Leo’s Answers #77 – May 11, 2007

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

Hello {!name_fix}!

(You subscribed to this newsletter from this email address: {!email}, which you then separately confirmed. If you don't want this weekly newsletter any more, please follow the instructions to unsubscribe at the end of this and every issue.)

*** Contents

*** This Week's New Articles on Ask Leo!

How do I fix this high CPU usage svchost virus or whatever it is?

After I log in my system slows to a crawl. Looking at task manager I see that my computer is experiencing high CPU usage. Looking more closely I see it's something called "svchost" is taking 100% of my CPU time. If I kill the process suddenly other things stop working. Is svchost a virus? How do I fix this svchost problem?

That's actually a composite question, based on several reports I've been getting recently.

Svchost is not a virus. In fact it's a required system component. You'll often find several copies of svchost running.

Svchost, or more correctly "Service Host" is a program that is designed to run other programs and "hosts" many of the system services in Windows XP. Several copies of Svchost run more than one service, which is why when you kill an instance of svchost several things on your machine might stop working.

So, why is one of the Svchosts taking all your CPU?

And what can you do about it?

Continue reading: "How do I fix this high CPU usage svchost virus or whatever it is?"

* * *

How can I force a computer to sign out automatically?

Do have any idea how to force the computer to log off? The situation is that at work people don't log off and leave sensitive information on their screen.

It's funny, I ran into exactly this situation years ago. I was walking by my boss's office and happened to see some interesting information on his screen. Some very interesting information.

It was performance review time, and on his screen was a spreadsheet with all the review and salary information.

Needless to say when he got back we solved that problem quickly, and the same solution might well apply here.

Continue reading: "How can I force a computer to sign out automatically?"

* * *

Why does blocking a spam email end up blocking my own address?

I just received a spam email and when I added it to the block sender file, my email address came up. What's going on here?

It's very frustrating, but you're experiencing one of the many ways that spammers try to force there way into your inbox.

Here's what's going on:

Continue reading: "Why does blocking a spam email end up blocking my own address?"

* * *

How do I backup a large number of large PSTs?

I work with about 200 end users. Most are power users on WinXP, and most use Microsoft Outlook. Unfortunately, most do no clean up of their email, so their pst files are about 2Gig each.

What is a good way to backup all of these pst files? Burning to CD/DVD? Using thumb drives? Hosting their PST's on a dedicated file server? Getting them all huge external hard drives? Or should we simply copy and overwrite their pst once a week to a file server, so their email program isn't actually working from off the network everyday?

In the ideal world, we'd change user behavior to clean up their PSTs to make them more manageable, and we'd implement one or more of the backup alternatives you mentioned.

However we're dealing with the real world here, and need a real world solution.

One thing that concerns me is that there's typically a lot more to life than a PST. How are you backing up everything else?

Continue reading: "How do I backup a large number of large PSTs?"

* * *

How do I reformat my machine if I don't have a Windows CD?

I want to format my laptop. It has Windows SP with service pack 2 installed. I don't recall getting a Windows CD, so first how do I format and second can I do it without that setup CD?

The answer for most people is simple: no, you cannot. In fact, you should not if you don't have the Windows setup CD.

Yes, yes, it can be done without the setup CD, but I'm guessing you won't like what you end up with. Not at all.

Let's be clear on exactly what it means to "reformat" a machine.

Continue reading: "How do I reformat my machine if I don't have a Windows CD?"

* * *

What's the best media player?

What is the best media player to download to view attachments with videos, Real? Quicktime? Windows media?

How about all of the above?

The problem is that as the recipient you don't have a whole lot of choice. It's the sender that determines the format that they send you, and you'll just have to have a player that understands it.

And not all players understand all formats.

Continue reading: "What's the best media player?"

* * *

Could Copy Protection be Doomed?

The real question is: how long will vendors keep trying to use it?

