Q: After reading your column about updating Windows 7 (see tinyurl.com/zzhdlyf), I typed your tinyurl address into my browser and got strange results. A repeating audio warning said I had a virus and spyware infection, and that I should call the number on the screen (855-257-9669) before the PC became disabled. I restarted the PC and got the same warning. I then ran Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (find it at tinyurl.com/z85al7o), which found nothing amiss. Finally, I called the number on the screen and played along while a man urged me to give him remote access to my PC, then hung up. Was this situation caused by your tinyurl?
Chuck Wilkinson, Eau Claire, Wis.
A: No. While I’m glad you realized that the man on the phone was running a scam, this wasn’t a chain reaction caused by you typing my tinyurl into your browser. It was caused by a malicious program on your PC that is still active and needs to be removed.
Known generically as the “855-257-9669 pop-up,” the malware produces the fake virus warning and the telephone “help” number that charges to “fix” your PC. It can also secretly download browser extensions, which change browser behavior, and other unwanted programs.
To uninstall the pop-up and remove traces of it from your browser, see tinyurl.com/gnm8w6c. But completely clearing it from your PC requires additional fixes. While the same website tells you how to do this manually, it requires the risky alteration of the PC’s registry (a database of settings), which I don’t recommend because of the potential for creating errors. Instead, run the free version of the Malwarebytes security program (see tinyurl.com/jsdacdk). I’m not criticizing the Microsoft security software; it’s just that no one program catches all malware.
Q: My printer, a Lexmark model Z2420, has stopped printing documents sent from my Windows 10 laptop. I’ve owned the printer for two or three years and bought the Windows 10 PC six months ago, and initially they worked together. What’s wrong?
Ray Hughes, Elida, Ohio
A: You have software compatibility problems. Lexmark has discontinued its model Z2420 printer, and as a result doesn’t provide Windows 10 software drivers for it. Lexmark suggests that you try its Windows 8 software drivers (see tinyurl.com/hzago2x), which might work. But future Windows 10 updates could render the Windows 8 drivers useless.
Q: My girlfriend traded her iPhone 5c for an iPhone 6s Plus. Because she couldn’t remember her Apple ID and password, the Verizon Wireless technician couldn’t transfer the old phone’s music to the new phone. Now she has a new Apple ID. How can she do the song transfer?
Mark Hemmann, Colorado Springs, Colo.
A: Because she lacks the original Apple ID data, the easiest way is to bypass Apple’s software entirely and try the non-Apple programs AnyTrans ($40; seven-day, limited-use free trial) for PC (tinyurl.com/h6qqaqs) or Mac (tinyurl.com/zrl4upq). Connect both phones to the computer via cable and click “clone device” to transfer songs from the old phone to the new one.
E-mail tech questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include name, city and telephone number.