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Aunty Virus - free computer help and advice

  • Aunty Virus 20th June 2017

    Peter from Cabo Roig asks:
    Hola Aunty, I’ve just realised that my laptop has Bluetooth already built into it and I’m told I can use this to transfer photos and also backup my phone onto my computer? I discovered I had Bluetooth accidently because I saw a small blue B icon in the bottom corner which I’d never noticed but must have always been there so I clicked on it but how do I start the connection to my phone? I have a Lenovo laptop with Windows 10 and a Samsung phone.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Peter. If you click on the “Start” icon then the “settings” cog and then “devices” you will see “Bluetooth” listed in the left column. When you click on Bluetooth you will see some very self explanatory options where you can pair your laptop and phone ready to do a file transfer. Most modern laptops have a Bluetooth connection built in but if you don’t see the Bluetooth option it’s very easy to add a small USB dongle that will set you back less than €10.

    Ray from Quesada asks:
    Hello Aunty. Since upgrading my Asus laptop to Windows 10 I am frequently getting more & more messages that I am running out of disk space but I just can’t see what it is that’s taking up so much space. Is there an easy way I can see what is using up my hard disk drive so I can begin to do some long overdue housekeeping?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Ray. If you type STORAGE into the search box next to your Start icon and click on the top one in the list you should see a list of your drives, and from here you can investigate each drive. You can use this function to get an idea of what is taking up large amounts of space, and in most cases clearing up temporary files and moving large photos and video folder onto a USB external hard drive will free up loads of space.

    Peter via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. A while back I remember you printing instructions on how to remove annoying adverts from the internet that keep popping up almost every day, some of them are quite rude. This has become almost unbearable in the last month as I have to completely close down Chrome and start again to get rid of them. I have had my laptop serviced by a shop in Villa Martin but if anything it was worse when I got it back and half of my apps had disappeared. The next place for it is the swimming pool so please can you help? I have a Dell Inspiron with Windows 7 Professional
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Peter. The two most important things you need to do is to first scan your computer with an updated version of the free Malwarebytes and then download and install a free plugin called Adblock Plus, both of which you can get from Maybe the shop simply restored your computer back to an earlier Windows restore point which probably wasn’t enough to fix an issue like this.

    Email me your questions to and I’ll see what I can do.

  • Aunty Virus 13th June 2017

    Dave via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I don't know if you've covered this before but thought it was worth passing on. For my Photos I use Google Photos and there is also an app on my phone so I've got all my photos with me as a thumb nail It is 1TB of data free with Gmail account and stores the photos in original quality.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Dave. I think I have commented on this a few times in the past but probably when the service was known as Picasa. For those of you that haven’t used it, Google Photos is simply a free app for your phone, tablet or computer that lets you manage and move as may photos you like and safely store them on the Internet, or “The Cloud” as it’s frequently called. There are also some wonderful features built in to let you play around with your photos. As far as I know it is now unlimited storage, so long as you keep your photos below 16 megapixels, which is twice what my camera will do. I’ve used it for years and cannot imagine how I would manage without it.

    Billy from Catral asks:
    I am thinking of uninstalling Avast from my computer as I think it is slowing everything down. I can't seem to stop it scanning my whole computer every time I start Windows, and surfing the Internet has become very slow. I regularly scan with Malwarebytes so will that be enough? Aunty Says:
    Hi Billy. I used to like Avast but it does seem to have gotten rather bloaty this last year, something I’m seeing a lot of the old free favorites doing. You should keep on scanning with Malwarebytes but you will also need an antivirus program alongside it. When you uninstall Avast the built in Windows Defender should automatically kick in. Defender is pre installed with Win8 and Win10 and was previously known as Microsoft Security Essentials.

    Marion via email asks:
    Hi Aunty, I use Yahoo for my home page and for my emails emails but last week it has started automatically coming up in Spanish. Most of the time I can manage but if I am sending an email the spell checker picks up on almost every word and I have to be careful as it has automatically changed words into Spanish. Can you please tell me if I can force it back to English?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Marion. The easiest way will be to go to as this will force the UK English version, and your mail and most search results will then be the UK ones. If you use sites ending in .com then Windows and your browser (Chrome, Firefox etc) will often use your geo location to determine what language you need, and as we are in Spain this will cause this kind of thing. To tidy things up you can change your default startup/homepage to within the settings of your browser.

