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Saturday, October 21, 2017

1861. Screenshot my iPhone with mark-up

I recently found myself needing to take a screenshot on my iphone, and mark it up with instructions. How can I take a screenshot, and then how can I add markings to it and send the screen shot to a friend?

You've been able to take screenshots with an iPhone for as long as I can remember by holding the home button and the on off button together and this would take a screenshot of the current thing you're seeing on the screen and store it in your camera roll.
The problem is if you did this often you ended up cluttering up your photo collection with screenshots which you probably only wanted temporarily.
Starting with IOS 11 they've made this a lot more functional. Now when you take a screenshot the same way by holding the home button and the on off switch it doesn't put it in your camera roll right away. Instead it puts it at the lower left corner of your screen.
Tap that little tiny image of the screen you just took and from there you can mark it up. They've added mark up tools like pens and highlighters so you can highlight that screenshot and then immediately use the share button to share it with friends or wherever else you want. 
To save it you can decide to save it to your camera roll if you like or you can just delete it because you're done with it. Either way IOS 11makes this a lot more functional and a lot easier.

1862. Reboot my iPhone 8

I can't figure out how to reboot my iPhone 8. The buttons I used to press don't work with this phone. There's got to be some way to reboot this phone!

Starting with the iPhone 7 with the new home button using the old keystrokes you might have used to reboot your phone will no longer work. On the other hand you definitely can reboot your phone it just takes a little bit of extra knowledge to do it.

On the iPhone 7 you have to know the magic steps:
1. Press and hold the on off button and while you're holding it
2. Press the volume down button and continue holding both buttons until your phone reboot

Wth the iPhone 8 it's different. I don't know why on the iPhone 8 you:

1. Press the volume up then the volume down
2. Then press and hold the on off button until it reboots.

Good luck remembering all bad in any case you can always search "reboot iPhone 8 or reboot iPhone 7" online and you'll find those answers.

To reiterate for the iPhone 8 press volume up volume down and then press and hold the on off button until it reboot. Easy to memorize but obviously impossible to figure out on your own.

1859. Amazon Reviews

I often wonder if I can trust the reviews I read on Some of the reviews are totally glowing, while others are totally down on the product. How can these both exist for the same product? I’ve heard that a lot of Amazon reviews are fake, and are either created by computers or the seller pays people to write them. What do you think?

We all count on Amazon reviews to help lead is to the correct purchase. It seems like an obvious choice: You browse to the item you want on, and do comparison shopping based on the reviews you find there. In a perfect world, the reviews would all be honest, helpful, and meaningful.

In the real world, however, the reviews are often dishonest, unhelpful, and not very meaningful. Because only directly sells a small percentage of the products you find on its site when you search for items, it’s very difficult to manage and approve all the reviews that appear on its pages. (At this point, the majority of items sold on Amazon are sold through private vendors, using the Amazon store front to sell their wares. Ken has been known to sell used tech products this way in order to recoup some of his costs and upgrade to new items. It works, really! And none of his reviews are fake!)

The problem is that no matter how hard Amazon tries to ensure that its reviews are “real,” too many crooks selling things on Amazon either find ways to write reviews themselves, hire friends or compatriots to positively review their products, or even write software that creates reviews that look like the work of humans. We’ve all seem this—myriad reviews that are essentially all the same, hoping to trap unwary users.
What’s a shopper to do? If you can’t trust the reviews on Amazon, how can you make use of them to make informed shopping choices? Common sense helps, of course—if all the reviews are glowing, you know something’s likely wrong. Sure, some products deserve 100% praise, but not many.

There is a Web site you can use, as well, to help untangle the mess of Amazon reviews. Check out the site paste an Amazon URL from your Web browser into this site, and it analyzes the reviews and attempts to let you know how valid it thinks the reviews are, as a whole. It’s not foolproof, but it can give you a little more information on the validity of the reviews you find on an Amazon product. As with any other information, take it with a grain of salt, but it’s possible that can help you weed out the honest human-generated reviews from the fake reviews.

1857. IOS 11 and more

I noticed that Apple released iOS 11. Should I update? What are some of your favorite new features?

Not only has Apple released iOS 11, it has already released an update (iOS 11.0.1) that fixes a few small problems. It has started beta testing (that is, allowing developers to test) iOS 11.1, which adds some new features.

We have installed iOS 11 on our Apple devices, and it’s looking good. (There are the usual stories about the installation causing battery life deterioration, but we haven’t seen it. On the other hand, our devices are relatively “young”—an iPhone SE and an iPhone 8. Your device may behave differently.

Be aware that iOS 11 won’t run on every Apple device—for phones, you must have an iPhone 5s or later; for iPads, you’ll need an iPad Pro, an iPad 5th generation, an iPad Mini 2 or later, or an iPad Air.

