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Computer Aides

These computer aides are a number of solutions and resource links which have been

collected over the years.

 

However it should be noted that neither MVS Consulting LLC nor any person acting on behalf of it:

(a)   makes any warranty or representation whatsoever, express or implied, with respect to the use

        of any of these aides disclosed at this website, including merchantability and fitness for a

         particular purpose, or that such use does not infringe or interfere with privately owned rights,

         including any party’s intellectual property, or that these aides are suitable to any particular

        user’s circumstances, or

(b)  assumes any liabilities with respect to the use of, or for the consequential damages resulting

        from the use of any of these aides disclosed on this website.

COMPUTER AIDES & HINTS                                                                        12/30/15
E-mail
Contacts and Calendar If you use e-mail software on your computer e.g. Outlook,
Outlook Express, Endora, etc, and want to have the same
contacts (address book) and calendar on multiple computers
e.g. desktop and laptop, you can do this easy with a free
service from Plaxo (www.plaxo.com).  It has the added pluses
of both backing up your contacts and calendar folders and
automatically. updating your contacts if your contacts are
also Plaxo users You download and install software from
Plaxo to all the computers you want to be synchronized and
follow the instructions I have found the free service version to
work seamlessly with MS Outlook.
Executable File
Attachments
Most e-mail services block messages containing executable file attachments (files names with extensions ending in .EXE.  I most cases, a way around this problem change the file extension name to something like .TXT.  When you do this change, ignore the Windows message that tells you that the file maybe unusable.  In your e-mail containing this new file, remember to tell the recipient to change back the file extension to .EXE. Alternatively, I have successfully sent an executable file without making any name changes via Hightail file transfer service (see below).

Large File Attachments
Large file attachments to e-mails often cause problems such as
limits on size by either your internet provider (IP) or your recipients
IP.  One solution is to send these files via free file transfer services.There are several such services available.

I use Hightail (formerlyYou Sent It) (www.hightail.com ) which I find easy to use.  You go to their website give name of e-mail recipient, write a short note to recipient, upload the file you want to send and then send it off.  Your recipient then only receives your short e-mail which includes instructions on how to download the from Hightail.

MS Outlook Distribution Lists
If you update a contact's e-mail address and that contact is in
a distribution list, the contact's e-mail address is NOT automatically updated in the distribution list.  You must update the distribution list manually by opening the distribution list, deleting the outdated contact, and then select and add the contact back onto the list.
MS Outlook Personal Folders Back-up
If you still use MS Outlook 2003 and 2007 to read your e-mails, MS has a free downloadable piece of software (www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8B081F3A-B7D0-4B16-B8AF-5A6322F4FD01&displaylang=en) which can automatically back up all your folders e.g. inbox, calendar, contacts.  It is easy to install and download.  If you back-up to an external hard drive or a CD, you never have to worry about
having lost your e-mail files if your computer fails.  I backup to a
folder on my external hard drive.

Alternately you can use a free Outlook backup program from 4 Team.  It works with both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows 7, 8 and 10 on Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2016.  It can be downloaded from their website at http://www.safepstbackup.com/Download.aspx .  This is the program that I now use.
                                                                                                                                                         
Internet
  Browers MS Internet
Explorer 8, 9, 10 &11 & Microsoft Edge
If you have installed IE8,IE9, IE10 & IE11 and have a problem reading some web pages properly, it is likely caused by some websites not updating their formatting. The potential fix is using the the compatibility button (looks like a torn piece of paper).  It appears, when the browser detects defects, in the top toolbar, just to the right of the address field. If you you are using Microsoft Edge, the compatibility feature is not available.  If you are having a compatibility issue with a website, try opening it Windows Explorer.  In Windows 10, Windows Explorer can be found by typing in "Windows Explorer" in the search bar.
  Printing Web Pages
When you print web pages you often get lots of stuff you don't need or want printed.  One way around this is to just highlight the text you want on the web page you are viewing, copy it, open MS Word to a blank page and paste the copied material.  Alternately you can use the free web service Print What You Like.  Just copy the URL of the webpage you want to print, go to www.printfriendly.com in your browser, in the box on Printfriendly's web page paste in or type in the URL which you copied and follow the instructions.
Software  
Anti-virus & Malware/Spyware
Never install or run two anti-virus software programs on a computer as potential conflicts can arise.  It is, however, normally okay to have multiple malware/spyware programs installed.  I have found it useful to run several of these programs as that sometimes one (or more) of the malware/spyware programs do not detect potential problems.  In addition to having Norton Internet Security which includes a spyware program, I have the well recommended Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (www.malwarebytes.org ) installed (free).
Computer & File Back-ups
If you don't already own an external hard drive, you should seriously consider getting one for at least using it to backup up your important files or entire computer hard drive.  Large external hard drives have become really inexpensive and easy to install (connecting to a USB port on your computer. They require no software for operating systems such as MS Windows as these systems recognize the drive and assign it a letter just like your C drive and you can create folders on the external drive just like you do on your C drive.  There numerous methods to making back-ups, some of which are:

