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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. Wibdows 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

1840. Privacy settings for Windows 10 Creators upgrade

Privacy Settings for the new W10 release.

When you upgrade to the creators edition you will be asked to review the privacy settings.

If you already updated go to the Privacy setting and review the options. Click the Windows Start, Settings, Privacy. Go thru the list and select the various topics.

To get more detailed information on each option click the Learn More option. I found that most of the defaults were what I would select but I did change about 10. Under each heading you can decide if applications can access various settings on the computer. In many cases you can decide what specific application can access those functions.

It is worth spending 10 minutes to review these settings. We strongly recommend spending the time. Check out the link on the blog.

1839. Suggested AntiVirus

Have you ever done an evaluation of virus protection products? Many of us would like to know which products are best?

It is critical to list the things most important to your protection. The important things to consider are

1. Web surfing protection.
2. Email attachments.
3. Multiple computers.
4. Multiple devices - Mobile phone, tablets....
5. Mac or PC or both?

No judgement but also consider if you are a high risk user? If you tend to visit more high risk sites consider extra protection.

If you are looking for business vs. personal make sure you get the business version. It might cost a little more, but some features are more focused on business use protection. For business protection I like Trend Micro Worry free products, and MalwareBytes.

I like MalwareBytes for personal.

The basic Microsoft protection that is free is called Windows Defender and Windows firewall. Use it if you decide on not spending money on additional products.

And of course our recommended ultimate protection is to have and use an image backup program. If you get a virus you simply restore your last backup. For Windows use Macrium Reflect. If you have Windows 10 there is built in image backup. For your Mac use Carbon Copy Cloner.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

1825. Message app

Richard asks: On my iPhone, I recently got a text message from my wife with a photo of our dog, but the notification disappeared before I could see the image. A friend told me to open the Messages app to view the message, but I can't find it. How can I see this photo?

I wonder what percentage of the world's texts contain photos of family pets. In any case if you can't see the notification one option of course is to pull down from the top edge of your phone and that should show you all the recent notifications.

If it's no longer there you need to open the messages app and look there. Now the messages app should be easy to find on your phone, but if it's buried somewhere it may have gone to a different screen than the first home screen. So you can swipe to the right or to the left to look at other screens until you find the messages app.

If you still can't find it you should be able to use Spotlight search to locate the app. To do that swipe down on your home screen not from the top edge, but sort of from the middle. That brings up Spotlight search type messages or just the first few letters of messages and it should locate the app for you.

You might make note if it's inside a folder because you can put apps inside folders and the name of the folder will appear in the spotlight search results. Then you'll know for next time where the app is. In the case using Spotlight search you can tap on the icon and open the messages app to look at the lovely photo of your family dog.

1824. Beeping Dishwasher

Last week, I decided that I needed to figure out how to turn off the incredibly irritating beep that my dishwasher plays when it's done with its wash cycle. I have always hated this feature, but it finally just made me crazy. The problem is that I can't find my user manual. I'm guessing you don't know how to turn off my dishwasher's beep, but do you know how I can get a replacement manual on the internet?

Sometimes we get questions from readers and listeners sometimes the questions come from our own lives and this time this is something that made me absolutely crazy. My dishwasher plays an irritating beep every few minutes once it finishes its cycle like the dishes are going to explode if you don't take them out of the washing machine.

In any case I couldn't find my manual and I needed to find one online. OK that's not really the truth I save every manual, scan it, put in than ever know but that's another story.

If you can't find your manual there are websites online that make it easy to find such things the best one I found was a website called Safe manuals. There's a hyphen in there so it's

The reason it's called Safe is there's a lot of websites that say they will give you manuals but what they give you is malware. It's a really bad deal so look at and you might be able to find the manual you need.

Another one I found without a hyphen. Both of those are available. They provide free manuals and you should be able to find what you need by searching on their site.;,

1826. Photos with ID

I understand that if a friend takes a photo that includes me in it, and then she posts that photo on Facebook, she can tag me in the photo. I get the concept, but I don’t always like being tagged in other peoples’ photos. Is there some way to untag myself once I’ve been tagged in a photo?

We often feel like telling the world that once you have a Facebook account (and even if you don’t), all real privacy has been lost to social media. (The sky is falling! The sky is falling!) Maybe it’s not that bad, but certainly, once you’re on Facebook and you’ve made posts, commented on others’ posts, have posted photos, and have been tagged in others’ photos, you’re an easy target for anyone wishing to find out more about you than you perhaps wanted known to strangers.

Admit it—you’ve done a little Facebook stalking, haven’t you? That is, searched to find information on an acquaintance, or someone you’ve heard something about? Wait, what? It’s only us? We don’t think so. For the uninitiated, once you post a photo on Facebook, you can “tag” individuals in the photo by hovering over the person’s face with your mouse, and filling in the name in the box that appears underneath the face. If the person is a Facebook member, typing the name converts to a link to the person’s profile, so viewers can click the link to be taken to the profile associated with the photo.

