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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in laterlife 


You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her 

Or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too.

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

September 2013

Removing free software; Temporary wireless internet access; Starting in Safe Mode

Removing free software

Q:  I installed a free piece of software from the Web recently and ever since then, my computer has behaved very strangely.   What is the best way to solve this problem?

A:  Apart from interference – often anti virus software interferes with some programs - it is likely that corrupt software was downloaded, or there is a clash.  What you should never do is simply delete programs or files by searching for them and pressing Delete.  This is because changes will have been made to various files within your system and you could end up with links to various parts of the system being broken because a vital file has been removed.

Instead, use your Control Panel to uninstall programs safely.  Click Start – Control Panel – Add or Remove Programs.  Wait for the full list of software on your computer to appear and then click the problem program.  Let the system uninstall it for you.

Now decide if you want to try again or find a different program altogether.

Temporary wireless internet access

Q:  We are going on holiday as a family to a cottage that has no Internet.  What is the best way to get online for a short time?

A:  You can always buy a mobile dongle for a week or two, but another idea is to use one mobile phone, if anyone in the family has a Smart phone, and link everyone else to it.  If they have a reasonable data allowance in their contract, this can be much cheaper depending on how much people want to go online. You can use the wireless connection direct to another phone, or even get online on a laptop.

Here are the steps to take:

  1. Get the owner of the phone to contact their provider and ask them to make their phone a "portable hotspot".   They will set it up with a password.
  2. Using the phone, go to "Settings" and click to set up the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot, usually by placing a tick in the checkbox.  On my phone, I go via "Tethering and Portable Hotspot" – "Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot settings".
  3. Now you can use a cable connection between laptop and phone, or wireless connection, and try to go online on the laptop.  You will be able to see all the local networks available, so click the named portable hotspot.  It should connect fairly easily.
  4. Anyone in the room can use their own smart phone to list all networks and use the local wi-fi hotspot - just as you would use a free wi-fi connection in a café.

Starting in Safe Mode

Q:  I got a virus recently that stopped me starting up my computer so I couldn't run any anti-virus software.  Someone has fixed it, but was there a way to sort it out myself?

A:  Sometimes, if you start in "safe mode" you can get to the desktop and run a program such as MalwareBytes' AntiMalware that could remove the virus. 

To start in safe mode, turn your computer on and then keep pressing the function key F8.  When the options are offered, you can choose to start in safe mode without internet connection (the best option if you have a good virus checker installed), or half-safe with the internet available in case you need to download a virus checker quickly. 

You will see that you can only carry out basic functions, but you may be able to access your virus checker and run that.  It is often necessary to do this several times, possibly restarting between each run, to make sure the files are removed.

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The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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