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.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Don't condemn an entire community for lack of understanding. Most infections acquired by Facebook users are self-inflicted and it's good to inform yourself. 

That's Nonsense lays it out for us:

Monday, November 7, 2016


Electronics disposal has become a bigger challenge and hassle than it should. Finding a convenient local collection spot or event is next-to-impossible. So I'm doing something about it, while hoping to regain the use of my garage for the winter.
If you're a client of mine and have electronics you no longer need, you can drop them off at my lab this week - and this week only. That's today, November 7 through Saturday, November 12.
Here are the details:
1. You'll do the lifting - I'm still on restriction.
2. I'm not wiping any computers of your personal data, unless you insist and then I have to charge you for the time it takes. However, EWASTE+ assures me they must wipe or shred "any data bearing device" to attain this standard.
3. Computer towers, laptops, printers, speakers, cables, keyboards, mice, routers are accepted free. "Microwaves accepted at $5 each, flat screen TV’s are no cost as well as Sony CRT’s. Any non-Sony CRT’s are at the 35 cents per pound rate." Since I don't have a scale and will not be weighing anything, if you want to drop off a CRT monitor or TV (non-flat-screen), I'll take them at $10 each.
4. If you have questions, let's discuss. If you need directions, please ask privately. I'm not interested in publishing the lab location on the Internet.
5. If you'd like to pick up a calendar at the same time, I have a few left. Always available here:
6. Please let me know when you'd like to drop off so I can open the garage, making it easier for you to offload.

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!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Is Internet Explorer giving you fits? Are you suddenly seeing MSN when you open IE instead of the Home Page you preferred? Is it crashing/freezing/just not right?

It's not you - it's Microsoft. If you missed the opportunity to tell Internet Explorer to keep your current Home Page after last week's updates, you'll now find it bogged-down by the media-heavy MSN web site - the default for Internet Explorer. However, it's simple to fix. 

Go to the page you want to use as your Home Page. If it's Google, go to, hit Enter and let the page load. Quick, huh? Now, in Internet Explorer, go up to the toolbar and click Tools - Internet Options. The first button says "Use current" - click it, then click Apply, then click Close. 


For those who can't wait to shout things like "Use Chrome!" "Use Firefox!" "Use a Mac!" I'll simply say use whatever you like. Don't let anyone tell you any particular browser is better/faster/safer than another - at least of the Big Three. If they give you a hard time make them prove it - that stops them every time. Top honors bounce back and forth so fast no one can keep up with the "Best Browser of this Hour". And you don't need to. Keep all three on your computer and up-to-date and you should be able to access most legitimate web pages with ease. 

Remember, no browser loads every web page perfectly every time. Web pages change constantly, browsers change constantly, and we simply roll with the changes. Know how to use more than one browser, just as you likely know how to drive more than one brand of car. 

If you're asking yourself "What's a browser?" we have more to discuss - or you have some Googling to do. 

Friday, April 15, 2016




And they say Windows users should remove QuickTime from their computers, now.

Don't know how? Follow this link: or ask for help. 

You've probably come across some dire warnings in the last 24 hours about the dangers of QuickTime, which is a plugin from Apple that plays media on your computer. You don't have to have an Apple computer to use QuickTime; if you ever used iTunes, you probably have QuickTime.
There are some very recent reports that Apple has stopped supporting QuickTime, which means they're not fixing known security holes in the program. Interestingly, Apple is mum on the subject to date. These warnings are coming from two places - TrendMicro and Homeland Security. That alone should make us suspicious as to the validity of the scary warnings.
However, if you'd like to remove QuickTime from your computer you can follow the instructions here:
If I've worked on your computer and you're using the Ninite updater to automatically seek out and install updates for certain programs, you should be aware QuickTime is included. So, if you remove QuickTime, then run Ninite at a later time QuickTime will be reinstalled. That means, you need a new Ninite. You can go to the Ninite web site and build your own updater, or contact me for help.

