Articles tagged: The Best of Ask Leo!

The concept of 'support email black hole'. A frustrated person looking at a computer screen with an email icon disappearing into a black hole.

Why Don’t Companies Answer My Email?

It’s not uncommon for email messages to companies to disappear into a black hole. I’ll look at why that might be and steps you can take to reduce the odds of it happening to you.

Padlock in a chain.

Can Someone Install Something on My Computer When It’s Not Logged In?

If your computer is not physically secure, someone could install something even if you’re not logged in.

A serene individual meditating in a tranquil setting. The person appears calm and centered, seated in a traditional meditation pose in front of a desktop PC, illustrating a blend of mindfulness and technology. Surrounding them are floating digital icons, including a cloud, folders, and error symbols, symbolizing technological stress. These icons are depicted as being calmly ignored by the meditating person.

Dealing With Inexplicable Change?

Yes, I deal with frustrating changes too. It’s not that I never get frustrated; it’s what I choose next that makes for a much happier experience.

Download Windows

Where Can I Download Windows 11? Or 10? Or 8?

You can download Windows 8.1, 10, and 11 from legitimate sources. If you have a legal retail product key, this can be your replacement media.

Labelled emails in motion

How Do Gmail Labels Relate to Folders?

Gmail labels are similar to folders, but there are a couple of important differences to know if you use a desktop email program to access Gmail.

The scene includes a frustrated user in front of a computer displaying a frozen web page, with thought bubbles or icons surrounding them. These icons represent different troubleshooting steps like scanning for malware (depicted by a magnifying glass over a bug), clearing the browser cache (a broom sweeping browser windows), disabling add-ons (a plug or extension cord with a cross over it), and reinstalling the browser (an arrow circling a browser logo).

6 Steps to Fix Your Browser Problems

Browser problems can be caused by any number of things that may or may not include the browser itself. I’ll review common troubleshooting techniques.

A detective with a magnifying glass, peering closely at a computer screen on one side, and a cloud icon on the other.

Will Backing Up My Computer Back Up My Email?

To back up your email, you first have to figure out where it lives. It might be on your computer, or it might be on the internet.

A scene that metaphorically represents the challenge of learning the technical language of computers and technology, similar to learning a new spoken language. Imagine a person standing before a giant, glowing computer screen filled with complex technical diagrams, code, and jargon. The person looks intrigued but slightly overwhelmed, holding a dictionary of computer terms. In the background, diverse symbols and icons of technology, such as circuit boards, USB symbols, and cloud computing icons, float in the air, signifying the vastness of technology's language.

Terminology Matters

When it comes to technology, it seems like there’s a whole ‘nother language to learn. Using the right terminology is important to being understood and getting your problems resolved.

Concept image of the six most common questions and answers on a signpost.

The Secret Behind Ask Leo! I Know Less Than You Think

I know less than you think I do, but I make up for it with a very important skill — a skill anyone can benefit from improving.

The scene includes a computer screen displaying an email inbox with several spam email subjects visible, such as "Account Hacked!" and "Urgent: Security Alert." A large, bold, red 'X' is superimposed over these scam emails, symbolizing rejection or marking them as spam. In the foreground, a figure symbolizing a user (not specific in appearance) confidently presses the 'delete' or 'spam' button on the email client, ignoring the scam attempts.

Has a Hacker Really Hacked My Email Account?

An email claims your email account has been hacked, possibly even including a password you’ve used. Don’t be fooled; it’s a scam.

An external USB hard drive positioned vertically on its side, with a carrying handle attached to its top. The hard drive has a 'Moving' sticker prominently displayed.

Can I Move My Old Hard Drive to My New Computer to Transfer Data?

You can take the internal hard disk of an old computer and install it as an additional drive in a new one, or consider a more flexible alternative.

A photorealistic image of a computer screen overflowing with icons, windows, and notifications, representing the abundance of features and capabilities added to software over time.

Why Does Software Only Seem to Get Bigger?

It’s a march of technological progress: computers can do more, and we expect software to do more. That leaves those of us with older machines in a difficult spot.

VPN

Can My ISP See I’m Using a VPN?

