Answers...

to commonly asked questions.

Possibly downloaded a virus to my new iMac

I was on my new Mac this morning and went to download an xls spreadsheet to view in numbers. Upon downloading an adobe flash player update popped up. I assumed it was plausible given this is a new computer and may not have the most up to date flash player. All of the downloads and run windows all looked very familiar and legit. When I was done installing my computer made a loud beeping sound and said it has been infected by a virus. It opened a new window called Mac Repair and said I had 197 viruses on my computer that needed repair. It prompted me to hit the repair button in the window but I was highly skeptical at this point.

I went back into my downloads and found the recent adobe file I downloaded. I googled it - adobe flash player-2.dmg. It immediately popped up on blogs as a phishing virus. So I removed it to the trash can then emptied my trash can. I’m sure this is not the proper way to rid of this. Can please call or email to discuss further to clean my computer. Also, all of these virus related things keep coming from being on either Yahoo main page or news. Or thru my email on yahoo. I’ve never had these issues in the past until the recent 6 months or so. Is this common with Yahoo as of late?
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This is a very common occurrence unfortunately. Malware often disquises itself as flash, java, "security updates" or other words we are used to seeing. The good news is that just downloading a file doesn't hurt you. Double clicking on that file doesn't hurt you. But once it prompts you to install it, it HAS to ask for your computer's password. Entering your password is then what grants permission to your computer to install the malware. Most of the crapware is simply there to take over the ad space within webpages. They're usually not after personal information. They are just trying to sell ads in places on pages where google already does. If you feel like you may have entered your password and would like me to clean things off the computer, I can do that remotely for you. You/wife can schedule an online session.

What you saw with the loud sound and warning that you were "infected" was just an ad. The next time you land on one of those pages, close Safari, hold down the shift key and restart Safari. That will take you away from that ad site regardless of what background code was running on the page that wouldn't have let you move on to another page.

I can't save an attachment from an email.

Random question- I was at my Mac and in email and I tried to save a pdf from an email attachment into my files that you’ve helped me set up on the Mac. For some reason it won’t save - clearly I’m doing something wrong. Any tips?
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I'd first try to simply drag the attachment to the desktop. Moving something to the desktop gets it out of the application (in this case mail) and sometimes gives the computer a better handle on the file as you move it or do other things with it later.

Next you can try using the toolbar to download the attachment. Below you'll see a shot of the toolbar. Notice the paperclip denoting the email has one attachment.
Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 3.41.48 PM

Another idea is to right click and save the attachment.

If none of these work, the next step I would try would be to log into the webmail account (for instance, iCloud.com or gmail.com) See if the attachment is retrievable there. If you still have issues with the attachment even on the webpage, then there's most likely a problem with the attachment. Request the sender resend.

I think My Grandpa deleted all my files.

Help. So I'm an idiot and hadn't backed my computer up yet (which I know you told me to do).. and somehow when I opened my computer today after not using it for a week, every single file on it has disappeared/been deleted. My grandpa recently took my old laptop, which didn't have any of the files from my current laptop on it and has been deleting files and clearing it out so he can use it. I don't know if it's related but I'm not sure how it could be since none of the files deleted were on it. But I'm wondering if you can tell me if there's any chance of getting them back or not.
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Often people accidentally log into the Guest account and since that account is empty, they think all their data is gone. Hopefully that's all that's going on. To check to see if you're in the guest account, go to the black apple at the top right corner of your screen, click on the black apple. If you see "Log out of Guest" at the bottom, you'll know you're in the wrong account. If you see your actual name instead, then things are a little more serious.

If your Grandfather took a computer that was logged in to your iCloud or Dropbox account and you kept all of your documents in your iCloud drive or dropbox, then there is a possibility that him deleting files could also cause the files to fall off of your own computer. We may still be able to recover them but we would want to act quickly. Dropbox only keeps deleted items for 30 days.

There is also another completely reasonable possibility that the files may just be in a folder we aren't aware of. Either way, I feel pretty confident that we can recover what you're looking for. But we would need to move sooner rather than later on that.

How can I clean up this virus?

