Articles tagged: bestof

The First Eight Things to Do with Your New Computer

The steps you should take right after unboxing your new computer to save time, frustration, effort, and data loss later.

How Long Should a Password Be?

For years, the standard practice has been to assume that eight-character passwords made up of sufficiently random characters was enough. Not any more. Not even close.

How Do Outlook and Outlook.com Relate?

Even though they share similar names and do similar things, Outlook and Outlook.com are not related at all.

A Drive with All My Data is Showing as Unformatted — What Do I Do?

Occasionally, when moving a drive to another machine, it’ll show up as unformatted. I’ll look at some possible causes and actions to take.

What’s a Screen Shot and How Do I Make One?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a screenshot – an image of your computer screen, saved as a picture – can eliminate a lot of frustration when trying to describe to someone what you’re seeing on your computer.

Are Free Email Services Worth It?

Free email services and accounts are convenient and ubiquitous, and can be used safely, if and only if you take responsibility for that safety.

BoxCryptor: Secure Your Data in the Cloud

Many online cloud storage providers encrypt your data — which means they can decrypt it themselves. BoxCryptor is a great solution to ensure that your online data remains private, regardless of how it’s stored.

Can I Use a Charger that Provides the Same Voltage but a Different Amperage?

Chargers and power supplies come in a wide variety of configurations. Choosing the right one is important. I’ll look at a few of the parameters.

How Do I Get Rid of All this Spam?!?!

If you’re not getting spam now, you will soon — and probably lots of it. What can you do? There’s no magic answer, but there are various things you can do to help.

Why Doesn’t Blocking Email Senders Work?

Most email programs can block email from a specific address. Unfortunately, blocking email from a sender is ineffective when it comes to spam.

I Deleted a File by Mistake. Can I Get It Back?

Sometimes, it is possible to recover a file deleted by accident. Stop using the disk, check your Recycle Bin, and perhaps pull out an undelete utility.

How Do I Remove a Document Stuck in My Printer’s Queue?

Every so often, the Windows Print Queue gets “stuck”. Everything looks like it should print, but it won’t. We’ll clear that up.

What is POP? Or POP3? And what about IMAP and SMTP?

POP, POP3, and SMTP are all acronyms used in configuring email. We’ll look at what they mean and how they relate.

Why Does My Machine Take Forever to Shut Down?

Booting your machine can take time, but sometimes so does shutting it down. Various issues contribute to a slow shutdown.

What Do I Do if I’m Being Harassed, Bullied, or Stalked Online?

Online harassment is common problem, and exceptionally prevalent among children. I’ll review some of the issues and steps to be taken.

Does a Login Page on an Open Wi-Fi Hotspot Mean it’s a Secure Connection?

If you connect without a password to an open Wi-Fi hotspot and can see anything at all, it’s not a secure connection.

Why Don’t Anti-malware Tools Work Better?

It’s possible to get malware, even with anti-malware tools installed. Why the heck is that true?

Can I Really Get Malware by Just Looking at Email?

It used to be that simply viewing a malformed email could allow a virus to spread. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case with modern mail programs.

Are Automatic Updates a Good Thing?

Unless you’re willing to pay a lot of attention on a very regular basis, automatic updates are an important part of keeping your machine safe.

So Just Why Are Manhole Covers Round?

Manhole covers? Really? Interviewing for technical positions can be tricky, but it can also be fun, if you know what interviewers are looking for.

Is There a Way to Know Where a URL-shortened URL Is Going to Take Me?

Link-shortening services make it hard to tell a link’s final destination. When you receive one in an email, you may want to do some detective work to see where it’s going – before you click.

Why Can’t We Use https for Everything?

HTTPS provides validation and encryption, two important pieces of security. Using it for everything is possible but costly, and issues would remain.

Internet Safety: 7 Steps to Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet

Internet safety is difficult, yet critical. Here are seven key steps to keep your computer safe on the internet.

Can Hotel Internet Traffic Be Sniffed?

Many hotels offer both wired and wireless internet, but along with those hotel internet connections comes a security risk most folks don’t consider.

How Do I Become a Computer Programmer?

Being a computer programmer can be a fun and rewarding profession. Here’s my take on what it takes to get there; some aspects are obvious, and others are not.