Both iPhones and iPads get a number of common new features: a completely overhauled control center, a fancy screenshot editor, a “Smart Invert Colors” mode that acts like a dark mode. The new Files app allows full access to documents stored not only on the device, but also in online storage, such as iCloud, DropBox, Google Drive, and more. This one feature makes iOS devices far more useful as general-purpose computing devices. Both devices support drag and drop between applications, making it possible to do things like drag text from an application into an email.

iPad users will find a new keyboard that some folks love, and others hate (Ken is a fan). The move visible new iPad feature, however, is the dock, which makes the iPad infinitely easier to use. Like the Mac’s dock, you can pin any (reasonable) number of apps to the dock, allowing for quick and easy access. Larger iPads make better use of multi-tasking in iOS 11, as well.

iPhone users will find a number of iPhone-specific features, including a quick-dial emergency SOS feature (please don’t test this out; local 911 services are overwhelmed with the less-than-thoughtful folks who try out the feature). Ken’s favorite new feature: An automatic Do-Not-Disturb mode while driving! Yes, it’s possible to override this feature or even turn it off, but if you find yourself absently looking at notifications while at stoplights (or worse, while driving—please don’t!), this new feature could save a life or two. With the default settings, if the phone is moving in a car, it won’t display notifications at all. You can have the phone send out a response to texts (like “I’m currently driving. I’ll get back to you.”) You may disagree, but we think this is a useful, and life-saving feature.

For more information, check out this link for a short list of new features that matter: [].

1858. Guest Accounts and why use them!

When my friend was in town recently, he asked to use my computer to do some research. I just handed him my laptop, but later worried what I had done. What if he poked around in my documents or email, and found things I didn’t care for him to see? Is there some way to avoid this problem in the future?

Both PCs and Macs support a built-in guest user, allowing you to grant access to the internet, and basic file handling, without granting access to any of your content, when you let someone borrow your computer. Guest accounts can’t install applications or configure hardware devices, so it’s unlikely that someone logged in as a guest could hurt your computer or find anything private.

On the other hand, because guest users can browse the Web, they certainly can get your computer infected with a virus, just as easily as you can yourself!

The trick is to first ensure that the guest account is enabled on your computer. On a Mac, go to System Preferences, then Users & Groups, and enable the Guest User if currently disabled.

On a Windows 7 or 8 computer, it’s really easy: from the Start menu, type “user accounts”. Click on “User Accounts” in the search results, and from this window, click “Manage another account.” Click “Guest”. If necessary, click “Turn On.”

In Windows 10, it’s a lot more complicated. You’ll find the details here: []. It’s not a difficult process, but it does require a few steps. It’s hard to know exactly why Microsoft made it more obscure to enable a guest user (called a Visitor in Windows 10), but the linked article makes it clear how to proceed.

No matter which operating system you’re using, handing a friend your laptop while logged into your own account is a bad idea. First, log out, and then have them in as the guest/visitor user, and you’ll feel a lot safer!

1860. Maps on-line

Lately, I seem to be looking for maps and directions and distances more often. When I search online for just "Maps" I seem to get a lot of choices. Many of them require me to download some files. I am always leery of unneeded downloads and have gotten into trouble in the past. What map programs would you recommend?

We well remember the days of Microsoft Maps (and other applications) that required you to load a bunch of CDs worth of content to your hard drive in order to look up locations and get directions to places. Ken still has a fresh copy of Microsoft Maps 2012 in his storage closet at home! Of course, such things are antiques at this point, and there’s no reason to install anything or run a special application to get general-purpose cartographic information (big words for “maps”).

Online versions of mapping software have replaced any sort of downloadable/installable maps, and if you find yourself installing anything to view maps online, you’re doing it wrong. The “big” maps are Bing ( and Google ( Each service has its particular focus, and special features. We’ve tried both extensively. (It’s quite possible that you have a different mapping product that you like—there are many others besides Google and Bing—they’re just the biggest/most popular.)

With either service, you can provide an address, a zip code, or a description of where you want to go. You can ask for directions from either service. In our experience, Bing is slightly easier for sharing maps (it just seems a little easier with Bing to send someone a particular map location, but that could just be personal preference). Both map services provide mobile applications so that you can easily use their mapping services on a mobile device, as well. Note that both Google and Bing/Microsoft allow you to download maps to a mobile device, so that you can use their mapping information while you’re disconnected from the internet. This feature doesn’t work on all phones or operating systems, so check carefully before making a decision which to use.

So, the answer is simple: We don’t recommend any map program at all: Instead, we suggest that you simply use an online mapping service, and install nothing at all.

