Monday, November 30, 2015


When your friends ask you why you're sending them spam, point them here. It's more likely coming from THEIR infected computer than yours.
You know those emails you get too, now and then appearing as if they've been sent by a friend? There's not much you or they can do about it, beyond normal computer maintenance. What is "normal computer maintenance"? Stay tuned - that's coming up in the next post.
Meanwhile, read this and send to all your friends who are getting questionable emails from you. 

Cathy Contant     315-573-4905

Tuesday, November 24, 2015



Dell has just released a tool to remove the offending services that could cause serious trouble. Technical details can be found at the link below, but what you need to do if you're using a newer Dell computer is run the tool to fix the problem.

Click the link, then open the document. It will open in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Writer, LibreOffice and most other word processing software that can read current formats. If you don't have a program on your computer that can open current formats, let's talk - there are free solutions.

Click the link to download, then run the tool. Always download a file to your computer before running it, so your antivirus software can check it first. If you simply click "Run" when prompted during download, you're taking an unnecessary chance of infecting your computer. 

The tool only takes moments to run, so please do this right away. Or, watch for a prompt on your computer screen from Dell to install a fix. That may take longer. 

If you want me to do this for you, contact me with a good time to connect to your computer via remote. Please don't let this go by without acting.

Cathy Contant      315-573-4905

Sunday, November 22, 2015


When you break open the seal on your new computer with Windows 10, plan on some time to create, activate and install things. Here's what you'll need.
1. Create a Microsoft Account. Why? Because your Windows 10 computer will work better with all the features enabled, and you'll get to play your games. Follow the prompts to create the account, including an email address (use an existing address, or set up a new Outlook email account with Microsoft). You'll need to give up some personal information and be able to respond to either email or text verification in a timely manner.
2. Create the Recovery Media. Before you do anything else. In the Search Box (Cortana, if you will), type "create recovery media". Follow the prompts. You'll need a blank flash drive (use a 32GB drive) or 2 to 4 blank DVDs. NOTE: Some Dell laptops are having trouble creating the Recovery Media at this time. Simply contact Tech Support and ask them to send you the Recovery Drive.
3. Antivirus: Windows 10 comes with built-in antivirus, anti-malware and firewall protection. Most computer manufacturers include a trial or a limited-time subscription to an Internet Security Suite such as McAfee, Norton or WebRoot. You should know that in order to use such "included" software, you'll need to disable the software you've already paid for with your Windows 10 license, and the "free" or trial security suite will start nagging you to renew, upgrade or otherwise find a way to grab more money from you. Also, the more aggressive the security software, the less control you have over your computing. I'm happy with the included Defender software, but if you choose to activate and use another package, install it, activate it and configure it properly.
4. Add-ons: Install the programs that don't come with the computer, but are useful and will throw errors if not installed when you try to use something that needs them. That means a PDF Reader (Adobe, Foxit, etc.), iTunes, AIR, Flash, Shockwave, Java, and a number of others.
5. Office Suite: Microsoft includes links to Office365 in Windows 10 - all you need to do to use it (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) is sign in with your Microsoft account, and buy a subscription. Unless you'd rather use a free, fully-Office compatible office suite such as Apache OpenOffice or LibreOffice. LibreOffice, by the way, can use most of your old Microsoft Works files. I install one of these suites on every computer, and so should you. Even if you have the installation discs and license number for an older version of Microsoft Office (install it), the newer, open-source suites will work with current file formats and your old Office may not.
6. Personal software: Now install your online backup (Carbonite, etc.), financial program (QuickBooks, Quicken, TurboTax, etc.), photo-editing or management programs and whatever else you'd like.
7. Printers: Windows 10 is awesome at installing most late-model printers. If yours is more than 5 years old, it's time for a new one. Ask me if you don't know what to get - I've had great success with several inexpensive all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/faxes.
8. Copy your data from your old computer. Various ways, search online or ask if you need help.
9. Get online and go! Now, with most steps behind you it's time to check out your new computer.
If you'd rather have someone else prepare your new computer, contact me anytime - I'm glad to help and can make short work of it! I can also recommend and obtain the right equipment for you, so please ask if you'd like help.

Cathy Contant 315-573-4905


Incredible sale deals are flooding into our Inbox and populating the ad spaces online. You may be considering a new computer, with the prices available now. Here's what to look for, and what to avoid.
Any computer on a blow-out deal will come with Windows 10 now. It's not a terrible thing, and certainly not the nightmare that was Windows 8/8.1. However, the hardware and software devices are not all speaking well with each other just yet, so be prepared for some changes down the road.
Look for a decent processor, because in a year when you're thinking things have really slowed down, you'll be right - and a better processor and more RAM will help. Stick to an Intel Core i5 or i7 (i3 if you don't mind waiting for pages to load and programs to open and close). Avoid the low-end Celeron and AMD processors.
RAM - aim for 8GB or more. 6 will do, 4 will be rather pokey.
Do you need/want a dvd drive? Many modern computers eliminate them to save weight and size, and the days for CDs and DVDs are numbered. If you have a lot of material on disc, get a computer with a drive, or buy an external DVD drive (about $25).
What to do when you get home with a new computer? There are some important steps to take before you jump onto Facebook. You may want to tackle them yourself, or have someone do the setup for you. See next post.
Cathy Contant 315-573-4905

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Why should you NOT pass along scams on Facebook and via email? Let me count the ways. Better yet, That's has already done it. Read on.

The biggest reason? It makes you a target.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Last night's power outage sparked this reminder: at the first indication of power fluctuations, turn off and unplug any electronics you don't want to lose.
Consider using a battery-backup unit for the main components of your computer system - tower, external drive, router, cable modem, printers, monitor, speakers. In that order. Besides adding good surge suppression to the system, the battery also smooths out brownouts - which are a bigger danger to electronics because they happen all day long. Every day.
Me? I lost a nice set of speakers and sub-woofer. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Did your computer mysteriously restart itself last night? Welcome to Microsoft Automatic Updates.
A dozen security-based patches were released by Microsoft yesterday, and some other familiar apps updated, as well.
Flash and AIR (Adobe) are new; Flash may have updated itself or prompted you to help. If you use Ninite (automatic updater) you can run it to update Flash and a number of other programs.

If you'd like to check and install Flash updates yourself, go to, then click on Flash Player in the lower-right corner. You can also update Adobe Reader, AIR and Shockwave here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Basically, it's semantics. Potentially Unwanted Programs are bad, and you don't want them on your computer.
Here are a few: ASK, SlimCleaner, MyPC Backup, System Optimizer Pro, PC Optimizer, Babylon, SearchProtect, MapsGalaxy, TidyNetwork, CouponPrinter, StormAlerts, Optimizer Pro, Snap.Do, OpenSoftware Updates and anything served up by Conduit.
If you find any of these on your computer, clean it out or get it cleaned out. Most times, I can clean it up via remote connection, or you can drop off your computer for a thorough clean and update.


Like-farming - it's a thing and you don't want to participate. Stop "liking" widespread shares that insist you "Share if you love Jesus" or "Help us get Granny 100,000 likes on her birthday" or "Help end diabetes/cancer/drunk driving by sharing this post".
The posts were created to get likes, so the creator can then sell the Page with lots of likes and followers.
Be a creator, not a follower.