Eddie from the UK asks: Hello aunty. I bought a Dell Inspiron laptop back in Jan to replace my aging Toshiba but I find it is slower than my Toshiba (both have windows 10). I took it to PC World and the ladies that dealt with me started it and as soon as it opened, SuperAntiSpyware popped up and she said “there's your problem you have a virus” so I explained about yourself and that you have always recommended SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes and also Windows Defender. She insisted that except for Malwarebytes the other two were no good, can you advise on the above? Aunty Says:Wow that ‘s a bit scary Eddie. I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of stupidity but even by PC World’s standards that shows a new level of incompetence. Are you sure you hadn’t accidently popped into Pets World instead of PC World? Superantispyware is most definitely not a virus and is still a very popular and useful free antispyware program. Over the years it may have lost some ground to Malwarebytes, but I run a weekly scan with both and they often find different threats. Microsoft’s free Windows Defender is fine for most of us and will do a good a job as most of the freebie antivirus programs out there, but maybe do some Googling research as this marketplace shifts an awful lot. Did these goons follow this up with some sales pitch about an overpriced subscription to McAfee or Norton by any chance?
Ernie via email asks: I’m getting a bit old and falling apart and I suspect my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, I’ve been trying to kid myself that it’sthe writing onthe internetthat has gotten smallerbut who am I kidding? I have seen it done by my Grandson where hequicklymake the screen much bigger (or smaller)but Ican’t figure out which keyshe pressed.Can you help? Aunty Says:HiErnie. If you hold down the Ctrl key (usually bottom left) and simultaneously press the + or – key you shouldsee the screen zoom in and out. You can also do thisby holding down the Ctrl key and rolling the mousescrollwheel back and forth.Top Tip: TheCtrl + mouse wheeloption works onmost Windows programs and is a quick and fun way of making your desktop icons huge.
Wendy from Montesinos asks:Is it safe to use a vacuum cleaner to clean out all of the dust and fluff that has accumulated around the vents on my computer? I heard somewhere that you can damage computers using a hoover. Aunty Says:Hello Wendy. I’ve always used a hoover and have never caused any damage. There is a theory that as the air is sucked in by the hoover it spins and twists into a spiral which apparently causes static electricity but I’ve never actually heard of this actually happening to anyone. I’ve seen keys sucked off laptop keyboards but a low suction setting and a moderation of common sense should suffice.
That’s all for this week, email me your problems to email@example.com I will see what I can do.
Val from La Marina asks: Hi Aunty. I stupidly downloaded a free PDF file converter and now it seems my Google browser has been taken over by something called ‘My Web Search’. Is there an easy way to get rid of it and back to my Yahoo page? Aunty Says: Hi Val. You may be lucky and find that this annoying hijacker hasn’t already buried itself too deeply into Windows. In Chrome click on the 3 small dots in the top right corner and go to “settings” and under the “On start up” section click on the “Set Pages” link and make surewww.yahoo.com is the only entry. Also go down to the ‘Search’ section and click on the ‘Manage Search Engines’ button and add Yahoo and delete any other entries. I would strongly recommend a full scan with Malwarebytes and your favourite Antivirus program just to be sure.
Gavin via email asks: Hi Aunty. I regularly use the number keys on the right hand side of my keyboard but they sometimes don't seem to work. I can get by using the numbers on the top of the keyboard but as a semi retired accountant I am so used to using a calculator which has the same layout as my laptop keyboard. Aunty Says: Hello Gavin. This is known as the “number pad” and can usually be switched on or off by pressing the Num Lock key (Bloq Num on a Spanish keyboard). This key is normally near the number pad and there is often a light to indicate when it is active.
Paul via email asks: Hi Aunty. I have recently noticed that my downloads and email attachments that I do from the internet have started saving in a different folder. My son had created a folder on my USB external disk called “Store” especially for storing all of my downloaded pictures, films, music etc. but Chrome now seems to save things into my downloads folder on my main C: drive which is now warning me that it is full. Aunty Says:This setting is easy to change Paul and you can get to it from the settings option in Chrome. Click on the 3 small dots in the top right corner and go to “settings” and at the bottom, click on the “Show advanced options” and look for the section called “Downloads” where you can specify where you want any downloaded stuff to go.
