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Sunday, October 30, 2016

1758. Recover Windows license.

My computer failed and they had to replace the motherboard. Now my Windows 10 license needs activation but I don't remember it. WHat can I do?

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update added a killer feature for DIY types: The ability to tie your Windows 10 license to your Microsoft Account, rather than to your PC’s hardware. Say goodbye to the days of calling Microsoft support to activate your OS simply because you swapped out your motherboard.

If Windows 10 freaks out after you upgrade your PC, go to Settings > Update & Security, add your Microsoft account (if it isn’t linked already), and then click Troubleshoot at the bottom of the screen. Hit Microsoft’s Account Troubleshooter FAQ for the full scoop.

1759. Calendar on the Task Bar

I heard in Windows 10 you can link your Time/Date icon to your calendar. How do I do that?

Integration between Windows 10’s Calendar app and clock in the taskbar just got a huge productivity boost. Besides giving you basic information about date and time, the taskbar clock is now a handy tool for managing your events and appointments. All your Calendar events are going to be listed in the taskbar clock for better management. To have appointments listed in your taskbar clock, you’ll need Calendar and taskbar integration. Once your apps are integrated, all Calendar events are going to be shown in the taskbar clock. To integrate them simply log into your calendar and other applications using the same Microsoft account.

1760. Turn off Cortana.

How do I turn off Cortana?

Simply logging out of your Microsoft Account in Cortana. To do so, head to Notebook > About me > User account > Sign out. This will severely limit functionality, though. Alternatively, you can limit Cortana’s awareness and use a third-party local search tool.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

1703. Easily Find Email Attachments in iOS

I'm sure that a friend sent me an attachment to an email, and I can't find it now because it's buried somewhere in my inbox. Is there some easy way to just look at all the attachments in my inbox on my iPhone?

Not only is it possible it's really easy from within your mail application. Choose edit in the upper right hand corner, then attachments, then click done. 

Now you'll see a new folder in your inbox that contains all the emails that have attachments. You can use that folder to browse just the attachments and find the item that your friend sent you. This is also a useful tip if you just want to see all your unread messages or perhaps your flag to messages. Those options are also available on the list of available folders. 
Check it out edit. The list of folders and you can see just your attachments.

1702. Firing AT&T—What Happens to Email?

I’ve been a somewhat unhappy customer of AT&T over the past 15 years, and now I’m moving to a new home where I’ll be using Comcast as my new Internet service provider (ISP). I’ve been using my email address ever since I started using AT&T as my ISP, and I’m going crazy worrying about what’s going to happen to all my emails and contacts, and how anyone will reach me once I “fire” AT&T.

Can you help?

We have on many occasions reminded people that if you have any option for email please try not to use your ISP free email account because sooner or later you will run into this problem.  On top of that AT&T, Yahoo and are all the same email service and they're all plagued with terrible Spam problems. 

I often get emails from people from those domains asking for money or just including a single spammy link. In all case to solve this particular problem I have read online that if you call AT&T they will allow you to continue using your email address for free or for a small fee long enough so you can migrate to a real working email provider like or Either one will give you better service and less spam problems. In any case don't give up contact AT&T and see if they will allow you to continue using that email address until you can replace it with something better.

1757. Only one user?

Something is wrong when I try to login to my computer. The screen freezes just after I enter the password. What can I do?

I would ask you to login as another user but you might not have one. The next option is to try to login in Safe mode.

But what I suggest to all my clients is to have a second user defined on the computer JIC. That user should have administrator rights as well. This applies even to the Windows user.

Sometimes the user may get corrupted and cause the login to fail. If that is the case then try to login as the other user. In most cases you will be able to get into the system and resolve the other user problem.

If you can't then trying to log into the system in safe mode will likely work. To get in in safe mode hold the Shift key down when you start the computer. For Windows hold the F8 key.

