to commonly asked questions.


Is it time for a VPN?

Is it time for us to start using a VPN?

Yes. The federal government just passed a law allowing your ISP to monetize your info. In other words, they can now sell personal information they collect by viewing what you do via your internet connection. Here's the new law:

A VPN (virtual private network) hides your home's IP address by routing all your internet traffic through a third party server. It prevents your service provider from seeing exactly what you are viewing. They only see that you are connected. Not your content. If you do not care about your privacy, there is no need to consider using a VPN. However, if you prefer to keep your browsing habits and history private, you should be in the market for a VPN.

For a great place to get started familiarizing yourself with what a VPN does go to:

Reseting your pw in OS X Yosemite

Hi Scotty,
We didn't get very far with daughter’s homework because we don't know the password. We bought the computer from my sister. She doesn't know it either. Any ideas?


Those are great screenshots so thanks for that.  Unfortunately it’s a little difficult (but not impossible) to reset the password.  The easiest path would be to acquire that password from the previous owner.  If that is no longer possible then it gets a little tricky.  It requires booting the computer in Recovery mode, opening terminal, entering the secret command “resetpassword” which triggers the password reset tool then changing the password from there.  If you’ve never done it before it can be a bit intimidating but overall it’s not too hard.   I can do it for you when I see you next time if you’d like.  Or if you’d like to try on your own, here’s a step by step guide:

Was I hacked?

Hi Scotty I am in a panic.  I let Linked In access our address book and now Apple has locked me out of my email due to security concerns.  I am guessing this is the reason.  Now I followed the links to change my password and duh, I can't get the emailed link to reset because I can't get my email.

Also, I tried again with the security questions and it does not accept my birthdate (which I think was used to set it up) or husbands.  So I am really stuck.  

What do you suggest?  I started getting replies from Linked In right away and need to access my email asap.

Thanks for any help.  I don't think we re-uped on Apple Care.
This is really crazy.  Just got off phone with Apple.  Our birthrates and security questions don’t match up. Could we have been hacked?  Husband is still getting emails under same account.  Meantime, they have to email me to a gmail account and it will take up to 24 hours!  This is crazy!  I am very disappointed in Apple.  

First question? Have you traveled outside of the country recently? Specifically to an island region? This can be very common when anyone joins an open wifi network. If the security question’s answers have been changed then it is likely that your account was hacked. I’ve seen this several times in the past. Secondly, was your password a word in the dictionary followed by 1-4 numbers like “butterfly1968” or “monaco47”? That sort of thing? If so, that also makes it easy to hack. You always want to choose a password that doesn’t exist in the dictionary. That makes it infinitely more difficult to hack. However, this wouldn’t matter if you have joined an open non-password protected wifi network where a bad guy was also lurking. This would mean your passwords could have traveled over that network unencrypted.

The first thing the bad guy does is go into your settings and changes the answers to security questions. This is also very common unfortunately. Usually the only way to solve this, is to convince Apple that YOU are the one telling the truth. This is a very frustrating step but we should keep in mind that they are trying to protect your account and make us work very hard to prove that WE are the ones telling the truth before they make changes to your account or give up information about that account. I suggest that people get a nice cup of coffee, relax, call AppleCare and be prepared to have a long frustrating conversation with the person on the other end. But in the end, you’ll be able to get the password reset once again.

Beware of scams

Hi Scotty,
Is this legit?  It looks kinda funny to me. 

No. This is a total hoax. The people who sent this out are trying to get you to click the link so that you’ll go to their website and enter your apple ID and password. Good catch. I’ve annotated the clues below and removed personal information. It’s also filled with incorrect grammar.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.52.39 AM

Bullying via social media

Scotty- I have a question- My daughter has someone pretending to be her on instagram...she steals her pics and edits them to be obnoxious and talks to people in a way that she would not...I consider it there anything we can do to find out who it is? It is someone that she knows because her instagram is set to private...for reference-she calls herself   .....she blocks anyone who calls her out on it...we're kinda at our wits end...any thoughts before I contact like the police? She wants to know who it is and call them out but not get them in real trouble at this point...


