Geekette Frequently Asked Questions and Answers2021-09-29T14:44:14-07:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Chances are somebody has already asked your question, and the answer is here!  If you have a question that has not been answered, please submit it using the form to the right.

How Do I Fix the “Printer Offline” Problem on a Windows Computer?2019-12-08T14:46:02-08:00

Often times you may get a “Printer Offline” error message when you try to print a document, and your printer is ON, and you KNOW it’s on!  It worked fine yesterday!

Frustrating!

So here are the basic steps to go through if you get this message:

  1. Check to make sure the printer is turned on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer/phone
  2. Power off the printer, and power it back on.
  3. Set your printer as the default printer
  4. Run the Printer Troubleshooter (often times Windows can fix it’s own problem)
  5. Restart the Print Spooler Service
  6. Remove and re-add your printer to your Computer (last resort)

Let’s start with detailed instructions for number 3., since 1 and 2 you probably have already done.  🙂

As always, if you’d rather I do this for you, please call me or send me a message using the contact form!

Setting your printer as the default printer

geekette troubleshoot offline printer

Note

If you select OK, Windows will stop automatically setting the last printer you used as your default printer. To re-enable this feature, select the Start  button, and then select Settings  > Devices  > Printers & scanners  > Let Windows manage my default printer.

Run the Printer Troubleshooter

Select the Start  button (Windows Logo at far left of task bar), and then select Settings  > Devices  > Printers & scanners  .  Select your printer and then select Manage.  Now select Run the troubleshooter.  A dialog box will come up as follows:

Geekette troubleshoot printer offline problem

 

You will then get a message if the troubleshooter finds something.  Even though it usually doesn’t find a problem, it “does” go ping the print spooler, which is often times the culprit.  So even if you get the message that Troubleshooting couldn’t identify the problem, it may have actually fixed it.

Geekette : fix printer offline problem

Close the box, and then go check your printer status to see if it’s back online.  You might try printing a document again, or “restart” one that is already in the queue.

If your printer is still saying it’s offline, go to the next step.

Restart the Print Spooler Service.

In the search box on the taskbar, type services, and then select Services in the list of results. Find the Print Spooler service, right-click it, and select Restart.

Did that fix your problem?  If not, go to the next step

Remove and Re-add your printer to your computer

Geekette fix printer offline problem

Once the printer has been re-added to your computer, it should definitely be working and “online”.

When you are trying to re-add your printer in the above step, and your printer isn’t found on the network, then you will not be able to re-add it.  Well, you CAN, but it is quite a bit more complicated.  If you get to this step and cannot re-add your printer, please give me a call or send me a contact message and I will be happy to come help your resolve your issue.

Contact Geek-ette

 

 

 

How To Setup Chrome Remote Desktop for Geekette Support2019-12-04T15:35:40-08:00

Sometimes when you have a question or problem, it is REALLY difficult to explain it to somebody over the phone.  If it’s just a quick question, you might not need to set up an appointment for me to come to your house and look at it.

What’s the answer?

Google Chrome Remote Desktop!

What is it?  It’s an app that you can install in your Chrome Browser that will allow me to remotely log in to your computer (with your permission), and actually view your desktop and see what’s going on.  I can also take over your computer as if I was sitting in front of it and had access to the keyboard and mouse.  And help you answer your question, or resolve your issue.  All remotely!

I use this Chrome App instead of one of the more popular remote desktop apps (like TeamViewer), because it is FREE!  TeamViewer and LogMeIn are quite expensive for a subscription, and I would need to charge you more money.  So for now, we can both save money and use the Chrome App!  It is easy to set up, and I am willing to help you if you get stuck.

