Saturday, October 31, 2015

Do I need a router for a tablet?

Answer Man

I'm old and decrepit and my grandchildren thought they would do me a favor, so they bought a tablet computer for me. I already have a laptop. Now I have been told that I can't use the tablet without a router. What's a router, and do I need one?

If you only want to play some games on your tablet, you don't need a router. If you want to check email and search the Internet, you do need a router. A wireless router broadcasts a signal (Wi-Fi) over a couple of hundred feet. Tablets and other wireless devices can pick up that signal and access the Internet. So, you can sit in your easy chair and check your email from your tablet.

Friday, October 30, 2015

I got an email telling me to upgrade to Windows 10

Answer Man

I am thinking of upgrading to Windows 10 and recently received an email with an attachment to upgrade. Is it legitimate?

No it is not. It's one of the latest scams. It's no different than the phone calls you get that claim the caller is with Windows Technical Support. If you follow either scam, the scammers will lock up your computer and demand a ransom. True Windows 10 upgrades will come through a little white icon on your taskbar or through the Microsoft update process. You can also download the media creation tool and install Windows 10 that way.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Can I tell if an icon is a program or a shortcut?

Answer Man

Some of the icons on the desktop have little curved arrows on them and some don't. Can you tell me why?

The ones with the arrows, or checks are shortcuts. They only direct the user to programs. The other icons may be files, documents, photos, etc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Can I change fonts and colors in Yahoo email?

Answer Man

Is there a way to change the fonts, centering and colors in Yahoo email?

Yes there is. Click Compose to create a new email. Type what you like and then look at the bottom of the page. Click on the capital A in a square block to select different font or background colors. Click on the capital B for Bold. You can also select font style and size, centering, etc.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How to retrieve OOMA voicemail

Answer Man

I just purchased OOMA, the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) device to make phone calls. It works well, but I don't understand how to get voicemail.

There are two ways. Both are easy. One way is to pick up the phone handset and press the triangle shaped button on the device. You will be presented with a menu that is easy to follow. Your messages will be played back to you. The other method is to type "" into your computer browser window. Then click on "Voicemail". A list of calls will appear. Click on any one to hear the message from that caller.

Monday, October 26, 2015

PDF files open in Chrome instead of reader

Answer Man

Whenever I open my Chrome browser, it opens with a PDF file about Windows 10. How can I stop that from happening?

It sounds as though you have an add-on in Chrome. Click on the three horizontal lines at the top right of the Chrome browser. Select "Settings". Click on Extensions. Remove the PDF extension and that should solve the problem.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

How can I brighten my Kindle screen?

Answer Man

I have one of the first Kindle e-readers. I love it, but the screen is pretty dim and hard to read in many locations. Is there a way to brighten the screen?

I'm sorry to have to tell you that there is no way to brighten the screen. You have a couple of options, however. You could buy an external clip on lamp or buy a newer Kindle with a back-lit screen. If you only want a reader, and not a tablet, I suggest you purchase the very bright Kindle Paper-White which is much brighter than the early Kindles.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Show photos in slide show in Windows 10

Answer Man

How can I show a series of pictures in a slideshow format in Windows 10?

Click on File Explorer (The manila folder on the taskbar). Click on Pictures. Select the pictures you want in the show (Hold down the CTRL key while you click on the pictures you want to include). Click Manage and then choose Slideshow.

Friday, October 23, 2015

ENG and DVR appear on taskbar

Answer Man

The taskbar on my computer shows ENG and DVR by the clock on the taskbar. I have to right click to make it stay on English. Is there a way to get out of this cycle?

It appears that another language was installed on the computer. Right click on the start and choose the control panel. Left click on Clock Region and Language. Click on the language you don't want and select Remove.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Small icons on control panel are difficult to read

Answer Man

I often use the control panel to access printers, sound levels, etc. Recently, however, the control panel show a long list of tiny icons, and I can't find anything. Is there a way to see the traditional list of items?

Right click on the start icon and then left click on control panel. Then, look in the upper right of the screen for "View by". You will be given three choices. The traditional view is the category view. You can also choose "large icons" or "small icons".

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

3 Search Sites That Don't Track You Like Google Does

When you need to get information or find something online, chances are you go to Google. But while Google is great at Web searches, it’s hardly stellar when it comes to privacy. It saves your search history, scans your Gmail, tracks your location, keeps everything you say to “OK Google,” and a lot more.

Google does this partly to make its services more useful to you, by knowing what you want before you want it. But it also does it so it can serve you ads targeted just for you. Google also owns the digital ad network DoubleClick, which serves those interest-based ads.

