What do I do if SFC detects but cannot fix a problem?

I run Vista, SP2, Home Premium. The results of “sfc /scannow” show a couple of files that cannot be repaired. It couldn’t re-project a corrupted file; the source file in store is also corrupted. PublicKey neutral in the store, hash mismatch. Now, I don’t find this problem mentioned in your archives. I see the problem addressed on the web, but the various solutions presented seem either overly complex or too simplistic for me to comfortably try them. I see some people have tried these “solutions” that (after getting feedback that the files are restored) run “sfc /scannow” again and receive the same error indications. Is this a case of a problem that is not a problem? What are your thoughts? How would you proceed to restore these files?

The System File Checker (SFC) uses several techniques to detect that one or more of your system files have been either inappropriately replaced or damaged. SFC then tries to repair the problem.

Unfortunately, it can’t repair everything. In your case, that puts you in a hard spot.

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Can a flash drive that has a Linux install on it become infected?

Leo, I’ve got a USB flash drive with a full persistent bootable installation of Linux on it. Can this flash drive become infected if I plug into a Windows machine with a virus on it? Say at an internet café or a public library?

The answer is yes, no, and maybe. It’s complex, but it’s a good question to ask because the devil is in the details.

Let me explain how this works.

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Can I Be Sure My Machine Is Malware Free?

I’m running various virus and malware checkers, but my computer seems more sluggish all the time. A guest borrowed my PC and may have browsed some questionable sites. Any suggestions? I’m very nervous about logging into my bank online. A keystroke logger could grab my data.

As it turns out, there’s actually no way to prove that you don’t have malware on your machine. From a logical perspective, you can’t prove a negative.

You didn’t say what tools you’re running, so it’s hard for me to judge the answer to your question. If you’re concerned, let’s look at what you can do.

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If it’s All Digital, Won’t You Lose it Anyway?

I had a thought about everything being digital: is there a chance that important information can be lost? From important and historical information to irreplaceable pictures, etc. I was holding a picture of me from 1980 (yes, genuine film). Had there been digital scanners and fast enough computers back then, the 5¼-inch disk would be unreadable by today’s drives. The disk would probably have errors, if you could find a used hard drive to even read it for your precious memories. Never mind historians, scholars, and the young storing all of their Facebook information in the Cloud only. I use external media and more than one type. I don’t know anyone who backs up a single thing, no matter how many speeches I give them.

Yes, it’s true. In fact, I hear about it pretty much every day: digital information can be lost quite easily.

But that’s not an indictment of digital technology at all. In fact, digital data opens up more possibilities for data retention than it closes.

Read moreIf it’s All Digital, Won’t You Lose it Anyway?

How costly would it be for Microsoft to keep supporting XP?

In your opinion, how difficult or costly is it for Microsoft to continue the support for Windows XP? I wonder if they think they screwed up by making something so good. Some older people like me and many older will not deal with the change well. Cost is always a factor on a limited income.

I certainly sympathize with you. Change and cost can be problematic.

Incidentally, cost is also a factor for Microsoft. Support for Windows XP involves a cost – one that Microsoft would continue to incur to keep Windows XP going. Many people miss that point, or just how large a cost it would be.

In fact, support for Windows XP is more costly to Microsoft than you might think. Let’s break it down.

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Why Is a Message Stuck in My Outbox?

When I send an email, the message goes to my outbox, but it stays there. I can’t send the message from my outbox.

In an email program, the outbox is a holding area – a place where messages go after you click Send and wait until the program can forward it to the mail server. The outbox helps you do other things in the email program, so you don’t have to wait for the mail server.

Let’s talk about the outbox. Many different email programs use an outbox and because you didn’t say which email program you’re using, I’ll use Outlook in my examples.

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Is There Software that Will Transform Poor Quality Images and Videos?

Hi, Leo. I’ve recently come across a number of apps that claim they will transform your poor quality media files into a higher quality format, such as HD for video files. Now, I don’t know enough to say that it’s just not possible, but I do remember a golden rule from my photography days. If it isn’t on the film from the start, no matter how skilled you are in the dark room, it won’t be on the print in the end. That was in relation to the exposure in the film; if you don’t expose the film sufficiently to form an image, then all was lost. Surely, this implies to computer files also. Or am I missing something?

Fundamentally, you are absolutely correct. You can only have so much information in an image. When you take a picture, that is all you have. You can’t enhance it to create more information than what’s in the existing image.

It really annoys me when a police drama on TV has a scene where somebody enlarges an image and zooms in on a tiny area… to find that area is now all of a sudden enhanced and crystal clear.

In real life, it just doesn’t work that way. Still, there are some things that can be done. Let me talk about that for a minute.

Read moreIs There Software that Will Transform Poor Quality Images and Videos?