“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.”
That’s how I began last year’s round-up. We were expecting 2021 to be better, weren’t we? And yet, here we are. Time is a blur. 2022(!) is on the horizon.
Still, looking back at what happened on AskLeo! in 2021 provides an interesting perspective on what people were looking for, the issues they were dealing with, and which answers they found most useful.
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2021’s Most-viewed Articles
10: Can I Use a Charger that Provides the Same Voltage but a Different Amperage? – A perennial favorite. This article’s popularity continues to surprise me, but apparently, chargers — and knowing what works — remains a big deal for many people.
9: Facebook Hacked? What You Need to Do NOW! – New this year, but its rise is probably an indication of a growing number of hacked and otherwise compromised Facebook accounts.
8: How Do I Delete Files From OneDrive, but Not My Computer? – New this year, and I blame it on Microsoft a) pushing OneDrive harder than ever, and b) turning on a backup feature that confuses people more than it helps.
7: Can I Move My Old Computer’s Hard Drive to My New Computer to Transfer Data? My Recommended Approach – Apparently, folks 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: What Is Pagefile.sys? Can I Delete It? – Perhaps our biggest jumper this year, up from #10. Apparently people are interested in freeing up disk space.
5: How Do I Move the Taskbar Back to the Bottom? – In the same position as last year, this has been a popular article for years. That Windows 11 now takes this feature away perhaps portends some improvement in the years to come?
4: 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 #2. 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”.
3: What’s an “Internal Server Error” and How Do I Fix It? – Last year’s #4. This is most commonly a server-side issue, but I wonder if longer URLs — which seem to me more and more common — are proving to be more fragile.
2: How Do I Find the DNS Server Used By My PC? – Up from #3 last year. I’m not sure why this article remains so popular. There are lots of good alternative DNS services, but I’m not sure why this has become as popular as it has.
1: How Do I Recover My Facebook Password? – #1 for the last three years. As I’ve said before, 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 to Facebook.
2021’s Most Commented-on Articles
The number of comments on an article is an interesting measure of it’s controversy/how it’s pushing people’s buttons.
10: How Long Will Windows 10 Be Supported? – With 2021’s announcement of Windows 11, it’s really no surprise that the topic of Windows 10’s end-of-support date might generate comment.
9. Should I Update to Windows 11? – In that same vein, Windows 11 itself, and the need — or not — to upgrade generated no shortage of discussion.
8. What Is a TPM and Why Do I Need One? – I’m sensing a theme. The TPM, being one of Windows 11 “requirements”, was controversial and obscure.
7. How Does Facebook Track Me Even If I Don’t Have an Account? – This was an important article in the realm of privacy, and I think alerted people that even if they don’t have a Facebook account or aren’t signed in to Facebook, they can still be tracked.
6. How I Fixed a Failed Windows 10 Update – I shared my story, and people chimed in with their own.
5. Why Is My OneDrive Full? – OneDrive has a feature that easily confuses people.
4. Did Microsoft Lie? – Aaaand we’re back to Windows 10 concerns. Did Microsoft lie when they said that Windows 10 was the last version of Windows? Did they even say it?
3. Someone Has My IP Address – Should I Be Scared? – This is a cross-over from YouTube, where a number of people — often younger gamers — are being threatened by others claiming to have their IP address.
2. Responses to Your Three Common Password Manager Objections – Password vaults and managers generate no shortage of opinions. It’s really no surprise that this might be the second-most commented-on article this year.
1. What Should I Do About the Changes to LastPass Free? – What was I just saying about password managers and opinions? When LastPass changed some of its terms of service, the backlash was quick. Comments included frustration and recommendations of other password managers to use instead.
2021’s Most-viewed Videos
YouTube views represent a slightly different cross-section of computer and technology users; usually younger. It’s interesting to see what captures their attention. (Links are to the associated Ask Leo! page — you’ll find the video embedded below the article.)
9. How Can I Delete an Old Account If I Forgot My Email and Password? – Account recovery is a popular topic on YouTube, and this is a common problem.
8. Do I Need All These Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables? – I suspect this is due to a slightly higher percentage of gamers on YouTube, since many (MANY) games install yet another copy of the Visual C++ Redistributables.
7. Changing the Windows 7 Login Background – This might be the oldest video and/or article on any 2021 Ask Leo list. I’m not sure why it’s so popular.
6. How Do I Access Gmail Without Phone Verification? – Back to account recovery. This is a very common problem.
5. Can I Move My Old Computer’s Hard Drive to My New Computer to Transfer Data? My Recommended Approach – #7 on the most-popular-article list appears at #5 on the most-popular-video list.
4. How Do I Delete Files From OneDrive but Not My Computer? – Also one of the popular articles, OneDrive’s confusion leads a lot of people to this video as well.
3. I Have Two Facebook Accounts, How Do I Delete Just One of Them? – Many people believe they have two Facebook accounts associated with their email address. To the best of my knowledge, that’s not possible.
2. What’s the Best Long Term Storage Media? Tips to Avoid Losing Data in Your Lifetime – This may also have generated the most YouTube commentary of any of my videos. Many, many opinions, and no shortage of passion.
1. How Do I Recover My Gmail Account Without My Recovery Email or Phone? – Aaaannndd we’re back to account recovery. This one has no corresponding article, but you can see that it’s a topic that many people run into when they lose access to recovery email accounts or change their phone number.
On one hand, situation normal, nothing’s changed: people are still losing the passwords, getting locked out of accounts, and looking for help getting back in.
On the other hand, 2021 brought us an unexpected gift: Windows 11. I’d only expect questions, answers, and controversy around Windows 11 to continue to increase in the coming years.
Now, if someone would please take a fire extinguisher to the dumpster fire that was 2021 (and 2020 before it), I think the entire world would be grateful.
Start off the new year with a new resolution and avoid being one of those folks who lose their accounts or run into other kinds of trouble. Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.