Tim via email asks: Hello Aunty. I’ve have had google.co.uk as my main startup home page for years but now when I go on the Internet it has gone. I can get it by typing it into the space at the top but when I restart my laptop it has gone again. Aunty Says: Hello Tim. I have always used google.co.uk as my homepage as it is safe and probably the best place to start searching for stuff. As with the above answers, you can easily reset or change your homepage via the settings option in Chrome, Firefox or Edge.
Well that’s all for another week. Email me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see if I can get you sorted.
Steve via email asks:Hi Aunty, I have had a Hotmail address for over 10 years and recently it seems to be called Outlook and I’m getting a hell of lot more dodgy looking emails which get sent to my junk box that are obvious scams and pretending to be from banks. Recently I had one supposedly from The Inland Revenue offering me a tax rebate but the spelling was so awful it gave it away. I always mark them as spam and then they automatically disappear from my inbox but recently I’m getting concerned that these scammers seem to have more and more of my private personal information so what happens to the emails? Does my email or Internet provider report them? because as they automatically go into my junk inbox I can’t see any way of forward them to the banks etc to alert them as to what is going on. Aunty Says:I’m not sure how Hotmail (Microsoft) deal with their customers’ spam problems Steve but I’m sure there is a setting somewhere that will help you flag and report any particularly nasty emails as spam. In Gmail there is a “report spam” option that will alert Google and hopefully they follow it up and do something about it. Policing this kind of thing is a nightmare but there was a legal case recently where a UK company was heavily fined for spamming and abusing people’s private and personal information, but outside of the EU and USA nobody seems to care that much.
Wayne via email asks: Dear Aunty, I was just wondering what the difference is between a USB2 & USB3 and if I need to replace any of my old USB devices (mouse, Webcam, memory stick etc) when I but a new laptop. Thanks for your help in the past. Aunty Says: The main difference with the new USB-3 connection is the transfer speed as it can read and write nearly twice as fast as USB-2, which is particularly noticeable when copying between your computer and a USB stick or external hard drive. USB-3 can also chuck out more power than USB-2 which will mean charging things will be quicker and should create a new generation of USB gadgets. One of the design requirements of the new USB technology was that it is backwardly compatible with USB-2, so for the while you should be able to use either USB-2 or USB-3 devices in any USB port.
Brian via email asks:Hi Aunty. I would like to back up everything on my computer in case of a crash but I’m not sure how to go about it. I have a lot of important documents and photos which I do not want to lose and would like to store them elsewhere for safety sake. I have a few books on computers but they are not particularly helpful & you can't ask a book questions. I will be glad of any help you can give me relating to this. Also I would like to back up separately i.e. documents and photos etc. Aunty Says:Hello Brian. Probably the easiest way these days is to copy it all onto a USB memory stick and stash it away in a drawer somewhere safe. You can pick up a 32GB USB stick for under €15 and that will hold thousands of photos and documents. When you plug the USB stick in, it will appear as a drive letter in Windows and I simply use the mouse right click to copy and paste documents and photos from one folder to another.
That’s all for this week, email me your problems to email@example.com and I will see what I can do.
Brian via email asks:Hello Aunty. I have downloaded and installed the new Skype but when it had finished installing it was all in Spanish instead of English and unfortunately I don’t speak a single word, so how do I change it? I have tried re-downloading it from a UK website but it still installs in Spanish! Please help.Aunty Says:Hello Brian. You can normally change the languages of most apps via a tools or option page which can normally be found from a menu along the top, or quite often a cog shaped icon. After starting Skype click on “herramientas” on the menu bar and you will see an option “cambiar idioma” and you should see English in the list.Tony via email asks:Hello Aunty. I have been a regular reader for ages and have learned a great deal from your column but I wonder if you can help me with this problem? A short while ago Windows 10 took it upon itself to do some updates and since then several apps fail to start, e.g. Firefox, Google Chrome, Skype etc. Each time I run one of these apps I get a message "Side by Side Configuration error" and in my wisdom I have tried to uninstall the apps but each time it fails because the error message as above comes up. An obvious answer is to restore to an earlier date but unfortunately during the Windows 10 update all the previous restore points were erased. Thank you for any advice you can give me.Aunty Says:Hi Tony. This problem has been around for a good while and normally uninstalling and reinstalling any malfunctioning apps fixes this problem, but as you have multiple apps reporting this same error, then I think this may be a deeper Windows problem and a bit more serious. I’ve had varied success uninstalling all or any Microsoft Visual C++ entries from “Programs and Features” and then downloading the latest version (search C++ on the microsoft.co.uk website) Let me know how you get on.James from Almoradí asks:Hi Aunty. Is there an easy way I can prove if someone using my internet connection? I have a basic router from olé and I’m sure it is being used by someone else because it regularly slows down to a crawl and even after I switch off my laptop the activity light on the wifi router will flash for hours. I live in an apartment and I know 2 of my prime suspects are teenage computer wizzkids as they have fixed my laptop a few times. How could anyone have got onto my system?Aunty Says:Hello James. It would have been very easy for one of these geeky nerds to get your Wi-Fi password when they were fixing your computer so maybe get into the habit of changing your Wi-Fi password via your routers control panel (instructions sent via an email) To monitor your Wi-Fi maybe try the a free program called “Wireless Net Watcher” from www.nirsoft.net which will show you a map of any devices connected to your Olé router. I wanted to see who was connected to my internet and I soon discovered one of my East European neighbors had managed to crack my Wi-Fi password and had been helping themselves to my precious bandwidth (and likely nosing around my computer) so I returned the favor and left them a little virus on their hard disk.Well that’ll do for another week, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do.
