Welcome to the Computer Techs Computer / Internet Tips & News blog. This purpose of this site is meant to provide a service to our valued customers, by keeping you informed with the latest news and tips related to your computer and the internet. Consider using the search box on the left side of the website to help you find a specific topic or article, or scroll through articles below to learn something new.


If you’re happy with our service, please consider recommending Computer Techs to a friend or relative. If we service their computer, you get $25 Off your next service call.

The details: Please have your friend or relative mention your name during the appointment, or after the appointment contact Mark Cobb with the name of the person that you recommended/referred. The referred person must be a new Computer Techs customer and not reside in the same household as the referrer.


Spend a few minutes to check out these scams so that you don’t become a victim

Filed under: Security - May 05 2021

Scammers are becoming increasingly clever. Every month we hear from clients who have been scammed by letting someone take control of their computer and coerce them into paying for support for non-existent computer or account-related problems. With a little bit of knowledge of how these scams work, you won’t become a victim yourself.

Scams typically start with a website pop-up, email, phone call or text message from a well-known company such as Amazon, Windows/Microsoft, Apple, or Netflix. You are notified about a large purchase that has been or will be charged to your account – or there’s a problem with your account or device/computer. You’re told to call, click a link or talk to a fraud/account representative to confirm the purchase or account information. No matter how legitimate it sounds – It’s a scam! Read on about some of the most common scams we’ve encountered recently:

  • “Someone just charged an item to your Amazon account. I’m calling to confirm the purchase or refund your money.”
  • “This is the FBI and we’ve detected pornographic images on your computer. You must pay a fine right away!”
  • “This is your friend Bob. Can you please buy a gift card for me so I can give to my niece – I’ll pay you back.”
  • “Grandma, this is your grandson – I’m in trouble and you need to bail me out. Please don’t tell mom!”
  • “Your credit card number has expired. I’m calling to get your new number or your service will be cancelled right away!”
  • “I’ve hacked into your email account – I can prove it because your password is xxxxxx. I’ve got embarrassing pictures of you that I captured with your webcam. If you don’t pay up, I’ll release the the pictures to all of your contacts.”
  • “Your computer protection has expired. If you don’t call right away we’re charging $399 to your account to renew the protection.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Ignore the pop-up, email, call or SMS. If you answer an unexpected phone call, don’t answer or engage with the scammer – hang up. Most likely there is no problem at all. Unfortunately you can’t trust unknown or unsolicited callers to be who they say they are, nor can you trust the name or number on Caller ID – scammers frequently used forged numbers. Never, ever allow someone you don’t know coerce you into letting them view your computer screen or allow remote access. You wouldn’t allow someone knocking on your door to come in – the same should be true for an unsolicited phone call or message.

If in doubt, log into your account normally (not via a link in an email or telephone number provided in a recording) to check for any unrecognized activity. Or you can call the company using the phone number listed on their official website, or printed on a card you have from the company.

If you’ve already gone too far and realize that you’ve engaged in a conversation with a scammer – below are some examples of how you can quickly get out of the situation.

  • “My attorney/caregiver handles all of my affairs. Contact him/her.”
  • “Send me an official correspondence in the mail – you should already have my mailing address.”

Often times scammers tell you that you must act fast – so that you don’t have time to think about it, contact a trusted tech-savvy friend, family member or computer technician. Stick to your better judgement, remain in control of the conversation – or just hang up.

If you’ve already been scammed, contact us for a thorough computer security check so that we can determine when it’s safe to use your computer.

Learn more:

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Yahoo stops forwarding email for free email accounts

Filed under: Computing Tips,Uncategorized - Jan 15 2021

If you have a free Yahoo or AT&T/Yahoo email account and use the forwarding feature to send your email to another email address (i.e. username@gmail.com), you may have noticed that forwarding stopped in January 2021.

As Yahoo’s help article explains, you can upgrade and pay for the ability to forward your email again. Alternatively you can use a feature in Gmail and other email services to check emails from Yahoo (or other) accounts and bring them into your favorite email service automatically.

Also see: Why you should ditch your internet service provider’s email service.

