Articles tagged: Featured

Reboot or Power Down: Why Do So Many Tech Support Solutions Start with That?

The first thing a diagnostic technician may ask you to do is reboot your computer. Why?

How Do I Remove Malware from Windows 10 in 2020?

Trying to remove malware? I’ll walk you through the steps and options, from simple to hard, including the only approach that’s guaranteed to work.

How to Remove PUPs and Other Unexpected Things From Your Computer

Casually installing one download may result in several other things being installed. I’ll review the steps to remove these pesky, problematic, painful, Potentially Unwanted Programs, or PUPs.

What Security Software Do You Recommend? Basic Protection in Four Steps

My recommendations for specific security software and techniques to keep your computer, and yourself, safe.

Are You Asking Too Much of Your Computer?

It’s very common for our usage and expectations of our computers to grow over time. Unfortunately, that means we’ll eventually run into its limitations.

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

Some people disconnect their backup drive when not backing up because they fear ransomware. I explain why that’s a Really Bad Idea.

Stop Spreading Manure

Believing and spreading manure — lies, falsehoods, and misleading implications — makes you look bad, and makes the internet a dumber place.

Just What Is Common Sense?

‘Common sense’ is frequently suggested, often missing, and rarely defined. I’ll take a look at some of what I feel are the characteristics of common sense.

What’s the Difference Between CHKDSK /F and CHKDSK /R?

CHKDSK is a powerful Windows utility used to diagnose and repair disks. /F and /R represent two types of repairs.

How Do I Get Rid of Gmail Tabs? How to Regain Control and Find the Email Gmail Might Be Hiding From You

Gmail introduced a tabbed interface to automatically categorized email messages. Since their categorization often misses the mark, let’s turn it off.

Should I Use FAT32 or NTFS on a Flash Drive? The Differences, and a Third Alternative

File systems are commonly formatted as FAT32, NFTS, or exFAT. Which is best for your thumb drive?

Is There an Email Service that Doesn’t Require a Phone Number? My Recommended Approach, and Alternatives

There are legitimate reasons for not wanting to give your phone number to an email service. Let’s look at alternatives.

How Long Should I Keep My Backups?

Having a regular backup system in place is critical — but then what? I’ll look at how long you might want to keep those backups, why, and how long I keep mine.

What If I Lose My Second Factor?

When you lose your second factor, there are two things to be concerned about: getting into your own account — for which you should be prepared — and someone else having access to your second factor — which isn’t as scary as it sounds.

What’s the Difference Between an Email Account, an Email Address, an Email Program, and an Email Service?

Terminology around email can be confusing, and lead to incorrect answers to misstated questions. I’ll review some common and important terms.

Why Can’t Online Services Tell Me My Password? (If They Can, There’s Something Wrong)

It’s for your own protection, and the result of fascinating mathematical wizardry. And if they can tell you your password? They’re doing security wrong.

What Laptop Would You Buy for $1500? My Choice, and My Recommendation for You

This is a question I generally avoid answering, but I will anyway. The problem is I can’t really tell you what to purchase, since your needs are undoubtedly different than mine.

Is It Safe to Let Your Browser Remember Passwords? The Often Overlooked Risk

Letting your browser remember passwords is a convenient feature. However, with that convenience comes risk — often significant risk. Most folks are much better served by using a password vault like LastPass. I’ll explain why.

Can My Work Spy on My Home Computer? Three Ways You Might Be Letting Them In, and What To Do

Using a computer at work puts you at their mercy. It’s technically possible your workplace could spy on all your activities.

What to Do With an Old Computer You’ve Been Given – What I Did With Mine

When I’m given an old computer, there are a few things I do for the safety of the original owners, myself, and the planet.

Who’s Trying to Change My Password? Why It Happens and What to Do

If your account has not actually been hacked, there’s little anyone can do to find out who’s trying to log in as you. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself from would-be hackers and phishing scams.

What’s the Best Registry Cleaner? What to Use, and Not

The best registry cleaner is none at all. There may be cases where you want to use one, though, and I’ll review which I’d use and how to use them safely.