Once you’ve opened the Pandora’s Box that is online social media, there’s no easy way to completely close it, but do have some control over how your name is used in photos. If you find that you’ve been tagged in a photo you’d rather not have your boss, your mother, or anyone else see, you can untag yourself. First, find the photo on Facebook. Then, hover your mouse over the link that identifies you in the photo. A little box pops up, with information about you and a link to your wall/profile.

At the top, next to the information about the person that tagged you, you’ll find a link with the text “Remove tag.” Click this link, and Facebook will remove the link to you in the photo. Fixing up all the photos showing you in various states of embarrassment could take a while, but at least you have that option. (Or you could just be in compromising situations to begin with!) Of course, we’re guessing that if you were truly concerned about your privacy, you wouldn’t be active on Facebook to begin with! (Of course, removing your tag from the photo doesn’t remove your image from the photo: If you really want the image to disappear, you’ll need to ask your friend to remove it. Good luck!)

1823. MacBook Pro serial number

I recently needed support for my 2012 MacBook Pro, and in order to set up an appointment with Apple’s support engineers at the Apple Store, I needed to supply my Mac’s serial number. I had no clue where to find it. Can you help?

Whenever you need to communicate with Apple’s support technicians, they’re going to need to know your serial number, so they can confirm your support availability, and so they can find out more about your computer. (Given a Mac’s serial number, Apple can determine the original configuration of the computer, and can better provide support for you.) Without that serial number, you’re not going to get far.

If you can boot your Mac, you can easily grab the serial number: Select the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen, and then select About This Mac. This action displays a dialog box with information about your computer, including its serial number. You can select the serial number, and then copy/paste it wherever you need it. If you can’t boot the Mac, things are a bit more difficult. You should be able to find the serial number printed on the body of the Mac, somewhere.

For most laptops, you’ll find it with the copyright information on the back of the computer. Get out your magnifying glass—the text is very small—but it’s there. If the type has worn off, or if you simply can’t read it, you’ll have to dig deeper. If you have the original box your machine came in (you kept that box, didn’t you?) it’s printed on the box itself. If you don’t physically have the Mac, you may still be able to find the serial number. If you signed into your computer with your Apple ID, you tied your computer’s serial number to your Apple ID account, and you should be able to find information about it by logging into the Apple ID account web site ([]). If you enabled the Find My Mac feature on the Mac, you should be able to log into your iCloud account ( and find the serial number there. Hopefully, one of these options will help you get the information you need.

1822. Twitter regret - options?

I use Twitter to help promote my business, and I have, on occasion posted tweets that I later regretted. Are tweets permanent, or can I delete them?

Although neither of us uses Twitter for much, and we’re not big fans of the 140-character messaging format, we can see how Twitter can be a useful marketing tool for some people. We won’t even start to discuss it as a political platform. As you, and our Twitterer-in-chief, have found, sometimes you just say things in public you wish you hadn’t.

Luckily, Twitter makes it possible to “take back” your tweets. To undo an error, you start by logging into your Twitter account in a Web browser. Find the tweet you want to delete, and click the downward-facing arrow on the right side of the tweet. From the drop-down menu that appears, select the Delete Tweet option. That’s it! It’s gone. Well, maybe it’s gone. If anyone has captured your tweet using a screen capture tool (one keystroke away in both Windows and Mac), it’s permanent—they can easily post the image of your tweet wherever they like. Check any news Web site, and you’ll see this happens often.

In other words: If you don’t want your tweets to appear in your mother’s news feed, don’t tweet them. Nothing on the public Web can be irreversibly deleted, at least, not in the world of social media.

1821. TV Streaming

Friends keep telling me about great TV shows that I MUST watch, and that the show is available online. The problem is, I don’t know where to find these shows. I do have accounts at Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but don’t know where to start. I guess I could search each one, but that seems silly. Isn’t there an equivalent of TV Guide for online streaming resources?

We have to agree: There has never been, in our lifetimes, more insanely great content available for our viewing. Sometimes, it seems that there’s too much. One of us watches far too much online content from each of these services (“The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Fargo”, “The Leftovers”, “Better Call Saul”, “Veep”, “Last Week Tonight”, and many more, each week. Too much TV!) And it can be difficult figuring out where to find any given show, and whether a particular movie is available online, as well.

If you own either a Roku or Apple TV set-top box, things are getting better. You can use the Search function in either to search for any particular content. (Yes, we know—other set-top boxes provide the same, or similar functionality.) If you want to do your searching before you head for the TV, however, or if you watch online content from your phone, tablet, or computer, that doesn’t help much. We’ve recently run across a truly useful streaming content indexing service, at

This free service allows you to search across all major content services for any movie or TV show in which you’re interested. You’ll find out if it’s available for free on any service, and if not, how much it will cost to rent or buy the content. If you’re interested in watching content online, check out—it succeeds handily at its goal. On the other hand, perhaps we all watch too much content, and a little fresh air would be good. Take a walk. Just don’t watch an episode of “Game of Thrones” while you’re walking!

