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  • Aunty Virus 25th January

    Len from Altea asks:
    I overheard someone at the airport seriously shouting at their friend for unplugging a USB memory dongle from their laptop without ejecting it properly. Is this something I should be doing and how, as I simply plug mine in and out whenever I need to?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Len. It is definitely something you should be doing as you can permanently damage the data on the dongle by unplugging it whilst Windows is accessing it. There is a "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the bottom right corner (maybe need to click the tiny arrow to see it) that will let you do exactly that.

     

    John via email asks:
    I have a 3 year old HP laptop that has been in and out of the local shop more times than I can remember. The latest and most frustrating problem is that a load of annoying adverts keep popping up whenever I go onto the internet. I have Windows Defender, Superantispyware and Malwarebytes but these ads keep coming back and my laptop has slowed down to a crawl. I have Windows 8 and I use Chrome.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi John. Assuming you have scanned with your up to date virus and spyware programs there is a great add-on for Chrome called Adblock that will sit quietly in the background and block 99% of these annoying ads that seem to be cropping up everywhere. Type adblock into Google and from the resulting list choose either the Google Chrome Web Store or www.adblock.org. Once installed there is a voluntary donation/payment page that pops up but it’s entirely up to you whether you choose to pay. If you are experiencing sluggish apps and Windows start-up then it could be that you have a full hard drive, too many things battling with Windows or that the Windows 10 free upgrade is downloading and hogging your machine. I wasn’t a big fan of Win8 so maybe give Phil at eNET Computers a call on 687 362 844 and arrange for a health check and Windows 10 upgrade.

     

    Harvey via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. My Acer laptop will freeze for no reason and sometimes it will actually switch itself off. When I restart again I often get a text type message that I need to repair the disk or something. It is fairly old (like myself) and has Windows Vista so is it worth repairing?

    Aunty Says:
    Hello Harvey. This sounds like an overheating or hardware problem, maybe RAM or a failing hard disk. I would strongly recommend making a copy of any valuable documents and photos just in case the laptop completely packs up.  If you email me the exact model number I will recommend a fix or upgrade solution.

     

    Susan via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. I have a laptop with Windows 8 and I somehow have two different antivirus programs on it, McAfee and Defender. I have no idea how they both got on there but I seem to remember reading that having two antivirus programs will slow down the computer. Is this still the case and also which one would you recommend keeping?
    Aunty Says:
    This will slow your computer down Susan as they will both be trying to update and scan your computer at the same time. I would recommend keeping Defender and uninstalling McAfee. Defender is the new name for Microsoft Security Essentials and being a Microsoft product, it works very well with Windows.

     

    Any questions please email me at

    auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com. See you all next week.

  • Aunty Virus 18th January

    Graham via email asks:
    Hi aunty. I updated my laptop from Win8.1 to 10 and since then I have had loads of problems. When I first downloaded 10 it said that if I was not happy I could revert to my previous Win8 but I found that I’d only had a month for that option and missed it. After searching the web I found a site that says if I do a factory reset my computer will revert back to 8.1 even though I don't have a download disk or code. What do you think? I think it's either get another computer or change to Apple which for me is really out of reach unless it is the only option I have.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Graham. There is usually a “factory reset” image built in to most modern laptops and will take your computer back to how it was when it came out of the box. This is a fairly brutal process and unless you are very careful you can easily lose all of your photos and documents etc. Not to be confused with the Windows “System Restore” feature which is very different and simply reverts Windows back to a few weeks ago. I would personally soldier on with Windows 10 and definitely check your Windows updates have all come through (start – settings - updates) as these can often slow computers down and even stop some apps from working properly.

     

    James via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. When I start the internet with Google Chrome I get the Google search page in Spanish. I followed your previous instructions and set www.google.com as my home page through the settings option but when it loads it seems to change to www.google.es and favours Spanish search results. I have added www.google.co.uk as a bookmark in Chrome and this gets Gmail in English OK but when I open a new tab or search using Google most of the result are Spanish websites.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello James. Once in the settings section of Google Chrome (the three bars top right) you can change the “on startup” and “search”  sections to the co.uk extension instead of the .com version and you should find you get English results from any searches. What is happening here is your browser is trying to be helpful by detecting what part of the world you are in and returning what it thinks are more relevant search results.