Give the gift of computer help or service

Filed under: Tech Support - Apr 01 2020

Are you looking for the perfect gift for someone who needs computer help or service? Consider giving the gift of computer help or service with the purchase of a Computer Techs eGift Card. eGift Cards can be used towards payment of remote support or on-site services. Click the link picture below for more details, or to purchase now.

Computer Techs News Feed Stream on Facebook

Why you need to stop using Internet Explorer

Filed under: Computing Tips,Security - Nov 27 2017

Internet Explorer is the web browser that Microsoft included with the Windows operating system through Windows 8.1. Beginning with Windows 10, Microsoft Edge is the new browser that’s included with the operating system and is continually being optimized with performance, feature and security updates. That leaves Internet Explorer 11 – released in late-2013 – as the last major version of Internet Explorer.

With other browsers being continually updated – such as Edge version 41, Firefox version 57 and Chrome version 62 (as of November 2017) , some websites have stopped supporting the use of Internet Explorer. One of those websites is Yahoo – which includes the popular Yahoo web portal, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance.

An advantage of using a newer browser such as Chrome includes faster web browsing, improved security and upcoming features that will help stop fake warning messages that are often caused by webpage redirects and misleading advertisements.

If you need help switching away from Internet Explorer and transferring your Favorites and settings to a new web browser, please contact us.

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Top 5 password tips that you need to know

Filed under: Computing Tips,Security - Nov 23 2017
  1. Is your email account easy to access by hackers? Click here to learn more and find out.
  2. Learn why your most important password is the one that secures your email
  3. Take a few moments to create a password system that’s secure and memorable. It’s not difficult.
  4. Even though you may have a password system, you still should keep a record of your passwords. Some people put their passwords in a notebook, Rolodex, on their mobile device or online password manager. Which is the best option for you?
    How to safely manage your passwords
  5. Use an additional step to secure your email and other sensitive online accounts:
    Secure your email account with 2-step verification

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Keep your computer secure and up-to-date with our Computer Maintenance Plan

Filed under: Tech Support - Jun 01 2017

Updated June 2020:

Over the years many of our clients have asked for a way to keep their computers secure and up-to-date, and not have to worry about the seemingly constant barrage of updates. With websites getting hacked on a daily basis, and the increasing chance of your personal information being compromised, it’s more important than ever to keep your computer up-to-date and maintained.

With the Computer Techs Maintenance Plan, we will maintain, update and check the security on your computer on a convenient quarterly schedule. Service will be performed via a Remote Support session which takes about an hour. Services include:

  • Install security updates for browser add-ons, program updates, available router updates, critical computer firmware and Windows updates
  • Remove adware/toolbars/homepage hijackers
  • Remove or disable unused or unnecessary apps that cause security or performance issues
  • Check internet connection settings and remove any malicious scripts, DNS or proxy settings
  • Malware scan
  • Check hard drive health and used space
  • Check back-up and restore settings
  • Defragment hard drive files
  • Check browser settings and remove unnecessary extensions
  • Delete unnecessary temporary, log and update cache files to free up drive space
  • Check Wi-Fi settings and adjust if interference or performance issues exist
  • Apply computer manufacturer’s urgent and recommended software and hardware updates if needed
  • Check for print jobs stuck in the queue
  • Check for frequent app crashes or system “blue screen” errors that could lead to more serious problems

Additional benefits of being on our quarterly Computer Maintenance Plan include:

  • Priority callbacks and email replies with simple or easy-to-resolve issues or questions under 5 minutes at no charge.

When you sign up for the Computer Techs Computer Maintenance Plan, you’ll get all of the services above for less than the price of a house call – quarterly remote service for one computer is just $80 payable at the time of each quarterly service. Additional computers maintained during the same appointment time are just $20 each. Semi-annual remote appointments are also available for $89 and $30 for additional computers. On-site service is also available at regular hourly rates. To sign-up for your initial quarterly remote service, schedule your appointment – or contact us for semi-annual and/or on-site service.

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Learn how to spot scams that pop-up on your screen – and how to close your browser

Filed under: Security - Mar 20 2017

Updated March 2017:

Please Print This Article Print This Article this article for future reference on how to close a fake warning web page if it locks your browser.