Christian via email asks:Hello Aunty. Not long ago you informed about a disc shredding program which should be able to remove anything at all from the disc. Sorry, could I kindly ask you to repeat the name of the software which you know about? I have found several possibilities on the internet but I am still confused about what is the best. Aunty Says:I'm not sure I remember this one Christian. Someone in the Round Town News is faking my article and using my good name in vain, could this be where you read it? I use a free program called Freeraser to permanently delete individual files/folders and I use diskwipe.org to securely wipe disks or USB sticks. Both are free, easy to use and work well with Windows.
Alan via email asks:Hi Aunty. I recently upgraded my HP pavilion laptop to Windows 10 and now I appear to have a problem. After scanning a document and saving onto the laptop, when I try to attach it to an email, a message comes up saying “attachment too big” This is same for any size and I never had any issues attaching prior to the Windows upgrade. My provider is Orange. Would you be able to give me any guidance?Aunty Says:Hi Alan. I can only think that the Windows upgrade has also updated your printer/scanner software drivers which has resulted in your scanner scanning documents at a too high resolution. Have you tried lowering the resolution (DPI) before you start the scan? I find 300 is more than enough and I set it to black & white if it’s a simple document, when you say the problem occurs with “any size” note that resolution isn’t the same as the document’s dimensions. Unless you have started using the email app that came with Win10 then I can’t think of another way that a Windows upgrade could restrict email attachments but if you can send me some more details I will investigate.
Barbara via email asks:Dear Aunty, I wonder if you can help me? I have yahoo.co.uk email and have downloaded win10. Every time I sign out it always comes up in Spanish. I have changed the language to English but it doesn’t make any difference. Is there anything else I can do to stop this? Also is there anything I can do to stop the Spanish ads popping up? Your help would be much appreciated.Aunty Says:Hello Barbara. The Spanish language page can usually be controlled by a setting within your browser (Chrome, Firefox etc) where you can set your homepage and search engines to yahoo.co.uk. In Chrome click on the three little bars in the top right corner and choose “Settings, In Firefox go to “Tools” on the menu bar. The annoying popup ads will be stopped by downloading the fabulous and free Adblock and you can find a safe link and info in the Downloads section on the website.
Any questions then email me at email@example.comSee you all next week.
Frank via email asks:Hi Aunty. I have Windows 7 and I was tempted to upgrade to Windows 10 but a computer shop that I deal with advised against it. I also recall that you didn't recommend the change as there seemed to be problems involved. Has the situation changed? The icon on the screen keeps urging me to make the change, which I would like to do, but I'm concerned about the possible problems. As usual, your advice is very welcome, and much appreciated.Aunty Says:I’d say do it Frank, and of course you will have 1 month from the time of the upgrade to go back to Win7 and exactly how things were. Don’t forget you only have until July 2016 to take advantage of the free copy and after this it is reckoned Win10 will be around €130 for a genuine copy.
