Leo’s Answers #90 – August 10, 2007

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


*** Contents

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

How do I remove a file that my anti-virus says can't be quarantined?

My anti-virus software says a trojan was found on my computer, and the file in which the trojan lies can not be cleaned, deleted, or quarantined. I have pictures of my children that I don't want to lose. Is there a way for me to delete that file where the trojan is and save the pictures of my children? I was told if the trojan couldn't be quarantined, deleted, or cleaned, then I would need to completely start my hard drive over from scratch. Is this true?

On the surface the answer here is simple: you should be able to recover your pictures safely and still remove the trojan. And yes, I'll walk through how you might do that.


There's a much larger issue at play here. One that scares me much more than the trojan.

Continue reading: "How do I remove a file that my anti-virus says can't be quarantined?"

* * *

I have multiple winlogon.exe files on my machine, and one's taking up a lot of memory - what do I do?

I have multiple versions of winlogon.exe on my computer. When I boot up, I have configured my system to run and display Task Manager so I can see what's up. I have noticed that the winlogon.exe takes up a substantial portion of memory, and I don't know why, if Windows XP Home SP2 has already loaded AND when I have not asked MSN to load, why would this file launch? Is it related to the operating system or MSN or MSN Messenger? Can I delete the versions of winlogon.exe that are dated 2002 and have earlier version numbers?

Winlogon.exe is expected and a copy should be running. What you mean by "a substantial portion" of memory will depend on a lot of things.

And there are likely to be several copies; I have four, myself.

Let's review winlogon.exe, what's worth being concerned about, and what all those copies might be.

Continue reading: "I have multiple winlogon.exe files on my machine, and one's taking up a lot of memory - what do I do?"

* * *

My computer has a virus infection; how much has been compromised?

I have found that my computer contains 2 trojans. I have heard that hackers use trojans to gain unauthorized access to all your data. Is this true? If so, then is the data in my external hard disk (which I connect to the computer at least once a week and for a span of half an hour) also compromised?

Sometimes. Maybe.

There are so many different types and variations of malware out there that it's hard to give a definite answer. However we can certainly examine what they might be doing, and why. We'll also look at the assumptions you'll probably make, and which of those I'd make in your shoes.

Continue reading: "My computer has a virus infection; how much has been compromised?"

* * *

Is a 1 gigahertz 256 megabyte Windows XP Home machine good enough for on-line use?

I Gave my son a 1 gigahertz Compaq laptop with XP home and 256 megabytes of ram. He only uses it on line, via a cable connection, and as you can imagine, it's slow. You can only upgrade ram to a max of 384meg. Will that be fast enough or can I configure something else to improve performance>

Ultimately it depends on what you mean by "uses it on line". If that simply means downloading email, chatting and viewing web pages, it seems like that machine should be fine. Bare minimum, perhaps, and adding the RAM certainly won't hurt.

If on-line means viewing videos or playing on-line games or other types of similar activities, other considerations come into play.

Continue reading: "Is a 1 gigahertz 256 megabyte Windows XP Home machine good enough for on-line use?"

* * *

I've received a popup telling me I'm infected and recommending a download to fix it. Should I?

I've recently started getting a new warning message when I visit some sites. It says that my computer has tracks of all the adult sites I've visited and that this will affect me in various ways. It recommends that I install a drive cleaning program to remove these tracks.

Does this mean that my computer was infected by a virus, trojan or some kind of tracking software? Have I been hacked by someone? And do you recommend that I install the drive cleaning software? Is it safe?

The short answer is that if you get warning message that indicates you are infected which recommends that you download a specific product to resolve the errors, the answer is simple: don't.

There may be other things you want to do, but following some random pop-up message's instructions to download a specific product isn't one of them.

Continue reading: "I've received a popup telling me I'm infected and recommending a download to fix it. Should I?"

* * *

The most frustrating thing I hear...

I hear many things as people ask me questions, but there's one thing that stands out as most frustrating because it's so needless.

Continue reading: "The most frustrating thing I hear..." Article Includes Audio

* * *

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

The first question and answer on Ask Leo! (Now moot, since the bug referred to was since fixed.)

How do I keep the status bar from disappearing in Internet Explorer 6?

Definitely an annoyance, isn't it? This turns out to be a bug in Internet Explorer 6. You can read the admission in the Microsoft KnowledgeBase here.

Read more... How do I keep the status bar from disappearing in Internet Explorer 6?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me!

OK, not me (that's next month), but rather Happy Birthday to Ask Leo!.

Ask Leo! is four years old today. That question above, "How do I keep the status bar from disappearing in Internet Explorer 6?" was the first question and answer posted on Ask Leo! August 10, 2003.

Four years later there are 1290 entries and counting, a million visitors every month and growing, and a weekly newsletter with over 17,000 subscribers and increasing. I still get a bucket full of questions every day, and now have my assistant Jennifer helping to keep the operation running smooth (and checking my spelling and grammar - I'm still a programmer, not a writer, at heart Smile). I'm still the only one answering questions, either here in print, or via various email replies.


Who'd a thunk it?

And it's still incredibly rewarding. Of course I get my fair share of inane questions and occasional abuse - that's the price of having a public face on the internet - but the positive response far outweighs it all. I absolutely love hearing from people whom I've helped in some way.

A particular thanks is due to the folks who comment on articles on Ask Leo! and provide additional information. I'm not afraid to say that I certainly don't know everything, and it's great to see people helped on my site even if it's not me doing the helping. And I have to say I've learned a lot from folks who take the time to post or email additional information.

So a big Thank You! to all of you: readers, subscribers, advertisers and commenters. You're all a part of what's made it possible, and fun, to keep Ask Leo! going for the last four years.

In what's become an annual tradition, I've collected some of the sillier or odder questions that I've received in the past year, and posted them over on my personal blog. And yes, I couldn't resist including the answers I wish I could have given. Those "Other" Questions - enjoy.

Onward into year five we go...

'till next time...


* * *

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

*** Newsletter Administration

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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: August 10, 2007 in: 2007
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3112
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