    Peter via email asks:
    Hi and Happy New Year! I am one of your avid fans and I'm wondering if you can help with this one. Since upgrading to Windows 10 I've had quite a few problems and wish I'd stayed with 7. These include total loss of sound, issues with the App Store etc. The present problem is that on start up I get this error message: "The Group Policy Client service failed the sign-in.
    Aunty Says:
    This is unusual Peter and I can only assume there was an existing problem with your Windows 7 account that has transferred across to the new Win10 install. If it is under a month since you upgraded then you can revert back to Windows 7 from “Start – Settings -Update & Security”. If this option is not available then it may be a job for the dreaded registry editor so let me know how you get on.


    Any questions then email me at auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com. See you all next week.

  • Aunty Virus 11th January

    Marcus via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I'm looking to purchase a Wi-Fi extender that I can plug into my laptop to get better range of the network. Do you have anything like that for sale, or know any place to purchase something like that in Torrevieja?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Marcus. There are a few different ways of doing this but I can only go on personal experiences regarding brands. You could buy a TP-Link USB Wi-Fi adaptor for around €15 which will plug into your computer and can be moved around to get a better signal. You can usually extend the USB lead to max 3m so this will usually do the trick. If you want a more manageable solution then you can buy an Asus Wi-Fi repeater/router for around €20 which will extend your existing Wi-Fi area coverage by around 100%. I have used both methods with great results. I don’t know anywhere locally that actually stock these items but you can pickup anything like this on Amazon. Let me know if you’d like the exact models numbers etc.
     
    Val via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I have Windows XP on a fairly old (but good Dell Alienware M15 laptop that cost over €1500 when new) and I have been told by a shop that “it will run Win10” but then “we can’t upgrade it” which has left me somewhat confused. Is there a straightforward answer to what I can and should do? I love the Dell and would hate to have to retire it.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Val. All is not lost as there is a way to upgrade from XP or Vista and enjoy the free Windows 10 upgrade. It is a bit complicated to explain here so maybe give Phil at eNET Computers a call on 687 362 844 as I know they do this regularly.
     
    Alan from San Pedro asks:
    I regularly use Skype to video chat with my Grandkids back in the UK but the sound through my HP laptop speakers is really tinny and they often tell me to speak up as I “sound like I’m in a baked bean can”. Is this an internet problem and is there a way of improving the sound quality? The video is perfect by the way.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Alan. The built in mic and speakers on most laptops are fairly poor quality so maybe invest in a headphone and mic set for around €20. This will plug into the side somewhere on your laptop where there should be 2 small round sockets next to each other marked with a headphone and mic symbol. Simply plugging them in should set everything up, but if not then go to the Skype audio settings via the ‘tools’ menu and check that the headphones & mic are set as default.

    Susan via email asks:
    Hi, I use an online bank website that now tells me I need Internet Explorer 11 but is it free and compatible with Windows XP Pro? I have searched Google but can’t seem to find a clear solution.
    Aunty Says:
    It isn’t Susan, but maybe try the latest Firefox or Chrome, but I’m pretty sure you will run into problems. Time for a Windows upgrade.
     
    Any questions then email me at auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com. See you all next week.
  • Aunty Virus 4th January

    Susan via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I bought a laptop which is nearly a year old and Has Windows 8. I paid extra to have Norton antivirus installed for 1 year and now have to decide whether to pay €80 to continue with it for another year. Do you think it would be worth the expense or should I subscribe to an alternative, maybe a free, protection system?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Susan. I’m not a big fan of Norton mainly due to the overhead it has on your computer, plus there are a huge number of good freebies available, and as always I recommend sticking with the Windows Defender that comes bundled with Win8. Install the free SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes for spyware protection and you should be fine.

     

    Tim via email asks:
    Hello Aunty, my question can't be a new one to you as it affects every one of us who tries to use a laptop in Spain. We love the sunshine but the onscreen reflections are a problem - and one I haven't solved. Can you? I've seen adverts for a stick-on screen filter device but I'm reluctant to try anything like that till I know more about what it does - particularly if taking it off again damages the screen itself. Any suggestions would be appreciated but I want to know how they do it like they do on the TV and in films and use their laptops out of doors.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Tim. There are few things you can try. When most laptops are used outside they are running on battery and subsequently the power settings in Windows usually dims the screen to save power. In ‘control panel’ ‘power options’ you should be able to change these settings. There should also be a brightness/contrast key sequence on the keyboard which often a blue FN key and a sun symbol. Obviously positioning yourself out of the sun and under the shade of a parasol will help. I know compushade.com used to make a funky fold up laptop shade for around €30 which does a good job but I certainly wouldn’t recommend sticking any kind of filter on a laptop screen.