    Email me your problems or questions to and I will see you all next week

  • Aunty Virus 6th June 2017

    Dave via email asks:
    Hi Aunty, can you help with my problem please? When I plug my MP3 player into my PC and download music, no matter how many I put on it, it will only play between 20 and 25 songs, even if there are 100 on there. When I check the card  it states that it is a 16GB, and that I have only used about 1%. When I put my wife's memory card in my MP3 player (with about 400 songs on) it will play them all so the MP3 player is ok. I have tried formatting the memory card but it doesn't seem to make any difference. It is driving me mad!! I am sure that it is something simple, but I just can't fathom it out so is there something else that I should be doing?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Dave. You haven’t mentioned what happens if you put your SD card I to your wife’s MP3 player, if she can also only play 20 songs then I’m thinking it’s a faulty SD card. I think the last 16GB SD card I bought for my phone was about €7. There is a program built into Windows called Diskpart that will let you delete the SD card partition (which is the next step up from formatting) but it is a very dangerous tool in the wrong hands so I would avoid it.

    Alison from Gran Alicant asks:
    I have a new Dell laptop with Windows 10 and I’ve started using the built in Cortana search function which I think is brilliant. The problem I am having is that when I speak into Cortana to look for something on the Internet it always brings up Bing and Edge but I’ve always been told Google search and Chrome are the best for surfing the Internet. Is there anyway I can set Cortana to use these instead? I have looked everywhere but I must be overlooking something.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Alison. Because Cortana is a Microsoft product they have set things up so you are pretty much forced into using their search (Bing) and browser (Edge) apps. There are a couple of free add-on tools that can redirect Bing to Google Search and open Chrome instead of Edge, but they are a bit fiddly to configure. I have sent you a link to a website where you can download the two apps and instructions on how to set them up.

    Tracy via email asks:
    I have just bought an HP laptop from my local electronics shop but I can’t get on with the built in mouse touchpad, and as I am a touch typist, the small Spanish keyboard layout is causing me problems. I can have a friend buy a UK keyboard and mouse in England and bring it over but is this something I can setup myself?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Tracy. It is fairly simple. Get a wireless keyboard & mouse set which will come with a small USB dongle that you plug into a free USB port and that’s all there is to it. You will have to go into the Windows Settings and search for “input method” to tell it that you now have a UK keyboard layout.

    Any questions or problems then email me at and I’ll see you all next week.

  • Aunty Virus 28th June

    Josh via email asks:
    Hello, I have read many times your suggestions to run Malwarebytes but when I have run the scan the number of items listed is very long and very daunting! Are there any things I should watch out for?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Josh. Malwarebytes will find things like Spyware and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPS) and it will often find a lot of things which have built up simply by using the internet. I always leave Malwarebytes to get on with its job without even looking at what it has found and I’ve yet to run into any problems after all these years.

    Carol via email asks:
    A few months ago I bought a new Lenovo laptop with Windows 10 and for an extra €45 they changed it to English from Spanish. I have recently seen a notice saying I only have 28 days (and counting) to activate and when I clicked on “activate now” it said something like “enter a valid code number” which I did not have. I took it back to the shop and they said they installed the code and everything was fine but has come up again and when I called into the shop again they said they were waiting for a new DVD to reinstall it and not to worry as it is a problem with Microsoft. It is now 6 weeks later and I am still waiting for a call, but to be honest I am now thinking this is a bit of a fib. They also told me the problem is because the language was changed but I have read in your column that this can be done easily. Could you let me know what I should do?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Carol. Take the laptop back to the shop and ask them nicely to stop messing you about and to re-install the genuine copy of Win 10 that would have come with the laptop. Ask them to enter the code, activate and then validate Windows via the Microsoft website. If they refuse then something is not quite right. Explain politely that you will need to contact Microsoft to ask them what you should do. Those good old days of free ‘trial’ and ‘cracked’ copies of Windows are rapidly fading and laptops haven’t come with any Windows discs or activation codes for a very long time, the activation for Windows 10 is built into the laptop’s electronics. Changing the language is free, not exactly simple, but free.

    Mark via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. I have a slight problem with my Dell laptop which, I have had for 4 years, it has started to show a flashing green light on the front which I think is the battery symbol. It occasionally changes to an orange light, and when it does I get a warning come up that the battery is critical and to plug into the mains supply. I have it plugged in to the wall all the time and switch it off at night but I am worried that I may damage the laptop. Please can you advise what I should do?
    Aunty Says:
    It sounds like it may be time for a new battery Mark, but as you are running your laptop only from the mains then you may as well take your battery out. If you flip your laptop over you should see a spring loaded catch and probably a similar lock that you simply slide and lift the battery out.


    As always email me with your questions at and I’ll see what I can do.

