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 to Erase Your Hard Drive - Going Nuclear?

    How important is it to completely erase ALL personal data from a hard drive before disposing of it? Savvy users understand that deleting a file doesn't really make it go away. And even formatting a hard drive doesn't guarantee that your files are unreadable. So how can you be certain that every bit of your data is gone before selling, donating or disposing of your hard drive? Here's some good news on that front…

  2. Rubber Bands, Duct Tape, and Hives - Your Guide to the Windows Registry

    In some Windows troubleshooting articles you’ll find a suggestion to fix a problem that involves editing the Windows registry. There’s always a dire warning attached, along the lines of, “Do not attempt to edit the registry unless you know what you’re doing! One wrong registry edit can render your machine unusable!” That's true, but with a bit of caution, you CAN safely edit the registry. (Just beware of hives.) Here's what you need to know, and some helpful examples...

  3. Geekly Update - 04 May 2023 (giraffes ahead...)

    Has AI advanced to the point where mind reading is possible? Did passwords become obsolete this week? Is it safe to poke a robot? And can giraffes predict the statistical likelihood that your hard drive will soon fail? 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!

  4. Forgot Your Windows 10 or 11 Password? Here's the Solution

    You forgot your login password for Windows 10 or Windows 11? Or maybe you 'inherited' a Windows computer and you can't log in. There's hope, but resetting a forgotten password for a Windows 10 or 11 PC can be complicated by several factors. In this article, I’ll show you how to create a Password Reset disk as a preventive measure, and also how to reset your password if you don’t have the disk. Let's dig in...

  5. REVEALED: How Creepy Marketers Get Your Email Address

    Have you ever visited an online store, and later got an email from that website, even though you never provided your email address? I find this disturbing, and you probably will too, when you learn how and why this is happening. Read on to learn the source of mystery marketing messages...

  6. Would You Click This Link?

    Your mouse hovers over a link... your trembling finger is poised to click... but you stop to think. Is there danger lurking behind that link? Do you know how to tell right away if a website (or link) is going to lead you into a world of hurt? A single click can trigger an unwanted download, a malware infection, stolen login credentials, ransomware, or identity theft. Here are some practical tips and tools you can use to click smarter...

  7. Fileless Malware: The Ghost in Your Computer

    A clever but pernicious software technique that's been known for more than a decade is being adopted by today's malware authors, complicating the work of anti-virus developers and digital forensic analysts. Tracking down so-called “fileless malware” is to detection of regular malware what ghost-hunting is to catching a garden-variety burglar. Read on to learn about this resurgent threat and what you can do to stop it...

  8. Which is Fastest: Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile?

    When choosing a mobile phone service, you want to know which one has a good strong signal and a fast 4G (or 5G) data connection, in the places where you live and use your cell phone. In their advertising, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all make various claims about network coverage, reliability and speed. All of them claim to ‘best’ in some way. But is there a way to honestly compare which one is best where YOU live and work? YES! Read on for that...

  9. Geekly Update - 29 March 2023 (Are we doomed?)

    Would you spend almost two hundred million dollars to add ten years to your life? Are you sharing too much with your mobile phone provider? When is a cropped photo NOT a cropped photo? And has artificial intelligence gone too far already? 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!

  10. LifeLock: Will it Save Your Digital Bacon?

    If you're concerned about identity theft these days, you're not necessarily paranoid. Frequent and massive data breaches provide scammers with the personal information they need to pull it off. If someone assumes your identity they can open new credit cards, raid your bank accounts, ruin your employment prospects, or even commit crimes for which you are blamed. With so much at stake, many people are paying $20 or more a month for identity theft protection services. But are they wasting their money? Here's the scoop...

  11. Cable TV Too Expensive? Try These Free TV Options

    I’ve written before about various options for watching TV shows and movies via online streaming services. The good news today is that while Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Youtube are constantly raising prices for their services, a bunch of free options are popping up. Read on to learn how you can get local television channels, movies and popular shows without a subscription or monthly fees...

  12. Geekly Update - 27 April 2023 (What is reality?)

    Can a virus enter your smartphone via the charging port? How can you tell a deepfake video from the real thing? Have you been impacted by a recent data breach? And is it possible to jumpstart your car without a battery? 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!

  13. It's Nice to Share, But...

    Two trends are clashing on the Web today. Security is more important than ever to protect yourself against ever-increasing cyberthreats. “Sharing” is equally big, thanks to social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram which make money when you share your intimate thoughts, experiences, and other life-stuff with strangers. But security and sharing do not mix well. Here's what you need to know about oversharing and trauma dumping...

  14. 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...

  15. Recover Deleted Files on Windows or Mac

    'Yikes... I didn't mean to delete that file!' It happens to everyone... it could be a stray mouse click, a senior moment, or fumbling fingers. And the document, spreadsheet, or photo you just spent hours creating or editing is gone. Or maybe not. Fortunately, 'deleted' doesn't necessarily mean 'gone forever' on a hard drive. Here are some things to try when you want to recover a deleted file...

  16. Forward Emails to Your Phone Via Text Message

    You may not prefer to be notified (bothered) by your phone every time an email hits your inbox. But email from a spouse, child, boss, or other important contact may be something you want to know about right away. Here is a free, easy way to forward selected emails via text message when those things happen...

  17. So I Just Googled Myself...

    Have you ever used Google or Bing to search your own name, address or phone number? In an age of powerful search engines, social media, artificial intelligence, and changing attitudes about privacy, you might be shocked to see what a casual searcher can learn about you. If you're okay with that level of transparency, then fine. If not, read on for some tips on what you can do about it...

  18. How Good is Your Cybersecurity?

    Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems from unauthorized access, theft, damage, or disruption. Some examples of cyber threats are viruses, malware, phishing attacks, hacking, ransomware, data breaches, identity theft, and denial-of-service attacks. Read on to learn which ones are most likely to affect YOU, and best practices for defending your digital castle...

  19. Laptop Hard Drive Crash

    The surprising thing is not a laptop hard drive crash, but the rarity with which it happens. When you think about hard drives and what people do with laptops, it's surprising that laptop hard drives don't crash more often. But it does happen. Here are some things you can do to minimize the risk of a laptop hard drive crash, and to recover if one does happen...

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

(See all 78 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Sandy Lumsden
01 Apr 2016

why oh why does windows behave the way it does, I seriously considered using a Linux operating System but Microsoft even make that difficult, so I will continue using windows 10 until I can afford an Apple Mac.One thing I am sure of I will not be using Windows for ever,for I am fed-up with programs not working.

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?

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