Wednesday, October 18, 2017

TWC/SPECTRUM EMAIL WOES - AGAIN

Still using a roadrunner.rr.com email account? Are you getting fed up with it working only some of the time, whether you use the old Windows Live Mail (WLM) or the TWC email portal? Please don't change any settings - it's them, not you.
For weeks - ok, actually well over a year - Time Warner's email system has been unreliable. And if you're still using the no-longer-supported Windows Live Mail you're really out of luck.
When you call TWC/Spectrum for support you'll likely be redirected to the web mail site to manage your email. TWC/Spectrum actually admits the web mail portal is down... a lot. Of course, all those messages you've carefully sorted and filed for years will be left behind in the old Windows Live Mail program. Which will still allow you to see the messages until your computer crashes or you change computers. We can't even install Windows Live Mail anymore, so it's probably time to make the move to something else.
TWC/Spectrum may also try to send you to "Microsoft" or a third-party support company. Try really hard NOT to connect with such people - you'll probably be pressured to pay for support and they can't do anything to fix TWC/Spectrum's email issues, which - in fact - is the problem in the first place.
You can use Mozilla Thunderbird, which is probably the most similar to WLM, but importing contacts and messages is an adventure and by no means guaranteed to work. And, you're still relying on TWC/Spectrum to get their email act together.
You can set up a Google/Gmail account and either start using the new Gmail address or attempt to pull your TWC email through it - a solution that's worked well for years. Lately, it's been almost impossible to make it work without errors.
You can change to another email provider such as the Outlook Web App (Microsoft - used to be Hotmail), or Yahoo, or any other email service you like. Be aware that any free email service (such all the ones I just mentioned) owes you no support - you're not paying them. So, you either figure it out yourself, plow through the Help articles or search online for answers to your questions. Remember, if you have a roadrunner.rr.comemail account, you're paying for the service and have the right to expect support. That's not working very well these days through Time Warner/Spectrum.
Want to talk about your options? Contact me at cathy@cathycom.com or 315-573-4905 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017 DESKTOP COMPUTER BUYER'S GUIDE


Your desktop computer has served well for years, but it's time for an upgrade. Many of the points in my 2017 LaptopBuyer's Guide apply equally to desktops; where to buy, minimum specifications, what not to include.

Desktops are usually less expensive than laptops, run faster and cooler and last longer. Many of us like the comfort of the keyboard and big screen. Desktops are usually connected to the Internet via Ethernet cable rather than wireless (WIFI), which makes the connection faster, more secure and more stable. Yep, I’m sticking with my desktop.

If your desktop is still using Windows Vista, 7 or even 8/8.1, it’s a good time to think about a replacement. Many computers can be upgraded to Windows 10, but you’ll have to buy the upgrade (around $120) and unless you’re adventuresome will want to have the backup and installation done for you. That total brings you a long way towards a new computer, besides having all-new, non-heat-affected components which run much faster than the current ones would also have a new warranty. And, you’d be using Windows 10, which by most standards is where you should be now.

COMMON QUESTIONS

What is the best desktop for you? The one that does more than meet your needs of today without going overboard. If your brand-new computer is slow today, think about what it will be like in a year or two.

What about an All-In-One? Usually underpowered for the gimmicky convenience. Poor airflow, shorter life. Your call.

Do I need a new monitor? Probably not. Most monitors are compatible with all modern towers/desktops, or can use an adapter.

What about my printer? Will it work with a new Windows 10 computer? It depends on the model, and it’s a quick search to check with the manufacturer. Many printers simply need the Windows 10 drivers installed. Do NOT use the software disc that came with your 7-year-old printer; it wasn’t built for Windows 10 and the right software is available and free.

So, where can I buy a good used or refurbished desktop? You can't. I have many examples of failed refurbished computers; if you're tempted, let's talk. 

TODAY'S PRICES

You may think there would be great bargains right now due to “Back-to-school” pricing. Well, not so much. Retailers and manufacturers know if you need a computer for school you’ll buy what you can find, at the price they ask. Prices will likely drop in the weeks to come, and there will be short deals around. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Let's get to the minimum specifications for a desktop you'd like to use more than a year or two. Many people are only interested in using email, going to Facebook, maybe doing some banking, bill-paying or shopping, and looking at some pictures. 

You may think that's not much, so you don't need anything more than a $300 computer, but here's why you do. Before you get to log into Facebook or look at your email your computer is loading programs and checking for and installing updates. That takes a certain amount of horsepower, storage space and time. The cheaper the computer, the fewer horses, the hotter it runs, the smaller the storage space and the longer it takes to start up, load the background apps, then open a browser and go to the place you want. 

