Thursday, December 31, 2015

My keyboard is erratic.

Answer Man

Sometimes, my keyboard types the wrong letters, no letters or repeats letters. It seems to have a mind of its own. Is it time for a new keyboard?

It may be, but before you toss the keyboard, try these steps. Hold the keyboard upside down and lightly smack the back with your hand. Turn the keyboard right side up and liberally spray the keys with compressed air (you can buy canned air at all computer stores). Try a different USB port. The ports in the rear of a computer are normally more powerful.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

How do I activate Windows 10?

Answer Man

My computer, running Windows 10, crashed, so I re-installed the operating system using Microsoft's Media Creation Tool. Everything works perfectly, but I see a notice that Windows is not activated. What must I do to activate Windows?

Since the Media Creation Tool is generic, and can be put into any computer, Microsoft doesn't know whether you have a legitimate copy of Windows. You must type in the product activation code from the sticker on the back or side or your computer. Click Start. Then click on the manila folder on the taskbar (file explorer). Right click on This PC. Left click on Properties. Left click on Change Product Key. Type in the key from the sticker.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Saving Windows 10 to USB

Answer Man

Always, in the past, I was able to download an ISO file for operating systems like Windows 8. I don't find any files like that for Windows 10. I'm afraid that Windows 10 may crash, and I want to create a copy on disk or USB. How do I do that?

Go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
  1. Run the media creation tool.
  2. Select Create installation media for another PC.
  3. Choose the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for Windows 10.
  4. Follow the steps to create the installation media, and then select Finish when it’s done.
  5. When you’re ready to perform a clean installation, turn on your PC, insert the DVD or USB flash drive you created, and then shut down your PC.
  6. Restart your PC, and then press any key to boot from the DVD or USB flash drive.

Monday, December 28, 2015

I spilled a Coke on my keyboard

Answer Man

I recently spilled a Coke on my laptop keyboard. I don't want to spend a fortune to have the laptop repaired. Is it difficult and/or expensive to replace the keyboard myself?

Replacement can be very simple and relatively inexpensive. Most laptops have a narrow strip of plastic nearest the screen that can be pried up to reveal three or 4 screws that hold in the keyboard. Once the screws have been removed, slowly tilt the keyboard away from the computer. The keyboard will be connected to the computer via a wide flat ribbon cable. Be very careful in releasing the cable from the lock on the computer, as the connector is easily broken. Install the new keyboard using the reverse procedure. I suggest that you look on YouTube for videos about the procedure for your specific laptop.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Can you explain Windows activation?

Answer Man

Please explain Windows activation.

Microsoft tries to prevent users from copying and selling Microsoft software. The company does that through the process of activation. If you have a legitimate copy of their software, a notice appears on the computer that the software has been activated. If the copy is bogus, you probably will see a nag that says the software has not been activated and that you have 3 days to begin activation. If your computer is running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, it will automatically activate for Windows 10 when you update the computer.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The sound coming from the speakers is too low

Answer Man

The sound coming from my computer speakers is so low that I can hardly hear them. The volume, in the little speaker icon on the task-bar, is as high as I can set it. Is there anything else I can do?

I suspect that you have non-amplified speakers. Most speakers that you can purchase today are of the amplified type. If the speakers themselves have a volume control, you have the amplified type. If you have the amplified type and still have low sound, I would purchase another speaker set. See if you can find what impedance (internal resistance) the computer requires. Typical speaker impedance is 4, 8 or 16 ohms. If the impedance of the speaker does not match the impedance of the computer, sound output may be low.

Friday, December 25, 2015

PDF on an e-reader

Answer Man

I would like to be able to read my smart phone manual and my car manual on my e-reader. Is that possible?

Yes it is, however, manuals are typically in portable document format (PDF), and those files are often more difficult to read because the lines of type may overlap the borders of the reader which means that the reader has to scroll back and forth to read. That can be a real pain. You will probably find that the format will be fine in portrait mode but difficult to read in landscape.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Can you explain Internet speeds?

Answer Man

I know that Internet service providers sell the Internet based on speed. What is slow. What is fast, and when do I need one or the other?

Internet pricing is generally based on download speed. Let us say that you want to obtain Windows 10 from Microsoft. To do so, you need to download the program from Microsoft to your computer. Windows 10 is a large group of files, so the faster the download speed, the faster you will be able to get the program into your computer.

Years ago, speeds were so slow that you would not be able to download Windows 10. Download speeds today generally range from approximately 3 Megabits per second to 50. Normally, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will sell the speed in tiers such as 1-4 Mbps, 4-6, 6-10, etc. You can get by using the slowest speeds, but if you do a lot of downloading, you may become very frustrated unless you upgrade the service.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I can't see the letters on the keyboard

Answer Man

My eyesight is failing, and I am having great difficulty in reading the letters on the keyboard. Is there a way to see the letters better?

You have several options. You can purchase a keyboard with over-sized letters. You can purchase a back-lighted keyboard. You can purchase larger adhesive letters that can be placed over the letters on your keyboard. I suggest that you contact Freedom Scientific freedomscientific.com for more suggestions and specialized equipment.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My monitor has 3 different connectors

Answer Man

I just purchased a new monitor. It came with a power cord buy without the cord to connect it to the computer. There are 3 different connectors. What kind of cable to I buy and why?

