to commonly asked questions.

Do I have a virus?

Scotty, this just popped up on the computer. What do I do?



This is an ad designed to scare you into falling for their trick of calling that phone number. It is 100% fake. It's a trap. The easiest thing to do is quick Safari, hold down the shift key and restart safari. That will take you away from the ad. You most likely ended up on this page because either the site you were on sold advertising to a company that sold this ad or you accidentally typed a website name incorrectly.

You can read more of what I've written about these types of traps here:

viruses | Answers | Sells Consulting
scams | Answers | Sells Consulting

If you have further problems, I'm happy to help.

Why parenting software doesn't work.


Don't think you are smarter than your kids. You're not. Remember, they're growing up in a world where they use these devices 24/7. They never had to "learn" to use this stuff like you did and are. Think of it like a foreign language. A kindergartener can learn a new language in about 4 months. A 1st grader in about a year. A second grader it may take about a year and a half, A 40 year old may take years. And so on… Their minds are designed to work within a space you just simply can't comprehend as well as they can. Just as they will not be able to with their own children one day.

So, even though you think "the guy from the FBI" that came to speak at the school knew what he was talking about when he recommended a piece of software to use, he didn't. You're kids are smarter than him. Don't believe me?

How to bypass our pact! (Thing that disables your phone!) - YouTube
How to disable Prestige Ourpact parent Lock!! - YouTube
7 Ways Your Children Might Bypass Parental Control Software
How To Bypass OurPact

Don't worry. I'm not revealing any major secret here. Your kids know what google is. Do you think people your age are writing this software? They're not. Remember, your child doesn't have to break the code. They just have to find somebody else who has. They are working within the collective mind of their school and eventually, the entire internet.

I took typing in High School. Now kids just absorb typing. The same will one day be true with software engineering. Your best defense is to be a parent. Don't rely on software. it's a nice addition but it's not a replacement to mom and dad.

Should I restore my new phone through iCloud or iTunes?

I followed your advice and went to the apple store to get a proper replacement. They were not able to fix my phone and are replacing it however I walked away with them holding the new device as I had not backed up my phone and didn’t want to lose the info. They told me to come home and back up to my computer. Do you suggest backing up to my computer or just turning icloud back up on? I cannot for the life of me remember what you told me at our first meeting, I think, I recall you saying something about icloud back up. Just wanted your thoughts cause we set up that I share all my photos in the library on the phone etc and didn’t want to make a mistake when replacing the device. Hoping to get this figured out and get back to northlake for the 3rd time today:(

Your iOS device will backup to iTunes OR iCloud but not both so you have to choose as you may already know.

Turn on iCloud backup if:

you can connect to a power source for a prolonged period of time
your device can use wifi during the backup
you have enough iCloud space to store the backup.

Use iTunes if:

you don't have enough space in iCloud
are unwilling to purchase space in iCloud

If you have purchased more space in iCloud there's a good chance your pictures are in the cloud already. To check, go to Settings, iCloud, iCloud storage. That will give you the amount of space you rent from Apple and the amount you're using. Their plans are:

5 gigs Free
50 gigs .99 cents a month
200 gigs $2.99 a month
2 TB $9.99 a month

Most people can easily live within the 50 or 200 plan. No one can fit all their pictures into the free plan. That should give you an idea of where you are space wise.

Next, if you chose not to encrypt backups, you'll need to re enter several passwords after the device is restored. That is normal. I encourage people not to use encryption on the backup. It takes a tremendous amount of time longer to accomplish. Security equals inconvenience.

Lastly, at the bare minimum, you can check your iCloud Photo library status by:

on the phone go to settings, iCloud, Photos
make sure iCloud Photo library is on
make sure Photo stream is on

The other options, burst photos, sharing, are optional. I usually turn on sharing but leave burst photos off iCloud.

Then compare on your Mac. Go to system preferences, iCloud, Photos, select the options button on the side and mirror the same settings.

Is my Time Machine working?

Hi Scotty you were here a while back and we set up a seagate expansion drive and now I can’t view files on them. I plug it into my MacBook air, time machine comes up, I click stuff, I’ve googled…. the restore button never gets “blue” so it’s not an option…. don’t know if this warrants scheduling an onsite visit or not, any help would be greatly appreciated

First thing I'd want to know is: Is the time machine actually backing up? The way to determine this is to double click on the drive and you should only see one folder. A folder called Backups.backupdb. Inside that folder should be a (hopefully long) list of dates including a very recent one from the last time it successfully backed up. If this is not the case, something is wrong. If you do see this long list of dates, then more likely there could just be a misunderstanding of how the Time Machine interface works.

Time Machine doesn't recover all items the same way. For instance, you can recover an individual photo, email, or contact while in the Time Machine interface but you have to have the program open before entering. However, other folders may not allow for individual contents to be restored. This is still usually not a problem as you can always go into the folders manually and retrieve and item if needed.

If this is your only concern you may not want to schedule a session just for this. I hold my town hall on Mondays at 7pm for this exact type of thing. This Memorial Day excluded.

Where to repair screen?

Hi Scotty, Hope you are well. Is it better to go to the apple store to repair a cracked screen or use an outside source? Cant even get in to the genius bar:(

While Apple sees accidental damage and charge more for the repair, a great deal more, the DO use Apple parts for the repair. The problem with the third party repair shops is that if they are not Apple Certified, they are not legally using Apple certified parts. I just left a client yesterday that had their phone repaired by a third party shop and their question for me was, "why does my new screen have a blue tint to it?" I also see it often where the quality of those parts fail within months.

So they are cheaper than Apple but your results will vary. Get price quotes for both and if Apple is anywhere close to reasonable, go with them.

Spectrum not handing out more Apple Mail accounts makes no sense.

Bought a new MAC and tried to set up Charter/Spectrum email on it like it was on the old MAC. Click on mail icon and there it was. Called Charter support, they say call Apple. Called Apple support and they said they see a note that Charter/Spectrum is not accepting any more Apple mail accounts. I tried multiple settings when on the phone with both support groups. Have you heard of this, am I just stuck and have to log in to Spectrum website to check mail from now on (it's awful), or can you maybe fix it with an appointment? Thank you!

Never heard of such a thing.  Spectrum not accepting more apple mail accounts?  That makes no sense.  Does the email work on any other device? Phone, iPad, other computer?  If so, we can get it set up on the computer.

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 ...

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?

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?

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?

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?


Why does my computer get slow? Do I have too much stuff on it?

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?

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 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.

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.

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 email is not functioning on your Mac, first step is to verify that your password is correct.  Go to 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.


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?

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.47.25 AM


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?

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

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.

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.

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



I tried your fix - it didn’t work.

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 and log in from the webpage. If you're using Yahoo, go to and log in from the webpage. If you're using iCloud, go to 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

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)
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