Saturday, March 25, 2017



Surpassed in popularity only by Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail (WLM) has now joined its predecessor in "No Longer Supported" heaven. While most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) stopped helping customers with WLM when Microsoft first announced end of support, at least we could still install and use it... most of the time. 

No more. Microsoft has put up another wall to attempt to finally kill off WLM and now gives an error when we try to install or reinstall it. Yes, there are ways to force it to install (for now), but to what end? It's over and it's time to move on. "Not supported" translates to "not safe to use" if you value your identity, data and computer. 

What are the options? Here are a few.

1. You can keep your existing email address, and use it from the provider's web mail web site. That means any browser, from any device that connects to the Internet, as long as you know your email address and password. For Time Warner Cable - now Spectrum - you can go to , then enter your email address and password. You'll see your current messages there, and you can send and receive new messages. You can't import your old messages, which is why you should keep your Windows Live Mail on your computer - to access your saved and sent emails. Once you've been using the webmail site for a while, all the messages you send and receive will be available there - up to the provider's storage cap. TWC/Spectrum has a cap of about 1GB. Your contacts (email addresses) can be exported from WLM and imported into web mail. 

To ensure that our email service performs well, we have placed restrictions on the size of email sent and received as well as the overall capacity of your TWC Mail account.
Each TWC Mail account has a default of about 1 GB of storage. The owner of the master email account can adjust the size of individual mailboxes to distribute the allotment as desired.
Subscribers can send emails of up to 30 MB in total message size, including attachments. Attachments can be up to 20 MB. Subscribers are allowed to send emails to up to 1,000 recipients every 24 hours per IP address. Emails can have up to 99 recipients in each of the "To" and "CC" fields.
Subscribers can receive emails of up to 30MB, including attachments. Adequate storage space must be available for the email to be received.

2. You can install Mozilla Thunderbird, which lives on your computer and either stores the messages themselves on the web (IMAP) or on your computer (POP). It's a great way to save your emails, especially if you have a lot of them and go over the cap. Thunderbird is free, open-source software, which means you can use it without cost, but if you like it a donation to the project is appreciated. 

3. If you're using Windows 10 you can use the included Mail app. Most people agree it's too basic, too hard to use, and not ready for Prime Time. 

4. You can create a web mail account with Google (Gmail), Microsoft (Outlook/MSN/Hotmail), Yahoo, or many other providers, or your own domain. At any point in time people will prefer one webmail product over the others. They all work the same way - you go to a web site from any browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Google Chrome, Safari, etc.) and any device connected to the Internet, then log in with your email address and password. Web mail is inherently slower with fewer features than a local email client such as WLM, Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook (included in the Microsoft Office Suite such as MSO365 subscription). Most people don't like web mail after using a local client for many years. We get used to it, because it's convenient, efficient and the way forward. 


While web mail is slow, in my 20 years' experience online Microsoft's Hotmail/Outlook/MSN is about the slowest. Yahoo and AOL are old, the companies are in flux, and the email address may not present the image you'd like. Time Warner's own webmail site has been malfunctioning for months, at their own admission. 

Web mail is free. Which is good and bad. Free is usually good, until there's no one to call for help. And when you're forced to look at ads while you read your email, because not much is truly free and nobody gives you their costly and time-consuming labor for nothing. Privacy? Whether or not you read the privacy policies, you should assume your data is being collected and sold, no matter what web site you visit. It's certainly possible one service is more aggressive at data collection and sales than others, but only for one moment in time until the rest catch up. 

Considering the options, and understanding many people use Android phones with Google accounts now, plus the fact that Gmail gives you 15GB free storage instead of 1, plus a suite of free apps that actually work most of the time, I've moved over to Gmail. Google Drive is a great way to store documents and pictures, Google Calendar actually syncs with my Outlook Calendar, and Gmail is probably faster and more reliable than most. 

You don't have to give up your old email address; it's always a good idea to have more than one. But give the free Gmail a try if it's time to abandon Windows Live Mail for you.

Need help with the changeover, or backing up your data? I can help. Contact info below.

Cathy Contant  315-573-4905

Thursday, March 16, 2017



Now just click this link and follow the prompts to pay your invoice via PayPal. Ask if you have questions!

Thanks very much for your support!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017



It's Patch Tuesday, Valentine's Day, and a great day to make your computer safer to run. Maybe even speed it up and *gasp* protect anything you don't want to lose by backing it up!

Microsoft releases updates (patches) all the time, but the second Tuesday of the month brings the majority of them to us. Windows 10 will download and install the updates automatically, and you don't have much to say about that. I'm finding out that's probably a good thing, if the alternative is not installing the updates at all. Windows 8.1 gives you a bit more control, and Windows 7 leaves you mainly on your own - or at least makes you work harder for the updates.

Why do you want them? It's not all for the flashy new enhancements - it's to keep your computer safer from malware, hackers and scammers by fixing newly-discovered security problems. Yes, you do want them. Yes, sometimes an update is not quite right and some fixing needs to happen. So what - at least most of the time your computer, your data and your identity are safer with the latest updates than without. 

