What’s the “Appdata roaming” folder?

I just ran CCleaner and I had at least 100 app data roaming entries, which have never appeared before when running a scan. I’ve been reading articles about app data roaming and I’m a little fuzzy on what it means. My computer’s hooked up to a modem and a router. I do not use wireless for this computer, but I do have it enabled for my iPad touch and the appdata roaming is showing all my activity on this computer. I’m a little concerned about this. I recently did a clean install of Windows due to a virus and I’m about a week in on that clean install and now this has appeared. Also, another interesting problem is that I decided to have a look at the application data folder and I got a Windows pop-up saying, “Access is denied.” Any thoughts?

A couple of things are going on here.

First, AppData\Roaming probably isn’t what you think it is. It doesn’t have anything to do with wireless or the number of people using their computer in different places.

Read moreWhat’s the “Appdata roaming” folder?

Why do new windows open underneath others?

I’m running Windows 7, 64-bit. I normally use the Firefox browser, sometimes Safari. A while back, I noticed that some really obnoxious pop-ups were appearing behind the window that I was looking at so I wasn’t seeing them until I minimized the used window. Recently, I accepted several new updates from Microsoft, which included IE10. I figured that even though I didn’t use it, I might get some security benefit from the new version, right? Now, every time a new window opens, it’s hidden behind everything else. Any help?

Whether you are using Internet Explorer or not, you need to keep that browser as up-to-date as possible because other components on your system are using it. You’re absolutely right to do that.

But what you’re seeing now are called pop-unders. Unfortunately, I don’t know why updating Internet Explorer would cause things to pop up behind your windows. All we can really do is take a look at some of the possible causes for what you’re seeing in general.

Read moreWhy do new windows open underneath others?

How Do I Remove Ransomware?

About a week ago, something shut my computer down and now demands $100 to unlock it. How do I unlock or delete this and use my computer? I use Windows Vista.

What you are experiencing is called ransomware.

Ransomware basically holds your computer, your data, or some part of your machine hostage until you pay them money or do whatever it is they ask of you to do.

Following their instructions, paying the ransom, actually may or may not unlock your computer. The creators of ransomware may just extort money out of you and then do nothing. You’ll still be left with an unusable computer.

There are a couple of different things that I strongly recommend you do.

Read moreHow Do I Remove Ransomware?

Why Is My Fan Running at High Speed?

Hi, Leo. I’m using a Compaq 615 laptop with Windows 7. Why is my laptop fan running at high speed? It slows down a bit and then it starts running again at high speed. What can I do to stop it?

Sounds to me like you have a computer that’s running fairly hot.

Most computers have a temperature sensor and a variable-speed fan. As your machine runs, it keeps an eye on how warm it is and decides at what speed to run the fan.

It sounds like your machine is getting hot quickly and tries to cool itself off by running the fan at full speed. That cools it down somewhat so the fan can be slowed down, but then it heats up again and it’s full speed (fan) ahead!

The real question here isn’t why your fan runs so much, but why is your computer getting so hot? There are several reasons why this might be happening.

Read moreWhy Is My Fan Running at High Speed?

How Do I Stop My Homepage from Changing?

How do I stop my homepage from changing?

The Home page is nothing more than the web page that automatically opens when you launch your web browser or hit the Home button in that browser.

Now, I’m going to assume that you’ve actually set this page to what you want it to be. If you haven’t set this up, I can’t really give you the steps as they’re different for each browser program. (Though How do I change my browser home page back to what I want? has instructions for a couple.)

For our purposes here, let’s say that you already set the homepage, but something is changing it. There are a couple of reasons why this might be happening.

Read moreHow Do I Stop My Homepage from Changing?

Can I email myself a full length movie?

Is it possible to email myself a full-length movie or video? That way, I wouldn’t have to move my external drive to my other PC physically. One of my PCs is the desktop running only Windows Vista. It’s a 32-bit PC. My other PC is a laptop with Windows 7 and it’s a 64-bit PC. If I can email my movies to myself, I won’t have to burn them on my desktop. I can open the email and copy and paste them to my external drive on my laptop PC and burn them to a disk from there. My email program is Microsoft Outlook 2010 and I don’t know if it has any length restrictions on size or content, which impedes my plan.

No, Microsoft Outlook 2010 is not going to have size restrictions on what you send. But there are two reasons why this plan will not work.

First, your ISP almost certainly has a limitation on the size of an email that you can send. Movies and full-length videos are huge and ISPs don’t like it when you email files that big. So, they’re probably not going to let you do it.

Second, you’re not going to want to do it that way anyway because what you’re talking about is using email, and that means uploading it (all) to your email provide, and then downloading it (all) to your other machine. Even on a fast internet connection that’ll take a lot of time.

There are better ways.

Read moreCan I email myself a full length movie?

How Do I Restore a Registry Backup if I Can’t Boot?

Given the availability of the backup of the Windows 7 registry, how do you go about restoring it in a computer that can’t be booted because of a registry error?

It really depends on the kind of failure that you’re experiencing.

I want to be clear about one thing when it comes to registry backups: they are not a complete backup solution. Even if what’s preventing you from booting is a registry issue, the only real, true backup solution to the scenario that you described is a full image or machine backup. A registry backup simply cannot save you from every possible failure mode – even those that involve the registry itself.

Which may leave you wondering, “If I can’t restore a registry backup, then what good is it?”

It’s simple, really: most failures aren’t that catastrophic. Not all failures prevent you from rebooting and restoring the registry.

Read moreHow Do I Restore a Registry Backup if I Can’t Boot?

Can I Back Up Files to Save Space?

Is it OK to backup files on Windows XP to free more space?

Well, the answer is yes, but your question raises a number of very important issues about backing up and deleting files that I want to address.

If you’re using your backup program as a glorified copy program, that’s OK, but I wouldn’t call it backing up. Remember the golden rule: if there’s only one copy of something, it’s not backed up.

Read moreCan I Back Up Files to Save Space?

How Much of the Swap File Actually Gets Used?

Leo, I’ve been wondering how much of the swap file gets used when you have 16 or 32 GB of memory. I have been in the habit of placing the swap file and Lightroom’s cache on an SSD to improve speed. But I’ve been wondering whether the swap file should go on another hard disk drive, especially if it doesn’t get used much.

Unfortunately, there is no general answer to say how much of the swap file is going to be used. It depends entirely on the software that you’re running, what your system’s own memory requirements are, and how much software you’re running.

For example, if I’m just running a web browser and a couple of other things on a machine with lots of RAM, my system may not be using the swap file at all. On the other hand, if I’ve got Photoshop, a video editor, and a virtual machine or two running, then the memory requests of the system may be high enough that it’s going to start using the swap file.

So, I can’t answer your question, specifically, but I can review some of the things that factor in.

Read moreHow Much of the Swap File Actually Gets Used?