Why can’t I restore my AppData folder from a backup?

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Fortunately, I have heeded your advice, Leo, and have backed up my C drive on to an external drive. Shortly thereafter, I developed serious problems and decided that the best way out was to format my C drive and reinstall Vista. I’ve tried to make sense of the restored files and folders. I tried restoring the AppData folder requesting that it be restored to the original location, but all of my old emails do not appear in my new email folders as expected. Any advice you can give me would be very much appreciated.

Well, I hate to say it, but the approach that you’re taking is not really how this is designed to work.

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Why Can’t I Set Yahoo! as My Default Mail Program?

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Hi, Leo. I’ve followed your instructions in the article, “How do I change the “mailto:” or default mail program?” The newer versions of Yahoo Instant Messenger don’t have a Yahoo! browser services option. I’ve also downloaded that Yahoo toolbar, but the mail plug-in is not available in newer versions. I’m using Windows 7 Professional, 64-bit.

It’s possible that you can no longer do what you’re doing with the latest round of changes to Yahoo Mail. I honestly haven’t looked at it  closely enough to say yes or no, but what you describe sounds exactly like what I would expect if that functionality were removed.

That means that we have to do things a little differently. The whole default mail program is all about a default mail program.

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How does a site identify me when I am using a VPN?

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Today, reading a blog, I clicked on a link that took me to an answer on Quora.com, which is a site that I can’t recall ever visiting although it’s possible that I may have hit it using Stumble Upon or something similar in the past. My CyberGhost VPN was active. I scrolled down to the bottom of the page and there was my name and an invitation to submit further details. How could this be? I’m most concerned. I did not submit any information to this site during this session. How could it have identified me if I was using a VPN?

The fact the you’re using a VPN has almost nothing to do with this. A VPN protects your connection from the prying eyes of people between you and the VPN service, but that’s about it.

A couple of other things are going on here.

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Does a VPN give me complete security?

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I recently signed up with a personal VPN service for several reasons. I’d like an unbiased opinion of their value in terms of real security, privacy, etc., and also the potential unintended consequences of using them. I like the idea of having my email completely secured. No tracking (by Google or Bing) of my searches and portability to public hotspots. But I’ve also read that because VPN tunnels through my router’s NAT firewall, I might be giving up a valuable layer of security when I use it at home.

I use a robust anti-virus firewall of course, but I know you recommend a NAT firewall as a strong first line of defense against internet attacks. Are there other potential downsides to casual use? I’m not recommending one “pay for” service over another, but I happened to sign up with Witopia and I’m quite satisfied so far. Thanks for any thoughts on the subject.

I’m a little concerned that there may be some fundamental misunderstandings of exactly what a VPN does and what it does not get you.

To be clear, a VPN does nothing more than encrypt and route all of your internet traffic through the VPN provider’s server. That’s it. What happens after that server actually doesn’t change.

Is your email completely secured? That depends on what you mean.

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How Do I Get My New Email to Be the Default Email in Windows?

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This is complicated for me to put into print: I have a Windows Live email, which according to Microsoft, was hacked and unusable. I opened an Outlook.com email. Everything that has a right-click (such as Send To) goes to that old Live email. How can I right-click on an item, click Send To, and have it go to my Outlook.com email?

This is actually a surprisingly complicated and confusing scenario because we’re talking about two completely separate things.

I’ll try and clarify.

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If I Use a Cloud Sync Program to Back Up, Won’t Accidental Deletions Delete the Backup?

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You recommended backing up with online programs including Skydrive, Google Drive, etc. but these sync all the computers on the system. Can you not then lose files that get accidentally deleted? I used to back up my copy to another networked computer, but fear that now I may lose info on all of them if something does me in on one. I didn’t notice any discussion of this in Backing Up: 101. I’ve been following your newsletter for years and appreciate it. I only wish I had time to read more.

You are correct. With the way that your backup is set up, you could lose files, but there are a couple of safety nets and at least one clarification.

To begin with, when you use a file syncing or cloud-based file-sharing service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or SkyDrive, you need to remember that they should be part of an overall backup strategy.

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