Leo's Answers #37 – August 4, 2006

Leo's Answers
A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom


*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

Can I reassign my drive letters?

I have 2 hard disc drives and a cd rom drive on my computer. The HDDs are C and E, and the cd rom drive is D. Is it possible to swap the HDD letters, i.e C becomes E and E becomes C? Or are the letters fixed at the time of format?

Drive letters are not assigned at format time, and yes, they can be changed. In fact, it's quite easy to change them, and I do it all the time.

For every drive except "C:", that is. "C:" is special.

First let's look at the how.

Continue reading: "Can I reassign my drive letters?"

* * *

Recommendation: Security Now Podcast

From the site:

"TechTV's Leo Laporte and [Steve Gibson] take 30 to 60 minutes near the end of each week to discuss important issues of personal computer security. Sometimes we'll discuss something that just happened. Sometimes we'll talk about long-standing problems, concerns, or solutions. Either way, every week we endeavor to produce something interesting and important for every personal computer user. "

I subscribe to a number of podcasts, as you might imagine. There are few - very few - that get my attention nearly 100% of the time.

Security Now with Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte is one of those podcasts.

And it's not because the co-host's name is also "Leo".

Continue reading: "Recommendation: Security Now Podcast"

* * *

Why I'm Ignoring Vista

Vista could be cool. Or not. It could be on schedule. Or not. Is it worth your time now? Probably not.

Continue reading: "Why I'm Ignoring Vista" Article Includes Audio

* * *

Why is my USB mouse not detected reliably?

Sometimes, but not always, my USB mouse will not be detected at startup. It is plugged into a 4 port hub. When Win98 loads it gives me the no PS2 mouse detected. I can continue to load Windows. After Windows has finished loading, I unplug and then replug the USB mouse, at it is detected and I'm good to go. Why is it not being detected? I have found no rhyme or reason to when it is not detected. Usually, if the mouse is not detected, it starts up like that several times in a row, then I am OK for a few weeks, and then back to several days of nondetection.

Problems that come and go like this are some of the hardest to resolve.

I don't have a magic bullet for you, but there are some things we can look at.

Continue reading: "Why is my USB mouse not detected reliably?"

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Why does my computer randomly reboot without warning?

My computer likes to turn itself off and restart itself of its own free will. I do have virus and spyware protection. It doesn't present any error message, it just shuts itself off and reboots no matter what I am doing on it.

I hate it when that happens. It's one of the most annoying things a computer user can face. You're working along and all of a sudden *poof* - everything's gone. Be it a random reboot, or the infamous "blue screen of death", it's very, very frustrating.

The problem is that this can be caused by so many things, it's difficult to nail it down quickly.

Let's run through some of the possibilities, and what I'd do.

Continue reading: "Why does my computer randomly reboot without warning?"

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Someone's created an account in my name, what are my options to stop them?

I don't know what to do but someone has taken my name, set up a new e-mail account and is sending very nasty e-mails to family members. I've contacted Yahoo! but I don't know the personal information to get into the account since I didn't set it up and they still haven't contacted me back. I don't know if this is a punishable offense and I don't know how to get Yahoo! to take me seriously. What should I do?

It's trivial to set up accounts on the free services in which you can be anonymous - using entirely fake information - or in which you can impersonate someone else.

I'm not sure I'd expect much help from the provider - Yahoo, in your case. To be honest, even if they did bother to reply, they wouldn't know who to believe. You and I know that you're not, but how's Yahoo to know that you're not the impersonator, or just someone trying to hassle someone else?

Here's what I would do...

Continue reading: "Someone's created an account in my name, what are my options to stop them?"

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How do I configure WinSCP for Public Key authentication?

I happen to use public key authentication on several servers I manage. In fact, I turn off password authentication, so that even with the right password, you simply cannot login.

There are many tools that support public key authentication, but because the concepts are a little foreign to most, getting things configured can be a bit of a challenge.

This video walks through the steps of configuring a popular secure file transfer client, WinSCP, to use public key authentication.

Continue reading: "How do I configure WinSCP for Public Key authentication?" Article Includes Video

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

We all get tons of spam. If you own your own domain, you probably get more spam than most. Here's one reason why:

I keep getting bounce emails for addresses on my domain that don't exist. How can I stop this?

Lately I have been receiving returned emails that were originally sent by a randomly generated email address in my domain. These accounts don't exist, but when the mail is returned we get the returned email. How can I stop this?

The painfully short answer is that you probably can't. Though there are some ideas to at least make it a little less painful.

For what it's worth, you're not alone. You are so not alone.

Read more... I keep getting bounce emails for addresses on my domain that don't exist. How can I stop this?

*** Thoughts and Comments

In case you haven't guessed, I love the web. And not just for the vast amount of content that's available (and that I'm constantly adding to).

As part of a fairly major revamp of my wife's business, I'm in the process of transforming a 12 year old stand-alone Visual Basic application using an Access database into a web application in PHP using MySql.

The cash register started around 1996 as a Visual Basic version 3 application, and transitioned to VB4 and lastly VB6 (though not VB .NET - that was just going to be too difficult for too little return). Along the way it's also had its share of feature changes and additions. The bottom line is that it's currently in need of some major rework - and quite frankly it's a mess.

In all honesty, that's classic software life cycle stuff. As software evolves, it's almost impossible to keep it in a pristine, well organized state, and still actually ship in an appropriately practical timeframe.

So it's time for a re-write.

I'm finding that the web application is a lot more fun to write. And as always, I'm learning quite a bit more about the web and web programming. For example I've actually almost never touched JavaScript - until now. A little bit of AJAX is filling in for some of the VB functionality I had coded into the previous version.

All cool stuff, if you're a geek like me. :-)

And yes, in addition to answering questions here on Ask Leo!, I'm still a programmer at heart - as time permits, or as needs come up - it's what I do for fun. Honest!


Next week is a milestone for Ask Leo! - be sure to stay tuned!

'till next week...


* * *

The Latest:
Forwarded Funnies: "Proof Positive of Global Warming"
Taming Email: "Don't Ask for Spam"
Leo's MovableType Tips: "Get creative with Templates"

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Newsletter contents Copyright © 2006, Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: August 4, 2006 in: 2006
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/2744
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