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Tag: AskLeo

Is it Safe to Delete This File? – Ask Leo!

The one thing you need to do before you hit delete. When running out of disk space, considering what you can delete makes sense. I’ll look at the steps to determine whether a file, such as a .dat file, may be important. My C: and D: drives have many gigabytes of .DAT files under “Documents…
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Could a Built-in Tracking Device in My Laptop Detect My Tor Browsing History? – Ask Leo!

The risks of malicious trackers. (Image: canva.com) Malware can do anything, but malicious hardware can do even more. Yes. I’m assuming by “built-in tracking device” you mean that someone has actually added a hardware device of some sort to your laptop. Such a device would share all the capabilities of malware and perhaps even more.…
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How to Protect Your Cloud Storage and Backups from Ransomware – Ask Leo!

Extra-destructive malware might call for extra-strong protection. (image: canva.com) There are additional protections for your data if your machine becomes infected with a form of malware known as ransomware. In a previous article, I wrote about how ransomware is nothing special when it comes to prevention — it’s “just” malware, and the same steps you…
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Just What Is a Backup? – Ask Leo!

Only, perhaps, the most important term in all of computing. (Image: canva.com) “If it’s only in one place, it’s not backed up” really tells you all you need to know. Backup is one of those terms we all take for granted — yet it’s not uncommon to find different people who have different ideas of…
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How Does Bitcoin Mining Work? – Ask Leo!

It’s a metaphor, but with possible real-world consequences. (Image: canva.com) What does it mean to mine something that doesn’t physically exist? And why might it use so much electricity? We’ve heard a lot about cryptocurrencies lately, especially Bitcoin. Opinions run the gamut from “worthless artificial gold” to the wave of the future and the universal…
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Facebook Privacy Settings 2021 – Ask Leo!

What they mean, and what you need to change. (Image: canva.com) You can and should be aware of and control your Facebook privacy settings. Often, your own actions impact your privacy the most. Oversharing on social media is perhaps the best example. Nowhere is it more common than on Facebook, where privacy settings are so…
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How Do I Tell If a Source is Reputable? – Ask Leo!

In technology, as in life, reputation is everything. (Image: canva.com) We are often advised to trust only “reputable” sites. How do you tell if a site or service has a good reputation? One of the common statements folks in my position make is to recommend you purchase or download software only from reputable sources. That…
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Isn’t Storing Your Passwords In One Place a Security Risk? – Ask Leo!

It depends on the place. (Image: canva.com) Yes, password managers put all your information in one place. It better be a very good place. Isn’t it a security issue of using password managers that all passwords are stored in the same place? Yes. Yes it is. But an additional question might be: what’s the alternative?…
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What’s a Disk Partition? – Ask Leo!

Yet another way of organizing data. (Image: askleo.com) Partitions allow a single physical disk drive to be treated as if it were multiple disks. Particularly when it comes to backing up, one of the terms often thrown around is “partition”, or more specifically, “disk partition”. Let’s look at exactly what it means, and when you…
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Are Longer Passwords Better, Even If They’re Simpler? – Ask Leo!

When it comes to passwords, size really does matter. (Image: canva.com) A longer password of repeating characters is more secure than a short complicated password — but there’s more to security than cracking. I’ve tried to move many of my passwords to passphrases or use just the first letters of words in a passphrase. Why…
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Yes, SMS Two-Factor Authentication is Broken; Use it Anyway – Ask Leo!

SMS two-factor authentication is still better than nothing. (Image: askleo.com) SMS messaging has some serious security vulnerabilities, but does that mean you should always avoid it? No. I keep hearing from people telling me that using SMS text messaging for two-factor authentication is broken, risky, not secure, and so on. They’re not wrong. But here’s…
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9 Ways Your Account Can Be Compromised, Even with a Super-strong Password – Ask Leo!

There’s more to security than 2cbMM8DS7Dwg3FWMVuSv. Strong passwords are important, but they don’t protect you from everything. I’ll look at other ways your account can be compromised. I sometimes play a game online to pass the time. It’s a simulation type of game but I like it. One day I logged into my account and…
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What’s an Incremental Backup? – Ask Leo!

