Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hard Drive Test

Answer Man

Is there a simple test I can perform to tell if my hard drive is working well?

Windows contains a simple overview test called error checking. Click on Computer. Right click on the C drive. Select Properties. Click on the Tools tab. Click Error Checking. Those of you who are familiar with a command prompt can also get into error checking by typing Chkdsk at the prompt.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Check to see if memory is OK

Answer Man

My computer is running very slow. I think some of the memory may be bad. Is there a simple way to check?

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, just type MEM in the search box just above the start button. In Windows 8, type MEM when you are on the start screen. The test will take 10 to 15 minutes to run.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Toner Save Mode

Answer Man

I bought a new laser printer that advertises that it has a toner save mode. I looked through the on-line manual and could find nothing about how to set that mode. There are no buttons on the printer, just a series of LEDs. Do you know how I can get into the toner save mode?

Click on File, Print. Make certain your printer is selected. Click the Advanced Tab. Place a check in the Toner Save box.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ransomware Rememdies

Ransomware Virus is in the news today. If you are concerned about this, MS has a site with help, click on this link >> Ransomware Remedies

Hotmail going bye-bye?

Answer Man

I heard that my hotmail e-mail account won't be available any longer. Is that true?

Hotmail users found that g-mail offered many more features, so they left Hotmail in droves. Microsoft was concerned and decided to move existing Hotmail accounts into a new revised version of Outlook.
If you click on an Internet Explorer browser icon you will still see the link for Hotmail. However, when you click on that link, you will be taken to Outlook.  

Reviews of the new Outlook have been positive.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Delete thousands of e-mails

Answer Man

I use Decca mail. I know it is based on Google's Gmail, but unlike Gmail, it doesn't offer the option to delete more than 50 emails at a time. Is there a way to do it in Decca Mail?

Follow these steps to delete all of your thousands of e-mails at one time:
Go to the search bar within your email
There is a little drop down arrow in the right side of the box
Click to open the search options
Select Inbox
Near the bottom select 1 year for date within
Click the search button
When the list comes up select all (there is a selection box near the upper left for that)
Above the list click on "select all conversations that match this search"
Click the trash can
Empty the trash

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Speed up my computer

Answer Man

Would you provide a list of ways I can speed up my computer?

If you can install Windows 8, you will speed up your computer by about 15% over the speed of Windows 7, and your computer will be much faster than it would be with Windows Vista or XP. Other ways to increase speed include: Reduce the number of items in your start menu. Delete temporary Internet files. Defragment the drive, and most importantly, add RAM if your computer will accept more memory.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hard Drive Size

Answer Man

I'm planning on buying a new computer. I don't know what hard drive size I should select, and I don't want to over buy. I see that you can purchase 2 and 3 terabyte drives. How can I determine what I need?

Most computer users can get by with rather small hard drives. The smallest drives put in most new computers are 320 GB drives. For most users, that is more than enough space. However, if you are heavily into gaming or video editing you might opt for a larger drive. My computer has a 500 GB hard drive, and although I have dozens of programs, hundreds of documents and more than 6000 photographs on my system, the drive is only half full.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Opinion of E-Readers

Answer Man

What's your opinion of e-readers?

People seem to vary greatly in their opinion of e-readers. I know some avid readers who say they prefer to hold a book in their hands. I happen to like e-readers. I also like the practice of installing e-reader software on laptops and netbooks.  

I recently returned from a cruise. The ship's library was terrible, and I could find nothing I wanted to read.  Fortunately, I had my netbook, containing about a dozen book titles, with me. I read throughout the cruise without having to check out a single book.

You may choose to purchase a tablet computer instead of a dedicated e-reader so that you can read and surf.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Solid State Hard Drives

Answer Man

I'm thinking of buying a new computer with a solid state hard drive. I see that you can buy tablets with as little as 4 GB hard drives. Are they worthwhile?

Much depends upon what you plan to do with the computer. If you plan to do nothing but check your e-mail, you can get by with a small hard drive, however I would not buy a tablet or notebook with less than a 16 GB hard drive.

