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Welcome to the Pittsburgh Tech Guy!  Your local source for good, dependable technical support and information!  Keep up with the latest Tech news here!

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Monday
May132019

How to block a driver update on Windows 10

Driver updates are fairly common on any desktop operating system. Some driver updates are bundled with major and/or minor OS updates while others download individually whenever they’re available. Driver updates aren’t as critical as security updates so it’s okay if you skip them or don’t install them immediately. In some cases though, a driver might actually break your system. The only problem is, it’s rather difficult to block a driver update on Windows 10 since they tend to download and install in the background.

Sunday
Apr212019

Should you drop your iPhone battery to 0 Percent?  No

 

Running a smartphone until it's dead—a full discharge—every time is not the way to go with modern Lithium-ion batteries. Don't even let it get that close to 0 percent. That wears out a Lithium-ion battery even faster than normal. Partial discharge is the way to go.

Batteries are on borrowed time from the get-go. The insides are in a state of decay that can't be helped. Over time, they're simply going to hold less and less power. If you've got an old iPhone 5 or 6 still in use and wonder why it's only got a charge for a few hours compared to the almost full day you got when it was new, that's why. The capacity diminishes over time.

The only time you would want to go out of your way to drain a smartphone battery to zero is to recalibrate the internal sensor that displays your phone's battery level. It's hardly guaranteed—in fact, many people don't think it works at all—but it's recommended by some, especially if you've got a phone that hits 10 percent (or even 20 or 30 percent) and seems to abruptly die.

Even if you do use the phone all the way to auto-shutdown, that may not mean the battery is at 0 percent. Leave the phone be for a few hours, if you believe this is worth doing. Then give it a reset (holding down the Home and sleep/wake button simultaneously) for good measure.

Best Thing to Do: Plug the phone in before it asks you to enter a low-power mode; iOS will ask you to turn that on when you hit 20 percent power. Plug it in when the phone is between 30 and 40 percent. Phones will get to 80 percent quickly if you're doing a fast charge. Pull the plug at 80 to 90, as going to full 100 percent when using a high-voltage charger can put some strain on the battery. Keep the phone battery charge between 30 and 80 percent to increase its lifespan.

Fast charging like we've seen in Android phones for a while finally arrived with the iPhone 8 and X. Before, it took an iPhone a couple of hours to go up 50 percent. Apple claims the 8 and up can increase 50 percent in only 30 minutes with the right chargers. That requires a USB-C power adapter, which in turn means owning a special USB-C-to-Lightning cable, neither of which are included with an iPhone; or using a higher voltage charger like the one from an iPad or even a MacBook.

 

Sunday
Apr212019

Will Charging My iPhone Overnight Overload the Battery: No

The one thing all the experts agree upon is that smartphones are smart enough that they do not let an overload happen. Extra protection chips inside make sure that can't happen in a tablet or smartphone or even a laptop. Once the internal Lithium-ion battery hits 100 percent of its capacity, charging stops. That usually happens within an hour or two, tops.

If you leave the smartphone plugged in overnight, it's going to use a bit of energy constantly trickling new juice to the battery every time it falls to 99 percent. That is eating into your phone's lifespan (see below).

The best thing to do: Don't worry about this too much. Plug the phone in (or place on the wireless charger) when you go to sleep; if you wake up sometime in the night, unplug it/move it to prevent constant trickle-charging. If you don't wake much, plug your phone into a smart plug that's on a schedule so it turns off.

Potential problems that could be encountered while charging overnight:

1) It is hot in here? The trickle-charge can cause some heating up. Many experts recommend taking a phone fully out of the case to charge overnight. At the very least, do NOT stack a bunch of crap like books or other devices on top of a charging device. And for the love of Jobs, don't put it under your pillow. Do any of the above and you can expect the phone to get hot—not necessarily enough for spontaneous combustion, but at least enough to damage the battery (see below).

