Is Shockwave Player safe?

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Is Adobe Shockwave Player safe? I seem to remember you said in one of your articles to beware of it; that it could infect you with bad stuff. I was browsing around for free games and came across one that would not run unless I downloaded it.

Shockwave gets confused with Flash; they’re related in a way but they’re really two different things.

In theory, like most software, Shockwave is safe as long as you keep it up to date. Shockwave itself is not going to bring any infections with it; it’s the games and the tools, and potentially the malware that’s out there that could cause issues; just like they could cause issues with any software that you install on your machine.

I say “in theory”, because Shockwave’s heyday has passed. Shockwave was indeed used for a lot of games back in the day. It’s not as popular these days, having been supplanted by other technologies, like Flash. My guess is that the games that you’ve run into are some old games. I suppose it’s possible that there are some newer ones as well that still use Shockwave.

Read moreIs Shockwave Player safe?

How safe is iCloud?

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OK, Leo. How safe is iCloud? I have a feeling that privacy is a thing of the past. How do I know that nobody’s looking at my stuff?

This question is bigger than just iCloud. How safe is any online service, to be honest?

Ultimately, with any service provider, you simply don’t know that your data isn’t being looked at unless you take steps to protect it.

Read moreHow safe is iCloud?

Can you recommend a good external hard drive?

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I have a desktop running Windows 7 and plan to follow your suggestions for backing up. But having never used an external hard drive, I’m overwhelmed with the choices and could use some direction. My internal hard drive is a 500 GB SATA and the USB I have is 2.0. Can you recommend some guidelines: 2 ½ inches or 3 ½? 5400 vs 7200-RPM? 500 GB vs a terabyte? Which brands are the most reliable, etc?

Can I make a specific recommendation? No. The problem with this type of recommendation is that the industry is constantly changing over time, in some really fundamental ways. Often it seems, those changes happen immediately after I make a recommendation!

Instead, I’m going to review one recommendation that I just made to a friend of mine. Then I’ll discuss some of the characteristics of the drives that you asked about.

Read moreCan you recommend a good external hard drive?

Why Does Microsoft Security Essentials seem to Interfere with System Restore?

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Hi, Leo. I have 2 computers with the same problem: one is Windows XP Pro and the other is Windows XP Home. On both computers, System Restore fails as soon as there is a Microsoft Security Essentials restore point entry in System Restore. If I remove all restore points, System Restore works fine. I’ve tested it many times. As soon as MSE creates and updates a restore point, System Restore fails to restore again. Any ideas?

In my experience answering questions here on Ask Leo! since the day System Restore was introduced, it’s been a source of many problems. You can think of these problems as hidden land mines. System Restore may appear to work. It may do something in the background, or it may silently fail. And you don’t really know until you need or want a restore point. Basically, as in your case, it just doesn’t seem to work when people expect it to.

There’s also a common problem of people thinking of it as a backup, which of course it’s not at all.

Read moreWhy Does Microsoft Security Essentials seem to Interfere with System Restore?

I reinstalled Windows and lost a file on my desktop, what can I do?

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I put a new motherboard in my computer and was forced to reinstall Windows 7. I lost my budget spreadsheet that I had saved on my desktop. I tried to find it in Windows old and windows old 000. I couldn’t find it. Am I out of luck because I didn’t back it up? Or are there some tips that you can give me before I give up?

Reinstalling Windows is a pretty serious operation no matter which of the installation options you choose. There’s a very small chance that the file is still there, but to be honest, I’m not very hopeful.

Read moreI reinstalled Windows and lost a file on my desktop, what can I do?