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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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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.


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How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls

I post this out of complete irritation that I cannot answer my phone during the day without at least one annoying telemarketer calling.  Are you sick and tired of the robocalls and spam calls you get on your landline or mobile phone? Beyond registering your phone number with the FTC's Do Not Call Registry (which doesn't stop scammers and disreputable telemarketers from calling you), you can take other actions.

Apple iPhones and Android phones come with built-in features for blocking specific phone numbers, and mobile carriers offer their own blocking tools as well. Several third-party apps—such as Nomorobo, Hiya Caller ID and Block, RoboKiller, and Truecaller—strive to block telemarketing calls. Let's check them out.


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How to Protect Children from Identity Theft

It’s not just adults that have to be worried about having their identity stolen — children are at risk, too. In fact, it’s a big problem throughout the United States, not to mention other parts of the world. According to a 2018 study more than 1 million child identities were stolen in the U.S. alone — and half of them were victimized by someone who knew them personally.

If you already worry about having your own identity stolen, worrying about your child’s being illegally taken and misused only adds to it exponentially. But to learn how to protect your children from identity theft, you first need to understand how it differs from theft of an adult’s identity.

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Ultimate Online Privacy Guide and Other great links

I get many emails from other sites wanting me to give a "shout out" to their websites, particularly when the information is directly related to pages on here.  So after some vetting, here are some good resources:


Ultimate Online Privacy Guide


Best Wireless Routers - 2019


Six Internet Safety Games to make your Kids Cyber Smart


Apps to Monitor Your Child's Internet Mobile Use


Identifying CyberBullies and how to help


Social Media Tips for Parents for your Kids


So you want to fly a drone legally in  2019?


How to open multiple files at once on Windows 10

You can set any number of apps to run when you boot your system and with just a little work, you can also set a file to open at start up. If you need several apps and files to open, but want to manually trigger when they do instead of letting the start up event trigger it, you can use Open Multiple Files to get the job.

Open Multiple Files lets you create multiple lists of files, folders, as well as URLs to open in one go. The URLs are opened in your default browser.

Open multiple files at once

Download, install, and run Open Multiple Files. The UI is pretty simple to understand. Click the Add button and select what you want to add; files, folders, or URLs. You can, of course, select multiple files at once from a single folder, and likewise, add multiple URLs and multiple folders in one go.

There is no restriction to what type of files you can add so if you add a shortcut to an app, or the EXE of app to Open Multiple Files, it will open them all. While we haven’t tested it with a script, you can probably run those with this app as well.

Once the items have been added, you can add a delay in the ‘Wait’ field. The delay is in milliseconds and comes into effect when you click the Open Multiple Files button.

he point of the app is to help users open multiple files and folders for a specific project that you’re working on. That’s why it lets you export your list and load it whenever you need to. After you create the list, go to File>Save list into file.

Use the app to create as many lists as you need for your various projects. Any time you need to load a list, go to File>Load list from file.

This is a pretty good way to get started on your project every day but you should know that opening multiple files at once might slow your system down momentarily. If it’s a particularly old computer, it may just freeze up. That’s not to say this app will render your system useless. It all depends on how capable your system is.

If you know you’re opening files that require a resource intensive app, you can open the app first and then open the files after. Since Open Multiple Files lets you create multiple lists, you can try creating separate lists of apps and files and run them one after the other.


How to keep the Start Menu open when opening apps on Windows 10

The Start Menu has two different views that you can open apps from; the apps’ list, and the pinned tiles of apps that you frequently use. In both cases, when you click on an app, the app opens and the Start Menu closes automatically because it assumes you only wanted to open that one app. If you want to open multiple apps, you can keep the Start Menu open by pressing and holding the Windows key.

Keep Start Menu open

This is a simple enough trick that works in both the apps’ list view and the pinned tiles view. It’s not very well known because Microsoft has changed the keyboard shortcut that was used to keep Start Menu open. On older versions of Windows i.e. on Windows 7, holding down the Shift key did the trick. On Windows 10, it’s the Windows key on your keyboard.

When you open apps this way, they appear to open in the ‘background’ which basically means the windows are never forced into focus. The Start Menu is always in focus and you can continue to click tiles, and/or browse the apps’ list.

To be clear, you need to tap the Windows key once, and then release it. The Start Menu will not open until you release the Windows key. Once the Start Menu is open, you have to press and hold the Windows key and then click the tiles or apps in the list to open them and also keep the Start Menu open.

If you want the Start Menu to remain open without holding down the Windows key there is, unfortunately, no way to get it to do that. The Action Center can be kept open until you manually dismiss it by editing the Windows registry but there’s no such hack that works for the Start Menu.

You can look into apps that modify the Start Menu and perhaps one of them will do the trick. You do want to take into consideration if something this small is worth running an entire app over. The full screen version of the Start Menu acts the same way i.e., it will automatically close when you click on a tile or app. If you want to keep it open and have apps open in the background, you’re going to have to hold down the Windows key.

This isn’t a change in functionality. The Start Menu always automatically dismissed after a user clicked an item on it. The only change is how it’s kept open.