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 dealing with, and which answers they found most useful.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
2020’s Most-viewed Articles
10: What Is Pagefile.sys? Can I Delete It? – New to the list this year. Apparently more people are interested in freeing up disk space of late.
9: My Email Is Hacked, How Do I Fix It? – 7 Things You Need to Do NOW! – Down from #4 last year, that this article remains popular is really no surprise. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear from someone who’s run into some suspected problem with their account.
8: Can I Use a Charger that Provides the Same Voltage but a Different Amperage? – Down from #2 last year. Honestly, this article’s popularity continues to surprise me. Apparently, chargers — and knowing what works — remains a Big Deal for many people.
7: Can I Move My Old Computer’s Hard Drive to My New Computer to Transfer Data? My Recommended Approach – New to the Top 10 list this year. Apparently, more people are trying to move more hard drives to more new computers than ever. The good news is that some programs (hello, Macrium Reflect) try to make this work. The bad news? No guarantees.
6: Is Someone Trying to Hack My Facebook Account? – Also new to the list this year. This is the result of people getting “was this you” kinds of emails relating to their Facebook accounts. Apparently, it’s on the upswing. The short answer, of course, is “maybe”, and securing your account properly remains the best defense.
5: How Do I Move the Taskbar Back to the Bottom? – Last year’s #7, this has been a popular article for years. One might think that perhaps Microsoft would do something to avoid this situation from happening as easily as it apparently does.
4: What’s an “Internal Server Error” and How Do I Fix It? – Last year’s #10. Most commonly a server-side issue, I wonder if longer URLs — which seem to me more and more common — are proving to be more fragile.
3: How Do I Find the DNS Server Used By My PC? – New this year, but I’m not sure why. There are lots of good alternative DNS services, but I’m not sure why this has become as popular as it has.
2: What Is “about:blank” (or “about:blank#blocked”) and How Do I Get Rid of It? Why It’s Not Malware, and How You Can Use It – Last year’s #3. This one’s popularity I understand. Not only can it sometimes happen as a result of malware (causing people to believe it is malware when it isn’t), but apparently some security software now blocks possibly malicious links by sending you to “about:blank#blocked”.
1: How Do I Recover My Facebook Password? – Last year’s #1 is this year’s #1. As I said last year: for years, my peers joked that my primary function at Ask Leo! was to help people with lost Hotmail passwords. Clearly, that torch has been passed on to Facebook.
2020’s Most Commented-on Articles
I find this a fascinating view of exactly what gets people talking and/or pushes their buttons.
10: I Have Two Facebook Accounts, How Do I Delete Just One of Them? – More specifically, people believe that their single email address is used for more than one account. Facebook doesn’t work that way.
9: What Laptop Would You Buy for $1500? My Choice, and My Recommendation for You – Not surprisingly, there’s no shortage of opinions when it comes to what to purchase.
8: What Security Software Do You Recommend? Basic Protection in Four Steps – Another place where people have many opinions. One of my most important articles.
7: Should I Use FAT32 or NTFS on a Flash Drive? The Differences, and a Third Alternative – Somewhat surprisingly, this was on people’s radar. There were many additional questions and thoughts.
6: What Do I Do About Adobe Flash End of Life in 2020? – This article was only published in the last two weeks of the year, so its presence on the list gives you an idea of how many people have concerns as the end draws near.
5: How Long Should a Password Be? – The answer keeps slowly changing over the years. Many folks comment with the techniques they use to keep password secure.
4: Edge Redeemed – Lots of feedback on whether the “new” Chromium-based Edge is any good. My take is “Yes.” Some disagree.
3: Is a Microsoft Office Subscription Worth It? – My “heck yes!” was met with some “hell no!” responses. Some folks would rather pay more once than subscribe annually.
2: Why a Chromebook? (And Why I Purchased Two for the Important People in My Life) – Lots of feedback on this one. Expect an interesting update in the new year.
1: How To Keep Using Windows 7 Safely After Support Ends – That this is the most commented-on article this year is really no surprise. Windows 10 remains controversial enough, and Windows 7 users are passionate enough, that this topic will be with us for some time to come.
2020’s Most-viewed Videos
I ended up investing more heavily in YouTube this year, and the stats of what’s most popular there are also quite interesting.
10: Why UEFI? – The difference between BIOS and UEFI continues to confuse.
9: Can I Move My Old Computer’s Hard Drive to My New Computer to Transfer Data? My Recommended Approach – The #7 most popular article was the #9 most popular video.
8: What Is about:blank, and How Do I Get Rid of It? – The #2 most popular article shows up as the #8 most popular video.
7: Do I Need These Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables? – This has always been a popular topic, and apparently something YouTubers search for often.
6: Taskbar Missing – This is a very old video that continues to apply as people struggle with taskbars ending up where they’re not supposed to. Very much related to popular article #5.
5: How Do I Recover My Facebook Password? – Lost passwords remain omnipresent, and as I mentioned above, Facebook troubles are the most common.
4: Changing the Windows 7 Login Background – I honestly don’t understand this one. But clearly, people care.
3: I Have Two Facebook Accounts, How Do I Delete Just One of Them? – The companion video to the article that got the 10th most number of comments this year. Topical and perhaps controversial.
2: How Do I Recover My Gmail Account Without My Recovery Email or Phone? – Besides being a very common problem for people, this also gets an inordinate number of “thumbs down” on YouTube because people don’t like the reality of my answer.
1: Free Microsoft Office in Windows 10 — Quick, Easy, Compatible, and Free! – Free always seems popular. This one goes 50/50 on the like/dislike scale. Some people appreciate that the online version is as compatible and free as it is. Others are looking for a free installable version, which doesn’t exist (legally).
While 2020 elsewhere was — well, it was what it was — here on Ask Leo! it actually seems a return to a normal, broad mix of problems with Windows, problems with accounts, and an assortment of other things. Where prior years had strong themes (like Windows 10), there weren’t really any huge issues that towered above the rest, at least when it came to articles, videos, and interaction.
As always, let’s hope that 2021 is better in all possible ways.