How to Install & Use Chrome Remote Desktop

  1. You must have the Chrome Browser installed on your computer/device in order to use this App.  Most people already have Google Chrome Browser installed, the icon looks like this:chrome browser install Geekette
  2. To download Chrome, type the following URL into your current Browser (perhaps you have Edge or Firefox):

https://www.google.com/chrome

Click on the “Download Chrome” blue button:

geekette download chrome

b.       Click on the “Accept and Install” blue button

c.      You will get a message that says you have chosen to open ChromeSetup.exe which is the installer.  Click on the “Save File” button, which will download the installer to your Downloads Folder (or whatever location you have chosen to save your Downloads).

geekette run chrome installer

d.       Access your Downloads Folder, and double click on the ChromeSetup icon (this will launch the installer).

geekette launch chrome installer

e.       You will get a window asking if you will allow Google Chrome Updater to make changes to your device.  Select “Allow”.

f.      The installer will run, the Chrome Browser will be opened, and you will be taken to the google.com page.

g.       If you already have a Google Account (gmail), you can login (or if you are already logged in) and skip to step 3).  If you do not yet have a Google Account, you must create one.

h.      Type the following URL into the address bar at the top of the Browser Page:

https://accounts.google.com/signup

Geekette create Google Account

i.       If you want to create a gmail account (I suggest you do because it’s a great email client), then fill out the Name fields, and select a Username.  You can pick any combination of letters, numbers & periods.  Remember that simple Usernames like WizardOfOz@gmail.com are probably already taken.  So choose something that is not likely taken.  For example, your first name and last name separated by a period.  i.e. janet.schaper@gmail.com .

j.      Type in a Password that conforms to the instructions given.

k.       Confirm that password

l.      If the username is already taken (like WizardOfOz@gmail.com), Google will tell you that it is already taken, and give you some other suggestions:

Geekette create google account

m.       Try another username and type that into the Username box and type in a Password.  When you get a successful Username, you will arrive at the following screen:

geekette google dual authentication

n.       You must provide a valid phone number OR Recovery email address (an email address different than the gmail one that you are creating), so that you can recover your password when you lose it, and provide security for your account.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.  Type in all of the information.

o.      Google will now ask you to verify your phone number and will send you a text.  Go ahead and click on the Send blue button.  A Verification code will be TEXTED to your phone.

p.       Type the verification code into the box and click Verify.  If this isn’t a mobile phone, or you don’t know how to accept a text (or read one), click on the “Call instead” blue link, and Google will call you to give you the verification code.

q.      Once you have verified your phone, on the next screen, click the blue button ‘Yes, I’m in” to get more from your phone number.

r.      Agree to the Privacy and Terms

s.     You now arrive at the following page which is your Google Account Management Page:

Geekette Google Account Page

t.       Go to step 3)

3)  Type the following URL (address) into the Address bar of the Chrome Browser as shown below:

https://remotedesktop.google.com/

If you already have a Google Account (gmail), you may already be signed in.  If you came from step 2), you will be signed in with your new Google Account.

Geekette Remote Access Start

a)      Choose a name for your Computer, and click on Next.

Geekette Chrome Remote Access Name

b)      Choose a new PIN, containing 6 or more digits.  Make sure it is easily remembered, as you need to be “online” with this App when you call me.  Then click Start button.

Geekette Remote Desktop Choose PIN

c)      Allow the App to make changes to your device when prompted.

d)      You are now here:

Geekette Remote Desktop Online

e)      Click on the Remote Support Tab, and give me a phone call!  Once we are connected by phone, you can click on the “Generate Code” Green Button.

Geekette Remote desktop generate code

f)      You are now ready to give me the code so that I can connect to your computer.  This access code is only good for 5 minutes, so if we don’t connect within the 5 minute timeframe, you will need to GENERATE CODE again.

Geekette remote desktop access code

 

CONGRATULATIONS!  You are ready to go with Chrome Remote Desktop!!!!

Now you are ready to use the Chrome Remote Desktop App any time you want.  Click on the icon up in the top right corner as shown in the following screenshot:

How to Attach a Photo to a Post or Comment on Nextdoor2019-12-04T15:36:05-08:00

How Do You Attach a Photo or Document or Video to a Post or Comment on Nextdoor?

Photo or Document

You can only attach a file of type “.jpg, .png, .gif or .tiff” to a Nextdoor post.  You can’t attach a PDF.  If you want to attach a document that is PDF, perhaps you can take a photo of it with your mobile phone, and then you will have a .jpg format.  Photos can be a maximum file size of 7MB.

