Some of the biggest Internet firms say they'll work together to remove images and videos that promote the message of terrorists. The announcement comes in the same week that European officials have criticized companies for failing to live up to a ... promise to tackle hate-based speech online. The agreement involves Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube. They'll build a joint database of images and videos that they have removed from their site after human moderators have flagged them as being either violent imagery produced by terrorists, or imagery specifically designed to recruit ... (view more)
An independent report suggests the spate of Galaxy Note 7 phone explosions was caused by the design of the phone itself. Engineering analysts "Instrumental" say Samsung blundered in its attempts to make the phone as slim as possible. After initial ... reports of the phones catching fire this year, Samsung appeared to believe a particular batch of faulty batteries was to blame and proceeded to recall the affected handsets. When phones that had been replaced in this way continued to explode, Samsung took the costly and embarrassing step of abandoning the handset entirely . While Samsung ... (view more)
Duplicate files are the curse of every computer user - even professional computer technicians have them. While duplicate files are not really something that harms your PC, they do take up disk drive space, slow the PC down (especially when thumbnail ... previews are generated in Windows), and make things very disorganized. So, if you have a large drive - or a couple of them - and store lots of files on your PC, one thing I recommend my clients do is to take some time to manage duplicate files in order to free up space. This not only saves backup space, but also the users' sanity, should they ever ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Fran G. writes: " Dear Dennis, Thanks so much for your recent articles on Mozilla Thunderbird. I have a question regarding Thunderbird as well. Whenever I respond to an email from someone, during the composition I usually press ... Enter twice on the keyboard to start a new paragraph. This happens most of the time. However, if I start a new email and then begin a new paragraph, I only need to press Enter once on the keyboard. This is very inconsistent and confusing! Can you explain why this is and/or explain how to fix it so paragraphs are the same all the time? " My response: ... (view more)
Bogus Android apps have helped hackers seize control of more than a million Google accounts in the past few months according to a security company. The apps have also been posting fake online reviews in the names of victims. The attack involves ... malware that's been dubbed "Gooligan." It's particularly concerning because of the sheer amount of personal data a hacker could theoretically access if they can use somebody's Google accounts, such as their email messages and any files stored on Google Docs and Drive. The malware affects devices running versions 4 and 5 of the ... (view more)
Apple experts warn that spammers are abusing the iPhone's calendar system. They say users should be wary of responding in any way to unexpected "event" invites. The problem appears to affect multiple Apple products, including Mac computers, iPhones ... and iPads. It takes advantage of the way Apple's system lets users create events and then invite friends and family by inputting their email address. The spammers, who appear to be based in China, are using large lists of email addresses to send invitations to non-existent events, usually listed as special offers on consumer goods ... (view more)
Hackers had an unexpected deal for San Francisco passengers on Black Friday: free journeys thanks to a ransomware attack. Officials were forced to suspend charging on the Municipal Railway system after hackers took control of payment computers. ... While the problem has now been fixed, it's not known if officials paid up a reported $73,000 ransom to regain access. The hackers manipulated the computer systems so that screens did not allow customer interaction and instead displayed a message reading "You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted. Contact For Key ( email@example.com )ID:681, Enter. ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Peter F. writes: " Dear Dennis, Thanks so much for your newsletter. I've been a long time subscriber (about 10 years now) and enjoy reading your Windows tips. I took your advice some time ago regarding antivirus software, and have ... been using Avast antivirus (free) ever since. I have never had an issue with it - except for today when Avast popped up with an 'Avast Software Updater' notification in the bottom right hand corner near the clock. I have never seen this notification before. When I clicked on it, Avast opened up with a new window with the title 'Software Updater' ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Bryan M. writes: " Dear Dennis, Thanks for your excellent article on how to disable Thunderbird email attachment reminders ! I have somewhat of a related question. When I leave Thunderbird running in the background and if I'm ... surfing the web or perhaps even writing a document, Thunderbird pops up constantly with a new email notification window in the bottom right of my screen (by the clock), and it stays there for about 5 seconds. I imagine this wouldn't be an issue for most people, however I have multiple email accounts set up with Thunderbird and I receive a lot of emails ... (view more)
Security researchers say hackers could turn people's headphones into a microphone for surreptitious remote listening. However, the method has enough limitations that it shouldn't be a major concern for most users. The method, shown off by ... researchers at Ben Guiron University in Israel, takes advantage of a very simple element of engineering. That is that the process by which a microphone turns speech into an electronic signal is effectively the same as that by which earphones turn a speaker into sound, just with the process reversed. According to the researchers, that's a security ... (view more)
