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Sunday, February 7, 2016

1675. Email Errors Because of Changes in Service

I have been working with a small internet provider for years and all of a sudden I can't get me email and it says that POP(Post Office Protocol) is no longer supported. I use Outlook. What's going on? How do I solve this problem?

There could be many reasons for this. POP is being fazed out. It most likely has nothing to do with Outlook. It is likely that your ISP has decided to no longer support POP as a way to send you your emails.

POP is a very old technology and has many issues, security being only one of them.

Actually I heard of one ISP (GoDaddy) that just decided to stop supporting the POP protocol and didn't do a very good job informing their customers.

Fortunately there is a very easy resolution.

Most email ISP's support IMAP (another acronym - (Internet Message Access Protocol)) and it is much better than the POP. Also your email clients like Outlook, Thunderbird, and MacMail all support this protocol.

You can search the Internet with you favorite search provider and ask for the IMAP and SMTP(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol for sending) settings for your ISP. You will find the correct settings that will included Server, Ports, and security options. You should be able to get your mail working again in minutes.

1674. Change Size of the Windows Desktop Icons

Windows choses the default size for icons on the desktop and sometimes that size isn't corret. I have heard people complain that suddenly the icons become to large or small. Is there some way to actively control the size of the icons?

I am one of those people that suddenly I find the icons are huge and I can only see 6 icons.   I panicked because I was online giving a remote service call and I was very embarrassed because I didn't know how to get the icons back to normal quickly.

Fortunately it is very easy to correct because it is so easy to make them change size.  How do you fix it you asked?  Simple.  Right button click on the desktop and Select View, and select Large, Medium or Small Icons and sometimes Classic.

Well why would they suddenly change because I certainly didn't just do that to make them so large?

Well another way to change the size is to hold the Ctrl key and roll your Mouse wheel up or down and they change very fast.  I most likely accidentally did this while moving around the desktop.

BTW you can also do the right button click and Show or Hide the desktop icons.

The Ctrl and rolling the mouse wheel also works great on text size as well.  If you are looking at a document and the text is to small to read hold the Ctrl key and roll the mouse wheel.

1673. Who Owns Your Domain Information?

I had a friend set up her domain and website for her business. She is not a technical person and she hired someone to set things up.

She now would like to change things about where her website is stored, but she can't get into her settings because she lost contact with the person who set up the account and she can't get into the settings at all. Is there anything she can do and how could she have avoided this problem?

Sadly I have heard too many horror stories about people who have lost control of their domain name, web site, and email.

The first thing you should do is to find a company that does this type of service and have them checked out. This is very important and you should consider legal advice.

Your domain name, website and email services are your assets. You must treat them as such.

I have seen people get help from friends that end up setting up the domain name in the friends name and now that "friend" is the proud owner of a valuable asset that belonged to you. If you asked your friend in the 1990's to set up your domain name do you think your friend would make it easy to transfer that name back to you?

Please find a repuable company to help you set up these services and make sure that they are in your name and not in the name of the people setting up the service.

They can have technical authority to work on your website and email, but should not have the ability to transfer any names or services without your approval.

You should be given all security information so at any time you can take control of your accounts and hire someone else to do your necessary work. Check with the Internet Service Provider to make sure things show you as the owner and you are in control.

1672. Handling Google Data after Your Demise

I have tons of online accounts, lets say Google as an example. I have a number of different things stored like calendar and email. If something were to happen to me like getting hit by a bus, I would like my loved ones to be able to get at my email.

Well this is really a much bigger issue that we could spend many TechTip minutes discussing but let's keep this one to Google.

Google is now thinking ahead and making it easy for people to plan on what happens to that Google data after you pass. The company has what they call its Inactive Account Manager. You I guess if I pass I would be somewhat inactive.

This tools will allow users to decide what happens to their data on Google services like Gmail, blogger, Google drive and more after they pass.

Instead of having someone try to contact Google the serives has what it calls an inactivity barameter. You can set this to 3, 6, 9 or 12 months, and if you don't log into your services after this time Google will do one of two things, You can have it allert up to 10 trusted friend or contacts and choose to share your data with them or you can also just have it set to delete your entire account.

The system will attempt to text or notify a secondary email service before taking action. 

This is a start but it is becoming big business to deal with cyber data and you should consider looking into this as we become more and more dependent on computers and social media.