Aside from blatant ad targeting, Google also filters results for you based on your search history. This "filter bubble" means that you and a family member can search for the same term, but come up with different results. To be fair, Google does let you wipe your search history, but it's always going to be trying to put two and two together.

If you're tired of Google and its lax view of privacy, here are three private search sites that don't track you. Check them all to find the one that's best for you.

DuckDuckGo is a solid Google replacement that doesn't track or target your IP address or search history. You don't have to worry about targeted search results or being trapped in a filter bubble, which actually means you get more results.

DuckDuckGo includes the nifty calculators and other tricks you've come to expect on Google, but that's not all. You can customize its interface, with search shortcuts and an Instant Answers feature that's just as good as, if not better than, Google's Knowledge Graph. You can also make DuckDuckGo an extension of your browser and activate more privacy settings to keep your search history as protected as possible.

Yippy automatically detects and blocks adult content, including pornography, gambling sites, sex product sites and other websites that are not appropriate for kids. Plus, the site protects your privacy.

It will not collect personally identifiable information about you, like your name, telephone number, address and email address. It may collect anonymous information about your computer, though, such as your IP address. It also uses cookies, but not to track your personal behavior.

Ixquick calls itself the world's most private search site. It doesn't record your IP address, browser information or search history, so advertisers can't track you. Ixquick also keeps you out of filter bubbles, so you can get the search results you're looking for.

It also gives you the privacy of searching via proxy, so the sites you visit don't even know your real IP address. This is similar to Tor, but without the hassle of setting it up. Ixquick's proxy option gives you the most online privacy. It may slow down your searches, but when you select "proxy," Ixquick makes you invisible online.

Even if you minimize your use of Google, it's not the only company collecting your information and using it in scary ways. Facebook and hundreds of other sites track and share what you do.

Credit:, Kim Komando

Blue screen with number to call

Answer Man

A blue screen popped up on my computer, and there was a number to call to resolve issues with the machine. Does this sound like a scam to you?

It most certainly is a scam. Microsoft doesn't call, and their blue screen of death doesn't list phone numbers. See if you can exit the screen by pressing CTRL, ALT and DEL at the same time. If you can, click "Task Manager" and then "Startup". Disable all the running processes and re-start your computer. If that doesn't solve the problem, press the Recovery function key listed as the computer boots. HP computers normally use F11. Then restore your computer to an earlier point.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My HP laptop loses connectivity

Answer Man

My HP laptop frequently loses connectivity. It's not a problem with my router, as my desktop stays connected. Do you have a solution?

Some HP models have had that problem. The easy solution is to uninstall the network adapter and then re-install it. To do so, type "device driver" in the search box. In device driver, select network adapters. Right click on the adapter and click uninstall. When you re-start the computer, the driver will re-install.

Monday, October 19, 2015

I can't open email attachments in Windows 10

Answer Man

Whenever I try to open email attachments in Windows 10, there's a message that says I have to have Microsoft Office. Is there a way around that?

Type "Default Programs" in the search box. Then click on default app. Select "Set your default programs". Choose a different program to open the attachments. If you don't have another program, I suggest that you download the free LibreOffice at and use that as the default.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How do I add a column in Excel 2013?

Answer Man

I have used spreadsheets for years, but the 2013 version of Excel has me stumped. I need to add a column to my spreadsheet. The directions left me thoroughly confused. Do you know how to add a column?

I agree. The directions are horrendous. They really don't provide the answer, but the procedure is simple. Click on the topmost cell of a column to the right of where you want the new column to be. Right click the mouse and click Insert. That's all there is to it. Why couldn't Microsoft tell you that?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How do I get rid of Optimizer Pro?

Answer Man

My computer frequently displays pop-ups from Optimizer Pro. It says I have 4332 infected files on my computer? I know that it is probably bogus, but how do I get rid of it?

Any program other than anti-virus programs and anti-malware programs that you intentionally installed, that tell you your computer is infected , is bogus. Also remember that people who call you to tell you that your computer is infected have no way of knowing that. Hang up immediately!

To rid the computer of Optimizer Pro and similar annoying programs, uninstall the program. Then run an anti-malware programs such as malwarebytes:

Friday, October 16, 2015

I can't understand the Wal-Mart ordering system

Answer Man

I don't know whether there is something wrong with me or with Wal-Mart. The store has a certain brand of socks that I prefer, but when I went to two Ocala stores, the socks weren't in stock. I decided to check online to see if Wal-Mart was still carrying the socks. They showed them in their online catalog, so I ordered two pair. One of the options given was to pick up the order at the store, and I chose that option. Then I got a notice that my order was cancelled because there were no socks in my local store. I thought the whole purpose of ordering online was to get them if they weren't in the store. Am I missing something?

