Cate Eales - Real Life Internet Solutions
Cate Eales - Real Life Internet Solutions

Real Life Internet Solutions

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Cate’s In Box By Cate Eales

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to email with comments and questions. Please keep them coming! Here’s a sample from Cate’s In Box.

Q: When I install a new program, it always tells me to “close all running programs.” How do I do that? - Jack

A: Great question, Jack. That confuses many people. In Windows 98 and Windows XP, the process is pretty much the same. First, check the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. Each open program will show up on a tab there. Close everything there except for whatever you are installing! After that, check the System Tray, which is the area over to the bottom right of your screen with all the little icons, near the clock. Right-click on each of those icons and close the programs. After you complete the installation, you’ll need to restart your computer to restore the running programs in the System Tray.

Q: I really hate the home page that’s on my computer. Can I have something else? – Terry

A: Absolutely! You can have any page you want as your home page, although we’d certainly like you to start your day at (ahem) castanet.net! Just browse to the page you want to use as your home page. Then, in Internet Explorer, click on Tools Internet options General. You’ll see options near the top of that tab. Select “Use current” to start with that page. You can even start with a blank page if you want to. In Firefox, click on Tools Options General and make your choice at the top of that tab. You can create and customize your own home page at Yahoo (http://yahoo.ca/), or My Way (http://myway.com/), and many other places.

Q: Somebody told me I could get a virus from my instant messenger program. I never heard of that before --- is it true. - Val

A: Unfortunately, yes. Many of these viruses are spread by tricking users into downloading and opening files that turn out to be malicious pieces of software. Sometimes you notice a problem right away, as your computer grinds to a halt. Other times, you don’t even know anything is wrong because the bad program works completely in the background. But the good news is that you can protect yourself from this garbage the same way you protect yourself in email: Make sure you are running a good anti-virus program, make sure you update it frequently, and make sure your IM program is configured to check any files you download. (This will be in Options or Preferences, depending on which IM program you use.) And always be sceptical about people who IM you and tell you to download something called “humor.exe”!

Q: My friend sent me an email about a missing child. I forwarded it to everyone I know, but someone told me it was a hoax. How could I have known that? – Ellen

A: Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but you can often find the answer on a website that keeps track of hoaxes and urban legends. Two good ones are Snopes.com (http://snopes.com/), and Hoax Busters (http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org/HoaxBustersHome.html). Both sites let you search using keywords. If you suspect a virus warning you receive might be a hoax, check Vmyths.com (http://www.vmyths.com/). They also have tips there about how to recognize a hoax in the first place.

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. Email Cate with your comments, suggestions, or questions. To browse the column archives, visit the Real Life Internet Solutions

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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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