1671. Outlook and Language Settings

This could be some kind of Malware, but just the other day I was using Outlook and my calendar all of a sudden appeared in a foreign language. I didn't make any changes. I would like to know how this happened and how to fix it. 

Ken if you didn't make changes then it is most likely some kind of malware. However I suspect one of the cats must have been walking around and happen to step on the keyboard causing the changes.

The names of the days and months as displayed in the Calendar is coming from the Language format settings in Windows and not from Outlook so you may have been in that area of the system and just clicked on the setting accidentally making the change.

This is easy to fix and when you change it back to your Vulcan language settings everything will be as you had previously set things.

To make the change simply go to the Control Panel, Select Change Date, Time, and number formats and then Select the appropriate Language under the Formats pull down. There are a number of additional language preferences settings that you may want to review but you most likely use the default settings.

1670. Force Shutdown on Surface Pro

Caroline asked "I was using my My Microsoft Surface Pro computer when all of a sudden my mouse froze". The keyboard as well. I couldn't even power the computer off. What should I have done to fix the problem? 

Microsoft Surface computer has been getting some very good reviews since they were release a couple of years ago. I have a Surface Pro 2 and have little to complain about.  

Occasionally it will have issues and freeze. I never had a problem where I couldn't just power it off and then on and everything was OK. Usually all it needs is a boot.  

However I did find that Caroline is not alone. When you notice this happening, try bringing up the Onscreen Keyboard(Keyboard icon in task bar). Make sure it is the full keyboard (which will show a Windows key between Ctrl & Alt on the left. Do you see any 'stuck' keys? They would show in white, as if they had been pressed. Try clicking on those stuck keys.  

If that doesn't work all you will need to do to get control of your Surface is to hold the Volume Up key together with the Power button and it will shut down!  

I have found that keeping the Surface up to date with the latest operating system fixes is also a good idea. If you still have Windows 8.1 or especially if you have Windows 8 installed please consider to upgrade to Windows 10. I have had no hardware issues with my Surface since upgrading to Windows 10.  

We have some special links on the web site that will help you with this issue and give you some guild-lines to upgrade to Windows 10.

Monday, January 25, 2016

1633. Turn Browser Apps into Desktop Apps

I use Google Inbox for my email in Windows 10, but I get tired of having to keep a browser window open all the time. I often close the browser when I’m done working with email by accident, and forget that I need to keep it open for email. I’d love it if I could create some sort of separate desktop application just my Google Inbox email. Can you help?
This problem is the very reason why many people use a dedicated email client desktop application, like Outlook, Windows Mail, or Thunderbird on Windows, or Outlook or Mac Mail on a Mac. If you want to use the Google Inbox user interface, you need a browser window or an app on your iOS or Android device (The user interface is awfully nice—check it out at, and once you’ve set it up, browse to There is no client application that presents this user interface to you as a separate window, at least on Windows. On the Mac, you can use the MailPlane app ( uses this application daily) or several other newly created (and untested by us) applications that present this Web interface wrapped up in a desktop application. If you’re a Gmail user on a Mac, Ken can’t recommend MailPlane highly enough—it’s a wonderful wrapper around Gmail, including Inbox and Calendar—that works exceptionally well. Highly recommended!
But back to the point—on Windows, you’ll need some extra help to set up Google Inbox in a separate window. The goal would be to have Google Inbox act like a standard Windows desktop application, and you can do this, with the right tools! A browser application that looks and acts like a desktop application is called a “site-specific browser”—it’s a way of making a browser window work like a desktop app, and that’s the goal here. Google Chrome, the browser from Google, makes this relatively easy, on Windows (not on the Mac, for reasons unknown to us).
Start by ensuring that you have a recent copy of Google Chrome installed on Windows ( Start Chrome, browse to the Google Inbox site (or whichever site you want to create a site-specific browser for), and click on the three-line menu in the upper-right corner of the browser window. (That icon is often called the “hamburger”—no kidding!—because it kind of looks like a hamburger with bun and filling. We don’t make this stuff up.) From that menu choose More Tools and then Add Taskbar. The Add Taskbar menu pops up a dialog box that displays what the application will be called—change it if you want—and make sure to check the Open in Window checkbox. Click Add. This action adds a new item to the Task Bar. That’s it! You now have an icon on the Task Bar that you can click at any time to open a browser window specific to Google Inbox (or any other site). It looks and feels like any other desktop application.

For more information, check out the article here: