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. Search Backwards: Reverse Directory Lookups

    Can you find the name of a person or business if all you know about them is a phone number or street address? What if all you have is an email address or a photo? This type of search is called a reverse directory lookup. Learn about the free and fee-based reverse search tools you can find online...

  2. Here's How to Clean Computer Clutter

    A computer is like a car in one respect: both tend to accumulate junk in hard-to-reach places. Cleaning out your car can be a messy, sweaty job with plenty of opportunities for back injuries. Cleaning out a PC is a more civilized affair. Here are some free tools to clean up your hard drive, improve system performance, and make sure your backups run smoothly...

  3. 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...

  4. 8+ Free Windows Troubleshooting Tools

    An operating system is a complex beast. If things go wrong with Windows, it can be difficult to track down the source of the glitch. But you can put away the screwdriver, sledgehammer and chainsaw, because there are plenty of free troubleshooters you can use to fix most problems. Here's my recommended list of free Windows problem solvers…

  5. Geekly Update - 11 May 2022

    Will humans outnumber little green men on Mars by the end of this decade? Can we trust Amazon reviews? How easy is it to crash Google Docs? And can you pay your mobile phone bill by watching ads? 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!

  6. Here's Why You Must Keep Your Software Updated (and how to do it for free)

    The most common computer problems can be fixed or avoided altogether, simply by keeping all of your software up to date. Updates include patches for security vulnerabilities as well as fixes for bugs, new features, and improvements of existing features. Check out these free programs that will help you keep all your software updated, with just a few clicks...

  7. Govt Spooks Say: Avoid These Security Mistakes

    Cybersecurity agencies of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have kindly compiled a list of the top poor “cyber hygiene practices” that allow hackers, crackers and even slackers to compromise a victim’s computer. The report identifies common exploits that may allow unauthorized person to gain access to a poorly secured system. The Cybersecurity Advisory was published as a joint effort of the FBI, NSA, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the UK's The National Cyber Security Centre, and security agencies in New Zealand and the Netherlands. Read on to learn which security mistakes you must avoid...

  8. So You Think You've Been Hacked?

    Anti-virus programs are awesomely sophisticated these days, featuring heuristics, real-time monitoring, blacklists, reputation systems, and still... they don't always keep bad things out of your computer! YOU are the last line of defense against hackers and malware, so you should be familiar with these telltale symptoms that your computer, smartphone or online account has been compromised...

  9. Geekly Update - 04 May 2022

    What should you do if you don't want your phone number and address showing up in Google search results? If you commit a crime while vacationing on the Moon, will you be arrested by Canadian Mounties on horseback? And have the robot overlords finally replaced human workers in Amazon warehouses? 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. How to Search the Deep (and Dark) Web

    You may have heard that the “Dark Web” is a place where criminals, terrorists, and hackers conspire to victimize unwitting Internet users. The reality is a bit more nuanced and not so scary. There is a “Deep Web” that you can't access with ordinary search engines, and a “Dark Web” where people lurk anonymously for both good and evil purposes. What's really out there? Read on...

  11. Is Your Home Address Exposed Online?

    An AskBob reader wonders: 'Are my personal details (name, home address, etc.) exposed if someone has my email or IP address? I am asking because I posted to an online forum, and both my email and IP address were displayed publicly. Does that give others the ability to find my actual geographic location? Can I be tracked down in any way?' Read on to learn the answer to this common question...

  12. How to Run Programs in a Sandbox

    Any time you install or run new software, there is a risk of damage to your computer. Even if the software is not designed to make mischief, there's still a chance that it has flaws or is vulnerable to exploits that could wreak havoc. Here's how to insulate your computer from software that may pose potential privacy or security threats...

  13. How Does Your Internet Speed Measure Up?

    When your Internet seems sluggish, you might be wondering “How fast is my internet speed?” or “Why is my internet slow?” These are common questions, and there are quite a few definitions of internet speed, as well as several free ways to test it. Here's the scoop on Internet speed tests, and why you definitely should check your speed every once in a while. Read on...

  14. Will You Be the Next CatPhishing Victim?

    In Johnny Lee's 1980 song “Lookin' For Love,” he describes his search for love as “playing a fools game, hoping to win.” Many years earlier, Ambrose Bierce wrote: “I have known men to fall in love by light so dim they would not choose a suit by it.” Thanks to the Internet, today the light is not only dim but deceptive. Lonely people of all persuasions are at increasing risk of being preyed upon by phony romantic partners who not only aren’t what they seem to be, but may not exist at all. Read on to learn about catphishing...

  15. Hey, Are You an Accidental Spammer?

    An anxious AskBob reader says: “Several of my email friends are complaining that I’m sending them spam emails. I’ve looked in my Sent folder and nothing odd shows up there. How can this be happening? Is it possible that someone has hacked into my email account, or is there another explanation?” Read on for the most likely answers to this mystery...

  16. It's Time For Fun With Words!

    It's common knowledge that Nail-Biting Refreshes The Feet. Oops! I meant to say that 'The Best Things In Life Are Free'. How did that come out so wrong? I must have had my brain hooked up to that anagram generator too long. Read on for a batch of fun links that will help you improve your vocabulary, win at word games, and impress your friends. Ready, set, go!

  17. Your Email Inbox Overfloweth?

    Are you spending too much time managing your email inbox? If so, it's likely you're not using filters to direct the flow of incoming emails. Learn how to automatically file messages in folders, forward them to someone else, or dump them straight into the trash. Oh, and if your Spam folder is gobbling up messages that don't belong there, I'll also show you how to solve that problem...

  18. [ANSWERS] Should You Backup EVERYTHING? (must read...)

    I can only say THANK YOU... and Wow! Since my Wednesday post laying out Nine Good Reasons for Backups, I have received so much positive feedback about my upcoming ebook 'Everything You Need to Know About Backups'. Since we've covered the WHY, today I'm going to talk about WHAT you need to back up. (Do YOU have all the bases covered?) Read on...

  19. Geekly Update - 27 April 2022

    Can a billionaire extend the light of consciousness just by purchasing a social media platform? Which flavor should you vape if you want to mazimize the damage to your internal organs? And how much money will you save if you buy iPhone replacement parts from Apple and fix your own phone? 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!

  20. Desperately Seeking Something? Try These Free Research Tools

    Depending on your needs, the Web can be a gold mine, a cesspool, or both. So how can you find answers to your questions, and the helpful, authoritative information you need? Check out my list of the best free online reference and research tools. I promise, no April Fool's tricks in this issue!

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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)
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