Facebook users have been warned to watch out for bogus links in messages that appear to be from friends. While Facebook appears to be on top of the problem for now, it's an approach that could lead to personal data being siphoned off, or computers ... locked. The problem was highlighted by security researcher Bart Parys who became aware of the problem this weekend after a tip-off from a friend. It involves Facebook messages which appear to consist only of an image but are actually a type of file called SVG (scalable vector graphics). 'YouTube' Video Next Step In Scam Normally such ... (view more)
A British bank is testing ATMs that let customers take out money using their phone rather than a bank card. It says the technology could be safer than using a card because there's less room for hackers to steal details. Withdrawing money without a ... card isn't a completely new idea. One rival bank already allows users to get cash out using a smartphone app that generates a unique code that they can then type in to the phone to get money. The idea is to remove the need to carry a card, for example on a night out. The new system from Barclays would be even quicker to use however, and ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Barb S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I just upgraded to Windows 10 and did not like the default email client, so I decided to give Mozilla Thunderbird a try. So far it is an excellent email program; however, one thing that is driving me ... nuts is the way that Thunderbird constantly pops up with a message 'Found an attachment keyboard: attached' every time I type in 'attached' or 'attach', when composing an email. I would prefer not to be reminded of this every time I type those words. Is there any way to disable the Thunderbird attachment reminder messages, or whatever they're ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Mike B. writes: " Dear Dennis, I just read John Lister's article on ' 700M Android Phones Contain Chinese Spyware ', and I have a related question. I've just bought myself a Windows 10 phone (Lumia 640 XLT LTE). I like it, but am ... unsure what I need to do, if anything, about antivirus / malware protection. I'm a bit paranoid about this stuff and keep my home PC up to date and protected, and backed up. I read in a number of places that it's not necessary to have antivirus / anti-malware software on the Windows Phone. Is this true, or do I need some form of malware protection ... (view more)
A Harvard lecturer has warned Congress that only government regulations can prevent serious consequences from security attacks on the "Internet of Things." Bruce Schneier says there's little market incentive for buyers or sellers to fix a problem, ... should a problem arise. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the growing number of devices that can now be connected to the Internet, making them "smart devices". Rather than just computers and phones, the Internet of Things covers everything from thermostats to cars, often with the Internet connection allowing users remote ... (view more)
Some cheaply made Android phones are reportedly sending copies of text messages to a Chinese source every 72 hours. The official explanation is that international customers have unintentionally received handsets with a "feature" designed for Chinese ... users. A security firm named Kryptowire made the discovery. It found that hidden software preinstalled in phones was contacting a Chinese server every three days and passing on details including contacts lists and call logs. The software also sent back daily updates with the full content of text messages and location data. (Source: ... (view more)
Critics of Google say the search engine's algorithm is giving undue credibility to a website claiming to have final voting figures for the US election. The site, which is given prime position when users search for several election-related terms, ... appears to be unauthoritative and rely on questionable sources. As with any story in this year's US presidential election, its likely to prove partisan responses on both sides. However, this specific scenario is about Google's quality control, rather than political arguments. The issue surrounds the way Google doesn't just produce a ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader John D. writes: " Dear Dennis, I just upgraded to Windows 10 recently. When I click on File Explorer by the Start menu (which brings up This PC or "My Computer" in previous editions of Windows), I now see C and D drive and now a ... drive E which appears to be empty - it is only about 1 gigabyte large. I don't know where this drive came from but I have no use for it and would prefer not to see it. Is there any way to remove this drive letter in file explorer? " My response: Some manufactures will assign partitions on the hard drive for Windows or BIOS recovery or some other ... (view more)
Google is to take harsher actions against sites that it determines house malware or attempt to steal user data. Repeat offenders will effectively be hidden from view from many users for 30 days. The changes are to Google's Safe Browsing feature, ... which vets sites for malicious content. The feature is built into the Chrome browser and made available for other online tools. It's also built-in to all the links from Google search results, regardless of the user's browser. When Google detects a site is potentially harmful, it won't take users directly to the page when they click on ... (view more)
Facebook has denied claims that it allows racial discrimination in advertisements based on houses and jobs. A lawsuit may come down to interpretation of anti-discrimination laws. The lawsuit is filed against Facebook and "up to 9,999" unnamed ... co-defendants, though that appears to be a legal procedural move. It says Facebook has violated both the Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Act. The legal action follows an investigation by "public interest journalism" group ProPublica, which bought an advertisement aimed at house buyers to check out claims of racial bias. Test Ad ... (view more)