Monitor connections have evolved over the years, the latest is HDMI. The type before that is DVI, and the oldest is VGA. You want to use the latest type if your computer supports it. Many new computers have HDMI connections, but other's don't. Check your computer manual to see which type of connection it has, and buy the cable that will fit that connection.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Updating Windows 10

Answer Man

How do I update Windows 10?

The settings are probably arranged so that Windows 10 will automatically update, but you can do it manually by clicking Start, Settings, Update and Security, Update. If the computer is up to date, you will see a notice to that effect.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I heard that tablet sales are down

Answer Man

I read that tablet sales are way down and that desktop computers are growing again. Do you know why?

I suspect that people are finding out that desktops are easier to use. It is much easier to type on a full sized keyboard. It is easier to read text on a 21" monitor as opposed to a 7" screen. Still, tablets have their place, and can't be beat for portability. By now, a majority of users probably have both types of computers and despite the low price for many new tablets, the demand for them is down.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Electric car batteries

Answer Man

You recently gave a talk about electric cars, but you never mentioned having to add water to the batteries. Why not?

Newer electric cars, like the Tesla and Nissan Leaf, use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. They are the same type used in laptop computers and cellphones, and do not require water. The first electric cars did require water as they used lead-acid batteries which are still used in golf carts and to start internal combustion engines.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Can't find program in Windows 10

Answer Man

I just installed Windows 10 and can't find CCleaner and other programs that used to be on the computer. How can I locate them?

Click Start, All Apps and then click on a letter above the apps you see. An entire alphabet will appear. Click on the letter of the app you are trying to locate. For example, click on the "C" to look for CCleaner.

Keeping large cables together

Answer Man

Yesterday you mentioned that Velcro straps work well for small cables, but I have large extension cords (50 feet) and the like. The straps are too small for those cables.

Wal-mart sells large cable clamps. The halves of the clamp ratchet together. The clamps come in various sizes. I use them for extension cords, air hoses and anything that is too thick for the Velcro straps.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

How can I keep cables organized?

Answer Man

I don't know if others have this problem, but the cables behind my computer look like a rat's nest. I have tried keeping them neat with wire ties, cable ties and rubber bands, and although those solutions work, I'm looking for a better method.

I have tried the solutions you suggested but have found a better way. You can purchase Velcro strips specifically meant as cable ties. They wrap around the cables easily, and are easy to undo. You can purchase the strips at Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot and many other stores. If you buy them in large quantities, they cost very little per strip.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Home prices in my neighborhood

Answer Man

I know that there are some on-line real estate firms where you can find property estimates for your home and for others. Do you know the firms?

I can think of two well known firms fitting your description. One is Zwillow zwillow.com, and the other is Trulia trulia.com.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Where did my documents and photos go?

Answer Man

I just upgraded to Windows 10, and now I can't find my documents, photos and downloads. Where did they hide them?

You can find the items by clicking on the manila folder icon on the taskbar.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Remembering computer connections

Answer Man

I am going to move my computer and printer to a new location, and I'm afraid that I won't know how to reconnect everything correctly? Have you any suggestions to improve my confidence?

Computer connections are not difficult since the connectors are unique or color coded, but you might feel more confident if you labeled each cable. Labeling is particularly important when cables are hidden behind cabinets making it difficult to tell what is connected to what. I use a Brother label maker to put a label on each end of every cable. For example, the Internet connection cable might say: To Router, on one end, and To Ethernet connection on the other. You can plug the USB cables into any USB port on the computer.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My e-reader runs out of power too quickly

Answer Man

My e-reader is supposed to hold a charge for 9 hours, but it doesn't last that long. Do you suppose that something is wrong with the battery?

Before you start blaming the battery, make these two adjustments: Turn off wi-fi from the settings menu and adjust the brightness downward until it just comfortable. That should greatly increase the longevity.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Executive Board Minutes

Oak Run Computer Club – Executive Board Minutes
December 11, 2015

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

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

Alan Marcus read the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $2,550.76.

Linda Tingley had contacted Dunkin Donuts regarding the availability of pre-made coffee for the holiday party. After discussion, it was decided the club would  buy its own coffee and Alan Marcus and Bill Balch will bring their coffee makers for the December party. Bob Kenlay is to contact Richard Tejkl (DOD) to open kitchen at 8AM for party.

Elliott Bogart has acquired computer styluses to be distributed  to Club members at the December meeting.

Alan Marcus questioned the possibility of  having an auction at the monthly meeting. After discussion, it was agreed that the items need to be donated and can be done on a monthly basis.

Alan Marcus presented the possibility of Q&A Forms. Elliott Bogart will bring some paper forms to the next meeting. It was suggested that we ask members to fill out forms, if they have questions.

Ron Kenyon showed the board a new 5-slide Computer Club presentation he created to be used at monthly meetings. It was suggested to encourage members to read our Computer Club blog.