First step is to change your daughter's instagram account password.  If the posts continue then she may want to consider deleting the account.  That would be the most effective way to halt the invasion of privacy.  As far as discovering the person's identity, that could only really be achieved through subpoena of phone records with the help of an attorney.  Considering the large of amount of children involved in exactly this type of situation, it is highly doubtful the police will consider taking action.  You may most likely only be recommended to delete the account.  I've written about this type of activity extensively in my parenting newsletter available in the newsletters section of my website.

Good luck with the situation.  

Son forgot iPhone passcode

Hi Scotty.  My son changed his password and is locked out of his phone (serves him right!).  How do I unlock it?!

You may be out of luck. The only way to resolve this would be to restore the phone. And even then, if you/he have enabled “find my phone” within his iCloud settings, the phone would be unable to be restored. This is a security measure to deter theft. A bad guy steals your phone, wants to erase it so he can sell it, the “find my phone” feature must be turned off first therefore requiring the thief to also know the iCloud password making the phone useless.

Home security system options


After migrating from one computer to another, now I cant open word, which I have work on I need to finish. I also cant open excell. It downloaded adobe update just a few minutes ago and now its saying the plug in crashed. I dont even know what that means.

Sometimes these programs have problems when data is transferred from one drive to another.  The product key, which is an invisible file, is not always included in the transfer automatically.  It’s a royal pain in the butt to deal with.  (microsoft, go figure).  The adobe flash issue is common with all computers.  That should be a very easy fix.  We can do that remotely by simply reinstalling flash from the web.  However, the microsoft issue will be a bit more involved.  Do you have the original install disks?  Most likely yellow and says microsoft office 2008 or 2011?  That would be the most simple way of solving the issue.  Just reinstalling from the CD once again.  Let me know.  

My yahoo has been hacked!

Hi Scotty, I need to set up a home security system with nanny cams, would you help me with this or point me in the right direction for it? Or should I just call ADT or something?

You could go the high end professional route or just solve it yourself for way less money. Allow me to introduce you to Very simple. Very cool. You buy the camera(s) and add them to your wifi network then you can pay differing amounts for their could recording service depending if you’d like video records held for 7 days or 30 days. You could also just use the cameras without those recording services. I like dropcam!

iPhones not connecting to Linksys routers

Hi Scotty.
My husband wants an air card for his MacBook Pro - is there such a thing? If so, what would you recommend?

I would recommend a MiFi from Verizon. It requires a monthly data plan around $60 per month.
It's a small credit card sized box you carry around in your bag that allows you to get online when wifi is not available. It will allow multiple devices to be used at once like iPads, laptops etc… It usually requires a yearly contract.

Don't use passwords that are easy to crack.

iCloud Transition:
Screen Shot 2011-10-12 at 6.11.59 PM

The move to iCloud is a rather large one and should be done only when you have ample time to complete the transition. Like hours! You’ll need be running Lion 10.7.2 in order to use it.

1. Backup all your data. If you’re using Time Machine, great but it’s still a very good idea to export copies of your calendar and address book. To do so open iCal and in the menu bar: go to File>export>iCal archive. Save to desktop in case of an emergency. In Address Book go to File>export>address book archive. Save to desktop in case of emergency. These can be thrown away in a couple of days once you feel comfortable that iCloud is obeying.

2. Next, run your software update. Under the black apple in the top left hand corner of the screen choose “software update”. Allow everything. This should get you to Lion 10.7.2, iTunes 10.5 and a few other miscellaneous printer updates etc… Expect your computer to run slower. It’s just a fact of life that when you update to a newer version of any software, it’s very very very very likely that the newer versions of software are asking your computer’s processor to do a little more. You may not notice one update’s effect on your hardware but over time and several updates, you’ll start to notice.

After the first set of updates are run, you should go to software update once again because there will be another update for iPhoto that wasn’t available before. Run that update. You should now notice an iCloud icon in the system preferences.

Screen Shot 2011-10-12 at 5.17.10 PM

3. Now connect your iPad or iPhone up to iTunes. You should be asked to update to iOS 5. If not, then simply select the iPhone or iPad on the left hand side of iTunes then choose “info” from the buttons across the top of the iTunes window. Next choose “update”. iTunes will backup your device then start the slow process of downloading about 700 megs of iOS 5 updates.

