Practical Help Library

  • Cleaning out Malware

    Cleaning out Malware

    Cleaning out Malware: a reader asks… I’ve been looking at my older Windows 10 PC and I suspect it has a lot of malware on it, even though I’ve been using McAfee Total Protection. What should I do? Perhaps the first thing you should do is stop paying McAfee for inferior protection. Likely they’ve got you signed up for auto-renewal of your subscription, so you’ll need to log into your account at https://home.mcafee.com, click on My Account and sign in. […]

  • Slow Chrome

    Slow Chrome

    Slow Chrome: a reader asks… I use Google Chrome on my Windows 10 desktop PC, and lately things have been veeeerrrryyy slow. Switching from one tab to another takes maybe 5 seconds, and so does opening a new tab. Even shutting down Chrome (or just a tab) takes a lot longer than it used to. What should I do? Using a metaphor, Chrome and other web browsers ‘gain weight’ as you use them, storing images, cookies, saved passwords and form […]

  • Not getting your Digest

    Not getting your Digest

    Not getting your Digest: a reader asks.. I’ve been following you for years, and have been getting your weekly emails. But the last few weeks I haven’t been getting them. Have you stopped sending out your emails? First off, thanks for being a loyal reader! The short answer is no, I am still sending out my weekly digest of articles I’ve written. These go out every Friday morning, with links back to my website and the latest articles I’ve written. […]

  • Wi-Fi Greyed Out

    Wi-Fi Greyed Out

    Wi-Fi Greyed Out: a reader asks… I’m having a problem with my older Windows desktop PC. It originally had Windows 7 on it and when Windows 10 came out I took the free upgrade. Everything’s been working fine for years, but all the sudden yesterday the wifi stopped working. The option is greyed out in the notification controls. Can you help? I asked a few folllow-on questions and discovered that you’ve been using Kaspersky Antivirus for years, even after you […]

  • Backup Folder Dates

    Backup Folder Dates

    Backup Folder Dates: a reader asks… I use the Windows 10 utility “File History” to backup my computer. I recently took a look at my backup on my external hard drive and did see a copy of my folders, though the dates are showing 2017. So while understand that they can be used to restore my hard drive, why don’t they show a more recent date if they are being periodically updated/filed? The way that the date field in File […]

  • Slow Windows

    Slow Windows

    Slow Windows: a reader asks… I have a Windows 10 computer that sometimes acts really slowly, and sometimes not. It’s maddening! Do you have any advice for how to fix this? Unfortunately there are a lot of possible reasons why your computer runs slowly at times. Two of the most obvious are 1) if you don’t have enough Random Access Memory (RAM) installed on your computer. A modern Windows 10 computer should have no less than 8gb of RAM, and […]

  • Update Windows 10

    Update Windows 10

    Update Windows 10: a reader asks… Windows 10 is telling me I should update (screenshot attached). Should I go ahead and do this? I remember reading somewhere that I should wait on installing updates. Do not wait any longer, install the updates. Microsoft came out with a major update to Windows 10 in April 2018 (version 1803), and while there were a very few cases where the update didn’t go so well, almost everyone who updated had no problems. I […]

  • Porn Scam

    Porn Scam

    Porn Scam: a reader asks… I just sent you a threatening email I got. I have not been watching porn but this person knows some part of an older password I used to use. Can you advise on what I should do? This is scary and makes my skin crawl! This is another creative scam thought up by hackers on the darkweb. For years now, lists have been for sale on the darkweb – lists of passwords and partial passwords […]

  • Password Confusion

    Password Confusion

    Password Confusion: a reader asks… I recently changed my email hosting service provider (with my same vanity domain name), and now when I try to log into webmail, I have trouble. First off, the system used to remember my email address (for the username field) and now I have to type it in every time. Also, whenever I type in the new password (my tech guy set it up for me), I get a “The login is invalid.” message. When […]

