Wednesday, October 1st14.2°C
22738
22805
Getting Along With Your Computer

Quick fixes

Three fixes for common problems, including ones you might not know you have! Get YouTube videos to quit buffering, save your Office stuff where you want it, and clean up your email.

 

Fix choppy video

If you notice that video (for example on YouTube) is choppy or constantly “buffering” try decreasing the quality of the video and see if that helps. Click on the gear icon in the video window, and decrease the quality one step at a time until the video stabilizes. If you don’t see the gear, you might have to expand the window.

The most likely causes of this problem are a slow connection or a slow computer. Make one or both faster to permanently fix the problem, or live with a slightly lower quality video.


Save your work to the computer instead of OneDrive with Office 2013

Every version of Windows and every version of Office includes some things that Microsoft considers “features” and end users consider “annoyances.”

A really great feature of Office 2013 is how it’s integrated with OneDrive. You can easily save and retrieve your files in the Cloud. The annoying thing about this, judging from the questions in my email, is that by default every Office 2013 program saves your work to OneDrive. Like Windows 8.x, this is useful (and even nice!) on a tablet, but on a desktop computer maybe not so much.

As luck would have it, there is a way to fix this.

  • Open any Office 2013 program (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • Click on File | Options | Save
  • Place a check mark in the box called Save to Computer by default
  • Click on OK

Now when you save, the default location will be your PC instead of your OneDrive.


Clean up your email

Often when I prepare to transfer email from an old computer to a new one, I find hundreds of emails in the In box and thousands in the Deleted Items box. I’m not even going to talk about the Sent box.

A better way to manage your email is to create folders for messages you want to keep. Don’t keep them in your In box, and for goodness sake, don’t keep them in your Deleted Items. Put the ones you don’t want in Deleted Items, and then empty that every so often.

Let’s just say that you have many emails to delete. You don’t have to sit there and click on each and every one. You can select multiple files and perform the same action on all of them. Place your mouse cursor on the first email you want to delete. Now hold down the Shift key and scroll down to the last one you want to delete and click on it. This is called “Shift-Click.” You should see all the emails including the first and last are now selected. (Another way to select all the files you want to act on is to put your cursor over any one of those files, then pres the CTRL and the A keys simultaneously. I remember this trick by thinking “Control ALL!”)

Once your files are selected, press the DEL key, or right-click and click Delete, or if you have a big red X in your email program click on that. Any of those actions will cause everything you’ve selected to move to the Deleted Items folder.

If you want to perform the same action on a group of files that are not in continuous order, click on the first one and hold down the CTRL key while you click on every other file you want to act on. This is called “Control-Click.” You delete them the same way as above.

To empty your Deleted Items in every email program I know that runs on Windows, right-click on the Deleted Items box and then click on “Empty Deleted Items.” Poof!

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



22774


Burning questions

No, we’re not talking about CDs. This week’s column answers questions that readers and customers have been asking recently. Learn how to download Facebook photos, and get rid of the U2 album from iTunes if you still haven’t found what you’re looking for. Also, for goodness sake, set up your antivirus so it actually scans daily. And Google Scholar is awesome.

 

How do I download Facebook photos?

I get at least one email a week from people asking how they can download Facebook pictures. It’s really easy once you know how!

  • Open Facebook and find a photo you’d like to have on your own computer.
  • Click on the photo
  • On the bottom edge of the photo, click on Options
  • Click on Download
  • Click on Save… and allow the photo to finish downloading
  • Go back to your computer and open the Downloads folder. Find the picture there. It will be named with just a random-looking string of numbers
  • Move the photo to a folder in your Pictures folder

From there, you’ll be able to view and edit the picture in the photo program of your choice. I made a screen cast that shows the steps in more detail.

How do I get rid of the U2 album in iTunes?

In case you didn’t notice, Apple announced a couple of new phones recently. And for some reason they are giving every iTunes user a free copy of a new U2 album. I’m not sure why this has created such a furor. It’s kind of weird to hear people say, “I don’t want this free music you gave me,” when most of the time I have people asking me how they can get music for free!

In case you want nothing to do with this music, Apple published an article on how to get rid of it. Follow the instructions here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6439?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US or you can simply use the SOI Removal Tool, here: https://buy.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZFinance.woa/wa/offerOptOut.


What do you mean my antivirus isn’t working?

I’ve mentioned before that Avast! Free antivirus (http://www.avast.com/index) is my current recommendation for most people. It’s a good product that does what you tell it to do. But it can’t read your mind. Once you install it, you also have to configure it. Somehow people miss that part. It’s not going to do a scan every day unless you go into the settings and schedule that scan. No matter what antivirus product you’re using, please take a moment to look at the settings and make sure it’s set up the way you want it. And when it comes to renewing your free protection, make sure you stay with the free protection. See the second item in this column: http://rlis.com/columns/column459.htm.
 

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is more than Google Search. Google Scholar organizes scholarly papers, articles, theses, books, abstracts, patents and court opinions. Browse to http://scholar.google.com and search. Use the choices down the left side of the page to refine your search. When you find something you need, click on the (small!) Save link beneath the listing and the article will be saved to your Library.

Visit your Library any time to get back to those search results. If you decide to use and cite the article in your paper, click on Cite to get the citation in a format you can copy and paste or import. There’s a lot more there, too. Have you used Scholar? What do you think?

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

 

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.

18810


Setting up your new computer

Are you setting up a new computer? I do that all the time, so I have a routine for setting up the new machine and transferring files from the old. If you decide to do this yourself, these tips should keep you from reaching for the Aleve. Better still, these same tips will save time --- and therefore money! --- when you pay someone to set up your new computer.


