Monday, September 30, 2013


Answer Man

Please name some common browsers and let me know if they are free?

Common browsers include: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Safari. All are free, and you can have several on your desktop and have them all open to different starting pages if you like.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Old XP machine

Answer Man

I hear that as of April 8 that Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. What should I do with my XP machine?

You can continue to use it, but there will be no updates available for the operating system. That means that the computer is much more open to viruses and malware. I would download Linux Mint and install that on the machine.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Answer Man

I have been reading about ransomware and know that it may completely lock up a computer. Is there anything I can do to prepare for the day when my computer will be locked up?

Before your computer gets the ransomware, navigate to the following site:

Download the correct version for your computer (32 bit or 64 bit). Insert a blank CD and follow the on-screen directions. If you do get the ransomware, insert the CD in the CD drive and re-start your computer. Follow the directions given.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The end of Windows XP?

Answer Man

I understand that as of April 8th, 2014 that Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. Does that mean my computer will stop working then?

Your computer will continue to work, but no updates to the program will be provided. Security updates are of the most concern. If you plan to continue to use XP, make certain that you have a non-microsoft security program in place. AVG and Avast are two free anti-virus programs that should work for you. Links to those programs are provided in this blog.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Web based email

Answer Man

I use Yahoo mail. and my computer just quit. I will have to buy a new computer. Have I lost all of my emails?

Yahoo mail, like most other email programs are web-based. That means that your email resides on Yahoo's computers (servers). You can access your mail from almost anywhere in the world from any computer. So, buy your new computer, search for Yahoo. Enter your name and your password, and you will have access to all of your email.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Boot sequence

Answer Man

My new printer instructions tell me to boot the computer with the driver disk in the DVD drive. I tried that, but the computer just starts normally. How do I get the computer to see the driver disk?

You need to change the boot sequence of the computer so that the DVD drive boots before the hard drive. To do that, you need to press the correct key at start up to bring up the boot menu. The key used to bring up the bios menu varies from computer to computer but is usually one of the following: ESC, DEL, F2, or F10. When the bios menu appears, navigate to Boot Menu and follow the directions on the screen to have the DVD drive boot first.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Function key lock

Answer Man

I pressed the F8 key on the keyboard to put the computer into safe mode, but nothing happened. Am I doing something wrong?

Some keyboards have a key labeled "Function Lock". It is used so you don't have to hold down the FN key when you want a special function. If you press the key once, it will take the computer out of the lock position and the regular function keys, such as the F8 for safe mode, should work.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My pictures vanish

Answer Man

I just purchased a digital camera. I took the pictures and inserted the camera card into the computer and could see the pictures, but when I removed the card, all of the pictures disappeared. What am I doing wrong?

What you are doing is correct so far, but if you want the pictures to be in the computer, you have to save them to the computer. One easy way to do that is to press CTRL and A on the keyboard at the same time. That will select all of the photos. Then open the pictures folder and press CTRL and V on the keyboard to save the pictures. Then you can remove the camera card and you will have a copy of the pictures in the computer.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Virus warning

Answer Man

I receive many e-mails from friends. When I click on the attachments, they don't open. A pop-up says that a virus is suspected, and the attachment will not open. Is something wrong with my e-mail program?

What you are seeing is a sign that your anti-virus programs are working and are protecting your computer. Get back to your friends and tell them that they are sending out malicious stuff. Suggest that they stop forwarding messages with multiple addresses and that they do virus scans of their computers. You should also do a scan with your anti-virus program.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Only a cursor appears on the screen

Answer Man

I turned on my computer and all that appears on the screen is the cursor arrow. I can move it around, but Windows never starts. I can do a soft boot (CTRL, ALT and DEL) but the same cursor appears when the computer boots again. What can I do to rectify the situation?

Try starting the computer from your Windows restore disk. You will be given the option to repair the installation. Try that. If that doesn't work, you may have to re-install the operating system.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Flash drives for backups

Answer Man

How can I backup everything on my computer with a flash drive?

You can use a flash drive to back-up documents, pictures, music, downloaded items and videos, but you can't backup programs. If you could, they could be copied from computer to computer and that would inhibit sales. There are two ways to back-up. You can drag the files from one drive to another, or you can cut and paste those files.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Can You Do This With Your iPad?

During the Sept. 18 Computer Club meeting Alan Marcus displayed an amazing 3min and 24sec video.

You'll want to move to Stockholm after you see this ingenious presentation. Two magicians use iPads and illusions to plug the Swedish capital.

some text and video link - Kim Kamando

How do I know if a virus is present?

Answer Man

What are some signs that a virus is present in my computer?

You may see pop-ups when the browser hasn't been started.  Messages may be sent from your e-mail address that you didn't originate.  You may be locked out of performing any action on your computer.  You may receive a warning notice that your computer is infected by a virus and you must pay to have it removed. Files may begin to disappear.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

FBI Virus

Answer Man

My computer is completely locked up. A message on the screen says something about an FBI warning and that I have to send a $300 money order to the address listed to free up my computer. I have tried everything to get out of the screen but have been unable to. Any suggestions?

The warning you received is an example of a Trojan that installs ransom ware. If you can't restore the computer to an earlier point, you will probably have to re-install the operating system to rid the computer of that insidious program.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wireless Adapters

Answer Man

What does it cost to make a computer able to receive wireless?

Wireless adapters that plug into USB ports are available on line for as little as $1.50 including shipping.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Answer Man

Are Skype calls free?

