Friday, July 31, 2015

List of things to watch out for when downloading

Answer Man

You have often said that you have to be careful when downloading files, and one of the Club's speakers said to read all the fine print. What kinds of things should I watch out for?

I am particularly concerned by various add-ons. Avoid adding all toolbars such as ask, searchlive, babylon, deltasearch, sweetpacks, snap-do and even yahoo and chrome toolbars. Don't let any download start when the computer starts (uncheck the box that wants to add the program to the start menu). You need to avoid these Gotchas.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to get Windows 10

Windows 10 was released to the public yesterday, July 29. If your computer did not receive the update notice, and your computer is running Windows 8.1 or 7, click on the following link and follow the directions.

Substitute for Norton anti-virus

Answer Man

You have often said that you prefer most free programs. I have been using Norton anti-virus for years. It costs about $70 per year. Should I continue to use Norton? Do you have a free alternative?

Most anti-virus programs do a stellar job, but my philosophy is why pay for a service if you can get an equivalent service for free. PC magazine recently ran the following article which compared some of the free programs:
You might pick one from their list.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

AOL and email

Answer Man

I have been a member of AOL for many years and have been paying them for their email service. A friend told me that I didn't have to pay. Can she possibly be correct?

Your friend gave you the straight scoop. All email that I know about is free, including the service provided by AOL. If I were you, I would contact AOL and tell them to stop charging your account. They may give you some flack, but stick by your guns and stop paying them for a service that everyone else gets free.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Native resolution doesn't seem correct

Answer Man

I'm confused. I frequently see a pop-up that says that my computer is not set to native resolution. If I change the resolution, the items on the screen are so small that I can hardly see them. Can you tell me what is going on?

Each monitor, depending upon size, has a native resolution. That is the setting at which the items appearing on the screen are their sharpest, but, as you have said, they may be so tiny that they are difficult to read. You can leave the resolution at the native setting and just enlarge the fonts and icons by typing "Display settings" in your computer's search box, and then moving the slider to the percentage that makes viewing comfortable for you. If the option to do that does not appear, just hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and move the mouse scroll wheel back or forward until the display seems right.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Versions of Windows 10

This Wednesday, July 29, Microsoft will release Windows 10. Here's an article from Yahoo that nicely explains the different Windows 10 versions:

Windows alternatives

Answer Man

I am having all kinds of troubles with Windows 8.1. Can you suggest an alternative?

Well, Windows 10 might solve your problems, but before you decide what to do, I suggest you read the following article about Linux.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Clearing the printer queue

Answer Man

My printer was working fine, but stopped. I am certain that the print jobs are going to the right printer, I stopped all existing print jobs, and the printer is on line, but I can't get the printer to print word one. Any suggestions?

Often, the print spooler becomes stuck and has to be unstuck. There are some complicated commands to clear the spooler, but I suggest you use the following program to solve the problem:
Go to the site and click Download. Then click on the file, and click Fix the Problem.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Put Windows 8.1 on flash drive

Answer Man

I upgraded my old computer from Windows Vista to 8.1, but I downloaded 8.1 from Microsoft and therefore have no installation disk. If 8.1 should crash, I have no way to re-install it. Is there a way to get 8.1 on disk or flash drive without having to pay for it?

Go to, and follow the steps provided. You will have the choice to put the operating system on a flash drive or to save it as an ISO file which can be burned to disk.

When you install the OS, you will still need to enter a product code, so the OS isn't free. If you don't know the code, download Belarc Advisor to find out what the code is for your computer.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Is the Internet up?

Answer Man

Sometimes I can't connect to the Internet. I reset my router and modem and still can't connect. Is there a way that I can check to see if the service I am trying to connect to is down?

Press the Windows key on the keyboard and the letter R at the same time. Then type CMD and press Enter. Type Ping and the service you'd like to check. You might, for example type Ping If the service is up, you will see the timing for each connection they need to make to reach your destination. If nothing happens, their service is down.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

There are no icons on my desktop

Answer Man

I turned on my computer and all of the desktop icons are gone. Is there any way to get them back?

Right click in a blank space on the desktop.  Left click on View. Left click on Show desktop icons.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When will Microsoft stop supporting Windows Vista?

Answer Man

I have a Windows Vista machine, and it works fine.  How long will Microsoft support the operating system?
Windows Vista will be supported until April 11, 2017

Windows 7 will be supported until January 14, 2020

Windows 8 will be supported until January 10, 2023

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How do I get rid of pop ups?

Answer Man

My computer is plagued by pop-up ads. Is there a way to get rid of them?

Right click on the ad, select Inspect Element. The HTML code will be highlighted. Press DEL to get rid of it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Why does the screen go dark after 10 minutes?

