Practical Help Library

  • Should I iOS 12?

    Should I iOS 12?

    Should I iOS 12? a reader asks… I have an iPhone 7 and my husband has an iPhone 6s. We also each have iPads (mine is a mini2, his is an air2). We also both have Apple Watches (series 2 & 3). So yes, we’re sort of all-in on Apple. My question is, should we update to iOS 12 (released on Monday the 17th)? Or should we wait? My general advice is for most consumers to update their technology at […]

  • iPhone Scanning Options

    iPhone Scanning Options

    iPhone Scanning Options: a reader asks… I have various things in paper form I’d like to scan, including documents and photos. What’s a good app for my iPhone that I can use instead of buying and using a flatbed scanner? The days of needing a flatbed scanner are quite over except for those who have lots of documents to scan – a multi-sheet-fed scanner would be helpful there. The first thing you should consider though, is how you’re going to […]

  • Nitty-Gritty PC Spec

    Nitty-Gritty PC Spec

    Nitty-Gritty PC Spec: a reader asks… Can you give me a brief rundown on what specs I should be going for when buying a new desktop PC? Nothing special, no gaming, video or other high-end work. I do have large music and photo libraries. Ok, here’s the nitty-gritty: Get Windows 10, get 16gb of RAM, get the largest solid-state drive (SSD) you are willing to pay for, and get the largest screen size that fits your situation – preferably 1080p […]

  • New iMac

    New iMac

    New iMac: a reader asks… I have an older 2011 iMac that’s been giving me a lot of trouble, and I’m giving up. I’m going to go buy a new one. What’s the easiest way to get everything transferred over from the old iMac to the new one? Apple’s utility program, Migration Assistant, is the easy way to get your personal files, settings and apps transferred over from the old iMac. For this process, you need to unpack the new […]

  • Word Won’t Work

    Word Won’t Work

    Word Won’t Work: a reader asks… My Word program has ceased functioning. Yesterday I attempted to add a second language in the settings. It seemed to progress, then got stuck. I could not close the program. I tried rebooting twice to no result. I tried to repair the Word program, which started but then would not end. I simply can not open or access any word documents, either on my computer or on my drive. I don’t know what else […]

  • Fitbit vs. Apple Watch3

    Fitbit vs. Apple Watch3

    Fitbit vs. Apple Watch3: a reader asks… I’m looking at getting a fitness tracker, and am considering either a Fitbit Charge or an Apple Watch. What are your thoughts? As a matter of fact, for the last few weeks I’ve been wearing both, and noting the differences, so let me spill the beans for you. First things first, the Fitbit Charge 2 is available now, and costs about $130. The Charge 3 is coming out in October, you can pre-order […]

  • Wi-fi Warnings

    Wi-fi Warnings

    Wi-fi Warnings: a reader asks… I have Verizon internet service at my house. I’m starting to see warnings on my iPhone and iPad that the network is unsafe. My Verizon router is probably 7-8 years old? Is it time to get a new one? My desktop PC is also connected wirelessly, but it isn’t warning me. I also notice that the wireless connection drops out a few times a day. I’ve started having to turn the router off and back […]

  • Warning to my Readers about Email

    Warning to my Readers about Email

    Warning to my Readers about Email: If you still use an, or email address, soon I will no longer be sending you emails, neither the weekly digest, nor regular emails. If you send email to me or use my Ask Your Tech Coach form, I will not be replying or responding to you other than by posting articles on this website. Effective, today. So why am I taking this action? Simple: in my opinion, those three email […]

  • Quirky Mouse

    Quirky Mouse

    Quirky Mouse: a reader asks… I have a weird problem, it seems my Lenovo Windows 10 computer freezes often, clicking doesn’t do anything, especially in Google Chrome. This is happening more and more lately. Can you help? After a bit of back and forth discussion and observing what was happening, I determined that the problem wasn’t with the computer or any of the programs – it was with the mouse. The key top solving the mystery was watching the user […]

  • Windows 10 Safe Mode

    Windows 10 Safe Mode

    Windows 10 Safe Mode: a reader asks… Hi Chris, I recently upgraded to Windows 10 – what a difference from Windows 7, and not all good! For instance, anytime I had problems with Windows 7, I could easily boot into Safe Mode by pressing the F8 key when I start up the computer. I don’t have this option in Windows 10 though. Can you tell me how to be able to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode please? Thanks in […]

  • Laser vs. Ink Jet Buying Decision

    Laser vs. Ink Jet Buying Decision

    Laser vs. Ink Jet Buying Decision: a reader asks… I have an old HP Deskjet 810c printer that’s finally giving up the ghost and I’m ready to replace it. I really don’t need color printing. As a matter of fact, I probably print maybe 3 pages a month, sometimes more, often less. I want a printer that’s dependable and will print when I need it to print. I’m looking at both laser printers and ink jet printers. Any advice? There […]

  • GPS Accuracy-Apple Watch vs. Garmin

    GPS Accuracy-Apple Watch vs. Garmin

    GPS Accuracy-Apple Watch vs. Garmin: a reader asks… I’m using a Garmin watch to measure distance on a golf course. A buddy of mine is doing the same but with his Apple watch (using The Grint app). While our two devices are reasonably close, they’re sometimes a good 10 yards off of each other. Using one measurement might make me change clubs versus the other. Should I trust either watch? GPS accuracy can be hit or miss with small devices, […]

  • MacOS Upgrade

    MacOS Upgrade

    MacOS Upgrade: a reader asks… Hi, I’m having trouble figuring out what to do with my macbook air. It’s about 4 years old and works fine, but I tried to install Numbers on it and got a warning that my version of MacOS was too old, I need 10.12 or higher. Not sure how to upgrade my MacOS. Can you point me in the right direction? Most likely, your Macbook Air is running version 10.11 (El Capitan). If you click […]

  • Get my iPhone Photos

    Get my iPhone Photos

    Get my iPhone Photos: a reader asks… I have an iPhone with a ton of pictures on it. How do I get all those pictures onto my computer (Windows 10 PC)? Years ago, you’d install iTunes, plug the cable from your iPhone to your PC, and go through the arcane iTunes menus to get to where you can get all your photos. Years before that (in the early days of iPhones), you could plug in your iPhone, connect it similar […]

  • Facebook Snafu on Pixel

    Facebook Snafu on Pixel

    Facebook Snafu on Pixel: a reader asks… Why can’t I connect to Facebook? App keeps thinking and then closes. I am using a pixel XL smart phone. Used Facebook this morning fine. I can open Facebook on my iPad and PC without a problem. I have powered down phone without any change. Since you already powered down the Pixel (and powered back up) and that didn’t help, I’d suggest your next step is to delete the Facebook app from your Pixel, […]

  • 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, 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 […]

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