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Aunty Virus - free computer help and advice

  • Aunty Virus 1st Aug 2017

    Frank via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. An annoying problem has appeared on my monitor screen, which is a Packard Bell, approximately 2 years old.  A panel shows at random times, and is independent of any control that I have tried.  The info on the panel ranges from a menu consisting of various items, (e.g. brightness, contrast etc) and usually ends with a configuration adjustment which takes it upon itself to alter my settings. I have not done anything on my computer, (Windows 7 tower) which would cause this annoying screen to appear, and the cursor hides behind this panel, so I cannot delete it. Your valuable advice would be very welcome so many thanks in advance. (P.S.  As I write, the panel has again appeared, but on this occasion, the language has changed from English to what I think is Polish----Help!!!)
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Frank. I had to read this a few times to get a feel of what could be causing something like this and the only thing I can come up with is a faulty mouse button or keyboard. All of the popups you have reported would be triggered and accessible via a right click of the mouse or a few taps on your keyboard. This will be difficult to test unless you have another mouse or keyboard, but maybe trying them in a different USB port may resolve this. As with any strange Windows problems you should do a scan with Malwarebytes and your favorite antivirus program. Let me know how you get on.

    David via email asks:
    Hello Aunry, I wonder if you can help please. I use Firefox (latest version) on Windows 10 (latest updates) and until recently, if I made a spelling mistake in either Hotmail or Gmail, the error was marked either in red or underscored (I can't remember which). About three weeks ago this just stopped and I am sure that I didn't make any changes that might have caused it. I looked in Firefox options and the checkbox to highlight errors is ticked and the language is set to English. I've tried Firefox help which wasn't any help! Spellcheck in Office Word works as normal. I don't know where to turn now as my fingers are slightly bigger than the keys on the keyboard and I do make the occassionall (sic) mistake. Do you have any suggestions please?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello David. This could be a problem with the built in Firefox dictionary installation so go to and Install the English dictionary. If this doesn’t sort things out then maybe install another spellchecker add-on. Go to and type SPELL into the search box and you should get the option to download and install one. 

    Geoff via email asks:
    Dear Aunty, In your last article you mention "free Malwarebytes". I was advised to install the same and had a free period. When this expired I had to pay €39.99 to continue. Have I paid for something which is free?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Geoff. You can have Malwarebytes for free but it is a slightly cut-down version and you will need to manually check your system rather than having the paid version do this automatically. I don’t think €39 is too much for such a great app and I would certainly pay for it if I wasn’t such a penny pincher.

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

  • Aunty Virus 30th August

    Michael via email asks:
    Dear Aunty, I have an ACER laptop with Windows XP and a message “Low Disc Space” continually appears on power up. I follow the disc cleanup procedure but without success, and when I attempt to defrag, another message appears informing me that “there is insufficient disc space to allow defrag”. When I check available disc space there is very little available despite only 6 programs being installed as I have uninstalled and deleted all unnecessary programs and files. Also I cannot uninstall the yahoo browser and replace with Google Chrome. Your advice would be appreciated.
    Aunty Says:
    It’s time for a new computer Michael. Windows XP must be getting near 15 years old now and all the big players (including Microsoft and Google) stopped supporting both XP and Vista years ago. These particular error messages suggest you need to fit a bigger hard disk drive which will then involve a fresh install of XP and this is probably half way to the cost of a decent Win7, Win8.1 or Win10 laptop.

    Lidia via email asks:
    Hey Aunty. I have a newish laptop with Windows 10 and following your help in an earlier article I managed to download and install Google Chrome and set my internet start page to the English search page. This has worked fantastic for a few months but all of a sudden my home page has changed and everything keeps appearing in Spanish and I’m now getting loads of adverts popping up. Every time I change the settings back to Google it somehow reverts back to this annoying shopping page. Help!!!
    Aunty says:
    Hi Lidia. This has all the hallmarks of some spyware/malware so do a full scan with Malwarebytes and your favourite antivirus program and see if that clears the problem. There is some spyware doing the rounds that makes changes to your computer that none of the security apps seem to fix so let me know how it goes and I can send you more detailed instructions should you need them.

    Nathan via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I upgraded to a new laptop which has Windows 10. My old one had Vista and when I printed, a page came up telling me how much ink I had left which was really handy. Since connecting and installing my Epson printer on my new laptop this does not seem to happen.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Nathan. When you first plug a printer into a Windows 10 computer it will look through its own list of printers and install what it thinks is the best software, and although these kind of work, they are often only the very basics to get you going and don’t include the additional functions such as ink level alerts. You need to go to the Epson website and navigate to the support or download section. Type your printer model into the search box and look for the full software package for your printer. Once downloaded and installed you should then see all of the features you had with your Vista laptop. If you don’t see Win10 drivers listed then try the Win8 or Win7 versions.

    Any questions you can email me at and hopefully see you all next week.

  • Aunty Virus 24th August

    John via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I imagine you get loads of questions about virus protection but please help me out. I purchased a new Acer laptop with windows 10 and it came with a trial version of McAfee antivirus preinstalled. The trial has finished so I tried to install AVG Internet security but it keeps coming up with error messages which I’m guessing is because MacAfee is still installed. Do I need to uninstall Macafee and is AVG the best alternative at the moment? Thanks in advance for all of your help over the years, you have made looking after my computer so much easier.
    Aunty Says:
    Thanks John. Yes I have covered this before but I often get asked the same question so no problemo. I still maintain that Windows Defender (the built in free antivirus app that comes bundled with Windows 8 and 10) coupled with the free Malwarebytes will suffice. Remember to do a fortnightly update and scan and you’ll be fine. To uninstall the trial versions of McAfee go to “Settings” “System” “Apps & features” where you should see McAfee in the list.

    Marcia via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. I keep getting told by certain friends that they have definitely 100% sent me emails but I have not received them. I have also sent emails that they say were not received. What could be going on? Can emails simply disappear?
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Marcia. Emails can and do disappear between the sender and recipient, and most of the time it is because they have been blocked or dumped by one of the many firewalls or  spam checkpoints along the way. I notice you are using an old Spanish email address which was notoriously iffy, so I suggest changing over to something like Google’s Gmail or Yahoo. Make sure your antivirus and antispyware programs are all up to date and keep your system clean.

    John via email asks:
    Hi Aunty. I have always used Ccleaner and have had no problems but recently when I run the Registry Tool I am seeing a lot more things listed that I should remove. I’m not sure if I should delete all of the items found as a lot of them are called MUI files & unused file extensions.
    Aunty Says:
    Personally I recommend avoiding any cleanup apps that want to make changes to the Windows registry.  The Windows registry is a massively complex delicate database that stores absolutely everything Windows needs to be able to load and run properly.  The MUI files you are finding are harmless and take up very little room so best leave them be. Certainly let Ccleaner clear any temp files if it finds any.

    Vic from Benidorm asks:
    I am having problems stopping a Spanish website from popping up every time I go on the Internet, it keeps appearing whatever I am doing and I have to close Chrome to get rid of it. I have also noticed that Chrome has gotten very slow and has lately started freezing at totally random times.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Vic. From the full description you emailed me it looks like you have some nasty spyware, or possibly a root-kit 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 favourite antivirus program is up to date and do a full scan with that.

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

  • Aunty Virus 9th August

    Melanie via email asks:
    Hello Aunty, I  received an email from a good friend of mine saying they were stuck in Florida and had been robbed of their purse and passport and that the British Embassy would not help so could we wire some money? I immediately sussed it was a scam as my friend wasn’t in Florida as he was sitting right next to me and he’s an ex paratrooper that doesn’t carry a purse! It looks like this same email has gone out to about 50 of his friends and in the end he was advised to change his email address to Gmail as Hotmail was more often targeted by criminals.  I also have a Hotmail email address so should I change over before this happens to me? I have Windows Vista and use Avast so is this adequate security?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Melanie. I don´t know if Microsoft’s Hotmail is technically any more vulnerable than Google’s Gmail but the spammers and hackers do seem to favour Hotmail and Outlook. I personally think Gmail has far better spam protection and it is certainly easier to fix if you run into any problems. Avast is OK but you should also install, and regularly scan, with the free Malwarebytes. I would also suggest finding a way to upgrade from Windows Vista  (even if it means a new computer) as Vista is slowly following XP to the knackers yard.

    Stan via email asks:
    Hello Aunty.  Every week on our Urb just outside Dolores our electricity cuts out for about a second. The last time it did this, when I switched my PC back on it showed a message "Windows failed to start”  and gives me a couple of options (picture attached) neither of which work. I have been planning on treating myself to a new laptop but I was hoping to get all of my photos from my PC. Is there an easy fix for this? I’m not a complete novice with computers but I hate to make things any worse and lose all of my photos.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Stan.  This looks like some of your Windows system files have been damaged. I can see you are running Windows 7 so you may be lucky as the good old ‘Safe Mode’ option is still available. Just as you switch on your PC, continually tap the F8 key and you should see an option to go into Safe Mode. This will load a chunky looking and cut down version of Windows that will often auto repair itself and you should also be able to copy your photos to a USB stick. Let me know how you get on.