What runs in the background? Security software, office suites, printer software just for starters. Maybe you like music running in the background, having your email and Facebook open while you check out Pinterest. To do these tasks without dragging your new computer will need at least:

THE SPECIFICATIONS

RAM: 8 GB. 12 or 16 is better, 4 is barely useable. 
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5 or i7; i3 if you're really on a budget. No Celeron processors, and I'm not a fan of AMD.
HARD DRIVE: 500GB or 1TB. Or, if you love fast performance go for the Solid State Drive (SSD). Everything will run like the wind, but the drives are expensive and the storage space is small.
WARRANTY: Typically 1 year. Some "great deals" come with only 90 days' warranty; you can buy more. Also, check to understand how the warranty works. Do they send a technician to you or do you have to mail the machine into a service facility, or take it back to the store for service?
BRAND: For reliability, quality and ease of service I like Dell, and have even relented on HP these days. I'm not going to mention here which manufacturers to avoid, but you can call me. If it's made by anyone but Dell or HP we should talk before you spend your money. 

MID-RANGE: Best for all users. Expect 4 to 6 years' use. 8GB RAM, Intel Core i5 processor and 1TB hard drive ranges from around $500 to $600. Expect a 1-year, mail-in warranty. 

BETTER: Faster performance, longer life. 12 or 16GB RAM, Intel Core i7 processor, 1TB hard drive - $600 - $800. 

BUDGET: Slower performance, shorter life. Try not to spend your money on anything less than this: 4GB or 6GB RAM, Intel Core i3, 500 GB hard drive - $400 - $450. 


WHEN TO BUY

The best time of the year for buying a computer is close. Around Thanksgiving you’ll find the best deals of the year, though quantities are usually limited, the deals usually aren't really deals and the crowds are a challenge. Of course, the best time to buy a computer is when you need one, but if you've held out this long it's time to get serious and pick one. 

WHERE TO BUY

You can buy good computers online or from a local retailer like Best Buy, Staples or Walmart – and they sell increasingly online. While you're deciding what to buy, also think about the seller. Generally, if you buy directly from the manufacturer's web site you'll get to configure the computer the way you want instead of picking whatever the store thinks will sell. Sometimes you get a better deal (components plus price plus warranty) buying direct. Ask for discounts! At Dell, there’s likely an employee, AAA, AARP or other discount you can get in on. Sometimes you find a great buy at a big box store - but only if you know what your minimum requirements are and stick to them.   

If you buy your new desktop at a retail store you're likely to get a sales pitch for additional software, services and warranties. You don't need to buy any additional software (unless you insist on Microsoft Office or QuickBooks, etc.) and you don't need any additional security software. Windows 10 includes a decent security software solution and the for-pay suites are unnecessary. See my post on WHY YOU DON'T NEED FOR-PAY SECURITY SOFTWARE

DECISION MADE, NOW WHAT?

There’s a lot of stuff on your old computer. How does it get to your new one?
It depends. If you have anything you don’t want to lose on your old computer and aren’t sure how to move files let someone do it for you. Even if your old computer is dead it might be possible to get some data from it.
ASIDE: You *are* backing up anything you don’t want to lose, right? See my post on Why and how to back up your data here: BACK UP YOUR DATA
If you haven’t done any backups and still want your photos, documents and music, let’s talk.

SETTING UP YOUR NEW COMPUTER

There are a number of steps involved in properly preparing your computer, though you can certainly take it out of the box, plug it in and log into Facebook. It's a mistake, but you can do it. Or, you can pay the store retailer to do a minimal job or I'll do a thorough job for you - and transfer your data and install the computer and printer, if you like. 

If you'd like to discuss what computer might work for you, let's talk. I can help you pick it out, get it for you, transfer the data from your old computer to the new one, install all the necessary updates and applications, create the recovery media, help get your email and other accounts working and even plug it all in for you. Or any part of it. We can even do most or all of it via remote.

This information is the product of my 30+ years' experience buying, selling and servicing computers. No one pays me to recommend their product - which means I'm free to tell you the truth, as gleaned from my service files. 


Cathy Contant            cathy@cathycom.com            315-573-4905



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

TIME TO UPDATE YOUR COMPUTER

The monthly Windows Updates were released yesterday (September 12), along with several others you'll want to install.

Windows 10 and 8.1/8.0 should download and install operating system updates without any prompting from you; just check to see if a restart is waiting for you. Windows 7 users can click the Start button, then go to Windows Update to choose Important and Optional updates. Follow the prompts.
New updates this week include Adobe Flash, Adobe AIR, Mozilla Firefox, iTunes and CCleaner. If you have the Ninite Updater, run it this week.