Several years ago I purchased a netbook with an 8 GB hard drive. The computer ran on Windows XP. The operating system used 1.5 GB of hard drive space. By the time I got through loading several programs, the drive was nearly full and the system slowed to a crawl. I got smart and replaced the 8 GB drive with a 32 GB drive. Now I'm a happy camper.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Buying on-line

Answer Man

I have never purchased anything through the Internet. How safe is the practice?

I have purchased and sold thousands of dollars worth of items via the Internet without encountering a single problem. The purchases included a new car, and sales have included a motor home. The secret is to use reputable dealers. If you are not certain about a dealer, examine their website carefully. Do they accept major credit cards? Are all words on the site spelled correctly? Many Nigerian rip-off sites contain misspelled words and poor English. Read reviews others have posted about the site, and use your own intuition. If the prices sound too good to be true, they probably are..

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Program Won't Open

Answer Man

I installed Windows 8. Now my previously designed excel spreadsheet won't open. What can I do to make it open.

Right click on the Excel file. Left click on Open With. Select Excel as the default program used to open the file. Once you make the selection, you shouldn't have to do it again. If you no longer have the Excel program, you could have the file open with LibreOffice Calc.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Low Overhead Operating System

Answer Man

I was given a really old computer that runs Windows XP. The operating system uses up almost all of the hard drive. That leaves little room for any programs. Is there anything I can do about the situation other than purchasing a bigger hard drive?

The secret is to install another operating system that uses very little hard drive real estate. Many of the operating systems such as Jolicloud, Linux Mint and early versions of Ubuntu, take up little drive space and would free up hard drive space for other programs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Webcam test

Answer Man

I have a webcam on my new laptop. Is there a simple way to tell if my camera is working?

If you have Skype, you can click on their Echo/Sound testing service. Then click video. If all is working correctly, your camera will turn on and you will be able to see yourself. You will also have the opportunity to set the microphone sound levels.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taxes On-Line

Answer Man

What do you think of tax software vs. using a service such as H & R Block?

I have used tax software for many years. I'm partial to Turbotax although it may well be the most expensive of the tax programs. You can save some money off the purchase price if you have an account with Vanguard or Fidelity. You don't have to purchase the software. You can pay a reduced price for the on-line version.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Backing up to a flash drive

Answer Man

I have never backed up my files. I've been told that I could do it using a flash drive. Please tell me how I can do that.

Most computer users have a few files that should be backed up. These include items in the documents folder and perhaps the pictures folder and sometimes in music and video folders. These take up little space and normally will fit on an 8 GB or larger flash drive. Navigate to the folder you wish to back up. Let's say that it is the documents folder.  Insert the flash drive in a USB port. Drag the documents folder to the flash drive location by left clicking on the documents folder, and keeping the left button down while moving the mouse so the cursor points to the flash drive shown on the screen. Release the left mouse button and the files will start transferring.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Windows 8 Start Menu Replacement

I'm about to buy a new desktop computer with Win8 and a large monitor. Large touch screen monitors (27") are very expensive and probably cumbersome to physically navigate on so I'm thinking about using a third party "Start menu replacement" program and a normal large monitor with a mouse. There are several programs available, some free others at a small cost. Does anyone have a recommendation?

Windows Re-Install

Answer Man

My computer system got corrupted and I want to re-install Windows. Are there any special things I should know before I start the process?

A re-install wipes the drive, so back-up all your critical files before you begin the process. You will have to have the product activation code, and will have to enter it in the space provided. Drivers for networking and screen display will probably have to be downloaded from the manufacturer's web site.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What is Product Activation

Answer Man

I tried to install Windows on my computer, and a pop up requested the product activation code. What is that?

