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Any recommendations/advice for a relative who is not good with computers?


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#1 Bronzo

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 10:26 AM

My mom is not very good with technology, and I am just okay with it.  A lot of people my age  (I'm in my mid-30's) may be able to relate.
 
For the past 15 years or so, I have been trying to help her every time she has a computer problem. 
 
Around two years ago I helped her pick out a new Dell laptop running Windows 7.  Things seemed to be going well for a while, but now she is running into problems fairly consistently. 
 
She basically only uses a compute for AOL and Facebook.  
 
Her problems often involve AOL, and include things like problems sending/receiving emails and error messages.  Much of the time it works fine, but it is frustrating for her when it does not.    
 
I have tried moving emails into archive folders (she has thousands of emails), using desktop based email instead of webmail (she prefers the webmail interface), creating a batch file so that she can erase cookies easily, restarting her router, plugging in something that she had unknowingly unplugged and other things.
 
She also has trouble with things that are not problems, but are just normal things that she does not expect.  For example, a McAffee or Dell window pops up asking her about her subscription, or a web page will not open, or her router may stop working...these things can get her flustered so she will call me.   
 
Recently I installed TeamViewer on her computer and mine so that I can remote in and see what is going on, however I have yet to use it.   
 
She wants to take her computer into Geek Squad or somewhere, however, I have been discouraging that because I don't think there is anything very wrong with her computer and I would hate her to spend the money if that is true.
 
My question:
 
Considering our situation, do you have any advice or is there a good solution?
 
Things I have considered include:
 
1) Buying a Mac.  I have not used a Mac since junior high, but they seem to tout being simpler than a PC.  I hate to spend the money, but she has an iPhone and iPad that she likes...in fact, I would like her just to use her iPad but she wants a nice sized screen, keyboard and my dad uses the iPad quite a bit/carries it around the house.  I could see problems if she needs to disconnect/connect a keyboard often.  
 
2) Installing a different OS.  She is using Windows 7...is there a Linux version that would have a simple interface, not a lot of sales oriented pop ups for McAfee or Dell or ___, yet would allow her to access AOL via a browser and Facebook (guess it would be Firefox?).
 
3) A senior-oriented system with subscription tech support (http://www.mygait.com/products or http://www.telikin.com/ for example).  However, she is committed to AOL and I'm not sure she could use AOL with the telikin...and both of these seem sort of expensive.
 
4) A relatively inexpensive ChromeBook (or something similar)?  
 
5) Calling AOL tech support.  I should have done this first...I have gone through their website's tech help pages, and sometimes I get a solution, but overall it just seems inconsistent and the solutions are just temporary.  A live person may be able to clear up any problems right away...however, she gets confused by things besides the AOL problems.  
 
6) Taking the computer to Geek Squad or a similar local business.
 
Thank you for your help! 


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#2 buddy215

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 11:29 AM

Use AOL online only....no AOL software on the computer. Check Add/ Remove program list and uninstall ALL AOL programs.

 

Cleanup the computer. CCleaner - PC Optimization and Cleaning - Free Download

Use CCleaner to remove temporary files, logs and program and browser caches. Use often.

Use the default settings. No need to use the Registry Cleaning tool and its use may cause a problem.

 

Remove adware and possibly malware.

 

download AdwCleaner by Xplode onto your desktop.
Close all open programs and internet browsers.
Double click on adwcleaner.exe to run the tool.
Click on Delete.
Confirm each time with Ok.
You will be prompted to restart your computer. A text file will open after the restart.
Please post the contents of that logfile with your next reply.
You can find the logfile at C:\AdwCleaner[S1].txt as well.

 

  • download Junkware Removal Tool to your desktop.
  • Shut down your protection software now to avoid potential conflicts.
  • Run the tool by double-clicking it. If you are using Windows Vista, 7, or 8; instead of double-clicking, right-mouse click JRT.exe and select "Run as Administrator".
  • The tool will open and start scanning your system.
  • Please be patient as this can take a while to complete depending on your system's specifications.
  • On completion, a log (JRT.txt) is saved to your desktop and will automatically open.
  • Post the contents of JRT.txt into your next message

 