Save space by backing up only certain things. (Image: canva.com) I have a mental ‘block’ on backing up which unnerves my approach to it. I have managed one full backup (32gb) on an external hard drive. I have just read your article on maintenance but do not understand what is meant by “incremental backup”. Does it simply…
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Should I Worry About Old Lost Email Accounts? – Ask Leo!

Worrying won’t help, but there may be other things you’ll want to do. Worry. It rarely helps. (Image: canva.com) That old account you lost probably won’t come back to haunt you, but it’s wise to take some action and keep your guard up. Should I worry about my two old lost email accounts even though…
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The Start Button Is Missing and There’s No Taskbar. What Do I Do? – Ask Leo!

The case of the missing taskbar. Where’s the Start button??? (Screenshot: askleo.com) Taskbar and Start button disappeared? We’ll look at solutions for several reasons why this might happen. Applies to Windows: 10, 8, 7 All of a sudden my taskbar is gone. I can’t find it, so I have no Start button to click on, no…
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Set Up Windows 10 Again with the Windows Out Of Box Experience (OOBE) – Ask Leo!

Starting over without starting over. (Screenshot: askleo.com) You can use the Windows 10 Out Of Box Experience, or “OOBE”, at any time to reset a variety of items most commonly associated with initial setup. You may or may not remember setting up Windows 10 the first time you used it. You were walked through a…
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Why Does Word Tell Me a Document Changed When It Hasn’t? – Ask Leo!

Changes you didn’t make. (Screenshot: askleo.com) It’s sometimes hard to tell why Word thinks a document changed even though you haven’t done anything to it. I’ll look at a few clues. Hey Leo, what can I do, when I close out of an existing saved Word document, to stop the “Do you want to save…
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Should I Always Sign Out of My Online Account? – Ask Leo!

Who do you trust? (Image: canva.com) It is perfectly safe to stay signed in to your online account as long as you’re protected from a few specific scenarios. You sent me steps (in addition to changing my password) when my Yahoo mail had been hacked, for which I thank you. One more please: should I…
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How Do I Protect My Laptop Data from Theft? – Ask Leo!

Encryption, done properly, is the answer. (Image: canva.com) Laptops are portable, convenient, and easily lost. If lost, all your data could easily be available to the finder. Encryption is the answer. I travel a lot, and have sensitive data on the laptop I take with me that I need as part of my job. But…
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What Backup Type Do I Want: Full, Incremental, or Differential? – Ask Leo!

Confusing terms for important concepts. (Image: canva.com) Terms relating to backing up can be confusing. Understanding them helps you make better decisions about backing up. Full, incremental, and differential: three confusing terms for three types of backups. I’ll describe each so we can compare them and see which is most appropriate for you. Backing up…
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Three Things to Try When Unsubscribe Doesn’t Work – Ask Leo!

Time to take a different approach. (Image: canva.com) When a legitimate email sender doesn’t respond to an “unsubscribe” request, they’re no longer legitimate. Here’s what to do. If you use … and then try to unsubscribe they will not let you out. They keep sending e-mails almost every day. All I can do is to…
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Testing Your Backups Is Critical – Ask Leo!

The only thing worse than no backup is a backup that doesn’t work. Testing your backups is an easy step to overlook, but an important one to take. Make sure your backups will be there when you need them. I wrote to suggest, …, that you write an article IN CAPITAL LETTERS if necessary that…
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What’s the Best Two-Factor Authentication Option? – Ask Leo!

The worst is none at all. (Screenshot: askleo.com) The best two-factor authentication approach varies based on your needs, and what’s offered by the service you’re trying to use it with. What is the most effective type of second-factor authentication for home computer users besides SMS or email? Is it Yubi Keys, Google Authenticator, or something…
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How Do I Back Up My WordPress Site? – Ask Leo!

If you have a website, it’s probably important to you. (Image: canva.com) If you’ve put a lot of effort into your website, you want to protect yourself from disaster. That protection? A good backup, of course. This is specifically for folks who have websites. Perhaps you have one for your personal blog, business, or organization.…
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What’s the Difference Between a Clone and an Image? – Ask Leo!