1863. Clean up Windows - Is Ccleaner OK?

We recommended ccleaner in the past but i recenly read an article that ccleaner itself got corrupted. is it safe again or should i not use it?

Ccleaner is free and has a pay for version. Yes it did have some issues in Sept 2017. Ver 5.33 was hacked and some malware was in the release. This has been fixed and Avast the company that owns Ccleaner assures us the problem has been fixed.

I have the free Version 5.35 installed and like it. I use it along with features of Windwos 10 to keep my Windows version running clean. If you want something more automatic consider buying the Ccleaner upgrade or other programs.

Ccleaner was the only good program available that had a free version.

1864. Old computer new life.

i have an older windows computer that seems to be slower and slower. what can iI do? i am not doinganyhing different. why?

Yes there are a number of things you can do to speed up your computer. Over time more and more '"features" get added to your computer without you really being aware. These are mostly related to your browser having new add-in or extension put into the browser. You can turn these features off but then you might lose some of the functions that were added.

Ken always promotes "repaving" your Windows install, putting things back to the original install but with all relevant windows updates. This can cause some problems with applications so be sure to have a goog image backup before trying this.

Adding the new SSD electronic disk is probably the best hardware upgrade and more memory is a great inexpensive option.

Using software like Ccleaner can make this faster as well. Sometimes however you just need to consider a new more powerful computer. I just purchased a new SurfacePro and am very satisfied and am sorry I didn't do it sooner.

1865. Navigating my Desktop

I have been working more and more with my Surface Pro and because I am able to start more programs concurrently I have been using the "Desktop" icon more and more. I think you had this in a tip awhile back. Can you review it?

The Desktop icon is the one in the taskbar about third from the left. It looks like a TV set with ears. You probably never tried using it. Yes go ahead and click it.

It show you ll of the "open" programs you have running and you can easily select which one you want by clicking on the program. The Alt+TAB will basically provide this view and allow you to tab through the windows. You can also create more views of your desktop by adding more destops.

On the desktop view page on the lower right you will see an Add Desktop selection. You will then have a second or third desktop that you can add Windows or move current windows to, creating multiple workspaces. This gives you a clean approach to creating your workspace. Give it a try. .

1867. Troubleshooting your PC.

Sometimes my computer seems to be very slow and unresponsive. What is the first thing you do to figure out what is wrong?

The first thing is to start the Task Manager. Right click on task bar. OR Ctrl+Alt+Del.

Then start to look at Processes, It will show the CPU, memory, disk, and network utilization. I always sort the list initially by CPU usage.

This can point to the program that may be "sucking" as you technically say to the problem. If you see a program that you don't recognize you can look it up on the internet to see if there are some know issues. Programs using more that 25% of the system for extended periods are usually a problem. You can cancel a program but that might create other problems.

The task Manager is your first line of offense to isolate problems on your Windows PC. Ken are you happy that you gave away one of my best secrets?

1866. What happened to My Computer?

What happened to My Computer icon?

What happened was Windows 10. No worries the My Computer icon functions are still there. Start by right clicking on the Desktop and selecting Personalize. You can also ask Cortana to Open Settings and then click on Personalize.

Click on Themes and go to the Go To Desktop settings. You can select other icons like Recycle Bin, Network, Control Panel as well as Computer.

The Computer icon will have the title of This PC. If you must stay in the past right click the icon and Rename it to My Computer.

When you click on the icon it may open with your Quick Access selections selected. If you want the This PC/My Computerto be selected. Open a new Explorer window.
Click View in the ribbon.
Click Options.
Under General, next to “Open File Explorer to:” choose “This PC.”
Click OK. You are now back in the year 2010. Happy?

1868. Remote Access Programs

I alway see you accessing other peoples computers. How do you do this?

Yes there are tools that I use to access other computers remotely. Some of these are Teamviewer, VNC, Remote Desktop built into Windows.

Many of these tools work with both the PC and the Mac. Some of them have free versions if you are not using them for commercial purposes.

Are they safe? Actually that is a very important question. You want to make sure that the program is encrypting the information going between the two computers. You also do not want to allow someone to access your computer without your permission.

I use Teamviewer, VNC and remote Desktop. Teamviewer and VNC works with both PC and Mac. If you use Remote Desktop that comes with Windows you want to be sure you also make the communications go through a VPN tunnel to make sure it is protected. Teamviewer and VNC provide their own encryption.

Yes these are great tools . Use them wisely. Remember if you get a call or solicitation from someone claiming you have a virus and they can fix it. They will want to remotely connect to your computer. DON'T LET THEM.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

1855. Windows 10 Start Menu

I am an old school Windows user. With Windows 10 can I get to some of the old Start Menu features?

