Saturday, May 30th13.1°C
26402
Getting Along With Your Computer

Uh oh

I think it’s happened to everyone. You’re cleaning up your stuff and you decide to move a bunch of files and folders from one place to another. Windows asks if you’re sure. You’re really sure! But … it turns out you were really wrong and now your stuff is gone. The first thing to do is remain calm.

 

Wait. Did that really happen?

If you delete a file and you realize right away that it was a mistake, press the CTRL and the Z key at the same time. The key combination of CTRL+Z tells Windows to “Undo” the last thing it did. If deleting the file was the last thing you did, you will probably get it back.

If you haven’t emptied your Recycle Bin, double-click on the Recycle Bin to open it and see if you can locate the file. If so, you can either right-click on it and then click Restore, or just click once on it and then click Restore this item at the top of the window. The file will go back to its last location.

If you’ve deleted email, look in the Deleted Items folder in your email program. Email doesn’t go to the Recycle Bin.


Maybe it’s still around

If you don’t realize the mistake until it’s too late to do a CTRL+Z and your stuff isn’t in the recycle bin, there’s a good chance you just moved it inside another folder. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this with music and photos. But…which folder?

One way to find it is to click on hundreds of folders until you find what you’re looking for.

A better way is to do a computer search. Windows includes a powerful search function. Just look at the top of any Explorer window in any modern version of Windows. Type your search term in there and see if Windows can find your file.

There are many alternatives to the built in search. Not many of them do what they say they will. Two of the best I’ve found are Everything, available here: http://www.voidtools.com/, and Search My Files, here: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/search_my_files.html. Both tools are free and fast, and both offer a more robust search experience without having to go through all the indexing required by Windows native search. SearchMyFiles is an excellent tool for finding duplicate files. Both tools work on Windows versions all the way through Windows 8.1.


If none of that works:

Try a file recovery tool. I’ve had success with Recuva (http://www.piriform.com/recuva).

The program is free, and although the author encourages you to donate, you are under no obligation to do so. You are also under no obligation to install the toolbars or scanners that might be offered to you when you install the program. Simply clear the check box(es) and continue with the install.

When you run the program, Recuva will ask you what kind of file you want to recover. Choose from Pictures, Music, Documents, Video, Compressed files, Email (yes, it will recover email!) or “Other” which will look for … other files. Next choose a location from which to recover. If you deleted something from an external drive (like the SD card from your camera!), just tell Recuva to search for it on that drive; don’t search your whole computer.

Recuva will search and present you with a list of files it’s found. You can continue to refine the search results from here, or you can restore now if you see the file you’re looking for. Not every file can be restored, even if Recuva can find it. You’ll see a green light if chances are good, red if not. Recuva can’t find or restore everything. You still need to back up your files. But Recuva has helped me get some of my customers out of a jam, and it’s a worthwhile tool to have installed.

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.



26406


Help! Internet is broken!

Are you having trouble connecting? "The Internet is down!" will get my attention, there's no doubt about it. But, "When I try to go to my banking site I get a message that says..." is far more helpful. I can work with you either way, but if you can provide a good description of what the computer is not doing and when it started not doing that, you’ll save a lot of time and probably a little money.

 

Is everything broken, or just some things?

Can you really not connect to anything? If you open your browser and get an error message --- or you simply get nowhere! --- try a different destination. If your start page is 1123abc.com and 123abc.com is down or struggling, your browser won’t connect. Type a different destination into the address bar and see if you can get there. Try http://castanet.net or http://computercarekelowna.com! Is your email program working? And while we're at it, make sure your computer, your router, and your modem are all powered on and connected.


What browser are you having trouble with?

If someone tells me they can’t get to the Internet, I ask them about their browser. A browser is the program you use to view websites. On Windows computers, the most common browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. Did you notice that “Google” is not an answer to the question, “What browser are you having trouble with?” That’s because “Google” is not a browser. It’s a search page in your browser. You can use Google from any browser. Here’s a good, quick, clear explanation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrXPcaRlBqo.

