Computer Fixx blog is written by Glenn Caton, the owner and operator of Computer Fixx in Wilmington NC. He writes about computer tips, malware, computer questions and answers and general IT topics. If you have a specific question about something related to computers, feel free to email Glenn. He doesn’t answer questions by email but he does answer as many questions through the blog as he has time for.
Most people know to stay away from bad neighborhoods on the Internet, but don’t realize it’s possible to get malware on your PC even from visiting legitimate websites.
For example, if you’re on a website and a popup informs you to update your flash player or that you have to download any kind of update, it’s almost always malware. Never agree to download anything that shows up as a popup from a website you’re visiting. If you really needed to update your flash player or Java, you should go directly to Adobe.com or java.com and download it from there. When you click to install updates via a popup, you’re telling your antivirus program to let this program into your PC because you are the administrator and you trust this program. Be careful. See examples of fake popups below left.
It’s so easy for hackers to copy photos of the official logos of legitimate companies off the Internet and save them to use as popups for the malware they’re trying to get you to install. It’s much safer to update any software from the website of the company that wrote the program.
I was recently visiting a very popular website that gets thousands of visitors everyday and when I clicked on one of their interior pages, I got a pop up telling me I had to download an update to continue using the site. This was malware and I chose to use control/alt/delete to bring up the task manager to end the task.
Also, if the website you’re visiting has been reported as unsafe, the Microsoft Smart Screen filter warning will pop up and alert you to the fact and will suggest that you not continue on to the website in question. This popup will give you the choice to go back to your homepage or to continue on to the site in question. Once the malware has been removed from the site in question, the Microsoft warning will be removed.
If you get one of the numerous scareware pop-ups that are circulating on the Internet (see photo at left) that say your computer is infected with malware and that you must call to get it unblocked, don’t click on the X to close it. That usually doesn’t work. Instead, press the control key, the alt key and the delete key at the same time.
Click on task manager from the list that pops up. (see photo below left)
The task manager has several tabs at the top. Make sure you’re on the applications tab. From this screen you will see all of the applications that are running on your PC. Click on these applications one at a time then click on “end task.” Sometimes you have to do this several times to get them all turned off.
Now restart your computer. Most of the time this will solve the problem. If it doesn’t, then you have a deeper problem and you should scan your PC with your antivirus program. You might also download and scan with Malwarebytes. You can download this software for free from my website from the Computer Repair Downloads page. You can save it to your desktop and use it as a stand alone antivirus program to use when you have problems or you can buy the paid version which will scan your PC automatically for you.
1. Before adding your account to the Windows 10 mail app go to outlook.live.com.
2. Sign in with your existing Microsoft account or create a new one. After signing in, go to the gear at the top right side of the screen.
3. In the pull down menu, click on connected accounts. If you have a gmail account you click on gmail, if it’s a different email account click on other email accounts.
4. Put in the email address you want to use and fill out the information. After you do this, Outlook mail will import all of the email from the address you put in.
5. To import your contacts, click on the people icon located at the bottom left of the screen.
6. Then click on the manage tab located at the top of the screen.
7. Then click on import contacts. You will be asked where you want to import them from such as gmail, yahoo or Outlook.
8. Make sure you have exported your contacts to a cvs file and save it on a USB stick or your desktop. It will ask you to browse to the location of the contact cvs file you created. When you click on this, it will upload your contacts into Outlook.live.com.
9. After this is finished, go to the Windows 10 mail app on your computer. If the mail icon is not in the bottom tray of your PC, left click on the Windows icon located at the bottom left of your screen.
10. Then click on the mail icon from there. This will ask you to choose an account. You will choose outlook.com. Put in the email address you created in Outlook and your password. Once you sign in hit next and this will create your account.
Then hit done. This will import the emails and contacts you set up in outlook.live.com. Now every time you open the Windows 10 mail app, your email will sync. Hope this helps!