If both the caller and recipient have Skype and are active at the same time, the calls can be made for free. However, if a call is made by dialing a number rather than clicking on a video or audio call icon, there is a charge.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Answer Man

I see that many new computers come with an HDMI port. What's it for?

HDMI cables combine audio and sound so that you can connect both with just one cable. Many people like to connect their laptops via HDMI to their HDMI enabled TV's so computer programs can be seen and heard on a larger screen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Answer Man

My computer keeps getting toolbars that I didn't ask for.  How do I get them?

In most cases they come bundled with legitimate programs.  For example, the Ask Toolbar comes with downloads of Adobe Reader.  If you read carefully, you will find that in most cases you can opt out of toolbars.  You can stop downloads from making Bing your default browser, and you can  stop programs from being put in the Start Menu.  Read carefully whenever you download anything.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Printing costs

Answer Man

Printing costs are about to eat me alive. What can I do about the prices?

I suggest that you purchase two printers. Frequently, local stores advertise a Brother laser printer for $59, and all-in-one inkjet printers for $30. Use the laser for most of your printing. Costs are approximately 1 cent per page vs. 8 cents for inkjets. Only use the inkjet when you must have color prints.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Buying on-line

Answer Man

I have never bought anything on line. Is it safe to use a credit card?

It's the safest way to go. If the product isn't delivered, is defective or if you are scammed in some manner, the credit card company will normally make good. Do not, under any circumstances, forward money with a money order.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Should I buy an outboard DVD?

Answer Man

The DVD in my laptop quit working. Do you think I should get a replacement or get an outboard DVD drive?

I suggest that you don't do either. Many new laptops are being sold without DVD drives because flash drives hold so much more information. It used to be that you had to have a DVD to install all hardware, but that is rapidly changing. I just installed a new router that came without any external installation software. It was built in to the device.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Update stops

Answer Man

My computer often says that it is in the middle of an update or configuration and shouldn't be shutdown, but on occasion it just freezes and stays that way for hours. What should I do?

Unfortunately, you have no choice other than turning off the machine. You can do that by holding in the on-off button for approximately 8 seconds. The computer may balk and re-start in safe mode, but you can always start it again in normal mode.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Eliminate Pop-up ads in Google Chrome

Answer Man

Is there any way to stop pop-up ads in Google Chrome?

Click on the the three horizontal bar icon at the top right in Google Chrome. It is labeled Customize and control Google Chrome. Click Settings. Click Show Advanced Settings. Click Privacy. Click the box labeled Content Settings. Click Cookies. Place a check in the box labeled Block third party cookies and settings.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Trouble Downloading

I tried downloading "should I remove it" and when I open the file I get a message asking to search the internet for software that can open your file.

Why am I getting this message, and what can I do to correct this problem. Thanks

Windows 8.1

Answer Man

I've heard that Microsoft will supply Windows 8.1 free to users of Windows 8. Is that true?

Yes it is true. The scheduled release date is next month on October 18th. However, you may wish to wait a few days after that as thousands of users will be trying to download the new version on the 18th.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Removing Programs

Answer Man

There are dozens of programs in my computer. I don't know whether they are useful or not. Is there some way to determine whether they're worth keeping?

I suggest that you download and install the program "Should I Remove It" at The program lists all programs installed on your computer and shows what percentage of the program users think the program is worthwhile. You can uninstall any that you wish to remove.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Answer Man

My computer is running very hot. I vacuumed out the fan and the inside of the machine, but that didn't seem to solve the problem. Any suggestions.

I have found that vacuuming doesn't get all of the dirt. Use a compressed air can behind the heat sink and in the fan cavity. I think you will be surprised at how much dirt will come out.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Backup to flash drive

Answer Man

Is there an easy way to backup files to a flash drive?

Insert the flash drive into a USB port.. A window will open showing the drive letter and there will be a list of files present on the drive. Open the folder containing the items you want copied. Let's assume that it is a photo in the folder my pictures. Find the photo you want to copy and drag it over to the blank space on the flash drive.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Essential Programs

Answer Man

Are there any computer programs that you consider essential to use to keep a computer running well?

First, and most important is a good anti-virus program. All of the following are good free choices: AVG, Avast, Microsoft Security Essentials (contains Bid Defender). Other essential programs are Malwarebytes, Spybot Search and Destroy and CCleaner. I recently ran Malwarebytes on a club member's computer. The program discovered 870 items of malware on his computer and then cleaned the machine until there were no incidents of malware.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Homemade greeting cards

Answer Man

I know that some people make greeting cards at home, however, the greeting card sets, which consist of card stock and envelopes, seem awfully expensive. Have you any suggestions for a cheaper alternative?

You can purchase blank inexpensive cardstock and envelopes separately. I recently saw a package of 250 pieces of cardstock at Sam's Club for under $8. Look for 65 lb stock, not the 110 lb that is often sold. Purchase envelopes from Staples or Office Depot. I use The Printshop program to design the cards and then print them on an inkjet printer.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Photo Editor

Answer Man

I'm looking for an inexpensive photo editor to do simple things like cropping. Have you any suggestions?

Try It's free and easy to use. Just drag your photo on to the editing service and crop away.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Can't access the Internet

Answer Man

My computer was working fine, but now I can't get on the Internet. Is something wrong with my computer?

Your computer is probably fine. Failure to access the Internet may have several causes. Your modem or router may need to be re-set (unplugged and, after a few minutes, plugged back in). The Internet Provider's server may be down. The site you are attempting to access may not be working. Try the modem re-set first. If that doesn't work, contact the Internet provider to see if their service is down.

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