Infopackets Reader Marion L. writes: " Dear Dennis, I haven't used my laptop for a few weeks. I went to turn it on today, but it won't turn on at all. I have it plugged in to the wall power outlet, but it still doesn't work. What do I do now? " My ... response: This is a fairly common issue with laptops; oftentimes the laptop won't turn on even if it's plugged into the wall if it's been sitting for a while - in your case, a few weeks. Sometimes, however, something else has gone wrong, and parts of the laptop may be corrupt or not working, or the laptop may have died. I'll explain what you need to ... (view more)
The British government says insurers should have to pay out if a customer's self-driving car crashes, whether or not the human was in control. It's the latest in a series of legal questions raised by the technology. The government has published the ... Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill and will now try to make it law through the country's parliamentary system. If adopted, the rules would mean the government would legally classify cars as self-driving on a model-by-model basis. With any car that fits into this category, the legally-required insurance policy would have to be set up ... (view more)
Chrome browser users have been warned to watch out for a sneaky malware attack. The trick involves a bogus on-screen message that claims the user needs to download a missing font. The people responsible are using hacked websites on the WordPress ... platform to operate the scam. They've altered the page so that the text appears to have been corrupted and is made up largely of symbols such as black diamonds and question marks. The page then displays an on-screen message that's carefully designed to look like a genuine Chrome error message, complete with the correct logos, shapes and even ... (view more)
Controversial file sharing site owner Kim Dotcom has come another step closer to being extradited to the United States. It comes despite a New Zealand court agreeing with one of Dotcom's key arguments against extradition. Dotcom, who changed his ... name from Kim Schmitz, was the man behind one of the biggest alleged piracy websites, "Megaupload." It was a site where users could upload files, either as a form of back-up, or as a way to share files with other people. Not surprisingly, many users found that Megaupload was an excellent way to illegally share copies of copyrighted music ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Teresa P. writes: " Dear Dennis, My computer has been acting terribly slow! I pressed CTRL + ALT + DEL to bring up Task Manager to see what was going on, and I have a task called presentationfontcache.exe that is eating 25% of my ... CPU. This is an older computer, and these days I need all the CPU processing power I can get - and this definitely isn't helping! Can you please tell me how I can disable presentationfontcache.exe in Windows 7? " My response: I have not had this problem before so I asked Teresa if she would like me to look at the issue more closely using my remote ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Sam R. writes: " Dear Dennis, The other day I wanted to connect to my wife's PC using Remote Desktop, but the Remote Desktop settings are missing. I've right clicked 'This PC', then selected Properties, then clicked on the 'Remote ... Desktop' link, but all I see is an option for 'Remote assistance' - there is no option for 'Remote Desktop' as there is on my machine. She is running Windows 10 Home. What gives? " My response: Unfortunately, there is no way to manage the Remote Desktop service using Windows Home versions; you need the "Pro" version of Windows to be able to use ... (view more)
Researchers have found a way to track web users even if they switch web browsers. It could improve security but also weaken online privacy. The researchers at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania were trying to find ways of improving fingerprinting. ... That's a way to attempt to identify an individual user (or at least their computer) without relying on single identifiers such as login details, browser cookies, or an IP address. Instead, fingerprinting involves taking multiple pieces of information provided by a user's browser such as the browser name, it's version, whether they have an ad blocker ... (view more)
IBM's artificial intelligence system Watson is to lend its hand to security. It will help scour millions of reports to try to learn more about current online threats. The Watson system was originally designed to see if a computer could compete on ... Jeopardy!, the show where contestants are given an answer and have to try to figure out the question. It was considered a challenge for computers because, although they can store a lot of information and process it quickly, they don't always have the human ability to decipher meaning and context. In the event, Watson prevailed against two human ... (view more)
Facebook is to make it easier for people to offer practical help after a crisis or natural disaster. It's an update to an existing tool for people to check up on loved ones. When triggered, the "Safety Check" feature will check which Facebook users ... are in the relevant physical area, based on their IP address or the location information on their mobile device. They'll then be asked to choose options of "I'm safe" or "I'm not in the area." Their Facebook friends will then see them listed as safe. The idea is that publicizing somebody as being " ... (view more)
Vizio is to pay $2.2 million in fines after tracking viewing habits on 11 million smart TVs without their owners' knowledge or permission. They then sold the details, including personal information, to advertisers. As part of a settlement, Vizio has ... now agreed to inform customers about the practice and promises to always get their express consent before tracking any viewing. It will also have to delete much of the data it has already collected. Vizio had relied on the idea that customers retained enough control because there was a setting named "Smart Interactivity" that could ... (view more)
