Computer and Software Support

Computer tips 

Tip One

Here is a tip to avoid a virus. It will not guarantee that you will not get a virus but it will help.

Don’t assume the email with a file attached is safe because it came from your mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, son, daughter or anyone else you trust. This is because a virus can attach itself to someone’s address book and send mail to everyone listed in the address book with a file attached. So if your father’s system gets infected with a virus, and your email is in his address book, the virus can send you an email with a virus attached without him knowing about it.

Here is some options to protect yourself if you get an email with a file attached.

Option One

Contact the person that sent you the email with a file attached and ask them if he/she is aware of the email. If they are aware of it, then it is probably safe (
I would run a virus check on it to be safe). If he/she is not aware of it, I wouldn’t open it.

Option two

If you constantly send files in email, work out a code between you and the people you send files to and receive (such as Daffy Duck or some other code that only you and them would know). If you get an email with that code in the body, you then know they are aware of the email and chances are the file is safe (I would still scan it to be safe)

If you get an email with a file attached without the code, either they forgot to include the code or it is a virus. I would check with the sender to see if they are aware of the email.

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Tip Two

Here is a way to be notified that something accessed your address book without your knowledge.

Create an entry in your address book with the following information…

Give the first name the letters AAA
Give the last name the letters AAA
For the email address give it Virus alert

This will not stop a virus from entering your computer or stop your system from sending a virus but it will let you know that something accessed your address book. What will happen is the virus will send an email to the email address of Virusalert@virusalert but since that is not a valid email address, it will get kicked back to you. When you check your mail, you will receive a notice that an email you sent was returned and you will see that email address in the body. Without this you may not know about the intrusion.

Tip Three

There are free stuff on the internet to download that is safe to download. However there is free stuff to download that downloads spyware to your system without your knowledge. Be careful what you download. Always read the EULA license agreement. They will put a comment in the EULA that by accepting the terms, you are authorizing them to download the spyware (they won’t call it that) in the background. You won’t even know it installed unless you read the license agreement.

Tip Four

When you get junk mail, do not reply to the junk mail and ask to be removed. All this does is tell the person that sent it, that they got a valid email address and they will probably send more. Just delete the email.

If your email program allows you to create different folders and allows you to create a rule, create a folder for each person you regularly get email from. Create a rule that when you get an email from that person, it gets put into that folder. That way the only email that will be in your inbox is either junk mail or mail you haven’t created a rule for. For example, if you get email from John Doe all the time. Create a folder named John Doe. Create a rule that when you get email from John Doe, the email gets sent to the John Doe folder. When you check your mail, you will see the email from him in his folder. Then when you look in the inbox folder and see email, it is either spam or mail from someone you haven’t made a rule for. It won’t eliminate the junk mail but you can see at first glance if you got an email from someone you know.

If your email program allows you to create a rule. Create a rule that looks for specific words in the subject or body. You can have the rule either move the mail to a specific folder or have it deleted. Use this with caution. If you get a legitimate email with the word in it, it will also be moved or deleted.

For help with creating rules in Outlook (Outlook Express has rules also and these instructions may be similar enough to follow on Outlook Express also) Click here

Microsoft Outlook has a Junk Mail feature (Outlook Express may also have the feature). Click here for help with it.

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Tip Five

You can create free email accounts from numerous places. If a site requires you to provide an email address but you don’t want to get email from them, create an email account just for registration purposes. Whenever you are at a site that asks you for an email address give them this address. This way your main email address will not get bombarded. Be sure to check the email address periodically because if the account is not used, the server will delete the email account. For example, create an email account from yahoo with the name of Then when you purchase something that requires you to give an email address and you don't want mail from them, use the email address. This way all the junk mail will go to that email address. Just empty it out about once a month to keep it active. Since you don't use this email address for correspondence, you don't have to browse the messages to see if there is anything worth reading. You can just delete them.

If you have to register with some site and need correspondence from but don't want future contact, create another email account and name it something easy for you to remember such as or something like that. You check it for that one response and can ignore the rest.

If you are afraid that you will forget to periodically clear out the email box and it get closed. You can attach the email address to msn messenger  if it is a hotmail account. MSN messenger will keep it active even though you don't check the mail. I use msn messenger for chatting so I have my junk mail email address attached to it. There will be months that I go without opening the mail but messenger keeps the account active.

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Tip Six

If you use AOL chat, create a screen name just for chats. Spammers use the Chatrooms to collect email addresses and bombard you with email. By using a screen name just for chat, you can either block the email entirely or limit email access to the people you specify. Use your other screen name for email and other correspondence. If you are in chat and want someone to email you, either give them your main email address or permit them to send you mail on this one.

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Tip Seven

When you send mail to more than one person, use the BCC feature of the email. BCC is Blind Copy. When you put someone's email address in Blind Copy, no one but that person sees the email address. Some people do not like it for others to know their email address and if you put their email address in the To field or the CC field with other people's email address, then everyone will see the email address. When you send the email to more than one person, put your email address in the TO field (because you have to have at least one person in the TO field and since they all know your email address when you email them, it won't matter if they see it. Put everyone else's email address in the BCC field. For example, if Steve emails Mary, Bob, and Mike an email and he puts Mary, Bob, and Mike in the BCC field. Mary won't see Bob's or Mike's email address. That way it respects Bob's and Mike's privacy if they do not want others to see their email address. This also protects them in the event the email gets forwarded to others. This also makes the email more personal because it looks like you sent the email individually instead of a group.

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Tip Eight

You will not get an email from a business stating there is an issue with your account. If you get an email from your bank, credit card or other business stating there is a problem with your account and please correct it, do not click on it. An email can be made to appear to have come from a business when it actually didn’t. If you think it might be a valid email, look up the phone number in the phone book and call them. This way you know you are talking to a valid business.

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Tip Nine

For more information on keeping your computer and internet safe, click here.


Tip Ten

Use Nero, Roxio or other CD burning software to create .iso images of your program CDs. Therefore if you loose the CD or it gets damaged, you can create another CD to replace it. Most companies will not replace the CD if you loose or damage them. You have to purchase the software again so if you have an .iso image of it you can burn you another copy of it. It is legal to do because it is just a backup of your CDs. Your not distributing the software.


Tip Eleven

People like sending jokes, comments, pictures and other things that they think others will like. That is great but then the email gets forwarded, then forwarded again and again. You end up have rows and rows of addresses and subjects you have to scroll past to get to the email (that is if all the forwards are on the same page) Sometimes when email gets forwarded it gets sent as an attachment. Another words, if Mary sent an email to John. John forwards the email from Mary to Steve. Steve gets the email Mary sent as an attachment. Steve then forwards the email he gets from John to Bob. Bob gets it as an attachment also. For Bob to read the original message that Mary sent, Bob has to open the email that John sent. He then has to open the attachment from Steve. He then has to open the attachment from Mary. That is many steps you have to go through to read an email. Many people will delete the email without reading it because they don't want to have to open so many windows. Also some people are afraid to open attachments in fear of getting a virus.

If you have an email that you want to forward to others, copy the contents of the email to another email and then send it. It will be much cleaner. If for some reason it won't copy and paste into another email and you have to forward it, delete all the headers so they won't have to scroll past all the headers.

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Tip Twelve

Scan your system with your anti-virus and anti-spyware. You can have more than one anti-spyware but only one anti-virus software on your computer. It is recommended to have more than one anti-spyware on your system. Couple good anti-spyware is Malwarebytes, Spybot, and there are others out there that are good.

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