Hey Scotty. You've helped us a number of times. My son tried to download a game on our Mac and it was apparently a virus. We're operating fine but in safari and chrome we keep getting unwanted pop up tabs. One just popped up with a dialogue box that reads "apple-virus-detectionservices.fixingit.solutions...". I reset chrome but no improvement and i'm not sure what else i need to reset or delete.
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I’ve seen it many many times unfortunately.  Removing these pests are a little more involved than I can write up in a set of instructions but it can be removed.  Happy to help if you feel the need.  You can schedule an online session if you’d like and I can remove it for you remotely.  There are about 8 methods that these programs tend to install and it’s just easier to go through the steps to check each one.  Feel free to schedule using the link below if needed.  If you’d rather work on the issue yourself, I’ve written about this exact thing several times on my website.  Those responses can be found at http://www.sellsconsulting.com/answers/index_files/category-viruses.php

ScreenTime

Screen Time: New feature in iOS 12.

Parents, lots to look forward to with the new ScreenTime feature coming to iOS 12 later this year. You'll be able to give your kids a limited amount of time to access certain apps. Finally!

More info here.

What's wrong with my printer?

I don’t know if you would be the right person to ask about this but I’m having trouble with my printer. It tells me ( or told me) to replace ink cartridges - I did - but it’s still not printing correctly and it also won’t pick up the wireless signal. I may need a new printer but maybe not ...
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With most printers there are a few things you can try. in the printer settings, there are usually a couple of different settings. You're looking for "restore network defaults" and/or "restore defaults". Anything close to that. Initiate those commands and it may bring the printer back to life. You can also try cleaning the print nozzles. There's a command for that in the software as well.

As far as the wireless issue goes, it can sometimes be the fault of the wireless network itself. You'd hate to buy a new printer just to find the same problem. The most common issue with printers not able to print wirelessly is that the wifi network has multiple instances of the same name. Or the network has been split into segments. ie: Sells Network 1, Sells Network 2, Sells Network Kitchen, Sells Network Basement. If the network router and repeaters are handling the home IP addresses incorrectly, you could have the printer on one network but your computer is on a different and they wouldn't be able to see each other.

Overall, the money you would use to pay me may be better suited to go toward a new printer. I feel that printers are usually for about 3-4 years then it's time to move on.

Get rid of unwanted extensions

How can I remove map frontier and their annoying ads?
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There are several possibilities as to why this is happening.

Open Safari and go to preferences. (under Safari in the menu bar)
Go to extensions in preferences and choose to uninstall any that you are not familiar with.
Under General in preferences, check to make sure your homepage is what you'd like it to be.

If this doesn't solve the issue, it may be slightly more complicated. But not too bad. Join me on a Monday night town hall and I'd be happy to finish it if removing the Safari extension doesn't do the trick.

How can I optimize my Mac?

Scotty-
Looking for a place with instructions on how I can run a optimization program or something on my MacBook Pro. This computer is getting old, is slowing down, and needs to be cleaned up. Disk Utility while running in normal mode doesn’t do much for it. Isn’t there a way to start the computer in something like Safe Mode and do a deep cleaning Disk Utility?
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Your hard drive may have an invisible partition on it that will allow you to boot into Recovery mode. You can find this out by holding down the Option key at start up. If your computer has a recovery partition, you will be able to select it there. After in Recovery Mode, you can open disk utility and choose to repair the disk from there. This will allow for a more thorough job than running disk utility while in the OS itself. However, this may not help your cause. There are a few other reasons you might want to consider as well. I have an article on those here.

Safe mode is different. Safe mode can be triggered by holding down the Shift key at start up. What this does is keep non indigenous processes from running at all. So if you had a piece of software causing problems like a Flash plugin or Norton, etc… it would prevent that from running therefore allowing only factory OS processes. It's a good way to trouble shoot third party issues. The problem is, Safe mode is a very limited mode. There are many things your computer can not do when in safe mode. So it's not a mode you want to work in for long. Graphics processes are extremely limited also so your computer will feel very slow while in it.

I do not recommend any "optimizing" software. These usually just add yet more completely unnecessary processes to the running list. The best thing, in my opinion, is to understand how your mac works, what processes are running in the background, the age of your machine vs. the OS's age, what role cache files play in certain programs, etc… Always backup before doing anything. Time machine is great. Be sure it's running.

I may be able to help with cleaning things up remotely if you feel the need. Remote sessions can be scheduled on the homepage of my site here.

