Friday, September 30, 2016



If you're having trouble with Time Warner's email through Windows Live Mail, you're not alone. It's NOT YOUR COMPUTER, please stop messing with things.
There are several things going on, none of which have anything to do with you or your computer. And no, you have no control.
  1. Windows Live Mail (WLM) is no longer supported by Microsoft, which gives email providers a great excuse to push you to web mail. Web mail is far easier for them to support, though most of us hate it. For now, you can call Time Warner for help, you can wait for your email to work (and it probably will, eventually), or you can go to the web mail portal to use your Time Warner (RoadRunner) email. There are many ways to get to Time Warner's web mail. You can use this link: you can get there from Time Warner's Home Page (click Mail).
  2. Time Warner is in the middle of a big changeover to Spectrum. The network is glitchy right now. Sometimes email works and web pages don't; sometimes searches won't work but Facebook sort of does. This too, shall pass. Go outside and enjoy the Fall while you can. The Internet will be back soon.
  3. Eventually you're going to have to find another way to manage your email. You can continue to use the web portal (see #1 above), or use Thunderbird, or Microsoft Office's Outlook, or you can pull your TWC email through Gmail - which works for me.

More news as it develops - stay tuned.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


So you're happily scrolling through your email or Facebook and suddenly flashing lights, loud sirens and maybe some talking heads start coming out of your computer. Then a message pops up telling you of the devastation that's befallen your computer and instructing you to contact some official-looking support company for immediate help. What now?
Shut off your computer. Hold the power button in for about 10 seconds and it will go off, I promise you. DO NOT CALL ANY NUMBER THAT POPS UP ON YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN. It's a scam - it's a scam - it's a scam, all day - every day.
Many of us are tripping across the scam triggers lately, and some call the number because:
  1. We're scared
  2. We want to believe someone wants to help us
  3. We want instant gratification, and calling someone we trust would take too long.
  4. We think we'll get it fixed cheaper 

If this happens to you, don't panic. Shut off the computer, then contact someone you trust. I have talked with at least a dozen people about this already this week and have charged none of them to tell them how to handle it. If I need to connect to your computer to clean it out, that's a different matter.
If you want to clean it out yourself, go to Nick Francesco's excellent step-by-step instructions here: Or, at least update and run CCleaner, AdwCleaner, SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes, removing anything they find.
Or contact me and I'll help you. Cathy Contant 315-573-4905
Please help your friends and family - tell them not to call numbers that pop up on their computer screens and not to give out any personal information to unknown callers. You'll be helping all of us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Microsoft has a new way to force us into Windows 10. Well, it's not exactly new; they've been doing it for about a year already - it's just getting worse. And it has to do with updating and installing patches on your computer.
Windows 7 and Vista allow us to control how and when we install updates. Windows 8/8.1 and 10 do the thinking and make the decisions for us. It seems this is one of the biggest reasons Microsoft has been pushing their users to Windows 10 - more control for them, less for us.
Should your Windows 7 computer need a hard drive replacement or an operating system reinstallation or even a System Restore, getting Windows Update working again will be a monumental task, if it works at all. Waiting for Windows Update to check for updates has been taking 8 to 12, even 24 hours just to check for updates. Downloading and installing the updates takes almost as long.
There's no official Microsoft fix for the issue, though there's a lot of advice online. Suffice to say it's taking two or three times as long to do the job as it used to before the *change*. Microsoft barely acknowledges it's a problem. The solution, for them, is for you to go to Windows 10 or buy a new computer with Windows 10.
What to do if it happens to you? Each case is different, but it might be time to look for a new computer. The labor alone to reinstall a Windows Vista or 7 computer has doubled.
Maybe you think now would be a good time to ditch Microsoft and head over to the Apple Store. If so, I bid you farewell and good luck. Or, maybe you just don't think you need a computer anymore, since you mainly use your phone or tablet to play games on Facebook and maybe look at your email once in a while. Let's be realistic - portable devices are the future. But for anyone who still wishes to create anything (documents, photos, projects) or do real research or store much of anything (music, photos, genealogy info, invoices and receipts) it's more manageable to do so on an actual computer.
If it's time for you to change to a new computer (do NOT buy the Windows 10 upgrade for your existing computer - the cost plus installation and data transfer will go a long way towards a new computer), let's talk. I've been buying a decent Dell Windows 10 laptop for under $600, and a nice, new all-in-one Canon printer that does everything anyone could want for under $100.
Times change, technology changes, our needs change. Change is the only thing on which we can rely.
Cathy Contant
315-573-4905 (texts welcome - please identify!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016



In addition to the usual patches and updates released by Microsoft on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, these are also important updates to install.
1. JAVA - Version 8, update 102 was just released. You may see a prompt to install the update, and you can follow that prompt, but be sure to UNCHECK any boxes offering 3rd-party software such as security scans or toolbars. Easier: run the Ninite update if it's installed on your computer. No decisions to make, no additional Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs).
2. ADOBE FLASH - Current version is This one can't be updated via Ninite, but should update itself if auto update is enabled. If you want to check your current version go to the Adobe web site, then click Flash Player in the lower right corner and follow the prompts UNCHECK any box offering anything other than Flash.
3. ADOBE AIR - Easily updated using Ninite, or install when prompted, or install from the Adobe web site as above.
4. ITUNES - Just updated to version Install when prompted, run Ninite, or go to the iTunes web site.
5. MOZILLA FIREFOX - Now version 47.0.1. Updates easily from within Firefox, or run Ninite.
Restart your computer after installing updates, and if you leave it on all the time, restarting it several times each week will help it run better. Restarting finishes installing and uninstalling apps and updates and empties temporary files.
Questions? Contact me here, or via text, phone or email.