The screenshots in this article all have one thing in common. They are all trying to convince you that there are problems with your computer or device, and that you need to call the number displayed in order to fix the problems. However, if you call the number you will be connected to a scammer who will use scare tactics to convince you that there are more serious problems with your computer, and that paying several hundred dollars for them to “fix” the problems is your only recourse. This scam has tricked thousands of people into paying millions of dollars for non-existent problems.

Never respond to a pop-up on your computer or smartphone screen that urges you to call a number for help. If the Window will not close normally by clicking the red “X” on the upper-right corner of the window, try the one of the following in 3 suggestions (listed in order of difficulty):

1. If present, at the bottom of the front window click the checkbox to “Don’t let this page create more messages” or “Prevent this page from creating additional dialogs” then press “OK”. You should then be able to close your browser normally using the red “X”.

2. Turn off or restart your computer using your normal method via the Start button icon on the bottom left taskbar, then Shut down or Restart. If the fake warning website covers your full screen where you cannot see the Start button icon, press the Windows key (  or  located near the bottom left corner of your keyboard) which should bring the Start menu to the foreground.

3. If neither of the above methods work, press and HOLD the power button on your computer until it turns off.

After turning your computer back on and/or opening your browser, don’t go back to the website or email that you had visited immediately prior to seeing the pop-up.

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Why you should ditch your internet provider’s email – and how we can help

Filed under: Security,Tech Support - Oct 26 2016

Updated May 2020:

Over the years we’ve written various articles about AT&T/Yahoo email being plagued by account security issues, bothersome ads in their webmail interface, forced password resets, spam messages sent to user’s contacts and more. The revelation that over 500 million Yahoo accounts have been compromised in recent years leads us to once again advise people to stop using AT&T/Yahoo Mail, and switch to using a more secure and reliable email provider such as Gmail.

If your email address ends in @att.net, @sbcglobal.net, @nvbell.net, or @prodigy.net, the advice above includes you – since Yahoo provides the email and web content services for AT&T Internet customers. We’ve had several customers over the years permanently lose access to their AT&T/Yahoo email due to the lack of security of the service.

In May 2020 AT&T once again changed their login procedure, and began blocking use of the website if you use an ad blocker.

An important security option for online accounts is 2-step verification – neither AT&T/Yahoo or Charter/Spectrum email accounts offer the option. Therefore we recommend that you ditch your internet provider’s email service and switch to Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Outlook Mail.

If you’ve got an Android smartphone, you should already have a Gmail address associated with the Google account required for your phone. If you don’t already have Gmail, it’s easy to get a free address and setup your account – and we can help.

Switching email providers can be a hassle. But we can setup the initial change for you, and give follow-up guidance on how to systematically inform business correspondence of the change over time. We’ve got a step-by-step procedure that includes (but not limited to):

Discontinuing AT&T/Yahoo email:

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What to do if your email has been hacked

Filed under: Computing Tips,Security - Feb 14 2013

Updated 8/29/2016:

Over the years many clients have reported to us that their Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL email account has been hacked. They first notice the problem when they are alerted by their email contacts claiming that they are receiving spam emails with links to prescription drug or work-at-home websites, or a plea for money after losing their passport while traveling overseas.

When attempting to login to their email some will discover that their password has been changed and they are unable to access their account. Others have reported some or all of the following changes:

  • All contacts have been deleted
  • “Reply-to” address changed
  • All email being forwarded to a different address
  • Email signature added or changed
  • The language changed to Spanish or Arabic

If your Yahoo or AT&T/Yahoo account has been compromised, below are some helpful links:

If you cannot access your email account you can call Yahoo at 866-562-7219 or AT&T at 877-722-3755.

To help prevent future hacking of your email account you need to change your email password to something that is secure and different from any other password. See How to protect your internet accounts from being hacked.

If you need professional help with getting your email account back and everything fixed, give us a call.

Also see: How to change your email password

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Happy with our service? Write a review or tell your friends and get $25 off your next service call

Filed under: Tech Support - Jul 05 2010

If you’re happy with our service, please let others know by recommending us to your friends and family, and/or by writing a review about our service. If you personally recommend us to a friend or relative and we help them, you get $25 off your next service call.

