Saturday, February 28, 2015

Find the source

Answer Man

I have tried several times to download a program, and each time I tried the source want me to click on some kind of downloader program. What gives?

The problem you encountered occurred because you were not at the true source for the program. Other sites want to collect advertising info from you and they can do that with their priority downloader programs. If, for example, you want to download the program Ccleaner, which is available from the host (Piriform), but you happened to click on the program from CNet or Sourceforge, you will be asked to use a downloader. Always try to locate the true source of a program you wish to download.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Learn Computing

Answer Man

Can you suggest a good book I could read to learn computing?

I think that computing is such a vast subject that you would probably just confuse yourself by trying to read one. On the other hand, if you use a book as a reference and only refer to it when you encounter a problem, you will probably reap greater benefits. My suggestion is that you use the Internet as your book, and as you encounter problems, search for the answer. In that way, you will incrementally build your computer knowledge.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Web-based Email

Answer Man

I'm confused. What email providers are web-based?

There is quite a bit of confusion over the subject, but all email is originally web based. You may, however, use a program within your browser that downloads the email to your computer. The original may stay on the email provider's server or may be erased after the download.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No scan software

Answer Man

I would like to use my printer as a scanner, but I don't have any scan software. Can you suggest any?

Most Windows version contain a program call Windows Fax and Scan. Just type Windows Fax and Scan in the Windows search box. Open the program, turn on your printer, place the object to be scanned face down on the glass and select Scan in the Fax and Scan program.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Easiest Backup

Answer Man

I need to back up my computer documents and pictures. What is the easiest, least expensive method?

You can purchase a 32 GB flash drive for approximately $15. Insert the drive and then copy and paste the files to the drive.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The best computer?

Answer Man

I have never owned a computer and want your suggestion as to the best one to get.

Wow! That's like saying I want a new car, which should I buy? Of course the answer depends upon several factors: How much do you want to spend? Do you need a computer that is light weight and portable? How important is the screen size? Are you a touch typist and want a full sized keyboard? What features are important to you (wireless, built in camera, TV connectivity). Talk to many computer users and have them tell you what they like and don't like about their computers. Remember, whatever you choose will be a compromise. A Rolls Royce doesn't fit all circumstances.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Answer Man

Can you tell me anything about Cortana, the new Windows 10 voice search program?

Cortana is billed as a "Personal Assistant". If you speak into a microphone connected to your computer and say "Hey Cortana", a voice will answer to help you in your search. If, for example, you say "Hey Cortana, can you sing a song", Cortana may respond with something like the following:

"I'd be glad to sing a song for you; Oh Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes are calling."

If you ask Cortana where you can find Thailand, she will probably upload a map to the screen. Some people may see Cortana as a gimmick, but it can provide some great search capability.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

OS for old computer

Answer Man

Someone gave me an old computer that uses Windows XP. The computer is so slow it puts me to sleep. Can you suggest a free OS that will speed up the machine?

I suggest you install Linux Mint 10, The OS is very much like Windows and works well with old machines. Download the ISO file to your computer. Then download a disk burning program such as Burn the file to a DVD by selecting image in the burnaware software.

Insert the finished software in the DVD drive of your XP machine and re-start the machine. Mint will install.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Print from cell phone

Answer Man

Is there any way I can print from my cell phone?

Yes there is. Download the free App from Hammermill
You may choose either iOS or Android.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Increase your computer knowledge

Answer Man

Do you know of a good computer book that I can use to become more proficient with my computer?

I generally tell people that they should only use computer books as references to solve particular problems. Reading an entire book on computers could be highly confusing. I suggest, instead that you subscribe to some of the free computer help sources on-line. Here are two that I think you will find very helpful:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Windows 10 Preview

Answer Man

You said that you have been using the Windows 10 Preview for some time. Do you think it will be a good operating system?

I have used many operating systems over the years and I have never encountered one I didn't like. However, if I had to rank them, I would put Windows ME (Millenium) at the bottom of the pile and the new Windows 10 at the top. I would put Windows 8.1 in 2nd place, Linux Mint in 3rd place and Windows 7 in 4th. I would give Ubuntu honorable mention.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Improve old computer

Answer Man

I have an old XP computer.  I would like to put another operating system on the machine. I tried to install Linux Mint 17 on the computer, but it just wouldn't work. Do you know of any way I might install another operating system?