Different definitions of “everything”. (Image: askleo.com / canva.com) The difference between a clone and an image boils down to what they contain: everything, or absolutely everything. I always seem to become confused when the discussion turns to image and clone. I thought I understand the basic difference, but … maybe not? Image and clone are very confusing…
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What if My OneDrive is Too Big for My Hard Drive? – Ask Leo!

How to manage OneDrive when it’s bigger than your disk. (Image: askleo.com) Cloud storage is ubiquitous, convenient, and BIG. There are options if OneDrive is too big for your hard drive. I have a Surface with limited storage. I want to keep data in OneDrive and not on my local drive unless I need it.…
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How Do I Send Free Anonymous Email? – Ask Leo!

Hiding your identity is possible but can be complicated. (Image: canva.com) Sending anonymous email ranges from easy to complex, depending on the likelihood of someone going the extra mile to identify you. I want to send email to a person I’m talking to on a dating service, but I don’t want them to be able…
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Back Up Your Email Using Thunderbird – Ask Leo!

If it’s in only one place, it’s not backed up. (Screenshot: askleo.com) Using a desktop email program to back up email avoids potential data loss. I’ll show you how using Outlook.com and Thunderbird as examples. Many years ago I received a panic-stricken email from an individual whose account had been hacked. He had lost all…
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How Long Should I Keep Windows 10 Backups After Major Updates? – Ask Leo!

There’s really no such thing as “too long”. (Image: canva.com) Backing up around major updates is a good idea, but can also be a side effect of a routine backup strategy. Then the question becomes: how long to keep ’em? When I bought my Win 10 Pro Lenovo Desktop with 1 TB drive in 2015,…
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What is an Image Backup? – Ask Leo!

It’s what you back up when you don’t know what to back up. (Image: canva.com) Backup terminology can be confusing. I’ll define one of the terms I use frequently and explain why I think it’s so important. One of the obstacles to backing up is the terminology. Backup tools often use unfamiliar words, assuming you…
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What Should I Do About the Changes to LastPass Free? – Ask Leo!

What to do if you’re affected. (Screenshot: askleo.com) LastPass is changing the terms of their free service. Find out if you’re affected, and what to do if you are. LastPass free version will be restricting access to one device **type** per user. Any suggestions: stay & pay, switch to a different password program? LastPass threw…
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Content Re-Use on Ask Leo! – Ask Leo!

Ask Leo! articles are available in a variety of formats and locations. I’m a big believer in both “everything is content”, as well as “content re-use”. The former turns sometimes even casual conversations and questions into helpful content for everyone, and the latter attempts to make that content available in a variety of ways so…
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If It’s All Digital, Won’t You Lose It Anyway? – Ask Leo!

If you do, you’re not doing it right. A page out of an old photo album. Click for larger image. (Image: Leo Notenboom.) A single original of anything is not backed up, and backing up is significantly easier, and of higher quality, in digital media. I had a thought about everything being digital: is there…
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Why I Bought My Wife a Mac, then a Chromebook, then a Mac – Ask Leo!

Lessons were learned. (Image: canva.com) I recently updated my wife’s computer again. This was unexpected, but the process reinforced a couple of important lessons. Back when my wife and I owned a collectible doll shop, I used to joke that technical support had a different priority when you legitimately expected to sleep with the boss…
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3 Important Life Lessons from a 99-year-old Blogger – Ask Leo!

She’s who I want to be when I grow up. (Image: canva.com) Feeling like you’re “too old”? I’d like to introduce you to someone who inspires me. One of the common refrains I hear, sometimes explicitly but more often inferred from the way people ask me questions, is being “too old”. It’s not my favorite…
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Can Hotel Internet Traffic Be Sniffed? – Ask Leo!

It’s as bad as open Wi-Fi. (Image: canva.com) Many hotels offer both wired and wireless internet, but with those hotel internet connections comes a security risk most folks don’t consider. My friend’s husband has been getting into her email even though she’s not given him her password. He has confronted his sister about an email…
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Is It Safe to Let Your Browser Remember Passwords? – Ask Leo!

