Staff Directory 10644336

Steve Alexander

Columnist/Reporter | Technology
Steve Alexander follows consumer and business technology trends, and writes a weekly question and answer column for consumers.
Recent content from Steve Alexander

Alexander: Streaming TV and the need for speed

Streaming TV uses a lot of internet capacity.

Alexander: A drastic fix for a software conflict

Q: I’m unable to access the iTunes or iCloud programs on my Dell Windows 7 PC. Apple representatives who tried to help me said their…

Alexander: What to do if your PC screen flickers

Q: The screen of my HP laptop has begun flickering during start-up, right at the point when I would log in to Windows 10. This…

Alexander: What iPhone apps to use on a cellular network vs. over Wi-Fi

Q: You recently wrote that iPhone users can control whether an app uses a Wi-Fi network or the cellular network (see tinyurl.com/kfwpjsk). How can…

Alexander: How safe is it to use a tablet on a public Wi-Fi?

Q: When my apartment building added free Wi-Fi, I bought my first wireless device, a Kindle Fire tablet computer (my PC has a wired internet…

Alexander: Sorting out the conflict between Google Chrome and Malwarebytes

I frequently recommend the free Malwarebytes security program to clean PCs infected with viruses or other malicious software. So I was puzzled when two readers…

Alexander: How to cope with a flood of online ads

Q: My Samsung Galaxy S7 phone and Samsung tablet computer are both being inundated with pop-up browser ads. Touching an arrow on the corner of…

Alexander: Setting the right text tone on a phone

A technician at a Verizon Wireless store couldn't figure out what's wrong with my phone. I've done everything I can except perform a factory reset on the phone. Any ideas?

Alexander: Here's how to fix Wi-Fi printing software

Q: For several weeks, my Microsoft Surface Pro tablet computer printed via Wi-Fi to an HP Photosmart 6520 printer. But now, files that have already…

Alexander: A Wi-Fi network with too many gadgets

Q: I occasionally lose the e-mail connections on my two Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones when they are connected to my home Wi-Fi network. The network…

Alexander: Telling phone apps to use free Wi-Fi

Q: I’m on a low-usage monthly phone plan. As a result, I’d love to be able to set most of my smartphone apps to use…

Alexander: Finding lost e-mail and saving it online

Q: My PC’s hard drive crashed last year, causing me to lose all my data. I bought a new PC and used Microsoft’s Outlook 2007…

Alexander: Fixing Windows 7 and finding lost data

Q: In January, I upgraded my Dell Windows 7 laptop to the “assistive technologies” version of Windows 10, which is designed for people with disabilities.…

Alexander: Giving yourself more access to your PC

Q: When I try to use the Firefox browser on my Windows 8.1 PC, I get the error message “Windows cannot access the specified device,…

Alexander: How a PC virus scam really happens

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…

Alexander: 'Internet of Things' is vulnerable to hackers

Q: I read about the hacker attack last October that used household electronics, such as security cameras, to bombard a website with messages, causing the…

Alexander: How to choose between a tablet and a laptop

Q: My husband and I share an iPad, and he also has a laptop that belongs to his employer. Once he retires, I'd like for…

Alexander: How cell towers can block satellite radio signals

Q: I have a SiriusXM satellite radio in my car, but the signal consistently cuts out in specific areas around the Twin Cities. For example,…

Alexander: Vista updates aren't the real problem

Q: I read in your column that Windows 7 isn’t updating properly (see tinyurl.com/zzhdlyf). Do you know why I can’t update my PC’s Windows…

Alexander: How to get e-mail from an upgraded Outlook.com

I'm confused about Microsoft e-mails that tell me to reconnect my Outlook 2013 PC program in order to continue getting mail via their Outlook.com website. It said I needed to create a new profile. What is this about?

Alexander: Here's why free Linux won't take over PCs in 2017

Q: I’ve been using the free Linux operating system on my PC for 10 years, and I wonder why more people don’t have it. It’s…

Alexander: How to fix Windows updates gone awry

Q: I have a Windows 7 laptop from Best Buy that frequently shows the message “This computer is not running genuine Windows.” What is causing…

Alexander: Rescuing photos from a PC backup

I updated my Windows 7 PC to Windows 10, but then had trouble with my hard drive. To avoid losing any data, including 20 years of photos, I made a "system image" of my hard drive on seven DVD disks. Then I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled Windows 10. But now I can't retrieve the photos using Microsoft's Disk Management program. What can I do?