Know what you need to transfer

Files and programs are not the same thing. Documents, music, pictures, email, address books, and internet Favorites/Bookmarks are files, and can be transferred if you know what you’re doing.

Programs are the software that create and handle those files. Word is a program. It lets you read and create documents. Programs need to be installed, not transferred. You need a version of your program that is compatible with the version of Windows on the new computer.


Do you have a printer? Or do you have a multifunction machine?

Windows 7 and Windows 8 are really smart about printers. If you have one that is compatible with Windows 7/8, plug the printer in, follow the directions to install the ink and the paper, connect it to the computer, and turn it on. Windows will recognize it, install the drivers, and you’re good to go in under two minutes.

Connecting a printer/scanner/copier is not like connecting a printer. You have to install the software first. If you don’t, Windows will (probably…) recognize the printer function, but not the scanner or anything else. Install the software, and don’t even think about connecting the device until you’re prompted to do so!


Have your passwords handy

Please know your email address and password. Trust me. You DO have an email password. If you think you don’t, it’s probably because someone set up your email on your old computer and told it to remember your password. That’s worked out well for you … until now. You’re going to need that password. If you don’t know it, call your email provider and have them reset it.

That is also true for your wireless network. When you (or someone) set up that network, your old computer needed the password to connect to the network. It still does, but again, someone told the computer to remember it and it did. You have to know what it is to tell your new computer to remember it! If your wireless router is from Telus or Shaw, the information is on a sticker on the router.

 

Embrace a Microsoft Account

If you are going to be using Windows 8 (and whatever comes after Windows 8) you need a Microsoft Account (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-live/sign-in-what-is-microsoft-account ). You need it to sign on to your computer, to access the Microsoft Store (even the free apps in the Store), to make your OneDrive work, and for new versions of Microsoft Office.

You might already have a Microsoft Account. See this column for more: http://rlis.com/columns/column452.htm. If you already have a Microsoft Account, you need to know the password. If you don’t know it, you need to recover it (https://account.live.com/resetpassword.aspx).

If you don’t already have a Microsoft Account, you can save yourself time and aggravation by setting one up before you start setting up your new computer (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-live/sign-up-create-account-how). Why? Because there are a couple of steps in the process where you have to verify your identity. If you still have access to your email, this is a lot easier.

The final tip for this week: Write down your Microsoft Account user name and password!

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



23656


Staying safe & secure in the cloud

“The Cloud” is a part of our lives now. You might already be using The Cloud and not even know it. This week, find out more about The Cloud and how you can keep your data safe.

 

What is “The Cloud” and why should I care?

The Cloud is a network of computers where you can store your data. It’s not just one place. If you’re using Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, GoogleDrive, Pinterest, or any of a number of other services you’re already using The Cloud.

Do you have an iPhone? When you take a picture, it’s stored in the phone’s Camera Roll. If you also have Photo Stream enabled, that picture is uploaded to your iCloud storage. Deleting the photo from your phone does just that. But it doesn’t delete it from your iCloud storage. Just ask some of the celebrities whose nude photos were obtained by someone who (allegedly) hacked into their iCloud accounts. You can delete iCloud photos and you can change some settings so photos don’t automatically go to The Cloud. There’s a good explanation of all that here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-to-protect-or-delete-your-photos-in-icloud/.


Is The Cloud a bad thing?

The answer to that question is: It depends.

When customers ask me about The Cloud, I tell them The Cloud is a great way to store information of all types that is not confidential, embarrassing, or your only copy of information.

It gets that stuff off your hard drive, tablet or phone. Information stored in The Cloud can be accessed from any place on any device with a working Internet Connection. This is the beauty of Evernote and Dropbox. I can make a note in Evernote on my Windows computer and look at it later on my Android phone. I can put an important file in Dropbox and get it on my phone or any of my computers or on anyone’s computer from a browser. And I can share that stuff with trusted friends.

But I also tell people my rule of thumb when it comes to cloud storage: Do not ever put anything in The Cloud you wouldn’t want your mother or the President of the United States to see.


How can I protect my stuff if I want to use The Cloud?

Encrypting files before they’re uploaded is one way to protect your data from criminals, inadvertent leaks due to unfortunate programming errors, and legal requests. Programs like Boxcryptor (https://www.boxcryptor.com/) let you encrypt your files on your computer before you upload them. Boxcryptor works on all major cloud services, including Dropbox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive and many more. You can get Android, iOS, Blackberry, MacOS and Google Chrome apps to access your encrypted files on just about any device. It’s free for personal use, and there are more robust plans for business use or if you need more features.

Cloudfogger (http://www.cloudfogger.com/en/) also encrypts files before you upload them. It’s a little different under the hood, so read and understand the benefits and limitations of any encryption software you use. Cloudfogger is also free and cross-platform, and there’s a handy Outlook add-in.

Gizmo Richards’ excellent TechSupportAlert website discusses more alternatives: http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-encryption-utility-for-cloud-storage.

Want to know more about The Cloud? Take a look at this article from the folks at How Stuff Works: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cloud-computing/cloud-storage.htm.

Photo credit: Kevin Dooley via photopin (http://photopin.com)
(Creative Commons License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

 

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.



Read more Computers articles

23479


About the author...

Cate Eales has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible and fun for over 20 years. She lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric, and her dog, Sandy. Cate is a partner in Computer Care Kelowna, helping individuals and small businesses with virus, spyware and malware eradication; personal computer training and management; digital image management; music transfer; and website design, hosting and management.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with your comments, suggestions, or questions. To browse the column archives, visit the Real Life Internet Solutions website at www.rlis.com.







The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


Previous Stories



RSS this page.
(Click for RSS instructions.)
23391