Microsoft instituted the product activation code to stop software piracy. Whenever you install Windows you will be requested to enter the 25 character code. The code appears on a sticker that is pasted on the bottom, rear or side of your computer. No other code will work. Windows might install, but you will be nagged constantly to enter the activation code. When the correct code is typed in, you will receive a message indicating that the product has been activated.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Executive Board Minutes - March 8, 2013

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Members in attendance: Elliott Bogart, Ron Kenyon, Bob Norton, Laura Stein, Linda Tingley, and Carol Norton.  

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. No corrections or additions necessary. 

Laura Stein, Treasurer, reported a balance of $1,518.98.

Laura Stein reported on the status of the bank imposing a $12 service charge to the club’s account. A minimum balance of $1500.00 must be maintained to avoid the charge. It was decided to investigate other banking/credit union institutions as a possible replacement.

It was the decision of the Board to continue giving a gift card from the Blog this month but eventually will be fazed out until later in the year. 

Ron Kenyon reported the original paper form used for submission to Decca’s Channel 12 will be discontinued on the website. All future submissions should be submitted via email and not in all caps. DECCA will still allow paper forms for those without computers but would prefer email submission.

Upcoming Programs: Mar 20 – Shawn Hoff, Systems Support Manager for the City of Ocala’s Office of Information Technology, will present a program on cyber technology; Apr 17 – Grant Booth, Systems Support Manager for the City of Ocala’s Office of Information Technology, will present a program on the open source software and technologies; May 15 – Douglas Day, Senior Systems Analyst for the City of Ocala will present a program on Tablets, Internet, finding help and learning how to use the devices; June 19 – TBA.  Future programs are being researched and will be announced at a later date. 

The meeting adjourned at 9:30 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton                                    

Backup Methods

Answer Man

Would you discuss various ways to backup computer info?

The easiest way to backup is to use a flash drive. You can drag the info or photos to the drive. You can also burn a CD or DVD, however, newer flash drives  hold much more info than even the largest DVDs. Many people use outboard drives, which hold the most information. Newer outboard drives hold 2 Terabytes of info or more. Your choice depends upon how much info you need to store.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Object Error

Answer Man

Recently my computer has been displaying an Object Error Message whenever I use Internet Explorer. The message locks the screen and the only way I can do anything is by shutting down the computer with the power switch. What's wrong with my computer?

There probably is a defective add-on attached to the browser. To get out of the Object Error screen, hold down CTRL, ALT and DEL keys all together. Then click to End Task. Click on the Tools menu in the browser, then on the Programs tab and then on Manage Add-Ons. Click to disable add-ons one by one until you find that you can open the browser without getting the Object Error message.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Alternative Web Browsers

Answer Man

I use Internet Explorer to search the Internet. Is there a better browser?

90% of all computer users use one of four browsers: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Fire Fox, Google Chrome or Safari. However there are dozens of other browsers out there. Browsers are free. You can download them and have many on your desktop. One advantage of having more than one browser is that you can have each open up to a different site. You might have one open to Yahoo Mail, another open to Decca Mail, and still another to your stock broker's website. Some browsers are faster than others. Some have special blocking features. I suggest you try a few to see what you like.

Here's a list of a few alternative browsers: Arora, Camino, Flock, K-Meleon, Maxthon, Palemoon, Amaya, Stainless, Sea Monkey, Lumascape, and Midori.

Monday, March 11, 2013

World Community Grid

Answer Man

I recall that you said that you let some organization share your computer for world good such as helping research cancer.  Do you still use your computer for that purpose?

Yes I do, and have done so for many years.  The organization is: World Community Grid .  The organization supports many projects.  I suggest you visit their web site to learn what they do and to learn  how you can participate.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Activating Windows

Answer Man

My computer acted up, so I wiped the machine clean and installed a copy of Windows 7 someone had given me. Then I clicked Start, and right-clicked Computer and selected Properties. The View Basic Information About Your Computer screen shows a statement about only 3 days left for activation. What do I do now?