4. Now go to and attempt to log in. You’ll be prompted to go to and log in to initiate the move of data from me to iCloud. Have your lawyers look over the new terms of service that Apple pushes by you and allow. You’ll notice that Apple is taking some features away that were present in MobileMe; iDisk, MobileMe galleries, iWeb publishing, certain syncing information that nobody used. (Hopefully Apple will replace the gallery feature with some photo stream branch later) You’ll be told that you need to update all your computers and iOS devices. but you will have already done this in the steps above.

5. After iOS 5 has downloaded and your devices are updated you’ll be walked through a simple iCloud setup once you start up your iPad or iPhone. Notice in iPhoto that you now have a folder called “photo stream”. Pictures will now sync automatically without using a cable. Your iWork documents will begin syncing without using a cable and you’ll be able to move songs, movies, etc… to and from iTunes without the cable. It’s magic. Hopefully it will all work.

Screen Shot 2011-10-12 at 5.49.35 PM

6. Open the App Store app and check for even more updates to iMovie, iWork, etc… There’s also a cool new update to AppleTV second Gen that allows photo stream sharing, NHL, Airplay from iPad 2’s and a little more.

7. Finally, be ready for setbacks.

Screen Shot 2011-10-12 at 5.58.38 PM

The smart thing to do is to do nothing at all right now. Wait for the crowds to update to iCloud this week then at the first of next week take your turn. The servers are up and down in the beginning. Be patient.

If all goes well you’ll get a notification from your system preferences that your MobileMe account is ready to be upgraded to iCloud. After allowing, you’ll see message stating success.

Screen Shot 2011-10-12 at 7.46.22 PM

Good luck!

How do I recover my wireless password?

I bought the express and got as far as joining my existing network but now I am not able to get online as my mac can't read the modem or routers.  So I am stuck. Boo. I really thought I could do this. Any suggestions?

Remember you want to select to extend the network, not "join" it.  If you haven't resolved it yet, try holding down the reset button on the bottom as you plug in the device.  Use a pen to hold the button down first then plug it in to the wall.  Continue to hold the button down until you see the amber light blink at least 5 times then let go.  The light will go solid.  Now wait about 30 seconds until it goes from a solid amber to a blinking amber.  You should now be able to see your airport express in airport utility and can start over the process of extending your current network.

Certificate expired. What now?

What do u think about AT&T uverse?  Have you heard anything about their service for home Internet and tv?

Reviews are mixed. Many of my clients who have ATT Uverse love it. They say download speeds are faster and they enjoy being able to go room to room watching tv. I’ve hear others complain about the actual quality of the video. Overall I think it’s fine as long as you don’t replace your airport extreme router with the ATT router. The current routers ATT gives out are only capable of 54 megs across the network which is sub standard. This does not effect internet speeds. Only computer to computer file transfer over your home network. I say overall it’s ok. I don’t have too much negative to say about it.

Are these startup items ok?

I need to purchase a projector for a website demonstration. We need one that is Mac and PC compatible.  Is this something you can help us with?  Do you sell them?  Can you help us set it up?  Which model do you like?  We don't know anything about this.
Thank you so much!

I don't sell any products.  But to answer your other questions...any DVI enabled LCD projector will be fine.  It's not a matter of computer compatible but rather what connectors are involved.  The most common video output is DVI although many Apple computers require an adaptor like mini-DVI to DVI or the new display port to DVI adaptor.  It just depends on the computer.  I would be happy to assist you setting it up.  You're going to want to consider price and quality.  You can buy a decent projector for around $500 and pay less if you want less quality.  

Generally you're paying more for a brighter bulb, a higher resolution and more connection features.  I don't have a personal favorite but I think overall, budget will be the largest factor.  I would strongly suggest checking here first to get your feet wet. - lcd projector

Finding your password on your computer

Hi Scotty,

You helped a while back with recovering some data/pics on our G4 that died. We've replaced that with a new desktop.

We also have an HP laptop that was dropped and now the screen is dark. We know the computer is still working, we can see that, but the screen won't light.