Cathy Contant   315-573-4905

Sunday, April 10, 2016


You may have read about the latest exploit of Adobe's Flash player plugin and ransomware. Yes, Adobe put out a fix two days ago, and probably already updated your software. To be sure, update it yourself here, and uncheck ALL of those boxes in the middle offering additional software:

More info about the exploit and ransomware here:

If you're using Google Chrome you should know Flash is built-in and updates automatically. HOWEVER - you still have Internet Explorer and possibly Firefox on your computer and the Flash used by those browsers still needs to be updated - whether or not you ever use them.

Monday, March 14, 2016


And, what can I do about it?

Don't panic, but do act quickly. Try these suggestions first:

If the upgrade has already happened, it's pretty simple to go back to Windows 7. If you were on Windows 8 or 8.1, keep Windows 10 - it's generally better than 8.1.

Want help? Text, email, Facebook, Twitter or call me.

Cathy Contant    315-573-4905


Many of us still want to do some regular computer maintenance, as we were taught to do 15 years ago. As technology advances quickly, we may have missed the point where many of these tasks became obsolete, and even damaging to our computers. 

Installing current updates for your programs will go a lot further in protecting your computer, data and identity than scanning your discs for viruses or defragmenting the drive.

The problems we have with computers these days are far more likely to be the result of clicking on something that installs adware, spyware, worms or Trojans than for viruses to be lurking and multiplying across our networks. Why? Because viruses aren't our problem anymore, when when have a decent, up-to-date antivirus program installed. Antivirus programs take care of themselves, updating, scanning things that come into the computer, and leaving us with a sense of well-being. 

In fact, we never need to run a scan with our antivirus program any more; the program does a full scan on installation, then scans everything that comes in as it happens. If it finds something suspicious attempting to download to your computer, the antivirus program either warns you or just takes care of the problem. So, when your program nags you that your computer hasn't been scanned in a while, it's more to make you feel better when the "All Clear!" message pops up than to do any necessary job. 

Any decent antivirus program will take care of your computer. The for-pay suites don't really do anything more for you - remember when we cleaned all that malware out of your computer and your expensive security suite never made a peep about the infections? Not only do they not protect from all risks - because there's nothing on the planet that protects us from all risks, including the biggest risk, which is ourselves - but they slow down the computer and give us a false sense of security. The big security suites compete with each other for the best ratings, not because they protect your computer better but because they can advertise their great ratings to convince you to buy them. 

There are several good, free antivirus programs around. Consider not renewing your expensive security program when it expires, and replacing it with something free that does the job, without slowing down your computer or sending all your data to the home servers to "check for viruses". 

Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 all come with decent antivirus protection, free. Many retailers include a trial or even coerce you to buy a subscription to Webroot, Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky or TrendMicro security - not because it protects your computer better but because like the old "rustproofing" add-on when you bought a new car, it adds to their profit. 

And when you renew for $50, $60 or $80 every year they get a kick-back. That's one reason it's so difficult to cancel your subscription to these suites, which may automatically renew on your credit card. If you can't find how to cancel your subscription, check your credit card statement for a toll-free number on the charges; you can call that number to cancel. 

Is there anything wrong with subscribing to and using for-pay security suites? Nope, and generally, they're good products. But they'll slow down your computer, send a lot of data back and forth to their servers, and not stop the stuff that really causes us pain these days. 

Here's more on using antivirus programs:

Save yourself some money - use the antivirus and security software you've already paid for with your operating system, and be careful where you click.

Want help? Contact me via text, email, Facebook, Twitter or phone.

Cathy Contant   315-573-4905

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


As expected, Microsoft has again ramped-up the pressure for Windows 7 and 8.1 users to install the Windows 10 upgrade. In fact, if you miss the opportunity to say no to the download of Windows 10, you'll find yourself faced with a message asking if you're ready to use Windows 10. If that's you - what now?
First, don't panic. If you're using Windows 8.1, allowing Windows 10 to install is probably the best choice. If you're using Windows 7 and like it and just want to stay put, there are a few things that can be done.

