Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions, I have answers! The first way is to browse my library - I have answers to the most common questions people just like you ask, and a lot of really sticky questions and answers too! This website has several ways you can find your answer:

  1. Search for any words or phrases by typing them into the box provided. Then click the Search button. The Search box is on the right side of the main navigation menu
  2. Pick a topic by clicking on any of the words or phrases in my "Tag Cloud". This is a list of all the keywords that go with the articles in the Library and is located on the right side of the page, below my personal introduction. The larger the text size of each tag, the more articles there are for that tag, e.g., the more popular that issue. When you click on a tag, you get a customized list of all the articles for that particular keyword. I've assigned keywords by type of person as well as type of technology.

You can quickly get a personally customized list in these different ways so you spend less time searching! And I work hard to make the information that you see both concise and complete, plus geared for how you think and work. I'm constantly re-looking at my articles and updating information, pruning unneeded details and outdated articles, and slimming down to the essentials. You'll see articles that have:

  1. Videos - these are usually 1-3 minutes long and show you how to solve a problem, walk you through the features of your technology, or give advice on a wide variety of topics.
  2. Tip Sheets - these are usually 1-2 page Adobe PDFs that you can view or print with very brief but complete, step-by-step instructions.
  3. Text and Pictures - all my articles have simplified explanations and step-by-step instructions, all with images or graphics and some with simple animations.

If you don't find your answer in my library, click the Ask Your Tech Coach link on the main menu. You can type anything you want into the form. If I need more information, I'll email you with specific diagnostic questions. The more info you give me, the better and faster I can help you. When I answer your question, you'll see it in the Library, and I'll email you with a link to the article.

While I do use advertising to earn revenue and stay in business, I take great care to keep my advice and information objective. And, I keep advertising as innocuous as possible - no in-your-face popups everywhere. Under no circumstances will I accept any advertising or other revenue based on my assessments of consumer technology, so you can know that my advice is unbiased. There is a clear notifier "Advertisement" above each ad so you know what is an ad and what isn't.

For direct support, I no longer offer my services other than this advice blog, but I do provide a recommendation to another company who I've vetted and I trust to provide you with the highest level of support. See my 1-on-1 Tech Support page.

I do provide both the Q&A mentioned above as well as Email Newsletters and Occasional Email Alerts: You can easily sign up with just an email address to get on my distribution list. It's completely free, and you get a weekly digest of Practical Help delivered to your inbox. Occasionally, I will send out alerts on consumer technology issues I feel are important for you to know. At the bottom of every email is a simple Unsubscribe link which instantly removes you from my list. I subscribe to the tenets and fully comply with the CAN SPAM Act and GDPR, and will act promptly to remove your email from my lists if you unsubscribe or my messages to you are rejected by your email service or blocked in any way. For your security, your subscription page can only be accessed from the links in my newsletter emails. And I don't use your email address for anything else, nor sell it to 3rd parties!

Throughout this website you'll see words and terms that are in a different color than the text around them, and words or terms that are underlined. These are all clickable links to other pages or websites. Just click or tap on the link to open that page or site. You'll also see words and terms with a dotted line under them. These aren't clickable, but the dotted line tells you there's a definition for the word or term. Just hover your mouse over them or tap on them and a definition will pop up to help you understand what I'm talking about. My readers tell me that this is better than having to go to a glossary to look up definitions.

If you'd like to share any of the information on this website with your social network, please use the sharing links at the bottom of each article. You can also share my website with anyone from your status update or tweet - just type in my main website address And thanks in advance for sharing!

Feel free to leave a comment on any article, I'll try to respond as quickly as possible. You can ask a follow-on question, share your own take on the subject of the article, or leave just about anything you'd like to share. Please note that I do work aggressively to stop spam and off-topic commenting, so your comment won't be visible till I've approved it. As such, I may remove any website hyperlink you've left (a standard tactic for the ubiquitous link farmer). I may also delete parts of your comment that aren't relevant, and anything I find objectionable. However I won't edit your words otherwise - but if your comment is off-topic, I may not approve it and may instead create a new article dealing with your issue. I review every single comment before allowing it to show on the website, and block hundreds of spammy comments monthly - I have an automated tool that blocks most objectionable comments automatically so I don't have to look at every single one or there'd be no time to write articles! That said, this website is primarily a blog, not a discussion forum (I tried the forum website type in the past and it didn't work). But I'm more than happy to have a conversation with you, so please use the comments or ask a question!

An important aspect on posting questions and comments: the more specific information you give me, the better I will be able to help you. Please include brand and model numbers of any equipment you list, and as much detail about your situation and setup as you can. General questions get general answers which are almost always inadequate. Help me to help you!