Why does my computer get slow?

Scotty-

Why does my computer get slow? Do I have too much stuff on it?
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A common misconception is that computers get slow because their hard drive has too much stuff on it. This is rarely the case. My general rule is that you should be concerned about the amount of data you have on your internal hard drive once you get below 10% capacity of that drive. Modern operating systems are able to move data around on the drive so that it can best perform when asked to pull up a file or program. The days of "defraging" a hard drive are gone. Computers do this automatically now.

Computers get "slow" because we update them. When we update computers, the hardware is then asked to run software that was written for current spec hardware. Just like phones, as we update, the computer struggles more and more with each update, to keep up with the current software demands. If we never updated our devices, the speed experience would change very little throughout the device's life. The problem is, we always want the new feature. So we update. When you compare this continuing sloping model to say the video game industry, a terraced model, you can see a big difference. No one ever says "my xbox is running slow. My playstation is running slow". This is because the video game industry works on a different model. They build hardware meant to last for almost a decade. The software updates and games developed are always written and optimized for the very first build of that hardware. In other words, if you buy a video game in 2018 for a gaming system, you are buying a game that was written for a piece of hardware that came out possibly 5 or 6 years ago. In this model, profit is based on selling software that runs on hardware.

The computer industry is opposite. Their profit is based on hardware that runs software. So it is in their interest to encourage you to buy new hardware.

Another reason computers run slow is because they may have started running processes in the background you are unaware of such as Photos Library facial recognition, Flash content, never ending indexing loops, etc… And easy way to see what's going on in the background is to open Activity Monitor and sort processes by CPU percentage. Keep in mind there are two categories of processes. Yours and the computers. You can kill any of the processes that are your own but be cautious killing system processes. You can get into trouble there. General rule: if you don't understand what it means, leave it alone. Another thing to consider here is that just because you find the process eating up major resources and kill it, doesn't mean it won't just come back later. There are many reasons a process might start without you knowing. Too many to describe here.

The last major reason a computer starts to slow is because the spinning hard drive could be failing. But you would usually know that pretty quickly as it would start showing other symptoms like not being able to boot, locking up constantly, or making clicking sounds.

Which router is best?

Which router should I buy for my 3000 sq ft home?
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I suggest one of two options…

1: two Airport Extremes with the option to add other extenders later. ($200 per device) $400 total hardware.
2: Netgear’s Orbi system. $300
Amazon.com: NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with Tri-band – Wireless router and extender replacement, maximize WiFi speed and range, Up to 5000 sqft, 3pk (RBK33): Computers & Accessories

Apple may be leaving the router business. I think they’re great routers but just like to be open about their future. That said, the Orbi router system is gaining traction. I’m happy with them as well.

3: Another consideration is the Netgear Nighthawk. This router has many features that most users will not use. It's a very strong router but with only one source.

Why aren't my calendars syncing?

I hope this is an easy fix - seems that every since I did all of that upgrading, when I put something on my desktop calendar, it does not go onto my phone. (If I put something on my phone, it does go onto my desktop, however.)

I just went to system preferences - and turned on iCloud Drive, but that didn’t seem to work. Not sure if I should have turned that on….

Seems like something just needs to be turned on, but I am not sure what.
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Calendars can be very confusing. The main reason for this is that almost every email account service we use (gmail, iCloud, aol, exchange, yahoo, etc…) all offer their own calendar and contact syncing to go along with the email. Because of this, sometimes we end up adding events to one calendar but don't have that that calendar on a different device. So the first place to start looking when troubleshooting calendars is to figure out which calendar services you actually need. In a perfect world, one service is the best way to go. For most people this is either iCloud or Gmail's calendar system.

1. On your Mac, open system preferences/internet accounts. Select each account and see if calendars is checked. You will return to this area eventually and uncheck the services you don't want in the end.
2. Open Calendar on your mac and go to preferences, check which is your default calendar. This can be the issue as well. You may be adding an event automatically to the wrong calendar.
3. On your phone, go to the Calendar app, select Calendars at the bottom of the screen and see if you have the same accounts active on your phone as you saw on your computer.
4. Decide if you can eliminate some of these calendars but be aware that if you turn off, say your gmail calendar, then any events on that calendar will go away. So you may have to move those events from one calendar to a different one before you turn that calendar off.