     

    Fred via email asks:
    Can you advice me on good safe site for downloading movies and DVDs? If not, is there any of your readers that can?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Fred. There are loads of ‘torrent’ sites out there but you access and download from them at you own risk. The legality of downloading copyrighted films and music is as about as complicates as it gets, so make sure you read up on the rules before you begin. The Pirate Bay and isohunt still seem to be very popular websites to find downloads and you’ll need a downloader program such as Utorrent or Bitcomet to manage the files. Make sure your antivirus program is up to date and scan for spyware at least once a week as it can get a bit scary out there.

     

    Any questions then email me at auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com. See you all next week.

  • Aunty Virus 14th December

    Ian via email asks:
    My reasonably new laptop keeps giving me the message “Hmm, we can’t reach this page” whether it’s from a search or my favourites. Refreshing generally works but sometimes it will not. The laptop seems slow at times but I don’t think it is the supplier as my tablet seems to be fine. I cannot see any setting which could be the case but I am no expert, any suggestions?
    Aunty says:
    Hello Ian. The first thing that comes to mind is that you have some kind of malware or virus that may be hogging your internet connection but it is also possible that some Windows updates are downloading and installing in the background. Have you scanned your laptop with antispyware software such as Malwarebytes? There is a new release/update of Win10 that runs automatically but is a huge download followed by a lengthy install. It is fairly safe and runs in the background but it will use a lot of your laptop and internet resources. You can check the state of updates from the “settings” option on the start menu. Let me know the results.

    Terence via email asks:
    Hey Aunty. I run Windows 7 on a Dell laptop. My default Google search engine was google.co.uk however it keeps reverting to an Arabic search of www.google.ae and I keep getting so many adverts in Arabic. I have tried all sorts of cleanup and anti malware scans, but the problem keeps reoccurring. In desperation I deleted the default google.co.uk, but google.ae came back and re-inserted itself. Is someone trying to tell me something? Help please.
    Aunty says:
    Hi Terence. At first glance this has all the symptoms of spyware/malware but as it is a genuine Google search engine that is appearing, all be it the .ae United Arab Emirates one, it seems more likely that this is a location/regional setting that is wrong. If you have used one of the many “watch UK TV” or VPN services then this may be where the problem started. Some of these services are actually located in the UAE so go to this website; www.whatismyipaddress.com and let me know the results. You should also check your Windows and browser settings (Chrome or Firefox etc) via Control Panel and settings.

     

    David via email asks:
    Hi Aunty, I have a problem with my tablet. When I try to open emails & some personal sites, it informs me it “cannot establish a secure connection” which is ok but it doesn't give me option of allowing access, I've tried searching for a solution but all answers seem to concern blocking rather than allowing, hope you can help with this problem as you have in the past, tanks in anticipation.
    Aunty says:
    Hi David. Probably the most common cause for this kind of error message is that the date/time on your tablet is out. The security check between your tablet and some websites relies on a “certificate” being passed back & forth to verify that the website is genuine, kind of like showing some kind of ID. If the date is out on your laptop or tablet then this will invalidate the certificate. Of course it could be a plethora of other problems so let me know how you get on.

    Email me your questions to auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com and I will see you all next week


    Ian via email asks:
    My reasonably new laptop keeps giving me the message “Hmm, we can’t reach this page” whether it’s from a search or my favourites. Refreshing generally works but sometimes it will not. The laptop seems slow at times but I don’t think it is the supplier as my tablet seems to be fine. I cannot see any setting which could be the case but I am no expert, any suggestions?
    Aunty says:
    Hello Ian. The first thing that comes to mind is that you have some kind of malware or virus that may be hogging your internet connection but it is also possible that some Windows updates are downloading and installing in the background. Have you scanned your laptop with antispyware software such as Malwarebytes? There is a new release/update of Win10 that runs automatically but is a huge download followed by a lengthy install. It is fairly safe and runs in the background but it will use a lot of your laptop and internet resources. You can check the state of updates from the “settings” option on the start menu. Let me know the results.

