Beat the ransomware bug

Quick updates this week on items mentioned in past columns. Oh, and how to reset your networks in Windows 10 and why you might want to do that.

Ransomware is still a threat

Almost a year ago, I wrote about ramsomware. It’s still with us, and it’s still bad.

Ransomware is a form of malware, which is short for “malicious software.”

Ransomware enters a computer, server, phone, or tablet, then encrypts the files and demands payment for the key to unencrypt them. Without the decryption key, your files remain scrambled and useless to you.

Because the bad guys demand payment for the key, your files are being held for ransom, and that’s where the name comes from.

You can protect your computer or other device from ransomware. For a great discussion on ransomware and how to protect your data, I recommend pointing your browser to  the PixelPrivacy website.

The article covers Windows computers, macs, iOS and Android devices and how to protect them. Excellent resource!

Windows 10 Photos app may or may not be fixed

Last November, I wrote about the revamped Windows Photo app. It was working perfectly. It continued to work perfectly on all but one computer here. On that one, the app would open for a second and then shut down.

I was not alone. There were hundreds of posts from people having the same problem. I tried every reasonable solution. (UNreasonable solutions included reinstalling Windows, installing programs that were obviously harmful, and dropping the laptop from a great height.)

Eventually, this problem fixed itself with only a little urging from me. This fixed it (finally!) for me:

  • Click on Start | Microsoft Store
  • Click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner
  • Click on Downloads and updates
  • Click on Get Updates

I tried this several times over the past two months, and finally on April 4, the app updated to version 2018.18022.15810.0. That fixed the problem, and it matches the version on the machine that had never had a problem.

Why did this happen? Beats me. If your Windows 10 Photos app crashes, try those steps and see if you’re one of the lucky ones who got the update.

When all else fails, reset your network card

When you can’t get your computer online, try using the Network Diagnostic Tool built into all modern versions of Windows.

To run the tool:

  • Open Control Panel
  • View as Large icons
  • Click on Troubleshooting | Connect to the Internet | Advanced
  • For best results, check the box for Apply repairs automatically
  • Click on Run as administrator

Follow the prompts to the end of the process, and you might find that your connection has been repaired. If it hasn’t, you will probably gain some insight into where to look for the problem.

If nothing you’ve tried has helped so far, Windows 10 provides an easy way to reset your network and start clean.

Please note: It’s easy but it’s drastic.

It resets your Ethernet network, all your Wi-Fi connections, and forgets all your Wi-Fi passwords. If you have any VPNs, you’ll be setting those up again too.

Use this tool as a last resort and make a note of any special settings, your Wi-Fi password(s) and any VPN settings before you do this.

  • Click on Start | Settings | Network & Internet | Status
  • Click on Reset
  • Read the warning! 
  • Read the warning again! 
  • If you’re sure click on Yes

That’s pretty much all there is to it. Wait for the reset to complete, wait for the computer to reboot, and then set up your connections.

Ride Don’t Hide update

Thank you to everyone who already signed up to sponsor my ride. We’ve reached our first goal of $500. I’ll be raising the bar. The bar on sponsorship. Not the bar on my bicycle. That would be bad.

There’s still time. If you’d like to contribute, visit this link and help raise some money for a good cause.

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

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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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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