Which updates? All of them. Windows, Office, Adobe , Java, CCleaner, iTunes, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Mozilla products, Google products, QuickBooks, Quicken and any other software that may have been installed since your computer was new will put out updates. 

How? Aside from the Microsoft updates, each app or program will have its own way of installing updates. Many times you can simply open the program, then click Help - Check for updates or About. If you have the Ninite Updater - and you do if I've worked on your computer either hands-on or via remote - it's a very simple process to run it and be done with it. Otherwise, depending on the operating system on your computer and the application itself, you may need to go out to find, download and install the updates. **DANGER ZONE** Searching for updates via Google, Yahoo or other search engines can land you in very bad territory. If you don't know where to go to find the update you need please ask someone who does know. Ask here, ask on Facebook, ask a savvy friend or relative - just beware of following advice after Googling it!

It's time to update my step-by-step recommendations for regular updates and maintenance, and you'll find that in the next post. In the meantime, let the Windows updates install and restart your computer when prompted. Run Ninite if you have it, and check your backup system - external drive, online service such as Carbonite, or something you've devised yourself. 

Ask if you have questions! I'd rather prevent a problem than fix one. 
Text, Facebook message, email or call anytime. 

Cathy Contant   315-573-4905

Wednesday, January 18, 2017



You've probably seen the prompt to update Java. If you have the Ninite Updater installed on your computer - and you do if I've worked on it - run that instead of worming your way through the Java prompts, trying to avoid 3rd-party software they'd like to shove onto your computer.
Current version of Java is now 8.0, version 121
If you're still unsure you can go to the Java check page and verify or update from there. Or ask for help.
NOTE: Use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox to go to this link.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


You may have seen a message telling you CCleaner isn't compatible with your version of Windows. It results from a recent Windows update and isn't a big deal.
You can uninstall CCleaner and reinstall it, which actually is the best answer because Piriform (CCleaner's developer) released a new version of CCleaner today anyway.
Most of us only need the free version of CCleaner. None of us need anything more running in the background to slow things down, collect our data and report home.
CCleaner is a utility for cleaning out temporary files on your computer, among other uses. It is not an antivirus, malware remover or protector of any kind. However, running CCleaner regularly (at least weekly) might remove any malware lurking in your temporary files waiting to be triggered.
Some people complain that after running CCleaner they have to type in their saved user names and passwords on some web sites. Yes, that's one of the big benefits of CCleaner. Knowing your user names and passwords is a minimum basic skill necessary for using a computer online. You can configure CCleaner to not wipe your user names or passwords, but practicing logging in once in a while is a valuable skill. Don't be so lazy.
Remember - free version only, watch what you're clicking, follow the prompts and never allow 3rd-party software to come along for the ride if offered during the installation. No Google Toolbar, no McAfee or Norton Security scans. None.
Ask if you have questions.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


What is going on with MBAM (Malwarebytes AntiMalware)?
If you recently updated Malwarebytes you may have received the next-generation version, and wow – does it look different. And it installs the Premium Trial by default so you’ll be constantly nagged to “upgrade” (read: purchase). What do I do now?
MBAM 3.0 (or more precisely now, MB – since they dropped the “AntiMalware” part of the name) is now an antivirusantimalware security suite instead of just a malware removal tool. According to the MB web site, the new version is built to replace or run alongside your existing security software. However, if you’d like constant protection, as with most antivirus suites, you’ll need to pay for Malwarebytes. It’s your call, but I prefer using the built-in (on Windows 10 and 8/8.1) Defender for antivirus, and additional free tools when necessary to scan for and remove malware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). On Windows 7 I’m sticking with the free Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware.
What to do about that MB Premium Trial, now that it’s on your computer? Don’t panic; a few clicks in the Settings and you’re back to Free, and a decent malware seeker and destroyer. Here’s how:

1.  Close this window.

2. Click Protection settings

3. Click the My Account tab, then click Deactivate Premium Trial

4. Click the Application tab. Deselect (uncheck) any boxes you like, but be sure to uncheck the last one. 

5. Click the Protection tab, then check Scan for rootkits.

6. Click Dashboard on the left, and let Malwarebytes update and run a scan. Remove anything it finds. 

You can update and run Malwarebytes anytime you like. It's a good idea to run monthly, anyway. 

Malwarebytes is still a great tool, but like most software the developers constantly strive to improve. At first glance it's now harder to configure, increases the demands for upgrades, and takes longer to scan. 

Malwarebytes now claims to protect against ransomware attacks (paid version only), which would be a great thing. However, their first ad compaign claims that 40% of businesses have already been attacked by ransomware and that seems like an outlandish claim with no obvious source. Skepticism isn't something a security company should want to invite upon itself. The first, best protection against ransomware is keeping current backups of any data you don't want to lose. 

If you have questions about configuring or using Malwarebytes as part of your computer security, please ask. 

Cathy Contant         315-573-4905

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Exaggerating a problem that's happening to some doesn't help. Be aware, protect yourself, but don't become an alarmist!

From the smart people at That's Nonsense.