1755.Power Strip vs UPS

I live in a rural area and the first time it rains or snows, our phones always goes out and often we loose power. I am wondering what happens to the sensitive computer equipment when the poser goes out then suddenly comes back on. How can I avoid any problems?

In short you should be concerned. Sometimes flickering power is worse than just loosing power for a longer period. The power strips frankly are of no help other than providing additional plugs.

If you want to protect your computer you need a UPS Uninterruptible Power Supply. To be most effective you want to make sure it is also connected to your computer so it will shut the computer down gracefully when the battery power is running out. Otherwise it would be not much different than pulling the plug.

You want to make sure the UPS has enough power to run the computer long enough for you to close down the computer (remember the power needed to run the monitor). A good UPS must protect your equipment from the power spikes.

So in summary. The power strip is only a multiple plug extender. They are not really meant to protect the equipment from power spikes and surges. Get a UPS that provides enough power to gracefully shut down your computer (remember the monitor). And the UPS needs to be able to communicate with the computer to tell it to shut itself down.

Set your bios to turn on automatically when power returns. If you have the time and are aware of a significant electrical storm coming I manually shut down my computers and unplug them from power. But I am paranoid.

1756. Windows 7 Updates Take Forever

I have a friend tht has an aging Windows 7 computer and she wanted me to install things over to make things new and clean. I did the reinstall and that worked. But it has been trying to do the normal upgrades and it has been running for many hours now. Will this ever complete ore is there some trick to get the Windows 7 upgrade to ever complete?

This is a problem. If you search the internet for Windows update takes forever or never completes you will find horror stories. Now this is not a normal problem for Windows 7 computers that have been running for years.

It only seems to be a problem for new installs. My suggestion is if you don't need to reinstall Windows 7 from scratch don't. If you do because of disk failure and you haven't followed our suggestion to have image backups, then find a Windows 7 install file that does not include the Service Pack 1 included. It is this version of the fresh install that experiences the biggest problem.

If you get the install file without SP1 and go through the updates even though it must do the updates included in SP1 it is much faster. A time estimate of doing the current updates starting from the original install files is about 12 hours.

If you must start with the install files that include SP1 I have seen the updates run for more that 2 days. Yes it is that bad. Some people think this is Microsoft's way to make you upgrade to Windows 10. They gave you months to upgrade for free. Now you must pay. I don't really think this is the case, but be aware of the time it may take you to rebuild your Windows 7 computer.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

1747. File History drive

I am using Windows 10, and I keep getting a message saying to "Reconnect your file history drive..." What is this and do I care?

You must have set up the built in Win 10 backup and used an external drive. It is now trying to find the drive and can't. So go to Windows button, Settings, Update & Security, Backup, Go to More Options, scroll to Backup to different drive and click Stop using drive. You might want to set up the backup to a new drive. This is a good time to remind you of the built in backup, files and image.

1746. Email Accounts are Not in Sync

My email is not in sync between my iPhone and my computer.

IPhone and iPads can access contact, calendar, and email from many locations. Apple gives you a free iCloud account. You probably also entered your old email account from gmail, yahoo or your ISP accounts. The problem is the default account set up in your iPhone may not be pointing to the account you want to use.

1744. Old data on web site.

I have a friend that went to a website and they said that there was old data on the site. When I went there I saw the new information. Why would this happen?

This can happen. The browsers can save information each time you visit a site. You can then tell the browser to use the old page. It may not be current. You can force the browser to refresh and get the latest page by hitting some special keys. Crtl+F5 for Chrome and IE, Command+F5 for the Mac Safari.

You can also set your browser to always get the current information. See the links on our web site on all of the special keys and how to set the browser.

1743. Rogue installs.

Connie is always claiming there are new programs that appear on her computer and she says she is not installing them. These programs are usually the kind that claim they find registry problems or new viruses and they will fix these problems for you. All you have to do is sign up. Of course this always costs money. How is this happening.

I have seen this many times myself. I find that some web sites you go to that you want to download a new application from, sneaks in other applications that you really don't want.