Do you do any repair type work on non MACs? If not, any suggestions?

Thanks so much,

I'm sorry that I don't work on Windows Computers nor have I found a good resource to refer people to.  Of course there's the Geek Squad but your experiences will vary with them.  Can't say I recommend them completely.  You might try an online service like Laptop Computer Repair The Laptop Guy
You could google "laptop screen repair" and go from there.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Yahoo account compromised

I have updated my addresses on my computer and they are not updating on my palm pixi.  Everything synced to normal.  DO I need to sync again or should it autoatically do this.  Also, I do not know how to get my addresses onto my ipad.  Do I need to sync them with a usb? Or should it be doing it automatically.  My ipad doesnt seem to be remotely syncing with my computer/google account?
Thanks for your help the other day.  Just a few kinks to work out.

If you have google contacts set to sync within Apple’s Address Book, and a google account on the pixi, then it should work. But nothing’s never easy. First check in Address Book. Go to Preferences for Address Book and

Screen shot 2011-04-01 at 12.20.09 AM

You may want to uncheck then check again and it will ask for password and username. Reenter to assure these are correct. If all else fails, you can sync your contacts directly using Mark Space’s Missing Sync. But you shouldn’t have to pay for something that google offers for free.

Google’s contacts work on an exchange server. Here’s a way to make it happen automatically on the iPad:
Gmail iPhone Sync Review - iPhone Apps, iPad apps & iPod touch App Reviews | AppSafari
A lot of steps but usually works well.

Another method:
Sync & import Google Gmail Contacts on iPad

Password to MobileMe not responding.

Thanks again. AM doing my mail from Apple Mail. How do I delete entourage???

Even though you’ve moved to Apple’s Mail program and away from Entourage, I don’t think it’s a good idea to delete Entourage quite yet. First, you want to make absolutely sure that you’re happy in Mail. The one thing you could do is go to Entourage’s preferences and turn off Sync Services. This will take one more step out of the syncing loop therefore reducing the chance of duplicates.

When you ARE ready to delete entourage you can do so by going into the documents folder, deleting the “microsoft user data folder”, and deleting the application from microsoft office folder in the applications folder. I suggest you just leave it however. You WILL want to select mail as your default email program. You can do so by going to mail’s preferences.
Screen shot 2011-03-30 at 11.05.31 PM

Security Certificate expired. What now?

I keep getting an error message that my user name or password are wrong for my .mac (or .me) account are wrong and it won't receive emails. only send them.
I have checked both in the settings, nothing is working. On my phone, pc, Ipad, nothing. Does this mean my Mobileme subscription is out of date or something?

It’s possible. The first thing to check is to try to log in to If the password you assume is correct works there then the next step is to delete your account from then re-add. If that does not solve the issue then the next step would be to delete the keychain holding the old mobileme password.

If the password does not work in the first place, then you’ll need to reset it at

iTunes needs to authorize the new computer.

See below the results form the internet speed test and the comments from the installer.

Here are the results of my own home network taken 2 minutes ago. I use Road Runner basic package and pay about $42 per month for my internet access. Almost all of my clients who are using cable usually get between 8-15 megs down and close to 1 meg up. DSL usually clocks in much slower on the download at around 5-8 megs. And DSL’s upload speeds are usually a little faster than cable at around 1.5 up.

Screen shot 2011-03-16 at 8.34.35 PM

Look at the Grade gave his results. D+. That should tell you something right there. Granted, we are comparing business to residential, but business should be faster than home in my book. Note in the chart below the average speed of NC vs. USA vs. Me vs. where you are.
Screen shot 2011-03-16 at 8.49.16 PM

Do I need to turn on my firewall? I'm getting lots of junk.

Hi Scotty,
My Lacie 500GB hard drive that sits on top of my MacMini in my living room, is no longer being recognized by the Mini.
I've changed the chord between the two, rebooted both systems, unplugged and plugged back in ... but all that happens is the little indicator light on the front of the Lacie just pulses on and off ... every once in while it goes solid again ... but in all cases it is not recognized.

Do you have a quick thought on how I might fix this, or do you think this is just a dead hard drive? This is my drive with all my songs on it (almost 10,000 songs).