Lastly, this website is primarily a way for you to ask questions about consumer technology and get answers to your burning questions: how to solve a problem, how to perform a task, how to configure, etc. This is not a forum to push your opinions or political beliefs, or to engage in trolling or flame wars. This site is just about straight talk on consumer technology. I don't profess to know everything, but am really good and figuring out the answer and giving it to you in plain English! I'm more interested in helping you get what you have to work the way you need it to, rather than just pushing you to purchase new devices, software or services.

I switched from a membership model to advertising-supported in September 2014 in response to my readership's desires. In 2021 I instituted a patronage model, where readers contribute funding to support my efforts. These have two implications for my readers:

  1. You will see advertising on this site, delivered by 3rd parties (e.g., Google). I cannot control what companies advertise through my website, that's handled by my advertising supplier. I do not endorse any advertiser on this website, unless I have independently tested and recommend software, hardware or services, which is incidental and completely independent from advertising on my website. All 3rd party ads have the word 'Advertisement' in red at the top, and I've added a red outline around all advertising blocks on the website. Please note that displaying advertising adds a small bit of revenue to help offset the costs of maintaining this website, so I'd appreciate your allowing those ads to display - please disable your ad-blocking extensions for my website, thanks!
  2. The patronage model depends on readers who find the content on this website (and emails I send to answer question directly) valuable, and are willing to help support me financially. Currently, I don't have a set fee or amount. Thanks to the generosity of many of my readers, enough funding is coming in that I do not need to institute a paywall or membership fee at this time. If the funding stream changes, I may have to make other changes as appropriate. If you would like to support my efforts at consumer technology education, please send any amount using any of these links: Click or tap to open a new browser tab or your Venmo app and send money via Venmo to @positek (to @positek), Click or tap to open a new browser tab or your Paypal app to send money via your Paypal account to (to, Click or tap to open a new browser tab or your Paypal app to send money using your credit card to (no Paypal account required) (using any credit card, no Paypal account required), or by mailing a check or cash to: LLC 1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Tysons Corner VA 22182.
  3. You may ask a question and not see an answer in my Library. Since you are not paying me (e.g., membership or usage fee) for use of this website, I cannot guarantee that I will respond to your question. But I will try to be as responsive as I can to your question. If you supported me financially (using Venmo, Paypal, credit card, check or cash), your question will be answered and is my top priority (although I generally can't provide instant answers).

As the sheer volume of questions has grown beyond my ability to keep up, I cherry-pick which questions I answer when the questioner has not given me any financial support. For these "free" questions, I will be looking in two directions: 1) sticky problems that everybody else throws their hands up on, and 2) popular questions that a lot of viewers and readers are interested in. The first direction fits with my persona of being the place to go for answers to hard questions, and the second to help make this site useful to as many people as possible. After all, this website is read in every single English-speaking country in the world, and many others as well!

If you make a donation to my website, I will answer your question(s) as quickly as I can. I also put questions from existing clients at the top of my priority list for answers. Yes, money talks, I support my paying clients and supporting readers first.

As of January 2024 I no longer provide direct 1-on-1 Tech Support Services but have provided a referral to a company I trust to help you. That said, your satisfaction is between you and the referral company, I can't provide any guarantees for work I don't perform.

For the Q&A I do, I keep regular business hours - sorry, I'm not a 24/7 'emergency room' operation. I strive for complete customer satisfaction, but recognize that there may be expectations or external factors that are beyond my control. In general, please understand that you are paying for my work effort, just like you pay for a lawyer's advice - losing a trial does not mean the defendant doesn't have to pay the lawyer!

For payments, I use the 3rd party payment processor Paypal as well as Venmo, so I never have access to your credit card or other personal information outside of your email address and name (plus whatever other information you choose to share with me) unless you choose to have me process payment by phone or otherwise directly. My payment processor is in full compliance with established PCI DSS requirements for online financial transactions. When you make a payment to me, you go to the payment processor's website for the online transaction. For your safety and peace of mind, you should clear your web browser's cache (usually by closing the web browser) after the transaction is complete. If I handle your payment by phone at your request, I don't write anything down but do exactly the same thing you'd do: go to the payment processor's website and type in the information as you dictate it to me. Once the transaction is complete, I close the web browser so there's never any of your credit card information left on my computer/device. I also use the browser's Incognito mode to ensure no hidden information is kept on my computer. And all my internet interactions are only using an encrypted internet connection.

My website itself is secured with industry-standard, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) techniques to encrypt all information between your computer and my web servers. Although I don't process your credit card on my website, I still use SSL because I believe in maximizing your security. If you sign up for my newsletter, I do maintain your email address, name and any optional information you choose to share with me on my web servers, secured with the best security products and services available in the industry. And I will never share any of that information with anyone else!