Answer Man

I have a new computer. It works fine, but if I don't use it for about 10 minutes, the screen goes dark. Is there a way in which I can prevent that from happening?

I'm willing to bet that the power settings are set to put the computer to sleep after 10 minutes. Click Start, Control Panel, Hardware and Sound and then Power Settings. Change the default times to Never.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Trying to find documentary site

Answer Man

I understand there is a good web site where I can locate documentary films. Do you know of such a site?

Try the following:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Why is Windows 8 considered a failure?

Answer Man

Many reviewers have panned Windows 8, but they kind of like Windows 8.1. Do you know why?

I suspect that Windows 8 was a giant leap for mankind that mankind wasn't quite ready for. Microsoft thought they could take everyone rapidly into the future without thinking about human nature. We normally don't mind change if it is gradual and if we have some understanding of what is going on. Microsoft evidently thought all users were going to go out and buy touch screens, but few did. Those with mouses (mice) were the majority of users, and they found it very difficult to swipe into corners and bring up obscure screens and commands. Windows 8.1 improved the situation, but most users were happy with Windows 7. Windows 10 appears to merge 8.1 and 7.

Friday, July 17, 2015

When asked to Open or Save, I don't know what to do

Answer Man

Often, when downloading files, the user is given an option to open or save. Please explain which I should do and why?

If you will need a program more than once, use the Save option. When you do, the program will usually be saved in the download folder. If you choose Open, the program is not saved and will not open after your computer has re-started.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Is my 8 year old computer worth keeping?

Answer Man

I have an 8 year old desktop that runs XP. Windows XP is not supported anymore. Is the machine worth keeping?

That's a tough question. It all depends on how you use a computer. If you just need a computer for e-mail, a few searches on the Internet and a game of solitaire, most any computer will fit the bill. If you want to get rid of XP, I suggest that you download Linux Mint (choose an early edition such as Mint 10 or Mint 13) and install it in the old machine. You may find that that old computer will have new life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Windows becoming a subscription service

Answer Man

I have been reading about Windows being changed to a subscription service. What does that mean?

It means that Microsoft would charge by the month to provide an operating system for your computer. That hasn't happened, but signs point that way. You may know that Microsoft Office (Now called Microsoft 365) has already begun such a service. Right now, you can either buy the product outright or lease it. I suspect that subscription for all things Microsoft might be right around the corner.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Can't Skype to U.K.

Answer Man

I have several friends in the U.K. and I use Skype to talk to them on a weekly basis. Today, I tried to connect to them and nothing happened. I can connect to friends in Colorado. What's happening?

People are funny. They all suspect something is wrong with their computers. They never suspect that the provider may also have problems. Your case illustrates that point. Skype is obviously working in the US. My guess is that there is a problem with the overseas link. I don't know if that is a connection by satellite or undersea cable, but the problem is not with your computer. Wait an hour and try again.

Monday, July 13, 2015

What is OOMA?

Answer Man

I have heard several people in the Computer Club talk about OOMA. What is OOMA and what do you do with it?

OOMA is a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocal) device that enables the user to make phone calls by connecting the device to a router and a home phone. It works in the same manner as Magic Jack and Vonnage in that it uses the Internet to carry the phone calls. You purchase the OOMA box. The current retail is $129.95 (although the company does run specials). Once you purchase the device, you only need to pay taxes of less than $4.00 per month to make unlimited US calls. Consumer Reports gave the service high marks.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My computer runs about 20 minutes and then stops

Answer Man

My computer generally runs about 20 minutes and then freezes. If I turn it off and leave it for half an hour, it starts back up again and runs for another 20 minutes. What's happening?

I suspect that the computer is overheating. If the computer is a desktop and is in an armoire or cabinet, make certain that the cabinet door is open when the computer is operating. Clean the fan area by spraying it with compressed air. If the computer is a laptop, make certain it is on a very hard surface. You can purchase auxiliary fans that fit under the laptop. If these solutions do not work, there is a more serious problem such as a defective component on the motherboard.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Netflix movies often halt and then start again

Answer Man

I am connected to the Internet through DECCA cable and subscribe to Netflix. The movies I have been watching often stop for a period and then start again. Should I complain to Netflix?

If you are paying for basic cable through Decca, your download speed probably averages about 4.2 MB per second. The minimum speed to do most streaming is 6 MBPS. You'll have to contact DECCA and pay for a speed upgrade or forget about streaming.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Board minutes for July

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

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

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

Bob Norton gave the treasurer’s report. The current balance is $2,057.39.

The presentations to be given at the July meeting will be:
  • You Tube video on the making of recovery disks, by Bob Leiner
  • Creation of back-ups by Bob Norton
  • Screen Print by Bill Balch
  • Modem and Router re-set by Alan Marcus
  • Windows 10 Insider Preview acquisition by Alan Marcus

Bob Leiner suggested that the availability of BridgeNet be announced at the July meeting.