Why a Chromebook? (And Why I Purchased Two for the Important People in My Life)

Chromebooks can be a viable alternative for those who do most of their computing online and are looking for a simpler, perhaps more stable, yet powerful device.

Why Can’t I Talk To a Real Person? What You Need To Consider When Using Free Services

There are many reasons you’re more likely to be directed to online and self-help resources than talk to a real person.

What Should I Do When My Information Is Involved in a Breach?

If your account is ever part of a breach, secure your account to avoid further risk.

System File Checker having been run

Five Steps to Repair Windows 10 Without Losing Programs

Before you give up and reinstall Windows, try to repair Windows 10 without losing programs.

What are the Internet’s Rules about Free Speech?

Often, when people find their posts or comments removed or altered from websites they visit, they’re quick to claim their right to free speech has been violated. That’s rarely the case.

Can My Workplace See What Else I Do When I Work from Home?

Working from home can be convenient, or even a necessity. Does it open up your other online activity to scrutiny by your company?

The Biggest Risk to Your Privacy

The biggest risk to your privacy is probably not what you think it is.

Five Steps to Better Security Working from Home

Security threats for people working from home are increasing. I’ll review steps you need to take to keep yourself, your company, and your job safe.

Can Video Chat Be Intercepted and Recorded?

Video chat is probably not monitored, but there’s no way to prove that. If that’s too vague for you, then be careful what you do on your computer.

How Can I View Online Video Without the Starts and Stops?

If you don’t have a fast enough internet connection, video playback can be affected.

"Just" remove your files

Can Malware Survive If I Reset My PC?

It’s possible for malware to be difficult or nearly impossible to remove. It’s also extremely rare.

Why Don’t I Get Sound from My Computer? (A Checklist)

“No sound” can happen for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to troubleshoot if your computer is inexplicably silent.

How Do I Choose a Good Password?

With occasional security breaches at service providers and rampant email account theft, password security has never been more important. Make sure you choose and use secure passwords.

Preparing For The Ultimate Disaster

If you’re not around to unlock all the digital data you take such care to secure, who will be able to access it, and how?

How Much Can I Trust Information on the Internet?

Information on the internet ranges from truth to fiction to intentional misinformation. It’s important to develop a critical eye towards everything you read.

How to Create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive

A Windows 10 Recovery Drive can be used to restore Windows backups to your machine and more. I’ll show you how to create one.

It Pays to Be Skeptical

If we would all be a little more skeptical, we’d be safer and the internet would be a more trustworthy place.

Picking Up and Setting Up My New Desktop

My new machine was ready! I’ll show you where it came from, and the laundry list of things I did first.

About Edge

Edge Redeemed

Microsoft Edge has a bad reputation as an under-powered web browser. That’s all about to change.

How Do I Fix Windows Update?

Windows Update can get confused or stuck. I’ll review ways to fix Windows Update, including what I refer to as the “nuclear option”.

The Results of My Year-Long Laptop Experiment

A year ago, I replaced two laptops and a desktop with a single laptop. It’s time to evaluate the results.

Windows Remote Desktop setting

Does Turning Off Remote Access Keep Me Safer?

Turning off remote desktop is incrementally safer, but it is a very small piece of a much larger puzzle.

Is a Microsoft Office Subscription Worth It?

Before you dismiss it because it’s a subscription product, take a look and do the math. Microsoft Office 365 might be surprisingly affordable.

How To Keep Using Windows 7 Safely After Support Ends

Yes, it’ll be possible to keep using Windows 7 after it’s no longer supported. However, doing so safely will depend on you.

Will My Old Computer Run Windows 10?

There are several options to extend the life of an older machine, depending on its capabilities.

2019

2019’s Most Popular Articles

My annual review of which articles got the most attention and generated the most commentary in 2019.

Is Windows 10 Still Free in 2020? Where to Get It and How To Install It

Officially Windows 10 is no longer free, but there remains at least one unofficial scenario that may allow you to upgrade for free.

Phishing: How to Know It When You See It

Phishing is a way scammers trick you into providing your personal and financial details. Phishing opens the door to identity theft, and more.