Why trust someone who “knows” computers and works on them in their spare time? Why trust someone who you called from a pop-up ad on your computer? You shouldn’t! Computer Techs is a local business that works with computers and related devices on a daily basis and has been doing so since 2003. When you need help with your computing devices, you can trust Computer Techs to be there when you need us, and stand behind our service.

When people search for Computer Support or Repair Services on the internet, they often search Google, YellowPages.com or Yahoo Local. Please consider letting others know about our service by posting a review at one or more of the following web sites:

Google Review

Facebook

Yelp

YellowPages.com User Review

Angie’s List

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How Did My Password End Up in a Data Breach?

Filed under: Security - Jan 14 2022
How Did My Password End Up in a Data Breach?

Most of us will have experienced a data breach at one point or another. Maybe you’ve received an email from LifeLock telling you that one of your passwords has been compromised. Or you’ve logged into an app on your iPhone and received a warning that your password has appeared in a data breach.

It can be worrying to receive these notifications. You’ll likely wonder how your password ended up in a breach and why. More importantly, you’ll want to know how you can fix the issue as quickly as possible. 

Below, we’ll explore how data breaches happen and how you can best protect yourself in the event of a worst-case scenario. 

How Data Breaches Occur

According to research, there are over 15 billion stolen passwords on the Dark Web. The Dark Web is like the criminal underworld of the internet. It’s where criminals go to buy illegal things like drugs and weapons. It’s also where cybercriminals purchase malware and stolen sensitive data – information like passwords, emails and even financial records. 

So, how does this information end up on the Dark Web in the first place? Well, in today’s digital world, data breaches have unfortunately become commonplace. Even though many businesses do their best to protect customer data, it takes just one error or mishap to let a cybercriminal into their systems.

When this happens, cybercriminals tend to steal the most lucrative thing they can: sensitive, personal data. Data has its own currency today. Criminals mainly use this data to commit fraud and con people – and companies – out of money. 

What Does a Stolen Password Notification Mean?

When you receive a stolen password notification, this means that one of your logins has shown up on the Dark Web. One of the companies you have an account with was likely breached. Sometimes, an organization will alert you to a data breach via email or text. However, occasionally, cybercriminals are able to steal data without an organization being any the wiser – which is why it’s good to use solutions like LifeLock. 

Another way to check if your data is for sale on the Dark Web is to use the website Have I Been Pwned. Simply type your email address into the website, and it will let you know if your details have appeared in a data breach. 

What Should I Do If My Password Has Appeared on the Dark Web? 

Depending on the type of account that has been compromised, there are a few things that you should do. First, change your password for the account as quickly as possible. Second, log in to your financial accounts and check that everything is as it should be. 

If anything looks suspicious, then get in touch with your bank immediately. Even if nothing seems out of the ordinary, we recommend keeping an eye on your account for a few days after the breach notification. 

These steps will help to reduce the immediate impact of a data breach. There are also other things you can do that will help to prevent disruption from future data breaches: 

  • Use two-factor authentication: One of the easiest ways to improve your personal security is to enable two-factor authentication on your email and bank accounts. This uses an additional verification step above a password – such as facial recognition, a thumbprint or a text message – to allow you to access your accounts. Two-factor authentication means that,even if a hacker gets their hands on your password, they won’t be able to get into your accounts. 
  • Use a password manager: You should have a unique password for every account you use. This way, if one of your accounts is breached, the others aren’t vulnerable. We know that remembering lots of passwords is near impossible. This is why we recommend you use a password manager to simplify the process. Many password managers are free and intuitive to use. We can help you to find the best one for you. 
  • Monitor your credit: You should regularly check your credit to ensure that nothing looks out of the ordinary. It’s rare but, sometimes, data breach notifications come too little too late. So, it’s best to be proactive and regularly check your bank statements for evidence of identity theft. Keep an eye out for things like anomalous payments, payments made at odd times and withdrawals that look unfamiliar. 

