How do I know if an email is genuine?

Sooner or later you’ll get an email telling you you’ve won the lottery, ordered something you don’t remember ordering, missed a delivery, are due a tax refund, or that you need to “verify your account”. How do you know if you can trust these emails or not?

The first thing to know is that you can’t trust who the email says it’s from. Here’s a message from my spam folder:

It says it’s from someone called “Track My PPI”, whose email address is sigint@app.topica.com. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I can’t tell from the email address that is shown.  This is no more reliable than the address written at the top of a paper letter – it’s created by the sender. If they are dishonest, it may well be a lie. Just because it’s “the computer” doesn’t make it true. Continue reading How do I know if an email is genuine?

How do I know if a website is genuine?

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Sooner or later everyone gets an email saying you have to “verify your account” and warning of the dire consequences if you don’t. These are always a scam.  No-one genuine will ever ask you to verify (or “re-verify”) your account. Sometimes you might have to verify your email address (by click on a link in the email) but you’d never have to verify your account. Here’s a screenshot (left) of a typical “verification” page. It says it’s from Apple, but it’s not.

You’d get to this site by clicking on a link in an email that “Apple” sent you. We’ll look at that in a later post, but for the minute let’s look at the web page. Continue reading How do I know if a website is genuine?

How to stop Microsoft Word from double-spacing everything

I get asked this a lot. Microsoft changed how Word initially works a version or two ago, and here I explain (with screenshots from Word 2016) what’s going on.

One feature of Word that new users tend to ignore is its “styles” function. Initially, Word uses the “Normal” style, but lots of other styles are available, for example the “No Spacing” style. To choose a style, just click it on the “Home” tab:

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Continue reading How to stop Microsoft Word from double-spacing everything

Open the “Run Box” in any version of Windows

There are a number of ways to open a run box, but one of the easiest, and one that works on all modern versions of Windows is this:

Use Win+R:

Windows and R keys
How to get the Run box

In details: hold down the Windows key, press and release the “R” key, let go of the Windows key.

Win and R keys
How to get the Windows “Run” box

The “Run box” will appear:

win-run-command

Type a Windows command into the run box – my screenshot shows the command “winver” – and then click “OK”. Windows will execute your command.

Useful commands:

  1. winver
  2. notepad
  3. cmd
  4. cmd /c”ipconfig /all > desktop/ipconfig-pd.txt”
  5. powershell

Explanations of the above commands:

  1.  Shows which version of Windows you are running.
  2. Runs the text editor
  3. Open a command windows (also called a “DOS box”) – type exit to close it.
  4. Creates a text file on your desktop called ipconfig-pd which contains your IP configuration – sometimes I’ll ask you to e-mail this to me if you can’t get on the Internet.
  5. Run Powershell – type exit to close it.

Be careful with the command box and (especially) with Powershell! 

 

Windows 10 – how open an “Elevated Command Box”

An Elevated Command Box is a useful way to run certain specialised commands. Here’s how you do it:

Right-click the Start Button

The Start Button is the little flag icon in the bottom-left corner of the main screen in Windows 10.

Right-click the Start Button to get a menu of useful commands. From here you can click on Command Prompt (Admin) to get an elevated command prompt – you’ll be asked for permission first (just click Yes). It will open in a black window. When you’ve finished with the command box, you can type exit or just close the black window by clicking the normal “red X”.

Windows 10 – Use The Search Box

Windows 10 search

The Windows 10 Search Box is a very useful tool, and under-used by many people. You can use it to search for almost anything on your PC (and maybe on the Web) – files, photos, documents, settings, and so on.

It’s at the bottom of your main PC screen (the desktop), just to the right of the little Windows flag (the Start button). It may contain the words “Search Windows”, “Search Windows and the Web”, or “Ask me anything”, depending on your PC’s settings.

It may also just be an icon, like this: Seatch icon

To use it, just type the start of a word or phrase into it. As you type, it will show you matching things that it finds.

Windows 10 Search Box
The Windows 10 Search Box

Let’s say we want to find Windows’s “Command Box”. So I type com and up it pops:

Run the command box

I could either click it to run a command box, or right-click and choose Run as administrator to run an Elevated Command Box (that is, a command box with extra privileges).