Recent Comments


Comment by Debra Severson on Who is Bob Rankin? (June 15, 2024 04:49 PM)
Hello, I'm a fan. I have a charge on my credit card statement for $37 on 4/18/24 (for I believe some security information--hard to remember it's been...
Comment by T Wells on Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners (June 13, 2024 11:09 PM)
The ESET SysRescue Live was discontinued. All the other pages, for the different countries, removed the download links. It seems they missed a page....
Comment by Doc on Geekly Update - 13 June 2024 (June 13, 2024 10:39 PM)
Re: The British Phone Experience. "Some struggled [. . . .] many reported positive outcomes . . . " --- Bob, the sample size was 10. Ten. For 5 da...
Comment by hifi5000 on Geekly Update - 13 June 2024 (June 13, 2024 07:48 PM)
I read the article about teenagers going for ten days without using a smart telephone.I am of the opinion that there needs to be restrictions on socia...
Comment by Dan on Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners (June 13, 2024 07:04 PM)
A different solution is to remove the hard drive (if possible) and scan it as an external drive on a different system. I have one older laptop with a...
Comment by Paul S on Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners (June 13, 2024 02:47 PM)
Bob, you should mention that Windows Defender (WD) does not provide any direct information about results of the scan. Those results are buried in a sy...
Comment by RandiO on How to Trace a Spammy Email (June 13, 2024 01:09 AM)
Thank you for all that you do for us, BobRankin, I was under the impression that most eMail (gMail/Outlook/etc.) programs/apps already do spam-filter...
Comment by Rosemary on Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners (June 12, 2024 11:49 PM)
I desperately need this information! I subscribed to "askbobrankin" many, many computers and years ago. (Probably since 2005!) I continue to learn...
Comment by Ernest N. Wilcox jr. (Oldster) on Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners (June 12, 2024 10:44 PM)
FYI, I tried to download ESET SysRescue Live, but the second download item (under "configure download" isn't a link, and I could not find the IMG file...
Comment by Allen on Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners (June 12, 2024 10:35 PM)
How do I make a bootable CD or flash drive that bears an effective malware detection and removal program? Does the “Emergency Disc” or “Rescue M...

Geekly Update - 13 June 2024

Would you vote for an AI chatbot if it was running for mayor of your town? What happened when a group of teens traded their smartphones for basic dumbphones? And how would an extra thumb make you more productive? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and comment!

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Posted by Bob Rankin on June 13, 2024 | Category: Tech-News


Extra Security Tip: Offline Malware Scanners

You almost certainly have an “always on” malware detection tool already installed on your computer. It provides constant protection against viruses and other malware that may sneak into your computer. But no anti-malware program is foolproof; something may slip through its defenses and infect your hard drive. So what can you do if a really nasty virus disables your anti-malware protection, or fouls up your hard drive so Windows won't even start? Here's the answer...`

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Posted by Bob Rankin on June 12, 2024 | Category: Security


Gripe Sites: Monetizing Your Pain?

When consumers have a complaint about a company, they often resort to the power of public opinion for support. But the Internet makes it possible to do much more than simply tell all your friends about a ripoff or poor customer service you've experienced. Online 'gripe sites' and complaint forums abound, but some may do as much harm as good. They may even be designed to malign. Here's my analysis and advice...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on June 06, 2024 | Category: Shopping


How To Become a Tech Support Superhero

A well-prepared adventurer never leaves home without his trusty Swiss Army knife. Similarly, you need a portable arsenal of troubleshooting tools to solve the most common computer problems. Load these tech support utilities on a USB flash drive and your friends and family will think you're a tech support superhero! Read on for your tech support toolkit...

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Posted by Bob Rankin | Category: Software


Is Your Computer Obsolete?

