021: A scary reminder about backing up (Bonus Midweek Episode)

There’s lots of horror stories in IT, don’t let your story be one of them.

Happy Halloween guys, I thought it was time for a quick midweek reminder.

Computers are fairly cheap, your data is precious. I’ve had way too many sad users that I can’t help, most of whom would have been saved by a good backup. If you do have a backup, have you tested it? Can you actually access and restore current files?

I know an organisation that had been dutifully rotating its
backup drives weekly for five years. Thankfully the admin decided to test the content one day and found that the data on the drive was three years out of date. The copy process had broken down and no one had checked.

Thankfully a disaster was averted in this case. I’ll have a full episode or two on backup soon but between now and then, stop and think
carefully about your data and what would happen if it disappeared.

I’ve personally raked through the ashes of a burnt-out home business and found what I think was the backup drive in beside the computer.

Unfortunately, they were both just a molten mess of metal and plastic.
Don’t let the zombies eat your computer’s brains.

Thanks for watching, please subscribe and leave a comment below with
your computer Horror Story, and have a great day.

020: How to install Software from the Microsoft Store

One thing I forgot to mention on the episode a few weeks back about Installing software is the Microsoft Store.

Sorry about that, I’ve been installing software manually for decades, and it was only later that I was installing something else and realised there is often a better way.

The Microsoft store is a curated and managed selection of Apps that meet a collection of Microsoft Certifications to be sold in their store. It’s not just for paid programs though, there are many great free apps in there as well. The Microsoft store is accessed by the shopping bag icon in the taskbar of windows.

It contains menus at the top for Home, Apps, Games, Devices and Film & TV. We are mainly going to concern ourselves with the first 3: Devices is for Hardware: Surface Tablets, Laptops, Desktops and Xbox consoles and accessories. Film & TV allows you to buy or rent Movies and TV show to watch directly on your computer or push to your TV if you have the correct setup. We will get to episodes about that sort of thing muuuuch later. 🙂

The Home screen is simply a jumping off point to find whatever you might be interested in and highlights new and popular content from the other categories.

The apps section shows some highlighted apps at the top and then bands of collections of software: Best Selling, Top Free, Top Paid, Windows Themes, Apps picked for you, New apps Microsoft love, Creative apps and more and more. It ends with a list of software categories that you can scroll through.

The games section similarly shows highlighted apps then bands Top Paid, New games etc ending a collection of game categories for your browsing pleasure.

While you can get some of the free apps without a Microsoft Account, many of them do require an account. In much the same way as a Google Account, you may already have a Microsoft account if you use Outlook.com, Hotmail.com, Live.com or MSN. If you don’t already have an account there is a relatively simple process to go through to create one. Simply click Microsoft Account and then Create one. You will need to provide an email address, a password and your Country.

Once you are logged in you can simply click “Get” and the app of your choice will be downloaded and installed.

Buying a paid app is as simple as clicking the “Buy” button, confirming your login and selecting a payment method. You can pay from your Credit or Debit Card, Paypal and Possibly even have it charged to your mobile phone. Kids, please make sure you have the permission of an adult before doing this. Some applications can be very expensive!

As well as being safer and easier, the other advantage is that all your Microsoft Store Apps will be upgraded automatically as new versions are released. This can be quite handy, a real time saver and much more secure, as you know you will always have the latest, safest version available. The downside is that some software is available paid in the store that is available free elsewhere, and there is some software that is simply not available in the store at all.

I hope that was really helpful for you. At the Tech Doctor Network, our goal is to guide you each step of the way to help you feel comfortable with your computer. Come back every weekend for new videos and please subscribe.

Leave your questions or comments below. I’m here to help. Thank you so much for watching. Have a great day.

019: Help! Someone knows my password

Help! Someone’s stolen my password.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had several people come to me with a slightly unusual problem. They’ve received an email where someone has sent them their password, and not surprisingly, they’re fairly confused by that.

Here’s a sample of one of the emails.

In it, you can clearly see your password. It’s from some random person. It’s to your email address (or you wouldn’t have received it) but the To: line also
includes your password as does the body of the email.

In the body of the email is some insinuation that you have been
watching porn and that they’ve recorded you doing it. They also claim to have collected all of your contacts from Messenger, Facebook and email and what they’re doing is basically asking you to pay them $5000 so that they won’t release that information to your contacts.

There’s lots of interesting language in this and there’s also a few things where they’ve covered their tracks well. They’ve asked you to pay in Bitcoin which can’t be traced, they also state that they have a special pixel in this email so that they know that you’ve read it, which can be done.

But all in all it’s a complete scam with one caveat. Your password is actually
publicly known. So, how does something like this happen? From time to time websites get hacked the bad guys are out there poking around at websites and sometimes they find a way in and as part of that they occasionally manage to steal a list of usernames and passwords. In this case, this has happened. These lists are often then put up on websites
or sold.

The long and the short of it is they do actually have your email address
and password (or at least “that” password). Hopefully, it’s not your only password. If you’ve watched Episode #012 where I talk about passwords and
LastPass and having different passwords for different websites.

Basically, it’s blackmail. It’s a scam but it’s a great identifier that that password is publicly known and needs to be changed. But there’s a way
you can check. If you go to haveIbeenpwned.com and there you can put in
your email address and it will tell you if that email address is linked to any
known password breaches.

Some enterprising villain has decided to pair the usernames and passwords found and attempt to blackmail you with them. There’s nothing to worry about from them specifically but it is important to change your password on any site that you’ve used that password on.