The risk that’s often overlooked (Image credit: canva.com) Letting your browser remember passwords is a convenient feature. With that convenience comes risk — often significant risk. Most folks are much better served by using a password vault. I’ll explain why. If I consider my computer to be physically secure, am I reasonably safe letting Firefox…
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How Often Should I Reboot My Computer? – Ask Leo!

Sometimes, it’s required; sometimes, it’s just a good idea. (Image: canva.com) Rebooting your computer “every so often” is less necessary these days than it once was, but the point is often moot. I have Windows 10. I leave my computer on all the time. How often should I re-boot my computer, or does it really…
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What Can a Computer Thief See If I Password Protect My Windows Sign-in? – Ask Leo!

Thieves can see more than you might think unless you’ve taken additional steps. Password-protecting your Windows login does not protect your computer’s data, particularly if the computer is stolen. My mid-tower computer was recently stolen in a burglary. The Windows system was password-protected at start-up. What files can be accessed by those trying to enter…
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Why Is My Computer Crashing Randomly? The Most Common Cause and a Plan of Attack – Ask Leo!

The most common cause and a plan of attack. (Image: canva.com) Random crashes are annoying and difficult to diagnose. I’ll review common causes and steps you can take to determine what’s happening on your computer. My PC is not quite a year old yet but it recently started to crash, even while just running Word.…
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Should You Use the Free Backup Software that Comes with Some External Drives? – Ask Leo!

There are better options. Many external drives include free backup software that I never use. I’ll explain why, and what I do instead. On your recommendation I recently purchased an external drive to use as a place to put my backups. I was surprised to find that it came with free backup software included. Why…
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How You Recover When Good Apps Go Bad – Ask Leo!

Taking my own advice. I frequently advise people what to do about unexpected and undesirable software changes. It’s time for me to take my own advice. Over time, we get comfortable with the applications and operating system software we use every day. Then, something changes. What do you do if the change impacts your ability…
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Can I Get a Virus By Looking at an Email? – Ask Leo!

It used to be scary easy. It used to be that simply viewing a malformed email could allow a virus to spread. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case with modern mail programs. In the past, asking if your machine could catch a virus just by reading email got laughs from the geeks. “Of course not!”…
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Should I Avoid Windows Update? It Burned Me – Ask Leo!

Only if you like living even more dangerously. After a bad experience with Windows Update, it’s tempting to bail on the idea completely. Unfortunately, that can leave your machine vulnerable to malware. I recently took an update via Windows Update, and after doing so, my machine wouldn’t even boot. It took a technician hours to…
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How to Get File Explorer to Display Details by Default – Ask Leo!

Plus the one setting you MUST change for security (Image: askleo.com) Windows File Explorer defaults to a simple view of files on your machine that is not secure. Changes these settings as soon as you can. Applies to Windows: 10, 8 File Explorer (previously known as Windows Explorer in Windows versions prior to 8) defaults…
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How to Back Up Photos and Never Lose Them Again: the Steps You Need to Take – Ask Leo!

Your photos are irreplaceable Follow these steps to avoid losing precious and irreplaceable memories. Do you back up photos and video? Everyone with a smartphone has a camera, and they’re using ’em right and left to snap photos and shoot videos. Add in digital cameras from inexpensive to professional, and there is a lot of…
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Can I Have Different Passwords for YouTube and Gmail? – Ask Leo!

Keeping services separate is possible, perhaps just not obvious (Image: canva.com) A Google account includes Gmail, YouTube, and much more. If you want to keep those services separate, you’ll need separate Google accounts. Can I have a different password for YouTube and Gmail? I want to keep them separate. No. But yes. There’s a way…
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Why Password Managers are Safer than the Alternatives – Ask Leo!

Password vaults really are your most secure solution (Image: canva.com) If you’re not using a password manager, you’re likely compromising your security more than necessary. Here’s why using one is safer. Recently I tried to use RoboForm for an account at a large financial institution, but I couldn’t get it to work. In response to…
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Are Deleted Emails Really Deleted? You Might Think So, But… – Ask Leo!

