Q: Email from a certain organization is stopped by my spam filter. How do I avoid this?
A: The process varies for different email providers. Let's discuss two to review the general idea.
With Gmail, add the email address for the sender to your "My Contacts" list. That system does not usually identify as spam mail from addresses on that list. Check the items in your Spam mailbox, and for any that should have been delivered, click "Not Spam" at the top of the list. They will then be sent to your inbox.
With Cableone, go to myspam.cableone.net. Emails Cableone's system thought were spam will be listed. If a message on the list is legitimate, click on deliver at the end of the line for that message. A new screen opens asking if you want to put the email address on the "Approved Selected Senders." Click the box next to the message and the Approve box. You can also click on My Settings on the upper right. Then click on "Approved Senders" and see if the email address appears on that list. If not, add it, and click on "Update Approve Senders." You may have to delete some addresses if you have exceeded the maximum. Delete those that are least likely to send you messages. If you have switched to the Gmail form of Cableone, both spam filters will be working, and you should follow both procedures noted above. Check the Help section for your email provider for more details.
Q: I have a couple of toolbars on my browser that I don't want, and my default browser recently got changed to Google Chrome. How did this happen, and how can I prevent it from happening again?
A: Your experience is not unusual. The problem is probably free software - more specifically, how free software gets installed. There are many fine pieces of "free" software available on the web, such as uninstallers, defrag utilities, system maintenance suites and many others. They are free, but someone has to pay for their development. Sometimes there are Pro or upgraded versions that they will try to sell you, and there are usually additional features offered by these versions. They can be a good deal. And sometimes third parties are paying the free software providers to add something extra. We all like free, so we tend to go there. And the free versions frequently try to install these third-party extra "goodies" for you, sometimes without asking. But you can fight these add-ons by remembering two things.
If asked, always take the "Custom" or "Expert" route when installing, not the "Recommended" automatic install. Custom gives you more choices, and some of those choices allow you to uncheck the boxes that install the unwanted software.
Read every screen carefully before clicking on "Next" or "Continue." Again, look for boxes to un-check, when asked to install toolbars, change your default search engine or install a new browser. Being cautious will lead to smoother computing.
The Prescott Computer Society (PCS) is a PC-based users group located in Prescott. We hold several entertaining and educational meetings each month to show you how to get the most out of your computer. For further information, visit www.PCS4me.com. Email questions for future columns to PCSquestions@gmail.com.