I finally took the time to get rid of Time Warner cable and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been a Time Warner cable and Internet customer for many long, expensive years. I’ve always thought their prices for cable TV were exorbitant, but I didn’t want to take the time to look for something different. But after having to call them once a year for the past five years to complain about the ever higher rates on my cable bill, I finally got fed up and turned in my cable box.
I knew I wasn’t interested in satellite TV. I’ve known a lot of people who don’t like the way their screens pixelate and freeze when it’s cloudy and rainy outside.
Up until recently, I wasn’t aware that you can get free digital TV channels just by putting up an antenna. I kept thinking these antenna’s were like the old fashioned ones people used to put on their roof before cable TV came out and how snowy TV reception sometimes was in those days.
I did a bit of research and finally decided to purchase a Clear Stream antenna from Best Buy. It cost $149.00. I also had to purchase a booster. The one I bought cost $69.00. The purpose of the booster is to increase the strength of the signal coming to the antenna. Mine was made by Motorola but there are several brands to choose from. I also had to buy coaxial cable. You have to have enough cable to run from the antenna through the wall and to the back of each TV on which you want to get the free channels.
As I live in a condo, I couldn’t put my antenna on the roof but I found out it works just as well in the attic of a home or condo. So I put the antenna together using the instructions provided in the box and then I mounted it in the attic to the rafters.
I went to tvfool.com and put in my zip code and this shows you all of the channels available in your area and the direction to point the antenna so you can receive these channels. I used an app on my phone as a compass to know which way to point the antenna.
The hard part of the installation was trying to fish coaxial cable from the attic inside the wall and through the wall to the back of the TV in each room. I wanted TV in three rooms so this process was quite lengthy. But worth it!
When the installation was complete, I turned on the TV, set the input to antenna, and then scanned for channels. If the antenna is pointed correctly, the channels will automatically be added.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I get clear, digital reception on 15 channels, and best of all the major networks are in high definition. The channels you receive vary depending on where you live, but following is a list of the channels in my area.
3.1 – WWAY (ABC)
3.2 – WWAY (CBS)
3.3 – WWAY-CW
6.1 – WECT DT
6.2 – BOUNCE
6.3 – ESCAPE
24.1 – WILT LD
24.2 – WILT-ME
26.1 – WSFX-DT
26.2 – THIS TV
26.3 – GRIT
39.1 – UNC TV
39.2 – ROOTLE
39.3 – UNC EX
39.4 – NCCHL
If you aren’t a DIY person, you can Google OTA (over the air) antenna installers in your area and pay an expert to do it.
If you have a smart TV or a Roku box you can also add Netflix, Amazon, Sling, Hulu, Play Station Vue, and many other apps and stream an almost unlimited number of TV stations and movies. You pay for these apps but the channels that come in through your antenna are absolutely free!
I still pay $39.00 per month for Internet access, and I also have a Roku box through which I steam movies that I pay to rent, but my cable bill is a fraction of what it was before.
Happy Birthday Computer Fixx!
We’re celebrating our ninth year in business providing computer services in Wilmington, NC. Since our business opened on January 1, 2008, we’ve serviced thousands of computers, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the many customers, clients, and friends we’ve had the privilege to get to know and help over the years. Thanks for helping to make Computer Fixx a success!
Our customers are the reason we’re still in business, and that’s why we’re committed to providing the best customer service possible. We truly love what we do and find it very gratifying to help others.
Glenn & Susan Caton
November 30th 2016 is Computer Security Day. As so many people are victimized by online criminals these days, make sure you do the following to minimize the chance of having your identity, data, or money, stolen.
- 1. Make sure you have Windows updates enabled.
2. Install an antivirus and keep it up-to-date.
3. Backup your data often.
4. Use strong passwords that will be difficult to hack.
5. Remove unused programs from your PC to keep malware from getting into your computer through them.
6. Stay out of bad neighborhoods on the Internet.
7. Make sure Windows firewall is turned on.
8. Secure your home network to ensure strangers aren’t using it.
9. Don’t download anything from the Internet unless you completely trust the website.
10. Never call phone numbers that pop-up on your PC screen telling you to call because you have a virus.
11. Never allow anyone to remote into your computer that called you and told you that you have malware on your PC.
There is also a good post on this subject: 10 Ways to Secure Your Digital Life
It’s hard to believe it has already been a year, but Windows 10 launched globally on July 29 2015. During this first year Microsoft has allowed everyone to get a free upgrade to Windows 10. However, the Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29, 2016! So if you haven’t upgraded yet, you better hurry.