You'll need to get the latest version of CCleaner to install. Go here (https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download), then click the green Download button under the Free version. Just use the free version. Install as usual. Uncheck any boxes offering any toolbars or third-party software. Consider configuring CCleaner to not monitor your system - nobody needs more stuff running all the time. It slows your computer down and there's a fair potential data is being collected.

Adobe Flash - many web sites are still using Flash and you won't see everything unless Flash is installed, up-to-date and enabled on your computer. Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome take care of updating Flash for you, but if you have Mozilla Firefox on your computer you'll need to go to Adobe.com, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Adobe Flash, then follow the prompts to be sure you have the latest version.

Want that cool Ninite Updater, which does so much of the updating work for you without allowing 3rd-party software or asking questions you can't answer? Or just want everything checked and updated for you? Contact me and we'll get it done.

Cathy Contant       cathy@cathycom.com      315-573-4905

Thursday, September 7, 2017

2017 LAPTOP BUYER'S GUIDE

  • How To Pick Your Best Computer
  • What To Look For and What To Avoid
  • Why We Don't Buy $300 Laptops
  • Why We Don't Buy Refurbished Electronics

This information is the product of my 30+ years' experience buying, selling and servicing computers. No one pays me to recommend their product - which means I'm free to tell you the truth, as gleaned from my service files. 

WHEN TO BUY
The best time of the year for buying a computer is upon us. From now through early January you'll find the largest variety, the most stock and the best prices on electronics, with Black Friday as the peak. The problem with counting on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) to find the best computer for you is that quantities are limited, the deals usually aren't really deals and the crowds are a challenge. Of course, the best time to buy a computer is when you need one, but if you've held out this long it's time to get serious and pick one. 

You can buy good computers online or from a local retailer like Best Buy, Staples or Walmart. While you're deciding what to buy, also think about the seller. Generally, if you buy directly from the manufacturer's web site you'll get to configure the computer the way you want instead of picking whatever the store thinks will sell. Sometimes you get a better deal (components plus price plus warranty) buying direct. Sometimes you find a great buy at a big box store - but only if you know what your minimum requirements are and stick to them. And, if you don't get conned into additional services or products you don't need. You don't need any additional products or services - more on that later. 

Let's get to the minimum specifications for a laptop you'd like to use more than a year or two. Many people are only interested in using email, going to Facebook, maybe doing some banking, bill-paying or shopping, and looking at some pictures. 

You may think that's not much so you don't need anything more than a $200-$300 computer, but here's why you do. Before you get to log into Facebook or look at your email your computer is loading programs and checking for and installing updates. That takes a certain amount of horsepower, storage space and time. The cheaper the computer, the fewer horses, the smaller the storage space and the longer it takes to start up, load the background apps, then open a browser and go to the place you want. 

What runs in the background? Security software, office suites, printer software just for starters. Maybe you like music running in the background, having your email and Facebook open while you check out Pinterest. To do these tasks without dragging your new laptop will need at least:

  • RAM: 8 GB. 12 or 16 is better, 4 is barely useable. 
  • PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5 or i7; i3 if you're really on a budget. No Celeron processors, and I'm not a fan of AMD.
  • HARD DRIVE: 500GB or 1TB. Or, if you love fast performance go for the Solid State Drive (SSD). Everything will run like the wind, but the drives are expensive and the storage space is small.
  • WARRANTY: Typically 1 year. Some "great deals" come with only 90 days' warranty; you can buy more. Also, check to understand how the warranty works. Do they send a technician to you or do you have to mail the machine into a service facility, or take it back to the store for service?
  • SIZE: Laptops come in 11, 13, 14, 15.6 and 17" sizes. 15.6" is standard; anything larger or smaller will come at a premium. 
  • BRAND: For reliability, quality and ease of service I like Dell, and have even relented on HP these days. I'm not going to mention here which manufacturers to avoid, but you can call me. If it's made by anyone but Dell or HP we should talk before you spend your money. 
QUESTIONS
  1. "So, where can I buy a good used or refurbished laptop?" You can't. No one gives up a decent, working laptop so don't waste your time and money. I have many examples of failed refurbished computers; if you're tempted, let's talk. 
  2. "Craigslist? Ebay?" Nope. And nope. Just don't do it. 
  3. Someone wants to give you their old computer? Well... only if you can't get one any other way. They don't want it anymore for good reason. 
  4. "What about a 2-in-1?" Ah, those laptop/tablet all-in-one multitools. A great idea that hasn't yet found a way to work well, at least at the lower end. I've recycled several already. 
  5. "How about a touchscreen?" I used to say no, now I say yes. Wholeheartedly. 

