Don't use the same external drive for backup and storage

L Spector , PCWorld

Marios Papadopoulos stores media files on a 1TB external hard drive. He asked about using the same drive for backup.

Technically speaking, there's no reason why you couldn't use the same hard drive for backing up your internal drive and storing overflow data that don't fit on your internal drive. But doing so is a really bad idea.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Top 10 fixes for common PC problems: The best of PCWorld's Answer Line

L Spector , PCWorld

I’ve been answering questions from PCWorld readers since 1997, and I think I’ve read about every problem that Windows and PC hardware can provide.

But some questions pop up over and over again. Others rarely come up, but nevertheless involve important issues that every user needs to know about. Still, others are unanswerable, and the only advice I can give is to have a professional look at the PC.

Here are 10 Answer Line articles from the last two years that every Windows user should read.

6. Is one antivirus program really better than two?

one antivirus program is better than two

Arcticsid made the mistake of installing one antivirus program on a new PC that already had another.

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You've fallen for a scam! Now what?

L Spector , PCWorld

Cybercriminals tricked Fred into giving away sensitive information. Now he wants to know how “to mitigate this situation?”

Don’t feel bad. We all make stupid mistakes. But with these sorts of mistakes, you have to act fast to avoid disaster.

What you need to do depends on how you were tricked. Did you give them your email password? Your bank and/or credit card numbers? Your passwords for Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites? Did they remotely access your PC, or trick you into installing software?

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Troubleshoot a dead Internet connection

L Spector , PCWorld

Kathy Hintz wants to know why a friend can’t get an Internet connection.

I hate network problems. They’re the worst. When they happen in my house, I tend to use a vocabulary that would shock Quentin Tarantino.

A wide variety of problems can block Internet (and local network) communications. Your first job is to find the cause. Follow these steps in this order, and you should at least figure out what is the causing the problem.

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Can your ISP read what you send over Facebook?

L Spector , PCWorld

Maeve asked “Can your ISP read conversations that you have with people over Facebook?” 

Every Internet communication from your home goes through your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It knows your IP address (actually your router’s IP address), it knows your physical address, and it literally does the job of connecting one to the other.

To use a term we’ve all heard a lot recently, they have your metadata.

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Save power: Don’t run your PC 24/7

L Spector , PCWorld

Sofian asked if PCs should be turned off at the end of the workday.

There’s a lot of controversy about that, but I lean toward turning off the machine  when it’s not in use. Leaving a PC on all of the time wastes electricity. That’s bad for your pocketbook and bad for the planet. What’s more, I haven’t seen any compelling evidence that turning off PCs wears them down faster than keeping them on.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Upgrade Windows 7 Starter to something better

L Spector , PCWorld

Jinadasa Katulanda has a netbook computer running Windows 7 Starter. He asked about upgrading it to the Home Premium edition.

The Windows 7 Starter edition is the cheapest, least-powerful version of Windows 7. It was never sold retail, and is only available pre-installed on inexpensive, low-power netbooks.

But here’s the funny thing: Starter isn’t significantly faster than other editions of 32-bit Windows 7. They all have the same minimum hardware requirements.

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