One web site especially is CNET. It has many good applications that you may legitimately want. When you start to download that application there will be pages that appear that have the Download button on them. You think you need to press this button to get your original application you wanted, but what you end up with are additional applications you do not want or need.

These web site are very misleading and sneaky . You must read them very carefully so you only download what you originally expected. Often times the default check boxes on the pages will also download additional applications. Buyer beware. Read these details very carefully.

1754. Turn off Windows 10 Advertising

I installed Windows 10, and I'm already super tired of all the obvious and glaring advertising going on in the product. I see ads on the lock screen, and suggested apps in the app store. Is there some way to turn some of this irritating advertising off?

There's no magic bullet to turn off all the advertising in Windows 10, and you may not even see the advertising, but if you do and you want to turn it off, you might check out the link on our website. 

I'll try to summarize some of that here. You can disable ads on the lock screen by going to Settings, personalization, and then lock screen, and you'll find an option to change the background to picture or slide show instead of the default which is Windows spotlight. 

Windows spotlight will serve up ads to you. You can turn off suggested apps from appearing in the Start menu. To do that you want to go to settings, then personalization, then start and set the occasionally "so suggestions in start setting" to off. Again all these are listed in an article link on our site. 

You can get rid of other things like nagging tips, or having Cortana bouncing on the taskbar. I don't ever talk to my computer I don't want her to bother me as I'm using Windows 10. 

There's also a lot of notifications that offer you to get Microsoft Office and if you don't want it that can be irritating too. If you go to settings, then system, then notifications and actions, you'll have an option to set notifications for the get Office app to off. That is an application that runs on Windows whether you want it or not and it nags you to go out and get a copy of Microsoft Office. These are just a few of the settings you can modify if you want to get rid of the nagging ads in Windows 10.

1753.iPhone Won't Charge

My iPhone was working great. All of sudden, it simply won’t charge. I plug it in, and nothing happens. I’ve tried several cables, and several chargers. I’m not sure what to do, but I can’t go much longer without charging it, that’s for sure. Do you have any suggestions?

Unlike most questions this one actually happened to me and I was pretty frantic because I was on the road at the time. I tried everything I could think of, multiple cables, different chargers, and nothing seemed to help. I finally gave up and called Apple support and got the answer that's so obvious I can't believe I missed it. 

The answer is really simple. All you need to do is reboot the phone. Now it's hard for me to believe that rebooting the phone will affect the behavior of the charging but it did. Not only is this work for me it works for another friend of mine as well. So if your phone won't charge no matter what you do just turn it off. Maybe leave it off for a while your life might be better. But in any case, once you turn it back on you should be able to charge. 

Of course this doesn't take into account the fact there might be some sort of fuzz or something in the connection between the cable and the phone. That's a different problem but once you've determined that the connection is clear this is your next step.

1752.Avoid Winmail.dat from Outlook

I use Microsoft Outlook, but a lot of folks I send emails to do not. I get complaints from some of my friends (especially those that read my emails on their iPhones) that rather than message content, all they got was an attachment named winmail.dat. They can’t open the attachment, so they can’t read the email I sent. It’s awfully frustrating for everyone involved. Can you let me know how to fix this problem?

So let's see. We're currently on Office 2016 which is like the umpteenth a version of Microsoft Office and certainly the fifth or sixth version of Microsoft Outlook and you would think that by now Microsoft would have fixed this problem which has been a constant problem for a number of years. 

The problem is Outlook is formatting its data when it sends out an email using a format called RTF or Rich Text Format. People using iPhones don't have support for this particular format. So all they get is a little attachment and they can't open it. I work around it by opening the mail in the GMail app instead of the built in Mail app but that's kind of a pain. The answer is pretty simple though. The answer is never communicate with those people ever again. I'm sorry that's not really the answer. The answer would be in Outlook, go to the settings and tell Outlook to send mail not in RTF format but in HTML format. HTML as another formatting Protocol. So that people can communicate with each other and it's one that's supported by pretty much every device. Not every device supports RTF but every device supports HTML. It's up to you but that will certainly make your friends happier with the emails you send.

