Q: While reading a Facebook article, I encountered a repeating pop-up box saying I had won a $500 Amazon gift card. When I couldn’t get rid of the box, I finally clicked on it and completed part of the survey required to get the card.

I haven’t gotten the gift card, but I have received more than 600 spam e-mails, most of them dealing with pornography. I’ve tried unsubscribing to each of them — sometimes I’ve been successful, but other times I’ve gotten a “mail delivery failure” message for the unsubscribe request. Is there any way to stop the spam?

Patty Bohn, Wernersville, Pa.


A: There’s no way to completely eliminate spam, but you can minimize it by not clicking on questionable online offers and not trying to unsubscribe from spam e-mail. It also helps to refer spam messages to your e-mail provider’s spam-filtering software and to use pop-up blocking software.

Online offers of the too-good-to-be-true variety are typically bait to obtain your personal information, such as your e-mail address. Responding to them is likely to increase the amount of spam you receive.

Trying to unsubscribe to spam is a waste of time and is likely to increase the amount of unwanted mail you receive. A spammer will see an unsubscribe request as confirmation that you received his or her message and acted on it. That means that a) your e-mail address works, and b) you might respond to future offers contained in junk e-mail. As a result, you receive more spam.

Because you use Gmail, you should refer spam messages to its “junk” mail folder, which is used to update its spam-blocking software. Gmail’s spam filter already stops a lot of unwanted mail from reaching your inbox, and by alerting it to spam it missed you can broaden its filtering efforts. Click the box next to a spam e-mail, then click the “report spam” button, which is to the left of the “trash” icon and is a stop sign with an exclamation point.

To prevent getting unwanted pop-ups, use a “pop-up blocker” with your browser. (To find pop-up blocker add-ons for several popular browsers, see tinyurl.com/y7tf4g48). To get rid of any pop-up software that’s already on your computer, download and run the free version of Malwarebytes (see tinyurl.com/jsdacdk).


Q: I use Windows 10, and I’m having trouble resizing an individual window on the screen. I can use the “minimize” and “exit” icons at the upper right corner of the window, but the icon that makes the window take up less than the full screen doesn’t work. What can I do?

Frank Fasullo, Baton Rouge, La.


A: This is probably a settings problem. Because Windows 10 is designed to run on desktops, laptops and tablets, it can be set for use on a traditional PC screen or a touch-tablet screen. Your copy of Windows may be on the tablet setting, which limits the resizing of on-screen windows.

If so, you can fix the problem by right-clicking the “notifications” icon (a box at the lower right corner of the Windows 10 toolbar) and choosing “open action center.” At the bottom of the resulting menu, you will see a box called “tablet mode.” If that box is blue, it’s on. Click it to turn it off. You should now be able to resize windows on your screen.


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