Why can’t I see the files on a CD I created?

//
I have several discs on which I have stored media files when I had a Windows XP Pro PC. Now I’m using a laptop with Windows 7 and when I insert those discs in its CD drive, I cannot see any of the files. When I open my computer and look at the “G” drive, which I know is my CD drive, it says that there is data stored on these discs and how much room I have left, but when I open it, there are no files showing. Why is this?

Good question. It depends a lot on exactly how you created that disc in the first place. That’s information that you didn’t give me and a lot of the times it’s as simple as not having used the right program, or having chosen the right format in the beginning when the disc was created.

Unfortunately, I don’t necessarily know of a good way to recover from that.

Read moreWhy can’t I see the files on a CD I created?

Why Might an Update Take a Large Amount of Space?

//
My laptop runs Windows 7. And I’ve got a 500 GB hard drive. I recently updated my Internet Explorer from IE9 to IE10. Now earlier, I wrote down the amount of space that was available or actually used on my hard drive. After I installed IE10, I looked at it again. And it took a full 1 GB more than before.  Is it really possible that this update has cost me 1 GB of space? Is it really possible that this update was that big?

Well, yes and no. There’s a lot more to updating than just updating. I know that sounds a little wishy-washy and I’ll try and explain what that means.

When Windows updates something important, especially something as important as Internet Explorer, things get complicated very quickly.

Read moreWhy Might an Update Take a Large Amount of Space?

If an IP address doesn’t do it, then how does Google know my location?

//
In your articles, you often mention that an IP address cannot find out my actual location. OK. Then how does Google know my location … my actual location?

That’s an interesting conundrum. I’m actually somewhat surprised at how accurate Google can be at times, but you also have to realize that you give Google a lot more information than just your IP address.

Let’s talk about some of those.

Read moreIf an IP address doesn’t do it, then how does Google know my location?

Can I Use More than One Browser?

//
Hi, Leo. I’m thinking about installing Google Chrome. I currently use IE8. Will Chrome just install over it and then become the default browser leaving IE as a used program in the background?

Let’s begin by clearing up a few misconceptions here.

First, you can have more than one browser on your machine. Many people do. I do.

Once you install Google Chrome, you still have Internet Explorer available to you. The icon should still be in your Programs menu and when you click it, Internet Explorer 8 opens. And you can then click the Google icon to use Google Chrome. Installing one browser does not automatically replace any browsers already installed. They are completely separate programs that can actually live together in something approaching harmony.

However, when you download an additional browser you do have the option of making it the default browser. And much like Highlander, there can be only one.

Read moreCan I Use More than One Browser?

Are records better than CDs?

//
Let me know if you remember this like me. I remember in the early 80s, people were blowing out their speaker systems with the new CD format.  I didn’t own a CD player at the time. The CD was way better than scratchable vinyl with pops and clicks on the records. The sound was called “almost perfect” at the time. Today, I keep hearing the opposite. The record sounds better than the CD because it’s not compressed or something like that. I know that mp3s remove some sounds that I can’t hear anyway. Which one do you prefer? I ask as I listen to my iPod, which sounds just fine.

This kind of question causes religious arguments among audiophiles. Now, I’m no audiophile, but I’ll call it a matter of taste that’s dependent on your ability to hear the difference.

I do want to clarify a couple of things. Audio CDs are not compressed. That’s the reason they’re limited to around one hour. If you actually do the math, 16-bit stereo at 44 thousand samples per second takes up about 700 MB of data. That’s the capacity of an audio or data CD.

That doesn’t mean the sound you hear wasn’t compressed.

Read moreAre records better than CDs?

How risky it is to run Ubuntu from a flash drive?

//
I just installed Ubuntu on my 16 GB flash drive. I occasionally use it to edit documents or use the terminal to SSH to my server online, edit server files, and download online files to put on my server. Is my Ubuntu installation something that would cause my drive to wear out fast? There’s hardly any write activity during boot and shutdown. How long should I expect my drive to last?

Unfortunately, there’s no really clear answer to that question. To be honest, I don’t how much Ubuntu is writing to the installed drive, though my guess is probably not a lot. As long as you’re not memory constrained on the machine that you’re using it on, there’s a good chance that it’s mostly reading. When you become memory constrained, Ubuntu may fire up a paging file, which could cause a lot of write activity. But my guess is that Ubuntu itself isn’t doing a whole lot of writing.

I am a bit concerned about the flash drive, but it actually makes sense. Let me explain.

Read moreHow risky it is to run Ubuntu from a flash drive?

Can an ISP tell me who’s reading my email?

//
I’m using Windows 7 and a POP3 email account. I think that someone is reading my emails. Can my ISP determine exactly which emails of mine are being read or not? Can an ISP track who is accessing my email account? Can they still determine things if I have deleted old emails?

The short answer to your question is no, your ISP can’t determine which of your emails are being read.

For all the things that your ISP can track, there’s a surprising number of things that it just can’t.

Ultimately, the capabilities of an ISP (or in this case, your email service provider) will vary dramatically depending on what they choose to do, what technology they happen to use, and how long they keep the information. In general, though, they probably can’t tell which specific emails have been read.

To show you what I mean, let’s go down this path a bit.

Read moreCan an ISP tell me who’s reading my email?

What’s this obscure message on my monitor and why can’t I make it go away?

//
Hi, Leo. A small, 50 mm by 5 mm blue “flag” with the legend (a number of unintelligible characters) has recently appeared on my screen. It’s permanently on the top; even the pointer disappears underneath it. At the same time, my monitor screen has begun changing colors even when the PC is switched off (although this stops once have it booted up). It does not seem to affect the operating of the computer or to do anything but sit there, which is annoying. I’m using a Packard Bell PC with Windows XP Pro. Help to remove this would be much appreciated.

Most people don’t realize that everything that appears on your screen is not always put there by your computer. Because the mouse pointer disappears when you move it beneath the flag, the monitor itself probably put what you’re seeing there.

I, too, have encountered the occasional odd message on my monitor.

Read moreWhat’s this obscure message on my monitor and why can’t I make it go away?

Why does my computer continually reboot?

//
Hi. My PC will not start. It continually reboots even when you try to start it in all the different modes. There is a flash of the sign-in screen and the flash of a blue screen, but it just keeps on rebooting. I’ve tried disconnecting the power supply for extended periods of time thinking that this reset it. I now have a new laptop computer, but all I want to do with the old PC is to get my music files from it and download it into the new laptop for my iTunes and iPod. Hope you can help.

There are a couple of different things that could be going on, but as you’re just trying to grab the data off of that PC, you have a few options.

The solution for this depends on the version of Windows that you have and from your description, I can’t tell what you’re running, so I’ll look at some of the most common solutions.

Read moreWhy does my computer continually reboot?

How do I automatically clean out my accumulation of backups?

//
Is there a way to automate the process of taking full backups and then incremental backups using Macrium Reflect and automatically thinning the backups out over time? I’m seeking something that works like Time Machine does on OSX (but with incrementals less frequently than hours.) If there’s a way to set this up with Reflect, it certainly isn’t evident looking at the software.

I agree, disk management settings are not evident when  looking at the software. But it absolutely is possible to manage the number of backups kept to disk – and to manage it automatically. That’s the way I have it set up on my machine.

Macrium Reflect can be scheduled to do full backups, followed by incremental backups every night. Combine that with what I would call “auto clean,” and you have your setting.

To sort it all out we need to first think about how incremental backups work, and then find the settings.

Read moreHow do I automatically clean out my accumulation of backups?