Understand you never have to upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 computer to Windows 10. Windows 7 will be fully supported with security updates into 2020, and Windows 8 into 2025.
If you're on Windows 7, the Windows Updates settings can be changed to stop the automatic download and installation of Windows 10. Here's how to do that:
If you want to try Windows 10, however, do allow the installation to finish. But look here first, and take the necessary steps:…/10-things-to-think-about-bef…
If somehow, Windows 10 did install (it can't without you saying "Yes" multiple times), you have 30 days to revert to Windows 7 (or 8.1). Want help? Please ask. No panic necessary.
Cathy Contant              315-573-4905 

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Did you see an ad that offers to update your drivers or speed up your computer, and now you're tempted? And it even has a logo that indicates it's "Microsoft Certified" or some other important-sounding term?
Step away. Don't click on it, and if you did, don't install anything.
Many web sites have ads today, even the ones you'd think wouldn't need the money (ahem, MSN, CNN, Yahoo). Many of these ads attempt to create urgency on your part to "fix" something wrong with your computer.
We all want faster computers, but clicking on those ads and installing the software to update or clean your computer will result in a slower or non-functioning computer.
Do you need to update the drivers on your computer? Probably not, unless you've made the decision to upgrade to another operating system (Windows 7 or 8 to 10, for example).
If you're not sure whether you should install something, check it out first. Search online, ask someone who knows, or just don't do it.
Don't click on ads on web sites. Just following this one rule will save most of us from malware infections.

Cathy Contant         315-573-4905

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


One of the most painful events in computing is to realize you suddenly don't have access to your data. And you don't have a backup, or your backup is *really* old. And, it might have been self-inflicted. What to do?

First, go ahead and rant, then plead, then accept that forward is the only direction available. And become prepared with Recovery Media and a backup plan. 

Even if you have your data, you're going to need the installer files for your software (non-subscription programs like Microsoft Office, Quicken and Photoshop) and hardware (printers, scanners, though most can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website). Programs have to be installed, not copied from your backup - they don't work that way. That's why automated backup services don't back up programs - just data. 

Once your computer is back up and running, you'll need to install all the Microsoft updates, basic apps and your software, then copy your data back where it belongs. If you use a local email client like Outlook, Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird, you'll need to set it up and import the contacts and messages. 

Plan on six hours or so to install everything after the Factory Recovery completes. Then plan on your new backup system.

Conventional wisdom says keep three copies of anything you don't want to lose - documents, email addresses, photos, tax info, etc. The first copy lives on the computer, then a copy backed up to an external drive on a regular schedule and a copy "in the cloud". There are many ways to keep your stuff online (in the cloud), which is then accessible from any Internet-connected device.  

You can use a service like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox, and there are many more. Most give you some free storage space, and charge as your storage needs increase. Generally, you have to put your stuff in the folder on your computer that syncs with the service; it's not automatic unless you reconfigure where your computer saves data or do it manually every time you save something. You can also email a copy of just about anything to yourself, if it's small enough. Just don't delete the email when you receive it; move it to a folder for items you want to keep. 

Online backup services such as Carbonite have saved many of my clients and me from disaster. For about $60 per year, it will immediately copy any data item on your computer that's created or changed without any assistance from you. There are many other online backup services. 

There are points to consider with every backup solution. Online services will take some time for the initial backup to complete, and if you should need a lot of data copied back in a hurry, keep in mind the speed at which it downloads is limited by your Internet connection. That's where the external drive comes in! However, should something happen locally that affects the external drive, you'll be glad to have the online service, too. What could happen? Power glitches, theft, water damage, physical damage or you just forgot to plug it back in. 

