Practical Help Library

  • MS Account Security

    MS Account Security

    MS Account Security: a reader asks… I received an email, supposedly from Microsoft giving me a code for my account password reset. Is this legitimate? I don’t even know if I have a Microsoft account. I have a Windows 10 PC. Thanks for forwarding the actual message, that way I can check the html links that are embedded in the email. This email appears legit. This is typical of an email response from an online entity that is attempting to […]

  • iOS 13.1.1 or iPhone 11?

    iOS 13.1.1 or iPhone 11?

    iOS 13.1 or iPhone 11? A reader asks… I have an iPhone 7 that’s been acting really wonky for quite a while, dropping calls and having bad wi-fi, plus the battery doesn’t hold much of a charge anymore. Do you think I should replace the battery and update to the latest iOS that just came out, or replace my old iPhone with a new iPhone 11? My general advice is to always update your iPhone to the latest iOS version […]

  • Pink TV Screen

    Pink TV Screen

    Pink TV Screen: a reader asks… You’ve helped me once before and I’ve found myself in another situation that I can’t figure out. I’ve got a fairly new TV (sharp led smart tv model lc-50Q703OU). I haven’t been able to get the color settings correct yet. It gets incredibly dark on standard mode and goes pink when I try theater mode, which is the only way I can actually see the details in the picture. I’ve reset all the settings […]

  • Firestick to Old Projector

    Firestick to Old Projector

    Firestick to Old Projector: a reader (from Rome) asks… Dear Chris, I have a problem, can you help me to find best way to connect Amazon Firestick to my projector for video signal ( Benq PE5120 ) and to my home theatre for audio signal 5.1 ( Yamaha DPS-A1 ). For audio connection I’d like to use optical signal for taking advantage of 5.1. I’ve attached photos of my projector and receiver connections. Saluti! Based on the pictures you supplied, […]

  • Printing Woes Resolved

    Printing Woes Resolved

    Printing Woes Resolved..A reader asks… I have two printers, both HP. One’s a Laserjet and one’s an Inkjet I use just to print 4×6 photos. A problem started a few weeks ago where I tried to print to the Laserjet (with letter-size paper loaded) and the printout came out with just part of the page printing. Sometimes I’m getting error messages on my computer when printing to the Laserjet, and am always getting an error trying to print photos on […]

  • Deleting Files in Win10

    Deleting Files in Win10

    Deleting Files in Win10: a reader asks… I have a ton of near-duplicate photos in my Pictures folder (Windows 10 PC). I think they came from my iPhone camera through iCloud. There are over a dozen sets of near-duplicates, the only difference I can tell is the file names (numbers go up). How can I get rid of all these duplicates? Most likely, you got those near-duplicates by holding down the shutter button when taking a photo instead of tapping […]

  • Dry Hair in Croatia

    Dry Hair in Croatia

    Dry Hair in Croatia: a reader asks… I’m planning to go to Croatia for vacation. I have been searching for a travel adapter/Converter for my electronics ( smartphones, watches, digital cameras, and of course my hair dryer) but I’m not sure which one should I get. The ones that I found online seems like will not with for my Dyson Supersonic hair dryer. Croatia uses the standard European round-pronged plugs and power (230v. 50hz AC). I don’t know the exact […]

  • Update Windows 10 Now

    Update Windows 10 Now

    Update Windows 10 Now: a reader asks… I have a Windows 10 computer and haven’t been fastidious about updating every time Microsoft issues an update. I do have automatic updates turned on though. Is that good enough? I would say that in most cases, waiting for the automatic updates to apply is good enough for most people. You should prudently restart your computer as soon as possible anytime Windows tells you that it installed updates that require a restart. But […]

  • Mac Rings Phone?

    Mac Rings Phone?

    Mac Rings Phone? A reader asks… I noticed recently that anytime my iPhone rings, my Mac does too! What’s up with that? Is there a way to turn this off? I also see that my text messages are copied onto the Mac as well. I don’t want that either, other people use my Mac and I don’t want them reading my text messages. A few versions ago (of macOS), Apple developers added these capabilities to the Mac so you wouldn’t […]

  • SMB Internet Presence

    SMB Internet Presence

    SMB Internet Presence: a reader asks… I am a small business owner in the UK, just starting out. I don’t have a lot of money for a fancy website design and such, but want to get an internet presence. Do you have a quick and dirty list to get me started? Ok, let me start by saying this is an opinion piece, based on my many years of experience dealing with small businesses. Not everybody is going to agree with […]

