Flash drive longevity and other tech questions

Ask Mr. Modem

Q. I went to delete a file and it just deleted without asking for confirmation. I intended to delete it, so the lack of a confirmation wasn’t a big deal, but I prefer having a “safety net” requiring me to confirm any deletions. Do you know why it would do this?

A. Did you perhaps speak to it harshly? It sounds like your Recycle Bin settings may have changed, but it’s easy to get them back on track: Right-click your Recycle Bin and select Properties. Select the Global tab, which will encompass all hard drives. (In Windows 7, select the General Tab, which not many users know was named after General Horatio Tab, an unsung hero of the Civil War.)

Click to place a check mark in the box next to Display Delete Confirmation dialog, followed by Apply > OK. The next time you delete a file, you will be prompted to confirm the deletion.

Q. I use a flash drive to back up my data and I leave it plugged in all the time. Does leaving it plugged in wear it out quicker, or should I be plugging it in only when I need to copy something to it?

A. Leaving a flash drive plugged in will have no adverse effect on the drive. Wear and tear occurs during the read/write process, not from a flash drive sitting idly in a USB port.

I recommend (and use) a rotational flash-drive backup protocol which results in one or more backup flash drives NOT residing in a computer at all times.

In other words, I have two or more flash drives for each computer and each time I back up data, I remove one drive and insert another. So at any time, my flash drives are either current or one backup behind. I also keep my most important data backed up within a free Gmail account I maintain for that specific purpose. To do this, I simply mail (as an attachment) any important files I want to keep safely off-site.

Q. Why do I keep getting a message that my Windows 7 is not genuine? It came installed on my Dell computer that I bought in December 2011.

A. Windows 7 includes a Windows Genuine Advantage checker that verifies that your copy of Windows is legally licensed. However, sometimes an error may occur which causes Windows to forget it is registered. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this.

The first step is to look on the back or bottom of your computer for the Windows Authenticity Label. This label will display your Windows Product Key or serial number. Write it down.

Next, click the Start button and in the Search box type Activate Windows. In the window that appears you will be able to enter your Product Key and proceed with activation. You may need to click the Change Product Key button and type the Product Key again.

Once activated, you will receive a message confirming activation and you will no longer be pestered by an impertinent message that dares to suggest your copy of Windows is not genuine. (Of all the nerve!)

Mr. Modem’s DME (Don’t Miss ’Em) sites of the month


Calm is an online oasis, a safe harbor that provides an opportunity to relax in increments of two, 10 or 20 minutes. Click to select the amount of time then -- well, relax. You can customize your relaxation experience by selecting a background image and sound, the type of music you want to hear and whether or not you want guidance on your journey to relaxation -- assuming making all these decisions doesn’t stress you out even more. Use the arrows at the bottom of the screen to transition between the various sound motifs. Ahhhhh..... http://calm.com

History of Rock and Roll in 100 Riffs

This is a remarkable demonstration by guitar-player Alex, who plays 100 of the most famous riffs in rock and roll history – and he does it all in a single take. The video is 12 minutes in length, so crank up the volume, sit back and enjoy. If you want to add a little fun to the experience, don’t watch the screen, but instead try to jot down the name of each song of the 100 riffs he plays, then match them up with the list that appears below the video. http://bit.ly/OdEH8U

Hunkin’s Experiments

Brought to you by cartoonist, broadcaster and engineer (can’t this guy hold a job?) Tim Hunkin, here you will find more than 200 experiments that you can perform in your own home. Choose one of the following categories to explore: food, mathematical, biological, electrical, office, sound, hobbies, science, clothes, lights, objects and miscellaneous. After making your category selection, you will be whisked away to an assortment of experiments. Each experiment is depicted in a cartoon, making them fun for kids of all ages. http://www.hunkinsexperiments.com.