A maximum of 21 photos can be attached to an original post.  Comments or replies are limited to 1 photo.

To add a photo to a new post from your Web Browser (computer):

  • Save the photo to a location in your file system, such as your desktop or in your Pictures folder.  Let’s say the name of the picture file is Remy.jpg
  • Fill in the information required to start a new post
  • Click on the “Add photo or video” next to the camera icon.

Add a photo to a Nextdoor post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A window will pop up that shows your File System.  You can navigate to the location where your picture file is saved.  In this case, Remy.jpg is located on my desktop/Pictures folder.  So I will navigate to that location:

Then click on the Remy.jpg file (it will be selected), and click on the Open button.

Upload a picture to Nextdoor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo is now shown in the bottom left hand corner of the post.  You can go ahead and click the Post button and the photo will be posted along with your text.

Nextdoor post with photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you made a mistake and uploaded the wrong photo, you can click the “x” in upper right hand corner of the image thumbnail, and the file will be removed.

What is the best Antivirus for Windows 10?2021-04-30T15:48:53-07:00

Is Windows Defender (comes with Windows 10) Good Enough?

There are so many anti-virus software programs out there today, what is the best one?  Bitdefender, Avast, AVG, Norton, McAfee, Malwarebytes, PC-Matic…..  Bitdefender is rated the best for 2021 by several publications.

Windows Defender was originally known as Microsoft Security Essentials back in the days of Windows 7.  It was a separate downloadable product and you needed to install it. With Windows 10, it’s built in automatically, and is enabled by default.  Many people believe that you should have a 3rd party anti-virus solution installed these days, but maybe having 1 isn’t enough!  Especially with today’s malware and ransomware.  How do you cover all of your bases?

I personally recommend Windows Defender AND Malwarebytes for the best (and most cost effective) solution.  However, if you already have a subscription to any of the above mentioned tools, and you are comfortable using it, then just keep doing what you’re doing!  But I DEFINITELY recommend Malwarebytes in addition to AVG, Norton, McAfee, because those solutions don’t really have a great answer to some types of malware prevention.  So if you already have something going, and you don’t have Malwarebytes, then you should just install that software on top of what you’ve got.  It’s easy, and the “free version” is good enough.  If you have the full suite of Avast, PC-Matic, or some other solution like Bitdefender, then you are probably good to go.  Notice I said “full suite”.  Most of these Software Solutions break up their full solution into multiple modules, which handle different aspects of computer security.  It is very confusing.

Please be aware that I am not talking about PC Optimization (optimizing the performance of your computer) because it is a SEPARATE topic.  Many Antivirus software vendors are rolling PC Optimization modules into their Antivirus (because you actually need both), but they have different goals and do different things.  In this article, we are only talking about antivirus.

Let’s take for example AVAST (they bought AVG):

  • Their Antivirus, which is free comes with a few functions in addition to antivirus, like “Browser Cleanup” (which is really not antivirus, it’s PC optimization).  It also has something called “CyberCapture”, what is that?
  • Their “Internet Security” package comes with what the free version has, plus “Sandbox”, “Passive Mode”, “Ransomeware Shield”, “Firewall”, “Anti-spam.  Confused yet?
  • Their “Premier Package” comes with all of the above plus “Webcam Shield”, “Automatic Software Updater”, “Data Shredder”.  Now you are confused?
  • Their “Ultimate” package includes all of the above plus “Cleanup Premium” (actually PC Optimization), “SecureLine VPN”, “Password Premium”.

So if you are confused, I will try and help a bit.