It is said that deleted files are never completely erased unless you actually do so with the proper software. Does this also refer to emails? Once I erase an email (incoming or outgoing), does that stick around somewhere also? When you “permanently” delete a file, the operating system just sets a flag or removes an…
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You’re Just Not That Interesting (Except When You Are)

Worried about privacy? I believe we over-imagine the risks and at the same time are our own worst enemies. You’re Just Not That Interesting (Except When You Are) from Ask Leo!. Get the Confident Computing weekly newsletter: https://newsletter.askleo.com This post was written by Leo Notenboom and was first posted to AskLeo.com

How Two-Factor Authentication Works – Ask Leo!

You Should Use It to Keep Hackers Out Two-factor authentication is a great way to keep your accounts secure from hackers — even those who manage to get your password. We rely on passwords to protect our online security. At the same time, hackers seem to be getting better at figuring them out! In response,…
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Tip of the Day: Paste the URL, Not the Link, in Edge – Ask Leo!

Edge share, copy, paste option. (Click for larger image.) In a recent update, Edge began pasting links rather than URLs when you paste a URL. Confusing, yes? OK, here’s the difference: This is a link: Best Articles: a Collection – Ask Leo! — even though I only pasted the URL, Edge automatically fetched the title…
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Does an Open Wi-Fi Login Page Mean It’s Secure? – Ask Leo!

Many hotels, airports, and other places with an open Wi-Fi hotspot display a page that I need to log in to or accept terms on before I can connect to the internet. Does that open Wi-Fi login mean it’s a secure connection? Absolutely not. This is a critically important distinction to make, and it’s one I’m…
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2020’s Most Popular Articles – Ask Leo!

Oh, Lord, has it been a year. There’s really no way to describe 2020 objectively. All the adjectives that come to mind aren’t pretty, and aren’t suitable for publication here. Nonetheless it’s helpful to take a look back. I always find it an interesting perspective on what people were looking for, what issues they were…
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Will Microsoft Close My Hotmail Account If I Don’t Sign In? – Ask Leo!

I’m about to go on a trip, and I want to make sure I don’t lose any of my online information. I keep a lot of important emails and contact information in my MSN Hotmail account. If I don’t log in for a while, how soon will Hotmail discard it? Does Hotmail “expire”? Yes. How…
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How Do Cookies Work, and How Do I Delete Them? – Ask Leo!

Cookies aren’t as evil as most stories — and some security tools — might have you believe. A cookie is nothing more than some information a website saves on your computer. The next time you visit that site, your browser then sends it back to that same website. Seriously. That’s it. That’s all. That’s a…
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How Do I Decrypt Files Encrypted by Ransomware? – Ask Leo!

… some of my files are gone, saying they have been encrypted with a public key. Files like my photos and so on. Of course they have a high fee in order for me to get them back. Do you have a solution? That was a question I received in my morning email from a…
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How Do I Change the Browser Home Page in Windows 10? Take Control with Quick Instructions for Edge, Firefox, and Chrome – Ask Leo!

I upgraded my browser, and I’ve always had MSN as my homepage. Now, suddenly, the MSN homepage is all changed and I hate it. Can I change it back, and if so, how do I do it? There are two possibilities for this happening: the homepage setting in your browser has been changed, or the…
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What’s the Best Long-Term Storage Media? Tips to Avoid Losing Data in Your Lifetime – Ask Leo!

I currently have images stored on memory cards, thumb drives, CDs, and DVDs. Which is best long term? Probably none of the above. Technology keeps changing, of course, so the best long-term storage media will also continue to change. What we really need here is more than a choice; we need a strategy. There are…
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Why You’re Being Warned About Windows 10 End of Service and What to Do About It – Ask Leo!

What does it mean when Windows says that the current version of Windows 10 is nearing the end of its service? Doesn’t this auto update itself? Windows 10 does indeed auto-update, to the frustration of many. It’s difficult to stop it from doing so. And yet, this warning you’re getting would indicate it’s about to…
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Can I Stop Others from Forwarding Messages? – Ask Leo!

Is there any way I can keep from letting people forward emails or other messages I have sent them onto others? No. And it’s even worse than that — much worse. There is no technology that can prevent someone from forwarding or copying a message you’ve sent them. Worse yet, in most cases, it’s also…
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Can People Track My Email Address Location? – Ask Leo!

