Leo’s Answers #99 – October 12, 2007

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


*** Contents

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

How can I tell if my email has been blocked?

How can I tell if my email address has been blocked? The email address I send to is good and working, the only problem is, it's not working for me; have I been blocked? Is there any way of knowing if my emails ever get opened or deleted? And if I'm blocked, it is my email address that's blocked or my IP address?

The ultra-short answer is: there's just no way to know for sure.

Let's look at why I say that.

Continue reading: "How can I tell if my email has been blocked?"

* * *

Can I get Internet Explorer 7 without using Windows Automatic Update? And should I?

Now that IE7 is available to XP users without the Windows Genuine Advantage check a number of my friends want to try it out on their Win-XP Home or XP-Pro.

I understand you need to turn on windows auto update. This has a lot of people concerned that they may get more than they bargained for, myself included. This stems from the recent microsoft 'stealth' updates a few weeks back I think.

My question! Is there a way to get IE7 without turning on the auto update? Can you run IE7 next to or with IE6 on the same machine?

Taking your questions in reverse order:

  • I'm not aware of an easy way to have both IE6 and IE7 on the same machine at the same time.

  • I still recommend using Windows Update.

  • You can easily get IE7 without using Windows Update.

Let me expand on each of those.

Continue reading: "Can I get Internet Explorer 7 without using Windows Automatic Update? And should I?"

* * *

How can I tell if my computer's been accessed by someone else, and how do I prevent it?

How can I tell if my flatmates have accessed or are accessing my computer? We have a BT homehub and we share the connection wirelessly, but I have the Norton firewall on. I don't know if the firewall only protects my computer from the intruders outside our network. I've heard it's easy for other people sharing the same wireless network to sneak into each others' computers. How is it done and how can I prevent it?

Let's see, you're worried about outside intruders accessing your system, you're worried about your privacy, and you're worried about your wireless connection.

What you've just described is the internet itself but just on a smaller scale.

It should be no surprise then that many of the concepts that used to protect ourselves from the people we don't know out on the internet would be used to protect ourselves from the people we do know sharing our internet connection.

Continue reading: "How can I tell if my computer's been accessed by someone else, and how do I prevent it?"

* * *

Does a file's name matter?

If you download a file (say, an update for your video card drivers), and change the name from, say "xxx123.45.exe" to "vidcardupd1", will the program still install/run properly, or does renaming the filename affect the actual program itself?

Changing the filename certainly doesn't change what the file is or does, but doing so it can prevent Windows from knowing what to do with it.

I know I regularly rename downloads.

Let's review some guidelines.

Continue reading: "Does a file's name matter?"

* * *

Where's my disk space going?

Under your previous question "How can I tell what's taking up so much disk space?" I ran chkdsk /f and this ran but didn't free up any space? Then I downloaded diruse and this wouldn't run? I wondered if you could please help me further? Our disc drive is split into a C and a D drive which both have between 30 and 40 gig on each, we only ever save on the D drive, however the C drive is up to about 31.9 Gig with 540 meg left available! Apart from about 5 gig of photo's I can't understand what is taking up all the memory? The memory seems to continually go down and is now getting to a critical level. I have run spyware and adware checks and deleted all critical errors, but still not been able to free up any memory. I can't even defrag as I need 20% free to run this option.

I wanted to revisit the "what's taking disk space" issue so I could recommend a tool that might be better for most people than the command line tool diruse I recommended in that previous article.

However this question also gives me an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions and some terms that don't mean what you think they mean.

Continue reading: "Where's my disk space going?"

* * *

Why am I not getting asked additional security questions when I expect them?

Lately, even if all cookies have been deleted, my online banking site doesn't bother to ask me my security questions but goes straight to the password entry screen. If I logon from a different machine, however, it does ask the security questions. This also seems to happen with the site of my credit card company. What could possibly be causing this?

Sitekey is a technique being used by many financial institutions as a way of more securely making sure you are who you say you are when you login. They claim that it's stronger security, however some security experts disagree with that assessment.

Stronger or not, it's there. How it works and how it decides to ask you your additional questions is all kind of mysterious.

To start with, your question implies an assumption; an assumption that may not be true.

Continue reading: "Why am I not getting asked additional security questions when I expect them?"

* * *

Windows tries to be helpful again.

My machine had slowed to a crawl. Why? Windows was "helping"!

Continue reading: "Windows tries to be helpful again." Article Includes Audio

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Three years ago I was faced with seriously infected machine belonging to one of my in-laws. Here's the story:

This computer's infested, what do I do?

There's no one answer to this question, because virus and malware infestations can be so insidious and so different from machine to machine. However, it might be helpful to walk through a real life example.

My example.

You see, this article's question was one I asked myself when I started looking at my brother-in-law's machine.

So this article will be less of an "answer", and more of an example of what recovery looks like as I walk through the steps I took.

Read more... This computer's infested, what do I do?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Ever have one of those days?

I wrote up a nice new article earlier today, and was searching around on my site for related articles to include in the "related links" section. I do that much like I hope most readers do: by using the Google site-search box that's on every page.

The first result was a great article that I'd written earlier this year. On the same topic. Saying pretty much the exact same things. Rendering my new version kinda pointless.

I may not remember everything I've written (with 1,300+ entries on the site right now I can't really be surprised), but at least I appear to be consistent.

In case you're interested the article from earlier this year: What's NAS? How do I go about setting one up?. The new version I wrote today? That went into the bit bucket.

Oh, well. I think I've said it here before: I really need to search my own site before I start writing.

'till next time...


* * *

The Latest: at Forwarded Funnies: "Boat Anchor [photo]"

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

Posted: October 12, 2007 in: 2007
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3178
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