Virtual Private Networks have characteristics visible to your ISP. I’ll discuss what they can and cannot see.

Password Frustration

How Do I Recover My Outlook Account?

Outlook.com, Hotmail, and Microsoft account compromise and loss happens. Here’s how to get your account back depending on what happened to it.

Disk Drives, Flash Drives, and RAM

What’s the Difference Between Memory and Disk Space?

The difference between the various things we could call “memory” is a fundamental computing concept. I’ll review the basics.

A cartoon-style image of a surprised person sitting in front of their computer. The computer screen is overflowing with colorful pop-up ads, each showing products that the person has recently viewed online, like electronics, books, and clothing. The person's expression is exaggerated with wide eyes and a dropped jaw, capturing their shock and confusion about the nature of these targeted ads. The setting is a quirky home office with a vibrant desk, a fun, stylized chair, and playful decorative items in the background.

Why Do Ads Follow Me Around the Internet?

Advertising networks notice what interests you. It might be a little creepy, but it’s not malware.

An image in an ancient Egyptian drawing style that depicts a giant, expressive eye with various internet cables and connections in the background. The artwork should mimic the aesthetic of ancient Egyptian art, characterized by profile views, flat figures, and bold outlines. The design should blend the theme of Internet Service Providers' potential to monitor internet activity with the distinctive art style of ancient Egypt, incorporating elements like hieroglyphics and traditional Egyptian color schemes.

Can My ISP Monitor My Internet Connection?

Your ISP controls your internet connection, and it’s easy for them to monitor the data you send and receive. The question is, why would anyone monitor your internet?

A 16:9 photorealistic image showing a magnifying glass hovering over an email icon. The scene is set on a desktop background, with the magnifying glass closely examining the email icon, symbolizing scrutiny and attention to detail. The email icon should look digital and modern, representing electronic communication, and the magnifying glass should have a realistic and detailed appearance, with a clear lens and metallic frame.

How Can Newsletter Senders Tell That I Haven’t Opened Their Newsletter?

It’s impossible to truly determine if someone opened an email, but newsletters worrying about their reputation try to get an idea.

Opening a Virus?

Can I Get Malware From Opening an Email?

It used to be that simply viewing a malformed email could allow a virus to spread. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.

Working on updates

How Do I Fix Windows Update?

Windows Update can get confused or stuck. I’ll review ways to fix Windows Update, including what I refer to as the nuclear option.

Thumbnail featuring a distressed-looking USB flash drive with an error message on a computer screen saying 'RAW'. The background includes faint symbols of a hard drive, a cloud, and a backup symbol, emphasizing the lesson on the necessity of backups and the risks of relying on a single storage device. The image conveys the urgency and importance of data recovery and backup, suitable for a video about recovering data from a failed flash drive and the importance of regular backups.

How Do I Recover Flash Drive Files?

Flash drives are popular, convenient, and extremely useful. But they can fail. Take preventative measures right away.

Wireless internet in the home.

How Do I Get Wireless Internet?

You hear a lot about wireless internet, but it’s not something you can just connect to anywhere. It’s more often something you purchase and set up.

Password

How to Use Just a Single Password for Everything

It’s very tempting to use only a single password everywhere. That’s dangerous, and there are better alternatives.

Power Button

My Computer Doesn’t Work — What Do I Do?

People often ask what might be broken if their computer does nothing. It’s a long list, and I’ll look at some possibilities.

About Thunderbird

Thunderbird: a Free, Open Source, and Powerful Email Client

Thunderbird is a robust and powerful email program that can meet the needs of both light and power users. I use it all day every day.

Email Mailbox (conceptual)

How Do I Change My Email Name?

Changing your email name is usually easy, but changing your email address involves setting up a new account.

Frustration at a laptop.

My Computer Is Infected With Malware. Should I Just Throw It Out?

Malware is just software. It doesn’t destroy your computer’s hardware in any way. Some work will get you back up and running without needing to destroy anything.

No Forwarding!

Why Shouldn’t I “Forward to Everyone You Know”?

We often get forwarded email warning us about everything from lost children to free money to crooked politicians. They’re mostly bogus, and they’re known as urban legends. Here’s how to tell.