Let’s take the different scenarios for the: Average PC User who is not using their computer for business, and you don’t have a lot of sensitive files on your computer:

  1. You have nothing installed:  If you have Windows 10, you actually “do” have Windows Defender installed.  Make sure it’s activated, and then go get Malwarebytes free: malwarebytes.com. If you have Windows 7 and nothing, then I would recommend AVG Free (or Avast Free) AND Malwarebytes.  If you still want a little more, get Bitdefender, Avast Internet Security or Norton.  Bitdefender gets the best ratings for 2021.
  2. You have Windows 10 & McAfee (this is what most inexpensive computers come with already installed).  I think this is the case because McAfee is pretty much washed up, so they give a one year’s subscription away with new computers in the hopes that you will sign up for another year because you don’t want to go through the trouble of uninstalling and getting something else. In this case, just go get Malwarebytes free and install that along with the McAfee.  They can run together with no problem.  If you want to use a different Antivirus, then you will need to first UNINSTALL McAfee.  Antivirus software programs don’t like to compete with each other, and most of them will not install if you’ve already got a different one running.  In this case, choose one of the packages mentioned in item 1.
  3. New Computer (Windows 10): DON’T INSTALL McAfee WHEN ASKED.  Just “skip” that.  Your Windows 10 Windows Defender “should” be installed automatically, but go check and make sure it is enabled and running.  Then go get Malwarebytes Free.  If you still want more, choose something as mentioned in item 1.

For users who have sensitive documents on your computer (like client information), you should go with one of the Paid Solutions mentioned above.  

I recommend Bitdefender, but Norton or PC Matic or AVG solutions are good, too.  I like to tell clients: Use whatever is comfortable for you, because a software program that isn’t running, isn’t updating continuously, and isn’t paid attention to, isn’t any good!

So if you aren’t monitoring your antivirus software, or don’t know if it’s running or updated or how to configure it:

Call Me!  

 

 

How do I create a bookmark on the browser bar which goes across the top of the screen?2019-12-04T15:36:29-08:00

Do you wonder how to add, move, delete icons & links from the bar that goes across the top of the Chrome Browser?

Chrome Bookmark Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That menu bar across the top of the Chrome Browser is really just a bunch of “bookmarks”.  So how does it work?

The first icon that is the 3×3  square of colored dots, is the “Google Apps” menu.  If you click on it, you will see this:

Google Apps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next icon is my link to my SEMrush Academy, a website that I use frequently.  Next is the Snow & Weather report website for Tahoe Donner, and so on.

So how do you create a new bookmark?

  • Navigate to the website that you want to bookmark. Let’s use Yahoo.com for this example
  • https://yahoo.com
  • Then click on the little star icon in the upper right corner of the address bar.  This will bring up the following box, asking you where you want to add the Bookmark.

Creating a bookmark in Chrome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Put it in the Folder “Bookmarks bar” and click Done
  • If you already have more bookmarks than will fit across the bookmarks bar (like I do), then you will have click on the “>>” icon at the very right hand side of the bookmarks bar. When you click on that, “all” of your bookmarks that are not in folders (the subject of another FAQ) will be shown.  The last one in the list will be https://yahoo.com, as it was just added.  If you don’t have many bookmarks on the bookmark bar, then you will already see the Yahoo icon at the right most of your bookmarks.
  • When you see the Yahoo purple icon in the list (if you already have more bookmarks than will fit across the page), click and hold the mouse, and drag the purple icon to where you want to place it on the bookmarks bar.  In fact, you can click and hold on ANY of the icons, to change the order of the bookmark.  I put my my most used bookmarks closest to the left.

Moving a bookmark across the Bookmarks Bar in Chrome

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Want to delete one of the bookmarks?  Put your cursor over the icon, right mouse click and select delete.
How do I backup my computer, and what’s the best method2019-03-28T20:38:53-07:00

How Do I Backup My Computer, and What’s the Best Method?

You should always have your computer files backed up, it isn’t difficult to set up.  You wouldn’t want to lose your Photos, or your Turbo Tax returns or other important files, right?  There are so many ways for computers to get corrupted or hacked these days, it just doesn’t make sense to take the risk.

So which backup methods are right for you, and which files do you really need to backup?

Firstly, you must obviously back up your personal files.  Your operating system and all of your software applications can be re-installed, but if you lose your personal files, they are gone forever.  Mostly I hear about folks losing their precious photographs!  This is not a good experience to put yourself through.

