02/28/14 Personal Tech
I own a Gateway PC with Windows Vista Home Premium. It tells me I need to update Driver Detective. Do you recommend doing so?
Driver Detective is software the promises to keep your various software/hardware drivers up to date. Most new PC's come with some sort of utility — for example, HP Support Assistant — that does the same sort of thing.
I suspect your PC is at least 5 years old. Usually, most updated drivers for a particular PC are released in the first few years. I wouldn't expect there to be major updates of consequence for your PC. I would not update Driver Detective and instead remove it from Control Panel Add/Remove Programs. ...
02/21/14 Personal Tech
As you know, Microsoft is terminating Windows XP support as of April 8. I searched around and ran into misleading, missing, and contradictory info, so thought I'd ask you:
1. Microsoft will stop issuing patches and updates, but what about "Windows Update"? For instance, if one were to reformat/reinstall a Windows XP system using the manufacturer's restore disks, most likely one would end up with Service Pack 2. Given support has ended, could one run "Windows Update" and upgrade to Service Pack 3 and about 200 "updates" after Service Pack 3? ...
02/07/14 Personal Tech
Installed on my computer are Windows Defender and MalwareBytes AntiMalware. Now I would like to include Microsoft program EMET. Is this recommended?
The Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) is a free downloadable utility that helps prevent vulnerabilities in individual software programs from being exploited. It is a complicated tool that requires configuration for every program on your PC that uses the Internet. ...
01/24/14 Personal Tech
I'd like to protect my sensitive computer files. In searching online I found numerous options. Most of them are aimed at keeping files away from other users of a computer. My computer is in my home and I am the only user. What I want to do is keep potential hackers from getting into such files. What are my options?
In a business situation, commercial software and all the safeguards that go with it make sense. In a home situation, I worry about encryption software that may not be around or may be incompatible with a future operating system when the time comes to decrypt your files. If you inadvertently install malevolent software, getting in is no longer a problem for hackers, they're already there. From that point, they can disable any other safeguards you may have in place. Nothing is 100 percent safe if it's online. If you don't want to go with third-party encryption software, transferring the files from your PC to a detached external drive and then securely erasing them (there are several free secure erasers that will rewrite zeros over the old file space) would be the most practical way of keeping hackers away....
12/20/13 Personal Tech
About one year ago, I purchased a new HP laptop, with your recommendations. I am running Windows 7 and IE 8. So far so good. When would you recommend upgrading to Windows 8 and IE 10?
I've been in the computer business since 1978 and if there is one thing I've learned it is: If it's not broke, don't fix it. If Windows 7 is working well for you, I see no reason to plan an upgrade to Windows 8 anytime soon. Windows 7 will be relevant and supported for quite some time. Traditional Windows users have not been happy with the Windows 8 interface changes. The 8.1 update really didn't do anything significant to resolve those issues. As for your Internet Explorer 8, I do recommend an update to version 10. IE 10 contains several security related changes that you want to have....
12/13/13 Personal Tech
What should I delete to make my computer run faster? I have a Toshiba laptop, with Windows 7.
First, make sure your computer fan is free from dust. A clogged fan will make the computer run hotter. When the computer senses a heat buildup, it slows itself down in an effort to decrease the heat. It's a good idea to use a can of compressed air (available at all stores that sell computers/office supplies) and every now and then give your PC's fan a couple of quick blasts from about 6 inches away. ...
12/06/13 Personal Tech
I use RipIt4Me version 188.8.131.52 and every time I use it I get an error message saying, "Couldn't check for update. Your firewall might be blocking RipIt4Me." I have checked Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, both the Inbound Rules and Outbound Rules, and don't see the program listed there either. Should I manually check for a new update on the Web every time I go to run this program? ...
11/29/13 Personal Tech
I am unable to scan a document from my HP printer via my Sony desktop running Windows 7 Home Edition. The computer does not recognize the printer even though it does when sending a print job to the printer. It is not an issue with my HP printer, since I can scan from it via my laptop. With help from HP, I am told that I probably have a corrupted WPA file. I cannot figure out how to download a fix from Microsoft. Can you advise? ...
I am using a desktop computer with Windows XP. I have always been able to go on the Internet, copy an image and paste it into a Microsoft Word document until recently. I did recently do a clean disk operation but thought that I avoided deleting anything of importance, however I am suspicious now that I may have inadvertently gotten rid of whatever it is that I need to do the copy/paste function. Now, when I try to do this, I get the message that "There is insufficient memory or disk space. Close extra windows and save your work." What can I do to solve this problem? ...
11/08/13 Personal Tech
I am using an HP laptop with Windows 7. When I try to shut down my computer, a screen comes up that says "waiting for background programs to close" and it has a button that allows me to "force shutdown." It warns me that anything that has not been saved will be lost. When I click on "force shutdown," something briefly comes up that says "Task Host Window" and it still takes its time shutting the computer off. ...
10/25/13 Personal Tech
My HP with AMD A-10 died this week. It was only 5 months old. The Staples store where I bought it is no help. The store made no attempt to tell me where to send it for warranty work. How do I contact the appropriate HP place to send it for rework?
You probably spoke to the wrong person at Staples because I can't imagine them not being able to at least point you in the right direction. The good news is that your PC is completely covered under HP's warranty. One of the reasons I prefer HP is that the support is very good. Call toll-free, 1-800-474-6836 and make sure you have the proper information such as model, serial number and purchase information. I hope you were using Windows 8 File History and already have your personal data backed up. If not, make sure when you speak with the HP support agent that the agent tells you exactly what you can expect in regards to being able to retain your data based on what it is that caused the PC failure. ...
10/18/13 Personal Tech
Earlier this year I purchased an HP desktop with Windows 8. I've had a Dell with XP for several years. My tech set up both PCs enabling me to copy from one to the other. Sometimes when I try to transfer data from the XP system and try to delete the old data from the Windows XP PC, I receive the "You need permission to perform this action" message. My tech cannot figure out how to avoid the permissions issue....
10/04/13 Personal Tech
I've had Microsoft Security Essentials installed on my Dell Inspiron N7010 running Windows 7 for over a year with no problems. Recently I started getting error code saying initialization error "0x80073b01." I repeatedly restored my computer to an earlier version but kept getting the same message. Then I went to my programs to uninstall MSE and got a message "Microsoft Security Client installation wizard can't find files necessary to complete the installation. To install this program please download the installation again from the MSC website." Then if I go to the MSE website and try to download MSE I get the message "MSE installation error. MSE is already installed. Uninstall current version and try installing MSE again." How do I get rid of these error messages? I'm worried my PC is not protected and has some type of virus. I can't run a scan because I can't access MSE. Research online has various remedies pertaining to code "0x80073b01" but so far nothing has worked....
09/27/13 Personal Tech
I have lost the ability to create "New" folders. Using Explorer, the "New Folder" button on the upper task bar does nothing. If I right-click the mouse in a blank area of a folder or in the desktop and click on "New," there is no "Folder" option listed. I am running Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 10. I have tried restoring to earlier points and resetting Explorer to its defaults but neither has helped....
I am trying to download Malwarebytes AntiMalware on my grandson's laptop. When I went to the CNET download sites, I got warnings that phishing and other types of infection resulted. I didn't feel confident trying to use any of the listed sites. Where can I go to safely download the software?
Use this special direct link: www.tinyurl.com/2fwj868. This will immediately initiate the download sequencing (asking if you want to download or run). You will not see a web page. The file downloaded will be a randomly generated name, but it is the free version of AntiMalware. The random name is used to fool any resident virus that may be looking to intercept a download of the known name. ...