Common Computer Questions*:
Q: I'm using Windows 8. Where did my Start button go?
- I'm using Windows 8. Where did my Start button go?
- What should I do if I have an e-mail virus?
- How can I check my email from a different computer?
can I cut down junk e-mail (SPAM)?
can I not open attachments in Outlook Express?
I get more computer speed by just replacing or adding
computer won't shut off, now what?
do I change file associations in Windows?
I really need to clean my computer case?
- How can I check my Internet speed?
- Should I leave the computer on or turn it off?
computer is now operating very slow and "strangely."
Could this be caused by Spyware?
- I’d like to contact a member of the technical
A: Microsoft elected to remove the familiar "Start" button in favor of the new "Metro" look. This new look is for the benefit of users that are already using touch screens. However, all is not lost! If you go to Classic Shell you will find a free application that will provide you with a program that gives you the Start Menu you know. There are other applications too, but Classic Shell is free and works well. Contact us at Computer Alliance if you would like help in this area.
Q: What should I do if I have an e-mail virus?
A: If you think
your computer has received a virus via e-mail, DO
NOT open the message! Some viruses can now be launched
by simply opening the e-mail, rather than actually needing
to open an attachment. If you are suspicious, and you
do know the sender, write the person back who sent you
the e-mail and ask them if this is something safe to open.
Most viruses look like they have been sent from someone
is important to be sure you are running an antivirus
program with current virus definitions! An old
antivirus program or one without current virus definitions,
is very ineffective in protecting your computer. If
your virus scan detects a virus and asks you if you
should clean it or delete (quarantine) it, always choose delete.
Do not attempt to clean the file. Contact us at Computer Alliance after your system detects
a virus if you have questions.
Q. How can I check my email from a different
A. Many email accounts that are setup as POP or IMAP accounts may be accessed from the web. The method of access depends on your email service. While traveling for example: you may enter http://mail.mydomain.com and enter your email address and password
to view your email. Check with your provider to see if you can access your email on their server via the web.
Using Outlook or Windows Live Mail will allow you
to set up several different email accounts on a computer. Select TOOLS
from the menu and then ACCOUNTS and then select the mail
tab and select the ADD button and follow the steps. You may not want to set up your email account
to view on another computer because anyone using that
computer could view your messages. If you have a Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail
account already you can check your email on the web anytime since the messages are not stored on your home computer. This way you can check
your email using any computer connected to the internet
by simply going to http://www.gmail.com/ (for example) and signing in.
can I cut down junk e-mail (SPAM)?
A. Use several e-mail address's.
Use your main account for yourself, family and friends
and use another one for registering software, signing
up for prizes etc. Although a lot of junk mail has an
"opt out" button to remove from you from the
list - DO NOT TRUST IT! Most of the time when you
"opt out" it only verifies your e-mail address
is valid! Simply put the best thing to do is just delete
the message. Never use your personal e-mail address for
registrations, contests, etc. Setup an account with Hotmail
or Yahoo which you can discard if that address starts
to receive SPAM!
Check with your email provider to see if they offer SPAM filters or a Boxtrapper feature. The way this works is Boxtrapper accepts all e-mail
directed to your address. If the sender is already in
your server address book, the mail is delivered
to you automatically. If the sender is unknown, Boxtrapper
sends a message to the sender. The message directs the
sender to hit "reply." If the sender responds, their
message is delivered to you and they are added to your
address book. Most SPAM is automated and cannot reply
to this message. It works! We use it for several
of out own accounts at Computer Alliance.
are also many E-mail utilities out there and some are
even Free. MailWasher is just one of the many but worth
checking out at: http://www.mailwasher.net/
Q. Why can I not open attachments in
Outlook includes an option to block attachments
that may be unsafe and harm your system. Be sure the "Don't download pictures automatically..." is NOT checked under the "Trust Center"
Q. Can I get more computer speed by
just replacing or adding memory?
Possibly. The easiest upgrade you can perform is adding
more Random Access Memory (or RAM). Many things affect
computer speed and performance, but a processor or motherboard
upgrade are not as simple as adding RAM. If
you are operating Windows XP and have 2GB of memory,
add another 2GB chip to bring the total RAM up to 4GB. Windows 7 or 8 will benefit from as much memory as your motherboard will allow. The minimum amount of memory recommended for Windows 8 is 4 MB but use 8MB or more. Other adjustments in Windows can also improve
Q. My computer won't shut off, now
A. Your computer crashed, "locked up" or displayed
the "Blue Screen of Death" (BSOD) so you push
the power button to restart it, and nothing happens.
