Saturday Bonus Questions and Answers – 032523

By | March 25, 2023
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Saturday Bonus Questions and Answers – 032523

Time is flying! This is the final episode 🙂 of Saturday Bonus Questions and Answers for March. Next Saturday will be April 1 and of course,  April Fool’s Day, or is it April Fools Day? 

When you live where we live, you’re always happy when winter is fading in the rearview mirror. But if you like winter, sorry but it’s fading like an icicle in the sun. We can all celebrate winter or summer because it‘s Saturday and time for another edition of Saturday Bonus Questions & Answers.

Sometimes, the best tips and tricks are hidden in the published questions and answers. And rarely do we post questions and answers on this website. Today, we’re featuring some of the questions and answers from past issues of our InfoAve Weekly newsletters. 

These questions & answers were selected at random from past InfoAve Weekly newsletters.

Please help us to continue to help you with your Windows computer questions and help you to stay safe in the crazy world of the Internet. We need your support – even the smallest gift helps us. Please… help us by making a donation.


Saturday Bonus Questions and Answers – 032523

Kat wants us to clarify USB drives and USB flash drives and thumb drives
Please clarify information regarding flash/thumb/USB drives. Barring Windows registry & Windows backup: can one of those drives be used for multiple storage without wiping what was stored? Say, storing pictures, then adding family addresses, or saved emails, etc.? Also, does the USB require any initial preparation? Do I just plug it in and then what?

You two are worth more than all the “Dummy” books I ever read (going back to Word 7) — & easier to understand. I bet if you had a nickel for all the questions you’ve answered, you two would be enjoying an extended, round-the-world vacation. Bless you both, & Aloha ‘Oe Kat.

Our answer
Hi Kat. Thanks for your nice comments.

USB flash drives are also called USB thumb drives or pen drives, but they are the same. They are small drives that plug into a USB port and the most popular sizes are 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. That means they hold anywhere from 8 gigabytes to 128 gigabytes (GB) of data. USB flash drives are inexpensive and don’t require any preparation – just plug them in and they’ll show up as a drive in File Explorer. You can buy a 64 GB flash drive for around $12 and a 128 GB flash drive for less than $20. The smaller ones are even cheaper.

A USB drive can be a thumb/flash/pen drive or an external hard drive which usually holds between 1 and 4 TB (terabytes). A terabyte is approximately 1000 gigabytes. External drives normally come with installation software but you do not need to use it – in fact, we recommend that you do not. You can plug an external hard drive into a USB port and Windows will recognize it right away and you’ll be able to see it in File Explorer. A 2TB external drive costs between $55 and $80. You can spend more, but there’s no reason to.

You can only use a drive to its capacity. Once it reaches its capacity, you won’t be able to store any more data on it without deleting some or all of the data stored. So, the bigger the drive, the more you can store without removing what’s already on it.

We hope this helps you, Kat.


Ralph says his mouse pointer keeps disappearing
Every so often my mouse pointer disappears. I can get it back by pressing Windows key+D or Alt+F4 but I would like to know why it does this and how to stop it.

Our answer
Hi Ralph. Your mouse pointer is not disappearing, it’s just very difficult to see because of the size and color and whatever background is behind it. When you press Windows key+D or Alt+F4 your desktop appears and the color(s) of your desktop make the mouse pointer easier to see.

A disappearing mouse pointer is a very common problem. And the easiest solution is to change the size and color of your mouse pointer. We wrote a tutorial to help people do this. Here is our tutorial for Windows 10. It shows you how you can make your mouse pointer much larger and make it any color you like.

We hope this helps you, Ralph.


Margaret wants to set Google Chrome’s page zoom to 75% permanently
Is there a way to permanently set the zoom in Google to 75%? It keeps going back to 100%. Also, how do I delete a Facebook account to which I accidentally signed in? I know you are busy and I appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you.

Our answer
Hi Margaret. Type or copy & paste chrome://settings/appearance in Chrome’s address bar and press Enter — Or click the three vertical dots icon in the top right of Chrome. From the drop-down menu, click “Settings.” Scroll down to the “Appearance” section.

Open the “Page Zoom” drop-down menu and choose the zoom setting you want. See the screenshot below.

Cloudeight Windows Tips and Tricks

I’m not a Facebook expert so the following info comes from Facebook’s support page:

“Tap in the top right of Facebook. Scroll down and tap Settings. Scroll down to the Your Facebook Information section and tap Account Ownership and Control. Tap Deactivation and Deletion, and select Delete Account.”

We hope this helps you, Margaret.