1832. Third party software keyboards

I am a terrible typist on my iPhone. I know there is a built in keyboard. I know there are other options. I don't know how to do it.What are my options?are keyboard options.

There are many software keyboard options that you can get for your iPhone. If you go to the Apple store search for keyboards. The built in keyboard does many special things like allowing you to slide to other characters so you don't have to switch between Caps and numbers each time.

But other keyboards allow you to do many special things like sliding across letter to spell a word without lifting your finger. It really works. I installed the Google keyboard. It was free as many other are. Besides the actual tricks on the keyboard, the Google keyboard has voice translation. It is very accurate. I can speak fast and freely and it produces almost error free translation

Saves me typing and trying to spell.I am a worse speller than a typist. Installing the keyboard can be tricky so follow the instructions. Give a couple keyboards a try to see which best suits your needs.

1831. Don't just pull the plug

My friend has his computer plugged into a switched power outlet. At the end of the day he simply turns the switch off. Thi seems wrong. Is he harming his computer by doing this?

DO NOT just pull the plug. Computers should not have the power just turned off. It may not have saved information. Many programs do extra things when they are shut down.

You should always do a software shutdown of your computer. This applies to your Mac or PC. I even shutdown my programs first although most programs will be shutdown properly by the operating system.

On the Mac click the Apple icon and select Shutdown. On the PC click the Windows icon, and select shutdown. Wait until it complete the shutdown and then you can turn the power off.

If you have a battery UPS and it has a cable connected to the computer, the UPS will notify the computer to do a nice shutdown before the battery power runs out. Do a controlled shutdown and buy a UPS for your computer.

1830. Not Secure Web site message

Why does my Google Chrome browser showing me a "not secure" message when I connect to a web site. Places that I have been visiting before are now insecure?

In January an update to Google Chrome started to display NOT Secure in front of a URL address. This was not that way before the update. Nothing has changed on the site it is just a way to warn you that the site is not protecting any content.

You should never enter passwords if the site is not secure or pass any private information. Before this change and on other browsers the way you can tell if the site is secure you would see the HTTP or HTTPS in front of the actual domain address. This is identifying that it is a HTTP site not HTTPS. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and the ending S stands for Secure.

No matter which browser you use remember to check this information be fore entering private or sensitive information. NO S don't enter the data. The S indicates the data will be encrypted on your computer sent over the internet then un-encrypted at the other end.

1829. Backup options

We always talk about malware and how backups are the only real way to protect yourself. Can you take some time to clarify.

Well as you know there are thousands of bad people trying to destroy your computer with malware. I frankly don't fully understand the motive. Ransomware makes sense, at least they can get money.

In any case there are only a handful of companies trying to provide software to protect against the many bad people. So no matter what antivirus software you will get attacked and the backup is your only real protection. This will also protect you in case of disk failure. You want to have an image backup. This is a complete copy of your computer disk. Not just your documents and pictures.

Windows 10 has builtin software and for about $50 you can purchase image backup software called Reflect or Acronis for PC's and Carbon Copy Cloner for a Mac. And yes bad things can happen to your Mac.

All you need besides the software is a USB hard drive for about $50. TimeMachine for the Mac and basic backup of files on the PC is not enough.

Also make sure you have your documents and pictures backup to the cloud. There are many free services OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud and more. Use the Image backup and offsite cloud backup to insure you can recover your computer from bad people and hardware/software failure. Backup, backup, and backup again.

And don't forget to test your backups to make sure they are working and you know what you have to do to recover your system. You will thank us later.

1828. More Scams

The amount of scams are increasing. What can you do to protect yourself? I recently got a call from someone saying they were Microsoft support saying something was wrong with my computer and they wanted to connect to my computer to fix the problem. I started to get out my CC and then I realized something was wrong. Should I let someone connect to my computer.
Bells should go off immediately. First Microsoft would never call you out of the blue. No legitimate support group would. When this happens just hang up. If you ever get a pop up on your computer saying you have a virus, NEVER call the number on the screen. These are scams. Don't call them, hang up if they call you. DO NOT give them CC information. And never ever let a stranger connect to your computer. Unless you know where this person lives you will regret it. If they connect they can leave bad things on your computer. In my support business I have a need to help people by connecting remotely. But my clients know where I eat. Please do not let this happen to you. Never ever let someone you don't know or can't confirm they are legitimate connect to your computer. PERIOD!!!!!!

1827. Link to bad URL

How can I protect myself from going to a bad link? I got an email from Fedex saying my package was being delivered. There was a link. Then I realized I had no package coming from Fedex. Is there a way of telling where I will go if I click on a link?

Hover your mouse over every link you are going to click. Yes it is a pain. But if you are going to click on a link in an email or on the web, hover your mouse over the link before you click on it. You will see the actual URL that you will link to . The link or underlined link may be hiding the real link. By hovering over it you can see what the real URL is. If it is different or hinky don't click the link. Be very carefull. It is scary out there.'