The Top Twenty

Category: Reference

Every night a friendly robot looks through the Ask Bob logs to see which articles were the most popular over the past week. Here are the current Top Twenty, ranked by readership volume. If you missed any of these, take a few minutes to read and comment!

Top 20

  1. How Fast (or slow) Is Your Computer? Benchmark it!

    How fast is your computer's CPU (the “brain” or central processing unit) compared to others? That's one question that CPU benchmarking can help you answer. Another good question is whether or not your particular CPU is performing up to manufacturer's specs; CPU benchmarking can answer that one too. Here's how to test your own CPU, with free software. Read on...

  2. Can a Computer Virus Destroy Your Hard Drive?

    Occasionally I hear from AskBob readers who say a virus “destroyed” their hard drive and they had to buy a new one. But are there actually viruses that can physically damage a hard drive? Is it possible for a virus to damage computer hardware, or is this an urban legend? Read on to find out the truth...

  3. My Almost-Perfect Spam Filter

    Researchers estimate that about 46 percent of all email traffic is spam. But I rarely see any spam in my inbox. That's because my spam filter blocks 99.9 percent of all spam, phishing and malware emails. Read on to learn how you can get near-perfect spam filtering, and declutter your inbox...

  4. Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners

    You almost certainly have an “always on” malware detection tool already installed on your computer. It provides constant protection against viruses and other malware that may sneak into your computer. But no anti-malware program is foolproof; something may slip through its defenses and infect your hard drive. So what can you do if a really nasty virus disables your anti-malware protection, or fouls up your hard drive so Windows won't even start? Here's the answer...`

  5. SLOW Internet? Here's Why...

    A frustrated AskBob reader says: “My Internet connection is usually pretty fast, but sometimes it slows down to a crawl, for no apparent reason. Do I have a virus, is it a WiFi problem, or are there other possible explanations for the slowdowns?” Yes, several! Read on for my advice on diagnosing (and fixing) a slow Internet connection...

  6. Geekly Update - 13 June 2024

    Would you vote for an AI chatbot if it was running for mayor of your town? What happened when a group of teens traded their smartphones for basic dumbphones? And how would an extra thumb make you more productive? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and comment!

  7. How to Trace a Spammy Email

    Thud... another unwanted email with a potentially fake “From” address just landed in your inbox. And you wish you could find out where it actually came from. Or maybe you got an email several days after it was sent? Read on to learn about some free tools that can help with both situations...

  8. How To Become a Tech Support Superhero

    A well-prepared adventurer never leaves home without his trusty Swiss Army knife. Similarly, you need a portable arsenal of troubleshooting tools to solve the most common computer problems. Load these tech support utilities on a USB flash drive and your friends and family will think you're a tech support superhero! Read on for your tech support toolkit...

  9. Gripe Sites: Monetizing Your Pain?

    When consumers have a complaint about a company, they often resort to the power of public opinion for support. But the Internet makes it possible to do much more than simply tell all your friends about a ripoff or poor customer service you've experienced. Online 'gripe sites' and complaint forums abound, but some may do as much harm as good. They may even be designed to malign. Here's my analysis and advice...

  10. Is Your Computer Obsolete?

    An AskBob reader says: 'Our computer is about five years old, but one friend says it is obsolete. He says it will soon be unsupported, and advises us to buy a new computer with a faster CPU, more memory, bigger hard drive, and a larger monitor. Do I really need to do all that? Can you give me some of the pros and cons of upgrading versus buying a new computer?' Sure, here's my advice...

  11. The High Price of Anonymity

    Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are designed to offer privacy and security online, but not all VPNs are created equal. While premium VPN services invest in robust security measures, free VPNs often come with hidden risks. A recent investigation into the 911 S5 botnet highlights the potentially severe dangers associated with free VPNs. This botnet,which the Director of the FBI has described as “likely the world’s largest ever”, relied heavily on unsuspecting users who installed free VPN software. Read on for my advice on the threats posed by free VPN services...

  12. Cloud Storage: Is it Private and Secure?

    Would you agree with those who say “I would NEVER put my files out there on some cloud server... they're much safer on my hard drive!” If you're thinking about using cloud services like file storage, online backup, webmail and document sharing, you may wonder about the privacy and security of cloud computing. The parade of high-profile data breaches in the past year may have some people worried. So are your files and sensitive data safe and secure in the cloud, or are they vulnerable to hackers, snoopers and other threats? Here's the scoop on cloud storage security...

