Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sharing Google Drive and Alternate Addresses

Have you ever had somebody send you a link to a Google Drive file or folder that you couldn’t open because you didn’t have a Google account for that email address?

Usually, when that happens, you have to email the person back and give them a google email address that they can use instead, or sometimes you may just have NO IDEA what to do.

You CANNOT share Google Drive with a non-Google address.  BUT you can link your non-google address to a preferred google account (they have an easy way to do this – see below).  I did that for myself so if somebody shares a document with me at one of my personal non-gmail addresses like tlacey@techconciergesd.com, it will automatically share to my personal gmail account.

These extra addresses that link to your Google account are called “alternate addresses.”  I recommend logging in to your primary google account and then adding your other non-Google email accounts to it as an alternate address.

You can try to set up your alternate email addresses by going to https://myaccount.google.com/email

This should solve your sharing problem.  Please note that once you add an alternate address, it will work going forward, but any sharing links you’ve previously been sent to an alternate address will still not work.  A new sharing link will have to be sent.  They may even have to remove your sharing from before and then re-share it with you.

But the beauty of this is that people don’t need to know your google account – they simply need to use your regular email address to share Google documents and folders with you.  As long as those addresses are set up as “alternate addresses” in your Google account, it will be as if they shared with your Google account directly.

Happy sharing!

 

 

OneDrive mysteriously vanishes on Windows 10 machines

Starting in May 2018, around the time of Windows version 1803 rolling out, I noticed that more than half the computers I work with had lost the OneDrive client.  In other words, OneDrive stopped syncing in Windows!  Changes I was making weren’t showing up on other computers, and I had to get to the bottom of it.

I quickly found that one can reinstall OneDrive in Windows 10 anytime by:

  1. Press the WINDOWS key
  2. Type COMMAND
  3. When Command Prompt appears as an option, right click it and select RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR
    1. If presented with a security prompt, press OK
  4. In the box that appears, type this: %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\OneDriveSetup.exe
    1. If you are not running 64 bit Windows 10, then type %SystemRoot%\System32\OneDriveSetup.exe instead
  5. If that doesn’t work (especially if you are warned that a newer version is installed), open a program called REGEDIT (if you’re not sure what this is, get help)
    1. Go to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\OneDrive and find version number.  Change it to 17.
  6. Now go to onedrive.com, download the latest desktop app and install from there.

These are not intended to be do it yourself instructions – if you’re not clear, get help on this task.  But most importantly, if your OneDrive client is missing, make sure it gets fixed right away before your files are at risk of being lost/confused.

Please note I can take no responsibility for your machine or data should you follow the above instructions and fail.

 

Beware of Aggressive Computer Service Agents!

I’ve had a number of clients now that have been connected with independent computer support companies for various reasons. One client of mine was calling Intuit about a problem with Quicken. At some point in the call my client mentioned that something was “running slow.” The Intuit person transferred them to another person (another company altogether contracted to handle Intuit’s customers with computer problems).  The person on the phone then told my client that they need computer service. In the process, they inevitably identify malware and viruses and other frightening items and get you to pay them $99, or maybe $249 (with a 1 year service agreement for unlimited follow up support) to fix it. They insist that your regular computer person, if you have one, is somehow not doing his/her job based on what they’re seeing. They’ll generally use your help to let them access your machine and they’ll start “fixing” things. Fortunately, besides taking my client’s money, these companies have never caused irreparable damage to a client’s computer. But they do often disable normal system functions and do some other tricks to make your machine run faster but less solidly. They also undo specific things that we’ve set up like backups, and they change settings that subtly affect how the computers work.  They do not leave a convenient list behind documenting their work either!  I have found that they generally overstate the problems they encounter, relying on the client’s lack of specific knowledge and the magic fear factor to gain your trust and business.

 

Please do not agree to let somebody to fix your machine without calling me first. If they tell you that you have problems that need fixing right away, remember that they are doing a hard sell and that they will do everything in their power to scare you and convince you that you need THEM to fix it right away. You’re better off calling me, even though they’ll give you a number of reasons to question your current service provider.  I can check over your machine quickly and easily. Plus, they usually remove Malwarebytes and my remote access software from your machine – they actually tell you that these things are malware and viruses and insist that your computer specialist has led you astray by installing them. Ha!

 

Remember that Intuit, Chase, Bank of America, etc. . only support their software and sites – they do not offer computer service. . . instead they contract with external companies to “fix” your PC-related problems. Please contact me if your computer is causing trouble for you, running slow, having trouble with particular websites and so on. I am familiar with your machine and can give you much better service and advice in nearly all cases and at the same or lower cost!