  • Run the ESET Online Scanner.
  • Hold down Control and click on this link to open ESET OnlineScan in a new window.
  • Click the esetonlinebtn.png button.
  • For alternate browsers only: (Microsoft Internet Explorer users can skip these steps)
  • Click on esetsmartinstaller_enu.exe to download the ESET Smart Installer. Save it to your desktop.
  • Double click on the esetsmartinstaller_enu.png icon on your desktop.
  • Check "YES, I accept the Terms of Use."
  • Click the Start button.
  • Accept any security warnings from your browser.
  • Under scan settings, check "Scan Archives" and "Remove found threats"
  • ESET will then download updates for itself, install itself, and begin scanning your computer. Please be patient as this can take some time.
  • When the scan completes, click List Threats
  • Click Export, and save the file to your desktop using a unique name, such as ESETScan. Include the contents of this report in your next reply.
  • Click the Back button.
  • Click the Finish button.
  • NOTE:Sometimes if ESET finds no infections it will not create a log.

While Linux distros are user friendly and much less apt to get infected with malware, you would need to know more

about Linux before assisting your mom. Suggest you download and create a LIVE disc or Live Flash drive and see how

simple it is to use. LIVE medium does not require installing....only runs from memory....once you exit the LIVE medium then

nothing is left on the computer. If you decide to install a Linux distro then you can easily install as a dual boot to Windows OSes

on the same hdd. If you need more assistance with Linux there is a Linux forum here at BC.


“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss

A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”


#3 Bronzo

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:48 PM

Great!  Thank you for your help! 

 

I will look at running those programs as well as trying a non-installed version of Linux.  

 

It would be nice to avoid spending money to replace a good computer/fix it if it is not necessarily broken.  

 

Thanks again.



#4 buddy215

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 01:41 PM

If you do decide to try a Linux distro....I suggest you install a LIVE one on a flash drive....boots and runs much better than from a DVD.

This website Universal USB Installer – Easy as 1 2 3 | USB Pen Drive Linux is where you can download a small program for installing

a distro on a flash drive. No need to allow it to do a Persistence install. Suggest getting Ubuntu 14.04.1 which is a Long Term Support...LTS...

supported until April, 2019.

 

After cleaning up your mom's computer I suggest you run this: Windows Repair (All In One) Download

Windows Repair can perform the following tasks:

  • Reset Registry Permissions
  • Reset File Permissions
  • Register System Files
  • Repair WMI
  • Repair Windows Firewall
  • Repair Internet Explorer
  • Repair MDAC & MS Jet
  • Repair Hosts File
  • Remove Policies Set By Infections
  • Repair Icons
  • Repair Winsock & DNS Cache
  • Remove Temp Files
  • Repair Proxy Settings
  • Unhide Non System Files
  • Repair Windows Updates
  • Repair CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
 

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss

A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”


#5 Aerys

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 03:10 PM

If the bulk of her problems are with AOL, maybe she could switch to a new email provider, like GMail if she likes the web interface. I can say form experience that it is always hard to get accustomed to a new OS, like Linux, especially for elderly and even just someone that has always used Windows. The Mac option seems like a really overpriced solution to such simple problems, at least to me. Maybe you could just delete the programs that provide popups, as installing them on another OS might not eliminate that problem.


He said the same thing he had been saying for hours... "burn them all".

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#6 Bronzo

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 02:33 PM

Okay; I am running the programs buddy215 mentioned...

I will need to post the logs later.

Looks like it had some infections...

We have McAfee...my mom's friend recommended Kaspersky...

Do you think Kaspersky is better than McAfee, and worth purchasing?

Any better anti virus program recommendations?

#7 buddy215

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 03:29 PM

Opinions on which security program or programs are best are many. None will give 100% protection...not even close.

 

It will be best to disable McAfee's real time scanning while scanning with the adware and malware removal programs.

If you need instruction on how to do that, see info in link below.

How to disable McAfee SecurityCenter


“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss

A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”


#8 bludshot

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 12:19 AM

Either get a mac, or use linux mint 17, but make sure the pc its going on is fully compatible with linux mint.

 

As long as there is no hardware that linux doesn't 100% work with (like an odd network card or something), then Mint will Just work, and there will be no virus or popup junk bugging the user. I use mint in the same scenario you are dealing with and the number of tech support calls has gone way down :P

 

Geek squad will pretty much just wipe her computer out and then you will find out she lost some files or passwords or something.

 

Also, I don't know the... capacities.. involved here, but, what I do when I help family users with day to day issues, I don't just do the stuff for them, I show them how to do it - and yes, with some things I will have to show them the next 10 times too but eventually they remember. Over time the frequency of being bugged about little things that they should do on their own goes way down. (i don't show them how to do truly complex things though of course)






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