Saturday Bonus Questions and Answers – 062423
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Today, as we do every Saturday, 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.
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Saturday Bonus Questions and Answers – 062423
Mary wants our suggestions for a VPN
I am so involved in my family history genealogy work that a great many things get set aside. Some of my ancestors that I have researched go back to 1100 or earlier–just a lot of verification must be done. I need to do better in checking things. And because I do extensive research, I so count on my Emsisoft to be working away. Now I need to investigate VPNs. Any suggestions?
Hi Mary. Wow…Wow back to the 12th Century? Great work!
We don’t recommend VPNs for most people… they don’t protect your identity, they don’t protect you from being scammed, and they don’t prevent your computer from being infected with viruses or malware. The advertising behind VPNs is mostly either false or hyperbolic.
If you work at home, your employer may require you to use a VPN, in that case, you’d need one. Another case is if you’re living in a country where censorship is a problem, a VPN can disguise your location well enough to fool most censorship attempts. This would come in handy if you wanted to access certain websites that are restricted to certain countries. A VPN would disguise your location well enough to do that. But a VPN won’t protect your identity, protect you from being scammed, or prevent your computer from being infected. Many VPN vendors claim they don’t keep logs, but you have to take their word for it. And if they keep logs, logs can be accessed by third parties and law enforcement (with warrants).
If you want to try a VPN, you can install a free browser-based VPN like CyberGhost for Chrome/Edge. With a browser-based VPN, you can disguise your location and easily turn it on and off as needed.
We hope this helps you, Mary.
Annie wants a different picture on her sign-in screen
Hi Darcy & TC, “Manage your subscription” keeps giving me an error message when I try to change my email address. What can I do to change my address?
Also, may I ask if there is a way to get different pictures upon signing into Windows? I find Microsoft’s photos that they randomly force on you to be somewhat depressing and tedious! Thanks so very much for your wonderful help! Annie
Hi Annie. Please let me know what your new email address is and I’ll change your InfoAve subscriptions for you. I’m sorry you’re having problems.
As far as the Windows 11 sign-in (log-in) screen goes — here’s how to change the picture, stop Microsoft from changing the picture, and/or get rid of the picture on the sign-in screen altogether.
1. Right-click on an empty area of your desktop.
2. Chose “Personalize”
3. In Personalization click on “Lock screen”
4. Next to “Personalize your lock screen” change it to “Picture” (Spotlight allows Microsoft to choose Lock screen pictures). See the screenshot below.
5. Scroll down until you see “Choose a photo” then click the “Browse” button to choose a photo from your PC. If you don’t want any photo at all on your sign-in screen turn the switch next to “Show the lock screen background on the sign-in screen” to “Off”
We hope this helps you, Annie.
Wayne gets an annoying message from American Megatrends when he starts up his computer
Of late when I power up my computer I get an annoying message from American Megatrends that will not go away until I click my way through their program being very careful not to click anything too risky. How do I get rid of this program? Is it safe to use? Any benefits? Many thanks for all your help to us seniors. Regards, Wayne
Hi Wayne. American Megatrends makes the motherboard and the BIOS in your computer. It is not a program. It is not something you cannot uninstall. American Megatrends is the Basic input-output system or better known as the BIOS. It will show up depending on your machine if you press certain keys or a certain key.
But if it is starting up without any input from you, you may have a problem with your hardware or your BIOS. Here’s a page that can help you determine what is causing the American Megatrends screen to keep appearing on your computer. As you’ll see there are many different causes. But what you’re seeing is not a program -not something you can uninstall -it’s your BIOS settings screen and your computer cannot run without its BIOS (on most newer computers UEFI).
We hope this helps you, Wayne.
Jeanne says we’re wrong about the Brave browser
This email is about the Brave browser. I love your site and your tips are usually right on except for this one. You mentioned in your response to Christine that in Brave she would have to get used to signing into websites, such as Gmail, Amazon shopping, or any online shopping, etc. each visit. I use Brave and do not have to sign into my Gmail account. When I signed in, for the first time, I clicked on the ‘remember me’ button. Now I do not have to sign in next time. I do that for any site where I do not need privacy. Thank you for your wonderful website.