This subject is fresh in my mind because I'm working through the whole process with two more people who didn't back up their data, didn't have Recovery Media and didn't have the installation files or license numbers for software they purchased and want to use. Check your backup, find your recovery media, program installation files and license numbers. 
Cathy Contant 315-573-4905

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


The second Tuesday of every month is known as Patch Tuesday. Microsoft and other developers release software fixes and enhancements, collectively known as "updates".
Today, February 9, so far I've seen updates for Windows, Adobe AIR, Flash and Firefox. Java released a fairly urgent update two days ago.
The easiest way to get the most updates installed with the least amount of work and decision-making is to use Ninite. While you can't update Windows, Office, Flash, CCleaner or Adobe Reader with it, you can easily check for and install updates for Firefox, Chrome, Adobe AIR, Shockwave, Java, iTunes, QuickTime, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, VLC, Picasa, Paint.Net, The Gimp, Google Docs, Google Earth, Google Drive, Dropbox, Audacity, FoxIt Reader and a lot of other useful, free utilities and apps. If I've worked on your computer in the last several years I installed Ninite to update the apps on your computer. If you can't find it, ask.
To update Flash, go to the Adobe web site, then click on Flash Player in the lower right corner and follow the prompts. Be sure to uncheck any boxes that offer to also install any 3rd-party apps like toolbars or search engines or security scanners.
To update CCleaner, open CCleaner and click the "Check for updates" link in the lower-right. When you get to the web page scroll all the way down and click "No Thanks" to the upgrade offer. On the next page click the Download button under CCleaner Free; save it to your computer, then find the installer and run it. Always save anything you download, rather than running it so your antivirus has a chance to check it.
To update Adobe/Acrobat Reader, open Reader, click Help - check for updates and follow the prompts.
To install Microsoft updates in Windows 7, click the Start button, go to Windows Update, then click Check for Updates and follow the prompts. You don't need every optional or hardware update, but do install all the Important ones. You may need to restart your computer to complete the installation.
When should you install updates? Waiting a few days for any bugs to surface and get fixed is a good idea, but those prompts to install updates are pretty compelling. You can do a System Restore if things go wrong, so do what works for you.
If you have questions or want help I can connect to your computer with your help via remote - call, text or email.
Cathy Contant 315-573-4905

Monday, February 8, 2016


It's a scam, and though the message may look as though it's coming from Time Warner or Microsoft, it's not. 
If you - or someone you know - gets a popup window that takes over your computer and demands you call their 800/888 number to fix your computer, don't do it. If you've already called and given them your credit card info and control of your computer, let's talk right now. There are things you need to do.
These scams are traveling around again in full force today. Something you clicked on triggered it - from an email link or link on a web site or Facebook, etc.
It's possible your computer is infected with malware, or that there's simply something in the temporary files that pops up the message every time you open a browser.
Here's what to do: 
  1. Shut off your computer. You may need to hold the power button in for 10 seconds or so before it will shut down. 
  2. Turn it back on
  3. Update and run CCleaner, AdwCleaner, SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes. If the last several come up clean, you're probably in the clear. If each one finds and offers to remove malware, you should have it checked to get everything out. Anything left over can trigger more attacks.
  4. Update everything possible. Run Ninite if you have it, install any Microsoft Updates (except Windows 10) and consider changing your passwords if trojans or viruses have been found. 

Want help? Call, text, email or drop off your computer. If your Internet connection is stable-enough, and you can open and use your browser I can probably clean it out via remote.

Cathy Contant       315-573-4905

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Be Aware, Not Paranoid
Microsoft is ramping-up their efforts to encourage Windows 7 and 8 users to install the Windows 10 upgrade. However, you still have the ultimate control over whether or not to allow Windows 10 to install.
You may be reading stories about how Windows 10 will now be forced upon you, but that's just not true. Yet. Or ever.
And if by some chance you did approve the installation of the Windows 10 upgrade, you have 30 days to go back to Windows 7 or 8. Ask if you want help.
Now, when should you go to Windows 10? Understand that you never have to install the upgrade - you can stick with Windows 7 or 8 as long as you like and Microsoft will be supporting both into 2020, and they will both work far beyond that time. I'm sticking with Windows 7 for a few more months, at least. There are a few things I do like about Windows 10, but more that I don't like so I'm staying put.
If you think you're ready to make the change, read this first:…/10-things-to-think-about-bef…
Read more here:

If you're still not sure, call, email or text and we'll chat.
Cathy Contant 315-573-4905