1751. Update Email Password on Phone

I recently had my email address hacked, and I needed to change my password to avoid further access. It was really irritating--some scammer used my email address to send junk email to everyone in my contact list! In any case, I fixed up the email address, and changed the settings on my phone to match. I was able to receive email on the phone, but couldn't send. What's up?

As you probably know if you're a frequent listener. We're not fans of ISP. provided email accounts but that's not really the problem in this case. The problem is receiving and sending e-mail are two different servers on the server side and you've set the incoming server correctly but you never set up the outgoing server. 

For some ISP's. These are different servers. So on your phone, you need to find your account settings for this email account. Look for something labelled SMTP settings. And under the SMTP settings, you'll need to enter the settings for your particular ISP. That may mean searching on the web for your ISP, like Comcast and the word SMTP. Those are four letters, and you'll find the settings I promise you. 

Once you find them enter into your phone and you should be able to send e-mail again. You'll often need to provide your credentials as well because SMTP is a protocol that requires you to login, in order to send email. Good luck changing your phone settings.

1750. Should You Use Windows Drive Compression?

At your suggestion, I replaced the hard drive in my Windows computer with a solid-state drive. Because my old hard drive was pretty large, and wasn’t nearly full, I economized by getting a much smaller SSD—they’re kind of expensive! At this point, my new SSD is getting filled up with content, and I really don’t want to replace it again. I’ve heard there’s some way to compress the contents of disk drives. Can I use this disk compression to save space on my SSD? And if I can, should I?

Luckily solid state drives are getting much cheaper now. So you can get a one terabyte solid state drive for less than the cost of a car. In any case, yes you can compress the contents of your hard drive both on Windows and on Mac. It's built into the operating system. If you look online for a compressed hard drive, you'll find lots of information about it. The question is should you. 

There's some overhead involved in compressing your hard drive and it takes time to compress and decompress files as you use them. If you're using an old computer where the processor is slow. You may find that this overhead is bothersome. For most modern computers you'll never notice that overhead. 

In addition if you're trying to compress files that are already compressed such as jpeg files, they're not going to compress any more. So there's nothing really to be gained by doing that. You might think that by compressing your hard drive, you'll save maybe fifty percent of the space but that's not really the case. In real life you'll be lucky to save ten percent of the space on your hard drive because a lot of the files are already compressed. 

So in other words. Yes you can. And yes you should if you don't already have a lot of files that are compressed and if your computer is fast enough to support the overhead involved in compressing and uncompressing the files.

1749.Remove Formatting from Windows Clipboard Text (ALREADY USED IN UNION)

I often copy and paste content from Web pages, with varying degrees of success. Most often, when I attempt to paste the content into a document, the Web page formatting looks terrible in my Word document. Is there some way to paste content without all the formatting?

This is a common problem because Microsoft Word attempts to faithfully recreate the formatting from the host location of the text. One alternative is to open up Notepad. Paste the text there first then copy and then paste it into Word. Once you've removed all the formatting because Notepad doesn't support any kind of formatting. 

There is an easier solution though. Instead of just pasting directly in the Microsoft Word you can choose the Edit menu and then choose Paste Special. The Paste Special menu item provides an option to paste unformatted text in the Microsoft Word. That removes all the formatting for you and you get just the text. If that's your goal. You can use that technique instead.

1738.Uninstall Unwanted Windows 10 Applications

Based on your suggestion, I replaced the hard drive in my computer with a solid state drive (SSD), and to save money, I got an SSD that’s not terribly large. Once I upgraded to Windows 10, I found that it didn’t have a whole lot of free space. I also see that Windows 10 has installed some applications that I know I’ll never use. I’ve been able to uninstall some of those, but some provide no visible means of removal. Can you help me clear out some drive space?