  • iPhone App Problem

    iPhone App Problem

    iPhone App Problem: a reader asks… I’ve got an iPhone and have been a bit mystified by all the popup warnings I see. I’ve downloaded some apps, and they don’t always work. Sometimes they say I have to turn some setting on, but I’m not sure what that setting is. The apps I’m trying to get working are: Google Maps, Dark Sky, and Chrome. Can you help? It sounds like you aren’t reading the warning messages very carefully. Let me […]

  • Firestick and Blu-ray Player

    Firestick and Blu-ray Player

    Firestick and Blu-ray Player: a reader asks… I have a Sony Blu-ray player model BDV-E3200 and a Dell Monitor model S2216H. I recently bought an Amazon Firestick and am having trouble figuring out how to hook everything up so it all works with 5.1 audio. Any advice? First, I’m going to assume that your Blu-ray player is connected via an HDMI cable to the Dell monitor. That model of monitor only has a single HDMI IN port, so there’s no […]

  • MS Office Fouled

    MS Office Fouled

    MS Office Fouled: a reader asks… On my Windows 10 laptop, something is going on (I suspect Windows initiated related to quick  access) such that I cannot open Word or Word documents. I am trying various things, but so far-no luck. Perhaps you have some ideas? Sounds like it’s time to repair your Microsoft Office software. Any one of a number of things can go wrong that can make this happen, and the first fix to try is a Quick […]

  • Can’t send to AOL addresses

    Can’t send to AOL addresses

    Can’t send to AOL addresses: a reader asks… I’m a small business owner with a website (cheap hosting service). I use that company’s domain email ‘webmail‘ service and can receive email from anyone to my domain address. I can send to just about anybody, but all my emails to aol addresses get rejected by aol. The rejection notice is kinda cryptic. What should I do? Everybody is in the fight against spam, unwanted email. Spam accounts for over 80% of […]

  • Galaxy won’t stay on Wi-fi

    Galaxy won’t stay on Wi-fi

    Galaxy won’t stay on Wi-fi: a reader asks… my galazy won’t stay on wifi. when I connect to wifi , it will disconnect within a few minutes . I have tried it on two different wifis , I have also restarted the phone and taken the battery out, same result. Did you check out my article My Galaxy Won’t Stay on Wi-fi yet? That has some things to try for your home network, but since you said it’s happening on […]

  • My Password

    My Password

    My Password: a reader asks… I’ve been using a variation on a password theme all across the internet for all my accounts. It’s a combination of a remembered password and some characters unique to the website or service I’m logging into. Is that ok or should I do something different? Nowadays, it’s all about password length and guess-ability. Hackers use technology that can go through all the possible combinations of characters,letters, numbers and special characters at speeds that make short […]

  • Web Host Recommendation?

    Web Host Recommendation?

    Web Host Recommendation? A reader asks… I am a new small business owner, and want to put up a website. I’ve been doing some research and see that I can setup one using Weebly or Wix, and GoDaddy and Network Solutions have these website design tools that are supposed to be very easy to use. I don’t intend to sell anything online otherwise I’d just use shopify.com, but do want the flexibility to change things around on my website at […]

  • Reading Mode for Web Pages

    Reading Mode for Web Pages

    Reading Mode for Web Pages: a reader asks… So, I have to do a lot of research that requires me to look at lots of news websites — the worst of which, oddly enough, are in Israel and Nigeria (lots of ads, social media stuff, etc.).  All I’m trying to do is to capture the headline, text and date.  Copying and pasting into word is really irritating and consumes a lot of time. I started to use “Clean print” in April […]

  • Don’t fall for this scam

    Don’t fall for this scam

    Don’t fall for this scam: a reader asks… Help! I had a problem with my HP Officejet Pro 8710 printer which stopped working with my Lenovo laptop PC after a recent Lenovo update. I looked up HP online and called a number which got me connected to somebody at helpme.net (800-546-2856). They remotely connected to my computer with Zoho Help and installed Avast Premium on my computer, then tried to sell me a $200/year ‘software firewall’ to protect my Windows […]

