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Solutions: Worries about 'free' malware program

 
Published Aug. 29, 2014

Per your advice, I have used Malwarebytes and Spybot (both free) successfully for years. Once every three to four weeks, I update them and have had no problems. This week when I updated Malware, the format was different, and I ended up with a "Free Trial." That scared me, so I turned it off. I am 86 years old and struggling to keep up with new technology. I need your help to get back on the right track with Malware.

From what I can see, the ''Free Trial'' relates to some additional features, such as real-time protection, malicious website blocking, auto updates and fast and scheduled scans. The basic manual scan, along with detection and removal, is still free and functional. The latest version of the free/trial version can be found at www.malwarebytes.org/mwb-download.php. I have no connection with Malwarebytes, and I don't accept gift software. But I will say that Malwarebytes has proven to be a reputable company, and their Anti-Malware product, which they have always made available for free (the basic version), has been helping PC users for many years.

I am interested in cookies. I found over 100 listed. I learned how to delete them, but since so many have obscure titles, I didn't know whether any were important or necessary. Should I eliminate all of them, and if that isn't a good idea, how do I know which ones to get rid of?

Cookies are small files created by websites you have visited. Cookies are not necessarily a threat to privacy, since they store only information that the user has already given to a website, and they do make the browsing experience more convenient by remembering your preferences. However, some websites allow scripts to run on their servers that can put out third-party site cookies that can be used to track some of your Internet movements. This can be controlled to varying degrees within Internet Explorer, Tools, Internet Options, Privacy tab. The default level on the slider is medium. As you move the slider up, you can read the descriptions of which cookies will be allowed or blocked. Pushing the slider all the way to the top blocks all cookies. You can experiment with different levels then settle on one that is comfortable for you. As for manually deleting them, I don't think that is necessary. Going through Internet Explorer, Tools, Internet Options, Browsing History, Delete button, will allow you to zap all of your cookies.

I have had profound hearing loss for many years. My problem occurs when I use my computer to watch movies, DVDs and other things. Even with my hearing aids, the volume at max is insufficient. Does anyone make a set of USB-powered amplified headsets that I could use without my hearing aids?

Are you sure you need a USB connection? Most amplified headphones come with either a 1/8- or 1/4-inch plug. However, there are plenty of USB-enabled amplified headphones available. Check your PC's audio out jack to get the correct size and go from there. Keep in mind that there are 1/8 to 1/4 adapters available inexpensively from places such as Radio Shack if you do go with a standard jack plug instead of USB. Search on Amazon and look for phones that have a high SPL (sound pressure level).

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Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.