Sandy wants to switch from Chrome to Edge
I had to laugh at your statement: If you have comments, questions, a tip, trick, a freeware pick, or just want to tell us off for something. I would never tell you off. you people are the best. Anyway- I have a new computer and everything is geared to Chrome. Edge is on that computer but not being used. How can I change it from Chrome to Edge? I want to use your Start page like I have been doing for years. I’m lost without your start page. Thanks for all your help. Sandy

Our answer
Hi Sandy. In Windows 10 just type DEFAULT APPS in the taskbar search and press “Enter” or click “Open” when Default apps appears in the search results. On the “Default apps” page, click Google Chrome under Web browser and a list of other browsers currently installed on your computer will appear. Since Edge is installed on all Windows 10 computers, just click on “Microsoft Edge” to set it as your default browser. That’s all there is to it.

Just so you know, you can set our start page as the home (start) page in any browser, including Chrome. See this page to learn how to do that. It shows how to set a start page (or what some call “home page”) in Firefox, Chrome, and Edge.

We’re sure glad you didn’t want to tell us off! And thanks for your nice comments, Sandy.
———–
Sandy wrote back: “…Excellent. I’m all set now. Your information was Perfect. Thank you so much.”


Margie wants to delete the huge Windows.old file on her computer
I use several computers and just installed the new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. No problems at all. But now I am stuck with an over 20 gig file that won’t delete, it is the Windows.old file on the C drive. There is no reason for me to hold on to that file – there is nothing in the old version I want and should anything not work properly I would just re-install the entire operating system. So how do I delete this old file – it won’t go no matter what I do – Administrator does not work on this one. This is very annoying and tells me I am not in charge of my own computer!! I should be. Please help.

Our answer
Hi Margie. Be very sure you want to delete the Windows.old folder. If you delete it and you have problems with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update you will not be able to go back to your previous version of Windows 10.

After you install a major update (like Fall Creators Update), Windows gives you 10 days in which you can easily return to your previous version of Windows without losing any data or programs; in other words, you can go back to the previous build just by pressing a button in Settings > Update & security > Recovery >

If you’re sure you’ve used Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to know all is well and you want to remove the Windows Old folder you can do so using Windows Disk Cleanup:

In Windows Search (Cortana) in the taskbar search for Disk Cleanup and press Enter (or click it) when Disk Cleanup appears at the top.

When Windows Disk Cleanup appears, you’ll see a dialog box. Click OK to let it scan your C drive. When it’s done it will show you a list of files that you can clean using Disk Cleanup. Near the bottom, you’ll see a button that says “Clean up system files”. Click that button.

Cloudeight InfoAve tips & tricks

Windows will ask the drive you want to clean up, it will default to “C”. Leave it set to drive C and click OK. Wait a few minutes for Windows to scan your drive. When it’s done you’ll see another dialog. You’ll need to scroll down until you see “Previous Windows installations”.

Cloudeight InfoAve tips & tricks

Tick the box next to it. And then click OK. It will take a while to remove the files. The Windows.old folder is huge — 20 GB or larger.

The Windows.old folder not only contains your previous version of Windows but also includes an exact image of your previous installation including programs, files, settings, etc. So be very certain you are not having any problems with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update before you delete the Windows.old file or you will have no easy way of going back without having to reinstall your programs and possibly losing data.

Keep in mind that Windows will automatically remove the Windows.old folder within 30 days after you update.


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Robert has browser problems and a lot of ads
I seem to be experiencing the latest “Google” enabled weakness. Is there any way I can get rid of this ad supplier and still render my PC usable? After my update, which was problematic, on my rebooted home screen I had a myriad of ads. Bunches of ads. One especially on the lower right corner of my screen is an ad about 1/5th the screen area (3.5″ x 3.5″), and is stationary (cannot be moved) to see what lies underneath except to scroll the page.

In addition to the obvious ad, is a line seemingly attributing the ad to Google, using this line: Google Chrome * mypdf.com or other ads. I checked both Google & MS Edge and there are no extensions on either. I ran the Emsisoft search and came away with nothing bad. I think we had something like this a few years ago, and the answer seemed to do with the advertiser runs of memory alone, and would need to be loaded when the PC is rebooted

Our answer

Hi Robert. This is something we might have to look at… if you have a Cloudeight Direct Computer Care repair key we can schedule an appointment to take a look.

Sometimes these things bury themselves in the registry, Services or User/App/Data – or in the Startups. It’s hard to guess. Here are two things you can try. Try resetting Chrome – see this page for instructions.

Also, open Task Manager, click on the Startup tab, and disable anything you don’t recognize. Then right-click the Start button, click on Settings > Apps > Startup, and turn off anything you don’t recognize.

