Q: How do I remove Google Hangouts from my Motorola Android phone? I prefer to use the basic SMS [Short Message Service, another name for text­ing] that came with the phone.

Mike Hemphill, Minneapolis


A: I suggest you turn off Google Hangouts, a text, photo and video chat service that is the default program in newer versions of Google’s Android operating system. Deleting Hangouts is a risky process that’s better avoided.

Because you acquired Google Hangouts in an Android upgrade, I’m not sure if your original SMS application is still there. You may need to download and install a new one from Google Play (tinyurl.com/7kyo7cr.)

Then, on your phone, go to “Settings,” then “More,” then “Default SMS app.” You’ll see the circle beside “Hangouts” is filled in. Click the circle next to your original or newly downloaded SMS app to make it the default. Hangouts will remain on for instant messaging.

Also go through your phone’s “notifications” settings to make sure only your SMS app, and not Hangouts, will alert you to new texts.

It’s possible to delete Hangouts, but you need to set up “root access” to the Android operating system. That makes you a “super user” who can delete anything, a mixed blessing because if you delete the wrong thing your phone won’t work. But, if you want to try it, see tinyurl.com/l73kgpg and tinyurl.com/lf9kq5c.


Q: How do I password-protect only some of the files on my Windows 8 computer? Also, how can I password-protect data on a thumb drive?

Jerry Epperson, Nipomo, Calif.


A: You can’t password-protect individual files in Windows 8. But you can opt for a deeper level of file protection called encryption.

Encryption software will scramble files so that they can only be unscrambled with the same software on the same computer by the same user (assuming each user of the computer has a different login identity). You can also encrypt an entire portable thumb or flash drive.

Windows 8 will even do the encryption for you through a function called “Encrypting File System” that works in connection with Windows Explorer. For a video, see tinyurl.com/p38d43k. For a written explanation with screen shots, see tinyurl.com/ottda5u.


Q: When I try to rip an audio CD into my Windows 7 music library, I get the message, “Windows Media Player cannot rip one or more tracks from the CD.” What’s wrong?

Jay Bowman, Haddonfield, N.J.


A: The problem could lie within the Windows Media Player settings, or there could be file corruption in the database that stores the music. For detailed instructions on how to deal with either problem, see Microsoft’s explanation at tinyurl.com/mvm9b3a.


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