The first thing to do is to Right Button Click on the Windows key. Most people don't realize this option. When you do this you will get a pop-u menu selection of many of the options you want like. Task Manager, File Search, System, Network Connections, Computer Management are all there.

If you want the simple Start menu from Windows 7 days. there are many options for you to change the way the Windows key works.

Do a simple search for "Windows 10 Start Menu options". I guarantee you find something to satisfy your needs. There are links in our blog as well. Windows 10 is here and you should take advantage of the new as well as old features.

1854. Windows 10 update goes wrong

Windows 10 update goes wrong. Is there anything in the windows update to make this easy to backout the update?

if after installing the Windows 10 Creators Update v1703 you are facing problems and issues with it, you can uninstall it and go back or rollback to the previous Windows version 1607.

To uninstall Windows 10 Creators Update you will have to open the Start Menu. Next, click on the Settings link.

Having opened the Settings panel, click on Update and security and here select Recovery settings.

Next click on the Get started button under Go back to an earlier build section.

The process will start and you will be asked series of questions.

Be safe make an image backup first!!

1853. Network Solutions: Safe email?

Is Network Solutions email virus protection really working? :

I have seen email viruses on emails from many different email providers. Network solutions is not necessarily any better or worse than others.

I have had a recent experience with an email received via Network Solutions. It contained an attachment that had a .VBS extension. It was definitly a virus.

No matter who is handling your email, if the attachment is any of the executable types, like .exe, .com, and .vbs don't open them.

And if you don't know the person sending the email don't open them.

You can usually set your email program like Thunderbird or Outlook to not even allow you to receive emails with those attachment types. Be careful. Save the attachment to disk and scan it with your antivirus program. If you don't, don't open it!

1852. Email attachments - virus.

I have heard that you can get viruses attached to an email. How does this happen. Solutions: Safe email? file attachments: Spreading viruses.

If you think you've received an email message with an attachment containing a virus, please make sure that you do not open the attachment.

To check a file attachment for a virus, you'll need to first save the file to your computer and then scan the file with antivirus software. Don't open the attachment - Save it.

Most viruses are delivered through an email attachment. Attachments that contain viruses are either executable programs (file types: .com, .exe, .vbs, .zip, .scr, .dll, .pif, .js) or macro viruses (file types: .doc, .dot, .xls, .xlt).

The safest way to avoid them is to not open email attachments. To be real safe if you don't know the person sending the email or if you know them, and weren't expecting the email, check with them first.

1851. Wireless charging

Can I use wireless charging on my phone?

Wireless charging has been around for a good few years now, but it's fair to say it is yet to take off to sky-high heights. As with any fresh technology, standards needed to be set, technology developed and ultimately pushed out to consumers.

Now though Apple is getting in on the scene, with its flagship iPhone X, plus the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones coming with wireless charging capabilities.

That could give it the shot in the arm needed to widen its appeal. Before you splash out on a wireless charger, though, make sure that your phone supports it. Loads of phones do now, from the iPhone X to the Galaxy S8 to the LG G6. For some smartphones, you need to buy a special replacement back or a case that enables wireless charging.

You also have to check that the wireless phone charger you choose is the right standard for your device. So do some checking to make sure your phone will work with wireless chargers.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

1845. Print to PDF in Windows 10

I have Windows 10 installed on my computer, and I need to create PDF files from my Microsoft Word documents. I’ve been told I can do this, but I can’t figure out how. Can you help?

For those who have somehow missed this, a PDF (Portable Document Format) file is a (mostly) read-only format for sharing and presenting information. You can create documents in Microsoft Word, for example, and share them with people that don’t have a copy of Microsoft Word by sending a recipient a PDF-format version of the document. Almost everyone has installed the Adobe Reader (free software that can display PDF files), and even those that haven’t can use most any modern browser to display the contents of the file. In other words, sending a PDF file as an attachment to an email message is a relatively safe way to ensure that just about anyone can view and read your document.

In versions of Windows prior to Windows 10, it wasn’t easy to create PDF files—you were required to download and install special printer drivers that would allow you to print documents to PDF format. Now, in Windows 10, the feature is finally built into the operating system. Anyone running Windows 10 can create a PDF from any application that allows printing, including Microsoft Word.

To do this, start printing your document, as if you were going to print it to a printer. (Pressing Ctrl+P normally works, in Windows.) Look at the list of available printers. You’re looking for the printer named Microsoft Print to PDF. Select that printer (rather than your normal, default printer). Once you do, you’ll be asked to supply a file name, and once you do, the software will “print” your document to a PDF file and save it where you indicated.
Mac users should note that this feature has been available since, well, almost forever (as long as we can recall, anyway). When you start to print a document, select the PDF dropdown list in the lower-left corner of the Print dialog box, and you’ll see various options dealing with printing to a PDF file. Couldn’t be easier! And now Windows 10 handles the job in much the same way.

