Q & A

This week’s column answers three questions that have come up in the last couple of weeks. Learn how to find out if a website is safe, spot a hoax, and open more than one Explorer window at a time.

How do I know if a website is safe?

After I clean out a computer, often a customer will ask me, “How can I keep this from happening again?” I’ve written many times about safe browsing, most recently here: http://rlis.com/columns/column400.htm. Add-ons like Web of Trust (http://mywot.com/), and the security plug-in that’s built into Avast! Antivirus are good for checking search results. But what if you want more information about a site that WOT and Avast! don’t rate?

There are several good websites where you can enter a URL and get a reputation score. One is the Google Advisory website. It will tell you whether it thinks the site you ask about is safe, whether it’s been hosting malicious software recently, and more. The downside? You have to type http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site= and the URL every time you want to query it. Most of us can’t be bothered with that on a regular basis.

Here’s an easy way to check a website’s reputation: Visit the Online Link Scan website, here: http://onlinelinkscan.com/. Type the URL of the website you want to check in the search box, and click to scan. In a moment, you’ll see results for that site from five reputation checking site, including the Google Advisory site, PhishTank and SpyEyeTracker.

You’ll also see ads for things that will take you away from the Online Link Scan site. Be cautious. I wish people wouldn’t put ads there, but everyone has to make a living somehow, and the service is ad-supported (which is different than “free”).

How do I know if something is a hoax?

I have a very good friend who is on a mission to make sure all her Facebook friends know who to find out whether something is a hoax or not. As she would point out, it only takes two minutes to check before you Share, Post, or Forward. Good resources are Snopes (http://snopes.com/), Hoax Slayer (http://www.hoax-slayer.com/), and just using Google to search on something followed by the word “hoax.” If I had done that, I wouldn’t have been taken in by the “Eagle Steals Canadian Baby” YouTube video hoax. You can see the video here: http://youtu.be/WxtNixNGf4k. (It includes a cuss word…twice.) Searching Google for “eagle steals baby hoax” would have made me feel less foolish: http://bit.ly/17YhAbE.

How can I see the files on my flash drive and the files in Documents at the same time?

You 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 as you normally would
  • Hold down the Ctrl and the N key simultaneously. That tells Windows to open a new Window. Navigate to your flash drive, and you’re good to go.

Another way it to press the key with the Windows logo/flag on it and the E key at the same time. That opens up another Explorer window. Again, navigate to the folder you want, and you can drag and drop files between the open windows.

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.

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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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