 

If you are afraid of fire, some in the UK recommend leaving the charging device on a dish or saucer while plugged in, or putting it on something metal that is more likely to dissipate heat, like a heatsink does on the chips inside a PC. That's not much of an option if you use a wireless charging pad, so don't sweat it.

2) Bad Cables. If you're using a knock-off cable that isn't from the manufacturer, or at least "certified" in some way (iPhone Lightning cables should be MFi certified, for example), it could be a problem. The cord and connectors may not be up to the specifications needed for the phone or tablet. Don't skimp by buying chintzy cables.

 

Sunday
Apr212019

How to Set up Fraud Alerts to Prevent Identity Theft

A fraud alert is a way to alert third parties that your identity has been compromised – or that you’ve been a victim of fraud. There are a few types of fraud alerts, and knowing how to use them correctly can protect your finances, help you recover from crimes committed against you, and otherwise make your life better and easier.  Click here for the full rundown on how to do it on AddictiveTips.com

Sunday
Apr212019

Beware of latest Windows Patch if you have an Antivirus installed

The last major Windows update broke some systems with particular antivirus software installed, and it’s seemingly getting worse.

Earlier this week we reported that Microsoft halted updates to Windows PCs running Sophos and Avast’s security solutions, following user complaints that their machines were locking up or failing to boot. Since then, the list of known issues for the rogue update was itself updated to acknowledge compatibility issues with Avira and ArcaBit antivirus installed, with Microsoft temporarily blocking updates to those affected systems, too. Today, Ars Technica noticed that Microsoft is investigating compatibility issues for systems with McAfee antivirus installed, though it hasn’t started blocking the April 9 update from those PCs just yet.

Windows 7 and 8.1 computers can fall prey to the bug, along with some Windows Server installations. Windows 10 PCs don’t appear to be affected.

Affected computers either freeze outright or start acting abominably slow when you attempt to log into Windows. You can skirt the issue by booting into Safe Mode, disabling your antivirus, and rebooting your system normally.

If you need to do that, get your PC’s guard back up by activating Windows Defender in Windows 8.1, or downloading Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7. Both provide free real-time security for your computer. Alternatively, you could buy an antivirus solution from an unaffected vendor. 

Some of the affected antivirus vendors have already posted workarounds or updates for the problem. Microsoft’s issue tracker for the borked update includes links to the support pages created by AV vendors about this issue.

As Ars Technica notes, the support pages from Avast and McAfee hint that the problem stems from changes made to the way Windows handles its Client Server Runtime Subsystem (CSRSS). Microsoft’s tinkering with core system components have recently caused other headaches with software that sinks deep hooks into your operating system. Windows Insider preview builds for the next major Windows 10 update, releasing in late May, suffered from “Green Screens of Death” if you ran a game with built-in anti-cheat software. Microsoft has been working with anti-cheat software vendors like BattlEye to correct the issue before the May 2019 Update’s final release.

Friday
Apr122019

Two-factor authentication explained: How to choose the right level of security for every account

If you aren’t already protecting your most personal accounts with two-factor or two-step authentication, you should be. An extra line of defense that’s tougher than the strongest password, 2FA is extremely important to blocking hacks and attacks on your personal data. If you don’t quite understand what it is, we’ve broken it all down for you.

Two-factor-authentication: What it is

Two-factor authentication is basically a combination of two of the following factors:

  1. Something you know
  2. Something you have
  3. Something you are

Something you know is your password, so 2FA always starts there. Rather than let you into your account once your password is entered, however, two-factor authentication requires a second set of credentials, like when the DMV wants your license and a utility bill. So that’s where factors 2 and 3 come into play. Something you have is your phone or another device, while something you are is your face, irises, or fingerprint. If you can't provide authentication beyond the password alone, you won't be allowed into the service you're trying to log into.

So there are several options for the second factor: SMS, authenticator apps, Bluetooth-, USB-, and NFC-based security keys, and biometrics. So let’s take a look at your options so you can decide which is best for you.

 

Click here for the rest of the article on PCWorld.com