I was on a dating site & I received a message from a lady & she gave me her email address so we could talk privately in which I emailed her back. Now that she knows my email address, can anything bad or dangerous happen? Like a virus or having my account cleaned out? Can…
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Cloud Storage as Cloud Backup: Four Safety Rules – Ask Leo!

I now have 1 TB of Microsoft OneDrive storage. How should that affect my backup strategy? Most of my data files are now on OneDrive; do those need to be backed up? Can I use OneDrive space as my “external hard drive” for backups of my other files? How about for image backups? Can/should Macrium…
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What Do I Do About Adobe Flash End of Life in 2020? – Ask Leo!

Adobe Flash player is going away at the end of 2020. Most major browsers will stop supporting it, and websites that rely on it will stop working. What can you do? Nothing. But then, you shouldn’t have to. Adobe Flash is old, unsupported, and has security issues that will never be fixed. It’s also been…
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Why Are There So Many Internet Jerks? – Ask Leo!

You’re full of crap. That didn’t work. This was a comment on my Facebook fan page in response to a tip I’d posted. Apparently, the feature I was discussing either hadn’t yet been made available in the commenter’s account, or they couldn’t find it. Apparently, I was at fault for trying to be helpful. Now,…
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Why Did My Security Software Not Detect a Virus on My PC? – Ask Leo!

Why would an exploit not be caught or detected by my antivirus program? If not detectable, how much “damage” can the exploit actually do if users follow prudent operating precautions? Would System Restore be usable if infected? I also follow your advice and routinely image my Dell laptop. We need to clear up a little…
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Are the Free Microsoft Office Alternatives for Windows 10 Any Good? – Ask Leo!

I was thinking about purchasing Microsoft Word, which I had on my last computer. I need it occasionally to make lists, etc. I think it costs around $100 or perhaps even less. I don’t need Office, etc., just Word. I happened to read this article on freebies and it mentioned something called Open Office. So,…
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Facebook Hacked? What You Need to Do NOW! – Ask Leo!

Much like email, it’s not uncommon for someone, somewhere, to gain access to someone else’s Facebook account, and use it to post spam or worse. Sometimes, the account password is changed; sometimes not. Sometimes traces are left; sometimes not. Sometimes the entire account is destroyed, and you can lose your account permanently. If you think…
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Can I Tell If Someone Blocked My Texts and Email? – Ask Leo!

How can I tell if my email has been blocked? The email address I send to is good and working, but it’s not working for me. Have I been blocked? I tried texting, but got no response there either. Is there any way of knowing if my emails ever get opened or deleted? And if…
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A One-step Way to Lose Your Account Forever – Ask Leo!

Not a day goes by I don’t hear from someone who’s in the middle of some kind of account recovery process that isn’t working. While I try to help out to the degree that I can — usually with instructions that are often no more than the service provider’s instructions translated into clearer English —…
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Can I Trust Browser Extensions? – Ask Leo!

Is it true that you can’t trust browser extensions because they’ll grab your data when doing things like online banking? You can trust some web browser extensions. At the same time, there are malicious extensions you absolutely should not trust. The real question is, how do you know which is which? That’s a question for…
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Is it Safe to Allow Remote Access? – Ask Leo!

Is it safe to allow remote access to a tech support person from a reputable firm to solve a problem? I recently had an issue that required me to contact such a company, and permitted the tech to view my desktop. My problem was solved, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was a bad…
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How to Back Up Before a Windows 10 Upgrade – Ask Leo!

I’m about to upgrade my operating system to Windows 10. How do I protect myself if something goes wrong? I’m about to reinstall Windows. How do I start? Simple: back up before that Windows 10 upgrade or reinstall. And by that, I mean take a complete system image backup of your entire computer before you…
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What Backup Program Should I Use? – Ask Leo!

Backing up is kind of like eating healthier: everyone knows we should, and few of us actually do. Much like the heart attack victim who no longer binges on french fries, when it comes to backing up, the most religious are those who’ve been bitten hard by a failure in their past. Asking what backup…
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What Happens If You Delete System32 in Windows 10? – Ask Leo!

