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 gift cards buying new features for the game. But recently the game reset itself to level one, rather than the level 234 he had achieved. My son is autistic, so when he gets into something he does it full tilt, and he was devastated when this happened.

We’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling the game app, but his previous game seems to be lost. We e-mailed the game developer, but got no response. Is there anything we can do?

Troy Ersfeld, Apple Valley


A: I sympathize with your situation. Whether you can recover your son’s lost car racing game will depend on how he used it.

CSR Racing can be played with or without an Internet connection, but in either case the game’s progress (such as your son’s 234-level achievement) should be recorded in a “save file.”

If your son played online (which occurs only if the player selects that option in the game), his game progress may have been recorded in a save file on the game-maker’s Internet server. Try using the newly reinstalled game to recover the save file from the online server.

But if your son played the game without an Internet connection, the “save file” that records game progress existed only on the phone. That save file and all other game data were permanently erased when you uninstalled the game.

But even if the original game data are gone, I suggest that you request help from CSR Racing creator NaturalMotion Games. Rather than e-mail the company, try reaching it through the “contact” portion of its website (see tinyurl.com/glpchx2). Explain your situation, and ask if they can add an in-progress game (set to level 234) to your son’s online save file.


Two readers said they were worried about ClipGrab, a free downloadable program that I recommended last week. ClipGrab copies video clips from YouTube or Facebook to a PC’s hard drive or to a flash drive (see tinyurl.com/zuodpmp).

Michael Frisch of St. Louis Park said his Norton antivirus software deems ClipGrab “unsafe.”

Carl Rolfs of Kasson, Minn., said he downloaded ClipGrab, but was immediately warned by his AVG antivirus software that it contained a virus called “MalSign.OpenCandy.”

Before recommending, I downloaded ClipGrab and used it without harm. But after receiving their e-mails, I decided to scan my PC with Malwarebytes (download it for free at tinyurl.com/nc7pfea).

Malwarebytes didn’t find a virus, but it did discover an annoying program (which I believe was downloaded along with ClipGrab) that can alter your Web browser to show ads and unwanted websites. The program, called “pup.optional.OpenCandy,” belongs to a class of software called “potentially unwanted programs.”

Malwarebytes easily deleted the OpenCandy program, and ClipGrab continued to work well without it. I suggest that any reader who plans to download ClipGrab also use Malwarebytes to find and delete the unwanted companion program. Alternatively, you can use one of the other video copying programs that I mentioned in last week’s column.


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.