1846. OPening Mac Apps from Unidentified Developers

I was looking for a specialized file management utility for my Mac, and found it online. I downloaded it, and when I tried to run it, I got an error that said it couldn’t be opened because it was from an unidentified developer. Do I have to do something special to use this utility?

You can generally find any application you need in the Mac App Store, and all applications distributed through the App Store come from “identified” developers. You’ll never see this error with an application you find in the App Store. The problem is that not all applications available come to you through the App Store, and if you want to run one of those applications, it seems that you’ve run up against a brick wall here.

The problem is that Mac OS X, in its efforts to “sandbox” applications so that it’s difficult for you to install and run an application that could harm your computer or your data, also makes it difficult to run some applications that you might want to run. If you’re sure you have a safe application, there is an easy workaround, however.
The solution: Rather than double-clicking an application to run it, the first time you run it, you must right-click on it and select Open. Starting it this way displays the same dialog box you saw previously, except this time, the dialog box offers you the option to open the application.

The dialog box also tells you where the application came from, to help you verify that it is, in fact, the application you were hoping to open.

Once you take this extra step, you’ll never have to do it again—it’s a one-time-only thing. But the extra layer of protection is there for a reason, and helps to protect you from running malware inadvertently.

1847. Sign a PDF Document on an iPhone

Occasionally, I get PDF files attached to email messages that require my signature. At this point, I print the document, sign it, scan it back into a PDF file, and attach it to an email response to the sender. What a pain! Is there some easier way to do this?

Yes, your workflow can work, and it’s the way people have signed documents for years.

The current operating system on your iPhone, starting with iOS 9, makes this really easy. You don’t need to print the document, and you don’t need to scan it back into digital format. Instead, you can take advantage of iOS Mail’s markup capabilities.

When you receive an email message with a read-only document, such as an image or a PDF file, you can use the markup tools to highlight regions, magnify regions, add text, or insert a signature into the document.
To test this “magic,” find an email message that has an attached PDF file (or send yourself one to test with). Once you receive the message, tap on the PDF file to view it. Tap on the “toolbox” icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. This action creates a reply to the original message with the PDF file attached, and allows you to modify the contents.

In Markup mode, click the first icon at the bottom of the screen to highlight content in the PDF file.
Click the second icon to zoom specific regions for emphasis.
Click the third toolbar icon to insert a text box. Inside the new text box, enter any text you’d like to see on the returned document.

Finally (the reason you asked the question), click the fourth icon to insert a signature. If you have previously used this feature, iOS will suggest an existing signature, but you can also add or remove signatures. Once you have added a new signature, if necessary, tap it to insert it into the PDF file.

When you’re done marking up the PDF file, click Done in the upper-right corner of the editor. The iOS Mail app creates a reply message for you, with the marked-up document attached. Click Send as normal, and your recipient will receive your marked up/signed document. What could be easier?

1848. Permanently Delete an E-Book from Kindle Account

I read books on my Android phone at the gym, using Amazon’s Kindle application. I have some books on my phone that I read years ago, and I’d like to get rid of them. I tried deleting them from my device, but they still show up in my Amazon account. How can I remove them from my device and permanently remove them from my account? I’m not going to read them again!

This has frustrated me, as well. It’s nice to be able to carry around a bunch of books on our devices, but once we’re done with some of them, we would love to have them disappear.

Note that this discussion applies to any device that runs the Kindle app, including the actual Amazon Kindle devices, as well. It’s easy to delete content from your device: Find the title you want to remove, tap and hold on the title, and then select Remove from Device from the context menu. This action deletes the content from your device, but leaves it in your Kindle account.

If you want to completely remove the book from your Kindle account, you’ll need to take a few more steps. To do this, you’ll need to use a Web browser, and this is easier on a large screen like a desktop or laptop computer than it is on a device with a small screen. Log into your Amazon account, and select Manager your content and devices. On this page, you’ll see a list of all your Kindle books.

Find the book you want to delete, and click the button with three dots to the left of the book title. In the pop-up menu, select Delete. You get one chance to confirm your deletion, so think twice before clicking. If you accidentally delete a book, you’ll need to pay for it again if you decide to re-read it. So take this action seriously!

1850. What’s the Difference between DOC and DOCX files, and Which Should I Use?

When working with documents created with Microsoft Word, I see files with a .DOC extension, and others with a .DOCX extension. What’s the difference? And should I prefer one over the other when I’m creating documents?

This is an important question, and a seemingly simple question; unfortunately, it has a long and complex answer.
It may seem odd that Microsoft Word has two associated file extensions, but there’s a history here. When Microsoft first released Word, it stored the contents of the document in a file with the extension .DOC. The resulting file that you stored on disk contained information that was proprietary to Microsoft, and its exact format was private, difficult to work with, and fragile.