This question took me by surprise. Seriously. I mean, why would you even consider it? Well, apparently there’s a prank or scam running around that encourages people to do exactly that. Don’t. C:WindowsSystem32 is Windows itself, and deleting it, if even partially successful, will break your Windows installation. You’ll need to reinstall Windows or restore…
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Why Am I Getting Bounces for Email I Didn’t Send? – Ask Leo!

I keep getting the “cannot deliver email” message from someone I didn’t send anything to or don’t even have in my contacts list. Why is that and what do I do? What do you do? Nothing. There’s nothing you can do. Why is it happening? In a word: spammers. Let’s look at what they’re up…
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How Do I Report a Bug in Windows 10? – Ask Leo!

I found a bug in Windows, confirmed by duplicating it on another machine. My only option to report it seems to be to pay to call them and submit this as a support request or do it over the internet — for a charge. I feel it’s unfair for me to pay to tell Microsoft…
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What Good Is an Image If I Can’t Restore an Old Backup to a New Computer? – Ask Leo!

I’m good little backup-er. I follow all of your instructions and happily use Macrium for regular image and file folder backups. Recently, the video system on my aging PC died and I decided to buy a new PC. I thought I could easily restore the image backup to my new PC, thereby saving me hours…
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How Do I Find Out What Program Is Using All My CPU? – Ask Leo!

My machine is slower than molasses in the winter time. I suspect that one or more programs are simply using up all of the available CPU time. How do I tell which ones they might be so that I can turn them off, or whatever? What’s using all my CPU? Yep, that sounds slow. It…
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What Recovery Email Address Should I Use? – Ask Leo!

What email should I use as a “recovery email” for my own account? A friend’s? Or should I use my own email? With few exceptions, your recovery email address should be an email address you control. Let’s look at not only those exceptions, but some additional characteristics of a recovery email address you’ll want to…
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My Email Is Hacked, How Do I Fix It? – 7 Things You Need to Do NOW! – Ask Leo!

It seems like not a day goes by when I don’t get a question from someone that boils down to their email account having been hacked. Someone, somewhere, has gained access to their account and is using it to send spam, access other online accounts, hassle contacts, and more. Sometimes passwords are changed, sometimes not.…
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How Do I Copy Text from a Copy Protected Website? – Ask Leo!

How do I copy/paste from sites that don’t permit it? There is info on a site I’d like to save, but they don’t permit copying/pasting. Is there anyway around that? As you might expect, the website in question is trying to protect its content from theft. They have valuable information, and I’m sure people try…
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Why Is It So Important to Use Different Passwords for Everything? – Ask Leo!

I keep hearing that I’m supposed to use a different passwords for everything — a different one on every internet site where I have an account. What a pain! I can’t remember all of those passwords. Yeah, I know. You want me to use a password manager thing, but that seems like putting a bunch…
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Less Common Reasons Your Computer May Slow Down – Ask Leo!

In previous articles, I’ve discussed several common reasons your computer might be slowing down. Naturally, there are a host of uncommon reasons as well. If you’ve looked at all the usual suspects and none of them seem to apply, it might be time to look a little deeper. They’re often not as easily fixed, but…
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Is it Safe to Delete Duplicate Files? – Ask Leo!

Is it safe to delete duplicate files found by duplicate file finder programs? I’m going to get some flack for this , but my answer is yes, followed by a very strong NO. Let me explain why. Because installing software in Windows is complex, it’s common to have duplicate copies of the same file, all…
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Don’t Call Yourself Stupid – Ask Leo!

I hear a lot of questions from many different people. I hear a lot of comments, complaints, excuses, and justifications. I also hear a lot of frustration and helplessness. It’s understandable. Computers and technology can be frustrating at times, and leave you feeling quite helpless. Heck, that’s why Ask Leo! exists. And while many of…
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How Do I Hack Someone’s Account? How Do I Hack My Own? – Ask Leo!

I think my boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse is cheating on me. I want to hack into their email/WhatsApp/Facebook/other account and find out what he/she/they is doing behind my back. Can you help me? Can you get me the password for *****@hotmail.com/yahoo.com/facebook.com? This person’s been saying really bad things about me and I want to hack in and teach…
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Why is My Computer Slow After Startup? – Ask Leo!