Thanks for your nice comments.
If you use Brave and you don’t have to sign into Chrome, then you’re not using Brave as a privacy browser – you’re allowing it to save browser history, cache, and passwords – so you may as well use Edge, Chrome, or Firefox.
Most people would use Brave assuming it provided them superior online privacy. A truly private browser would not even allow saving log-ins and passwords. Brave can be set up to be totally private, but if you’re going to use it the way you’re using it, you’re not gaining much privacy – you may as well use Edge, Chrome, or Firefox.
The idea of a privacy browser is not to save history, passwords, cache, or anything else that could compromise your personal information. Anyone with access to your computer or any malware connected to your PC could find your browsing history, passwords, and whatever else is in your browser’s cache and history.
Now I’m not that paranoid, so I just use Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. I really don’t believe there’s any privacy on the Internet to begin with. But if you’re using Brave because you want to stay as private as possible, then you’ll have to give up the convenience, bite the bullet, and not allow Brave to save your passwords or browsing history.
Johanna got a phishing email and now worries her accounts might be compromised
Dear TC and Darcy, Just received what is surely a terrible phishing email from folks purporting to be from “Geek Squad” and hoping to charge me for over $400.00 for a phantom renewal of a Geek Squad service contract that I never had, nor ever would have.
I did open the email, but did not click on anything in the mail, nor did I call the 800 number that they requested I call. Should I forward this email to you so that you can just take a look at it? I have checked with my credit card company account, and happily, NOTHING has been charged by this fake company. The billing payment date was today 09/16/2022, so I felt relief that they hadn’t somehow broken into my account. Also checked with my Experian account, and all is well there. But I just wasn’t going to feel absolutely OK until I checked with my most trusted TC and Darcy to know for certain that I did all the things that needed to be done … Thank you SO, SO much as always for your irreplaceable and hugely appreciated help and guidance. Johanna
Hi Johanna. Thanks for your nice comments.
You did all the right things and there’s no need to forward the email to us. You can’t be scammed or charged anything just by reading an email, if that were the case we’d be getting scammed about 30 times every day (we get that much junk mail). As long as you don’t click any links in an email, don’t call the number(s) in an email, and don’t give the sender any personal information. The miscreants that send this kind of scam spam send them out by the millions hoping to catch a few “phish”. That’s why they call these kinds of emails “Phishing” emails.
You did a great job by thinking before clicking anything and not allowing yourself to be tricked by this phishing email.
Way to go, Johanna!
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Robert buys a Lenovo computer and now they want to sell him Wi-Fi Security & a VPN service
I am not a big fan of Lenovo, but they had a deal on a nice “Ideapad320” (8GB RAM 1TB Hard drive) that I couldn’t pass up a month ago. I did one of their “system check-ups” on the laptop today and it said my device’s security is well protected by Emsisoft’s Anti-Malware and Windows Firewall. They of course recommended McAfee which we all know is like a “snake in the grass.” One thing the security scan did point out is what was termed a “lack of Wi-Fi security”. Of course, then they try to sell you on their partner’s Wi-Fi Security (Coronet) program and/or a VPN purchased through them. I know all of it is garbage (my term); but if the machines using the Wi-Fi are already protected by Emsisoft, there is no need for a separate Wi-Fi Security is there?
Hi Robert. It’s funny how some people will start making up fairy tales to frighten people into buying something. It’s all about the money. PC manufacturers are famous for low-balling the price of computers and then trying to add profit by selling unnecessary extras. That’s why some computers come loaded with bloatware and trialware.
A VPN is not going to prevent someone from attacking your wireless network (your router). Your wireless network is protected by WPA2 encryption. All modern routers support WPA2. WPA2 is used on all certified Wi-Fi hardware since 2006 and is based on the IEEE 802.11i technology standard for data encryption.