Basically you can delete and ignore that email but what you can’t ignore is the message that it’s sending, that you need to change your password. Be alert but not alarmed.

Thank you so much for watching The Tech Doctor. We’re here to help you get to know your computer, be comfortable using it and look after it yourself. We release new episodes every weekend, so please come back and subscribe.

Also if you have any questions for, us please leave them in the comments below.

Thank you so much for watching and have a great day

[Outtake] The word pwned comes from a computer game where somebody
accidentally mistyped the word “owned” it became a bit of an internet meme for being owned by someone else.

018: Taking notes with Evernote

Do you have lots of notes all over the place? On sticky notes, in notebooks, scribbled on the back of envelopes or even on napkins? I have a solution that will keep all your notes in the one place, searchable and accessible from wherever you are.

Welcome to Evernote, my note-taking app of choice for the last dozen or so years. Evernote allows me to take notes of all types: text, photo, audio, video, even lists and store and arrange them safely so I can access them on my phone, iPad, work or Home laptop or even just by logging in to the Evernote Web page.

My account has over 22 hundred notes of various types from random thoughts to shopping lists, journal entries, business ideas, and business cards. Next month I’m going to a conference, my ticket with barcode is stored ready in Evernote. As the day draws nearer I’ll add my itinerary for traveling there to make sure I arrive on time.

Evernote is what is known as a freemuim service. There is a free version that does a good portion of what most people want, or, if you want a bit extra, or want to support the company that does such a great job, you can update to the Premium version. There are also business versions available to help with the sharing and collection of notes from multiple people.

To get started with Evernote, simply go to http://techdoctor.com.au/evernote. This link allows me to earn a small referral commision if you chose to purchase so that I can use the money to continue to grow and improve this channel.

Once you have created your account (you can even just use your Google login) you can download the software for Windows or Mac, iOS or Android. For instruction on installing, see episode 015 on Installing software. Evernote is, in fact, the software I used to demonstrate that episode.
Then once you sign in on whatever device, you can create your first note with the big plus button and type away.

Even before you do that, though, you might just want to read through the Welcome to Evernote note that is already created for you when you first log in. It gives you information on capturing ideas, Making To-do lists, Adding reminders, Creating tables, Organising your notes and Sharing your notes.

It also has a bunch of links for further information. There are also notes on The Wonder of Attachments and the joys of Web clipping, which allows you to save a web page for later reference.

017: Viruses, Spyware and Malwarebytes

This week we are talking about Computer Viruses, Spyware, Worms and Rootkits. All the nasty things that can get into your computer and make your life miserable. While all the different names do have specific meanings, the people who really care about those sort of things aren’t watching, So I’m going to bring all these different concepts together under the name of Malware, which is short for Malicious Software, and described on Wikipedia as any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server or computer network.

Not that we want to get Malware, but it is worth knowing how it can get on your computer because prevention is much better than cure. Malware exists for a couple of reasons, programmers showing off and to make money. There is a dark side to the internet, and there are people that are willing to do nasty things just to make a buck.

Most of the ways average people get exposed to malware is by stumbling into some of the darker areas, either by accident or looking for something like illegal software or movie downloads. It is also possible for legitimate sites to either be hacked or accidentally serve bad advertisements that can take you across to the dark side.

As I said, prevention is best, so I always recommend keeping up to date antivirus and antimalware software running on your PC. For Windows, I recommend Kaspersky Internet Security.

The main point of this video though is to introduce you to another great piece of software that acts both as a preventative and as a cleanup tool. That software is called Malwarebytes. If you aren’t ready to buy Malwarebytes straight away, there is a link at the bottom of that page to a 14-day free trial to get you started.

If you aren’t sure how to install the software, I have a video to help you with Installing.

Running it is as simple as double-clicking on the icon and clicking the “Scan now” button. It will check for and install the latest updates and begin to scan your computer. When it’s complete it will either give you the good news that your system is clean or provide you with a list of all the items it has found.

I simply always pick “Select all” and then “Clean”. The system will churn away for a while and either present you with a clean bill of health or request a reboot. If you are asked to reboot, I strongly encourage you to do another scan after the reboot. I’ve known a few cases where you have to peel off layers of malware on particularly badly infected systems.

016: Google Chrome Bookmark Open Pages (Bonus Midweek Episode)

Don’t you wish you could remember all the tabs you had open before the power went out, or windows updated and your computer restarted?

Someone came to me the other day needing help with a wireless issue. To fix the problem, the laptop really needed a restart, but the user was reluctant to restart as they were almost at the end of their Masters Thesis and they had several documents open and dozens and dozens of Chrome tabs open with various research topics. In the end we found another way to get wireless and she promised she would reboot it after she squared everything away on the weekend.

One tip that I was able to share with her was Chrome’s Bookmark all feature. Simply go to the hamburger menu, Bookmarks, Bookmark Open Pages. Chrome will give you a window asking you to create a folder for the bookmarks. I tend to call it the date and some sort of reference and then click Save.

In your bookmarks you will now have a new folder with that name and inside is all the tabs you have open in that window. tabs in other windows are not saved, so if you have multiple windows, you will need to bookmark them too. Really handy if you want to be sure you have all those resources.

It’s worth noting that Chrome will “usually” give you the option to restore all tabs if it is restarted, but it’s safer to be sure. I have noticed there can be some glitchyness with multiple Windows open, especially if there are multiple Chrome accounts with windows open.