Helping computers with people problems since 1996
Compute This Online
Dear Sean McCarthy,                                                             10/22/2009

Welcome to the seventh edition of this newsletter - it's a companion edition to my popular Compute This... newspaper column in the Hometowne News and I truly hope that you find it helpful.

You may have noticed it's been a couple of weeks since I've managed to get this newsletter out. I have also been unable to keep up with the flow of email Sick, sick, sick.messages that I get on a daily basis and the reason for that is that I've been sick. This is the first time in about three weeks that I've been able to sit at the computer for any length of time so that means that things like answering emails and putting together newsletters have been put on the back burner.

Well, (as you have probably surmised by the presence of this newsletter in your in-box), I'm back!

I'm feeling better than I've felt in weeks and (now that the newsletter is done and ready to send out) I'm up to the task of answering emails again. If you were one of the many who sent me an email over the last couple weeks, I wasn't ignoring you (well, at least not deliberately!) and if you would like to try again, please do.

As always I hope you enjoy this weeks newsletter! This week we cover locking your machine when you step away, virus hoaxes and filing email.

I welcome any comments and again, I do hope you enjoy.


Sean McCarthy
In This Issue
Getting your computer to 'lock up' can be a good thing...
Say goodbye to inbox clutter...
Top 10 Virus Hoaxes...
Featured Article - Halt the e-mail hoaxes!...
Getting your computer to 'lock up'
can be a good thing
Lock that computer!Does your computer "lock up" when you step away from your machine?

In today's climate of high security consciousness it's surprising to me just how many people answer, "no."

If you use a computer in an environment that has any number of people coming and going, locking your machine when you step away really is a good habit to get into.

I know what a lot of you are thinking, "Why should I lock up? The only people around here are folks I trust. Why should I lock up every time I step away?"

The answer is you can never be too cautious.

When you leave your desktop unlocked you become vulnerable, not only to someone walking up to your machine and stealing your private information. That's what most people think about when they think about the reasons for locking up.

An even more practical reason is to protect the machine from getting messed up accidentally by someone you know and trust, such as a child or anyone else who might not know what they are doing.

For instance, I had a caller recently who stepped away from her keyboard to run to the store and didn't lock up.

Her kids were home with guests, all trusted adults. When she returned, she found one of the guests had gotten on the machine and downloaded and installed a bunch of stuff in her quest to instant message a friend online.

All of this was innocent enough, but now the system had additional toolbars installed, an instant messenger client popping up all the time and the browser's start page had been changed.

Boy, was this lady frustrated.

After spending some time cleaning her system and putting things back the way she liked them, we went over some basic security options...

Continue reading >>>>
Say goodbye to in-box clutter
Use email folders to de clutter the inbox!
Every week I am called to different businesses and homes to help with computer problems.

Many of the issues I'm asked to resolve are e-mail related. I am often astounded by the amount of "clutter" I find in the average in-box.

What has become clear to me is that most people either aren't aware of the organizational capabilities of their e-mail client, or they know about them, but don't know how to use them.

Let's take a closer look at Microsoft's Outlook Express, an e-mail client that's preinstalled on most Windows-based machines.

If you aren't using Outlook Express, don't worry. Most of the e-mail programs out there will do the same thing, you just have to look around for similar commands.

Let's assume that Outlook Express is installed and running properly. Launch it and click on your "inbox."

The inbox holds all of your incoming mail (hence the name) until you decide what to do with it.

You have several options. First, of course, read the e-mail by clicking on the little envelope icon by each message. But what else can you do?...

Continue reading >>>>
Top 10 Virus Hoaxes
  1. ComputeThisOnline.comGood Times Hoax
  2. T-virus Mobile Phone Hoax
  3. !0000 Hoax
  4. Missing Child Hoax
  5. Osama Hanged virus Hoax
  6. Tax Return Hoax
  7. Elfbowl Hoax
  9. AOL4FREE Hoax
  10. A Virtual Card For You Hoax
Thank you for reading. I hate spam as much as anyone so please, if you don't want to receive my newsletters, use the "SafeUnsubscribe" link at the bottom of this email and you will be removed from my list.

I also appreciate your feedback. Feel free to respond to this message with any comments you may have and I promise to reply to you as soon as possible.

An lastly, if you find my information helpful and you overhear someone complaining about their computer, please mention my name or forward this newsletter to them by clicking here. Most of my business is referred to me by word of mouth so without you I would not be in business. Thank you for your support.
Sean McCarthy
"The Mouse Whisperer"
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Featured Article
Watch for virus hoaxes!
Please forward: Halt the e-mail hoaxes!!

A while back, I received an e-mail that, at first glance, appeared to be a sort of electronic "public service announcement" sent to me by a concerned friend and warning me of an new "worst-ever" computer virus disguised as a "Virtual card for you." This message was followed shortly by another similar message giving me a tip on how to make my e-mail "virus-proof" by entering "000" in my address book.

Very quickly I discovered that these messages were not real, and my friend (bless her heart) had been duped by an e-mail virus hoax.

Virus hoaxes have been around for a while, and unlike real viruses, don't actually do harm any to your machine. The real damage is done to the Internet as a whole, as these messages are duplicated and sent out, needlessly clogging the e-mail system.

Usually, they are written with some type of helpful overtone with the real motive being that you duplicate the message by forwarding it to everyone in your address book, thereby replicating the hoax and giving it a lifecycle similar to a real computer virus.

So how can you tell? What do you do when you get an e-mail message that appears to have helpful information and you would like to pass on to your family and friends but you don't want to send them something bad? Easy - just take the time to verify these messages before passing them on to your entire address book, that's all.

Go to one of the urban legend sites like ( or go to McAfee's virus hoax page ( - about the only thing McAfee's good for) and do a quick search on the subject that you are sending.

A quick search on either or McAfee reveals that both the "000 address book fix" and the "A virtual card for you" e-mails are...

Continue reading >>>>
Compute This... 

The Home Town News

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