How Do I Recover My Data from a Crashed Computer?

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My screen displays a blue screen error message and won’t allow Windows to start. How do I retrieve my files and save them before I reinstall Windows?

Reinstalling Windows is going to overwrite everything that’s already on that hard drive and you would lose it all. There are some alternatives.

Before I begin, I first have to wag my finger at you. Regular readers of Ask Leo! probably already know what I’m going to say.

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Can I Rely on the URL Shown in the Browser’s Status Bar Being Accurate?

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In a recent article, you said to only click links in email when you know the sender AND that they recently sent you a link. Your accompanying discussion and advice is excellent and very helpful. I have a further question for clarification. When I place my pointer over a link in an email or a web page, a URL shows up in the left end of the banner at the bottom of the screen. Can I be certain that this is the address that I will be sent to? In other words, can the bad guys disguise their actual undesirable URL with one that looks okay but still sends me somewhere else that I wouldn’t want to go?

Good question, but the answer is you can’t really trust the URL that appears in the status bar at the bottom of your email program or web browser.

There are several reasons why. Let’s talk about a couple of them.

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Do I need to have a Google+ profile to use Picasa?

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Leo, do you know what the risks of having a Google+ profile are? I’ve always avoided LinkedIn, Facebook, and all the others. Now, to see the photos that I have paid to store on Picasa, I needed to create a Google+ profile. All of a sudden, I’m a social networker against my will. Yes, perhaps I’m a Luddite, but I paid Google for storage not to enter the 21st century. By the way, I filled in false information at every opportunity and added no contacts. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before Google decides to add them for me. The bottom line is can I opt out of Google+ and keep my photos on Picasa? Or do I need another cloud storage site for my photos and docs?

Your question contains a couple of interesting concerns that I would like to address.

Let’s start by talking about social media.

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What Does Error 500 from a Website Mean?

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I’m trying to go to a web page and it says the “remote server returned an error: (500) internal server error” with a bunch of HTML stuff under it. All of the other web pages that I visit work without any problems. It’s only this one and I don’t know what to do. Can you help me?

The 500 error is an error on the server. Something on the remote machine that’s hosting the website broke.

In other words, it’s not your fault. Unfortunately, it’s also not necessarily something that you can fix.

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