These are good starting points to check. It's rare that calendar and contact issues are technical problems like software issues. It's much more common that we just don't have things set the way we'd like.

My email isn't coming in on my Mac

You were at our house today. I just got on my Mac and my email is no longer pulling up.

Can you walk me through how to put it back on? I used the password that I have had for a long time and it isn’t working.
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I actually didn’t change anything on your Mac so this is a separate issue from what we covered yesterday concerning your devices.  If your carolina.rr.com email is not functioning on your Mac, first step is to verify that your password is correct.  Go to webmail.carolina.rr.com and log in to make sure you have the correct password.  

After you’ve verified your password, next go under the black apple on your computer (top left corner) and open system preferences.  Next go to Internet Accounts and select your Carolina account on the left side.  You may be prompted to enter your password.  That step may solve the issue. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.46.53 AM



 If not, take the next step. In your Mail, under the word Mail in the menu bar, select Preferences:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.48.48 AM


Next, select Accounts at the top of that window, select the Carolina account to the left, then server settings as seen below:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.50.24 AM

Re enter the password (that you verified earlier) and that should solve the issue.  


Outgoing email settings crossed

Whenever I try to send an email using my account, I get the message that I have copied above. Again, I am more than happy to pay you for helping me with this problem.

PastedGraphic-1
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From the screenshot, it looks like the outgoing servers for each email address are incorrect. This means that one email account is trying to use the other email account’s outgoing server to deliver its email. And they don’t always like to cooperate. Think of it like asking Fed Ex to deliver a UPS package. That looks why you’re getting a bounce back. Maybe not really enough for one session’s worth but I’m happy to work on it for you if you have some other items as well.

Gmail never finishing syncing with the server.

Hi. I don’t mean to be a pain, but this seems like strange activity to see while I’m working. I have been in mail for several hours and this activity seems to be taking a really long time. This morning, I am still having to log out of mail and then comeback in to get new messages. It worked great for awhile,but I seem to be back to the problem?
Thanks

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.47.25 AM


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I can’t recall whether we turned off “allow less secure apps” in your gmail settings or not. That can sometimes play a role with how Apple’s mail program acts with Gmail. Allowing less secure apps sounds like a bad thing but Gmail has deemed any app other than Google Chrome less secure. So if that setting is turned on, then many email programs can have a problem.

Have you tried “rebuilding” the inbox? Available in mail under Mailbox in the menu bar.

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.43.03 AM

Did I install a virus accidentally?

I received an email from UPS that I now realize was phishing. It had a tracking number listed and I clicked on the tracking number (stupid I know) I saw an icon from the email pop over as if it was a download. Should I be concerned?
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This happens to many people. Most likely a file was downloaded to your downloads folder. As long as you didn't double click on that file and install that program 9it would have requested you enter your admin password) then you should be fine. Just go into your downloads folder and throw away the file, then empty the trash.

Relinking your Photos Library.

My computer doesn’t seem to be able to access the photo library for some reason
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To have the Photos app relocate your photo library, try holding down the Option key while launching Photos. This will present you with a list of candidates. Select the preferred library and that should reopen the missing pictures. It is possible to have more than one library. This is sometimes done by accident so you might have an empty library and a full one. The correct place for a photo library to live is in the User's pictures folder. Some people move their photos library over to an external drive due to space concerns.

Should I buy a refurbished Apple computer?

Looking for advice on buying refurbished computers from Apple.

Do you know people who’ve had lots of issues?? Did they buy refurbished from apple? These will be for sales people etc. not for my computer.
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Apple may have changed their policy at this point but in my experience there are two categories of refurbished.

1. Open box item. Person returned the computer because they just didn't like it. Perfectly fine. Apple wipes it, repackages it. But they can't sell it as new so it's called "refurbished". This used to be known as refreshed.
2. Item was damaged. Underwent repair. Now resold after having been repaired. This is the problem scenario for me. Apple often sends these out to a third party repair company. They have been known to not repair their own computers other than inside an Apple Store. And mostly desktop computers at that. These third party repair facilities often repair lots of different computers. Not just Apple. I've seen many refurbished computers come back with issues having been resold. The main problem is that Apple usually sends the item back out for repair instead of just exchanging the computer for a new one on the spot.