Alexander: Here is what to try when if your Wi-Fi signal fails often

Q: You recently wrote about the periodic loss of a home Wi-Fi signal (see tinyurl.com/zl62sq2), but it was specific to a user of AT&T’s…

Alexander: If you don't know what it is, don't click on it

Q: Occasionally I get a pop-up message on my four-year-old PC that says “To check for new device software, connect your PC to the internet…

Alexander: Samsung PC that updates slowly may be full or flawed

Q: I upgraded my four-year-old Samsung Ultrabook PC to Windows 10 about seven months ago. Windows updates are now taking 10 to 23 hours to…

Alexander: Failing gear, interference can cut off home Wi-Fi

Q: My wife’s PC loses its Wi-Fi internet connection about every other day. I don’t know if it’s caused by AT&T’s U-verse wireless router or…

Alexander: How to read data from a decades-old floppy disk

Q: I’m a doctor who was a medical missionary in Madagascar for 40 years, and the time has come for me to write my memoirs.…

Alexander: Older iPads, iPhones are obsolete but not risky

Q: In a recent column (tinyurl.com/zw24yu4), you mentioned several older Apple products that can't be updated to iOS 10, the newest version of the…

Alexander: iPhone shift from Wi-Fi to cellular data can get pricey

Q: My iPhone 6 Plus is one of six phones on my plan that share 40 gigabytes of cellular data per month. Although the phone…

Alexander: New ways to view or e-mail your photos

Q: Is there a program for organizing pictures that’s similar to what iTunes does with music? I’m looking for a way to scan photos once…

Alexander: How to fix an iPhone touch-screen disabled by a software upgrade

Q: I’ve updated my iPhone 6 Plus to the iOS 10 operating system. But it has caused the phone’s touch-screen to be disabled most of…

Alexander: No more updates for too-slow Apple iPads

Q: I have an iPad 2, and I’ve heard that Apple will no longer support it. At the same time, I’ve noticed that my iPad…

Alexander: Windows 7 still viable at 7 years old

Q: I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 PC that runs Windows 7. I’ve heard that Microsoft is no longer providing security updates for Windows 7.…

Alexander: How to make music files sing together

Q: I’m in a chorus, and we have recorded songs on my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone using the “Voice Recorder” app. That app stores the…

Alexander: Shifting technology complicates e-mail access while traveling

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the e-mail problem faced by international travelers (see tinyurl.com/ z5chbsg). But there’s more to the story. For security reasons,…

Alexander: What do to if your PC loses Wi-Fi after Windows 10 upgrade

Q: After I upgraded my HP Pavilion g7 laptop from Windows 8 to Windows 10, the Wi-Fi quit working. When I pressed the F12 key…

For travelers who use Microsoft e-mail, take along a 'trusted' PC

Q: I'm trying to get a security code from Microsoft so that I can access my e-mail while abroad. I need the code now, because…
Excerpt from Elizabeth Alexander's 'The Light of the World'

Excerpt from Elizabeth Alexander's 'The Light of the World'

He called his mother in faraway Asmara to tell her we were marrying. I got on the phone, having learned my “selam” — “hello”…

Elizabeth Alexander shares a favorite recipe of her late husband's

This recipe, reprinted from Elizabeth Alexander’s “The Light of the World,” is a favorite from her late husband, Ficre Ghebreyesus. Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato…

Alexander: When a browser becomes malware

Q: How can I get rid of the Chromium browser on my laptop? It’s pervasive and intrusive. Tom Urban, Toledo, Ohio   A: The original…

Alexander: The clash between browsers and security

My Firefox web browser has trouble connecting to secure websites such as Amazon and Netflix. I get the error message "SEC_ERROR_UNKNOWN_ISSUER," and a pop-up box claims that these websites aren't secure, or that I need new website certificates. I've reinstalled Firefox several times, but that hasn't solved the problem. What can I do?

Alexander: Unlocking old games to play on Windows 10 is pretty technical

Q: I have a new Windows 10 PC that won’t play any of my old games, such as Medal of Honor, Age of Empires or…

Alexander: Fixes for music, mail updates and browsing

Q: I have a Lenovo 2A tablet computer that uses the Android operating system. I have no problem transferring music from my PC to the…

Alexander: Adding photos to Windows 10 e-mails

Q: Before I upgraded my PC to Windows 10, I could copy and paste photos into the body of an e-mail. But after the upgrade,…

Alexander: Helping a 'smart' TV connect to Netflix

Q: I own a Samsung Smart TV that can’t connect to Netflix, even though it connects to every other streaming service available through the TV.…

Alexander: Beware of 'untrusted certificate' websites

Q: My Google Chrome Web browser occasionally gives me a warning about an “untrusted certificate” when I visit websites. There is a choice to “block”…

Alexander: Surface Pro tablet PC has many problems

Q: Can anything be done with a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 ­tablet computer that has small glitches everywhere? They include the keyboard not working, the…

Alexander: Fixing a PC that's lost its Edge browser

Q: I began using Microsoft’s new Edge Web browser after I upgraded to Windows 10, but now it vanishes from the screen moments after starting.…

Alexander: How to use decades-old software on today's PCs

But now that I've upgraded my PC to Windows 10, the software manufacturer, Enhanced Vision, says my vision software won't work with that operating system. Is there a way to run this Windows XP software on Windows 10?

