Avoid services offering free computer fixes

HELP DESK

December 13, 2007|By BILL HUSTED | BILL HUSTED,ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

What can you advise me about (sites that offer to check a computer for problems for free and sell the user a service to fix them)?

- Ruth Dubrowin

Stay away from them. Most of those places lure you in with the offer to find problems free. Then they "find" a lot of problems - most don't really exist - so you'll be scared into buying the product.

I have a dilemma that perhaps you can provide some insight on.

I'm a snowbird, six months in Connecticut and six months in Naples, Fla. I have AT&T DSL in Connecticut, but AT&T doesn't offer that service in Naples. So I would have to use a separate account there (that means having two e-mail addresses).

The problem stems from the fact that I have to use different providers for my two locations. When will I be able to go on high-speed while maintaining two sites but have one e-mail address?

- Al Wolff

I would gradually switch all my e-mail contacts over to a single e-mail provider (free) such as GMail, Yahoo, etc. That way, you could use two providers but handle all your e-mail through one address.

I just got a new PC, and my technician is wondering what anti-virus software both he and I should use. I tried the program you suggested, but it expired.

- Patty Warner

First, you had a trial version, not the free version of AVG that I recommend. The free version isn't a trial, but it is free and includes updates. Go to free.grisoft.com.

Another to try is AVAST at www.avast.com/eng/download-avast-home.html

Help from a reader: I recently used some very long Web addresses in this column. I did that so readers could go directly to the material instead of searching it out.

Brian Purcell wrote to remind me that there's a service that turns those long addresses into a short one. He is right, and it may be helpful to you. The free service is at: tinyurl.com/bhusted@ajc.com

Bill Husted writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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