The Questions and Answers Page

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This page gives answers to computer questions - to find a word press Ctl + F

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This 'page' is actually 40 pages !  I don't expect anyone to read it all!  You can scroll down by pressing the Spacebar. To find a specific word Ctl F and type in the word at the top.

Over the last few years I have had many questions and have sent these answers. Some of the early ones may refer to programs such as Outlook Express that have been replaced. But much still applies, even to Windows 10.  If anyone has further questions - or better answers - please email me at

The Windows Operating System has been developing for 30 years.  Microsoft has attempted to keep even older programs viable but it is difficult.  Eventually they have to disown older versions, which are no longer updated or even kept secure on line.  This now applies to all versions prior to Windows XP.  And even XP is unsupported (and increasingly insecure)  Although there are references to Windows 98, Millennium Edition and XP further down this long page I would urgently recommend anyone using these programs, and are connected to the internet, to upgrade as soon as possible.  It matters little if one is not connected to the internet.  You can still use old Windows machines for some games or word processing, providing you can get the programs and peripherals to work.


If you have any good tips  or if you want to ask a question email me at
Although I will do what I can to help, I give no guarantees and stress that you must take responsibility for changes you make to your computer

Previous Tips of the Weeks....  Beware.  If you print this page it will be a mile long !  Just select a section with the mouse after searching, then Print, Selection

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A good site for free Computer tips is


Have you ever looked at a pair of shoes on one website, and then started seeing adverts for the exact same footwear following you around the web? It’s not a coincidence – it’s because of things called ‘cookies’
Cookies can be really useful, helping websites to remember if you are signed in, for example. But they can also be used to target adverts at you or, in the case of Google and Amazon’s adverts, provide recommendations for new purchases based on past ones.

Read on to discover how to take control of your cookies, so you feel the benefits without sharing more personal data than you’d like. In effect, cookies are small files associating your browsing habits with an ID that’s assigned to your web browsers. They can’t identify you specifically (your name, age and gender, for example), but they can be used to infer some information about your interests and demographic. Many sites use cookies that can do more, such as reporting your browsing habits to online advertising companies. That’s why it’s best to be proactive and take control of cookies yourself.

How to clear cookies

The below steps won’t turn off cookies altogether as that would lead to some sites not working properly – for example, the Which? website would not be able to recognise you as a logged in 
member, forcing you to log in repeatedly. Instead, they will block third ­party cookies only, allowing the functional, typically harmless cookies to operate as normal.
Cookie settings in Google Chrome – Google doesn’t make it easy to find this option in the Chrome web browser. From the Tools menu found by clicking on the three horizontal lines in the
top right hand corner of the browser, click Settings then (right at the bottom) click Show advanced  settings and then the button marked Content settings. Tick the box marked Block third ­party
cookies and site data.

Cookie settings in Internet Explorer – In Internet Explorer, head to Internet Options via the Tools menu. Click on the Privacy tab and there’s a slide bar for altering the level of cookie control, from
allowing anything to blocking everything.
  Cookie settings in Edge (Windows 10) – In Edge, click the three dots in the top right hand corner of the browser.Click Settings, then Choose what to clear and select what you would like to block.

Cookie settings in Firefox – In Firefox, open the Tools menu by clicking on the three horizontal lines in the top right hand corner of the browser, then Options and Privacy. Under History you can
then select Never from the Accept third­party cookies drop down menu. You can set FireFox to delete your cookies each time you close it. Open Firefox and click Tools/Options/Privacy and set Cookies to 'Keep until I close Firefox'..

Cookie settings in Safari – In Safari, go to Preferences, then click on Privacy and select Block cookies: From third parties and advertisers.

Clearing existing cookies

Preventing third­party cookies stops companies from dropping new snooping tools, but there's likely to be a bevy of files already on your computer, which you may want to remove. You can do this through the Settings menu in Internet Explorer and Edge, the Tools drop­down in Google Chrome, the Options and Privacy tabs in Firefox or the History menu in Safari

But note, deleting all cookies may remove pre­filled data fields such as usernames and passwords

End of section on Cookies

Random PC crashes. Check the following :

Frequently I go to download a program and am offered many others that I do not want. This is all about money.  The download site gets a kickback and, if you download a program you didn't want, they are trying to make money, too. This often happens with 'legitimate' browser Ad-ons such as Yahoo, Ask, Babylon, Bing.
If changes have been made to you browser and search engine, the following section deals with how to restore them to their original state, depending on whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome

Restoring your browser’s home page is easy:

Internet Explorer: Click the gear button, click Internet Options, and select the General tab. Change the addresses in the Home page box. e.g.  and click Apply

Mozilla Firefox: Click the Firefox menu button, select Options, select the General tab, and change the address in the Home Page box.

Google Chrome: Click Chrome’s menu button (3 bar top right), select Settings, and check the Show Home button option under appearance. Click the Change option and change the home page. You should also click the Set pages option under On startup and ensure that no additional web pages are set to load at startup. If you are unable to get rid of an add on or unwanted search engine, go to Settings, Show Advanced.  Hidden right at the bottom of this list there is Reset Browser settings .  If clicked this clears all previous tabs, cookies and temporary files and should return your Chrome back to normal !

Changing default search engine

Internet Explorer: Click the gear button, select Manage add-ons, and select the Search Providers category. Choose your preferred search provider from the lit and click the Set as default button at the bottom of the window. You may also want to enable the “Prevent programs from suggesting changes to my default search provider” check box.

Mozilla Firefox: Click the search engine icon in the search box at the top-right corner of the Firefox window. Select your preferred search engine from the list.