How Do I Remove a Virus If It Prevents Me from Downloading or Installing Anything?

Some malware goes to great lengths to prevent you from downloading, running, or applying a fix. I’ll tell you what steps to take.

Why Wouldn’t an Exploit be Caught by My Anti-malware Tools?

Even with up-to-date anti-malware tools, you can still fall victim to malware. I’ll explain why by comparing your computer to your … bathroom.

Why Am I Getting a “Delivery Status Notification (Delay)” on an Email I Sent?

Delays happen for many reasons; it’s the nature of the email infrastructure. If you get a “Delivery Status Notification (Delay)”, your options are limited.

What’s the Difference Between a MAC Address and an IP Address?

A MAC address and your IP address are both key components to networking, but they serve different purposes, and are visible in very different ways.

Is MAC Address Filtering a Viable Wireless Security Option?

MAC address filtering is a technique that theoretically prevents unauthorized computers from accessing your network. I’ll explain why the theory fails.

I Got a Blue Screen Error, What Should I Do?

Blue screen errors are less common than they used to be, but they can still happen for a variety of reasons. I’ll review what to do, and when.

Why Testing Your Backups Is Critical

Testing your backups is an easy step to overlook, but an important step to take. Make sure your backups will be there when you need them.

What Is Peer-to-Peer File Sharing, and Is It Legit?

Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have a bad reputation because of the content they’re often used to download. But the technology is quite legal and useful for legitimate purposes.

Should I Get a Dual-Core or a Quad-core Processor?

Processors are generally available with what are called “multiple cores”. We’ll look at what that means, and how you might select which is right for you.

What’s the difference between i3, i5, and i7 processors?

Intel’s Core i3, i5, and i7 processors present a headache-inducing combination of characteristics. I’ll look at what matters and then dig a little deeper.

Can a MAC address be traced?

A MAC address can easily be traced for as far as it travels. The problem is, a MAC address doesn’t travel far enough to be useful.

Is an Online Backup Service a Good Idea?

Backing up data using an online backup service can seem to be an effective solution, and it can be an important part of an overall strategy, but there are important limits and considerations.

Why Does Email Bounce?

Email can bounce for many reasons. I’ll look at several of the most common mail bounce messages, and try to interpret what they really mean.

What Does “No Signal” Mean?

“No Signal” is a message coming not from your computer, but from your display device, indicating that it has nothing to display. I’ll review possible causes.

Why do I get a black screen on my computer after a while?

A black screen on your computer can mean several things. A black screen is most commonly a screen saver, but there are other possibilities.

Emails Opened? Is There a Reliable Way to Tell?

It’s very common to want confirmation that an email has been opened, delivered, or read. In the age of spam, it’s simply not possible with any accuracy.

How Do I Get Windows File Explorer to Display Details by Default?

Windows File Explorer defaults to a simple view of the files on your machine. You can change it to display details by default with a few steps.

I’ve Had My Credit Card Compromised Three Times; How Do I Prevent This From Happening Again?

There are some practices to help you avoid having your credit card compromised; but most card theft is typically out of our control.

How Do I Force Windows to Reinstall a Driver?

Sometimes fixing a pesky problem with a hardware device is as simple as forcing Windows to reinstall a driver. I’ll show you how.

How Do I Monitor Network Activity on My Windows Machine?

Windows 7 and 8 have a useful utility to monitor network activity. You can use it to find out a lot about what your computer is doing online.

How and When Should I Update Drivers?

Drivers are critically important components of your computer, but knowing when and how to update drivers isn’t as easy or as obvious as we might like.

Should I Disconnect My Backup Drive When I’m Not Backing Up?

Because of the threat of ransomware, many people disconnect their backup drive when not backing up. I think that’s a bad idea.

Why Does My Computer Blue Screen?

There are many reasons your computer could get the “blue screen of death”. I’ll review some things you can look into to help determine the cause.

How Does Flushing a DNS Cache Help Resolve Some Issues, and While You’re at It, What’s DNS?

DNS transforms domain names into IP addresses. A DNS cache remembers DNS information… but sometimes it needs to forget.

How Do I See the Results of a CHKDSK that Ran on Boot?

CHKDSK must sometimes be run at boot time. When done, its displayed messages disappear. I’ll show you where to find those CHKDSK results again.