August 17, 2007
Dear CNET members,
Happy Friday, folks! Well, I'm back in the saddle, and it's great to be back. For this vacation, we hit sunny Southern California, where my wife attended a four-day conference for work--which left me with four whole days to spend quality time with my two kids. We did a lot of driving and exploring, and let me tell you: Los Angeles freeways are confusing, and the traffic stinks! But I'll leave that up to you folks to discover when you visit Southern California yourselves--no offense to you SoCal folks! Yes, the trip did include a couple of amusement parks such as Disneyland--and while Disneyland's slogan is "the happiest place on earth", I would agree--my kids were happy and all. Still, I gave it my own slogan: "the most tiring place on earth." All in all, it was a fun trip...because seeing smiles on my kids' faces and being happy is all that matters to me, even if it does mean putting up with crowds, the hot weather, the long lines, and on so forth. Now, let's get going with this week's topic.
I think this week's subject couldn't have come at a better time--because it's back-to-school time, and many students have their laptops in tow. And while Dave's scenario is laptop theft from a hotel, much of the advice given to him can apply directly to students, road warriors, and travelers with laptops as a wake-up call: theft is a reality! If it's portable, it can get lost or stolen. So, with this week's discussion, I hope everyone can learn a great deal from the subject--you'll find advice on laptop theft prevention including data backup, locking your laptop, and encrypting your data; to what to do in the event that your laptop is stolen, such as identity theft prevention to prepare you for the worst scenario possible.
As for Dave, I'm truly sorry to hear about your loss; many of our members sympathize with you, as you can read in all the answers to your question. We have many--and I mean many--great suggestions for you coming from members of all backgrounds and experience. It's just wonderful to see a community come together to help others out--I commend you all! To get the ball rolling, I have selected answers to get the topic started, and Dave, if you are reading this, please post a follow-up note to let us know how things are going with your loss--we'd all appreciate it! The topic is open for discussion. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Member Question of the Week
My wife and I had two laptops stolen from our room in an
upscale hotel in Norfolk, Virginia last Saturday night. My
question is somewhat open-ended. Is a concern justified for
identity theft from the info available on the machine? Having
owned the laptops for 1 to 2 years and using them as the
primary home/travel computer, it is safe to say that
everything was on the hard drive. Not only the 20GB of
pictures, nor the finance stuff, or the research database, or
all the cookies, etc.; even the money for the cost of the
computers is poof--gone. What is the concern that the
community would have for such a loss: identity theft, system
hijacking, sleepless nights, having to buy new ones, and so
on. In the future, in case of another loss, what are some
solid security measures I can use to prevent someone from
obtaining what I have on my laptops?
Also, is the hotel responsible for replacement? We knowingly
closed the door behind us when we went out, only to come back
to a door ajar with the laptops/bags gone. We do want the
hotel to review the letter that we will be sending to the
local newspaper and all the travel magazines, in the event
that they deny payment. Any suggestions?
Dave of Onancock, Virginia
Vote for the most helpful answer
Below are the answers we've selected for you to vote on. Click on the title to read the answer by the member.
Here are the selected submissions grouped in one post.
Answer by Eradikator
Time to vote! Now that you've read our members' answers, which would you consider the most helpful? Click on the button to weigh in on the decision.
(Note: Below is the section to vote, please read the individual answers above before casting your vote below.)
Answer by waytron
Answer by jposhea3
Answer by tuvals
Answer by Watzman
Answer by whbos
For the member whose answer was voted the
most helpful by our community, we will send
this member some cool CNET branded gear.
Previous week's Q&AThe votes are in! Below is the answer voted most helpful by our community to last week's question.
I'm receiving a "disk boot failure" error each day when I try
to boot up my desktop. What does this mean exactly? It
appears, with rare exceptions, only when the PC is started
each morning. Once or twice in the six weeks since I
purchased the computer, the error did not appear. If I shut
the PC down and restart it, everything appears to run OK.
I've run diagnostics on all the hardware, followed the
recommendations on the HP site to correct this error, run
Chkdsk, and talked to the HP tech support. The only thing left
is to wipe my hard drive and do a system recovery. Before
doing that, I need to know if there is anything else I can
Marlene, the disk boot failure could come from a number of sources. As an ex-HP tech, I can offer some solutions one or a combination of which will hopefully correct the error.
First, check your BIOS settings to see if S.M.A.R.T drive reporting is enabled. If it is, disable it and give it a test run of 2-3 days under a regular rebooting cycle to see if the error persists. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a somewhat outdated standard...
CNET member: H41N
Congratulations to the winner!
Each week we take a look at topics discussed in the forums.
Have fun and enjoy!
More from the forums
Check out next week's question:
I have read the many articles on backing up your computer, but I have never seen an article that tells me how to do what I would like to do most, and that is to restore my computer to the exact same condition it was in before my hard-drive went belly-up! Well, I should say, to restore it to the state it was in at the last back-up.
I definitely do not want to have to reinstall Windows, download all of the "patches," get all the drivers, etc., etc.. What I really want to do is to keep a back-up of *everything* so I can put *everything* back the way it was. I have tried a "restore" before, but was not successful and had to go through the above tedious procedure.
I will bet you that almost all computer users would like to know how to do this, and the articles I have seen are not too clear on whether you can even do it, and if you can't, why not?
We feature a new question every Friday, and if you have the answer for our member, you can submit it above. If your submission is picked by our members as the most helpful answer, you'll receive some cool CNET branded gear.
Have a question?
Home Audio & Video
On the Web (Why?)
Where, in your opinion, are you most vulnerable to identity theft?
(Please click on button to vote)
Over the phone (landline/mobile) (Why?)
Through the mail (Why?)
Wallet theft (Why?)
Home break-in (Why?)
Laptop theft (Why?)
Credit applications at stores (Why?)
From the papers in my trash (Why?)
Employees who handle personal info (Why?)
Other (What is it?)
Simple question, simple answer
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