Google Chrome: Right-click inside the location bar at the top of the Chrome browser window and select Edit search engines. Mouse over your preferred search engine and select Make default.


To get rid of an obnoxious toolbar or browser extension:

All Browsers: Uninstall in Control Panel: First, open the standard Programs and Features Control Panel and try to uninstall the toolbar like you would any other program. If you’re lucky and the toolbar is somewhat legitimate, it will appear here in the list and you’ll be able to uninstall it normally. If it doesn’t appear in the list, you’ll have to disable it in your browser using the below instructions.

Internet Explorer: Click the gear menu, select Manage add-ons, and select the Toolbars and Extensions category. Locate the toolbar or browser add-on you don’t want to use, click it, and click the Disable button. If you don’t see the add-on in the list, click the Show box and select All add-ons.

Mozilla Firefox: Click the Firefox menu button and select Extensions. Select the add-on you want to disable and click the Disable button.

Google Chrome: Click Chrome’s menu button, select Settings, and select the Extensions category at the left side of the window. Uncheck the Enabled box to the right of any extension you want to disable.


Deleting incorrect email addresses which you entered. Trying to be helpful your email program may enter (autofill) these when you are trying to send someone another email. Inevitably it will find the WRONG address, not the one you want.  And yet when you look in contacts only the correct one appears.  The general advice is to try to clear things like History but I have not found that helps in Gmail, I discovered that the incorrect addresses are kept in a list called Other Contacts. So, click on Gmail, Contacts.  Then at the bottom of the list on the left click 'More'. A long way down that list your will see "Other Contacts".  Click on that.  Rather than take you to the hidden list it says "Go to old contacts" Click this and you will find a different Other Contacts which contains all those silly emails you entered.  They can then be deleted.

Partitioning a hard disk
If you wish to partition a drive (split it into two so you can treat them like you would an extra hard disk) a useful tool can be found at

SFC.EXE.  What is that ?
If you think that the major System Files have become corrupted  and Restoring to a previous date has not helped, you might try to run SFC.  This is Microsoft's System File Checker.  You may not realise that Microsoft has secretly kept a copy of these files on your machine and these can be checked against your current ones and updated where necessary. As usual MS makes it difficult for non techies to do.  So you must follow this serpentine route:

Click Start,Select 'All Programs' Click on 'Accessories', Right click Command Prompt (C:/) 'Run as administrator'  You should see C:\windows32\system. At which point you tap in SFC/scannow  (there at two 'n's) and press Enter.

It should now say it is checking.  Wait for it to finish.
If it finishes with C:\windows32\system type Exit.  You should then return to the normal Windows screen

TIP : USB Sticks/Flash drives or whatever they are called are surprisingly unable to accept files of 4Gb or more. This could be something like a video film you want to keep or transfer to another PC.. The reason is that the 32bit file system most of them use has the 4Gb file size limit.  But you can reformat these drives with the NTFS file system and they can then accept MUCH bigger files.  Not sure how ?  Drop me a line.

Got a virus and can't even start your PC ?  Get onto another PC and have a look at the excellent article by Leo Notenboom HERE  You will see that you can download several bootable anti virus programs, save them to disk then start (and clean) your machine with them

Microsoft now has a Fixit program which will look at problem areas of your computer and attempt to fix them. It certainly brought my sound back with one click !  A fairly big download and installation but worth doing.  Free to all Windows 7, Vista and XP (Service Pack 3) users.  

In a recent exercise it was found that Google searches got the best results when trying to find answers to certain computer problems.  The results looked like this. These a are not links. You would need to search on the words e.g. Type Techspot into your browser for the latest in computer technology.

You can also search the whole of this page by clicking Edit, Search or press Ctrl + F. If you don't find the answer here try one of these sites or the ones mentioned above:  I have long been a fan of Ebuyer and buy most of my hardware from them.  I see they now offer remote support (they take over your PC to solve problems.  Naturally your PC must be able to connect to the net.  You could try them out for 6 month for £45.97.  See

I recommend the help site  Very useful. If you register he will allow you to download a useful PDF on keeping your PC safe on line.

My old friend Loren Barrett in the USA has a new site to help people with computer problems at  Well worth a look. His wife also runs an Embroidery site at She provides machine embroidery of any style you require.

I can recommend Zuumedia as a great company which will fix your computer remotely.  Just see the references from folk  It charges a monthly fee but it will be worth it if you run into trouble.

Website About My Generation has linked up with ISP Plus Net to give an email answer service.  Just click on Another great, free, Training site can be found at  And a friend in the USA has similar sites to mine at Computer Help for People Over 50   Internet Basics for Seniors   and ABC's of Computing has all kinds of free tips about computing

Spyware and Anti-virus Programs (good for beginners)   www.newbieclub.com,,,,, (Pcworld); this last site will give you a health check of your computer, as will McAfee's Clinic (free 2 week trial) www.  specialises in spyware removal. But first, if you still have the old Windows 98, try using the System File Checker (SFC.exe). See Help, (Windows key + F1), Index, System Files, Checking for Errors.  You will probably need your Windows disk and point  the Browse at d:/win98.
  Microsoft problems (most of them) may be resolved by searching the Knowledge Base of their site at

I have also come across a paid-for problem fixer which charges $12.99 per fix.  It is called Fixya and can be found at  They have experts in various fields, which you select.

Set out below is my original Q and A page.  This a roll up of the questions I have been sent and the answers I have found (after research and trying them)

Free help sites you may wish to try (Pcworld) will give you a health check of your computer. (good for beginners),,,  specialises in spyware removal. programs. Microsoft problems (most of them) may be resolved by searching the Knowledge Base of their site at

The following are wide ranging sites offering free help on many subjects :,,,

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