  • Aunty Virus 21st June

    Rose via email asks:
    Dear Aunty. I have a TV satellite dish on my roof but I never get a good reception (especially in bad weather) and I often miss my favourite TV programs. For my internet I use Telecable and I have been told that because my internet is in Spain, I cannot get UK TV through my PC. However I have recently read that VPN could be a solution? and that it is reasonably priced but I would appreciate your opinion on this. I have a brand new HP laptop with Windows 10.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Rose. With VPN (Virtual Private Network) you can receive normally unavailable TV over your Internet (known as streaming) but the very first thing you need to do is to check you have a reasonable line speed (known as bandwith). Go to and email me the results. I’ve noticed getting some good reviews and they offer a free trial.

    Alan via email asks:
    I´m considering a 4G pay as you go internet dongle for my laptop so can you suggest a provider and are they any good?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Alan. I have a Vodafone 4G dongle which I only use very occasionally and it is exceptionally fast and coverage is pretty good here around the Costa Blanca. All the main mobile phone companies now offer a PAYG or contract package, but some critical advice I can give you is to buy one from a provider that has a strong signal in your area (like you would with a mobile phone) but you really won’t know how well it works until you get it home and plug it in. It is actually very easy to turn your 4G phone into a kind of mobile dongle so let me know if you need some advice doing this.

    Pauline via email asks:
    Dear Aunty. I have a new Asus with Windows 10 to replace my beloved 10 year old Sony laptop running Vista and I managed to install the new Skype without too many problems except I am having problems trying to make calls. I have downloaded it from the official Skype website and have got so far as signing in with my Skype name & password (I know this is correct as I use it on my old Sony) and I can also make the call-back test call but frustratingly this is as far as it goes as I cannot see where I can select the Skype names that I want to call
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Pauline. You should in theory see all of your existing contacts either under the contact menu option and/or from the “contact” & “recent” headings on the left. With the latest version of Skype you can simply type in people’s details in the search box on the top left, or better still type in their email address and pick the most likely match and send a request. Once they have accepted they will then appear in your contact list. I usually try to find their email address first as this is guaranteed to be 100% unique.

    Well that’s all for this week. Email me at and I will see what I can do to help you out.

  • Aunty Virus 14th June

    Ben via email asks:
    I have an old but perfectly fine HP laserjet 1000 which worked great with my old faithful Windows Vista tower but now I have a new Samsung laptop with Windows 10 and it doesn’t seem to work. I read in one of your previous articles that there may be no drivers for older printers, but are there any tricks to get it working as it is a very good printer and I am reluctant to bin it?
    Aunty Says:
    From what I can see on their website Ben, HP haven’t released any new drivers for that range of printers since the Vista one back in 2008, that´s 8 years ago! We all know one year for computers equals seven for humans which makes your printer 56 years old so well over due for the bin.

    Joseph from Elche asks:
    Hello Aunty, I wonder if you can help me? My son set up my laptop when he was over in May but a few things have changed.  I have Windows 10 setup for the internet with Microsoft Edge and my son set my start-up homepage to BBC News. But recently every time I go on the Internet I have 2 pages/tabs appear with one saying BBC and the other with an odd message saying “certificate error:navigation”. I also use Google Chrome which works fine and goes straight to the BBC main page.  Why do I get this error with Edge and can it be fixed?
    Aunty Says:
    This should be pretty easy to fix Joseph. There is a setting in Edge (previously known as Internet Explorer) and also in Chrome and Firefox where you can control what page(s) first open when you go on the Internet, commonly referred to as your Homepage. Edge has three dots in the top right corner (Chrome has 3 small bars) where you can go on to access the options and settings screens. Here you should check any entries that mention “tabs” “startup” or “homepage” and make sure that “” is the only entry.

    Peter via email asks:
    Good morning Aunty, here's a silly problem. I cannot connect to the internet using Chrome on my tablet but I can connect using Chrome on my laptop, both using the same wifi connection. This problem started today and using the tablet I get a message saying “Maximum number of open connections reached” Skype works but I get the same message using Firefox and Edge. My laptop works fine on all the above options. Can you please advise?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Peter. I’m not 100% sure what the problem is but I have seen spyware cause this so do a full scan with an updated Malwarebytes. Restart the router if you haven´t already done so as this may clear out some old connections and maybe try your tablet on another WiFi (café or bar). There are some advanced settings within the Tablet’s network configuration but we’ll only cross that daunting bridge if we have to. Let me know how you get on.