There are actually a couple things going on here. If you just don't want to see the application on your Start menu, you can right click on the icon for the application and choose unpinned from start. That won't uninstall the application but it will remove it from the start menu.

For some built in applications you can right click on the icon in the Start menu and choose uninstall. For others, you can't. For those that you can't find any other means of uninstalling we use an application called Ccleaner. If you search the web for that Ccleaner you'll find a Windows application that will allow you to uninstall any application. It's a free tool and it's useful for lots of different purposes on your Windows computer. Check out Ccleaner to help you an install applications that you know you'll never use.

1740.Block Annoying Texters and Callers on iPhone

I seem to be getting a lot of unwanted texts on my iPhone. Some are from a particular someone I simply don’t want to hear from; others are from random strangers. I know I can simply disregard these texts, but I’d love to be able to block the messages so I never see them at all. Does the iPhone provide some way to do this, or do I need to involve my mobile phone company?

I'm always amazed when I hear from people that keep their phone next to them on their bedside table and don't turn off the ringer at night. So if you text them in the middle of the night they complain that you've woken them up. There's lots of ways around that including a do not disturb mode so I have no sympathy for you. 

On the other hand if you have an old girlfriend or someone who is bothering you, Doug, then you might want to have some way to block callers from getting through to you either on Face Time calls, voice calls, or texts and it's possible for all three. 

If I start with voice calls how do you block someone from calling you then what you need to do is look at the recent stab in the phone app, select the call you want to block and tap the little I icon to the right of that call. Once you do that you'll get information about the caller and if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll see the option to block the contact. 

To block text from a person it's pretty much the same. If you find the thread of the text that you've had with that person maybe just the one text they sent you and click the details link at the top of the message then on the details page next to the name of the person sending the text you can tap on the little I, and again choose block color.

In the FaceTime application you would locate the call from the person you'd like to avoid, tap the little icon next to the name, scroll to the bottom of the info page, and tap on block this caller. 

You see a pattern here? In every case you look for details about the communication, click on the little I icon and find the block this callerr link. 

Once you've done that the phone will just disregard messages or phone calls or Face Time calls from that person. Hopefully you won't have to do this often but if you need to block calls or texts, there's an easy way to do it.

1741. Share Contacts Between Multiple Google Accounts

I have several Google accounts; one for work, one for home, plus a few more. I have a bunch of contacts set up in my work Google account, and I’d love to have a subset of those available in my home account. That way, it’s easy to send emails to my contacts even when I’m home, using my home email account. Is there some way to copy selected contacts from one account to another?

This is actually my question because I actually do have multiple Google accounts and I need to share contacts between them. You think that Google would make this easy but yet they do not. 

The trick is to go to the account where you have the contacts, open up the GMail for that account and then select contacts from the list of options in the upper left hand corner of the Gmail window. Once you're looking at your contacts you can choose the option to export those contacts and that's the trick. You're going to export them to the delimited text file and then import them into the other account. So you can choose to export them all or just a subset. Just follow the menu options it's pretty clear how to do it.

Once you've saved a text file containing your contacts,  log out of this account,  log into the other GMail account and go to the same place, that is to the list of contacts. Most likely there aren't any. Now you can choose the option to import your contacts. Find that same text file you save the contacts into and import them. Using this technique you can load those contacts into as many Google accounts as you want. You should note however that you're not synchronizing those contacts. If you add a contact in the one account. It won't show up in the any other. 

There are tools available online to keep Google contact accounts synchronized. I've tried a few. Some work some don't. I've decided just to do this manually instead. But if you want to do this regularly check out a tool that will let you synchronize your Google contacts from one account to another. I won't recommend any particular one. I haven't had great luck with any of them.

1742.Protect notes in iOS 9.3

I use the Notes app in iOS 9, and I love all the new features. I'd like to protect some notes so someone that picks up my phone can't look at them. Do you have any suggestions?