  • Mouse Freezes

    Mouse Freezes

    Mouse Freezes: a reader asks… I have a Logitech wireless USB mouse I’m using with my Windows 10 system. It’s been working fine since I got it over a year ago, but all the sudden it’s started acting wonky. Every few seconds the cursor freezes, or disappears, and then a few seconds later it reappears and/or starts moving again. It isn’t the battery (mine’s rechargeable and has plenty of charge). Is there an easy way to fix this? Let me […]

  • Manage Safari Pop-ups

    Manage Safari Pop-ups

    Manage Safari Pop-ups: a reader asks… I am trying to get a document off a government website, but that website offers its documents using popups, and my web browser (Safari) automatically blocks all popups. How can I allow popups on that site so I can get the document downloaded? Safari (and almost all web browsers) have pop-up blocking tools built-in. In the case of Safari, they opt to automatically block pop-ups on all sites. Other browsers may let you set […]

  • Use 2-Factor Authentication

    Use 2-Factor Authentication

    Use 2-Factor Authentication: a reader asks… I’ve read about this two-step user authentication stuff, do you think I need to use this? I’m just a normal home computer user. Short answer, yes. Need I say more? At this point in time, hackers and scammers have so far outstripped the industry’s paltry attempts at protecting us from them. So much so that every person using a computer or any other device connected to the internet needs to use 2-factor authentication everywhere […]

  • AVG Secure Browser?

    AVG Secure Browser?

    AVG Secure Browser? A reader asks… I was running a scan on my computer using the free AVG Antivirus. Not sure how this new app showed up – but it is called AVG Secure Browser and it has like an override action on docs and web browsing windows. It also makes pdf docs open in this app and very hard to manipulate. Also converted the icon for all pdf docs to the three colored round key hole. First question- what […]

  • Audio Sync Problem

    Audio Sync Problem

    Audio Sync Problem: a reader asks… I have a Samsung HW-MM45C sound bar. That is connected to my RCA LED55G55R120Q TV via a HMDI cable coming from the Direct TV box. I have a PLYE P2002ABT1 Amplifier that I have 5 rooms with speakers hooked up to. It only has 1 pair of audio input jacks. I have the Direct TV box audio out jacks connected to my Bose CD player input jacks and the out put jacks connected to […]

  • iOS Wi-Fi Stops

    iOS Wi-Fi Stops

    iOS Wi-Fi Stops: a reader asks… For the last few months I’ve been seeing a problem with my iPhone and iPad. I think it may have started when I did the last major update to iOS. After a while, my home Wi-Fi stops working on the devices, although they still show connected. The only way to fix this is to turn off Wi-Fi and then turn it back on. Is there a better fix for this annoyance? While Apple won’t […]

  • LED TV Terms

    LED TV Terms

    LED TV Terms: a reader asked… What’s the difference between QLED and OLED? The first term QLED refers to a type of screen display technology used by Samsung televisions. Short for “Quantum Dot LED”, this is similar to standard LED televisions except it purports to have brighter colors. All standard LED TVs have a backlight that illuminates the colored dots on the screen, so standard LED TVs are often brighter near the edges. This technology has been around quite a […]

  • Don’t be a Victim

    Don’t be a Victim

    How To Avoid Being A Victim Of Social Engineering Social engineering is the intentional use of deceit to get information from individuals, which is then used for fraudulent purposes. In most cases, hackers find ways to lure unsuspecting culprits into giving them personal information that includes passwords for sensitive accounts such as bank accounts and emails addresses among other social sites. Internet users should know that it is never possible to be completely safe as long as they hold a […]

  • Best Browser?

    Best Browser?

    Best Browser? A reader asks… I have a Windows 10 PC and it came with the Edge browser. It sounds like nobody likes that, so do you have a suggestion for an alternative? I agree with the others, Microsoft Edge isn’t my preferred web browser. Personally I like Google Chrome, as it fits my needs. That would also be a good choice for anyone who uses a Gmail account. Lots of folks also like the Firefox web browser. Both of […]

  • New TV?

    New TV?