If you have software installed on your computer that was installed from a CD or DVD which you purchased, and you did not save the CD/DVD, you will have a really tough time re-installing that software.  These days, when you download software from the internet (usually much easier than buying a CD/DVD), you must create an account on the software provider’s website.  If your computer crashes and the hard drive is not recoverable, or if you are hit with Ransomware, you can always reload lost software by logging into your account and re-downloading the software.  The software vendor keeps track of your licenses, and the software that you have purchased.

Industry best practices recommends 3 copies of your personal files, of course you have number 1 below.  I recommend you use an “online” backup like number 2 or 3 below, AND number 4.  I ALWAYS recommend number 4.

  1. Your local disk (on your computer internal hard drive)
  2. Cloud (Cloud storage such as Dropbox, OneDrive or GoogleDrive)
  3. Internet Backup through a Service (Backblaze, Carbonite)
  4. External Drive

So let’s look into the best way to backup your personal files:

Backup Methods:

  • Backup to External Drive: This is the method that most people are familiar with.  Your backup can be done on an external USB hard drive, whether it’s a USB Stick, or a bigger hard drive like a Seagate. I recommend a bigger disk drive, which is inexpensive, and won’t get lost in your desk drawer.  External disk drives are so inexpensive these days (less than $100 for several Terabytes), there is no reason to avoid taking the time to do this.  If you are going to be traveling and want to take your files with you, then a USB drive or device like a “Passport” is maybe something you want to also have.
    • Pros: Easy and inexpensive.
    • Cons: Can be stolen or destroyed along with your computer.  Also, you can’t access the files from a different computer/device if you are travelling, unless you take the external drive with you.
  • Cloud Storage: You can set these services (such as OneDrive) to automatically sync with your internal drive.  You specify which folders you wish for the service to back up, and then syncing happens automatically whenever you make changes to your local (internal drive) file system.  Windows 10 is already mostly set up for using OneDrive.  You must have a Microsoft account, and you must make sure that the OneDrive utility is active.  People usually have a lot of questions about how the “syncing” works, but if you don’t have many files, and aren’t in the habit of deleting files on a regular basis, you should be good to go.  This is a “no-brainer”.  You should do it.
    • Pros: Easy and mostly set up for you.  Most services give you several Gigabytes free.  Hard to beat that!  You can also access your files from a different computer/location through a browser!
    • Cons: If you have a lot of files and are constantly changing your file system structure, you may run out of free space, and you may be assuming “all” folders are being sync’d when maybe they aren’t.  It becomes confusing as to what is sync’d and what is not.
  • Internet Backup Service (Backblaze, Carbonite…): For a low monthly fee, you can purchase and install these programs on your PC.  These programs run in the background, automatically backing up your files to the service’s web storage.  If you have a lot of files (perhaps you are running a home business and have client data you can’t afford to lose), then this method is for you.
    • Pros: This protects all of your files, including your software programs (like Quickbooks or Office), and lets you restore them at any time.  If your hard drive completely crashes on your computer, you can re-install everything on a new computer.
    • Cons: The cost is probably more than what you would pay for an external USB drive, but you don’t have to think about it, and you will get notified if something happens to your connection so that the continuous backup is interrupted.  Also, if you are not connected to the internet, then the backup doesn’t happen.  Also, if you delete a file from your computer, it will be deleted from your online backup after usually 30 days!

 

How do I join the Nextdoor Neighborhood Application as a Resident?2019-03-27T23:28:53-07:00

Join Nextdoor Neighborhood Application as a Resident:

If you’d like to join Nextdoor in the neighborhood in which you live, you’ll need to provide your full name and address, and you’ll need to verify that you live at the address in the neighborhood you’re joining.  You can also participate as a business on Nextdoor, but that’s the subject of a different FAQ.

To create a personal account on a web browser:

Visit nextdoor.com, enter your email address and residential street address* and click Find your neighborhood.  You will be taken to the following page:

Sign up for Nextdoor Neighborhood App

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete all of the required fields.  If you received an invitation to join Nextdoor, follow the special link on your invitation to create your account.

