Thursday, April 30, 2015

Starting a family tree

Answer Man

I have been thinking about getting into genealogy. Can you suggest a free program that I might use to get my feet wet?

There are dozens of programs out there that might fit your purpose. Here's one called My Family Tree that is user friendly, If, at a later date, you decide to buy a more powerful program, you can always export your data to the new program.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WPS Files

Answer Man

I used to use Microsoft Works and have several files with their WPS extension. My new computer doesn't have Works. Is there any way I can open the old documents?

You can open old Works files with Word Pad or LibreOffice. Word Pad is built into most versions of Windows.

If you can't find it, you can always download LibreOffice (

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Back up files Windows 8.1

Answer Man

I never backed-up files on my Windows 8.1 computer. Have you any back-up suggestions?

Windows 8.1 has an excellent back-up system called File History. Just type the words File History anywhere on the start screen. Connect your back-up drive and click Save Your Back-Up Files with File History.

Remember to check the back-up drive after the back-up to ensure the information is there. I have worked with several people recently who thought their files were backed-up. You can imagine their surprise when the computer crashed and there was no valid back-up.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Write on the screen with Spartan

Answer Man

I understand that you can use a mouse to write on the screen in Windows 10. How do you accomplish that feat?

You must click on the new Spartan browser. Then a small icon that looks like a pencil will appear in the upper right of the screen. Click on the pencil and then try clicking on the blue colored icon in the upper left. Hold down the left mouse button and write.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

File History back-up

Answer Man

I know that Windows 8 and 8.1 have some sort of back up utility called File History. Can you explain how I can use the program to create a back-up?

Connect your back-up drive to your computer. Type "File History" in a blank space on the start screen. Click on "Save back-up copies of your files with file history". Then click "Run Now". The first time you use File History it will take several minutes to complete. Subsequent runs will complete very fast. When the words "Run Now" appear again, the back-up is complete, and you can end the program.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Buying a new computer

Answer Man

I would like to purchase a new computer. I only use one for email and an occasional Internet search. What specs are important?

You can use almost any computer to accomplish what you want. Less expensive computers will be somewhat slower, but if you're not in a hurry, most any computer will do. I would think you could buy what you need in the $250-$350 dollar range. My only caveat is that I don't think I'd buy a computer if the brand is unfamiliar to you.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Comparing cruise ship prices

Answer Man

I like cruising, but I have great trouble trying to find a bargain. Have you any suggestions?

I have taken 27 cruises, and I can tell you that you will seldom find a bargain. I receive dozens of mailings from agents and cruise companies, and I find that the prices are almost always the same no matter the source. You may, however, be able to get a very good price for a cruise if you find one that the lines are having difficulty filling. Those cruises may be sailing within two or three weeks. You will have to be willing to sail on very short notice. Check out 'Vacations To Go' ( and navigate to their 90 day specials. The prices won't be any better than elsewhere, but you will quickly spot reduced prices.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

Answer Man

I understand that Windows 10 will be free to those whose computers are now running Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. Would you advise upgrading?

Yes I would. Microsoft is attempting to move everyone to Windows 10. If you upgrade, you can be assured of long term support. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8th. Windows 10 is faster than previous versions and has many new features that I think you will like.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kindle Fire HD Review

Answer Man

I am thinking of purchasing a Kindle Fire HD. The reviews seem to vary greatly. Have you any comments?

The Kindle works well. My only criticism is that they put the power button in the back of the device. If you keep the Kindle in a folio, as many people do, it is a pain in the rear to turn the device on. Perhaps Amazon will be smart enough to put the button on the front in future models.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What is my home worth?

Answer Man

I'm thinking of selling my home.  I understand there is a web site where you can get a good estimate of the home's worth. Can you tell me the site?

I think you are talking about Zillow, The site will give you a rough idea of your home's worth and the worth of neighboring homes.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Running Windows 10 on an old computer

Answer Man

I would like to run Windows 10 Preview on an old computer. Do you think I will be able to?

If your computer meets the minimum requirements for the program, it may work. Those requirements include 1 GB of RAM (for 32 bit machines), at least 16 GB of free hard drive space and a fairly good graphic's card. I installed Windows 10 on 5 old computers. The program ran fine on 4 of the 5. It ran on the 5th computer, but the operation was so slow that it put you to sleep.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Genealogy program too costly

Answer Man

I recently became interested in genealogy, and it seems that to do a good job of researching my family I must have access to I looked at their site, but the cost is prohibitive for me. Do you know any way I can use it without incurring the high cost?