In all fairness, this does not happen often. But it's enough to sway me away from refurbs. Imagine you pay $2100 for a refurb. Two weeks later you have an issue. Would you want it repaired or replaced. The good news is that Apple sells AppleCare with all refurbs just as they do with new computers. (Although you only have 60 days to purchase I believe.)

Re entering email passwords after a Keychain reset

I am having a similar problem with one of my mail accounts.  I am not receiving emails in that account and it is asking me for a password.
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After a keychain reset as I think you have done recently, you'll be asked to re enter your passwords of various accounts. Your email accounts are included in this. Should be simple to solve. You can re enter your email passwords in a couple of different areas. Let's try system preferences first.

Under the black apple in the top left corner of your computer, choose System Preferences. Then select Internet Accounts. Click on the email account you wish to re enter the password to on the right hand side. You should see a drop down to re enter your password. That may do it. If not, let me know and I'll give you another way to enter your password to an email account.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 6.29.10 PM

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Scotty-

I tried your fix - it didn’t work.
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The very first thing you want to do when troubleshooting email password problems is first make %100 sure the password you think is correct, IS correct. To do this go straight to the source. If you're using gmail, go to gmail.com and log in from the webpage. If you're using Yahoo, go to yahoo.com and log in from the webpage. If you're using iCloud, go to icloud.com and log in using the webpage, and so on.


After you've proven to yourself you know the password proceed:

The next place to re enter your email passwords can be found in your Email program's preferences. Open up your email program. (I call it the stamp). Probably in your dock.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.39.46 PM

Open Preferences from the "File" drop down menu at the top.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.40.30 PM

Select Accounts, then the email account on the left. Then "Server Settings" across the top area.
Enter the password for both the incoming and outgoing settings.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.42.26 PM

If you don't see those choices you will need to do the following:

Select "Server Settings" then edit SMTP Server List

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.46.48 PM

Then enter the password here for the respective account.
Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 8.48.42 PM

If that doesn't work, there may be other issues at play, or something very obvious we are simply missing. If this does not work for you, send me your email and pw and I would be happy to troubleshoot it further for you.



Kindle book not accessible

Scotty, I have a question. One book on Kindle still stuck with cover showing and will not allow me to access contents

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Hard to say.

Try the double click trick of killing the application like we discussed.
Maybe try moving to a different book then back to that book again
Try turning off then on the wifi network on your iPad.
Try accessing the book from a different network like at a friends house. (just to see if there was an issue with your own network speed. Most likely not but good to rule out that possibility)

Resetting your keychain after admin password change or upgrade

You helped me install an updated OS on my Mac Book last week. I just tried to get into your Monday evening townhall for help and was unsuccessful.
At any rate, I am now unable to use my computer as I continually get keychain password requests.
Per online instructions I changed my password and this did not correct the problem. I’d appreciate any advice you might be able to give me.
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The keychain is the application on your Mac that holds all/most of your passwords relating to email accounts, wifi, and various other services. If a person changes their admin password, sometimes the keychain must be reset. This usually means that afterwards, you would be required to re enter your passwords for all the items mentioned previously. The computer will ask for those upon launching each service then you type in the password related to that program. For instance, open email. Email says "enter password for xyz@gmail.com". And so on.

To reset the keychain, the most effective way to do this is as follows:

First, before you ever do anything, always make sure you are backing up.

1. In the finder, go to the menu bar and select "Go". While holding down the "Option" key, you'll see "Library" appear in the list.
Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 6.30.27 AM

2. Select Library. Once that folder opens, go the the folder called "Keychains".

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 6.32.30 AM

3. Select the contents of that folder and throw them into the trash. You may be asked for your admin password.

4. Restart your computer. You'll now be asked for various passwords however now, when you enter them, your keychain will keep up with them.


NOTE: The whole reason this happens is for security. When your computer detects that the admin password has been changed, for security reasons, it assumes the worst and locks your old passwords from being viewed or used. Imagine if you had your computer stolen and the bad guy manages to change your password. You wouldn't want him to be able to view all the other passwords to your account.

Inconvienent I know. But as I say, security equals inconvenience. Hope this has helped.
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