In any case, for the last year I have had a blank 1TB External Hard DRive (for Mac) just waiting in its box for something like this to happen.

Any thoughts?

Is it as simple as unplugging the old and plugging in the new and just download the songs back onto my new hard drive?

Every drive dies. It sounds like it was time for this one to go. In some cases it’s only the enclosure that has failed. You can try pulling the drive out of the Lacie enclosure and putting the drive into a new enclosure to see if you can get the data. Hopefully you had this drive backed up to another drive. I seem to remember we had time capsule pushing that data over. If this is the case then you might as well break out the new drive and get started with the transfer.

Static IP and VPN setup

Some electricians convinced me a surge protector for he house was a good idea (for all appliances and computers)
Was I sold a bill of goods?


This is perhaps the best and most important question I’ve gotten. I want to make clear that my reference to useless surge protectors was aimed at the 5 or 6 plug outlet extension chord types most people use near their computers, tv’s or video game systems. Those are (in my opinion) %100 worthless when fending off a direct lightning strike. They are good for small fluctuations in power and are designed to basically terminate power via a small circuit breaker based on a fuse inside.

Now the type of surge protection you are referring to is a home wide system that is designed to withstand a great deal more increase or decrease in power. This is far different from the power strips I was thinking of however, I have seen electricity do whatever it wants to. I’ve seen computers damaged by only ethernet cabling. If actual lightning hits your home, then the only %100 true protection that your electronics are not going to be in the physical path of electricity is to have them unplugged.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the home wide system is a good investment. It will most certainly help against brown power. That’s when the voltage goes up and down in small increments. That’s also where an UPS (uninterrupted power supply) comes in very handy as well.

Ultimately though, at the risk of offending someone, if lightning is the hand of God, it will do whatever it wants to. And if there is a physical wire connecting one item to another. Nothing will stop it. If there where something that could guaranteed to stop lightning, then let’s go sailing out on Lake Norman during the next summer evening thunderstorm, hook it to the mast and see what happens.

I don’t mean to be flippant. I just see a lot of damage to computers during the summer due to this. And they all same the same thing. “I had it connected to a surge protector”. 3 computers last week just in my client base alone.

Slow internet and SSL on the iPhone

How do you take someone off your favorite list from your phone and keep them in contacts.
Looked on apple and can not find answer



Removing a contact from your favorites list should not remove them from your contacts list. You can select edit on the favorites screen and then select the minus button. Your contacts list should not be affected.

Recovering a lost password...

Hey Scotty,
Strange with the condo computer last night.  We had a heck of a time printing as child finally figured out that the printer name was changes from “Condo Printer” to “HP Laserjet Series 1” (or something like that).  Any ideas how/why that would happen?
Then, child’s homework was a nightmare as the word document somehow ended up read only, …. Her USB wouldn’t eject properly, etc.
So, I thought I would shut it down and can’t do that either.  No icons on the screen now – just a picture.
Can you let me know how I can reset it?


With the printer,  If it was connected to your wireless router then any changes we made to the router would have effected the printer's name.  Just deleting the printer and re adding it in your printer system preferences should work.  

As for the "read only" USB ejecting issues, those have nothing to do with the network.  Sometimes the permissions of a file can change depending on their location on the hard drive.  Permissions are sort of a dark art and can change at random.  Sounds like the computer had a problem and force shutting down may be the best way to solve it.  Hold down the power button until the computer turns off then restart.  It should resume normal behavior if there's no larger issue at work.  

macs galore in SFO.

Here is my situation.  I have a latest generation white MacBook with a cracked LCD display.  The computer is about 5 weeks old.  The nice gentleman at the Apple Store said that you offered a cost effective LCD replacement service.  Can you confirm this and also provide me with a quotation?


I'm very sorry to hear of the damage.  While I could perform the repair, my cost would be very high as well.  I suggest you try these guys.  I've dealt with them a few times before and they're prices have been lower than anything I could do.  If you end up doing business with them, I would love to hear how it went and what your experience was.  Microreplay.  Give it a shot.

here's the link:
MacBook Screen Repair : MicroReplay, Your independent provider of Apple parts, systems and repair.

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