I think who ever designed Wal-Mart's online ordering system wasn't thinking. It makes no sense to order online and then go pick up the merchandise at the store if you can just go to the store and get the merchandise in the first place. If you want the socks, you have to pick their other option. That means that you pay extra for the shipping, and the merchandise is sent directly to you.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What are preview builds?

Answer Man

I keep seeing blurbs about Insider Preview Builds. Can you explain what they are?

Sure I can. Microsoft decided that Windows 10 would be a much better system if techies were given copies of the latest beta test operating system (builds) to evaluate. The techies were asked to send their feedback to Microsoft so the product could be improved before being sent to the general public. The techies could select a fast or slow build. The slow builds would still be beta but they would be tested more before being sent out. The idea has proven to be of great benefit to Microsoft, and a much better product has been the result.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I updated my computer but it just keeps cycling

Answer Man

A new update downloaded from Microsoft to my Windows 10 computer, and now the computer begins to start, and shows the little cycling circle, but then goes right back to the start again. It would do this forever if I let it. What can I do?

Well, hopefully you created an emergency start up disk or emergency USB flash drive. If you did, insert one or the other. As the computer starts, press the proper key for your computer to enter the boot sequence and have the flash drive or CD boot first. The computer should boot. Click on Reset. Try the first choice (preserving your files). If that doesn't work, try reset without your files. The computer should reset and all will be good to go.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I can't connect my computer to the Internet

Answer Man

My new computer (running Windows 10) suddenly won't connect to the Internet. I know the Wi-Fi is working because my wife can get into the Internet using her computer. What should I do?

Perhaps the first thing to try is to restore your computer to an earlier point. In Windows 10, type recovery in the search box at the bottom of the screen. Then click on System Restore. Then click Next. Restore can take a long time, so give your computer some slack.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Replacing an existing computer drive with a solid state drive

Answer Man

I have a desktop computer that has an old slow drive. I understand that solid state drives (SSDs) are faster and more reliable. Is it possible to just switch drives?

It may be possible to simply switch drives, however, you must know what type of drives are in the existing machine. Two types of drives exist; PATA (parallel ATA) and SATA (serial ATA). The parallel drives are older and use different connectors. Solid state drives are all SATA and therefore can only be used in place of other SATA drives.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Different video connections

Answer Man

I just bought a new desktop computer. When I tried to connect it to my existing monitor, I found that none of the connections would work. Do I have to buy a new monitor also?

For many years, connections were made between computers and monitors using a type of connection called VGA (Video Graphics Adapter). The connectors were usually blue on the end and had 15 pins. Then manufacturers started using DVI (Digital Video Interface) cables, that were normally white on the ends and had a different arrangement of pins. And, most recently, computers and monitors were made with HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connections that combined audio and video. If computer and monitor do not have the same types of connectors, you must purchase adapter cables or buy new equipment.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Will external speakers improve the sound?

Answer Man

I have a small laptop with tinny sounding speakers. Will I improve the sound by using external speakers?

You can vastly improve the quality and volume of the sound by using external speakers. Most speakers contain amplifiers, so very little input can result in greatly enhanced output.

Friday, October 9, 2015

ORCC Board Minutes, October 9, 2015

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
October 9, 2015

Alan Marcus, President, called the meeting to order at 9:00 am. Members in attendance: Bill Balch, Elliott Bogart, Alan Marcus, Bob Norton, Linda Tingley, Bill Cahill, Bob Kenlay and Don Forgette.

The secretary's report was read by Alan Marcus. There were no corrections or additions. Bob Norton read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2,149.45.

Bob Kenlay and Don Forgette were welcomed to the Board.

Alan Marcus stated that the Virgin Mobile Hotspot the Club purchased was not working out well. It seems there is difficulty in finding the $5 cards for the device. Bob Kenlay said he was willing to use his ATT phone as a hotspot at the meetings so we would always have an Internet connection. Elliott Bogart moved that we reimburse Bob Kenlay for Internet use if Bob feels the cost getting out of hand. Bill Balch seconded the motion. The motion passed. Alan Marcus will search for $5 Virgin Mobile cards so that the Club's hotspot can be used when Bob Kenlay is not available.

Bill Cahill moved that we conduct an electronics auction at the December meeting. Bob Norton seconded the motion. Motion approved. Linda Tingley will inform members of the auction through her media sources.

Don Forgette suggested that we might run a program in which 5 or 10 of our members talk about their favorite apps.

