How Do I Password-protect a Flash Drive?

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I want to put all of my websites and passwords in a text file and store them on a flash drive for safekeeping. How do I password protect it?

There are several different ways to do this.

You can purchase flash drives that have built-in password or PIN protection. They tend to be pricey, but they’re almost perfect for this kind of situation.

Frankly, I don’t recommend them. There are other solutions that are more flexible and less costly.

Read moreHow Do I Password-protect a Flash Drive?

Do You Recommend a Transfer Cable for Transferring Files from My Old Computer to My New One?

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I plan to buy a new computer running with Windows 7. My present (old) computer has Windows XP. As an optional accessory for the new computer, I can purchase a Belkin Transfer Cable (which comes with its own software) to transfer everything from the old computer to the new one.

Is this what you recommend? Or do you recommend something else?

Typically, I don’t recommend this kind of approach.

I know that software exists that claims to transfer all of your installed programs, settings, and so forth. I don’t have a lot of experience with them, but my understanding is that they are sometimes incomplete and can be problematic. Again, I’m not saying yea or nay to the Belkin software. I just don’t recommend it because it’s not typically something that I trust with a transfer as major as going from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Instead, I suggest doing a couple of different things.

Read moreDo You Recommend a Transfer Cable for Transferring Files from My Old Computer to My New One?

Where do attachments live once they’re sent?

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I am very nervous about the security of an email attachment that I sent not long ago. I was in the process of obtaining a new job which I didn’t end up taking and I had to fill out a form that included information like my Social Security Number, date of birth and so on. I didn’t think about it at the time, but it was for legitimate reasons so I went ahead and scanned it and attached it to a Yahoo email. I sent the email to a trusted person and went on with my life. However, what I didn’t think about was that the attachment in Yahoo was not encrypted as far as I know. I ended up not taking the job and deleting the email from my Sent folder. Now, for all I know, it’s still sitting in the inbox of the other person and could do so until eternity. Where would this attachment be stored? On their severs or Yahoo’s? If I were to simply delete my Yahoo email account, would that render the attachment gone on their end? I’m being a little paranoid, I know, I’ll admit it. I just want to know if there’s anything else I can do other than to avoid sending attachments like that again?

Attachments live “with” the email, and the short answer about email is what’s been sent cannot be unsent. Once you send a piece of email, you lose all control over it.

It’s kind of like the internet; once you’ve posted something, it’s almost impossible to remove all the copies.

Now, email is definitely not public, but I do want to emphasize the word “copies.”

Read moreWhere do attachments live once they’re sent?

How do I open an .isc file in Outlook.com?

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So Hotmail changed its name to “Outlook”…fine. The problem that I’m having is that someone has sent me a “.isc” file which is apparently an Outlook-part of Office calendar. Is there some way to view this file with in Outlook (previously Hotmail)? It seems like if they are trying for a seamless integration, there would be. If they are just trying to annoy us,… well, that’s working.

So the naming is very, very unfortunate. I really cringed when they first announced Outlook.com.

The bottom line is that Outlook.com (formerly known as Hotmail) is not related to Outlook, the desktop email program that comes with Microsoft Office. It sounds like the .isc file needs the Office desktop program. It’s part of Outlook the program, not Outlook.com.

But wait … there may be something else going on here.

Read moreHow do I open an .isc file in Outlook.com?

Do I need Windows Live Essentials?

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My Dell Vostro 1520 came with a lot of software including Windows Live Essentials, Windows Live Mesh, etc. I think I don’t need it. Are they necessary to run Windows 7 on my laptop?

The very short answer is no. You don’t need that to run Windows 7. Those are simply additional pieces of software that are provided as a convenience as part of the initial install.

Those are all components of what was called “Windows Live Essentials”. While they’re not necessary, you might actually want some of them, or some of their replacements.

Read moreDo I need Windows Live Essentials?

I Canceled a Suspicious Download. Am I Safe?

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I wanted to download Firefox and a search on Bing came up with this site at the top (it’s a download site; I’m not going to mention the URL), not Mozilla. I didn’t notice that it wasn’t the official site until I clicked Install on their site. Before I was able to install Firefox, I was taken through several steps trying to get me to agree to downloading various third-party software packages bundled in with Firefox (including Norton Anti Virus). At this point I realized that it wasn’t Mozilla and canceled the download. I don’t think that I actually ever downloaded anything. When I check in IE downloads, it doesn’t show anything and I never gave permission for any programs to run on my Windows 7 OS. Is there any way that my operating system may have been infected with any Trojans or spyware or do you think this might have been a close escape?

My gut reaction is that you probably just had a close call. You did all the right things – as soon as you noticed that something wasn’t what you expected it to be, you canceled the suspicious download.

But, there’s no way to be completely certain that something didn’t get downloaded. But clearly the site that you went to is doing more than you’re asking them to do.

Read moreI Canceled a Suspicious Download. Am I Safe?

Do Gmail preview images pose a security risk?

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My question is somewhat similar to what others have asked before, but this time, I explicitly want to talk about Gmail. As you 
know, some attachments show a thumbnail of its contents on the email footer. There are times that I receive legitimate emails by mistake, so I open the email to reply and notify about it. By doing that and by being able to see the 
preview thumbnail, am I putting my computer at risk of malware? I never download things that I’m not expecting, but I’m 
unsure if just having this “default preview” setting, I may actually be executing whatever there could be without really knowing it.

By now, it’s just good common sense to turn off images in your email viewer. That prevents spammers from using images embedded in a message to confirm that they’ve found a real email address where someone actually reads their email.

Attachments, on the other hand, are a little different. They typically make it to your inbox, and your security depends on your ability to distinguish between safe and unsafe attachments. By now, you should know only to open attachments that you know are safe.

Google occasionally includes preview images of your attachments. Because attachments can be dangerous and images are sometimes an invasion of privacy, is there an issue here?

Not really. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I’ll explain why.

Read moreDo Gmail preview images pose a security risk?