Many of my customers, who upgraded in the first few months of the release, complained about various glitches and bugs that kept them from appreciating their Windows 10 upgrade. There were sound issues, blue-ray movies wouldn’t play, and certain software wasn’t compatible, just to name a few problems.
A lot of people wisely waited until Windows 10 had been out for a few months before upgrading to give Microsoft a chance to work out glitches and bugs.
Even now, before upgrading make sure that any software you have installed is compatible with Windows 10. Other than that, it should be smooth sailing.
If you wait until after the dead line to update, it will cost you about $119.00.
This pop-up is one recent example of thousands of variations of scareware that permeate the Internet. In this case, a customer clicked on a link to what he thought was information on the death of Prince. As soon as he clicked on it, the screenshot shown to the left popped up telling him his computer was infected and that he needed to call the provided 800 number so a “Microsoft technician” could “fix” his computer. Fortunately, he didn’t call the bogus number.
These pop-up pages vary and appear to be authentic as they sometimes include things like the name of your Internet Service Provider, IP address, official looking seals, loud sounds, etc… There is always a toll free number for the victim to call. In the example I provided, they listed their phone number ten times. If you make the mistake of calling these criminals, they try to persuade you to let them take control of your PC remotely. Once you do, they can install a backdoor into your computer so they can log into your PC anytime they want. They have access to all of your files, and often in addition to the hundreds of dollars they try to get you to pay them for “fixing” your computer, they try to steal your identity or passwords to your email and banking information.
Some of the time, you can get rid of the pop-up by holding down the control, Alt, and delete keys simultaneously. Then click on “task manager” and end all tasks showing up there. Also clear your cookies and browsing history.
Question: I moved my desktop icons to different positions on the desktop so I can find them easier, but when I restart my computer they are back the way they were originally. How can I make them stay where I want them?
Answer: Right click on an empty spot on the desktop. Then click on “view.” Remove the check mark from “auto arrange icons.” Now arrange your icons the way you want them. When you restart your computer, your icons will stay the way you arranged them.
Also, if you notice a desktop icon goes missing, and the icon wasn’t deleted or moved from the desktop by you, then right click on an empty spot on the desktop. Then click on “refresh.” This will usually make the icon show up again. If this doesn’t work, right click on the desktop and select “view.” Put a checkmark in the “auto arrange icons,” then uncheck the “auto arrange icons” and move your icons back where you want them to be. The missing icon should now show up on the desktop.
Sometimes desktop icons seem to vanish because your desktop is too crowed and the icons overlap so you can’t see them all. Clean up your desktop by deleting short cut icons that you aren’t using, so that your icons don’t overlap.
You can also create a folder on the desktop and name it “unused icons.” Then drag and drop the icons you don’t use very often into this folder. This will free up space on your desktop and still give you easy access to the seldom used icons.
I’ve had two of my customers in the last couple of weeks tell me that someone attempted to con them out of money by pretending to be from Duke Energy. This scam has been going on for a year or two now, but it appears to be worsening. The Duke Energy website reports that this type of swindle more than doubled in 2015.
One of my customers said she was called and told she hadn’t paid her electric bill and that someone from Duke Energy was on the way over to her business to turn off the electricity unless she allowed them to charge her credit card for $450.00 over the phone. Luckily, she knew that her electric bill was automatically deducted each month from her bank account, so she decided to go in person to Duke Energy and make sure there hadn’t been a mistake and to report the incident.
My other customer was also called by someone claiming to be from Duke Energy, but he just hung up on them and found the phone number for Duke Energy online and called them.
The Duke Energy website says that customers in five states have been targeted by these criminals and that customers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to these con people.
Find out more at: Duke Energy Scam Information