The Marion county library has the Ancestry database, and you can access it (but only when you are in the library). Your time on the computer is limited to 30 minutes, which isn't much time. I have found, however, that the library will keep increasing that time if few people are using the computers. I recently was on for over an hour.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Print too small

Answer Man

I use Internet Explorer to go on the Internet. When I print an Internet page, the print is so small I can hardly read anything. Is there something wrong with my printer?

It sounds as though the settings in Internet Explorer need adjusting. Open Internet Explorer. Click on the gear icon in the upper right. Select Print and then Print Preview. Near the top of the screen you will no doubt see the words Shrink to Fit. Click on the drop down arrow at the right of the words and pick a percentage. Try printing. If the print isn't large enough, choose a higher percentage. The only problem you may encounter is that you will not now see all of the words on the page.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Backup space need

Answer Man

I want to purchase a flash drive to backup my files. Is there a way for me to determine what size drive I need?

Most people backup Documents, Pictures and Download folders. You can determine how much space those folders are currently using by clicking Start, Computer, Libraries and then right clicking on each of the above mentioned folders and choosing properties.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Will Windows 10 work on my computer?

Answer Man

How do I know if Windows 10 will work on my old computer?

If your computer is currently running Windows 8 or 8.1, you are good to go. If you are running Windows 7, check to see if you have the following minimum requirements: 1 GHz processor or faster, 1 GB of RAM if using a 32 bit system, 2 GB of RAM if using a 64 bit system. Some computers with very old graphics cards may not permit the running of Windows 10.

You can check to see the processor speed, RAM and whether your system is 32 or 64 bit by clicking Start, and right clicking on Computer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Anti-virus causing problems

Answer Man

I subscribe to Norton Anti-Virus, but the subscription is up in seven days, so I installed Avast anti-virus. As soon as I did, the computer froze. Now all I have is a black screen and a white cursor arrow. I tried restarting the computer but it came right back to the same screen. Is there anything I can do?

You encountered the problem because you can't have two anti-virus programs in the same computer. One program thinks the other program is a virus.

Start the computer and press F8 on the keyboard as soon as you see the manufacturer's logo. Select "Last known good configuration". The computer should reboot and work well. If it doesn't, you will need to have the operating system disk, and will have to insert it in the drive when prompted.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Loan Amazon books

Answer Man

I bought a book on Amazon that I finished reading. I understand there is a way to loan the book to a friend. Can you tell me how to do it?

Go to Sign in to your Amazon account. Click on "Mange your content". Select the book you'd like to learn. Click Actions. Click "Loan this title". Type in the recipient's e-mail address. Type in a message to the recipient. Click "Send Now". The recipient will receive your message and a link to acquire the book. After two weeks, the book will revert back to your account.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Recovery drive for Windows 8.1

Answer Man

I know that computer users should create disks used to recover the operating system when their computers fail. I have Windows 8.1, and the procedure to create an ISO and write it to disk seems too complicated for me. Can you suggest an easier route?

Here's a procedure that's as simple as it can get: Buy a flash drive that is at least 4 GB in size. Insert it into a USB port. Click on the following link: Scroll down the page and click "Create Media". Then just follow the instructions. The process will take a long time to complete, but that's all you have to do.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Create flash cards for cell phone

Answer Man

I like to learn new subjects, and I find that I learn well by using flash cards. Do you know of any app that would let me create customized flash cards?

Here's a great program that includes an app. Click on the link below and click "Create a set". You will be asked to sign in. They will try to sell you the paid version, but you can opt out of that.

If you would like to see what a customized set looks like, click the second link to see cards I selected for learning about plastics. If you want to access the site from your phone, you can select mobile apps.

Use the search box at the top of the quizlet page to see flash cards that others have created and that you can use.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Delete windows.old

Answer Man

I have a computer with a very small solid state drive, so space is very important to me. Is there a way I can delete the windows.old file to make some more room on the drive?

To remove windows.old (previous version of windows), click Start, Computer (or This PC on later Window versions). Right click on the C drive. Left click on Properties. Click Clean-up and then Clean up System Files. Wait for the program to run. You will be presented with a list of items to clean up. Scroll down until you see Windows.old and click OK.

Friday, April 10, 2015

April Board Meeting Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
April 10, 2015

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

The Secretary’s report was given by Alan Marcus. No corrections or additions were necessary.

Bob Norton gave the treasurer’s report. The current balance is $ 2163.39.

Board members discussed the fact that Internet download and upload speeds varied greatly by neighborhood. Bob Leiner suggested that a survey be taken at the next meeting to determine what providers members use to connect to the Internet.

Frazer Crane said that he sold his home and would not be at future meetings. He suggested we find someone to take his place to distribute gift certificate drawing tickets.

Several suggestions were made for future programs. They included having a representative from the local library; having a Stone creek Computer Club member give a presentation; Obtaining a representative from Freedom Scientific, Having Emilio Gonzalez talk about higher speed internet costs, and having a representative from the Ocala office of Information Technology return.