Continue reading: "Could Copy Protection be Doomed?" Article Includes Audio

*** A Word from our Sponsor

Forget Vista! Speed Up Your Vista System!
Is your PC getting slow? Run our free Optimize scan to find out how to
fine-tune your Internet and System settings. Identify registry cobwebs
and get rid of hard drive clutter. Over time, everyday use of your PC
will slow down performance. Optimize is an exciting software program
that automatically diagnoses your PC and gives you a custom report
detailing every issue hurting your PC's performance: Scan Now!

Advertisement. Ask Leo about advertising here.

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

This article has been getting a lot of traffic this week. That traffic, and the current probable cause for the problem many people seem to be having also spurred me to write a new article this week you'll see above: "How do I fix this high CPU usage svchost virus or whatever it is?" (http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_fix_this_high_cpu_usage_svchost_virus_or_whatever_it_is.html). But here's the original that still has many, many important points.

Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.?

I've discussed Svchost, aka Svchost.exe, in previous articles on Ask Leo!. Many people are witnessing a svchost.exe crash and it's actually quite amazing. Unfortunately there's no single point of reference for svchost related problems. Rather than answering one single question I'll try to cover a theme that can best be summed up as:

What's The Deal with SVCHOST?

Read more... Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.

*** Thoughts and Comments

I chose the Svchost article because a couple of days ago I noticed a big spike in traffic to that article. I'm assuming that more and more people are being bit by a problem that appears to be caused or related to Windows Update, and are looking for solutions. Hence the new article "How do I fix this high CPU usage svchost virus or whatever it is?" that tries to address the current state of affairs.

I've been lucky enough to avoid the problem, but it certainly appears that more and more people aren't quite so fortunate. Hope the information helps.

My publication schedule got knocked a little out of whack this week... I've been working my little fanny off on my wife's doll shop web site. One thing that's new and interesting is playing with creative uses of video to display merchandise for folks visiting the site. After seeing that video, a friend commented that back on my high school's career day doing video voice-over's was probably not high on my list of expected career choices.

I replied that that may well be but it was still higher on the list than "selling dolls" :-).

Happy Mother's Day every one!

'till next time...


* * *

The Latest:
Forwarded Funnies: "Can you solve this puzzle?"
Taming Email: "Email is never urgent. Really."
Leo's MovableType Tips: "Leaving Breadcrumbs in Movable Type"

*** Newsletter Administration

Do you have a question? A comment, perhaps? Newsletter subscribers can visit http://ask-leo.com/askleosubscriber.html to submit your comments and questions. That page is only mentioned here, so I'll know it's from someone who's taken the time to read this far!

I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - I just can't answer everyone. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, I read every email I get.

Leo's Answers Newsletter is a weekly publication of Ask Leo! and Leo A. Notenboom. It's also available as an RSS feed at this URL: http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.xml?UD=nl. Archives of previous newsletter issues can be found on the Ask Leo! web site, http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.html.

You're quite welcome to forward this email in its entirety, but you should probably delete your unsubscribe link below, so your friends don't unsubscribe you by accident. You may forward individual articles from this newsletter only if you include all and only the text of that article as found in this newsletter, including any links therein. You may not copy full articles from the Ask Leo! website - more on that in my section on copyright: http://ask-leo.com/terms.html#copyright.

I'd sure appreciate it if regular readers got a subscription of their own. You can sign up at http://newsletter.ask-leo.com.

Interested in advertising on Ask Leo! or in this newsletter? Advertising details here.

Newsletter contents Copyright © 2007, Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: May 11, 2007 in: 2007
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3021
« Previous post:
Next post: »

New Here?

Let me suggest my collection of best and most important articles to get you started.

Of course I strongly recommend you search the site -- there's a ton of information just waiting for you.

Finally, if you just can't find what you're looking for, ask me!

Confident Computing

Confident Computing is the weekly newsletter from Ask Leo!. Each week I give you tools, tips, tricks, answers, and solutions to help you navigate today’s complex world of technology and do so in a way that protects your privacy, your time, and your money, and even help you better connect with the people around you.

The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition

Subscribe for FREE today and claim your copy of The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition. Culled from the articles published on Ask Leo! this FREE downloadable PDF will help you identify the most important steps you can take to keep your computer, and yourself, safe as you navigate today’s digital landscape.

My Privacy Pledge

Leo Who?

I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.