Many old machines will not run on new operating systems. The secret is to look for older editions of the systems. You might try Linux Mint 13 or Ubuntu 9.04. I have found that these editions will work on almost any old computer.

Monday, February 16, 2015

eBay product not received

Answer Man

I purchased a product on eBay through PayPal. The product was never shipped. I tried, online to use the eBay resolution center, but found it too confusing. Do you know any way I can talk to a person at eBay?

You can call the resolution center at 866-540-3229.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Listen to Cortana

Answer Man

I installed the Windows 10 Preview on an old computer, and I know that the software contains a voice search assistant called "Cortana". I would like to try Cortana, but I don't have a microphone. Can you suggest an inexpensive source for a microphone that will work for that purpose.

Here's a source for a mike that costs just about $8.00 including shipping:

You might also use headphones with a boom mike or a video cam with a built in microphone. However, both options will be quite a bit higher in price.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Executive Board Minutes, 2-13-15

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
February 13, 2015

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9AM. Members in attendance: Billy Balch, Richard Bambridge, Lawrence Bauer, Elliott Bogart, Frazer Crane, Ron Kenyon, Alan Marcus, Bob Norton, Carol Norton, and Linda Tingley.

Secretary’s report read by Carol Norton. Minor correction to paragraph four in last month’s minutes.

Bob Norton gave the treasurer’s report. The current balance is $2,083.77.

At the general meeting, February 18, Nick Burke will give a presentation, “Shopping on the Internet.”

On March 18 at the general meeting, several club members will give short presentations on their favorite programs. For example: Classic Shelf, Glary Utilities, iPlayer, and Partioning.

A Trivia Quiz is being considered for April 15.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol H. Norton

Half the screen display visible

Answer Man

I installed a new program and now I can only see half the screen. Is there a way to fix the problem?

Click Start, Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization and Display. Left click in the box for the size of the display you'd like. You can also change the size of the font from the same screen.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tech Support phone scam

Answer Man

I was called by someone who said he was from Microsoft Tech Support. He said I have many problems with my computer. How could he know that?

He can't. The only way a caller could know that you have computer problems is if you give him access to your computer. Often, the callers will use a legitimate program called "Team Viewer" which can be used to connect to your computer remotely. Please read the following information from Microsoft to learn about the scam and how you can protect yourself.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

High performance

Answer Man

I have been told that there is a way to boost the speed of a computer by simply checking a box. Have you ever heard of that?

Yes I have. Here's how: Click Start, Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Power Options. Then click in the box by High Performance.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Windows 10 requirements

Answer Man

I would like to try the preview of Windows 10, but I don't know if my computer has the minimum requirements. Do you know what they are?

  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2

I installed Windows 10 on an old netbook and found that it took almost 10 GB just for the operating system.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Install OS from flash

Answer Man

I have a netbook that has no CD/DVD drive. I want to install a new operating system in the computer. How can I do that?

You can install the new OS from a flash drive. First, download the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool from Then look for your OS download on the Internet and download the IOS version. Insert the flashdrive in a USB port. Click on the download tool. Browse to the new IOS file and click "Next". When the program is finished, you'll have a flash drive that can be used to install the OS on any computer.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Blue square in Gmail

Answer Man

I have a problem that is driving me crazy. A blue square appears in Gmail and goes everywhere I click. How do I get rid of the darn thing? I'm using Windows 8.1.

At some period you must have clicked to turn on Google Voice. You need to go to the start (tiles) menu and type the word "Voice". Then click on "Change the narrator voice". Scroll down to Cursor and Keys and click in the square to turn "Highlight the Cursor" to off. Return to your Gmail. The square should be gone.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

American Megatrends pop-up

Answer Man

Whenever I start my computer I see a pop-up about American Megatrends. It instructs the user to push F1 to boot from a network. When I do, the pop-up comes right back. Is this some kind of dangerous virus?

