Q I recently had to replace my nine-year-old Windows XP computer, and am having trouble adapting to Windows 7.
What are the advantages, if any, for me to upgrade to Windows 8, which I've read has touch-screen capability and works with other equipment besides desktop computers? Since I don't have a touch screen, I'm wondering if there is any point in upgrading.
PETER ROBINSON, CHASKA
A Different versions of Windows 8 are being offered on PCs, tablet computers and smartphones. But in every case the new operating system is primarily aimed at people who are using touch-sensitive screens.
So unless you're planning to buy a touch-screen in connection with upgrading to Windows 8, you're probably better off continuing to use Windows 7. By most accounts, using the touch-screen-oriented Windows 8 with a mouse and keyboard is more difficult than using previous Windows versions with a mouse and keyboard.
In addition, if you find the changes in Windows 7 to be challenging, I suspect you won't enjoy the more radical changes embodied in Windows 8 (i.e. much different start screen.)
I'm not saying you should never upgrade to Windows 8; just let Microsoft deal with some of these usability issues first.
Q I disagree with your warning to never click the unsubscribe link to put a stop to spam e-mails. Totally inundated with spam, I began unsubscribing and cut my spam down from more than 50 a day to one or two.
Some spam senders were more difficult to shake than others. I threatened a non-existent Florida corporation that I would go to their state attorney general's office, but never heard from them again. I gave a dental company a taste of their own medicine until they finally stopped sending me e-mail. Others just took me off their lists pronto. It has been well worth the effort.
DEBORAH GRAY MITCHELL,
A Your strategy will work with legitimate companies and with spammers who can be located and threatened with legal action.
Unfortunately, most spam producers are neither legitimate nor traceable. When you respond to their e-mails, you confirm that yours is a working e-mail address, and therefore fair game.
At the same time, you've essentially challenged some spammers to a duel, a risky business because they know your e-mail address. Make sure you have a strong e-mail password to prevent tampering.
As a result, I can't recommend your approach to others.
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