Cathy Contant 315-573-4905

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Did you wake up to find Windows 10 installing on your computer, against your will? You're not alone. However, you're also not stuck.
DO NOT SHUT IT OFF - let Windows 10 finish installing, then just run the wizard to revert back to Windows 7. If you were on Windows 8/8.1, stick with Windows 10 for a much better experience.
Within 30 days after installing the Windows 7 upgrade you can roll back to Windows 7 by clicking the Start button, then Settings - Update & Security, then Recovery. Choose Go back to Windows 7 and follow the prompts.
Your files should all be where you left them, and you've now reserved your free copy of Windows 10 should you want to go there in the future when things stop working well with Windows 7.
If you want help or have questions, send a message, text, email or call me at 315-573-4905.

Cathy Contant 315-573-4905

Wednesday, May 11, 2016



Uncle. Sort of. If you've been waiting to install the Windows 10 upgrade on your Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 7 computer, you've probably been wondering when - or if - to let the upgrade install. 

Now that Microsoft has confirmed they really will start charging $119 to upgrade to Windows 10 after July 29, 2016, the question becomes more compelling. This does not mean "they've worked out all the bugs and now it's safe to upgrade". There will always be "bugs" in software - your Windows Vista/7/8/10 and MAC computers install updates and patches every month, if not more often. Here's how to decide whether to go to Windows 10 or leave well-enough alone. 

1. Know that you never have to change from Windows 7 (or Windows 8/8.1) if you like things the way they are. Microsoft will support Windows 7 into 2020, and 8.1 into 2023. All that means is after the cutoff date there will be no more (supposedly) security updates created for that operating system. Your computer will not just stop working. Working well, is the question.

2. Over time the applications and hardware on an older computer will become less-compatible with current software and Internet standards. This means that web pages will load slower, and possibly wrong or not at all. Web pages and browsers change all the time - technology moves forward - and no one browser nor any individual web page will always work perfectly at any point in time, even now. 

NOTE: When you get an error on a web page, try going to that page in a different browser before pushing the panic button. When the battery is dead on the Ford, get in the Chevy and go to work. 

3. If your computer is more than 2 or 3 years old, it may not have the hardware to allow the Windows 10 upgrade to install or run properly. Stick with what you have or buy a new computer. 

4. If you're using Windows 8 or 8.1, you'll probably like Windows 10 better. If you're using Windows 7, you may or may not like Windows 10 better, but it will be more compatible with software, web sites and hardware down the road. After a week you won't notice a difference.

5. If you're using Windows XP or Vista, there's no free upgrade to anything for you. It's time to buy a new computer. Your old, reliable computer is running on borrowed and dangerous time.

6. Know that if you DO change to Windows 10 and really don't like it after giving it the old college try, you can still go back to your old operating system within 30 days. Reason enough to give it a try.

If you've decided to stay with your current operating system, stop worrying about whether or not you should upgrade. Microsoft said they will stop prompting to upgrade after July 29. You will simply use what you have, as you've done since you got it, until you decide to replace the computer. Congratulations, and please check your data backups. 

If you've decided to plunge ahead and take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade, there are a few things to do before installing. 


1. Check to be sure your computer can be upgraded. Right-click on the Windows 10 icon in your System Tray, then click Check My PC.

2. Back up your data (anything you don't want to lose). Twice. 

3. Find the installation files and license numbers for any software you want to use. (Microsoft Office, Quicken, QuickBooks, Photoshop, etc.) Anything you've installed will need to be reinstalled after the upgrade.

4. Find the Recovery media you created when your current computer was new, or make it now. 

5. Remove any add-on security software you've installed (Norton, McAfee, Microsoft Security Essentials). And consider using the included Defender in Windows 10 instead of buying 3rd-party security software. It works great, and there's nothing out there that protects us from us. You'll still need tools to remove adware, spyware, trojans and worms that appear out of nowhere. That's a different post.

6. Follow the prompts and let Windows 10 install. It will take some time, and there will be things to configure when it's done (I'll post about this later). Oh, and if you don't like Microsoft's new Edge browser you can still use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or just about any browser you want. You'll just need to install them, or run the Ninite updater if you have it.

Microsoft has made the upgrade process as easy as possible, but it's still a daunting task and takes hours to complete. If Windows 10 sounds like it's right for you now, and would like it to just appear with all the updates and new Recovery Media and your data in the right places, I can help. 

Cathy Contant              315-573-4905     

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Java update 92 was released last night (April 19, 2016). If Java is on your computer (you'll know because a popup will offer to update), install the update.
If you're using the Ninite updater, run it to avoid any 3rd-party software that Java likes to install along with your update. More here:…/oracle-adds-amazon-search-engine…/
And if your Ninite updater hasn't been updated to not include QuickTime, it needs to be done. You can manually remove QuickTime, but if you're using the old Ninite it will be reinstalled when you run Ninite. So - create a new Ninite updater or contact me for details!