After you do all of the above, restart your computer – if you still have problems, then we’ll need to take a look.
———–
Robert wrote back: “THANK YOU! One of your suggestions seemed to work! On average I don’t use many “extensions” and the reset went so quickly I thought I must have made a mistake. Thank you again, Robert.”


Stephen asks about cyber attacks from the “dark web”
I recently closed my account with AllClear ID for which I was paying $8.50 per month on the advice of a friend who has your service and signed me up. She told me you do not recommend these protective services and that they are not worth the money. Is there any type of malware protection I should have no to prevent cyber attacks? I currently have Windows Defender which came with my Windows 10 but that does not detect malware or invasion from the dark web. I was originally using McAfee for 4 years, but when I had Windows 10 installed the computer tech told me not to waste my money on McAfee and that Windows Defender is better. I retired recently and I am 75 years young. I am planning to sign up for a year of service with you as the last technician who came to my home from Geeks-to-You who I have been using charged me $225.00 for 2 hours of work and never solved my issue. Thanks for all your help and for answering my last question!

Our Answer
Hi Steven. You are not at risk from cyber-attacks from the dark web. You cannot even get on the dark web using a normal browser – you’d have to use something that uses the Onion network – like the Tor browser. In an onion network, messages are encapsulated in layers of encryption, like the layers of an onion. The encrypted data is transmitted through a series of network nodes called onion routers, each of which “peels” away a single layer, uncovering the data’s next destination. So nothing from the dark web will ever be on your computer and no mysterious malcontents sit in the dark corners of the dark web waiting to attack you. The dark web is a place where many go to buy illegal things like drugs. It’s not an attack vector.

When people say “cyber attack” they usually mean someone attacking them and stealing their identity. This is not done by a personal attack on you, It’s done because someone tricks you into giving up your personal information usually through a phishing email. And no program can provide you with 100% protection against being tricked -except that software between your ears – your common sense. Our motto: THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!

We agree that Microsoft Defender is better than McAfee – but it’s not true that it does not protect you from malware. Malware means anything bad – viruses, Trojans, etc. In our opinion, Microsoft Defender is better than McAfee but not as good and not as user-friendly as Emsisoft Anti-Malware (which is also an antivirus app and anti-ransomware). You can read more about Emsisoft here.

Finally, Geeks-to-You ripped you off. Paying $225 for computer repair is way too much. I’m writing this answer to you on a Windows 11 laptop for which I paid approx. $250. You can buy a really nice 17″ Laptop for around $540. For $99 you could buy a Cloudeight Direct Computer Care SeniorPass which gives you unlimited computer repair sessions for one year and up to three annual checkups.

Don’t let people scare you into buying things. Remember the boogeyman is no more real now than he was when you were a kid. Don’t be afraid and don’t let people sell you things by scaring you.


Dianne wants to know if Express VPN is safe
Is Express VPN safe to use? I have a new Windows 11 laptop and wonder if I should just delete the app.

Our answer
Hi Dianne. It’s safe. but not necessary… and if something’s not necessary and you’re not going to use it, it should be removed. Keep in mind, also, that Express VPN is not free -so at some point in time you may need to pay for it.  Do you really need a VPN service? A VPN service has some usefulness, but it does not protect you from malware, phishing, ransomware, or identity theft as many VPN services claim to do. Read our article here if you want to know about VPNs.

You should be able to remove Express VPN using Control Panel or Settings > Apps >Apps & features.

if you have more questions or need more help, just let us know.


Beverly is having problems with the sound on her computer
I have lost the volume control on my desktop. I don’t know when I lost it as I usually keep it on mute. I have tried everything Google suggested to restore it. Do you have any suggestions that might restore it? Thanks.

Our answer
Hi Beverly. Here are some things you can try:

Right-click on the Windows 10 start button… click Settings > System > Sound.

1. Make sure your output device is set to Speakers and not headphones if you are not using headphones.

2. Make sure your Master volume is not muted and that it is turned up.

3. If you still have no sound, click on the Troubleshoot button and run the Windows 10 sound troubleshooter.

See the screenshot below for some helpful tips.

Cloudeight InfoAve Newsletters

I hope this helps you. Beverly.


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Barbara wants to find and remove duplicate files
Does Reg Organizer remove duplicate files? If not, can you recommend a program that will?

Our answer
Hi Barbara. Reg Organizer does a lot of things well, but it is not a duplicate file finder.

You have to be careful when choosing a duplicate file finder app. There are dozens of free duplicate file finders out there – but we’ve found most of them very inaccurate and many can delete files that are not duplicates.