Protect Yourself from Data Breaches

If you are worried about the security of your personal data or want help implementing more robust password controls, we’re here to help. 

Contact us today with any questions about computer tune-ups and repairs. Call 775-624-6888. We’re open 7 days a week, view our hours here.

Why You May Still Need a Computer Even If You Have a Tablet

Filed under: Computing Tips - Dec 31 2021
Why You May Still Need a Computer Even If You Have a Tablet

Tablets have become a popular mobile device that fits a gap between the personal computer and the smartphone. It’s not always convenient to go to your computer to look up a website, and smartphone screens are so small that the experience just isn’t the same.

When lounging on the sofa or traveling, tablets can provide a good experience for shopping online, browsing certain sites, or accessing social media. But, they do have limitations and aren’t a full replacement for a desktop or laptop PC.

Statistics seem to back this up. While the iPad was first introduced over a decade ago (in 2010), tablets still only represent about 3% of devices used on the web. In comparison, smartphones make up 61% and desktop computers make up 36%.

If you’ve been wondering if you can just get by with a tablet and leave your computer behind, here are some things you’ll want to take into consideration.

Limited Apps 

Computers are designed to run just about any app or software that you may have, but tablets are mobile devices and thus can only use mobile apps. They can’t install software as PCs can.

This limits the types of things you can do because you can only access digital tools that have an app designed for tablets. You may also find that the app experience isn’t the same as when using software on your computer.

Not All Websites Are Mobile Friendly

Some websites are still not mobile-friendly. This means that you could end up unable to navigate a site easily if you only have a tablet to access it. When using a PC, you have a larger screen and it can be easier to enter information into website forms. 

More Difficult to Type on a Small Keypad

When using a tablet you have a keypad to use instead of a keyboard. This can make it harder to type and make it take longer to type up a report or do any type of writing.

Mobile screens also have keypads that hide and appear depending on the actions you take, this can make it harder to type because if you accidentally brush the touch screen, you can end up losing your keypad.

A computer is going to give you a better typing experience for several reasons:

  • The keyboard is larger
  • The keyboard doesn’t hide
  • You can actually press the buttons
  • Less chance of hitting the wrong key
  • Many PC keyboards have a number pad on the right-side

Larger Screen Size

While tablet screens are larger than smartphones, they are typically much smaller than a computer monitor or laptop screen. Smaller screens make it more difficult to read certain websites unless you zoom in. But then you may end up losing your navigation bar or where you are on the page.

A larger screen also allows you to better multitask and have two windows up on the screen at the same time. Many tablets only allow one app on the screen at a time, and it can be annoying to have to continually close out and reopen apps to go back and forth between them.

A computer allows you to have multiple apps and windows open at once. You can even add a second monitor to a computer if you like to give yourself even more screen space.

Can’t Add Upgrades (Memory, Storage, etc.)

Computers tend to last longer than tablets because they have the ability to have upgrades added. You can upgrade computer memory, storage, and other components to improve performance and capacity.

One easy upgrade that can be done is to add memory (aka RAM). This can speed up a computer considerably. Storage can also be added to increase the number of files you can save on the hard drive. These types of upgrades can give you more years of usable life out of your PC.

On the other hand, tablets can’t be upgraded in this same way. So, once the storage on your tablet is full, you have to remove files or purchase a new one. Things like memory upgrades also aren’t pertinent to tablets. So, if you notice yours slowing down, you won’t have the same options as you do with a computer.

Not As Many Accessories

There are thousands of different accessories that you can use with a computer, such as printers, headsets, scanners, CD drives, and more. You are much more limited as to the types of devices you can use with a tablet. For example, you may only be able to print wirelessly, but not attach your device to a printer.

Would You Like a Faster Computer?

If your computer is running slow, there are several things Computer Techs can do to give it new life and speed. 

Contact us today with any questions about computer tune-ups and repairs.

2 new iPhone features you should turn on now

Filed under: Internet Tips,Useful Websites - Dec 28 2021

Apple recently added two new features to their latest iOS 15 operating system that will help you and someone you trust access your Apple account and mobile device should you forget your password or when you die.