No, it is not a virus. American Megatrends manufactures computer chips and probably created the BIOS (start-up info and settings) for your computer. The pop-up usually appears when the small watch-like battery on the motherboard fails. A good indication of failure is if the clock on the computer keeps losing time. The battery is a little larger than a nickel and can be found on the motherboard. Remove the battery and buy a replacement at Walmart. It should cost about $3.50. After you replace the battery, reset the time and the time zone. The pop-up should disappear.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

News About iPad Clones

Nokia recently unveiled a snazzy new Android tablet that looked suspiciously like the iPad mini. Now, Chinese company Onda has done one better with a dual-booting iPad Air knockoff that offers high-end specs at competitive price.

The Onda V919 3G Air features a sleek aluminum design and a 9.7-inch display with resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels (same as the iPad Air 2). It also packs a 64-bit Intel quad core processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with microSD support for up to 128GB of additional storage, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and 3G connectivity.

Switching between Android 4.4 KitKat (sorry, no Lollipop here) and Windows 8.1 on the new tablet is as simple as pressing a button on the device. It’s also nice to see dual-booting devices making a comeback after earlier efforts were seemingly blocked by both Microsoft and Google.

So how much would you expect to pay for all that? The Onda V919 3G is available to order online for as little as ¥ 1,199.00 ($193), putting most other full-sized tablets to shame. Of course, there’s still a lot we don’t know about Onda’s new device—battery life, for instance—though from a distance this looks like a pretty great deal.

Non PAE computers

Answer Man

I tried to install Linux Mint 17 on an old computer and received a message indicating that I could not install Mint because of a non-pae kernal. What the heck are they talking about?

The CPU in older computers could not access more than 4 GB of memory. PAE (Physical address extension) enabled computers can access over 4 GB.

All new computers have PAE and will therefore accept Mint 17. Earlier versions of Mint (versions 13 and lower) will work with the older CPU computers.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Move contacts from Yahoo to Outlook

Answer Man

I want to move my contacts from Yahoo to Outlook. How can I do that?

Open Yahoo Mail. Click on the "Contacts" icon. Click on "Actions". Select "Export" and then Microsoft Outlook.

Those of you who want to switch between other email providers should export the contacts as a CSV file (comma separated values). Then use your new provider to import the file.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Computer running slow

Answer Man

My computer is running painfully slow. What can be wrong?

There can be many causes. Here's a site with one of the best lists of causes I've seen.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stuck in safe mode

Answer Man

My computer is stuck in Safe Mode. I have tried re-starting the machine to no avail. Help!!!

Type msconfig in the computer's search box. Then press the Enter key on the keyboard. Click on the Boot tab. Uncheck the box next to Safe Mode. Reboot the computer.

If the procedure written above doesn't solve the problem, it may be time to reinstall the operating system.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Amazon Echo

Answer Man

You demonstrated a device called the "Amazon Echo" at a recent club meeting. At that time, the product was not available to the public. Did you ever find out when it would be available?

Here's the response I recently received from Amazon.
Dear Amazon Customer,

We're excited to offer you an invitation to purchase Amazon Echo.

We hope you'll have as much fun using it as we did inventing it. By accepting this invitation, you will be one of the first customers to use Echo, and we appreciate your input to help shape Echo as it evolves.

To accept this invitation, go to the Amazon Echo page, add to cart, and purchase as usual. Due to strong customer response, new orders may take several months to ship. You will receive a delivery confirmation when your order is ready to ship.

The Amazon Echo Team
How long is my invitation valid? Due to the high number of requests, invitations expire after seven days.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Back-up to flash drive

Answer Man

I would like to back-up to a flash drive, but I have hundreds of photos on my computer. Will a flash drive be big enough to hold the photos?

Of course it depends upon the capacity of the flash drive, but here's a rough guide: A 32 GB flash drive will hold approximately 22,900 pictures. A 64 GB drive will hold approximately 45,900 photos.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Adobe updates

Answer Man

I often have pop-ups on my computer screen that want me to update Adobe. Should I update?

You should update, but be careful when you do. I generally ignore the pop-ups and go right to the source. Thus, you would close the pop-up and go to to download the update. However, even at the main site you must be careful that you don't download unwanted bloatware. Adobe likes to add McAfee to your computer. If you don't want McAfee, uncheck the box before McAfee.

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