Ron Kenyon questioned whether the Club would be interested in selling the old projector. Ron will investigate into its current value and report to board.

Bill Balch suggested that we might run an education program on Windows 10 in the spring of 2016.

Elliott Bogart would like members to turn in old ID badge holders when they get their new badges.

Linda Tingley questioned Upcoming Presentations for January & February Meeting. Alan Marcus will call Don Zenn, Manager of Staples, for session and suggestions (Smart Phones) for 2016 programs.

Meeting adjourned at 9:30AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bob Kenlay
Secretary

Running legacy programs

Answer Man

I have some old computer games that were not made for Windows 10. Is there a way to find out if they will work with 10?

Yes there is. You need to use the compatibility mode. Here's Microsoft's directions:
To run the Program Compatibility troubleshooter

1. Open the Program Compatibility troubleshooter by clicking the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting. Under Programs, click Run programs made for previous versions of Windows.

2. Follow the instructions in the troubleshooter.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Send document to Kindle

Answer Man

I just bought a new Kindle e-reader. I have been able to get books from Amazon, but I would like to upload my cell phone manual (which is a pdf) to the reader. How can I do that?

If you search in the settings menu of your Kindle, you should be able to find your assigned email address at Kindle.com. Let's say it is newbie@kindle.com. If you send an email to that address and attach the pdf file to the email, you will have the manual transferred to your kindle in a very short time.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Downloading apps to my android phone

Answer Man

I just got a new android smart phone. I would like to try some apps. Can you tell me how to get them?

You might try downloading one from the Google Play Store. Look for the play store icon on the phone. You may have to click the apps icon to see the store. Find an app you would like. Let's say that it is a measurement converter. Check to see if the word Free is listed. Click on the app to download it. Then click on Install. A new icon should appear on the screen. When you click the icon, the app will open and you should be able to put it to use.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

GPS sends me to all the wrong places

Answer Man

I just purchased my first GPS. Sometimes it is very good, and other times it directs me to the wrong places, tells me to turn left, then right and then to make a u-turn. Is there something wrong with the unit?

Unfortunately, GPS units are far from perfect, and you may know the routes better than they do. I think the problem lies in the fact that the systems want to turn at the first available opportunity, and not necessarily the best opportunity. If you have lifetime updates, update the unit so that you are using the latest maps. That is about all you can do. It also might help if you put in the exact addresses rather thatnrelying on the favorite places that are built into the unit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dictionary on my desktop

Answer Man

I understand that there is a dictionary that I can download, for free, to my computer so that I don't have to go online to look up words. Do you have the address for the dictionary?

Try http://wordweb.info/free/. There is both a free and a paid version.

Monday, December 7, 2015

My computer keeps adding bloatware

Answer Man

You have mentioned bloatware in the past, and even mentioned programs to get rid of it. Isn't there a program that will stop it from installing?

Indeed there is. It's called unchecky (http://unchecky.com/). Just navigate to the site and install the program. It will stop ad-ons whenever you download a legitimate program.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I got an email from my own email address

Answer Man

I have been getting email that was sent to me from my own email address. I know it is spam. Is there anything I can do to stop the sender?

Unfortunately, someone is spoofing your address, and that email may come from anywhere. There isn't much you can do except to identify the email as spam and have it sent to your spam folder. Then, you can delete all of the spam at one time.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Do desktop computers have batteries?

Answer Man

Is it just a rumor that desktop computers have batteries inside?

No, it is not a rumor. The battery, called a CMOS battery, is generally about the size of a large watch battery. It's purpose is to retain all of the start-up settings of the computer when the power is turned off. Battery life is hard to predict. Some CMOS batteries last a year and some last 10 years. They are inexpensive and easy to replace. If the system clock starts losing time, the battery is probably going down hill.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Printer compatibility

Answer Man

How can I tell if my printer is compatible with Windows 10?

Go to the printer website to see if a driver is available for Windows 8, 8.1 or 10. If the driver is available, the printer will probably work with Windows 10.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Transfer pictures from phone to desktop

Answer Man

I took pictures with my new cell phone, and they appear to be fine, but how do I get them off the camera and on to my computer?

There are two ways to accomplish the task. You can remove the camera card from the camera and insert it into the appropriate camera slot on the computer, or you can use the cable that came with the camera to connect to the computer. Often, the camera must be on for the files to appear when you connect via cable. Look for a folder named DCIM (digital camera images). Then you can copy and paste the images from the camera to your computer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Flash drive works in laptop but not desktop

Answer Man

My flash drive works in my laptop computer but not in my desktop. What can I do to rectify the situation?

It sounds as though you might have a bad USB port on the desktop. Try another port. The ports in the rear of the desktop are normally stronger. Try one of those.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Will Windows be free next year?

Answer Man

Microsoft said Windows 10 will be free for a year for those who currently have computers running Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. When will that year be over?

The year began July 29, 2015. So you must upgrade by July 29th of 2016 to upgrade for free. Those who do not upgrade by then will pay somewhere around $100 for the home version (the price will depend upon where you make the purchase). The pro version will be close to $200.

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