Don Forgette suggested that we find out from Ron Kenyon how members might ask questions and have them appear on the blog (other than in the comments section). Bob Kenlay will get with Ron Kenyon to see how he could assist Ron in promoting the blog. It was further suggested that we have some sort of blog walk-through at the meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 10:00AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Marcus, Acting Secretary

Will my existing programs transfer to 10?

Answer Man

I am considering the installation of Windows 10 but wonder if my existing programs will transfer.

I have installed Windows 10 on several computers. In each case, all of my existing documents, downloads, pictures and programs have transferred without difficulty. However, you may have some old legacy programs, perhaps from the days of Windows 85 or XP, that may not work with Windows 10.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Are smaller computers less reliable?

Answer Man

Is it true that smaller computers are less reliable?

You would think that would be a myth, but it happens to be true according to Consumer Reports. I suppose that the reason is that it is more difficult to cool compact computers. So, if you want to ensure reliability, buy a full sized tower computer.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How can I get coupons for local restaurants?

Answer Man

I know that there are lots of coupon sites on the Internet, but I'm afraid that if I use them I will be bombarded with ads of all kinds. Is there a way to get coupons directly from the restaurants that I like?

Yes there is. Let's say that you want to receive coupons from Bob Evan's restaurants. Go to the restaurant site and find out how you can be placed on their mailing list. Whenever they have a special, you will receive a coupon. Most of the big chain restaurants have similar programs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Time too limited for library Internet

Answer Man

I'm a snowbird and therefore don't want to install Wi-Fi in my home here. I know I can use my laptop at the Freedom Library, but they limit the user to 30 minutes. I need much more time than that. Can you offer any suggestions regarding how I might get more time?

I know the library has a 30 minute time limit, but it has been my experience that if any of their computers are not in use, they will add time to your computer. When your machine is down to the last few minutes, you will see a pop-up that will show how much time has been added. The last time I was in the library, I used one of their computer for almost two hours, and could have stayed on longer if I had desired to do so.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Can I update Windows 10 manually?

Answer Man

Is there a way to manually update Windows 10?

Click Start, Settings, Update and Security. If there are any pending updates, they will begin to install. If there are no updates, you will see a notice telling you that the computer is up to date.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I bought a Kindle, but can't download the books

Answer Man

I bought a new Kindle e-reader. I do not have a router, and hence have no wireless. I have tried to download books from the Marion County Library without success. Can you tell me how to download to the Kindle?

Connect your Kindle to your computer via USB. Go to the library website and checkout the e-books you want. You will be redirected to Amazon. Click in the boxes before the books you want to download from Amazon. Click on the download box to tell Amazon you are connected by USB cable and want to download the books. The books will be transferred to the download folder on your computer. Hi-light the books and copy them with CTRL and C. Click Start, Computer, and then on the Kindle. Click on Documents (within the Kindle folder) and do a CTRL V to paste the books into the Kindle. Wait a minute or two. Unplug the Kindle from the computer. Check to see if the books show up on the Kindle.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Should I upgrade from Windows 7?

Answer Man

My computer runs Windows 7. I'm quite happy with the system, but I recently received a notice that I could upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost. Do you think I should do the upgrade?

The choice is yours. Microsoft will provide the opportunity to upgrade for free for one year. After that, it will cost $119. I opted for the upgrade on my own computers, and I have been happy with Windows 10. Windows 10 is different, so you will have a little bit of a learning curve. If you run into problems with the upgrade, there are plenty of people in the Club who can help you solve installation problems. If you want the latest and greatest, upgrade!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A computer game started behaving weirdly

Answer Man

I use a great solitaire program called 123. Normally, the user can select the solitaire game from a list of different solitaire games. Now the program won't leave Klondike solitaire, so I can't play Freecell and some of the other games I like. What could be wrong?

Programs get corrupted for a variety of reasons, and it sounds like your solitaire program is corrupted. The best thing to do in such circumstances is to uninstall the program and then reinstall it. I'm willing to bet that you will be able to get into Freecell and other games after the reinstallation.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What are apps?

Answer Man

I'm from the old school. I don't own a smart phone. I keep hearing about apps, but I have no idea what they are or what you do with them. Can you explain what they are?

The term 'apps' is short for applications. Apps can be added to computers, phones, tablets, etc. Let's say that you have a Windows 10 PC, and you want to add a favorite solitaire game. The game is an app. In Windows 10, click the start button and then click near the bottom of the screen where it says "all apps". A list will appear that shows all of the applications on your computer. The apps may include such items as Skype, Microsoft Word, Amazon, Google Earth, etc.

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