    Terence via email asks:
    Hey Aunty. I run Windows 7 on a Dell laptop. My default Google search engine was google.co.uk however it keeps reverting to an Arabic search of www.google.ae and I keep getting so many adverts in Arabic. I have tried all sorts of cleanup and anti malware scans, but the problem keeps reoccurring. In desperation I deleted the default google.co.uk, but google.ae came back and re-inserted itself. Is someone trying to tell me something? Help please.
    Aunty says:
    Hi Terence. At first glance this has all the symptoms of spyware/malware but as it is a genuine Google search engine that is appearing, all be it the .ae United Arab Emirates one, it seems more likely that this is a location/regional setting that is wrong. If you have used one of the many “watch UK TV” or VPN services then this may be where the problem started. Some of these services are actually located in the UAE so go to this website; www.whatismyipaddress.com and let me know the results. You should also check your Windows and browser settings (Chrome or Firefox etc) via Control Panel and settings.

    David via email asks:
    Hi Aunty, I have a problem with my tablet. When I try to open emails & some personal sites, it informs me it “cannot establish a secure connection” which is ok but it doesn't give me option of allowing access, I've tried searching for a solution but all answers seem to concern blocking rather than allowing, hope you can help with this problem as you have in the past, tanks in anticipation.
    Aunty says:
    Hi David. Probably the most common cause for this kind of error message is that the date/time on your tablet is out. The security check between your tablet and some websites relies on a “certificate” being passed back & forth to verify that the website is genuine, kind of like showing some kind of ID. If the date is out on your laptop or tablet then this will invalidate the certificate. Of course it could be a plethora of other problems so let me know how you get on.

    Email me your questions to
    auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com and I will see you all next week

  • Aunty Virus 8th December

    Peter via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. I am currently using an Epson Stylus SX235w and Windows (The latest one) Can you advise on translating documents from Spanish to English? Would it be better to get a Program (If that’s possible) or can I do it with the current setup? Some of the documents I get are far too big to type in.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Peter. I use the Google Translate (type ‘translate’ into Google) and I find it better than the translator apps as it is constantly being updated and revised. Simply highlight and copy/paste the text into the box and select the language you want. I find translating one sentence at a time gets better results as the grammar can get a bit back-to-front if you try too much in one go .If you prefer to use a program that is installed on to your computer then the Free Language Translator from www.download.com is pretty good.
     
    Liam via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. My Win10 calendar app seems to be American as it displays USA holiday dates. How can I replace it to show only UK or Spanish public holidays? Also my weather and news apps are showing US weather and CNN news.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Liam. The calendar app gets its location information (often called a GeoID) from the Regional and Language options in Control Panel, and similarly the weather and news apps look at these settings. I imagine yours are set to US (the Windows default) and not Spain. You can sometimes change these setting in each app but better still, change your default location to Spain via Control Panel.
     
    Claire from Montesinos asks:
    Dear Aunty. When starting my laptop with Windows Vista it always starts a program called “checkdisk” which is checking my hard disk C: and after about 30 minutes everything seems to work fine once the computer starts so how can I stop this check disk message? I hope you can help me.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Claire. From the description and image you have sent me this sounds like you may have a faulty hard disk which could potentially mean the total loss of all your data. Before you do anything else make sure you have a backup of all your important data such as documents and photos. You will need to take your laptop to an engineer to check the health of your hard disk drive and advise you on the most economical way forward.
     
    Paul from Campoamor asks:
    I have a new laptop with Windows 8 and my old HP with XP seemed and a lot easier to use. I want to write a simple letter to my sister who is in prison in Cuba but I cannot find the program to do so. The shop in town tried to sell me Windows Office but it was stupidly expensive. A work colleague suggested I download OpenOffice which I tried but wouldn’t install. All I really need is to write short, simple letters so can you advise me.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Paul. Microsoft Office is ridiculously expensive but you do have a basic but quite adequate word processor app called Wordpad that is bundled with Win8. You can do most of the common things with this and I sometimes use it for letters etc. If you click on the ‘start’ icon and type wordpad you should see it in the list.
     
    Any questions then email me at auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com. See you all next week.
  • Aunty Virus 24th November

    Annette via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. Every time I turn on my computer I get a message on the screen saying that my license will expire on 29 Nov and to contact my system admin to get a product key. In settings it says that my product key should be on the box that it came in, or by email when I bought Windows, but I have neither of these. Something similar happened a few months ago and I took the computer to a local shop where they installed a new product key but unfortunately they are no longer there, and when I re-entered the number  they gave me it said the key didn't work.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Annette. Welcome to the crazy world that is Microsoft Licensing. This is a strange problem as you shouldn't need to enter a key for Win8 as the activation process is built into the computers circuitry, and for this reason you no longer get a product key or DVD with computers anymore. The Win8.0 to Win8.1 is free, as is the Win8 to Win10 upgrade. If it is asking for any kind of key (or suggests it is going to expire) then Windows hasn't been installed correctly.
     