Microsoft wants to ensure that the copy of Windows is legitimate. Click where it tells you to activate now. Have your computer ready and dial the number on the screen. An automated voice will guide you through the process. It's quite involved. First, you read a series of numbers that appears on your screen. Then the robot verifies the version of Windows that is legitimate for your computer. Then, the robot reads many groups of numbers that you must enter into your computer. If everything works correctly, your computer screen will let you know that Windows has been activated correctly.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Virus Removal

Answer Man

What's the easiest way to get rid of a computer virus?

The easiest way may not work all of the time, but I find that if you restore the computer to a time before you got the virus, you often can cure the problem with minimal effort.

If you are using Windows Vista or 7, click Start. In the search box that appears just above the start button, type System Restore. Click on System Restore up above the search box. Wait a couple of minutes until a new window appears. Click Next, and follow the directions that appear. In Windows XP, click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools and then System Restore and follow directions.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lost Icons

Answer Man

I don't know what I did to my computer, but suddenly, all the icons disappeared from the desktop. What can I do to bring them back?

Right click on a blank space on the desktop. Click View and then Show desktop icons. If that doesn't solve the problem, right click on the desktop, click Personalize, click Change Desktop Icons, Click Restore Default, click OK.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Answer Man

I keep seeing references to Android. What is Android?

Android is a Linux-based open source operating system developed by a firm called Android, financially backed by Google and then purchased by Google. It is used in most tablets and cell phones. Other Linux based operating systems that you may know about are: Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, Red Hat and Mandrake. Open source means that the software is free and anyone may contribute to its development.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How do I perform a backup?

Answer Man

How can I back up my files?

There are many ways to back up your files. You can copy files from one area of the hard drive to another, create a CD or DVD, copy to an outboard drive or copy to a flash drive.

Copying to a flash drive is simple but effective. Let's suppose we want to have a backup of one photograph on the hard drive. Select the photo with a left mouse click. Hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and the letter "C" to copy the photo. Click Start, Computer and the letter by the flash drive. Hold down the CTRL key and press the letter "V". You will have a backup of one photo.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Image vs. files and folders back-up

Answer Man

What is the difference between an image back-up and a files and folders back-up?

We normally think of an image as a snapshot of the entire hard drive. That includes, files, folders, operating system and programs. If your hard drive should fail, a back-up image can be transferred to a replacement hard drive, thus avoiding having to load each program and copy all the files.

A files and folders back-up can be as small as one file. Most often, users back-up their documents folder and perhaps their pictures folder. If their hard drive should quit, all of the programs, the operating system, drivers, etc. will have to be re-installed on the new drive.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What is a computer Trojan?

Answer Man

I know what the Trojan Horse was in Greek mythology. What is a Trojan in a computer?

A computer trojan is a type of virus that may hitch a ride in e-mails, and may appear to have done nothing, however, according to the Kapersky anti-virus folks:

"The affects of a trojan virus can vary; some trojans are simply a nuisance and do mischief like changing your desktop icons or changing other visual features. Other trojans are designed to destroy computer files, folders and programs. Trojans also may create backdoors. A backdoor virus gives hackers access to that computer. In this way, cyber criminals can obtain your personal and confidential data".

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Windows 8 Apps

Answer Man

I installed Windows 8 without difficulty, but several of my apps will not open. What's wrong?

You probably do not have video display drivers for Windows 8. See if you can download them for your display.    

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Secure Passwords

Answer Man

What's the best way to create a secure password?

Make up a sentence that you will remember. The sentence should contain a symbol, a number, at least one capital letter and some lowercase letters. Let's suppose the sentence is: I live at # 10 Downing St. Now, use the first letter of each word so that the password becomes Ila#10DS. The longer the password, the more difficult it will be for hackers to decode. Avoid passwords that are simple known words such as: Password, Puzzle, Computer or easily guessed numbers such as 123.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Stolen Address Book

Answer Man

Somebody got into my Yahoo address book and is sending mail to everyone on my list, and the e-mails appear as though they came from me. What should I do?

Immediately change your Yahoo password, and any other passwords. You want to prevent the crook from getting into your bank accounts, stock accounts and other personal information.

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