How do you know what browser you’re using? The browser’s logo is one big clue. Internet Explorer’s is a lowercase blue “e” with a gold swoosh through it. Firefox’s is an orange fox wrapped around a blue globe. Chrome’s is a circle or a globe with blue in the middle and yellow, red and green on the outer part. A very easy way to get the name AND the version of the browser is to visit http://www.whatsmybrowser.org/. A good way to tell your tech support person is to copy the link at the bottom of that page and paste it into an email to them.
 

What version of Windows are you running?

The Operating System --- OS for short --- is the boss of the computer. (You thought YOU were the boss of the computer, didn’t you?) It’s the program that tells all the other programs and all the hardware how to get along. Examples of Operating Systems are Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. If you don’t know what version of Windows your computer is running, it’s very easy to find out. In any modern version of Windows, press the WinKey and the Pause/Break key at the same time. You’ll go straight to the system properties window which will show your version of Windows.


But wait, there’s more

There are other helpful things to know, like your email and WiFi passwords, who provides your internet, and what happened in the moments before everything just quit working for no reason. But if you can concentrate on the big picture and know the answers to the three questions above, getting help is as easy as 1-2-3.

 
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.



Malwarebytes is free

If you accidentally installed the Trial version of Malwarebytes instead of the free one, it’s easy to go back to the free one.

 

Malwarebytes is still free

Malwarebytes is an excellent program that scans your computer for malicious software and removes much of it. The paid version of the program does that and also provides real-time protection against rogue websites.

I usually install the free version for my customers unless they know or think they might want the paid version, which offers more features and protection (Comparison here: https://www.malwarebytes.org/products/). But sometimes people accidentally end up activating the trial version. Once the trial period ends, Malwarebytes pops up reminders encouraging folks to pay for the program.

You don’t have to pay for the program unless you want the additional features. You can keep using the free version. When you open Malwarebytes and look at the Dashboard, you’ll see four sections. Look at the bottom section, called Real-Time Protection. In the right-hand corner, click on End Trial. That takes you back to the free version.

This page more fully explains the steps: https://support.malwarebytes.org/customer/portal/articles/1834853?b_id=6438.

Of course, if you want to purchase Malwarebytes, look at the top section, called License, and over on the right-hand side click on Buy Premium.

 

Adblock Plus blocks annoying ads

Adblock Plus (https://adblockplus.org/) is a browser extension that will block ads, disable tracking, disable malware domains and disable Social Media buttons. Customers, friends and family have been using Adblock Plus for years. I held out because some of the websites I visit are ad-supported, and it costs money to maintain a quality website. But over time, ads have become increasingly annoying and obtrusive (or maybe I’ve just gotten in touch with my inner curmudgeon) and Adblock Plus will now give me the option to unblock the “good” ads while blocking the flashing, annoying ads with sounds. I like that idea a lot, so I’m giving it a try. So far, I’m impressed.

The add-on works well installed with just the default configuration, and is highly configurable when you want to block more --- or less. The documentation is thorough and well-written. This page (https://adblockplus.org/en/features) explains all those features and links to instructions on enabling them. Adblock Plus is available for Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera (!), Internet Explorer, and Safari. There is a version you can use on you Android phone. (I have not tested that.) Adblock Plus is free, but the authors request a donation.

I installed Adblock Plus on Internet Explorer on a test machine here. Then I went to Facebook. The difference is dramatic. No more belly fat cures, no more Ellen’s hidden secret. Nice clean white space in the right-hand column.

Adblock Plus is free, but the authors request a donation. Because they can’t throw ads at you.

 

The WinKey is a real thing

Last week’s column (http://rlis.com/columns/column506.htm) mentioned the WinKey. Several people emailed to say they wanted a fuller explanation of just what that is. It’s not “WINK-ey” it’s “WIN-Key” and it’s the key on your keyboard that has the Windows logo on it. The logo looks like a flag.