Microsoft did document the format, so that other applications could read and write files in Microsoft Word format, but it wasn’t easy. In addition, if a .DOC file was damaged on disk, perhaps as part of a transfer, it was ruined.
In 2007, Microsoft revised the file format. Microsoft Word files were now stored in a standard ZIP file format, the file format was simple to understand and document, and any application could easily create files that Microsoft Word could load. To discern between the old-style files and the new ones, Microsoft changed the default file extension from .DOC to .DOCX.

The main advantages of the new format are that it is far easier to repair a damaged .DOCX file because of the way it’s stored on disk, and that a given .DOCX file is generally far smaller than the corresponding .DOC file would be. This makes storing and transferring/emailing .DOCX files easier.

Which should you use? Clearly, the .DOCX format is simpler, safer, and smaller. Given the choice, use it.
By the way, it’s worth noting that Microsoft made similar changes for Excel and PowerPoint documents in 2007: .XLS files because .XLSX, and .PPT files became .PPTX files. In each case, the new file format is smaller and safer, and you should use them if possible.

1849. Handle Windows Payment Scam

I got a call from a relative this morning: He was looking at a screen on Windows that said that his computer had been compromised, and he needed to call an 800 number and pay a fee to get his computer fixed. I told him not to pay; was that the right answer?

Our watch word around here is often "I hate computers", but hearing this my new one is "I hate people". Obviously someone wrote some scam that tried to convince your relative that he needed to pay some money to fix his computer. Now there is a bit of malware going around that a lot of people have heard about that encrypts all the data on your computer. And that's not this one this is just a very simple scam that hopes it will scare you into calling and paying money for no reason whatsoever.

This scam does lock up your computer and you can't type anything and you can't reboot but the answer is simple. You pull the plug your reboot is back up and everything is fine. This is actually happened to me more than once as well.

So if you get a message that indicates that your computer is broken and you need to pay money to fix it. Disregard it pull the plug and restart the computer. Most of the time that will completely fix the problem. On the other hand it can't hurt to run some software like MalwareBytes which is free software available on the web that can verify that you don't have any malware on your computer. But you should not ever pay the cash.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

1837. Remote Spreadsheets

I often need to share spreadsheets with remote co-workers. It would be great if we could both be looking at the same spreadsheet concurrently, and it would be even better if we could both be making concurrent changes to the data. Is this even possible?

Not only is it possible it works really well. If you live in the Google world the Google sheets application allows you to create a workbook like an excel worksheet and share it with other users. There's a share option in the upper right hand corner you insert an e-mail address and your coworkers could then look at the spreadsheet, make changes as you are making changes, and you can collaborate at the same time.

If you live in the Microsoft world Excel has an online version available at that allows you to create a workbook there where you can share that workbook with other Microsoft users and everyone involved can make updates concurrently.

This is a great way to do your work and actually it's the way that Doug and I work on our tips for the radio. We are on Google sheets at the same time I make changes on my computer and Doug sees those changes immediately on his computer. It's an easy way for us to work together and not have to share a single computer to look at the spreadsheet as we are creating these tips.

So check out for Microsoft or the Google Drive option to work with Google Spreadsheets they both work great.

1833. Don't lose your contacts

I recently had to replace my phone, and when I did, I realized that I no longer had all of the contact information from my old phone. At this point, all I can see to do is to ask all of my friends to send me their contact information again. Is there some way to avoid this in the future?

Back in the bad old days before there were smartphones I could see this being a thing you could do even on most of those old phones. Copy all your contacts to the SIM card and then move the SIM card to your new phone and that way you'd have a backup of your contacts. But with a smartphone there's really no excuse for this question.

I see it all the time from young friends on Facebook who have all their contact information on their phone and nowhere else in their life. The answer is your phone should not be a repository for data it should be a viewer for data. Your data should be stored somewhere else most likely in the cloud.

If you use an i Phone you can use iCloud to store all your contact, calendar, and other information. If you're an Android user or an iPhone user you can use Google to hold all of your contact information and more. In other words don't use your phone as a place to store information. Use your phone as a place to view information.

If you can't go to another computer somewhere log in to an online account and see your data on that computer then you're not set up correctly. Please believe us on this - someday you're going to lose a phone or drop it into the sink or otherwise need to replace it and you don't want to lose all your data. Make sure it's stored online somewhere so you can just get your new phone connect to your account and magically everything appears on your phone.