  13. Is it Time to Call The Geek Squad?

    A concerned AskBob reader says: “My computer is very sluggish, and I think it might have a virus. There's also a ticking sound inside the computer. I'm not very technical, so I'm thinking about calling the Geek Squad. Do you think that's a good idea?” Here's my advice...

  14. Hard Drive Partitioning: Myths, Mistakes and Misconceptions

    One AskBob reader had this question about hard drives: “I just got a new computer with a big 2-terabyte hard drive and I'm wondering about hard drive partitioning strategies. A friend told me to create a very small C: partition for a swap file, put Windows on the D: drive, and create several other partitions for different types of data. That sounds complicated, so is this really a good idea?” Read on for my advice on hard drive partitioning...

  15. Craigslist, Scammers and Schmeckpepers

    Craigslist is a free online classified ads site that's been around almost 30 years. It's a popular way to buy, sell, and trade goods or services locally. It's also used as a dating service, a job-hunting and recruiting tool, and much more. Lots of people use it every day for legitimate transactions, but if you're not careful, you could end up getting scammed by a Schmeckpeper. What's a Schmeckpeper? Read on for the answer, and learn about some Craigslist traps to avoid...scam, bogus money order, Western Union scam, overpayment scam

  16. Geekly Update - 23 May 2024

    Why is Google recommending the use of Elmer's Glue to keep the cheese from falling off your pizza? How secure are those handy key fobs that open your car door with a click? Can you get rich by reading software licensing agreements? And will AI help you tame the voices in your head? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and comment!

  17. Review: PC Matic Gets a Zero!

    After years of hearing from AskBob readers about PC Matic, I finally decided it was time to give the popular antivirus and PC optimizer software a test drive. So 18 months ago, I did just that, and published my PC Matic review. At the time, I was impressed enough to ditch my current security software, and entrust my home and office computers to PC Matic. A year and a half later, I'm giving PC Matic a ZERO. But wait... that's actually a GOOD thing! Read on for my updated review and recommendation...

  18. Geekly Update - 08 May 2024

    Does using a VPN make you invisible online? Would you pay 40K a year for a gym membership? Will powerful quantum computers make encryption obsolete? And will your home security camera spray tear gas at the mailman? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!s

  19. Is Someone Snooping in Your Inbox?

    Do you ever get the feeling that someone, somewhere is reading your email? If so, your suspicions probably focus on nefarious hackers on the dark web, or maybe shadowy figures in the government. But it's much more likely that an email voyeur is someone close to you. Your spouse, your boss, or a nosy parker who runs the computers at work may be peeking at your email messages. Read on... laws

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This article was posted by on 4 Mar 2009

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The Top Twenty
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Most recent comments on "The Top Twenty"

(See all 79 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Yvonne Mathis
02 Apr 2016

Wrote once before and since I am not computer savy, I was saying Linksys was tryin to hi jack router. Now A friend says modem, Linksys has removed my isp and entered their own code and now are controlling my computer,has removed my security which is Norton, who by the way cleaned my computer and said all was good, after that, noticed the Icon disappeeared and then reappeared, but is not functioning, I am redirected to sites other than the one I try to get to. I am elder female, other than a pricey computer service, can you help?

Posted by:

11 Apr 2016

I need virus clen my drive

Posted by:

04 Jun 2016

My internet speed is slow and if I have my grandchildren streaming a movie, it constantly buffering and my PC too.
I have a dual web-band and a range extender 3 yrs. old and Verizon router is over 5 yrs. old
Base on your expertise, what step should I take.
Greatly appreciate your help

Posted by:

06 Jun 2016

can you go back and read articles further back than the last 20, if so how?

Posted by:

Ken Fisher
21 Jul 2016

Upgraded my Win 7.1 Dell computer to Win 10 last December. Two weeks ago, it downgraded itself by dropping the Start Button and screen, the info button on the left and Cortana. It has not corrected with updates. Pressing the Start produces a critical error and a restart.

Posted by:

08 Aug 2016

Bob, My Microsoft Publisher software gas disappeared from my computer sometime since I downloaded Windows 10.

Also, the names of my directories have been eliminated. I used to have one called Pat and Ray Computer and it no longer exists. There were two directories called mydocuments, one inside the other directory that I can no longer find.

I did a backup of 7 before I installed 10 (thanks for you publication!) HELP!!!

Posted by:

Jd hackhowsar
15 Jun 2017

Hi Mr Bob

We have 600 plus pages for years as a tech support user club for European industrial machines at in html now https posted.

After the https all picture links quit working.

Also with google nobody can find us any more. Since the page content applies often to the same subject, the keywords are the same.

