Leo’s Answers #95 – September 14, 2007

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

Hello!

*** Contents

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

If shutting down Windows cleanly is important, what happens when the power just goes out?

I am aware that not going through the proper Windows shutdown can possibly have negative effects on a computer. But my question is if a computer loses power (due to a household power outage, not anything wrong with the power supply), are these negative effects strictly software related (meaning a format and reinstall would fix them), or might it cause hardware problems as well?

Shutting down Windows properly before turning off the power to your computer is important. Not doing so can result in data loss and corruption as files are left only partially written to disk. But just turning off the switch is unlikely to actually harm your hardware.

Surprisingly, a household or other area-wide power outage turns out to be a completely different issue.

Continue reading: "If shutting down Windows cleanly is important, what happens when the power just goes out?"
http://ask-leo.com/if_shutting_down_windows_cleanly_is_important_what_happens_when_the_power_just_goes_out.html

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How do I stop someone from using or voting from my IP address?

When I go to a certain website and cast a vote it displays that someone has cast a vote from my computer or from the IP address. Is there anyway of finding out who is using my IP address in a fraudulent way? Now I'm leery as to why i have a computer in the first place!

You're making one huge assumption that's likely not correct. It's very unlikely that there's fraud here at all.

There are a couple of very valid ways that the same IP addresses might appear to be in use by several different computers. If the voting software using only your IP address to check for voting abuse, then it's not doing as good a job as it should be.

Continue reading: "How do I stop someone from using or voting from my IP address?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_stop_someone_from_using_or_voting_from_my_ip_address.html

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Which takes more disk space: backing up, or copying files? And how much?

Which takes more disk space, back-up, or copying files? To date I have only copied files (.doc, .jpg, etc.) but probably need to do a back-up. How much space is required in relation to the amount of space already in use on my hard drive?

Naturally, it depends on how much you're backing up, how you're doing it, and what tools you're using to do it. It even depends on what kind of data you're backing up.

Continue reading: "Which takes more disk space: backing up, or copying files? And how much?"
http://ask-leo.com/which_takes_more_disk_space_backing_up_or_copying_files_and_how_much.html

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Is Office 2003 compatible with Widows Vista?

I have Windows Vista now and I can not open Word documents attached to emails. How can I open them? Is Microsoft Office 2003 compatible with Vista?

Yes, Microsoft Office 2003 is compatible with Windows Vista.

You didn't say what happens when you try to open a document or what error message is produced, so I'll have to make some wild guesses.

Most of the confusion that I see is actually not about Windows Vista, but rather the file format changes between Office 2003 and Office 2007. The newer version now saves into a file format that can't be read by the old. However there are solutions.

Continue reading: "Is Office 2003 compatible with Widows Vista?"
http://ask-leo.com/is_office_2003_compatible_with_widows_vista.html

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What are all these other pictures when I view emailed photos?

My daughter recently sent me picture from college and I viewed them using Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. There were many other extraneous pictures, fonts and geometrical shapes. Is this normal? If so, why? How do i view only what I want?

This isn't really about Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, as it applies to any program you might use to view your images. It's really just about managing where pictures are placed on your computer's hard disk. The "problem", if you want to call it that, is that there's often a lot of other stuff in the common, default location for pictures.

Continue reading: "What are all these other pictures when I view emailed photos?"
http://ask-leo.com/what_are_all_these_other_pictures_when_i_view_emailed_photos.html

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Are forced upgrades a bad thing?

Like Hotmail users, sometimes you have no choice but to upgrade. Sometimes that's ok, sometimes not. But you should expect it.

Continue reading: "Are forced upgrades a bad thing?" Article Includes Audio
http://ask-leo.com/are_forced_upgrades_a_bad_thing.html

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

It's hard to believe that Windows XP SP2 was released over three years ago. It's even harder to believe that there are still folks who refuse to install it. Most of their reasons boil down to this question:

Will SP2 Crash my machine?

There's been a lot of press about Windows XP SP2 crashing or hanging machines or applications. The good news is that like most "news", you only hear the bad stuff. In fact, the news reflects only a minority of installations - the vast majority of SP2 installations are working great. The bad news is that if you're in that minority, it doesn't matter to you that it works fine everywhere else.

So what can you do to make sure that you stand the highest chance of success?

Read more... Will SP2 Crash my machine?
http://ask-leo.com/will_sp2_crash_my_machine.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

It's interesting that my commentary last weekend on "force upgrades", dealing primarily with the apparently force migration of MSN Hotmail users to the new Windows Live Hotmail interface, would happen in the same week as news that Microsoft Automatic Updates will, in fact, update some things even if you say no to automatic updates. Talk about "forced upgrades"!

Like I've said before, I know from personal experience that Microsoft is full of passionate people who really have their user's best interests at heart. Truly. Unfortunately that all that means little when someone makes a bad decision and the tech press (quite rightly) calls them on it: Microsoft updates Windows without users' consent.

From what I understand it really is a minor technical issue - Windows Update will update itself, regardless of your auto-update settings. I can even make an argument for this being the right thing to do from a technical standpoint.

However the fact that it was happening without user consent or notification, and that nowhere was there information that would indicate it was happening was a serious blunder on Microsoft's part.

Given the microscope that they're under nowadays, one would hope that Microsoft would understand that these issues of privacy and ownership are just as important as technical competence ... occasionally even more so.

'till next time...

Leo

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