Marie from Torrevieja asks:Hi Aunty. Last week after we had had a bad storm I lost my TV box and my TV supplier advised I buy a Surge Protector plug for both the TV and my laptop. Today I was advised by a local shop that they had never heard of people needing surge plugs! What are your thoughts and advice on the matter please?Aunty Says:Hello Marie. I do hope you had accidently wandered into a cake shop and it wasn’t a computer shop that gave you that advice? Surge Protectors are very important here in Spain as the mains electricity is so iffy but you will need to buy a fairly decent one. I’m due a new one and will be doing some research, but for the now I think Belkin seem to be the best all-rounders as some of their models offer insurance so they must be fairly confident that they do the job. If your house took a direct lightening hit then I doubt anything could protect you.
Norman via email asks:Is it possible to get rid of “MPC Safe Navigation” from my computer? I have tried different systems but it still appears. Keep up solving our problems.Aunty Says:Hi Norman. I’m pretty sure both Malwarebytes and Adwcleaner will get rid of the MPC Browser Hijacker but it can hide itself in other places on your computer so try them and let me know how you get on.
Terry and Steve via email asks:Hi Aunty. I just read your column on how to change the Wi-Fi password on my router so could you please send me instructions? Thank you.Aunty Says:Hi Terry and Steve. This is a fairly lengthy subject so I have put the instructions here.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see you all next week.
John via email asks:Hi Aunty. Are you on commission from Amazon? You advised someone in this week’s edition (CBP 9th Feb) to buy a laptop USB mouse from Amazon for £20 plus £5 p+p which is €32.29, yet you can buy one here in Torrevieja considerably cheaper, Milar for example sell them for €8, a saving of €24.29 and no waiting for delivery to Spain!Aunty Says:Hi John. Thanks for the email. Betty was also asking after a UK keyboard, and unfortunately we don't know of anywhere here in Spain that stocks them, we get ours from Amazon UK. Betty was also having difficulty mastering her laptop's built in touchpad/mouse, so to kill two birds, the UK model we suggested includes a mouse. We also suggested getting a wireless keyboard/mouse combo as this will only use one USB port + still allows for some portability if using the laptop on a plane or in the garden etc.
Lolita via email asks:Hello Aunty. After a recent Skype update I was unable to access Skype from my desktop shortcut. I uninstalled and tried to reinstall but although it seemed to do all the right things on download, there’s a notice on screen saying “unable to access download server”. I have contacted Skype help and they wanted to remotely access my computer but I said no to that. Can you help?Aunty Says:Hi Lolita. If you go to the Skype website and download the latest Skype for Windows this should guarantee a fresh install with the very latest version. If this fails then there may be some remnants of an unsuccessful previous install that is causing problems. There are some free uninstaller programs that go beyond the normal Windows “Uninstall a Program” so let me know if the above works.
Steve via email asks:Hi Aunty. Is there any way I can tell if there is anybody using my internet? I am with orange/telefonica but there is activity on my router (livebox) some time after I have turned off my tower main switch. It happens mostly when there are visitors in the area.Aunty Says:Hello Steve. For the very same reason I used a program called Wireless Net Watcher from www.nirsoft.net and found one of my visiting neighbours had hacked my Wi-Fi password and was helping themselves to my ADSL. How they hacked my Wi-Fi password I will never know but to stop this happening again I’ve got into the habit of regularly changing my Wi-Fi password via the routers control panel. If you’re not sure exactly how to do this let me know and I will send you instructions.
Terry via email asks:Hi, I recently upgraded from Windows 8 to 10. After a Windows update the laptop kept cycling and I had to resort to factory settings. It said copy all files, photos music etc which I did following instructions onto two 4.7GB DVDs. After set up I sent all DVDs info to laptop but when trying to open files in notepad the printout was all rubbish including Arabic? The files are all there and the right quantity of GB. How can I retrieve my photos, music and files?Aunty Says:Not too sure about this Terry but it could be that you are trying to open these files with the wrong program. If you right click on one of the photo files you should see the option “open with” where you can choose Windows Photo Viewer. If this works OK then to make it permanent right click “open with” then “Always use the selected program….” Let me know how you get on.
Betty via email asks:This maybe a basic question but I have an Asus laptop from Media Markt but I cannot get on with the built in laptop mousepad and the Spanish keyboard. Can I buy a UK keyboard and mouse and use it with my laptop and will this be something I can setup myself?Aunty Says:Hi Betty. It is very simple and you can buy a USB wireless keyboard and mouse from Amazon UK for around £20 with £5 delivery to Spain. It will come with a small USB dongle that you plug into a free USB port and that’s all there is to it. You will have to go into the Windows settings to tell it you now have a UK keyboard, so email me the version of Windows you are using and I will send you step-by-step instructions.