1838. DND options in iOS

I use the do not disturb feature in iOS, and it's great: The phone won't ring in the middle of the night once I've set up do not disturb. The problem is: If my aging parents call, I need to let them ring through, no matter when they call. If they call in the middle of the night, it's an emergency and I want to get the call. Is there some way to have it both ways? That is, have do not disturb mode on, but allow some people to ring through any way?

Of course this isn't really a story about Doug it's really a story about me where I do need to allow my aging father to call me at any time of the day or night. But I don't really want to get any other calls at night so I have do not disturb set on my phone from my bed time to when I wake up. I'm embarrassed to tell you what time my bedtime is so I won't but in any case if I want my father to be able to ring through.

There's a simple trick I can just go to his contact entry in my contacts, go to the ring tone option, and under a ring tone there's an option to allow emergency bypass. Then that contact will be allowed to ring through no matter what time of the day or night.

You can do the same thing under settings where you can select various groups that are allowed to ring through. For example I also have all of my favorites allowed to ring through so anyone who's on my Favorites list can call me at any time and finally there's an option that allows people that if they call you twice in quick succession it won't ring the first time when you have do not disturb turned on but it will ring the second time. That way you can tell people if you need to reach me after hours call me twice in a row this gives you a lot of flexibility and do not disturb so you should check these features out on your iPhone.

1834. USB Charging

I have a bunch of devices that need to be charged via USB. For example, I have a phone, a tablet, a Bluetooth headset, and a Bluetooth speaker. I don't have enough electrical outlets near my desk to charge all these things. Do you have any suggestion as to how I can charge all of my devices at once?

It’s funny: You’re looking for an answer to a problem that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. We can remember clearly when every device had a unique and dedicated charging brick; woe be unto you if you lost or mislabeled the device’s specific charger. Look in your old electronics drawer: You’ll certainly find an old Nokia or Samsung phone charger that’s of absolutely no value any more.

At some point, device manufacturers realized that consumers’ lives would be so, so much easier if most devices shared a common, standard charging mechanism. And so, USB charging was “born.” Although the device end of the charging cables isn’t completely consistent, the “plug-in” side of the cables are almost all identical, and all use the same voltage and are generally interchangeable. (We’re always amused and amazed when a friend is surprised to find that she can charge her iPhone using the USB port on her laptop, even though it’s not the charger that came with the phone!) This proliferation of USB charging means that we now need some charging station; a place where we can plug in multiple USB devices concurrently.

Oh, sure, we could use an electric power strip, and plug in all the devices’ individual chargers, one in each socket. But that takes up an entire charging strip, and a lot of room. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have one device that simply has a number of available USB ports for charging? And of course, this device exists. And it’s easy to find. And it’s cheap. And you have a ton of choices. USB chargers come in sizes with one port (like the one that came with each of your devices), up to 6 or more USB ports. The general consensus is that devices from the manufacturer Anker are the most popular—they’re often on sale on, and we’re big fans. Check out []—you’ll find a bunch of options.

Be aware that not all USB chargers are the same. Some devices take more power than others (for example, to charge an iPad requires more amps than charging a phone), and not all USB chargers handle the difference in power draw as well as others. Anker, of course, does a great job at this, and their devices clearly indicate what they’ll support. Pick up a USB charger for travel, work, and/or home. You’ll no longer need to use all your computer’s USB ports or multiple power outlets to charge your devices.

1835. Repurpose Laptop Drive

Following your suggestions, I replaced my laptop’s hard drive with a solid state drive, and as you said, the computer now runs so much faster. It bothers me to have this old hard drive lying around, however. Is there something I can do to use it for some purpose, so it’s not just wasted?

Congratulations on speeding up your laptop! Installing a solid state drive (SSD) can make a huge difference in the performance of the computer. (The other step you can take to improve a laptop’s performance is to increase the amount of random access memory, or RAM, in the computer. There is a reasonable limit to how much you need: 8 gigabytes, or 8GB) is enough for most people, we think, but 16GB is even better. More than that, for most users, is overkill. Not all computers allow you to replace the RAM. Check with your manufacturer’s Web site before upgrading.)

If you are able to replace the hard drive in your computer with a faster SSD, you’re left with the old hard drive just sitting around, doing nothing for you. Assuming that your laptop was built within the last 10 years or so, you can usually buy an inexpensive enclosure for the hard drive, insert your hard drive into the enclosure, connect it to your computer using a USB port, and use it as a backup drive. The enclosure should come with a USB cable, but if you have a USB cable that matches the standard port connector you’ll find on the enclosure, you can use that as well.

Note that the USB specification took a major upgrade a few years back: USB 3 is a much faster connection than USB 2, in terms of data throughput. If your computer provides any USB 3 ports, you’ll definitely want to make sure that the drive enclosure you find supports USB 3—the connection speed between the drive and your computer will be around ten times as fast than it would be with USB 2. Using a USB 3 drive enclosure and port, you’ll find that you can even boot your computer from the external drive with reasonable success, as long as your computer supports this (and most do).