Most newer computers have power buttons connected directly
to the motherboard that will allow you to shut down
the system if Microsoft Windows crashes. Just hold the
power button on the front of the computer in. After
about 5-10 seconds the computer will shut off.
This is not a solution to the cause of the crash, but
will allow you to restart the computer.
How do I change file
associations in Windows?
A. To change the association for any type of file, open
Windows Explorer and highlight one of the files of that
type. Then hold down the Shift key and right-click the
file. The menu that pops up will have an Open With option,
which allows you to change the program that file is
associated with. Check the box to make the change for
all files of that type.
I really need to clean my computer case?
A: NOTE: Dust can hold static electricity! Discharging static electricity can seriously damage computer components! DO NOT attempt to clean your computer case interior unless you are comfortable with this risk!
computer has at least one fan (probably more) that it
uses to cool the processor and internal components.
It does this by drawing in air over the boards. The
easiest method to remove dirt and debris is to remove
the computer case (cover) and blow the dust and debris
out with compressed air. A small can of compressed air
will work but it can be expensive. We use an air compressor
set to under 90 PSI for best results. The pressure should NOT be set over 90 otherwise it may
damage the computer. A shop vac with a blower option
will also work. Disconnect the power cables, etc. and
take the unit outside. When you blow out the case, a
significant amount of dust will be dispersed, preferably
NOT in your house! The inside of a computer can become
very dirty from animal hair, dust, and even cobwebs!
photo) Dust actually retains heat and in dry environments
static electricity, so cleaning is good. If you are
not comfortable opening your computer case, do not do
it! Have a professional like us help you!
can I check my Internet speed?
A. Once you have connected
to the Internet you can move your mouse over your connection
icon in the taskbar (bottom right of your desktop) and
it will show you at what speed you are connected. Even
though you may have a fast connection the Internet may
seem very slow or really fast. For cable modem users,
your Internet connection speed can vary depending on
the number of users sharing the cable in your neighborhood.
Also, the overall speed of the Internet can vary depending
on the time of day and the number of users accessing
the same sites to which you are connecting.
you are using a Cable Modem or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connection, or just
a 56K Dial-up modem, an Internet Speed Test
will give you the answer to your bandwidth speed. To
have your connection tested visit one of these sites
6.) Century Link
I leave the computer on or turn it off?
This is a common question. The answer depends on how
you use your computer. If you perform daily backup routines
(like you should), virus scanning or other activities
at night, then leave the computer on. If you only use
the computer only occasionally, turn it off when it
is not in use! Never leave your computer on when you
are away for the weekend or over an extended period
reason you should shut your system down periodically
is memory leakage when using Microsoft Windows. When you run a program it allocates
a sector of memory to use and it is suppose to release
the memory when you close it, but sometimes it doesn't
release all the memory and it becomes unavailable for
other programs to use. When this happens your resources
may become low and your computer sluggish. Re-starting
the unit will solve this problem. A restart once a week
at the very least is a good thing to do when using Microsoft
Q. My computer
is now operating very slow and "strange."
Could this be caused by Spyware?
A. A general term for
a program that surreptitiously monitors your actions
is called Spyware or Malware. Most Spyware acts very much like a virus
and can slow your computer down significantly! The best
solution for an end-user is try to clean the computer of ALL Spyware. Two free utilities can help you. First
"Spybot - Search
& Destroy" from Safer-networking and Malwarebytes from Malwarebytes.org. Install the programs and "Check for Updates."
After you scan your computer, select all objects found and
remove them! During
the scan you may be asked to restart your computer,
as these programs may need to finish the scan from
startup. If you periodically run these programs, you
will notice an improvement in your computer performance. However, these programs are no guarantee all the spyware objects will be removed! Newer infections such as Rootkit's and others require a professional cleaning. If you need this done, it is inexpensive and possibly save the data on your hard drive. Contact us if you need this help!
Q: I’d like to
contact a member of the technical support team. How
do I do this?
A: Please send an email directly
. Our tech support team is usually
out in the field or with a customer, so sending an email
message will get you in contact with a team member quickly.
The staff at the help desk that receive your message
will be able to route your request for the quickest
Computer Alliance or any representative
of Computer Alliance does not accept any responsibility
for damage caused by a user using any suggestions on
this page. Any user that is unfamiliar with the proper
configuration of computer hardware or software should
seek professional assistance. Before ever attempting
ANY software or hardware changes to a computer, a good
backup should always be made of the entire hard drive.