Frequently Asked Questions



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Every day Pamela receives numerous questions from troubled computer and iPad/iPhone users, by email and at various seminars and workshops. Her answers provide advice on a variety of subjects related to computer hardware and software and Apple iPad and iPhones. Listed below are the questions that Pamela feels will be helpful to most users, from beginners to the more advanced.

If you cannot find the answer to your question listed below, ask Pamela your questions here or click on the ‘Ask Pamela’ link on the sidebar menu below the category list. You can also leave Pamela a Message by clicking on the Blue Button at the bottom of the right hand sidebar. Pamela always answers promptly.

Internet

How can I make sure that my identity does not get stolen online?



There is always a possibility that a ‘hacker’ or ‘spammer’ may send emails that request your personal information so you need to be very careful about opening suspicious email. Take the extra prcautions listed below which will help protect your identity.

  1. Never click on any links in an email that ask for your personal information.
  2. Never give your Social Security Number to anyone, especially in an email or online.
  3. Never give your password or username in a reply to an email.
  4. Always check the email address of the sender. In many cases you will find a mistake in the email address if it is trying to imitate PayPal, eBay or a financial institution.
  5. If you receive an email from a bank that you do not do business with it is usually spam so do not click on any links that ask for your personal information. Delete the email as soon as possible and empty your ‘trash’ folder.
  6. Never click on a ‘pop-up’ that tells you that you have a number of ‘viruses’ in your computer. This is probably a ‘rogue’ program which may shut down your computer or cause it to malfunction. If you have a good Antivirus program installed in your computer it will never ‘pop-up’ and tell you that you have viruses unless you run the software and it finds a problem.
    To make sure that you have a reliable Antivirus program I encourage you to install Norton 360 which is available HERE with a secure download. It is good for three computers which makes the cost very reasonable. I also have a Free Tutorial on how to run Norton 360 on the same page. Print this out and follow each time you scan your computer.

PAYPAL: If you receive an email from PayPal asking for your personal information or telling you that your account has been suspended, forward the email to spoof@paypal.com and they will verify if it is genuine or spam.EBAY:  If you receive an email from eBay asking for your personal information or telling you that your account has been suspended, forward the email to spoof@ebay.com and they will verify if it is genuine or spam.

NOTE: PayPal, eBay or your Bank will never ask you to click on links in an email and add your personal information.

I have cellular service so why can’t I get my email when away from Wi-Fi?



Check your WiFi signal by going to “Settings” then “WiFi.”

If you see an “unsecured” connection that has a “strong” signalStrong WiFi

If you see an “unsecured” connection that has a “weak” signalWeak WiFi

Your device tries to connect to WiFi first and will continue to do so without changing over to “cellular” even if the signal is weak. In order to switch to cellular, when the WiFi signal is weak, you will need to “turn off” the WiFi in “settings.” Your 3G, 4G or LTE will then take over and you will be able to work with your email and search the internet.

For more Apple iPad and iPhone Tips and Tricks click here.

I cannot connect to a website because an error message appears that states that “the security certificate has expired or is not valid.” Why is this happening and how can it be corrected?



This is a common problem with older computers that contain the Windows XP operating system.

Check the date and time in the bottom right corner of your screen on the taskbar (this area is called the “Sys Tray”)  and you will probably find that the time and date are incorrect.

After correcting the time and date you will be able to access the website you selected.

What do you suggest that I back up on an external drive and what type of medium should I use?



I think that the most important files to back up are your “Documents” and “Pictures.” If you have stored them in the above folders they will be easy to transfer to your external medium.

The new WD (Western Digital) external drives have installed software that will allow you to back up just the files you want and they will also perform incremental back ups when you create new files. You can add a password to protect your data should you lose your external drive. The drive will only “unlock” if the correct password is entered so make sure that you use upper and lower case letters and numbers or symbols to make the password more secure.

The WD Passport Portable External drives are small in physical size and convenient to carry; they also come in several colours. The recent units have 500GB – 750GB and 1TB of storage space. Some are sold with a matching case.

Keeping a back up of your important files will be a safeguard if your computer malfunctions and it is also handy for transporting your files when you travel or wish to move them to another computer.

When I copy text from a website to an email the font in my email changes. Can you explain why this happens and how I can avoid this?



When you copy text from a website and paste it to another document or an email the font may change from the one that you usually use in your email to the one that you copied from the website. If you want the font to match your emails default font you will need to use your ‘Notepad’ program.

‘Notepad’ is a text editor and used mostly by webmasters when designing websites or by technichians for writing or copying code. It is also used for other purposes and one of them is to clear text formatting.

To use the ‘Notepad’

  • Access the ‘Notepad’ from ‘Accessories’ in your ‘Program’ list.
  • Keep this software handy for future use by adding it to your ‘Start Menu’ or your ‘Taskbar.’
  • Copy ( CTRL+ C ) text from a website and paste ( CTRL+V ) to ‘Notepad’ then copy ( CTRL+C ) it from ‘Notepad’ and paste ( CTRL+V ) it to your email.

You will find that the text looks exactly the same as the other text in your email.

When I opened my computer my Home Page had changed. How do I change it back and why did it change?



Sometimes a file or “cookie” can get into your computer and change your Home Page to the one that it wants you to view but it is very simple to change back to the one you enjoy.
• Find the page that you want as your Home Page.
• Click on “Tools” then on “Internet Options.”
• Under “Home page” click on the first button “Use Current.”
• Then click “OK.” When you reopen your browser the page that you chose for your Home Page will appear.

I have just returned from my vacation and cannot connect to the internet. I have a wireless system and am using my new laptop. Can you help?



One of the most common causes for not being able to connect wirelessly to the internet is that the settings in Internet Explorer have changed or have been changed to “Dialup.” This happens when you have been using “dialup” in another location and have not changed it back when you returned to use “broadband.” It could also happen if malware has infiltrated your computer.

To check if this is the problem, follow the steps below:

  • With Internet Explorer open click on “Tools.” Choose “Internet Options” from the drop down box.
  • Click on the “Connections Tab” and make sure that “Never dial a connection” is checked.
  • Click OK.

My eyesight is failing and I find it very difficult to enlarge the font in order to read my email online. Is there another way?



Yes, you can easily ENLARGE the font in an online email as follows: Hold down the CTRL key and scroll with the mouse wheel. This works on most websites and other software as well.

If I cannot close my computer using the Start Button or my computer freezes, is it OK to pull the plug?



No, it is not advisable to “pull the plug” if your computer freezes. The “shock” of pulling the plug on a working computer could cause the hard drive to crash or malfunction.

The safe way to close down the computer is to hold down the CTRL, ALT and DELETE keys simultaneously, which will bring up the Windows Task Manager. This “tool” allows you to close the troublesome program or programs and then continue working on your computer without closing down your system. It also has an option to ‘Disconnect’ or ‘Logoff’ under the ‘Users’ tab.