Alexander: How to reverse a Windows 10 upgrade after 30 days

Q: Windows 10 was automatically installed on my office PC less than 30 days ago, so I was able to restore Windows 7 after reading…

Alexander: Black screen highlights flaw in Windows 10 upgrade

Q: My daughter’s 5-year-old laptop was working fine until Microsoft automatically updated it to Windows 10. Now, a Microsoft logo appears and then the screen…
Alexander: What to do if a drone buzzes your backyard

Alexander: What to do if a drone buzzes your backyard

Q: My husband and I have a backyard pool concealed by a privacy fence. That means I can dress less when I suntan. But what…

Alexander: Windows upgrades still creating confusion

Q: An acquaintance urged me to get the free Windows 10 update for my desktop PC, an Acer Aspire X3910 model that I bought at…

Alexander: Helping an iPad find a better Internet connection

Q: We have two PCs and two iPads, but only my iPad 2 is having trouble doing Internet searches and playing streaming videos. I get…

Alexander: Finding or fixing old software favorites

Q: I like Windows 10, but I miss the Microsoft Office photo editing program that I used on Windows 7. It allowed me to easily…

Alexander: Running to keep up with changes to PC software

Q: I keep getting notices from my bank and credit card companies to update my Web browser. But I’m using Internet Explorer 9, which I’m…

Alexander: Making lost cloud photos accessible once more

Q: Several years ago, I used the Kodak website to store and share pictures. It’s been so long ago that I can’t remember my password,…

Alexander: Finding a lost game on a phone or online

Q: My son has spent three years playing a game called CSR Racing on a Google Android phone, and has spent $500 in Google Play…

Alexander: How to watch YouTube, Facebook videos when not online

Q: I’d like to be able to watch my friends’ videos from YouTube or Facebook when I’m not connected to the Internet. Is there a…

Alexander: What to do when your portable gadget thinks you are not where you actually are

Q: I bought my HP laptop in Arizona and purchased my iPhone 6s Plus in Oklahoma. But when I do Internet searches, the PC and…

Alexander: Chip credit cards don't need special holders to shield them

Q: There are many protective holders being sold for RFID (radio-frequency identification) credit cards. Is there some way to tell which of these wallets and…

Alexander: How to fix Windows 10 to go back in time

Although Windows 10 was supposed to automatically create "restore points"), it didn't. And when I tried to manually create a restore point I got an error. What should I do?

Alexander: Windows 10 flaw tries to charge for free apps

Q: After upgrading my PC to Windows 10, I got a message saying that the “free trial” on my calculator app was over, and that…

Alexander: How dangerous is ransomware? Damages are growing

Q: As a businessperson, I’d like to better understand CryptoWall, the malicious program you wrote about (tinyurl.com/z43tzdw) that encrypts files on a PC and holds…

Alexander: Recovering files after your PC is attacked

Can normal PC operations be restored by reloading the original files from a previous backup of my entire PC hard drive?

Alexander: Fighting the CryptoWall hacking scam

Q: I received a screen message that said all my files had been encrypted (locked so they can’t be opened) by CryptoWall, and that if…

Alexander: How to update while avoiding Windows 10

Q: I recently read in your column (tinyurl.com/jh3mvoy) that I should change the way my Windows 8 PC receives updates if I want to avoid…

Alexander: Turning off a tablet frequently is just fine

Q: I was recently told that it will harm my tablet computer if I power it down after every use. Is that true, and, if…

What to do after a PC appears to have been hijacked

Q: I recently renewed my Norton security software, but declined a $10 PC security scan they offered. A while later, a message appeared on my…

Alexander: Windows 10 upgrade will get pushier

Q: I have Windows 7 Professional on several PCs, and they constantly get a Microsoft pop-up message asking me to update the PCs to Windows…

Alexander: What to do if a PC file just vanishes

Q: I recently added information to a Microsoft Word file in Microsoft Office 2000, then saved my changes and closed the file. But now the…

Alexander: Some help for the rural Internet blues

I recently suggested that consumers avoid using Verizon Wireless MiFi devices for Internet access because the unit’s unexpectedly high data usage caused people to overrun…

Alexander: Saving the photos on an older phone

Q: I have an old clamshell AT&T phone that contains photos I’d like to get printed. I’ve been told that, because of the age of…

Alexander: Another way to manage with carriers' data download limits

Ken Lapre, who lives near Fredericksburg, Va., has a problem that’s common on the outskirts of cities: little choice for Internet service. I quoted him…
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