A US court has ordered Google to hand over emails that it stores on computers in another country. That's a contrast to a previous ruling involving Microsoft, and highlights the complexity of applying national laws to Internet issues. The case ... involves an FBI search warrant that applies to a criminal suspect. Google had refused to comply with the warrant on two grounds: that there wasn't enough evidence for a seizure to overcome the restrictions placed by the constitution, and that the emails were physically stored outside of the US and thus couldn't be covered by a domestic ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader John R. writes: " Dear Dennis, I'm running Windows 10. For the last week, Windows Update fails every time with this error: 'Critical Update for SQL Server 2016 MSVCRT Prerequisites KB3164398 - Error 0x80070643'. Any idea how to ... fix this? " My response: I have not had this problem before so I asked John if he would like me to connect to his machine using my remote desktop service , and he agreed. The reason for the SQL Server update (KB3164398) failing was an interesting problem, as it was not very obvious. I'll explain more about that further down - for now I'll go through ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Scott W. writes: " Dear Dennis, Dennis, I have not been able to update Google Chrome for about a year. If I click Help -> About, it says it's up to date, but it's not. Sometimes I get an error message that says: 'An error ... occurred while checking for updates: The installer encountered error 106. (error code 7: 0x80040902: 106 -- system level).' I have no idea what that means. I tried uninstalling Chrome but Windows 10 says 'You do not have sufficient access to uninstall Chrome'. What is going on here? I would like to hire you to fix this vexing issue because my business ... (view more)
An artificial intelligence program has beaten professional poker players for the first time. It may sound trivial but marks a major advance in technology that could have practical benefits. Computers beat human experts at chess many years ago, and ... last year a computer beat the world champion at the far more complex board game "Go" for the first time. That was significant because the sheer number of possible moves available in Go means ever the most powerful computer can't assess every possible move. Instead the program had to learn to use human tactics such as heuristics (in ... (view more)
Hackers have forced a hotel to ditch its electronic room key system and return to physical keys. But reports that guests were locked in and out of their room turned out to be overblown. The Seehotel Jaegewirt in Austria has been targeted by at least ... four different attacks on its computer system. The most recent involved the system data being encrypted and the hackers demanding a payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin equivalent to around $1,600. The hotel mentioned the attack in a press release designed to raise awareness and warn other hotels of the need to maintain security. A news agency ... (view more)
A controversial program of warning letters for suspected copyright infringers has been dropped. The organization behind it says it was a successful education program but critics say it failed to have much impact. The "Copyright Alert System" was set ... up by the Center for Copyright Information, made up of the main producers of TV shows, movies and music in the US. It struck a deal in 2013 with the five largest Internet providers to send up to six warnings to customers after the copyright holders made a complaint of alleged infringement. The precise format was up to the Internet firm, ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Ron C. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have several drives on my network that I'd like to defrag, but none of the defrag software programs I've tried allow me to defrag a network drive. Any suggestions on how to defrag a network drive, ... or a program that can provide this functionality? " My response: The reason you can't find a program to defrag a network drive is because this is not possible - the easiest way to explain "why" is that the remote drives are owned by another operating system. Simply put: your system does not have permission to move these files around. With ... (view more)
Facebook is making several changes to its Trending Topics section that, in effect, serves as its news headlines. The changes are designed to make it harder for people to game the system with bogus or intentionally provocative stories. Trending ... Topics is not about the stories that appear in the main news feed. They will continue to be decided by how many of the user's friends post, share or comment on links to the relevant web pages. Instead, Trending Topics is a separate list that appears on the right hand side of the page when users are logged in to the Facebook website. Clicking on the ... (view more)
Microsoft is to launch a simplified all-in-one tool for keeping track of security in Windows 10. It's based around what Microsoft is calling the "five pillars of protection." The new tool will be called the Windows Defender Security Center. As the ... name suggests, it's a mixture of Security Centre (a longstanding menu in Windows) and Windows Defender, Windows 10's built-in security software which replaces the old Microsoft Security Essentials. It's currently in testing among users who have signed up for 'fast ring updates', but will be introduced to the general public via ... (view more)