When WPA2 is enabled, anyone else within range of the network might be able to see the Wi-Fi traffic, but it will be scrambled with the most up-to-date encryption standards. And this, your network is protected.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It does not protect the Wi-Fi traffic between devices in your home and your wireless router. It still depends on your ISP’s internet connection service to work. A VPN works like this:
Home Wi-Fi network > ISP > VPN Server > Internet (web sites, etc.)
Emsisoft protects you and your computer from malware, viruses, ransomware, PUPs, and all manner of nasty things you might encounter on the Web, but it does not protect your Wi-Fi connection; it is an antivirus and antimalware.
Make sure you’re using WPA2 protection on your router to protect your home network and don’t be tricked into buying a VPN thinking it’s going to make your home network secure.
VPNs can be useful in some situations, but VPNs do not prevent identity theft – no matter what anyone says. Over 90% of identity theft occurs when people are tricked into giving up their usernames, passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and other highly personal information. And no VPN in this world is going to prevent you from getting tricked. The only program that’s going to do that is YOB – You Own Brain.
Hope this helps!
Roy wants to know how to enable his Windows 10 touch screen
Good morning. I was wondering if you could tell me where I should go to re-enable the touch screen feature on my personal computer. Not sure what happened or what I did or didn’t do or if it came down as part of an automatic upgrade that happens occasionally to the system.
If you would please let me know, as I am baffled as to where to go to enable it again, did not think I used it that much till today when I turned on the system and it did not function. I know that it did work on this personal computer.
Any directions or help is greatly appreciated. Have a good day, Roy
Hi Roy. Here’s how to Enable your touchscreen in Windows 10
1. Right-click your Windows 10 Start button (or use the Windows key + X shortcut).
2. Click on Device Manager.
3. Select the arrow next to Human Interface Devices.
4. Select “HID-compliant touch screen” from the list.
5. Select the Action tab at the top of the window (as above).
6. Select Enable device from the drop-down menu and confirm.
We hope this helps you, Roy.
Irwin doesn’t have as many fonts on his new computer as he had on his old one
Hi. I’m finding on my new HP PC, I have nothing like the range of FONTS which I was familiar with on my earlier unit. I have noted your articles on FONTS but wasn’t requiring help then. Could you please let me have your recommendation to assist me? Again, many thanks for your help on many occasions. Regards Irwin T.
Hi Irwin. Thank you! Windows 10 comes with several dozen fonts. If you’re interested, you can see a list of all the fonts that come with Windows 10 here.
If you installed a lot of custom fonts on your old computer, then your new computer would seem to have comparatively few. So, all you have to do is install more fonts on your new computer if you want a bigger selection of fonts.
Here’s an article we wrote about how to view and install fonts on Windows 10. This article also includes some nice places to download (mostly) free fonts.
We hope this helps you.
Irwin wrote back: “Hi TC. Thanks again for your prompt response to my query. I’m having fun just scanning through the multitude of fonts. All the best, Irwin T.
Lindsay’s browser is infected with a tech support scam popup
Hi Darcy and TC. I keep getting a “your computer has been blocked virus” popup in Firefox. I have tried all the search suggestions — programs like Sophos, ADW, etc. and they advise my computer is clean. But still, it continues. I can close it using task manager but it still pops up occasionally. It has me concerned just to know it’s on my system… I suppose I could reinstall Windows 10, sometimes this appears the only way out with this computer.
Here is a screenshot:
Your comments would be appreciated. Thanks, Lindsay (from Oz).
Hi Lindsay. No need to reinstall or reset Windows 10. What you have is a very common but very annoying tech support scam browser hijacker (advertisement).
You’re using Firefox, so here are some ideas for you: >
1. Click “History” on the toolbar at the top then click “Clear recent history” from the dropdown menu and choose “Everything” in the box next to “Time range to clear”.