Jason via email asks:Hello Aunty. I have done something stupid and wonder if you could help. I recently upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 but found that my printer would not install, even though I went to the Canon website and downloaded the full driver package. I was so fed up that I clicked on “Restore your computer back to Windows 8” (which I really don’t like by the way) and guess what? My printer didn’t work in Windows 8 either! And it turns out the printer packed up way before Christmas but my daughter hadn’t told me. So now I want to go back to Windows 10 but I no longer see the “Get Windows 10” icon in the bottom right corner. Have I lost my free upgrade because I used it?Aunty Says:Hello Jason. All is not lost as you can still get the free upgrade up until July this year. Go on to the www.enetcomputers.net website and click on the “Download Windows 10” image and run the Media Creation tool that downloads. Follow the instructions and that is pretty much it. Any problems let me know.
Lesley via email asks:Hi Aunty. I recently bought myself a new laptop which has Windows 10. On my older Vista laptop whenever I printed anything a window popped up telling me how much ink I had left for both b&w and colour. This does not happen with my new one which is surprising as I thought Windows 10 was meant to be an improvement. Any ideas how to fix this? The laptop is a Lenovo and the printer is an HP.Aunty Says:Hi Lesley. This is probably due to the printer software (known as drivers) not being the full set. When you first plug a printer into a new Windows 10 computer it will look through its own list of drivers and install what it thinks is the best one, and although these nearly always work, they are usually only the basics to get you going and don’t include the additional functions such as ink level alerts. You need to go to the HP website and navigate to the support/download section. Type your printer model into the search box and look for the full software package for your printer. Once downloaded and installed you should see all of the features you enjoyed with your old system. If you don’t see Windows 10 listed then try the Win8 or Win7 versions.
Any questions you can email me at email@example.com and I’ll see you all next week.
Julie via email asks:Hello Aunty. I have upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 10 and so far I am finding it so much easier. The one annoying problem that I can’t seem to fix is a message “OneDrive cannot sync with the server” I don’t know what Onedrive is and why it is on my computer as I haven’t installed it myself, is this a virus and should I stop using the internet ?Aunty Says:No need to panic Julie. OneDrive is a Microsoft product that comes bundled with Windows 8 and 10 and is simply an internet storage service where you can upload up to 15GB of files and photos and share them with your phone etc. (often referred to as the Cloud). If you don’t want to use this service you can switch it off in Windows 10 by right clicking on the small cloud icon in the bottom right corner of your desktop and go to “settings” where you can stop OneDrive automatically starting.
Barry via email asks:Hi Aunty. I need to translate a factura from Spanish to English so I scanned the letter into my documents folder on my laptop and I can now see it listed as a PDF file. I can open and see the contents with Adobe but when I have then tried to use Google Translate it tells me it is translating but nothing happens. Any hints as to what I could be doing wrong? My printer is quite old so could this be the problem?Aunty Says:Hi Barry. I imagine you are scanning the bill into an un-editable PDF and this is somehow causing Google translate some problems. You will need to scan the document using your scanner’s OCR (Optical Character Recognition) function which is normally available as an option when you start the scan. You should then get the option to save the document in a simple text format to something like Word or Wordpad, which you can then copy and paste into the Google translator. Let me know how you get on and if you run into any problems, email me the make/model of your printer and I will send you more detailed instructions.
Lesley via email asks:Hi Aunty. I recently bought myself a new laptop which has Windows 10. On my older Vista laptop whenever I printed anything a window popped up telling me how much ink I had left for both b&w and colour. This does not happen with my new one which is surprising as I thought Windows 10 was meant to be an improvement. Any ideas how to fix this? The laptop is a Lenovo and the printer is an HP.Aunty Says:Hi Lesley. This is probably due to the printer software (known as drivers) not being the full set. When you first plug a printer into a new Windows 10 computer it will look through its own list of drivers and install what it thinks is the best one, and although these nearly always work, they are usually only the basics to get you going & don’t include the additional functions such as ink level alerts. You need to go to the HP website and navigate to the support/download section. Type your printer model into the search box and look for the full software package for your printer. Once downloaded and installed you should see all of the features you enjoyed with your old system. If you don’t see Windows 10 listed then try the Win8 or Win7 versions.
Any questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org See you all next week.