 

Also, if you see a box pop up on your computer screen telling you that a license is expired or that you need to buy something and you don’t know what to do, simply e-mail me! Quick support e-mails are answered at no cost to clients and it’s my way of preventing problems on your end from happening in the first place.  I’d rather answer your questions than fix something for you later.

Cloud storage is here to stay and improve how you use your devices.

I talked about the importance of Cloud storage in my article about Windows 10.  Cloud storage essentially means that your files are stored on servers accessible over the internet.  Programs on your computer can seamlessly keep a copy of these files on your computer, but you can use the files just like anything else on your computer.  The great part is that when the files are updated anywhere, the changes are synchonized with the copy on the internet and then with any other devices you own that share the files.  So if you update a recipe document on your computer, that same recipe is updated and your other devices then have the latest copy.  Your files are also backed up not just in the internet but on every one of your devices, depending on your settings.  This is amazingly convenient and protects your data at the same time from loss.

 

Suddenly about now, people stop me and ask “is that safe?” and “Can’t anybody can steal my files?”  Well, you’re not the first person to think of that problem, and companies using cloud services have been building in better and better safeguards for years.  Let’s start by thinking about your laptop.  If somebody steals it or if you lose it, your hard drive contains all your files.  With physical access, your data is ALWAYS vulnerable.  People can remove the hard drive from your computer and copy your files with our without the password to your computer.  The cloud can help with this.

 

The approach to digital security is adapting to reflect the facts of cloud based storage.  There are two tricks to securing data on portable devices:

  • You can ENCRYPT your device’s data, rendering it useless to thieves: For example, you can upgrade Windows to include “Bitlocker,” encryption on your hard drive that renders your data to be gibberish unless Windows boots up and decodes it, and this requires you to login with a real password.  Encrypting all the data on your hard drive requires special software and specific setup, and right now nearly all personal computers do NOT have this set up.  Typically, this is reserved for enterprise-level computers configured by an IT department with security in mind.
  • You can keep data in the cloud ONLY. . . simply keep your cloud data in the cloud and only copy it to your computer when you use it.  Cloud storage programs can be set up this way and Microsoft’s OneDrive is especially good at this.  While your files are inaccessible, though, without access to the internet, you can specify that certain files are available all the time, balancing security against convenience on your terms.  Technology has a solution for every situation, and every situation is different.  That is where I come in.  We can discuss how safe your data is and balance your concerns with convenience and security.

 

Finally, there is the issue of passwords.  Your cloud data is only as safe as your password, but this is changing.  Now, Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, Apple, and others have started using something called Two Factor Authentication, which I plan to discuss in my next blog entry, to prevent people from accessing your stuff even if they have stolen your password!  It’s a huge advance and can be integrated with programs that help you manage your passwords as well as biometric devices, like fingerprint readers.  For instance, we installed a fingerprint reader on our computer at home, so everyone in the family can log in to the kitchen computer with just their finger.

Code2 Sync for iCloud

Nearly all of my clients use iPhones, and nearly all of my clients use Outlook.

As a result, my clients fail to get the most use out of their calendars. To solve this, I simply install the iCloud control panel and Outlook plug-in on their devices, and then I use a tool called the Code2 Sync for iCloud.

The tool very easily syncs their iCloud calendar with their Outlook calendar, so that clients can start to use both, knowing that appointments and scheduled items will carry over between them.

Suddenly, clients can start to accept meetings in Outlook from e-mail, and then it will appear on their phones!  And they can add stuff on their phone while they’re out and about, and it will appear in their Outlook calendar.

 

The calendar is a great tool, and this lets people get the most out of it!

 

(Google users – I use GSyncIt for the same result)

Ad Block Plus

I have kids.  And kids need some help on the internet to avoid traps and sneaky ads.  But I’ve found that adults need help too, and as a result, I recommend that everybody install AD BLOCK PLUS on their computers.

It removes all the advertising (except for advertisng that Ad BlockPlus has already deemed to be safe and non-deceptive) from all web sites.  Ad Block Plus is created by a non-profit company devoted to making the internet safer for everyone.

You can find the program here: https://adblockplus.org/

You may need to visit this site from each of your web browsers and install them separately. So first install it on Internet Explorer, then Chrome, and then your other browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Yandex, Safari, Firefox, Android, Opera are supported as of Feb, 2015)

Enjoy!