We’ve had good luck with USB 3 drive enclosures from Orico (search on for more information). Don’t let that replaced hard drive languish in the “dead hardware” drawer—give it some new life by plopping it into an external drive enclosure and back up, store audio/video media, and more using the spare drive.

1836. Hyperlinks in Microsoft Word Documents

I create documents for work, using Microsoft Word on my Windows PC. Sometimes, I need to paste Web addresses into my documents, and every time I do, Word underlines the links and makes them appear in a blue font. Sometimes that’s OK, but most of the time, I want URLs to appear as standard text. How can I remove the special formatting?

Microsoft Word tries to be helpful as you create documents, and it assumes that anything that looks like a Web URL should be formatted as such, so that you know that you can click on the text to navigate to a Web page.

The problem occurs when you don’t want to accept the help that Word so graciously supplies. If you’d like to avoid the formatting as you paste in the text, don’t just press Ctrl+V or select Edit|Paste; instead, select Edit|Paste Special, and choose the option to insert unformatted text.

It takes an extra step, but this does bypass the automatic formatting. If you want to remove hyperlink formatting that already appears in your document, right-click on the link, select the Hyperlink menu option, and then select Remove Hyperlink.

If you’re tired of having Microsoft Word convert URLs into hyperlinks with formatting, you can modify Word’s AutoCorrect settings. Go to the Settings/Preferences, find the AutoCorrect settings, find the AutoFormat as You Type settings, and turn off the option to replace Internet and network paths with hyperlinks.

From now on, when you paste in a Web address, Word won’t automatically format the text as a hyperlink. Note that these techniques work both on Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Word.

1844. How can I install Windows 10 without losing data?

How can I install Windows 10 without losing data?

If you’re running Windows 10 and encountering a seemingly unsolvable problem, reinstalling the operating system might be your best option. It’s very easy to reinstall Windows. You don’t need to download any software and it can all be done with a few clicks.

To begin, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Update & security > Recovery. You’ll find two options Option 1 Reset this PC. Option 2 Resets and keeps your data files.

Remember you will have to reload your applications with either option. But please do an image backup of your system before trying any of these options. You can never be too careful.

1843. Quickly charge my iPhone

How can I Quickly charge my iPhone

The iPhone's battery life is pretty decent, especially in the iPhone 7, but to get to 100% can often take just a bit too long.

When you charge an iPhone, iPad, or computer, you're resupplying its battery (measured in watt-hours) from a power source like a wall outlet, usually via an adapter. That adapter controls how much power you can get (volts) from that outlet, and the speed at which you get it (amps). Those two factors multiplied result in the adapter's total available power.

The adapter that comes with your iPhone is a 5W adapter, which charges your iPhone with 5V at 1A. The iPhone 6 and later can actually accept up to 2.1A.

The 12W iPad adapter charges with 5V at up to 2.4A, so it effectively doubles the current of the standard iPhone charging adapter.

So if you have an iPhone 6 or 7 consider buying an iPad 12W adapter. Of course check with Apple before trying this.

1842. Clutter or Focused?

I have Office 365 for my email. I use Outlook 2016 on my PC and the latest Outlook on my Mac. I updated Outlook on my Mac. It turned on a Focused function, just like Clutter on the PC. The PC clutter stopped working Help.

For private Domain email support like our or we recommend either Google Business or Office 365 service Email service.

One of the main reasons I like Office 365 is the Clutter option. It looks at your email Inbox and over time learns from you what email is important and leaves it in the Inbox, what email is not as critical and moves it to the Clutter folder, and what email is Spam and moves it to the Junk folder.

I also have a Mac with Outlook and the Focused feature tries to duplicate the Clutter feature with the Focused option. I also depended on Clutter working.

It is very easy to get Clutter back. Turn clutter back on by going into your Office 365 account find the options, and then turn clutter back on.


1841. Voice Transcription

Have you ever wanted to get a transcription of a voice file? I needed to translate our tips for the blog. How can I do that?

Ken. When we started TechTips I would spend significant time transcribing your long winded answers to our tips. So I looked around and found a great web site that helped with this task. It is

I suspect there are other sites that do this function as well.

All you need to do is signup and start using it. You simply upload the voice recording (it can be any number of formats like MP3, Wav and other formats). Then tell the site to convert the file and in a matter of minutes you will be notified that the transcription is done.

It is surprisingly accurate. Even with your voice Ken. Most of the corrections are punctuation.

The price is very reasonable Less than .02 per minute. They provide you with a generous free trial.

Also if the recording is very difficult they also provide a human transcription service and foreign language support.

Give a look at Voice