Remember search and form history, which is the one you'll want to uncheck.

By the way, you can also click directly on Options, so you don't have to expand the menu and click Options in there (perhaps a bit confusing).


A drive with all my data is showing as unformatted - what do I do?

steve writes:

Glenn P. mentioned using chkdsk on a troublesome drive from the run dialog box. Now I am not familiar with the various checkdisc commands from the run window, but I have been told that running checkdisc from windows with the fix system errors and recover bad sectors can make a screwed up drive worse and is not a good idea. Any advice???

Actually it's all an argument for backing up so that you don't need to go this route :-). Sometimes, depending on the type of problem, CHKDSK has been known to make things worse. It's not common, and in general CHKDSK is quite safe to run. Most often the types of "make things worse" things that happen are disappearing files, which then call for a utility like Recuva to recover.


*** Leo Recommends

Belarc Advisor - Detailed information about your computer's hardware and software

Is there a way or a tool to tell me what the computer's specs are?

Indeed there is.

There are various tools, including Windows itself, that will report on various aspects of your computers configuration. Most focus on one or two specific aspects, though, and make it difficult to form a picture of your computer as a whole.

Belarc Advisor is a PC auditing program that examines your computer and produces a one-page report of all the hardware and software installed on it.

A very comprehensive report.

Here's an image of just a portion of the report on my desktop machine:

Continue reading: Belarc Advisor - Detailed information about your computer's hardware and software


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

Wireless internet isn't out there just floating around...

How do I get wireless internet?

We have dial-up at our house and I'm sick of it. I can get on the internet from my Pod at the edge of my property but I want internet on my desktop IN my house. What do I need to connect up?

I want to use this question to clear up a misconception that appears to be surprisingly common.

Wireless internet is not just "out there" for you to connect up to. You need to take steps, whether it's setting something up, paying for something, or at a minimum, asking for permission.

It's definitely not the case that you can just grab a wireless card and suddenly be connected anywhere you want. The wireless capabilities of your computer are only half of what's needed.

Continue reading..
How do I get wireless internet?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Wow. The last newsletter of 2011. Where did the year go?

A reminder that this is also the last weekly newsletter - next week's newsletter will be somewhat shorter, will incorporate all of the 2012 Newsletter Changes and will then be followed on Friday by a second newsletter, beginning the new "twice a week" publication schedule.

If you have email filters set up to manage your subscription, be sure to review 2012 Newsletter Changes - most of you won't have to change a thing, but some might.

Don't forget The Best of Ask Leo! - a new weekly email subscription I announced last week that contains one complete hand-picked article from the Ask Leo! archives. More details and a subscribe form are at http://bestofaskleo.com It's totally free.

I don't know what 2012 holds for us - other than perhaps more doomsday prophecies. Smile

Well, one thing is for certain - there'll be no shortage of computer problems and questions. As a result I plan to be here all year to help out where I can.

With that in mind, I'd like to ask you one question to help me focus my efforts next year. I'm using survey software to help collect an analyze the results, so..

Please click here to answer a one-question survey.

It's a "big" open-ended question and I'm really looking forward to hearing what you have to say. I'll report back next week.

Totally personal & not technology related: some of you may recall that we have Corgis. I thought that you might enjoy seeing our pack as featured on The Daily Corgi last week! Smile

My best wishes for a fantastic 2012 - may be it a year of peace, happiness ... and without any computer problems.

Thank you, as always, for being here.

See you next year,

Leo A. Notenboom
Twitter - Face book - Google+ - You Tube

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Posted: December 27, 2011 in: 2011
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/5021
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