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Issue #703: January 10-16, 2021

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Geek Note: As the new year picks up steam, I want to close the books on some unfinished business from 2020.  So, pardon me while I do a little early spring cleaning and publish some bits and pieces that didn’t make it to the column anywhere else.

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 Near the end of August, reader Connie P. wrote in about a problem with e-mails coming from her husband’s account containing the name “Customer Service” in the “From:” field (I.G.T.M. #684: August 30, 2020).  After the column published, Connie wrote back to let me know that she was unable to correct the problem using the information I had provided.  When I followed up with her later, she told me that a friend of theirs had solved the problem for them, but she didn’t know what he did to fix it.  We exchanged multiple e-mails, and she contacted the friend who had made the fix to ask on my behalf what he had done.  His response was “I logged onto his email in the web browser on the server.  On his profile we corrected the name.  It took 24 hours to migrate over but then problem solved.”  I’m going to consider this one a “win” because the problem got solved, and the ultimate solution matched pretty well with my advice in the original reply.

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 In early November, reader Corwin D. asked a question about how to completely remove the remnants of the Avast! virus scanner, which had persisted on his computer even though he went through the proper removal procedure (I.G.T.M. #693: November 1, 2020).  I answered Corwin, and gave him some detailed procedures to remove the “Avast Overseer” which kept causing duplicate shortcuts to appear on his desktop.  Corwin was kind enough to follow-up with me the next week with this comment:

“No questions just many thanks for responding to Issue #693 on Avast Overseer. Exactly what I was seeking and worked flawlessly.  My heartfelt thanks & appreciation.”

You’re very welcome, Corwin!  I don’t often get to hear first-hand whether my advice solved a reader’s problem.  It was refreshing to get that from you, along with the complimentary words.  Write in again when the next problem arises!

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 Q: After a recent update of Microsoft Outlook, I am no longer able to access my Outlook emails. Can you give me some guidance in this? Thanks.

 – Thomas S.
Crestview, Florida

A: Honestly, Thomas, no, I can’t.  There is almost no information in your question that I can use as a starting point to formulate a solution for you.  I get a lot of questions like this, on a wide variety of issues, and I don’t run them in the column for that very reason. 

Now, I don’t mean to pick on you, Thomas, but I wanted to get the message out to all my readers that in order for me to provide assistance, I need you to help me to help you.  At the very least, it always helps to have a comprehensive description of what happened, hopefully an error message or even a screen shot that demonstrates the issue.  Just saying that something “doesn’t work” really doesn’t tell me anything.  This is especially true with e-mail, since you’re dealing not only with the installed e-mail client software software, but a fairly technical configuration of your e-mail account (often multiple accounts) and the specific requirements of your email client’s connection to your provider’s e-mail server.  There are dozens of things that can be mis-configured that can cause all manner of problems, and that doesn’t even count simple bugs within the e-mail software itself.

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 So, my Geeks, let’s move on into the new year with our technology serving us better than ever before.  Remember, don’t limit your questions to PCs and Windows.  I encourage questions on all aspects of your tech life, from gadgets, to cyber security, to the latest data breach and how it affects you.  So, write me, and be sure you include enough information for me to understand your issue, and get you the answer you’re looking for!  Happy 2021, everybody.

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