Setting up a Recovery Contact now will allow someone you know and trust help you regain access to your Apple/iCloud account or device should you forget your account password or device passcode.

Adding a Legacy Contact now will allow someone you know and trust access data such as your photos, messages and notes after your death.

For more details and instructions, see the Apple help articles below. If you need help with setup you may contact your tech.

Set up an account recovery contact

How to add a Legacy Contact for your Apple ID

Also read: Now’s the time to decide what to do with your online accounts when you pass away.

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Now’s the time to decide what to do with your online accounts when you pass away

Filed under: Internet Tips,Useful Websites - Dec 28 2021

Unfortunately, sometimes death is sudden. Therefore now is the time to decide what to do with your online accounts when you pass away. Refer to the links below for various popular online accounts and their digital legacy policy and instructions.

Facebook

Google

Apple

An article on The Verge has details about setting up your digital legacy on the 3 major services above and others together with screenshots.

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Keep your mobile phone number safe from hackers

Filed under: Internet Tips,Security,Useful Websites - Dec 27 2021

Your mobile phone number has become increasingly valuable because it’s the way that hackers can gain access to your online financial, email and social media accounts. We now are encouraged to use our smartphone and attached phone number to prove who we are – often via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), a method that requires not only entering your username/email address and password into a website, but also entering a code or responding to a prompt sent to your cell phone.

But what if someone gained access to your mobile phone – or increasingly more common – your mobile phone number? Hackers that successfully SIM swap or port-out your phone number would have access to reset/change “forgotten” passwords and gain access to online financial, email and social media accounts.

Fortunately the major wireless carriers have taken steps to let you thwart hackers and prevent your phone number from being taken from you without your prior knowledge. It involves contacting your wireless carrier.

Instructions for the major U.S. carriers are below. If you use an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) such as Consumer Cellular or Spectrum Mobile – call 611 from your wireless phone and ask to setup a port-out PIN or other port-out/SIM swap protection to prevent unauthorized porting of your phone number without your prior knowledge.

Verizon Wireless

AT&T Wireless

T-Mobile

It’s important to protect your phone number before a hacker poses as you and takes over your phone number before you get a chance to protect it. If you need help with protecting your phone number, contact your tech.

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Search Gmail Like a Pro

Filed under: Computing Tips,Internet Tips - Dec 17 2021
Search Gmail Like a Pro

Email has become one of the main ways we communicate both for work and personal conversations. It’s estimated that a person sends and receives an average of 126 emails per day, and that’s just for work.

We all know that it doesn’t take long for an inbox to get unwieldy and fill up with older messages that are no longer needed or spam that can be deleted. But in between those unnecessary messages are emails that you need to keep. Trying to balance the two can be a challenge.

Some users even get so many emails, they begin having computer issues and have to call in a technician because their email program is no longer working properly due to being overloaded.

If you’re one of the many Gmail users out there, we have some great tips to help you search Gmail like a pro to find what you need and declutter your inbox.

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At the top of your Gmail home page, you’ll find this “Search mail” function to use for these tips.

Get Rid of Emails Taking Up Valuable Storage Space

If you’re a free Gmail user, then you get 15GB of free storage space that is shared across all the apps in your Google account. This includes any files you’ve stored in Google Drive as well as your Gmail storage.

To keep your storage optimized and help free up space, you can use this search tip to locate the emails taking up the most space due to large file attachments.

In the Gmail search box type: Larger:10M and then press your Enter key.

This will bring up all email messages in any of your boxes (including sent) that are over 10 megabytes in size and allow you to easily look through them to delete anything you no longer need.

This can often free up a significant amount of space, especially if you have older sent messages from years past with large file attachments. 

Make sure to empty your Trash folder after you’ve deleted the messages to completely remove them from your storage. 

Select All Tip

If you want to select all messages that come up in one of these searches, instead of selecting them one by one or page by page, do the following:

  1. After you’ve completed the search, click the top checkbox that will select all messages on the page.
  1. Look to the right, and click the area that says “Select all conversations that match this search.” 

If you want to get rid of all the emails that have come up during your search, this will allow you to select all of them quickly and then you can click the delete button.

This also works in your Trash folder. 