Click Sign up

You should get an Address Verification Message, as shown below, which requests you to confirm your email, and click the link in the email that was sent.  If the Application cannot verify your mailing address through email or phone, then they will automatically mail you a verification postcard.

Nextdoor Verify Address

 

 

 

 

Here is what your email will look like, click on the Complete Sign Up Button:

Nextdoor Confirm Email

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next you will be able to select your interests & hobbies by following the instructions.  Or you can skip this step using the little “Skip” icon at the top right.

Next you may invite 1 or more neighbors.  You aren’t required to do this, you can always use the “Skip” icon at the top right.

Next you may enter emergency contacts or Skip

Lastly, you can get the “App” for your mobile phone or tablet.  Or you can again Skip.

Finally you are taken to the Home Page of Nextdoor, where you may begin posting or commenting.

Nextdoor App Home Page

 

 

 

How do I get to the recovery options in Windows and when might I need to use them?2019-12-04T15:37:17-08:00

If your system doesn’t restart normally, and windows won’t boot up, there are a few things you can try.  You may be able to recover your system on your own.  If you are not comfortable with working with Windows advanced settings, Geekette is always happy to do this trouble shooting for you!

Windows 10 Advanced Options

Windows 10 Advanced Options

Windows 8 & 10 have consolidated boot options into a single screen named the “Advanced Options” menu.  This menu provides repair tools and options for changing Windows startup behavior.

This menu provides access to the System Restore and Repair Tools, and options for changing Windows Startup behavior.  You might want to change the way Windows starts up, such as booting into safe mode.

What can you do from this menu, and why would you do it?  Also, what you should probably NOT do, especially if you are uncomfortable with working with the Windows Settings and Operating system.  Some things are straight forward, and some things are very confusing.

Options you can use:

  • System Restore: You can use this option to restore to a previous version saved on your computer.  System restore lets you restore your Windows installation back to its last working state.  This restore point MUST have been saved earlier.  You can create a restore point at any time, but Windows automatically creates one once per week!  Phew!  Windows actually creates a restore point BEFORE it does an update.  So if your Windows update goes awry, you can always get back to where you were before it started!  This is safe to use even for the person not that comfortable with Windows.
  • System Image Recovery: This lets you restore a backup “image” of your PC.  Most people don’t create this system image file, so you most likely won’t use this option.  Unless you’ve been burned before and have been taught to create a system image and not rely on Windows automatic restore and you have it handy on external media (usually a DVD).  System Image Restore CANNOT BE USED ON A PC OTHER THAN THE ONE THAT CREATED IT.
  • Startup Repair: This is one option that you should take advantage of if your PC won’t boot Windows, and you’ve tried several times.  This launches an integrated repair tool, which automatically tries to fix startup problems.  It might work (sometimes DOES), and you’ve got nothing to lose if Windows just won’t boot on its own.  Before using this command, please call me so that we can walk through what’s happened so far.
  • Command Prompt: Nope, don’t use this one if you aren’t familiar with Windows command line environment, as you can actually get yourself into some trouble.  If you’re familiar with system troubleshooting and diagnostics, then go for it.
  • Startup Settings: Lets you access the various startup settings like “Safe Mode” in case you believe some malware or virus has been introduced.  Please call me first if you believe this to be the case, and have already run your anti-virus / malware programs.

How to get to this menu?

The easiest way to get to this menu is to hold the shift key down while clicking “restart”.  When you do this, the following options will be presented.  If your machine is in a state where you don’t have access to the “restart button” on the monitor, you can always use the power button on your laptop or desktop tower.

Windows restart optionsClick on the Troubleshoot option.

windows troubleshoot advanced optionsOn the Troubleshoot screen, you will have the option to choose the “Advanced Options” menu.

Just a word of warning, don’t use the “Reset this PC” options, until you have exhausted all other possibilities, and you are sure you have a backup of all of your files and photos.  This is sort of a “last resort” type of option.  I recommend calling me before using this.

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