Reading googles requirements it would be a lot of volunteer work to vamp it all up.
We started in the 80s out with DOS 6 based Clarks bulletin boaerd sw.

Having a good site content search function is imporatant.
We used since the 80s macromedia robohelp and dreamweaver sw, now all Acrobat.

Thanks for your wisdom.
Lots of virtual hugs.


Posted by:

29 Jun 2017

In using Outlook 2003 I need to know how to increase text size as now the inbox shows about 31 one line emails info, I would like about 15 with larger more readable text. The new Dell computer has Windows 10 and I have just started using it. Appreciate any help provided.

Posted by:

Alexander Harkes
25 Sep 2017

When using my printer and trying to send a copy of a photo or send a email it says i do not have a connection and everything is working ok. the mail recipient will not work also how can i change the mail recipient from fax recipient.

Posted by:

stanley westell
23 Jun 2018

I wondered if you had a topic regarding India's people constant attack upon the US?
I recently have been receiving all kinds of so-called free gift cards $1000 gift card Walmart, Nike gift cards, I recently have received several different grant scams from India and they even tried to use US sounding names and received a phone call claiming it was the IRS preparing to open a file if I didn't call them then there is a computer tech support company that claims they are Microsoft and tell you your personal information that risk and if you don't call them they'll stop your computer from working there are several of those I will admit being on Social Security disability that I was extremely hopeful and I had filed for grants and unfortunately before I caught on. Already swindled me out of $200 their goal was to swindle me out of $1000 so knowing that the IRS never calls they only send mail and I started asking the questions will qualify me for these grants where did you get this information clearly they are attaching themselves or spying on websites or setting up these free card giveaways to get information I was just wondering if you had set up a page on warning the elderly which is clearly their target I think the most important thing is think first asked questions on how you qualified how they got the information and so forth and before you know it they hang up the one thing I have seen is that their phone calls are being rerouted through the US and there clearly well-versed insome of the information needed regarding grants the address of the grant building in Washington DC and basic info for their scam I saved many of the phone numbers and names used but you know they're all fake or they're using untraceable SIMM cards well I was just wondering if you had a page that would help protect people against India's ongoing attack upon the US? you need not reply it was just a suggestion or if you have created this page thank you.

Posted by:

Andy Baldwin
21 Sep 2019

Dear Bob,

I am a technical IDIOT!

But, somehow this ADD brain of mine can understand what you have to say. Can you help me understand what this particular tool does?

Also, can you tell me if you cover computer issues pretty much from A to Z? If so do you cover different kinds of email like

I ask because I got hacked with 'free' email and there are things I can't seem to understand sometimes with private email.

I simply want to thank you for being there helping very low tech guys like me!

Warmest Regards,

Andy Baldwin

Posted by:

Bonnie R
02 Oct 2019

The links in my emails on my phone will not open

Posted by:

Daniel Swist
26 Nov 2019

I got hacked about a month ago. Changed password, etc. But now all my incoming email(YAHOO) goes to my "Archive" folder and has to be manually transferred to my INBOX. Called ATT several times , but the idiot agents (in India) can't help me. I tried to call ATT in the US, but never got connected. Someone on a blog told me to go to Settings- Filters and remove filters/ add filters. But that doesn't work. Any suggestions?

Posted by:

17 Apr 2020

very very GOOD Bob and thanks for all those great possibilities

Posted by:

Phil Biggins
23 Apr 2020

How to fix printing problems for windows 10 ,only wants to save an not print.

Posted by:

25 Apr 2020

Your top 20 is great, Thanks

Posted by:

Edward E.Weeter
21 Jul 2020

I have been a reader for many years, but due to long-term health issues, my reading time and comprehension have slipped. Now my wife wants a divorce and most of my investment profits I am 74, a Type 1 Diabetic for 60+ years with many other health issues!. She is 71 and in her second round of cancer. We have I married daughter who caters mainly to her wishes and live about 5+ hours from us. My problems utherwise are my AOL.COM account (blocked for over 9 months. Any idea who in gov’t I can contact? Thanks for everything! She has blocked my use of many things also!pp

Posted by:

WJ Stewart
15 Dec 2021

How can I make my 2 year old laptop faster? I have to wait almost 10 minutes for it to start up so I can use it

Posted by:

WD Nelson
30 Mar 2022

I signed up for IDrive last week!! Only 5TB Can I still get the discount you are offering?

Posted by:

06 Mar 2024

Your "Top 20" list contains only 19 topics;
items 12 and 20 are identical! 😋

There's more reader feedback... See all 79 comments for this article.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Top Twenty (Posted: 4 Mar 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved