DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 11, 2017

Schemes, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:49 am

For the past two weeks, we have looked at several of the ways we are being schemed and scammed out of our money. Today we will continue that journey looking at some other devious ways we are being bombarded by online purchases.

  1. Shop with reputable, well-known online retailers.  Do not shop at a site you have never heard of or where you do not have a friend or two who has successfully shopped there before.  In addition, read ALL of the information concerning your purchase in each screen.  Next, print the “receipt” page that is shown at the end of every online transaction, you may need it for returns later.
  2. Check for a little lock-like icon somewhere in your browser’s window (near the URL) when shopping.  Also, verify the URL of the site.  It should start with, “https” since the letter “s” at the end stands for secure.  They both indicate you are on a secure site which is a MUST.  Information submitted here is only readable by the receiver.image
  3. As I have stated last week and many other times, NEVER EVER click a link in an e-mail to order something.  I don’t care how proper the e-mail looks, no matter whom it is from, do not do it.  Always type in the address (URL) of the site you wish to purchase from.
  4. Get an email address to use only for online purchases and nothing else!  Do not give it to friends or relatives, do not sign up for anything else with it, do not post it online in Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard or anywhere else.  Other than online purchases you only use it with Netflix, Amazon, PayPal, your cable provider, etc.  I gave you reasons before so I will not repeat them here.
  5. Whenever possible use PayPal.com to purchase online items.  PayPal is in the business of making safe and secure online transactions and they are good at it.  They have built in security you cannot get on your own.  Google “PayPal security center” to see what they offer to protect you.  You may be surprised.
  6. This one is a pain but it is strongly recommended by me and other nerds.  Open a new account at your current local bank.  Open it with the full intention of never putting more in it than whatever you may spend on an impulse online purchase.  I usually keep about $25-$50 in mine.  It is the one that I connect to my PayPal account.  I only use the debit card connected to that account for any non-PayPal online purchases.  That way if someone hacks it they can never get more than that amount. If I am going to purchase something for more than the amount I have in there I transfer it in from my home checking or savings account.

 

Be safe out there. Unfortunately, not everyone is as nice as you.  Make no mistake – they want your money.

April 5, 2016

Windows 10 Tips, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:48 am

Over the past several months I have received questions from readers asking how to do various things on Windows 10.  Some were quite interesting and some I thought could be useful to other new Windows 10 users.  Since sooner or later I believe we will all be “enjoying” what Windows 10 has to offer I thought I would review a few of them here.  Read last week’s column regarding the coming of W10… ready or not.

One of the things I am often asked is, “Even though the Menu is much better than Windows 8.1 how do I make it more like Windows 7?”

One of the most obvious differences is that the menu in W10 contains many “Live Tiles.”   I do not find them that useful and I have tried.  I feel they give minimal information I usually do not care about and take up a lot of screen space.

Resizing a Live TileYou have a couple of options to change the launch menu.  First, you can resize the live tiles if you wish to keep them but make them smaller.  Right click on the live tile you want to make smaller, then select “resize” and either small, medium, wide or large.  If you really want to get rid of them as I have done, right click on the live tile you want to remove and choose “Unpin from start.”  Easy as that.  You will have to do this to each one you want to remove.

Now you will have a large start menu that is really wide and empty if you remove all the tiles.  You can resize the entire start menu by hovering your mouse pointer at the edge of the menu.  After it is open, you will see a double headed arrow, click and drag to make it narrower or shorter.

If you have decided to keep any of the tiles you can also click them and drag them to different areas on the menu.

I get another common question about not being able to get to applications as quickly as in W7.  I would agree; however, there are a couple of things you can do that will help you out.  First thing is that you can click the start button and then, “All Apps” but you do not have to scroll down the list.  Try typing the name of the application you are looking for and it will usually appear at the top of the list.  If it is not first after you repeat this action a few times it will start rising to the top.

Click a letter to choose apps that start with it

Also, while you are in the all apps area you can click on any of the large letters and a list of all the letters will pop up.  Click the one the application starts with and you will see the app in the list.

One last one which defeats some of what you did in the menu sizing you did earlier, but I like this one.  In all apps find the application you use a lot and want to get to quickly.  Right click on it and choose “Pin to start.”  The application will now appear in the menu area where the live tiles were/are.  You can resize it as you did the other live tiles.

Pin to Start

July 8, 2014

September 17, 2013

Recycle Bin

imageI talked to a young lady recently about how she used her Recycle Bin.  As if you did not know, the Recycle Bin is the trashcan icon on your Windows desktop.  It is usually located on the lower right or upper left corner of the screen.  It displays as empty or full.  When full, whether it has one file in it or one million it will look the same.  

She told me that she uses her recycle bin for storage of files that she may need one day…WHAT? WAIT!  The recycle bin is designed for discarding files, not as a place to keep them.

There are many ways your recycle bin could be emptied. Then you would have no files left.  Consider if your hard drive were to self-destruct and you took it to be repaired. They would not be trying to save your recycle bin but your My Documents folder where all of your files you may one day need should be stored.  I would even unenthusiastically recommend that if you think you may use a file again you should create a folder on your desktop and store those files there.  But your Documents folder is the preferred and safest method for the majority of users.

I also recommend backing up your important documents somewhere.  That way when the inevitable hard drive crash comes you will have the important documents safe somewhere else.  I always recommend Dropbox (bit.ly/use-DropBox — caps count in that URL and if you use this link you get some extra storage).  That is where I keep all of my backups.  With it being free for up to 2 GB of storage most users will be covered.

Another question I get about deleting items from the Recycle Bin revolve around people needing a file they accidentally deleted.  Oops.

Several things dictate what you should try.  The easiest is if your deleted file is still in your Recycle Bin.  Just open your bin by double clicking on it, search for the file, right click on it and choose, "Restore."  It will reappear in the exact location, i.e. folder it was in when you deleted it.  Done.

However, if you have deleted it by using the, "Empty Recycle Bin" command on your bin, you could have problems getting the file back.  You may be in luck if your Recycle Bin has not been emptied for a long period of time.  There is no specific time and it really depends on how often you use your computer.  Basically when you delete a file it really is not deleted from your computer.  The file is marked so that the computer sees it and it is still on the hard drive.  The mark tells the operating system that if it needs that space on the drive to store something else it is available and can be used.  If the file you need has been used, or rewritten, you may be out of luck.

There is a tool I have used to save my life in these situations many times.  You will not know whether or not you can get it back until you try.  The app is called, "Recuva" and it is found online at piriform.com/recuva.  This application is free for the basic model which is probably all you need.

Once you run Recuva your find your file is fully useable.  There are other apps out there like this one, but Recuva has always worked well for me.

October 25, 2011

Windows 7 Taskbar Tricks

Cassie from Winchester wrote and asked me about Windows 7 and how to pin tasks to the taskbar.  She went on to ask about Jump Lists.  I was surprised in that these are very beneficial for Windows 7 users and I had not written about them before.  I remember when W7 first came out and everyone in the world was writing about it.  I decided not to discuss it at length since not many people had it at that time.  Since time has passed I figure many of you are now using W7 and would like some tips. 

First, what is pinning a task?  If you look at the bottom of the W7 screen you will see a Taskbar which is almost identical to the previous versions.  The taskbar has several programs "pinned" to it when you first get your computer such as Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.  You can add or remove any program on your computer to the taskbar as you wish.  

Taskbar Bubble When you hover your mouse over these icons you will get diverse notices at different times.  If the program is not opened you will get a text "bubble" showing the name of the program. 
 
If you hover your mouse pointer over the icons when the program is running (this presupposes the graphics capability of your computer is older) you will get a text bubble.  This bubble shows the name of the file or the website name which is currently open in the program.  If there are several "pages" open in that application you will see a list of the names.  To go to any of them just click the one you want to see and it will open to the top of your screen.  

Thumbnail viewHowever, if you have a newer computer with a better graphics card, you will get a "thumbnail" of the page that is open in the program.  If you have multiple pages open you will see a thumbnail of each one, depending on the program.  As before, click on the one you wish to see.  I currently have three sites open in my browser so I see three thumbnails. 

Next, if you knew about the previous tricks, have you tried right clicking on an opened Taskbar optionsprogram’s icon?  I will use Microsoft Word for my example.  When I right click on the Word icon a "jump list" pops up.  Each program may show a few choices but they are basically the same.  In this example, mine shows Recent, (shows the last documents I have opened in Word)  and three options for that program.  The options are usually the name of the program which will open another "session" of that program, "Unpin {or Pin} this program from taskbar" which will remove (unpin) or add (pin) the program’s icon from the taskbar, (obviously) and "Close window" which allows you to close the program from the taskbar.   

Oops, I just ran out of room.  Next week, we’ll look at how to add programs to the taskbar and talk more about jump lists.

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