The coming meeting will feature Nick Burke who will give a presentation on MP3s and Media Player.

In May, Richard Bambridge, will give a presentation on “The Apple Watch (if his is delivered on time).

The meeting adjourned at 9:40AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Marcus, Acting Secretary

No audio

Answer Man

I just installed Windows 10 Preview. The install went fine, but there is no sound.

Frequently, when you install a new operating system, needed drivers are missing. Navigate to the computer manufacturer's web site, click on support and then on drivers. Look for audio drivers, and click on download. After the driver is downloaded, click on it to install the driver.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Others using my Wi-Fi

Answer Man

I have heard that other people can access my Wi-Fi, and if they do, it will slow down my network. How can I tell if they are into my system?

Others can access your network only if your network is unsecured (no password). However, the following software will list all those accessing your system: Click on the link and then scroll down until you see Soft Perfect Wi-Fi Guard. Click on the link and install the guard. The program will put a shortcut on your desktop. Whenever others use your system, it is known as piggybacking.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Freeing up drive space

Answer Man

I know that users are not supposed to let their hard drives get more than 80-85% full. I'm using Windows 8.1 and would like to free up some drive space. Is there a simple way to determine what items are using up most of the drive capacity?

Press the Windows key on the keyboard to get to the start screen (where all the tiles are). Type "pc settings" in any blank space on the screen. Click "pc devices" and then "Disk space".

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

E-Book subscription services

Answer Man

I use a Kindle e-reader and have thought about using an e-book subscription service. Can you tell me anything about such services?

E-book subscription services, such as Kindle Unlimited, Oyster and Scribd, charge a set fee (around $10 per month) to loan you e-books. The services are similar to what Netflix and Vudu have done for movie downloads. If you do a lot of reading, the services might be good for you, but be sure to read the fine print. Scribd, for example, lists the following caveat on their site:
"While Scribd supports tablets like the Kindle Fire or Nook HD, it does not support E-Ink based readers like the Amazon Kindle or Nook Simple Touch."

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dual boot Windows 10

Answer Man

I'm pretty computer savvy. I can partition a hard drive and dual boot a computer, but I want your opinion regarding dual booting Windows 7 and Windows 10 preview.

I don't think that I would dual boot Windows 10. Microsoft has issued numerous warnings saying that your computer could crash since Windows 10 is in Beta. If you just have to try it, install the program but select slow update under the choices you are given. Microsoft has said that the fast updates are more dangerous and will start coming at a rapid pace.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Computer shut-down

Answer Man

My computer has been running very slowly of late. Sometimes it just shuts down. I know it's difficult to diagnose the problem without seeing the computer, but do you have any idea what the cause might be?

It sounds to me as though the computer is overheating. If your computer is a desktop, remove the side panel and re-start the computer. See if the fans are moving. If they're not, replace the guilty culprit. Look at the heat sink under the CPU fan. If it is dirty, it may need a good cleaning. If you are a little daring, remove the heat sink, clean it, and replace it after applying thermal paste. Since a laptop is much more difficult to repair, about all you can do is to hold your hand near the heat outlet to see if there is any air movement. Most laptop fans are hidden well within the innards. Laptop repair is not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Recover from Ransomware

Answer Man

I keep hearing about ransomware. How can you get back your computer once it is infected with the stuff?

Ransomware is malicious software that locks up your computer files and then demands a ransom to restore the computer to it's original state. Before you get it, go to a clean computer and download Windows Defender which can be used when your computer becomes infected. The download and directions for use can be found at the Microsoft site:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Where is the DVD burner?

Answer Man

I just purchased a computer that uses Windows 8.1. I can't find the icon for the DVD burner. Can you tell me where to find it?

You can't find it because it isn't included in Windows 8.1. You'll have to obtain 3rd party software for the purpose. I like Burnaware There is a free edition. Click on the link to download and install the software. I think you will find it easy to use.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Send in the games

Answer Man

My XP computer finally quit, and I purchased a Windows 8.1 machine. All of the games that I played on XP are gone. Is there any way to get them back?

The familiar games are now hidden in the Windows Store. When the computer is at the Start Screen, (with all of the tiles), click on "Store". Then click on "Categories" and then "Games". Find the games you want (note that some are free and some are not), and click "Install".

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Stop ads

Answer Man

I use the Internet Explorer browser, and am inundated by ads. Is there some way to stop them?

Click on the Internet Explorer icon. Click on the little gear icon in the upper right of the screen. Click Internet Options. Click Advanced. Un-check Enable third party browser extensions. Click Apply and Ok. Re-start your computer.

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