Deleted e-mail may remain visible to boss
By Tamara E. Holmes
Q. If I delete an e-mail I've gotten at work before I open it, can my boss still access it?
A. Even if you delete a message as soon as it enters your electronic in-box, you can't be sure that your employer won't see it. Many companies back up their e-mail servers so they can access any mail that crosses their networks. Employers offer a variety of reasons for tracking employee e-mail use, from ensuring that employees are doing company work on company time to keeping a record of communications that might produce legal liability. So even though you delete a message, a copy may very well remain stored on a backup server at least temporarily.
Q. Bad sectors have been found on my hard drive. Does this mean I need to replace the drive?
A. Not necessarily. A computer can run quite effectively even with the presence of a few bad sectors, which can come about through everyday use of your PC or in some cases during the computer's manufacturing process. Bad sectors are damaged areas of the hard drive where data cannot be stored. What this means is that the software programs on your computer won't recognize those areas of your hard drive and you'll be unable to store any files there. A bigger potential problem surrounding bad sectors arises if the sector is located where data was once stored. You might not be unable to access that particular data, though a file recovery utility might be able to help.
Q. How do I send a return receipt when I get e-mail requesting one?
A. What you're referring to is an automated process that your e-mail program should automatically take care of if it offers that functionality. Some e-mail programs allow senders of e-mail messages to be alerted when the recipients open sent messages. Of course in order for this to work, the e-mail programs of the sender and receiver must be compatible and both must support the function. It's possible your e-mail program doesn't support it or it's set up to let you know when someone has requested a return receipt.
Q. Does the geographical location from which I download a software program affect the speed of the download?
A.The geographical location makes less of a difference than the number of Web users who are attempting to download the program at the same time.
Holmes answers questions daily at www.usatoday.com.