Answers you need to those nagging tech dilemmas
You've got tech questions, here are the answers. Kim Komando helps you make the most of your technology by answering your thorniest tech questions. So if you're wondering what to buy, how to plug it in, or how to fix it, Kim can help.
Uninstall for good
Q. I tried deleting a program from my computer, but it keeps coming back. Is there any way I can get rid of it for good?
A. The problem usually lies in your registry. To clean the old program data out, you can use a program like CCleaner. Stick with the default settings for the best results. Next time you uninstall a program, try a third-party uninstaller like Revo Uninstaller. It does a better job of removing program leftovers. Macs don't have a traditional registry, so you have to clean programs from various places. Try a program like App Cleaner to speed up the process.
Q. I've installed an anti-virus program, but I want to test it. How can I make sure it's working?
A. For anti-virus software, you sometimes have to operate on the “no news is good news” plan. There are dozens of things that claim to help you test your security software, but many of these are scams. You can run the risk of actually installing a virus on your computer, too! Your best bet is EICAR for testing anti-virus and Spycar for testing anti-spyware. They're both harmless text files that are coded to look like viruses so your security software catches them. They won't do any harm if your software doesn't catch them, though. If it doesn't, however, make sure you update it or install a new program that can detect them.
What to delete?
Q. I want to delete some programs to free up some space on my hard drive. What programs should I look for?
A. Should I Remove It? is a good download to help you decide what programs you don't need. It scans all of your programs and ranks them based on what other users have kept or removed. After you've deleted the programs it recommends, use a program like WizTree to see what other programs are clogging up your hard drive. If a program you only use sparingly is taking up a lot of space, search online to see if there is a better, more space-friendly option. If there isn't, decide whether you really need the program enough to justify the space it's taking up.
Stop spam texts
Q. I keep getting the same spammy texts from different numbers. Can I stop these?
A. First, make sure you don't reply. A reply just tells spammers they've hit a working number and you'll get even more spam! Your carrier will usually offer a way to block numbers, but that sometimes costs money. Luckily, there are some apps that can block numbers from harassing you. Google Voice can help you block numbers and mark them as spam. Android-only Mr. Number does the same thing and even features a built-in caller ID so you can screen more effectively.
Create budgeting spreadsheets for free(AT)
Q. I want to make a simple budget spreadsheet, but I don't want to buy Microsoft Excel. Are there any programs that can help me out?
A. Sure thing. First, let me recommend budgeting sites like Mint, as they do most of the work for you. If you want to do it yourself, the free LibreOffice features an Excel-like program in addition to a free word processor and more. Google Docs also has a spreadsheet program. If you need some help creating your documents, Microsoft offers hundreds of free templates that include budget spreadsheets. Just make sure your program of choice works with the .xlsx file format - both LibreOffice and Google Docs do.
Email Kim Komando at techcomments(AT)usatoday.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PennDOT to replace drivers licenses issued since November without proper security features
- Crews clean up ore spilled from train derailment in Butler County
- Woman charged for holding teen drinking party after video found at Penn-Trafford
- Rossi: Winnik nice, but not enough for Penguins
- Bettman `intrigued’ by possible outdoor game at Beaver Stadium
- Steelers restructure Gilbert, Mitchell contracts; Pouncey close
- Penguins finally find way to beat Capitals
- Pennsylvania House passes liquor system privatization bill
- Federal grand jury indicts chief operations manager for Pittsburgh office of Horizons Hospice
- School aide accused of throwing shoe at Penn-Trafford special-needs student, causing brush burn
- Pirates willing to consider high salary to keep star McCutchen