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Beacon Senior News

Addressing today’s tech issues

Aug 31, 2016 02:11PM ● By Adam Cochran

I haven’t been a full-time computer support guy in years, but I continue to stay on top of the problems that are plaguing computer users today.

Having an expertise in computers is similar to knowing how to work on cars or being a physician. I don’t expect that I will ever be able to attend a party or go to church without somebody bringing up a tech question.

Whenever there is a trending problem in the world of technology, I know about it right away because my phone starts ringing with calls from friends, relatives and former clients asking for help.

Here are two issues that I have been contacted about a lot over the past year and what you should know about them.

Issue 1: Must I upgrade to Windows 10?

You don’t need to upgrade. If you do upgrade, you will be fine. Windows 10 is a solid operating system and it runs well.

Windows 10 is essentially an apology to Windows 8 users. Microsoft returned features that they removed, hid or drastically altered in Windows 8. In other words, Windows 10 is a version of Windows 8 that looks and runs like Windows 7 and Windows XP.

There are no more problems with Windows, 10 than there were with any of Microsoft’s better versions of Windows including Windows 98, XP and 7. It’s not a lemon. It also isn’t life-changing if you missed your opportunity to get the free upgrade. There are still ways of getting the Windows 10 upgrade free, but I would probably recommend that you just keep your current version of Windows until you need to replace your computer.

Issue 2: Fake security or virus alerts or phone calls

At least twice a week, I hear of someone who received a phone call or alert screen on their computer notifying them that they have a virus or other problem with their computer security.

If you receive a phone call from anyone, including someone who says they’re from Microsoft or your Internet provider, telling you that your computer has an infection it’s a scam.

You can feel absolute confidence that your computer is fine. Hang up the phone.

Even if the person knows your name or other personal information, hang up. Most of these people just gather such details from online databases and use that to build trust.

The same is usually true with security alerts you get when clicking on a link in Google or your email. If the alert asks you to call a phone number to fix the problem, don’t do it—it’s a scam.

If you can’t close down the alert, turn off your computer by holding the power button for 15 seconds and turn it back on. Everything will most likely be back to normal once your computer reboots.

I guess the theme for this month’s column is always be skeptical before listening to warnings from anyone. You’ve probably heard that Windows 10 is a terrible program with tons of problems and you will likely get a scam phone call or fake security alert on your computer in the near future.

Keep in mind that it’s usually cheaper to have a virus or security issue fixed by someone locally than it is to give a bad guy your credit card number.