If you buy your new laptop at a retail store you're likely to get a sales pitch for additional software, services and warranties. You don't need to buy any additional software (unless you insist on Microsoft Office or QuickBooks, etc.) and you don't need any additional security software. Windows 10 includes a decent security software solution and the for-pay suites are unnecessary. 

What about setting up your new computer? There are a number of steps involved in properly preparing your computer, though you can certainly take it out of the box, plug it in and log into Facebook. It's a mistake, but you can do it. Or, you can pay the store retailer to do a minimal job or I'll do a thorough job for you - and transfer your data and install it, if you like. 

TODAY'S SPECS AND PRICES

MID-RANGE: Best for all users. Expect 3 to 5 years' use. 8GB RAM, Intel Core i5 processor and 1TB hard drive ranges from around $500 to $650. You can find some deals for $400 to $500. Expect a 1-year, mail-in warranty. 

BETTER: Faster performance, slimmer and lighter-weight case. 12 or 16GB RAM, Intel Core i7 processor, 1TB hard drive - $580 - $800 with options of SSD, touchscreen, 2-in-one and DVD drive. 

BUDGET: Try not to spend your money on anything less than this: 4GB or 6GB RAM, Intel Core i3, 500 GB hard drive - $349 - $500. 

SUMMARY
You get what you pay for. Laptops are incredibly convenient, far more versatile and longer-lived than a tablet or smartphone. We pay upwards of $700 for a phone that last two years; why wouldn't we pay a lot less to get a lot more?

If you'd like to discuss what laptop might work for you, let's talk. I can help you pick it out, get it for you, transfer the data from your old computer to the new one, install all the necessary updates and applications, create the recovery media, help get your email and other accounts working and even plug it all in for you. Or any part of it. We can even do most or all of it via remote. But please - don't buy a $179 laptop!

Cathy Contant            cathy@cathycom.com            315-573-4905

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DON'T FEED THE SCAMMERS

DON'T FEED THE SCAMMERS

"Hello, this is XXXX and I'm calling about your Dell computer. It seems as though your softwares and warranties are out of place. Have you added any softwares or changed anything recently?"
That's none of your business, XXXX. **CLICK**.
Another scammer off to call another number. Do not engage with these people! They have no way of knowing what kind of computer you have, or if you even HAVE a computer! They're guessing, and the odds are in their favor.
DO NOT TALK TO THESE PEOPLE - they are quite convincing.
DO NOT GIVE ANYONE REMOTE ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER - unless you know the person!
DO NOT PAY THESE SCAMMERS ANYTHING - they won't give you what they promise, and will not stop contacting you for more money.
IF you answer a phone call and the person starts telling your computer has a problem HANG UP IMMEDIATELY.
IF you see an 800# and dire warnings pop up on your computer screen just shut it off. Hold in the power button for 10 seconds if you have to. Then call someone you trust to check it out! Most of the time you simply stumbled upon a scam and your computer is not infected beyond needing to clean out the temporary files and run a malware scan.
IF you ever have a question about the legitimacy of a call or pop up, call me. Or text, or Facebook message, or email. I DON"T CARE what time it is or what day it is. If I can answer, I will. If I can't answer just shut off your computer until you get an answer.
Please share with those you care about.

Cathy Contant 315-573-4905 cathy@cathycom.com

Thursday, July 20, 2017

NEW UPDATES - JULY

NEW UPDATES - JULY

We've made it past Patch Tuesday without much disaster this month. Thank you, Microsoft.
If your computer seems sluggish and unresponsive, check to see if it's downloading the huge Creators Update for Windows 10. This update will take a few hours and the best way to keep it from bothering you is to let it finish. Don't close the lid to your laptop or let your desktop go to sleep if it's working on a big Microsoft Update. If you do, your computer will be in a perpetual state of trying to download, install and finish the update. Here's how to check for Microsoft Updates in Windows 10:
In the search (Cortana) box type update, then click on Check for updates in the results list. If you see "Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703" is downloading, bingo - you're getting the Creators Update. Let it happen. Remember, Windows 10 is the last version of Windows and will simply be updated more frequently.
OTHER UPDATES
iTunes, Java, Flash, Adobe AIR and CCleaner have new updates. If you have the Ninite Updater installed you can run it to get all but the CCleaner update. You'll need to go to the web site to download the new version of CCleaner, but READ CAREFULLY and don't be mislead into buying the Pro version. use the free version.
BACKUPS
Time to check your data backup to be sure anything you don't want to lose is being copied somewhere off your computer. It's a great feeling to know your photos and documents are safe until you go to retrieve something and find the backup failed long ago.
Have questions or want help? Send me a Facebook message, text, email or call 315-573-4905. Share with those you love!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SNIPPING TOOL - COPY YOUR SCREEN

SNIPPING TOOL - COPY YOUR SCREEN

You want to save or email something on your computer screen, whether it's a recipe or photo in your browser, part of a newspaper article or an error message on your screen. There are several ways to do it besides taking a photo with your camera or phone.