An AskBob reader says: 'Our computer is about five years old, but one friend says it is obsolete. He says it will soon be unsupported, and advises us to buy a new computer with a faster CPU, more memory, bigger hard drive, and a larger monitor. Do I really need to do all that? Can you give me some of the pros and cons of upgrading versus buying a new computer?' Sure, here's my advice...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on May 30, 2024 | Category: Hardware


The High Price of Anonymity

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are designed to offer privacy and security online, but not all VPNs are created equal. While premium VPN services invest in robust security measures, free VPNs often come with hidden risks. A recent investigation into the 911 S5 botnet highlights the potentially severe dangers associated with free VPNs. This botnet,which the Director of the FBI has described as “likely the world’s largest ever”, relied heavily on unsuspecting users who installed free VPN software. Read on for my advice on the threats posed by free VPN services...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on May 29, 2024 | Category: Security


How to Trace a Spammy Email

Thud... another unwanted email with a potentially fake “From” address just landed in your inbox. And you wish you could find out where it actually came from. Or maybe you got an email several days after it was sent? Read on to learn about some free tools that can help with both situations...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on May 23, 2024 | Category: Spam


Geekly Update - 23 May 2024

Why is Google recommending the use of Elmer's Glue to keep the cheese from falling off your pizza? How secure are those handy key fobs that open your car door with a click? Can you get rich by reading software licensing agreements? And will AI help you tame the voices in your head? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and comment!

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Posted by Bob Rankin on May 22, 2024 | Category: Tech-News


Cloud Storage: Is it Private and Secure?

Would you agree with those who say “I would NEVER put my files out there on some cloud server... they're much safer on my hard drive!” If you're thinking about using cloud services like file storage, online backup, webmail and document sharing, you may wonder about the privacy and security of cloud computing. The parade of high-profile data breaches in the past year may have some people worried. So are your files and sensitive data safe and secure in the cloud, or are they vulnerable to hackers, snoopers and other threats? Here's the scoop on cloud storage security...

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Posted by Bob Rankin | Category: Cloud


Geekly Update - 16 May 2024

Why does Google want to start listening to your phone calls? Is it time to say goodbye to your cable provider? And does riding in an electric vehicle make you want to throw up? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!s

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Posted by Bob Rankin on May 13, 2024 | Category: Tech-News


Is it Time to Call The Geek Squad?

A concerned AskBob reader says: “My computer is very sluggish, and I think it might have a virus. There's also a ticking sound inside the computer. I'm not very technical, so I'm thinking about calling the Geek Squad. Do you think that's a good idea?” Here's my advice...

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Posted by Bob Rankin | Category: Tech-News


Geekly Update - 08 May 2024

Does using a VPN make you invisible online? Would you pay 40K a year for a gym membership? Will powerful quantum computers make encryption obsolete? And will your home security camera spray tear gas at the mailman? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!s

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Posted by Bob Rankin on May 08, 2024 | Category: Tech-News


Craigslist, Scammers and Schmeckpepers

Craigslist is a free online classified ads site that's been around almost 30 years. It's a popular way to buy, sell, and trade goods or services locally. It's also used as a dating service, a job-hunting and recruiting tool, and much more. Lots of people use it every day for legitimate transactions, but if you're not careful, you could end up getting scammed by a Schmeckpeper. What's a Schmeckpeper? Read on for the answer, and learn about some Craigslist traps to avoid...scam, bogus money order, Western Union scam, overpayment scam

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Posted by Bob Rankin on May 02, 2024 | Category: Shopping


Is Someone Snooping in Your Inbox?

Do you ever get the feeling that someone, somewhere is reading your email? If so, your suspicions probably focus on nefarious hackers on the dark web, or maybe shadowy figures in the government. But it's much more likely that an email voyeur is someone close to you. Your spouse, your boss, or a nosy parker who runs the computers at work may be peeking at your email messages. Read on... laws

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Posted by Bob Rankin on April 30, 2024 | Category: Email


Hard Drive Partitioning: Myths, Mistakes and Misconceptions

One AskBob reader had this question about hard drives: “I just got a new computer with a big 2-terabyte hard drive and I'm wondering about hard drive partitioning strategies. A friend told me to create a very small C: partition for a swap file, put Windows on the D: drive, and create several other partitions for different types of data. That sounds complicated, so is this really a good idea?” Read on for my advice on hard drive partitioning...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on April 25, 2024 | Category: Hard-Drives



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