    June via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. My iPad is constantly bombarding me with a notice "Password Incorrect. Enter a password for the Exchange account "Hotmail". I have entered every password I have ever used but it is never satisfied. What medicine do you suggest? I don't know what it means and also what else it wants. Please help before I need medicine!
    Aunty Says:
    Hello June. This sounds like a problem where your iPad hasn’t properly synced your email account. You will need to shut down the email app by double clicking the home button and bring up task manager and kill all apps. Switch the iPad off by holding down the button for 10 -15 seconds and the problem should be fixed.
     
    Patrick via email asks:
    Dear Aunty. I have just been on holiday for a week and I switched my laptop off before I went. I came back, switched my laptop on and have not been able to connect to the internet since. It is not the internet as my tablet is working fine. I have tried to restore back to before I went away but no joy, can you help?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Patrick. Try switching the router off/on and then switch the laptop on. Sometimes WiFi settings get remembered or forgotten and a restart is required and let me know how you get on
     
    Les via email asks:
    Hi Aunty, I hope you can help solve this mystery. I have Windows 10 but I use an Internet dongle because I move around. Windows will not update automatically as it is counted as metered, but there is no offer of a click for manual update. I contacted Windows but their helper did not know that Windows 10 had changed the Control Panel, and kept referring to the update panel without a means for a manual 'click'. Some forums suggest I simply don't do any updating. Is this a sensible route to take?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Les. There is a manual update option in Win10 which I use so that I can have more control as to when the heavy updates kick in. Click on the start button and got to “Settings” “Update and Security” “Windows Updates” and here you have control over how and when updates are managed. As of mid November there are some huge new Windows 10 updates released so it is definitely worth keeping on top of what is downloading and installing.
     
    That’s all for this week, email me your problems to auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com and I will see what I can do.
  • Aunty Virus 1st December

    Launa from Benidorm asks:
    Dear Aunty. How easy is it to replace or upgrade the speakers and microphone on my Lenovo laptop? I regularly use Skype to chat with my Grand kids in Ireland and Canada but quite often the sound quality isn’t great and the calls frequently get disconnected.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Launa. Very easy with a combined headphone/mic set and you can pickup a fairly good set from Media Markt or Carrefour for under €20. They will plug into the two small inputs on the side/back of your laptop (which should be marked with a small headphone and mic symbol) or for a few Euros more you can get a USB set. Don’t go too cheap as comfort and quality will suffer, and don’t be tempted by the sub €10 Merca Chino ones as I’ve seen these go up in smoke. This will certainly improve the sound quality on your laptop, but if you are getting regularly disconnected or your calls/video breaks up, then you may find you have a slow internet connection. Try using Skype with the video off and see if this improves the quality and also visit www.speedtest.net to check your download and upload speeds.
     
    Joan from Rojales asks:
    I have a problem with my HP laptop as it does not seem to stay on or charge the battery. Some lights come on but they go out almost immediately and nothing appears on the screen. I borrowed another HP mains charger but the same thing happens. The laptop is 3 years old so well outside the warranty and cost will be very important. Thanks in advance for your help.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Joan. This sounds like a fairly serious hardware problem and you will need to have a specialist take a look. Repair costs can vary massively depending on where the problem lies so see if you can get a rough estimate from the technician. You can pickup a new laptop for under €250 (plus around €50 to have everything setup and transferred) so maybe keep that in mind before you agree a price.
     
    Barry via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. I have recently purchased a new Logitech keyboard and my problem is that some symbols (for example the @ symbol is alongside the number 2) are in different places. The new Logitech keyboard has the letter 'n' with the squiggle above and is I suppose a standard Spanish keyboard. How do I make this new keyboard compatible with my PC? I am using Win7.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Barry. You need to press the Win logo key (bottom left of keyboard) and go to “Control Panel” “Change keyboards or other input methods” and click the “Change Keyboards” button and then the “Add” button. From the list expand the “Spanish International” entry then expand the “Keyboard” entry and tick the “Spanish” box. Once you see it listed you can set it as the default from the drop down list and then remove the UK keyboard from the list. To get the @ symbol you will need to hold down the Alt-Gr key before you press the No.2 key. Take your time and if you get stuck maybe give Phil at eNET Computers a call on 687362844 as he can talk you through the process.
     
    Any problems or questions then email me at auntyvirus@costablancapeople.com. See you all next week.

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