Faster warm up. I searched your articles but maybe didn’t use the best terms. I have several registry programs, like Registry Mechanic, CCleaner (and tried others) and run them often. I also do a Disk Cleanup often and defragment whenever it says I need to. I do several other things, such as clear history, cookies…
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How Do I Delete Files From OneDrive, but Not My Computer? – Ask Leo!

How can I delete files from OneDrive’s cloud storage without deleting them from my PC? There are two basic approaches to deleting files from OneDrive online cloud storage while still keeping copies for yourself. Which you want depends on whether or not you want to continue to use OneDrive at all. The best way to…
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Is Using the Cloud Safe? – Ask Leo!

One of the comments I received on my article on lessons learned from a fairly public online hacking was very concise: “That’s why the cloud is dangerous.” I think a lot of people feel that to varying degrees. I disagree. Strongly. Using the cloud can absolutely be safe. I also think believing the cloud is dangerous prevents you…
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Is a Periodic Password Change a Good Thing? – Ask Leo!

I read many articles (including some on Ask Leo!) that recommend that people should change their passwords from time to time. But what is good practice in this respect? Should it be related to frequency of use? For instance, some passwords are used frequently, some less often, and some rarely. Or should it be related…
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Deal with Computer Clutter to Speed Things Up – Ask Leo!

When I talk about computer clutter, I’m not talking about a cluttered desktop (a personal pet peeve of mine) but rather clutter left over from applications not cleaning up properly after themselves, or applications that can’t clean up for various reasons. If left un-dealt with, this type of clutter can fill up your hard disk…
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How Do I Use an Open Wi-Fi Hotspot Safely? – Ask Leo!

I’ve returned to the same coffee shop where I was a few months ago, where I noticed my email had been hijacked/hacked. This time, I’m using my phone, but the last time, when I noticed the hack, I was using my computer and doing email over an open-internet, free Wi-Fi network. Do you think that…
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Getting Rid of Bing in Windows Search – Ask Leo!

One of my more “popular” articles is How Do I Get Rid of Bing. Microsoft seems adamant, if not ham-handed, about pushing its search engine on all Windows users as much as possible. Microsoft can’t force you to use Bing (or their web browser, Edge) when you search the internet, but when you use the…
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Reboot or Power Down: Why Do So Many Tech Support Solutions Start with That? – Ask Leo!

It seems like every time I call the tech support line for my software, operating system, or even my broadband connection, the first thing out of the technician’s mouth is “reboot”. Or worse yet, “Power down for a while.” What does that have to do anything? And why does it work? It does seem like…
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When Your Slow Internet Connection Makes Your Computer Look Slow – Ask Leo!

This surprises people. If things seem slow, it’s important to realize that it might not be your computer at all. It might be your slow internet connection. You might have the fastest computer in the world, but it’s still limited by the speed of your internet connection. And if you have multiple devices sharing that…
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How Do I Make Sure Windows 10 is Up to Date? – Ask Leo!

How do I make sure Windows 10 is up-to-date? And should I? The last question is easy to answer: yes. Yes, you absolutely should keep Windows 10 as up to date as possible. I know there are those who disagree. Some go so far as to seek out ways to prevent Windows 10 from updating…
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How Do I Remove Malware from Windows 10 in 2020? – Ask Leo!

One question that shows up almost every day in the Ask Leo! inbox is how to remove malware. The scenarios differ, but the problem is the same: a machine has been infected with spyware, a virus, ransomware, or some other form of malware, and the machine’s owner is having a tough time getting rid of…
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Online Shopping: Just How Safe Is It? – Ask Leo!

As you might expect, I get many questions from users concerned about online security. With regular news of identity theft, credit card fraud, and database hacking, many are understandably concerned about the security of their own information online, particularly when it comes to online shopping. Some are so concerned, they actively avoid online shopping for…
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Could OneDrive Get Hacked? What You Really Need to Worry About – Ask Leo!

I like the idea of cloud storage, but one thing stops me: couldn’t a service like OneDrive get hacked? I mean, I’m not sure I could sleep at night worrying about someone getting at my stuff! Yes, OneDrive could get hacked. Next question? OK, ok, obviously it’s not that simple. Even though the answer is…
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