One in five people say social media posts have changed their minds on political issues this year. But many of those changes have been to a negative position. The statistic comes from the Pew Research Center, which regularly surveys Internet users on ... their online activities. It found that 20 percent of the social media users it questioned in its latest study said they have changed their minds about a social or political issue because of something they saw on a social media service, while 17 percent said they have changed their minds about a specific candidate. (Source: washingtonpost.com ) In ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader David F. writes: " Dear Dennis, Our company is running Windows Server 2008 Standard edition. One of the things that has been broken for a very long time is the right click context menu. For example, if we login as the ... Administrator on the server and try and right click an icon on the desktop, nothing happens. The right click context menu is also missing on all of our machines connected to the domain. Can you help? " My response: Admittedly I was not sure why this was happening but had a suspicion it was related to a group policy object setting. Group Policy Objects (or GPOs ... (view more)
Facebook has blocked plans by a British insurance company to use customer posts on Facebook to help determine motor premiums. Admiral Insurance claims no customers would have lost out from the policy. The plan was for customers to give the insurer ... automated access to their Facebook posts (but not photographs) to help decide whether to offer discounts. It would have been aimed mainly at young drivers who had no insurance history to show if they were safe or dangerous drivers. Language Could Indicate Risk Factors The precise details of the algorithm to figure out risk are confidential, but it ... (view more)
Microsoft has criticized Google for revealing details of what the search giant has dubbed a "critical" security flaw in Windows. The two companies dispute whether Google gave Microsoft enough time to fix the problem before going public. The ... controversy lies in the fact that Microsoft has yet to release a fix for the problem and has not even said if one exists. The bug applies to 32-bit editions of Windows and allows an unauthorized local privilege escalation. The effect is to undermine a security feature known as " sandboxing ," which is designed so that if a hacker ... (view more)
Internet service providers such as cable companies will no longer be allowed to use or sell personal data about customers without permission. The ban includes details about the sites and apps that a customer uses. It's part of a new set of rules ... issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after a 3-2 vote in favor by commissioners. The rules will be formally published soon, at which point ISPs will have a year to comply, though smaller providers will have a further 12 months after that. Providers will have to tell customers what data they collect, how they use it, and who if ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Pat P. writes: " Dear Dennis, I recently had to rollback Windows 7 because the system appeared to be corrupt. The rollback worked. However, now whenever I try to open MS Office it starts up with a message that it is configuring MS ... Office, then says 'MS Office requires validation'. I chose the option to activate on line (or by phone), but then all I get after that is a message that MS Office could not be activated because the product key is invalid. What do I do now? " My response: I did have this exact same problem a few months back with another user. The scenario was ... (view more)
I've been repairing computers now for over 23 years and for the last few years, I began offering my computer repair service online . One of the most popular repairs I do today is to fix Windows Update; sometimes, however, Windows Update is too far ... corrupt that it requires a complete reinstall of Windows in order to fix the issue. The same can be said in other situations where Windows is too far corrupt that it cannot be repaired even by someone with as much experience as I have . Based on this, users ask me "Why is my Windows corrupt?" and "How can this have happened?" I thought I'd write an ... (view more)
Microsoft has detailed the next major update for Windows 10. Dubbed the "Creators Update," its emphasis is on 3D and virtual reality. While Windows 10 gets regular small updates, it also has the occasional major update. The next of these will come ... sometime next spring. Rather than bring minor tweaks and fixes, these major updates are based around entirely new features to the system. The update includes a revised version of the longstanding Paint app, with the emphasis on 3D. As well as creating 3D designs, users will be able to turn photographs into 3D and edit them. Update Pushing ... (view more)
Experts say toddlers should be allowed limited access to tablets and other gadgets. It reverses previous advice that kids under two be kept away from small screens altogether. The advice comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It now ... recommends 18 months as the minimum age to "use" screen devices, but says children aged five and under should spend a maximum of one hour a day in front of screens. It's not a case of 'anything goes', however. The AAP says young kids should only use screens for specific purposes. These include watching "high quality" ... (view more)
Microsoft has warned that scammers are trying to trick users with a fake "Blue Screen of Death" error message. The idea is to fool users into calling a bogus 1-800 tech support hotline. The Blue Screen of Death is an unofficial name given to a ... particular type of error message which appears when a Windows computer suffers a serious malfunction. In most cases, once the screen appears the only option is to reboot the computer, usually by switching it off with a physical power button or by resetting the machine with a reset button (if it is available). The idea of the screen is to give ... (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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