1.  Manual Back-ups for Files or Folders - A. Just copy a file or folder to your back-up external hard drive or to a CD,  B. Use MS Windows Back-up which compresses the files and folders so less backup storage space (Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Back-up)

2.  Automated Back-up for Files or Folders - A. There a number of are software programs that just do files and folders e.g. McAfee Security Suite comes with one bundled with it. B Others software programs can back-up your entire hard drive as well as also individual files and folders. e.g. Symantec's Norton Ghost and Acronis's True Image Home,  I used Acronis's True Image Home to automatically back up my total hard drive and set it to make daily incremental back-ups of changes from day to day.

3.  Also now becoming popular are cloud based storage services e.g. Carbonite, JustCloud, Mozy, etc. Most charge either monthly or annual modest fee with some providing a modest amount of storage for free.  If you chose to use one of these web services, be sure that they can encrypt your files before they are upload. In addition to using Acronis, I have been using JustCloud, www.justcloud.com , for several years. It was easy to install and has worked seamlessly doing a a daily backup.













MS Office
If you are using an older version (2007 or older) of MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and are now receiving documents MS documents you cannot open, it is likely that these documents are in the newer MS Office 2010 or newer format.  The fix is easy.  MS has a free software program for users of older versions of Office which allows them to open and edit documents received in MS 2010 formats.  The compatibility pack from MS can be found and downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&displaylang=en
  PDF File Creation Since the 2003 version of Microsoft Office, Office has
had the built in capability to save documents in PDF format.
However there may be times when would like to save some
other document in PDF format before transmitting to third
party.  You don't have to buy the expensive Adobe suite to
do so.  You can use a free utility PDF file converter from
Bullzip.  Download it from
www.bullzip.com .

Printing Directory of Folders in Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) If you have created lots of folders and sub-folders like I have,
you probably wish there was a way of printing an index of these
folders to make things easier to find.  Well the solution is simple.
Use the free piece of software from Karenware called Karen's
Directory Printer.  You can download it at
www.karenware.com .
  Zip Files
While there many forms of zip files with most being able to be opened with Windows, there are some Windows won't open.  In particular I have found this to be the case with some free books zipped with the file ending "RAR".  The free and easy to use IZArc file compression / decompression utility from IZArc  ( www.izarc.org ) will decompress almost any compression scheme.  DO NOT download it from the link on IZArc site. Download it from
http://download.cnet.com/IZArc/3000-2250_4-1002425.html
Wireless
Printer
Connections
 
Given that many of our computer devices are moving more and more to wireless connections, I thought that I might pass along a lesson learned moment to you which may help you avoid potentially hours of grief in the future.

I switched over my AT&T services (DSL, landline phone and satellite TV)  to AT&T U-Verse which controls DSL, phone and TV wirelessly through one common modem.  After the installation, everything seem to work well with both my desktop and laptop computers connecting wirelessly to internet through the modem.  Naturally a day or so after the installers left, I found that my one wireless, HP Laserjet, printer was no longer connecting with my computers.  After dialogistic and re-installation (always getting the message that I have successfully connected to wireless network but computer unable to connect to printer),  I called AT&T’s technical service but they blew me off saying it was printer problem. I then did numerous internet searches on internet but, after many additional hours, could find nothing that worked although others had similar problems.  I then proceeded to post a help message on HP’s site and got a prompt unofficial response from an HP employee to try un-powering the modem /router then repower it and then start over with installation. 

This HP advice, which worked like a charm, was contrary to the advice of both AT&T installation guy who when I specially asked if I needed to shutdown modem /router (since it is good practice to occasionally do so with just a simply DSL only connection so the system resets) said you never have to do it.  HP person told me this is a common problem with routers and they should be repowered occasionally to avoid problems like this one.
 
 
Conference
Phone Calls
  Via the internet, you can use Skype ( www.skype.com ) to hookup up 5 callers.  If you calling all Skype users the call is free.  If some of the callers are on landlines or cell phones, Skype charges about US $0.02 per minute. 

You can make free conference calls to landlines or cell phones or a combination of both by using FreeConference (http://www.freeconference.com).  Calls can be scheduled or unscheduled.
Directions by Phone DIR-ECT-IONS, is a free (other than your normal phone connection
charge) service for 'directions by phone call available nationwide to
all cities in the continental U.S. Anyone can get driving directions
by calling from their cell phone -- dial the word D-I-R-E-C-T-I-O-N-S
(347-328-4667) tell the voice-activated service a starting address
and destination address and instantly receive a text message with
MapQuest driving directions.                                                                                                                                                                  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

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