2. Click on Help on the toolbar then click “Troubleshooting” information.
3 . On the page that opens in the upper right, under “Give Firefox a tune-up”, click the “Refresh Firefox” button.
Now, restart Firefox.
If the above doesn’t fix the problem, then the next solution is to uninstall & reinstall Firefox, but don’t delete its data folders; this will keep your bookmarks and other settings intact when you reinstall Firefox.
Let us know if this helps you.
Lindsay wrote back: “Hi TC. I’ve carried out the latter [uninstall & reinstall] on receipt of your email and all going well at this juncture i.e. no hijacker. I take my hat off to you guys at Cloudeight, you do not give up until you succeed, as is the case you have solved for me. Thanks so much. Best wishes to all. Lindsay F. “
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Dick has a problem opening “Settings” after a Windows 10 Update
Hi to you two on this beautiful fall day. I don’t know if the question I have has been on your site before but don’t recall, so am going to ask now. Last week Microsoft had a couple of updates that I installed on my laptop. They required a restart which I did. Following the restart, I was going to open the Settings App to check the Update & Security file to see if the updates were shown completed. When I clicked on the Settings icon all that came up was the, I’ll call it the Cover Slide with the wheelie thing in the middle, and that closed in approximately one second. It never opened to the full Windows Settings page. My question now is, can the Windows Settings page be recovered? And, if so, how can I retrieve it? I know this App is very important and should be available at all times, especially when new updates have been issued. Can you help please instruct me on how to get this App back and working? Let me know what I should do. Thank you ever so much.
Hi Dick. I suggest that you run SFC and then run DISM /RestoreHealth. SFC or System File Checker will check for corrupted/missing Windows system files. The DISM scan will compare your Windows installation with a pristine installation of Windows and make repairs as necessary. Running these scans is not complicated, but it takes some time to run both scans and reboot your PC. See our tutorial on how to run SFC & DISM scans here. Run the scans then restart your computer. See if that fixes things.
Please let us know if this helps you.
Dick wrote back: “It worked. I’ve got my Windows Settings App back. Thank you so very, very much. You done did it again TC. It sure is wonderful in having the two of you taking care of all of us. Hopefully, you are around for years to come.
Norma can’t delete cookies & history in Chrome
Hi, I hope you can help me with this issue. Don’t know what’s changed but my browsing data & cookies won’t clear. I use Chrome & go into more tools & clear browsing data but now all it does is spin and spin and doesn’t erase anything. This just started about a week ago & the only way I can delete browsing history is to restart my computer & then it will work one time. I have to restart each time I want to delete cookies. Never had this problem before, it always deleted everything so don’t know what happened. Any suggestions? Thanks, Norma
Hi Norma. Without looking at your computer, I only have one suggestion and that is to try resetting Chrome.
Resetting Chrome will save your bookmarks. It will disable all your extensions (you can turn them back on after the reset by turning the switches under each extension on), it will remove cookies, and site data, and reset Chrome back to its default state.
It’s important after you do that you shut down Chrome and restart it.
Let us know if this helps you, Norma.
Jim no longer gets a save or cancel dialog when closing files
I cannot close it when I make changes to files. Normally when I change a file and close it, I would have the choice to save, discard, or cancel. I have nothing on it except an X, but the rest is blank. I presently have six files open that I want to save the changes. Jim
Hi Jim. Try this: Shut down your computer completely (turn it off). Wait 5 minutes and then restart it. See if this fixes the problem. I’m betting things will be back to normal.
But if not… see this page and follow the instructions on it to run SFC and DISM. After you do, you’ll need to restart your computer.
Let us know if this helps you.
Jim wrote back: “Thanks, rebooting solved the problem. I figured it would as I am not a novice at computing. I didn’t want to reboot, as I knew that I would have to redo the changes that I had made. In the days of Windows XP, I sent tips to around 35 people and a lot of the tips came from Info Avenue. In the future, I plan to give a generous gift to you… Thanks again. Jim”
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