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Get Rid of Older Emails You No Longer Need

Over time, it’s surprising just how many messages can collect in your Gmail account. If you’ve had it for several years, then you could have years of old messages or sales notices from retailers that you no longer need.

Removing these can both free up space and improve your ability to find current emails faster because your system won’t have to search through years’ worth of irrelevant emails.

To locate older messages, you can use this search term in the Gmail search box: Before:YYYY/MM/DD and then press your Enter key.

Add the date that you want to search in the search statement, for example, “Before:2018/12/31”, which would bring up all your emails with a sent or received date prior to December 31, 2018.

You can then easily delete the ones you no longer need.

Use Search Combinations for Deeper Targeting

What if you want to look for messages that have attachments, that are larger than 11MB and older than 2 years? You can use Google’s mail search terms to do this.

For the above search, you would type the following into the Gmail search bar: has:attachment larger:11M older_than:2y

Press enter and you’ll see a listing of messages that meet all those criteria.

You’ll often be surprised by just how many older messages have been building up in your Gmail account over time. 

Unlock More Search Options

Don’t worry if you can’t immediately remember these search operators, because Google has made it easy for you to access these searches and others using a search panel.

Just click the small icon at the far right of the Gmail search to open a panel of search operators.

Graphical user interface, application, emailDescription automatically generated

You can use this to get very specific in your email searches to locate messages you no longer need.

For example, if you have older messages from a job you moved on from years ago, you can use “Has the words” and type the name of that company to quickly locate all related messages and delete them.

See the complete list of search operators you can use with Gmail here.

Need help getting around your email or other software?

Computer Techs provides expert IT training to Reno area residents on a wide variety of computer and software topics. Contact us today with any questions or computer needs.

6 Reasons You Don’t Really Need a VPN

Filed under: Computing Tips,Security - Dec 03 2021
6 Reasons You Don’t Really Need a VPN

One of the applications that you may hear about to keep your online connection more secure is a virtual private network (VPN). This is a service that basically takes your internet connection and reroutes it through its own servers before connecting you online.

VPNs are sold by lots of companies using FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) tactics. These companies make promises of encrypting your online connection and keeping your data safe. However, some of them have been found to be not very private after all.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN is a service that will route your online traffic through one or more of its servers. These servers can be anywhere in the world, and at times, you may be using different ones.

The VPN is designed to encrypt internet traffic and make your online connection secure by being a middle man between you and the internet. 

Before you get scared into thinking you need a VPN, you’ll want to check out our list below of the reasons that you may not really need one after all.

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Used with permission from VPNCrew

Can Slow Down Your Connection Speed

When you connect to a VPN, you are routing your traffic through a third party. This is like taking the long way to go to the grocery store. Instead of connecting directly from your internet service provider (ISP) to the internet, you’re taking a detour through a VPN service that could be thousands of miles away.

This detour can slow your connection speed, especially if the VPN server is across the ocean in another country. This can lead to buffering frustration when trying to watch streaming services and worse quality video calls due to slower internet.

Can Cause Login Problems Due to Location Differences

Not all applications play well with VPNs and you may start having login problems. This can especially be the case when logging onto sites that look at your location to determine the type of content to serve you.

You may also find that you do a Google search like usual, but all the search results are in another language. This can be because the IP address of the VPN server is coming from a certain country so the site thinks you are located in that country and is providing content based upon that server location.

They’re Complicated to Use

Because a VPN changes how you connect to the internet, it can be complicated to set up and use. It may end up conflicting with other processes you have going, such as file sync with online cloud storage. 

This type of app is difficult to adjust so it’s not conflicting with any online or hard-drive-based apps. Uninstalling the VPN may be the only way out of an issue that has occurred after it was installed.

They’re Illegal in Some Countries

Some countries restrict internet content, and the use of a VPN to get around that restriction is prohibited. So, if you travel overseas and use a VPN on any of your devices, you could be breaking the law without realizing it.

May Be Storing Your Online Data Without Your Knowledge

It’s been found that many VPNs store your online session data, despite the promises made on the company’s website. Some may be governed by laws requiring them to store that data, and others may do it out of carelessness or for more nefarious reasons related to selling it.