WINDOWS SNIPPING TOOL


Available in Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, this is a great tool to learn to use. In Windows 7 click the Start button (lower left corner, unless you've moved the Task Bar), then start typing snipping tool in the Search box. In Windows 8.1 and 10 just start typing in the Search (Cortana) box on your Task Bar next to the Start button. Choose Snipping Tool out of the results, then click New. Draw a square or circle around the part of your screen you want to keep (capture), then save it as a new file in a place where you can find it.
Here are two links that explain in more detail, but be SURE not to click on any ads or downloads!

PRINT SCREEN
You can always press the PrnScn button on your keyboard while you're on the screen you want to capture (it will save the whole screen), then open Paint (search for it as above) and Paste. Save, print or send at will.

Questions? Let's chat!


Cathy Contant 315-573-4905 cathy@cathycom.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

PATCH TUESDAY - JUNE 13 2017

Welcome to Patch Tuesday

Microsoft has released a number of updates today, and if you have Automatic Updates enabled you should start seeing the request to "Update and restart" your computer. If you want to be sure you have the latest patches and fixes you can check for updates manually. On Windows 7 click the Start button, then click on Windows Update in the menu. On Windows 8.1 and 10 Click Start - Settings - Update & Security - Windows Update.
Other apps and plugins with updates today are CCleaner, Adobe AIR, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Shockwave. If you have the free Ninite Updater, run it now. Note that CCleaner doesn't have an automatic updater and you'll need to download and install the current (FREE) version. Adobe Flash should update itself; allow it if prompted.
Have questions or want help along the way? Call, text or email me and we'll take care of it.
Cathy Contant 315-573-4905 cathy@cathycom.com

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WHY YOU DON'T NEED FOR-PAY SECURITY SOFTWARE

WHY YOU DON'T NEED FOR-PAY SECURITY SOFTWARE


SPECTRUM CUSTOMERS: did you get an email from Spectrum with a download link for your free McAfee Security Suite software? Think hard before installing it.
If you're using Windows 10 or 8.1 your computer already has good security included - it's called Defender. If you're using Windows 7 or Vista you can use the free Microsoft Security Essentials.
There's no need to purchase or subscribe to additional security suites. In fact, if you want to install McAfee, Norton, WebRoot, Avast, AVG or any other antivirus or security software you'll need to disable Defender or completely remove any other previous security software already installed on your computer.
Viruses aren't the problem today they were years ago. That's because any good, up-to-date antivirus program will do the job. When you add a suite of programs that include firewalls (your computer is already operating behind several firewalls), identity protection, online backups and malware and spyware protection you're adding layers of stuff running in the background. This slows down your computer with additional programs running, slows down your Internet experience and sends your activity back to the security suite's home servers.
And your computer still isn't protected from self-inflicted malware, which causes the vast majority of computer problems today.
Still think those pricey security suites protect your computer from everything, or most things? Almost every computer that comes into my office with McAfee, Norton or WebRoot installed is infected with malware. Why pay for protection that gives you a false sense of security?
A free offer is pretty appealing, but it helps them more than it does you. Just say no!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

RIP WINDOWS LIVE MAIL - NOW WHAT?

RIP WINDOWS LIVE MAIL

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 https://mail.twc.com/ , 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. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

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   cathy@cathycom.com
https://www.facebook.com/CathyCom






Thursday, March 16, 2017

WANT TO PAY ME ONLINE? HERE'S HOW

WANT TO PAY ME ONLINE? HERE'S HOW


Now just click this link and follow the prompts to pay your invoice via PayPal. Ask if you have questions!
https://www.paypal.me/CathyContant


Thanks very much for your support!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UPDATES - DO I *REALLY* NEED TO INSTALL THEM?

UPDATES - DO I *REALLY* NEED TO INSTALL THEM? 
AND - WHICH ONES?
AND - HOW?


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   cathy@cathycom.com   315-573-4905






Wednesday, January 18, 2017

JAVA UPDATE

JAVA UPDATE

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

CCLEANER COMPATIBILITY ISSUES?

CCLEANER COMPATIBILITY ISSUES?
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.

https://piriform.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000184428-Windows-10-Compatibility-Issues