    Mary from Orihuela asks:
    Hi Aunty, I read an article a while back about internet speeds so had a look on but I'm not sure I understand the results. My download speed was 4.44Mb and the upload speed was 0.71Mb. Firstly what is the difference between upload and download speeds and should they be so far apart?
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Mary. The download speed is the speed you are able to read data from the Internet, i.e. loading webpages, opening emails or watching TV or videos and 4.44Mb per second is low but sadly average for Spain. The upload speed is the speed you can transfer data onto the Internet and 0.71 is a bit low, but again is quite normal for Spain.  A low upload speed may cause problems when you are using a webcam during Skype etc.


    That’s it for this week, email me any questions to and I will see what I can do.

  • Aunty Virus 25th August 2014

    Margaret via email asks:
    Hello aunty. I have a Samsung Galaxy tablet and for the past few days for no reason on the top left hand corner of the screen I have had a small memory card showing and not being a computer boffin I have no idea what to do but I am panicking because most of my photo albums in QuickPic have disappeared. I will be devastated if I have lost my pictures. Hope you can help.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Margaret. Have you checked the memory card is seated correctly? I’m pretty sure that it is on the left side of the Tab2 and you can pop it out and back in and see if that helps. Is there an additional symbol on the memory card icon, maybe indicating that it is full or damaged? I do know that eNET Computers have a very good track record with data recovery, even from old cameras and USB drives so if all else fails maybe give them a call.


    Lisa via email asks:
    Dear Aunty, I setup a new Gmail account a few months back. Could you please advise me how to get Outlook to import and export the new account settings, mail and contacts? Hope you are able to help.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Lisa. This can be a very complex task and it would certainly take much too long to cover here, but I have covered this in the past and there was something put up on the ‘How do I?’ page. Maybe also try the in-depth collection of helpful material at where you will find a huge section on POP3 and email client software, good luck and let me know how you get on.


    Sam via email asks:
    Hello aunty, I have Win8 and I downloaded the latest Skype but now when I start Skype it logs into my user account automatically but 3 of us use the same laptop so I want to be able to login manually. I can't seem to open their accounts anymore as it is always my Skype that opens.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Sam.  Skype has a “sign me in when Skype Starts” tick box on the opening screen that will let you change how it starts and you will need to sign out to get to the login screen. Another setting that I always modify is the “Start Skype when I Start Windows” setting which you will find under the ‘tools’ ‘options’ menu, this allows you to start Skype only as and when you want to.

    Well that about wraps it up for another week. Email me with your questions at  and I’ll see what I can do.

  • Aunty Virus 18th August 2014

    Sam via email asks:
    Over the years I have made several mistakes entering account details, how do I delete these mistakes?  Cheers in advance.
    Aunty Says:
    Hi Sam. It does depend on exactly where and what these account details are. If these are login names for things like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo (sometimes your email address) you can usually get rid of them by hovering the cursor arrow over the unwanted one and pressing the Del key (Supr on a Spanish keyboard). If theses login names are ones that you use for websites, such as banking or Facebook etc. then you may need to do a flush-out using your browser’s built in function. In Firefox it is via ‘tools’  ‘options’ ‘security’ and the ‘saved passwords’ button. It is a bit different with Chrome and Internet Explorer but you will find it with a bit of experimenting. Make sure you know the login name and passwords for all of your various accounts as the flush-out will clear them all. Let me know if this does the trick.

    Frank via email asks:
    Hello Aunty. Although I now live in the UK I still enjoy your column. My problem is that I now have a laptop running Win7 but the version of Coreldraw I have worked perfectly well on XP will not load on Win7. I believe there is a way of telling Win7 to run in XP mode, but I don't know how to access this.
    Aunty Says:
    There are a couple of ways to trick ‘legacy’ apps to install and work Frank, but you may find the program will misbehave and in the long run you will be far better off getting the proper Win7 version. Before installing the program you need to right-click on the Coreldraw setup file and choose ‘properties’ ‘compatibility’ and tick the box ‘Run this program in compatibility mode’. Once installed you run the program by following the same procedure, but this time right=click on the Coreldraw icon on the desktop.
    Mark via email asks:
    Hi Aunty, I am having lots of trouble connecting to Sometimes it works but most of the time says “this page cannot be displayed”. I have no problem using Google as a search engine, but I use yahoo email and prefer the Yahoo search engine. I have run endless virus scans and Spybot and everything I can think of. I have deleted all of the cache and internet history and run scan disk. Sometimes it works for a bit then the trouble starts again.
    Aunty Says:
    Hello Mark. You have done the main things that I would suggest, which is to scan for nasties and clear out any temp internet files, have you restarted you router recently as this will also clear out old network info? Another thing is to try and figure out if it is a browser specific problem. I have Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer and I often jump from one t’other to test if a particular website behaves differently. I have found Google’s Gmail, Google Maps and Picasa seem to run faster with Chrome, whereas I have noticed Microsoft’s stuff such as Hotmail and Skype doesn’t seem to play up so much if I use their Internet Explorer.

    Email me with your questions and problems at and I will see what I can do.


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