    Email your questions to and I will see you all next week

  • Aunty Virus 7th June

    Thomas via email asks:
    I am having problems stopping a website from popping up whenever I go on the internet, it keeps appearing no matter what I am doing and I have to shutdown Chrome to get rid of it (I have attached a picture of my screen) I have also noticed my internet has slowed down and sometimes my computer freezes even if I am just reading the news on a website.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Thomas. From the screen picture you sent me it looks like you have a particularly nasty bit of spyware or virus on your computer. Make sure you have an updated copy of MalwareBytes and then do a full scan of your computer. Also check your antivirus program is up to date and do a full scan with that. The new generation of spyware and root-kit virus are extremely clever and they often stop your antispyware and antivirus programs from working which can often make them almost impossible to remove, so see how you get on and if you run into any problems then let me know.

    Dawn via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I have just upgraded to a HP laptop with Windows 11 but it doesn’t have a pound sterling key!! I’m assuming that is normal for computers bought in Spain. It is only very occasionally I use the £ key and you once mentioned how to use a thing called the “character map” so I was wondering if I could switch the dollar sign that is on my keyboard.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Dawn, I hope that’s a typo error and Microsoft haven’t released Windows 11 without me knowing.  The quick way of getting the Pound key is to hold down the ‘Alt’ key and type 0163 from you number pad (not the numbers along the top row) and I have sent you instructions on how to change the keyboard layout within Windows that will let you make use of the unused dollar key.

    Mel via email asks:
    Hi Aunty, I have been happily using Skype for 3 years mainly for family in the UK without any problems but the last time I attempted to use Skype it would not connect. I have a Toshiba laptop with Windows 10. I have tried uninstalling and then reinstalling the Skype app but with same results. I tried it on my Galaxy tablet but still no joy. It does start to make a connection but then simply stops. I know Microsoft have bought Skype so have they done something that requires updating my system?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Mel. If both your laptop and you tablet are having the same problems then I suspect the issue is either with your Internet provider or your Skype account. Have you tried restarting your router and maybe test Skype on your laptop via an internet cafe connection? Another thing to try is the built-in Skype call test. If you don’t see it on your Skype screen then type the word Echo into the search box and you should get the option to call the free sound/test service. Certainly make sure you have the latest version of Skype and let me know how you get on.


    Any questions then email me at and I’ll see you all next week.

  • Aunty Virus 1st June

    Tina via email asks:

    Hello Aunty. My Toshiba laptop is only 18 months old but it keeps freezing all the time, and sometimes it will completely switch itself off. When I restart it I sometimes get a message that the disk needs to be repaired. It is not that old and I have Windows Vista. Any suggestions?
    Aunty Says:

    Hi Tina. This sounds like either it is overheating or you may have a dying hard disk, so before you do anything else, I would strongly recommend making a copy of any precious photos & documents just in case the laptop completely packs up. The easy fix is to check that all air vents around the sides and underneath are clear from fluff and also run a full scan with your antivirus program. I’m a bit curious that an 18 month old laptop should have Windows Vista as that version of Windows is getting on for 10 years old. Can you send me the make/model and where you purchased it and I will investigate.

    Ken via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. Could you please let me know how to remove MPC from my PC? I have looked in control panel but it does not appear in there.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Ken. MPC is an annoying and troublesome infection so first try Revo Uninstaller and Malwarebytes (both free from but to give you a more detailed solution I will need to know which version of Windows you are using. Let me know how you get on.
    Nick from Torrevieja ask:
    Hi there Aunty. I access the Internet using a Carrefour dongle which gives me a daily maximum of 100MB. This is perfectly adequate for my needs until Microsoft eat it all by downloading some ginormous update. With Windows 7 I was able to arrange things so that I was merely told that updates were available, allowing me to choose the most convenient time to download them (or not) but I cannot find how to do the same thing with Windows 10. Any ideas?
    Aunty Says:
    There is still a way to schedule or totally switch off Windows updates which you’ll find from “Start” “Settings” “Update & Security” and the “Advanced” link at the bottom. There is also a great new feature with Win10 (and 8 I think) that allows you to set your Dongle connection as “metered” which tells Windows to stop using it for its Updates and wait until you are on a faster connection. You can get to this from “Settings” “Network & Internet” and again follow the “Advanced Options” link. It would be a good idea to get this sorted before July Nick as Microsoft have warned us that another HUGE update is on its way, and in a feeble attempt to make Windows Updates seem like fun, they have given it the name “The Anniversary Update”.

    Enid via email asks:
    Hi Aunty I hope you can help me. When I receive my television factura it comes as a PDF file and when I double click to download and open it, a windows pops up asking “open with” and “choose the program you want to use to open the file’ I always choose Adobe Acrobat Reader and everything is fine but how can I stop it asking this every time?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Enid. There should be a box you can tick to ‘always use the selected program’ which will stop the message re-appearing.


    That’s it for another week, email your questions to and I will see what I can do.



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