Our only recommendation for a free duplicate file finder is Anti-Twin and you can read more about it here.

We hope this helps you, Barbara.


Linda wants to remove her personal info from a Windows 10 laptop she’s giving away
I just bought a new Windows 11 laptop and I’m going to be giving my old laptop away. What option do you suggest that I do to do a system reset? Or should I do a factory reset? Thanks!

Our answer
Hi Linda. Please read our article here. It explains how to wipe your hard drive and remove all personal files and information from it and then reinstall Windows 10 so whoever you give it to can set it up as they would a brand-new computer. If you follow the instructions on that page none of your personal info, files, programs, documents, pictures, music, etc. will be on the computer nor will any of your info or files be recoverable.

I hope this helps you, Linda.


Paula’s laptop’s numeric keypad no longer works
I think I may have messed up my setting as I’m unable to use the number keys on the side of my laptop keyboard anymore. I can only use the top ones. It is an HP laptop and I use Windows 10. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Jean

Our answer
Hi Paula. All you have to do is turn off the NumLock key. To do that, just press the NumLock key. On my ASUS laptop, the NumLock key is right above the numeric keypad just above the 7. I don’t have an HP Laptop but I looked at some online and it appears most of them have NumLock keys right above the numeric keypad. It may say “NumLock” “Num Lock”, “Num Lck” or “Num Lk”. Pressing it once turns it on – locks your numeric keypad. Pressing it again unlocks it.

You can set up your computer to alert you when you press the NumLock key (as well as Caps Lock and Scroll Lock). It’s easy to do. Just press and hold down your Windows Key and press U. This opens the Ease of Access Center. Click on “Make the keyboard easier to use”. In the Make the keyboard easier to use section, scroll down to the “Make it easier to type” section and tick the box next to “Toggle Keys”. See the picture below. Once you’ve turned on Toggle Keys, the NumLock key will beep if you accidentally press it.

Cloudeight InfoAve


Pat wants to convert image files from PNG to JPG format
What is the safest app to use for converting PNG to JPG on a PC? I just took a picture with my phone, sent it to my computer, and then did what I wanted to do. I did see apps that you could use, but you two have taught me well…I did it the hard way. Any suggestions greatly appreciated…

Our answer
Hi Pat. Our old standby “IrfanView” does a lot of things. First, it’s much faster at opening picture files than Windows Photo Gallery or “Photos” in Windows 10. Plus it allows you to change from one format to another simply by opening the picture or graphic and then saving it in whatever format you want.

For example, you have a photo called MyChristmasCat.png. You want to save it as a jpg file. Just open MyChristmasCat.png with IrfanView and save it as MyChristmasCat.jpg. You can name it anything you want like ThisIsNotADog.jpg – you get the idea. You’ll have both the jpg format and the png format – so when you convert the file it does not change the original. You can also save it in other formats (like bmp, tif, png, and more).

IrfanView even allows you to do some minor photo effects and enhancements – plus it can open some audio and video formats too. We have IrfanView set as the default image viewer on our Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers. It has been our default image viewer since Windows 98 — wow that was 25 years ago.

The quickest and safest place to download IrfanView is from SnapFiles…here


Mike wants to know a good site to generate strong passwords…but
Hi, You use to suggest a site that generates passwords so you only need one password. What is the site/program and is it still going?

Our answer
Hi Mike. There are dozens of sites that generate strong passwords, but we want to clear up something here. We never said if you use a really strong password, you can use the same one for every site. That’s not practicing safe browsing or safe computer use. You should have a unique, strong password for every site that deals with money or sensitive personal information – like your social security number, your health records, etc.

Strong passwords are a good idea for every site, but they are absolutely essential for sites that deal with personal and confidential information. Each site should have its own unique, strong password.

As far as password generators go, there are dozens. Here’s one you can try.

A reminder for everyone:

The “passwordless” era is not here yet. We strongly recommend that you use different passwords for every site that requires you to log in. We also want to remind everyone (again) that a password manager like LastPass(free) or RoboForm is a necessity on today’s Internet. LastPass, BitWarden, and RoboForm (and most other password managers have built-in password generators that not only generate strong passwords but also save them for you.


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2 thoughts on “Saturday Bonus Questions and Answers – 032523

  1. stanley

    April Fool’s vs. April Fools’
    “Since both variants are found in well-esteemed dictionaries, both are probably acceptable, but certain people may have preferences for one or the other”
    ref https://writingexplained.org/

    Reply
  2. Kat

    Thanks for clarifying the use of USB drives.
    Have you made plans for when you are no longer going to be the “wizards” we turn to for answers?
    Kat

    Reply

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