The greatest risk to your privacy and identity theft is in your own hands. Everywhere online, you should protect your username and password and never share it with anyone. For websites that have a username, you should choose one that is not your email address. And you should use a password that's not easily guessable and is not used on other websites. I recommend a good password manager program, like 1Password or LastPass.

If you change email addresses, simply sign up for my newsletter using the new address. If you still have access to the old address, you can click the Unsubscribe link in any email sent to that address. If you no longer have access to that account, no worries! At some point, my system will recognize that the email account is defunct and will remove it automatically. For that matter, if you sign up for my email newsletters, but don't open them, at some point my system will remove your email address from the list of subscribers.

If you used the Ask Your Tech Coach form or sent email to to ask a question, your answer will be posted in the Library, once I've answered it (I'll also alert you or send you the answer by email). Since you aren't paying me for answering questions, I cannot guarantee that I will answer it or how fast I'll answer it. But I'll try to answer as many questions as possible, as quickly as possible. If you really need an answer and/or need it quickly, note that 'money talks' and a donation to this website will ensure your question gets answered quickly. If you need support directly and/or immediately, please see my 1-on-1 Tech Support (external referral).

Please note that if I need more information from you to get you just the right answer, I'll correspond with you via the email address you used to ask your question. And please understand that I research to find exactly the right answer to your question, so my service is not instantaneous. Thank you for your patience!

I try to answer as many questions as I can, however I cannot guarantee that I will answer yours. If you need an answer, please remember that 'money talks' and a donation made to my website will ensure your question gets faster attention.

Answers aren't instant, you may have given me a particularly complicated question, even if it doesn't seem complicated to you. I research to get you just the right answer, so it may take a day or two to get you the best answer. Please be patient, thanks! Once I have answered your question, it will appear in the Library, and I'll email you a link, or email you the answer.

Or, I may have emailed you asking for additional information and you haven't responded - please check your email (especially the junk email folder). Sometimes, I'll respond to you with an answer via email, especially if the subject you asked about has already been covered in my Library, sometimes I'll send you a link to the relevant article that has your answer.

Since my website has a mix of strictly https://... (content secured by SSL) and links to external http://... websites along with advertising, your web browser may show as being only partly secure. This is a normal behavior of older web browsers, and nothing to worry about - at least for my website! In 2021 this has become quite rare.

This is what Internet Explorer's notification bar looks like

In particular, some versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer on some computers will continue to throw up warnings at you (using the yellow bar at the bottom of the window) - I recognize this as an annoyance, but really can't do anything about it. My recommendation is that for Microsoft Windows users, you choose an alternative web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox - these won't give you the annoying yellow box and button to click. At this point, nobody should be using Internet Explorer, even has abandoned it - IE is horribly unsecure!

I cannot control how web browser security is designed, but I can and do design my web services to work with every major web browser. Everyone is working to stop spam, identity theft, etc., and sometimes user accessibility is compromised in the name of security, often by your internet service provider. Regardless, rest assured that my site is both secure and safe for you to use. You can click on any link in the website (other than advertising, which I don't control) and know that it won't take you someplace unsafe - my site is scanned continuously for malware and bad links, (see the Sucuri certifications at the bottom of every page), and I will always keep everything on the website squeaky clean for your use.

One exception to the above is advertising on our site. These blocks are not under my direct control, and it's remotely possible that clicking an ad will take you someplace unsafe. Before you click on something, check to make sure you know where it's taking you!

I do give my readers and clients links to websites that are not secured, since not doing so would limit the Practical Help I provide. And of course, I can't be responsible for any website I don't control. Once you leave my website, you are on your own!

A quick note about advertising: You will see advertising on my website, with links that take you away from my website. That's one way I help pay for the cost of providing you with free Practical Help. I don't control what ads are displayed, but do clearly mark ads as such. Anything you see right after the word "Advertisement" is an ad, not anything I've specifically reviewed or recommended. Ads are provided by Google AdSense, and Google is pretty good about matching ads to the content on a particular web page (and your browsing habits, which is sometimes a little creepy), and not giving you links to dodgy websites. Officially, I neither recommend nor endorse anything in an advertisement.

Very simply! Every Friday morning I send out an email with a digest of the articles I published that week. Occasionally, I'll also send out Advisories from Practical Help for Your Digital Life® - not on a regular basis but whenever I find something particularly important that I think you should know about. I know you can always come here and read articles in our Library, but you may find it also convenient to get an occasional email with hot items.

I send these emails out through a commercial mail server, and scrub my distribution list regularly. Plus I am on guard to prevent my mail server from being listed as a spammer. If you subscribed to my newsletter service and are not receiving emails, please send me a note to Please note that if your email service rejects any of my emails for any reason, I will remove your subscription automatically. If you routinely exceed your email service provider's limits on mail storage, you may find it hard to stay subscribed. Read on for why we do this...