An independent study found 91 percent of Google searches for physical products brought up a Google product as the top ad result. Google says it plays fair and the practice doesn't mean other companies have to spend more on advertising. The Wall ... Street Journal study wasn't about the search results themselves, but rather the ads that appear on the results page. It took 25 tech hardware products from carbon monoxide detectors to WiFi routers and carried out 1,000 searches for each on a computer, having first blocked its past search history to avoid distortion. On all but two of the ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Tom G. writes: " Dear Dennis, I recently had to reinstall Windows, which also required reinstalling all my programs. Ever since then, whenever I try to access my work's website (which uses a Java applet), I receive an error ... message that says: 'Your security settings have blocked an application with an expired or not-yet-valid certificate from running.' I cannot proceed past that, and am therefore unable to access the website. The Java applet worked fine before I reinstalled Windows, so how can I get past this error? " My response: I had a sneaking suspicion that the website ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Gene R. writes: " Dear Dennis, I installed Windows 10 when it first became available as a free upgrade, back in August 2015. However, since then my PC has been acting very erratic - as such, I have decided I would like to reset ... it. My question is: if I reset Windows 10 what happens? As far as I recall there is a hard drive partition on my system for resetting the PC - will I still get Windows 10 or will I get Windows 7? What does system restore do? " My response: This is a very frequently asked question, though your question in particular deal with three completely separate ... (view more)
Verizon has picked a creative way of making owners of the Galaxy Note 7 return the potentially dangerous handset. It's going to reroute outgoing voice calls and make users speak to its staff instead. It's the latest in a series of attempts to make ... sure all of the handsets are returned to Samsung. The company formally recalled the phone after multiple reports of overheating and even catching fire, something that's widely thought to be related to the battery design. Users Holding Out on Returns An original program asking owners to return the handset and offering a full refund had ... (view more)
Squirrels pose more of a threat to infrastructure than cyber terrorists - or, at least that's what one researcher's project implies. Cris Thomas says he found nearly five million people have been affected by power cuts caused by animals since 2013. ... According to Thomas, that's vastly more damaging than deliberate human actions to disrupt power and communications networks. The surprising claim came at a security conference in Washington and attracted attention given many speeches at such events concentrate on the actions of human hackers, terrorists and state governments in ... (view more)
Facebook is testing tools to make it easier to combat "fake news" posted to the site. It's using Germany as a test bed for the tools, which will include making it harder for scammers to make money from false stories. The term "fake news" came to ... prominence last year and has been applied to all sorts of types of writing, including opinionated pieces and legitimate articles with unintended factual errors. However, what Facebook is targeting is material that has the appearance of legitimate news reporting but is largely completely fictional and designed either to spread ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Bill V. writes: " Dear Dennis, I recently upgraded to Windows 10. Everything worked fine for a few months, but all the sudden my Start Menu stopped working. To fix that issue, I created a new user account and migrated over my data ... to the new account. Everything worked fine after that - however, my Thunderbird spell check won't work. If I go to Tools -> Options -> Composition -> Spelling tab, it has a check mark beside 'Enable spelling as you type', but the 'Language' option is grayed out. How can I fix this? " My response: I have not had this problem before, so I ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Gale S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I read with great interest your series of articles on Mozilla Thunderbird. The last article I read was in regard to Thunderbird: One Inbox, Multiple Email Accounts . Near the end of that article you ... mentioned there would be another editorial piece to explain how to archive emails for offline viewing using Thunderbird. I would personally love to download my Gmail emails to my PC and store them locally. Can you explain how to do that? " My response: I've already written an article on how to do that , though I'd be happy to go over it again in ... (view more)
Major changes to privacy laws in Europe could affect the way websites deliver advertising. The move is meant to protect user privacy, but critics claim it could make ads more annoying and intrusive. The proposed changes would affect websites used by ... people in European Union countries, but the regulatory impact could be so severe that sites find it easier to change their policies worldwide. According to European officials, the changes are designed to take existing rules that affect telecommunications companies and apply them equally to Internet companies. The main principle of the change is ... (view more)
Mobile users on "unlimited" data plans got a double dose of bad news this week. Verizon will be kicking the heaviest data users off the plan, while AT&T's remaining unlimited users face a price hike. Cellphone service providers have largely ... moved away from offering truly unlimited data plans over the past few years. That's partly because of a big increase in how much data mobile customers use, particularly as faster speeds made streaming video more practical. While new unlimited deals are almost non-existent, most providers have continued to allow people to keep existing ... (view more)
Microsoft has started public testing on the next major update for Windows 10. Many of the new features are for the Edge browser, but tweaks to security and usability are also on the way. The changes are now available to members of the Windows ... Insider program that allows users to act as guinea pigs and try out new features and fixes, albeit with the risk that not everything will always work perfectly. It appears the new features will be rolled out to the general in the spring as part of a major update. Initially it appeared that update, codenamed "Creators Update" or "Creative ... (view more)
Infopackets Top Windows 10 FAQs
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How to Fix: Windows 10 Display Shifted; Screen Fuzzy
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to Downgrade from Windows 10
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