Cache

What Is a Browser Cache? How Do I Clear It?

Clearing your browser cache is the first thing to try when you encounter webpage problems. I’ll look at why and how to clear your cache.

Busy light.

Why Do I Have Constant Disk Activity in Windows?

Unexplained disk activity is easy to identify with the right tools. We’ll use Process Monitor.

Return to Sender

Will Email Bounce If I Send It to a Closed Account?

If you send email to an invalid address or a closed account, you may get a bounce back. You just can’t count on it.

Outlook Icon

What’s the Difference Between Outlook, Outlook, and Outlook.com?

Microsoft continues to confuse us with product names. I’ll clarify the difference between Outlook, Outlook, and Outlook.com, and help you decide which you want.

hiberfile.sys, pagefile.sys, swapfile.sys in Windows File Explorer

What Are Hiberfil.sys, Swapfile.sys, and Pagefile.sys, and How Do I Remove Them?

Hiberfil.sys, pagefile.sys, and swapfile.sys are Windows system files that support two very important features: hibernation and virtual memory.

Map with a pin in it.

How Do I Get Someone’s Location From an IP Address?

While getting someone’s name and address from their IP address is technically possible, it’s also difficult and requires law enforcement’s help.

Dropbox in the Google Play store.

Back Up Smartphone Photos Using Dropbox

Smartphones are a popular way to take snapshots and videos. Tools like Dropbox are great for making sure those are backed up automatically.

Help!

What Information Should I Provide When Asking for Help?

When you ask someone for help, stack the deck in your favor by painting a clear picture of the problem you’re experiencing.

Windows 11

Should I Update to Windows 11?

Windows 11 is out to much fanfare, hype, and confusion. Unless you have specific reasons, you don’t need to upgrade yet, but there’s also no reason to avoid it.

Access Denied

How Do I Copy Files When Windows Says I Don’t Have Permission to Access This Folder?

When transferring NTFS-formatted disks from one machine to another, permissions can restrict access. I’ll cover both Widows GUI and command line solutions.

Credit Card

What Can I Do If Someone Uses My Credit Card Online?

Using someone else’s credit card online illegally is identity theft. There’s not a lot you can do except report it.

Download Button

Is It Safe to Download from Download Sites?

Download sites are just too risky these days. Don’t use them unless there is no way to avoid them, and even then, be very careful in your selections.

Privacy?

Every Application Adds Risk

Everything you download adds risk. Be safer using my three guidelines.

Privacy Settings

Privacy Begins with the Operating System

Privacy is a complex and far-reaching topic. One of the most basic and often overlooked players is the operating system on your device.

Email Mailbox (conceptual)

What are POP3, IMAP, and SMTP?

POP, POP3, IMAP, and SMTP are all acronyms used in configuring email. We’ll look at what they mean and how they relate.

No Forwarding

Can I Stop Others from Forwarding Messages?

It’s not only impossible to prevent email from being forwarded; you can’t even prevent that forward from being altered, forged or defaced.

Computer Frustration

Should I Buy a New Computer to Fix Malware?

Buying a new machine is a common knee-jerk reaction to a bad malware infestation. And it’s wrong. Not just a little wrong — it’s completely unnecessary.

Reply Button

How Do I Edit a Reply?

Edit a reply before sending it. Clean up your message, remove email addresses, and more.

Power Supplies and Cables

Can I Use a Charger With the Same Voltage but Different Amperage Rating?

Chargers and power supplies come in a wide variety of configurations. Choosing the right one is important. I’ll look at a few of the parameters.

Time passing

What Does “Not Responding” Mean?

“Not Responding” is Windows’ way of telling you that a program might have a problem. Sometimes it’s benign and sometimes it’s a sign of a deeper issue.

Delete!

How Do I Delete Multiple Emails When I Have a Lot to Delete?

It can be a challenge to delete multiple emails. I’ll look at some of the concepts and techniques used by various email programs to make it easier.

Hammering a Back button.

Why Doesn’t “Back” Always Work?

Occasionally, the back button won’t work and simply lands you back where you were. There are reasons, and there are workarounds.