Every email you receive from me has an unsubscribe link at the bottom. I subscribe to the tenets and fully comply with the CAN SPAM Act and GDPR, and will act promptly to automatically remove your email from my lists if you unsubscribe or my messages are rejected by your email service or blocked in any way. For your security, your subscription page can only be accessed from the links in our newsletter emails. And I don't use your email address for anything else, nor sell it to 3rd parties!

I know it's easy to put up fake testimonials on a website, and they are pretty useless because there's no way for you to confirm that they are real. I actually prefer testimonials to be collected by a 3rd party, one I can't control. An excellent place for you to look and see how others view my expertise in consumer technology is on LinkedIn - Over the years, clients have come to depend on my ability to de-mystify the mysterious and make everything plain in consumer technology, and they've rewarded me by posting recommendations in various places. That's sort of consolidated on recommendation write-ups in LinkedIn - not the simple skills & expertise feature, but actual recommendations written by actual people - my clients. There are plenty of other places all over the internet, but in this one place you'll find a good set of thought-out recommendations written by real people. I can't (and wouldn't) control what another LinkedIn user writes, so you have some assurance the recommendations are worthwhile.

If you don't have a LinkedIn account and don't want to sign up for that service, you won't be able to see those recommendations. So I took the liberty of posting screenshots here.

You won't yet see any negative reviews, simply because I haven't gotten any! All of the recommendations posted on LinkedIn about me are positive. For over 25 years, I have personally helped thousands of people with their consumer technology, and try very hard to avoid unsatisfied clients. But truth is, nobody can please everybody. I'm focused on the 80-90% of people who use consumer technology, need help with it, and are willing to pay for quality help -  or can live without completely instant gratification. And I promise to give you the best answer I can craft which answers your question without a ton of complexity. On that note, some of the simplest-sounding questions can be really complicated to answer. So I'll work with you to figure out exactly what you need to know and how you need to know it, and get that to you as quickly as possible. 'nuff said?

I’m happy to accept guest-authored articles (posts) to Practical Help for Your Digital Life®. I neither charge nor pay for such. My requirements for guest-authored articles are:

  1. Objectivity is king: articles on® shouldn’t be a thinly-veiled advertisement for a specific product or brand. It’s ok to compare different brands and recommend one as the best if fully qualified-meaning you tested all the brands mentioned fairly and objectively and provide objective rationale as to why you think one is best.
  2. I reserve the right to use or reject without reservation. I won’t edit guest articles, but if I require changes in order to accept a post, I’ll either offer suggestions to you, or make a request for change qualified by the reasons for rejection.
  3. I avoid ‘eye candy’ or inflammatory titles that bloat a subject well beyond rationality (imo). I’m all for generating reading interest, but don’t like headlines that sound alarming, only to read the article and see that the real issue is nothing to get worked up about.
  4. Any imagery used in the article must have digital rights authorized, either via licensure or Creative Commons Attribution License.
  5. I’m happy to allow links back to external content/blogs/sites in guest-authored articles and hope for (but don’t specifically require) reciprocation.
  6. I don’t use ‘affiliate links’ for monetary gain, no affiliate links are directly embedded in any content. One caveat: I do have Google AdSense blocks on my site, clearly marked as advertising. I don’t manage the relevance of those advertisements to the content of my articles, I leave that up to the folks at Google who hawk my site blocks to advertisers.

My site currently gets over 140k visitors monthly from over 120 countries (I use Google Analytics to track content interest), and my email digest goes out weekly to over 25,000 subscribers. My blog is almost purely educational in nature, but I accept donations for readers who want to support my work (and keep it free for everyone). Anyone can see all my content and ask questions without a fee. I get over 150 questions weekly, and after referring most of them to existing articles, I cherry-pick the few that I find worthwhile enough to answer on my blog. My criteria for the cherry-pick are that they be an issue that’s at least somewhat common to consumers (not a one-off, unique question nobody else will have), be within the area of focus, e.g., anything within consumer technology, be personally interesting to me or my readers (as per Google Analytics), and be something that I either have knowledge about or can do adequate online research about to get the ‘right answer’.

If you are interested in submitting a guest-authored article to Practical Help for Your Digital Life®, you can:

  1. email the article to (with embedded or attached imagery)
  2. provide a hyperlink to your already-published article (which I can screen-scrape and repost on my site without edits except to provide your byline and linkback), or
  3. submit via the Ask Your Tech Coach form.

Thank you for your interest in Practical Help for Your Digital Life® and I hope to hear from you soon!

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