You can use the WinKey in combination with other keys to do things that would otherwise involve mouse clicks or, on a tablet, swipes. That key has been around since the days of Windows 95. Each new version of Windows relied more on the use of it for shortcuts. Here’s a list of common WinKey shortcuts in Windows 7: http://www.guidingtech.com/13062/best-windows-7-win-key-shortcuts/. And here’s a list of them for Windows 8: http://blog.laptopmag.com/15-essential-windows-8-keyboard-shortcuts. Interested in the history of the Windows Key? See the Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_key.

Two shortcuts I use all the time are WinKey+R for “Run” and WinKey+E to open a new file explorer window. Do you have a favourite? Please send email to [email protected] and I’ll share in a future column.

 

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.



25786


Don't fall for it

Some really bad people are out to exploit the Nepal earthquake.

 

Beware of Charity Scams

Sadly, the recent earthquake in Nepal has brought out a truckload of crooks purporting to be charities helping people in need. In fact, these jerks are helping themselves to your money. Seeing pictures of the earthquake aftermath online and on TV naturally brings out the desire to help. But who can we trust?

Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/) evaluates and rates charities and helps you figure out where your contribution will be used the way you want. The website explains:

Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. By guiding intelligent giving, we aim to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation’s and the world’s most persistent challenges.

Charity Navigator is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Code and does not accept any contributions from any charities we evaluate.

Charity Navigator can help you decide how to allocate your charity dollars at any point in time, but right now with the focus on Nepal, you can learn how to be an informed contributor in a time of crisis, and check the list of vetted charities in the context of the current situation. Start here: http://blog.charitynavigator.org/2015/04/tips-for-donating-to-nepal-earthquake.html.

The Charity Intelligence Canada website (http://www.charityintelligence.ca/) provides similar results for Canadian Charities and has a similar mission:

To provide Canadian donors with information that helps them make informed and intelligent giving decisions to have the greatest impact.

Whatever the crisis, be skeptical of email, online, and telephone solicitations. And, do a little homework.


Easily see where you’re going

When you want to move or copy files from one place to another, it’s helpful to see both places at the same time. It’s easy to do this. You just need to open two Explorer windows at the same time. (Not Internet Explorer, just the File Explorer that’s built into Windows.) To do that:

  • Open your Documents, Music, or whatever your source folder is as you normally would
  • Press WinKey and E at the same time to open another window
  • Navigate to your flash drive.
  • Arrange the folders so you can see the source and the destination, and now you can drag and drop files between the open windows.

If you want to make it even easier to drag and drop, right-click on your taskbar and then click on “Show Windows Side by Side.”


Show me what’s wrong

Readers often email me with questions and things they want to share. What’s often helpful is a screen shot.

Windows 8.1 has a nice screen shot feature. Just press the WinKey and PrintScreen keys simultaneously. The screen will dim for a second, and your screen shot will be automatically saved in a folder called Screenshots inside your Pictures folder.

That will grab a picture of your whole screen. If you want to capture a smaller area, it’s easy to do that with the Snipping Tool in Windows 7 or Vista. You can even make that work in Windows 8.x.

To access the tool in Windows 7 or Vista, click on Start | All Programs | Accessories | Snipping Tool, or click on the Start button, type snip into the Search box and select Snipping Tool from the results. In Windows 8.x, go to the Start Screen and start typing snipping tool. When you click on that search result it will take you back to the Desktop.

Snipping Tool opens in a small window. Drag the cursor around the area you want to capture and then let go of the mouse button.

This will open a simple graphics editor. You can use the tools there to draw lines, add highlighting, email the picture, and save it to your hard drive.

Third-party tools will do a capture and provide a more robust set of features. If, like me, you need to do this a lot, you probably want a specialized tool. But if you just need a little help or you simply want to show someone something cool, give the Snipping Tool a try and see how you like it.

 

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




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


25482
RSS this page.
(Click for RSS instructions.)
25479