  • Fake Tech Support

    Fake Tech Support

    Fake Tech Support: a reader asks… Hi Coach, I got a phone call today from Microsoft Tech Support. They said that my computer was infected, and they had to fix it remotely. They wanted me to let them take over my computer to fix the problem. I declined but am worried that my computer is infected. What should I do? I have a Windows 10 PC and am using Windows Defender and the Malwarebytes product you recommended. You did the […]

  • Safe Dating Tech

    Safe Dating Tech

    Safe Dating Tech: a reader asks… I’m a woman re-entering the dating scene after a long time. I’m using these dating sites and services, but am a bit concerned about the potential for creeps out there. I know enough to get a separate email account so bad dates can’t troll me, and to create separate social media accounts. But don’t know what to do about cell phone and text messaging and don’t want to have to have a second phone. […]

  • iPad Can’t Record Zoom

    iPad Can’t Record Zoom

    iPad Can’t Record Zoom: a reader asks… Hi I’m using Zoom to do video chats with my clients. I’d like to be able to record the videos, but there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to do that. I’m using my Apple iPad and have a free Zoom account. The short answer is that you need a computer (Mac or PC) in order to record the video chats to the hard drive. Firstly, the free version of Zoom […]

  • Using File History

    Using File History

    Using File History: a reader asks… I have a Windows 10 PC. Can you tell me how to backup my computer? I read your advice about using File History, how do I set that up? There are a lot of different programs and utilities that you can use to back up your computer, but Windows 10 comes with one that is perfectly adequate – File History. Before you jump in and try to turn that on, you first need someplace […]

  • Password Advice

    Password Advice

    Password Advice: a reader asks… I read your advice on basic computer protection, thanks! Can you tell me a little more about managing my passwords? Sure! If you are very limited in the number of online places you go, then you can get away with writing down passwords. For most of us, we need the help of a password manager. That’s because the current cardinal rules for passwords are: Long passwords. Forget about password complexity, just make your password as […]

  • Simple Answer to PC Protection

    Simple Answer to PC Protection

    Simple Answer to PC Protection: a reader asks… Can I get a simple answer please? There are so many computer protection programs out there, what should I do to protect my Windows 10 desktop computer? Simple answer: Use the built-in Windows Defender, and supplement it by buying, installing and using Malwarebytes Premium ($40/year). Get it at https://www.malwarebytes.com/. Don’t bother with the free version, pay your money and get full-time protection. Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain the […]

  • PDF App for Mac

    PDF App for Mac

    PDF App for Mac: a reader asks… I have a Mac, and am having trouble with certain PDF files. When I open a PDF I can see the file just fine and print it. But some PDFs such as IRS forms are supposed to be capable of being filled out online, then printed or saved. My Mac can’t do anything with those except the usual view and print. What do I need to be able to fill out these forms? […]

  • iPhone Airdrop?

    iPhone Airdrop?

    iPhone Airdrop? a reader asks… So I’m sitting in a restaurant with some friends. We all have iPhones and one person is showing off her pictures. We all say “we want that one!”, but we all want different pictures. She texted each of us a separate picture. Is there an easier way? Well, you could use Airdrop but it will be marginally easier. I laid out the arcane place that Apple hid Airdrop in its latest version of iOS (in […]

  • HDMI to Old TV?

    HDMI to Old TV?

    HDMI to Old TV? a reader asks… Hi, I bought a new Amazon Firestick, and want to use it with my older Panasonic projection HDTV Model# PT-56TW53 – which has no HDMI ports. I bought an HDMI converter “HDMI2AV 1080p Mini” made by BlackWeb that has 1 HDMI input port, and 3 output ports (red, yellow, & white), along with RCA cables. I tried hooking the converter up to the video ports on the back of the TV, But all […]

  • Outlook shows name not email

    Outlook shows name not email

    Outlook shows name not email: a reader asks… I have Office 365 and when looking at my Outlook inbox, I see the sender’s name in the To column, but not their email address. Is there a way to get it to show the full email address? The reason why is I’ve been getting emails that show the name of someone I know, but when I open the email the From address is not their email address. This is a vexing […]

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