If you use a free VPN, you need to be very careful about this, because if you’re not paying anything for the service, then it’s most likely you (your data) is the revenue generator for the business.

There are Better Ways to Protect Your Data

A VPN is not the best way to protect yourself and your data while online. There are other options that don’t require you to route all your internet traffic through a third party.

Some of these options include:

  • Use of a DNS Filter: A DNS filter blocks malicious websites even after you’ve clicked the link for one. It will redirect you to a warning page instead. Setting up a DNS filter is done on your computer or router.
  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): MFA is one of the best ways to keep your online accounts secure, and it’s free. You should enable this on every account that you have. According to Microsoft, MFA blocks 99.9% of fraudulent sign-in attempts.

Contact us for your online security needs.

Computer Techs can help you reduce risk by employing online security best practices. Contact us today with any questions or computer needs.

Google making 2-Step Verification mandatory to sign-in

Filed under: Internet Tips,Security,Uncategorized - Nov 30 2021

Source: Fortune and Google

Google announced in May that it would start automatically requiring users to adopt two-step verification as a security precaution when they sign into services such as Gmail. That plan, which the company said would expand by the end of this year to 150 million users on mobile and desktop, has now started.

What is two-step verification?

Passwords, no matter how strong, may not actually be the best way to keep online accounts secure. Two-step verification, sometimes referred to as two-step authentication, reduces the chances of hackers or other outsiders gaining unauthorized access to your information. This usually means adding an extra security step to log in, like a code sent to your phone via text or a voice call, or a code generated by a Google Authenticator, that users must enter in addition to their usual password.

Why is this happening now?

Google has been encouraging its users to enroll in two-step verification for the past few years. The company has also moved to reduce the need for its users to enter passwords and pushed the use of secure tokens, which instead allow users to sign in to partner websites and apps with a single tap. In addition to the 150 million user accounts Google will automatically enroll in two-step verification this year, creators on sister service YouTube will be required to turn it on by November 1 to access their channels. Google expects that all of its users will eventually be required to login using two-step verification, the company told Fortune.

What’s going to change for me?

You can check whether you’re already enrolled in two-step verification through Google’s Security Checkup. If you’re not, it’s likely you will be eventually. Users who regularly sign in to their account, use Google products on their mobile devices, and who have recovery information on their accounts, like a recovery phone number or email, will be among the first to be automatically enrolled. But if you’re annoyed by the idea of signing in twice, don’t worry. After setting up two-step verification on your computer, you can choose not to use it again on that particular device, and go back to using just your password when you sign in. It’s only when someone else tries to sign in to your account from another computer that users will still have to go through the two-step verification process.

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Google Isn’t Evil – Why We Like Google

Filed under: Computing Tips,Internet Tips - Nov 19 2021
Google Isn’t Evil - Why We Like Google

It’s easy to vilify large tech companies. They hold a lot of power over our online lives. One organization that people like to point to as a monopoly is Google. The company owns over 91% of the worlwide search market share, but it got there for a reason.

Google’s business model is to give people searching online what they want. So it’s in the company’s best interest to make your online life easier. Keeping people searching on its site allows Google to continue running a successful ad business to earn revenue.

Yes, it’s true that you do give up some of your information to the search engine in exhange for using its services (including YouTube, which Google owns). But the trade in Google’s case is a fair one for many.

It’s important to know who you can trust when you’re online so you can keep your personal data protected as much as possible.

Why is Google not such a bad guy? Here are several reasons why we like Google.

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Watch Computer Techs recommended videos on YouTube

Filed under: Humorous,Internet Tips,Tech Support - Nov 17 2021

Computer Techs recommended videos is a YouTube playlist consisting of our favorite videos that will educate the viewer about computer and technology related scams, usage tips, and sometimes a funny video that gives us a good laugh. Be sure to press the “Subscribe” button to get notified about new videos that we add from time-to-time.

Whenever you need help with your computer or anything related to technology, please contact your Computer Techs technician.

You can also visit the YouTube playlist in the future by typing youtube.CTreno.com in your web browser address bar.

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