Yes the new Notes app an I O. S. 9 is really sweet. They've added a lot of features and it's become a relatively good competitor to OneNote and Evernote. 

If you want to lock a particular note it's really easy. Find the note in question, tap the little Share button at the moment that looks like a box with an arrow sticking out the top they change that icon every now and then. And tap the lock note option. Now enter a password.

If you want you can also enable unlocking the item with your touch ID if your phone has a touch ID, That makes it super easy to open the note later without having to enter the password.

Encrypting a single node is very simple and I O. S. 9. You just have to tell it to do it and enter a pass code.

1739.Protect Private iPhone Data

I travel with my iPhone a lot, and I worry about the data I have stored on the phone. I have synchronized my emails, contacts, and other personal data on the phone—if it were to be lost and it fell into the “wrong hands,” I would be in big trouble. Is there something I can do that would cause the phone to “self-destruct” if someone tries to enter an incorrect password enough times? I’m serious—I can’t have my data getting into my competitors’ hands.

If I was clever. I'd pull out the Mission Impossible theme at this point when you talk about self destructing phones that's of course what comes to mind. I wonder if you perhaps are taking your data a little too seriously on the other hand we spend so much time talking about security. I have to believe there are reasons to keep your data locked up in this tight.

On the iPhone, the first thing you should think about doing is switching from a four digit pass code to a six digit pass code which you can easily do. Or you can easily set up an alphanumeric pass code which isn't even digits and makes it more difficult to choose. You get that information under the settings and then Touch ID and pass code and then change pass code options. Now once you do that. It makes it much harder for someone to figure out your pass code.

There's also a built in feature on your iPhone. After five failed attempts to enter a pass code the iPhone locks for one minute. After one more attempt that is six attempts the phone locks for five minutes. One more that is seven bad attempts and the phone locks for fifteen minutes any more attempts will lock the phone for an hour. That will severely slow down anyone trying to guess your private code.

If you really want it to be so that if they enter their password wrong a number of times your phone self destructs this nuclear option is also available. Go to settings and then Touch ID and pass code and to your current pass code. Scroll to the bottom of settings and select the erase data option. That's all it takes. So if they enter the wrong pass code a certain number of times your phone will just erase itself. If that's what you need to have happen. You can make it happen. We also suggested if you go that route you back up the data on your phone. So you don't lose it should you forget your own pass code. That would be very sad.

So should you need it you can make it happen. We just go with a four digit pass code at least that's what I do and that should be enough for most people.

1737. Difficulty Deleting a Mac Application Because It’s Still Running

I have, on occasion, installed an application to give it a try on my Mac, and when I attempt to drag it to the trash to delete it, I’m unable to do so: The Mac tells me that the application is still in use and I can’t delete it. I guess I could reboot my Mac (that would kill the application for sure), but is there an easier way?

Although installing random applications on the Mac just for playing around with is less dangerous than it is on Windows. It's still not something you should take lightly and I'd think hard about just installing some application to see what it does. But in any case if you want to uninstall an application by dragging it to the trash. You can't  if the application is running. 

You can't delete an application that's running and that's the problem. On the Mac you can run activity monitor and use that tool to shut down any application. To find activity manager. you can press command and space bar and then type activity manager or look in the utilities folder inside the Applications folder. 

Once you run the application look for the application you're trying to delete in the list of running applications and you'll see there's a little red X button you can use to kill the application. Once you've done that you can drag it from the Applications folder to the Trash folder to get rid of it. If you find yourself wanting to delete applications often you might look into an application called App Delete. This is one of several available applications that deletes all the various bits and pieces of application that you install. Just dragging it to the trash doesn't necessarily remove all the extra little text files and descriptions of the application that end up clogging up your computer.

You can drag it to the trash that does uninstall it. App Delete will remove a few more files however. In any case use Activity Monitor to kill a running application so that you can delete it.