    New TV? A reader asks… I have a great system set up in my bedroom : Fujitsu TV, Yamaha AV Receiver RX-V2300, FireTv stick (with a HDMI converter which you recommended and works great) and about 6 speakers build in the wall. The Fujitsu TV is ready to retire and it will need to be replaced very soon. Which TV will you recommend to buy so I can still use what I have (receiver-speakers-fire stick). You provided lots of great […]

  • Airpod Listen In

    Airpod Listen In

    Airpod Listen In: a reader asks… While I’m not usually one to complain, I’m finding it harder and harder to hear when sitting at a table in any restaurant. The noise level is sometimes so loud I can’t easily hear the person sitting across from me. I know I can wear earplugs to cut the noise, but that really doesn’t help me hear my table-mate easier. Got any advice for me? If you’re an iPhone user who also uses the […]

  • Mac 32-bit apps

    Mac 32-bit apps

    Mac 32-bit Apps: a reader asks… I have a 2015 Macbook Pro updated to Mojave 10.14.3. Recently, I have been receiving pop up warnings about incompatibility of my 32-bit apps as apple transitions to 64 bit technology. The notice recommends my contacting each developer. I have never heard of most of these apps except for microsoft word, where most of my documents are. (I recently started writing new documents in Pages). I don’t have a clue what this means and […]

  • Fake Facebook Texts

    Fake Facebook Texts

    Fake Facebook Texts: a reader asks… I’ve gotten two texts from facebook, giving me a confirmation code. One includes a URL to click on (I know I shouldn’t). What should I do now? I think you’re being phished – someone is trying to get access to your Facebook account. Sometimes these text messages give someone else’s account (in your case “Franziska’s). That could mean they’re trying to connect their facebook account to your phone number or email address. If you […]

  • Windows 7 – Time’s Up

    Windows 7 – Time’s Up

    Windows 7 – Time’s Up: a reader asks… I’ve been putting this off for so long – upgrading my computer. I still have Windows 7 running on my desktop PC at home. So, quick question: how long have I got before I absolutely have to upgrade? I’d call this epic procrastination, my friend. Windows 7 has been around a long time, and Microsoft ended ‘mainstream’ support for it years ago (like in 2015). Except for pay-through-the-nose enterprise clients, Microsoft will […]

  • SSD for you?

    SSD for you?

    SSD for you? A reader asks… I was wondering what would be the most valuable upgrade to my laptop computer. I already have 16gb of RAM. It has a 7200rpm, 500gb 2.5″ hard drive, and an Intel i5 processor. Since you have plenty of RAM, your most valuable upgrade will be replacing that old spinning hard drive for a solid-state drive (SSD). SSDs today are very reliable and long-lasting, plus they are significantly faster than your existing hard drive. With […]

  • New PC Configuration

    New PC Configuration

    New PC Configuration: a reader asks… I’m setting up a new desktop PC and want to make sure I do it right. I’ve already created my user account and gone through the initial Windows 10 setup screens. Can you give me a hit list of things I should do next? Congrats on your new PC! I’m assuming your new PC has good specifications, e.g., an Intel iCore processor, 8gb or more of RAM (16gb is my sweet spot), and a […]

  • Buh-Bye Google+

    Buh-Bye Google+

    Buh-Bye Google+: a reader asks… I got an email from Google telling me that I had “a consumer (personal) Google+ account” and that Google was shutting this down. Do I have to find something other than Gmail now? I’ve sent you a copy of this email. Nope, Google offers a number of different services such as Gmail for email services. Google+ was Google’s answer to Facebook, e.g., a social media platform. It never really took off and Google is finally […]

  • New Malwarebytes Version

    New Malwarebytes Version

    New Malwarebytes Version: a reader asks… I have a Windows 10 PC and took your advice about using Malwarebytes Premium. I just got a popup box saying there’s a new version available. Should I upgrade? Yes, absolutely. Out-of-date software is a common way for threats to get through your defenses, and so my advise is to keep all your software up-to-date. That means upgrading to the latest version when it’s offered. This goes doubly well for protection software like Malwarebytes. […]

  • Desktop Icons Gone

    Desktop Icons Gone

    Desktop Icons Gone: a reader asks… I’ve got a Windows 10 PC, and for some reason, all my desktop icons have disappeared. I usually keep some documents I’m working on sitting on the desktop. Have I lost all those files? Most likely, you haven’t lost the files. There’s a couple of possible solutions. First, you should check that you haven’t inadvertently hidden those desktop icons. Right-click anywhere on the desktop, which brings up a menu. Hover your mouse over the […]

  • HDCP Woes

    HDCP Woes

    HDCP Woes: a reader asks… I have an older LG HD TV and up until now used a Wii as a streaming device using the designated white, yellow and red cables. I found out that some streaming services will no longer be supporting the Wii connection. I am searching for the best device to use in place of the Wii and I am thinking Amazon Fire Stick is one of the best choices. I have already tried a Roku Premiere […]

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