Richard Bambridge reviewed upcoming presentations:
  • August – Freedom Library presentation
  • September – Anthony, from Abba Computers will be given a list of topics including data recovery and the type of problems he sees coming into his shop
  • October – Windows 10 by Don Zenn, Manager of Staples
  • November – (Tentative) Smartphones by the Geek Squad
  • December – Holiday party

Motion made by Elliott Bogart that the Club purchase an adapter for HDMI to VGA. Second by Ron Kenyon. Motion carried. Richard Bambridge will purchase the adapter.

Bob Leiner suggested that a talk be given on Google at a future meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 10AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Alan Marcus, acting Secretary

Why should I upgrade to Windows 10?

Answer Man

I currently use Windows 7 on my laptop. Is there any reason to switch to Windows 10?

I can think of several. The operating system is much faster than 7. There are many enhancements in 10 such as Cortana the search assistant. Microsoft will support 10 for a much longer time period, and you will be able to keep up with the Joneses.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How do you install programs when there is no DVD drive?

Answer Man

I just noticed that many new computers do not have DVD drives. How can the user install programs such as Print Shop?

You are correct. DVD's are going the way of the DODO bird. Some manufacturers are already delivering new programs on flash drives. Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 will be available on flash drives as well as DVDs. The reason for the change is that flash drives hold so much more info. The capacity of CD's is about 700 MB. DVD's generally hold about 4.6 GB, but a flash drive that I just purchased for $10 holds 32 GB of information. To install Print Shop in a Computer that has no DVD drive, you will have to burn the program on a flash drive.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Why do you tout laser printers?

Answer Man

You often tout laser printers in your posts on this blog. What's so special about laser printers?

The advantages of a laser printer include: Better quality, much less expensive to operate, and they rarely incur problems (ink jets clog, dry up). My $50 laser printer prints 2500 copies on a $15 refilled toner cartridge. The only time it has jammed is when I tried to use very heavy card stock.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Docking station does not show up in Computer

Answer Man

I purchased a docking station to use to back-up my Windows 8.1 hard drive. I put my back-up hard drive in the docking station. I plugged the station in a USB port, but it does not show up under Computer. My "C" drive and DVD are there. I went to the device manager and the drive shows up there. How can I make it show up under Computer?

Right click This PC. Left click Manage. Left click Disk Management. Right click on the square to the left of the drive to change the status of the drive. The drive should now show up under Computer.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Using File History to Back-up computer

Answer Man

I'm using Windows 8.1 and I want to back up my files before switching to Windows 10. How should I go about doing that?

Windows 8.1 has a built in back-up utility called File History. To use the utility, connect your back-up drive to a USB port. Right click on the Start button. Left Click on Control Panel. Left click on System and Security. Left click on File History. Left click on Run Now. Be prepared for a long wait. My system backed-up 58 GB of data which took several hours. After the first back-up, the others will go much faster as they are incremental back-ups.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Prevent and cleanup malware

Answer Man

Can you suggest steps to detect and clean up malware?

Malwarebytes has an excellent 10-step method. Click or tap below:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Internet providers throttling speed

Answer Man

I read that many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) throttle back download and upload speeds. Is there a way I can see if my ISP does that?

Yes there is. Click on the link below. The test takes two or three minutes.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows 10

Answer Man

I currently have Windows 7 on my computer. I know that the Insider Preview of Windows 10 is risky. How can I run both operating systems on my computer without incurring problems that Windows 10 Preview might cause?

If you have plenty of room on the hard drive, you can partition the hard drive and have each operating system in it's own partition. The first think to do is to partition your hard drive. Use the following Mini Partition program to do that. After you click on the link below, just enter the size of the partitions you want. Then, when you install Windows 10 it will ask you in which partition you would like to install the program. After you install Windows 10 and re-boot the computer, you will be offered a choice of operating systems.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Amazon Firestick movies

Answer Man

I understand that users of the Amazon Prime service can use a device called a "Firestick" to download hundreds of movies from Amazon at no cost. That sounds too good to be true.

The facts, as you stated them, are accurate, and the deal is a great one if you are already paying for Prime in order to get free shipping. However, if you just are joining Prime to get the free movies, you'll find that the cost is really similar to other movie services such as Netflix. The Prime membership at last report was $99. That's better than $8 per month. And, in addition, you have to pay $20 for the Firestick streaming device.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Windows 10 ISO files

Answer Man

I understand that Windows 10 will be available via update and via ISO file. I understand the update, but what is an ISO and what do you do with it?

You are correct about being able to obtain Windows 10 via upgrade or ISO files. Click on the following link to get a good understanding of ISO files and how to use them.

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