Leo’s Answers #88 – July 27, 2007

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


*** Contents

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

How can I get the IP address of someone I'm instant messaging, and does it actually identify them?

I recently joined a Website for "Singles" which allows instant messaging between interested parties. I was warned by one of my friends that there are people on this website who have multiple profiles. These people could IM you using one profile today and another profile tomorrow.

My friend suggested that one way of knowing for sure whether these two profiles are two different people or the same person with two profiles, is to check their IP address when the IM window opens in front of you.

Does that work?


Having said that there are a couple of very rare exceptions where you can kind of, sort of, maybe tell. But not really.

Let's look at how this all works, and why the IP address tells you pretty much nothing.

Continue reading: "How can I get the IP address of someone I'm instant messaging, and does it actually identify them?"

* * *

How do I change the icon of a desktop shortcut?

I created a shortcut for the "Safely Remove Hardware" utility, but now I want to use a different icon for it. How?

Changing the icon for a desktop shortcut is really easy. Where most people trip up is finding an icon to choose from. The good news is that there's a huge collection of icons already in Windows ready for your use, if you know where to look.

Continue reading: "How do I change the icon of a desktop shortcut?"

* * *

Does sharing a computer mean that I'm sharing my Google web history?

I share a computer with my roommate. Lets say she creates a Google account, downloads the tool bar, etc. in order to save and view web history, but I do not create an account. When she logs in to view and use the web history feature, won't she able to see what pages I visit since we share the same computer?

There are a couple of different scenarios that could be at play here, since there are at least two different histories that could be kept.

But regardless of which, sharing a computer with a roommate or with anyone for that matter definitely puts you at risk for accidentally sharing more than just the computer.

Continue reading: "Does sharing a computer mean that I'm sharing my Google web history?"

* * *

What is thumbs.db, and can I delete it?

I've seen thumbs.db files in some of my folders. Are they safe to delete? How do I delete them?

Thumbs.db is totally safe to delete. It's an automatically generated thumbnail cache.

I'll explain just what that is and I'm going to use this as an excuse to turn it off on my own machine, and show you how along the way.

Continue reading: "What is thumbs.db, and can I delete it?"

* * *

Why can't I access the Documents and Settings or Local Settings folders in Windows Vista?

I can not longer access the Documents and Settings folder or the Local Settings folder after my XP to Vista upgrade. I appear not have sufficient privileges yet I am the administrator (full access) or my local PC?

As best I can figure Microsoft is trying to make it very difficult to access those old folders.

Yes, I said "old folders". Apparently in Windows Vista, the folders have been moved. The information is elsewhere and fully accessible in the new location.

Continue reading: "Why can't I access the Documents and Settings or Local Settings folders in Windows Vista?"

* * *

Vista, or not?

Vista's cool and all that, but is it a compelling upgrade?

Continue reading: "Vista, or not?" Article Includes Audio

* * *

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Here's an article from three years ago that I'm still asked on a regular basis:

What's a '.dat' file?

I have a ".dat" file on my computer, and I'd like to open it up and see what's inside. What is a .dat file, and what application do I use to look at it?

In short: there's no way to tell.

The problem is that many applications use the file extension ".dat" to indicate a file that contains data.

But that's exactly all it tells us, and that's not enough.

Read more... What's a '.dat' file?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Just so you don't feel like you're alone when you suffer computer problems, I'm in the process of attempting to recover ~200gig of data from one of my 300gig external drives that went corrupt last week. I'm looking at around a 50% success rate. Fortunately everything on the drive can be recovered from CDs, albeit more painfully.

Y'all are backing up, right? Smile

And along those lines of those who deal with these kinds of issues on a daily basis: Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day to all the geeks out there that keep the internet (and a few other things, I suppose) running.

'till next time...


* * *

The Latest:
Forwarded Funnies: "Who's First"
Taming Email: "Count to 10, to 100, to 1000 if you have to."
Leo's MovableType Tips: "Tolerate Broken URLs"

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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.

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

Posted: July 27, 2007 in: 2007
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3098
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2 comments on “Leo’s Answers #88 – July 27, 2007”

  1. your news letters have been very ,very helpful to me .i hope to continue getting them and geting my friends to sign up also .i have learned alot from you ,it is a lot better hearing from you then having to wait around for someone to come around to bug them to help me with things

  2. This is sort of related. I now have to icons on my desktop that say desktop.ini. Here’s what’s in one of them when opened in notebook:


    What the heck are these and can I delete them?

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