Will my internet activities of years ago come back to haunt me?

Leo, I’m not going to beat around the bush with some made up story regarding the privacy of a friend or I did this when I was drunk or something like that. To get straight to the point, when I was first introduced to the internet, I was very naïve, believing what I searched for in Google and posted in forums was private. This is not the case.

At the time, I made some embarrassing searches and visited some sites that I certainly would not admit to today. Although none of this activity is what I deem as illegal, it’s only now that I’m happily married with children that I’ve realized that I would not wish for this information to come to light. If a person was not using a proxy or any sort of privacy settings on their browser and not regularly deleting cookies and they used the internet to visit sites and make Google searches that they believed they were never going to come to light, but they’ve also used that same computer to log in to social media and Amazon accounts, could one day all of  that activity be linked to them as a person? As I said, things that I did as a teenager many years ago are things that I would not want my wife and children to find out about now. I assume that everything I did sat on some server somewhere, but how easy would it be for someone to name and shame me?

There’s really no way to know with any certainty the absolute answer to your question.

That being said, I do have some thoughts.

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Why Does this Email Message Ask Me to Enable HTML When It Already Is Enabled?

Using Hotmail, now Outlook.com, and my address is “something” @hotmail.com. In the past two days, I’ve received several messages from my bankcard company: the first, an alert that a payment is due soon, and the second, an acknowledgement that payment has been scheduled. Each includes “Please enable HTML in the message text.” I have not done anything to disable HTML. Principally, I don’t know how and secondarily, I’d be afraid to find out the consequences if I did. Previous account-related messages from this company included the link to the card users login page. The current message does not have this link. Thinking that something may have accidentally come unhooked in my Hotmail settings, I looked in options for anything indicating how to enable HTML. Finding nothing, I went on the net and searched “Enable HTML Hotmail” and found Ask Leo! I’ve read through the topics here and searched “Enable HTML Hotmail Outlook” and found no answer. Messages from other sources contains links, none contained a request to enable HTML. Please advise what I’ve done and how can I undo it so I can easily attend to this credit card.

I don’t think you’ve done anything and I don’t think there’s anything to undo.

There are several reasons why this kind of thing can be happening. Most of them boil down to an improperly constructed email message on the part of the sender. In other words, it’s not you, but the sender.

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How do I fix Internet Explorer if it won’t open?

I’m running Windows 7; I thought I had IE9. When I tried to use Internet Explorer, it won’t open. A little pop-up just says that “IE has a problem and is closing.” Then it’s difficult to close and keeps popping up. It might be connected to an add-on called Conduit.com as I see it in the search window behind the pop-up. I had to clean that off of Chrome and Firefox rejected it (thankfully). I went to Windows/IE site to install IE10 over what I have and it refused, saying I already had a more current version. How can I already have something more current than what the site has?

Based on what you’re seeing, I suspect that you’re already running Internet Explorer 10. Now, it’s going to be hard to say exactly what’s going to work to solve this problem, but I’ve got a couple of ideas.

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Will backups run if my PC asks for a password?

Leo, I’m a bit confused. If I schedule a backup for say 1:00 am, must I leave my machine on? When I leave my machine on and unattended, then after about 15 minutes, the machine comes to a place where it needs my password to resume in Windows 7. Will this not prevent Macrium from performing a backup? Also if I backup to DVDs, I will need to be up at 1:00 am to swap out discs. Do you know where I go in Windows to disengage the password for my machine?

Some of the things that you ask about will definitely affect your ability to run your backups in the middle of the night – and some of them won’t.

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Why doesn’t my internet speed match what I’m paying for?


Through my ISP, I’ve contracted for 100 megabits per second of internet speed. The maximum speed that I can get, however, is about 30 megabits per second through WiFi. When I connect to the router via a LAN cable or I have the laptop right next to the router, I get 80 megabits per second, which is close enough for me. I’ve read that unless the WiFi signal is very strong, you never really get the advertised internet speed.

But my question is about the following: my ISP recommends one measure the speed using one specific link and their web page. And that speed is measured downloading a large file from a server that is some 100 km from where I live. I find that when I use one of the many speed-testing sites, I get about the same results if I specify the same server my ISP uses; when I choose servers which are much further away (like another continent), the speed sometimes slows to a crawl. So it would seem that there is a somewhat inverse relationship between the effective internet speed and distance. So my question is, what’s the point of getting ultra fast internet when it hardly ever gets anywhere near the speed promised by the ISP?

Let me start by saying that I’m jealous. I wish I could get 100 megabits per second here. It’s only recently that I’ve managed to get up to 10 to 15 megabits and to be honest, it’s been wonderful.

Second, there are several interesting issues here that I want to cover. Internet speed is one of those topics that I think confuses a lot people and it’s because there are actually many different issues that combine under that same heading.

So, let’s talk about your 100 megabits.

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Can an ISP Remotely Access My Computer without My Knowledge?

In a live chat session that I instigated, my cable ISP technician support wanted to remotely access my PC. “Connect to your computer and share your screen” to troubleshoot my inability to change some account information on their website. I was flabbergasted that they would suggest it and I told them no. As it turned out, my third attempt to change the information worked. The previous attempts brought a cryptic error message. What I’d like to know is whether an ISP can access our PCs without our knowing it? I guess not, but being paranoid is prudent these days.

I agree. Prudent paranoia is actually a good thing.

In this case, an ISP cannot access our PCs without us allowing it. The problem is that there are nuances that you might not realize.

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Why does my computer crash when I try to back up?

My husband keeps telling me that I need to backup my computer so that we don’t lose our photos or files from my home business. A couple of years ago, we spent $100 to buy an external hard drive. We used it, but it would freeze my computer. It would literally take a day or two before we could get the machine to work again. We contacted the company and they sent out a different software download. We tried for a year to get that blasted external hard drive to work. My computer would shut down within five minutes of plugging it in.

We bought a new computer and tried the same external hard drive with the same results. We then purchased a program from my husband’s college called Crash Plan. The same result as the hard drive happened. We uninstalled the program. Last week, my husband again pleaded to me to have me backup my files. We purchased a plan for $50 through iDrive. It actually started to backup files – good progress! 50 hours later, we were only at 25%. My computer was hot to the touch and the fan was running so loud that you could hear it upstairs. We paused the program just to let the computer rest. We let it rest for two days. I turned it on this morning and it froze three times within the hour. Even Ctrl + Alt + Delete wouldn’t work. Why will my computer not back up files? There honestly has to be a better way.

Backing up shouldn’t be this hard. All of the things that you’ve tried should work.

Your computer shouldn’t crash after you plug in an external hard drive or run a backup. Technically, a computer should never crash. The only thing that has me puzzled here is that the crash happened on two different computers.

So, let’s talk about what could be going on here.

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