June 17, 2011

Kim Komando answers your computer, gadget questions

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Q. I discovered a keylogger on my computer. I got rid of it, but I’m still worried my accounts have been compromised.

A. A keylogger is a hidden program designed to record keystrokes. Some versions can also take screenshots. Someone out there could know everything you’ve done on your computer. That includes your surfing history and banking sessions. You will need to change all your account passwords immediately. Change them for both your Windows accounts and online accounts. Keep a close eye on your finances. Whoever installed the keylogger could have your credit card or checking account numbers. Visit Komando.com/news to learn how to spot and remove keyloggers.

Q. I saw Windows 8 is launching in 2012. My current Windows XP computer is getting creaky. Should I upgrade to Windows 7 now or wait?

A. I would upgrade to Windows 7 now. Microsoft actually retracted the 2012 launch estimate. Windows 8 could be launching as late as 2013. Even after it launches, you’ll want to wait a while before buying it. Being stuck with a dying computer for the next few years doesn’t sound like fun. Besides, Windows 7 is a great operating system. It should serve you fine for as long as you need it. When Windows 8 comes out, you can decide then if you want to upgrade.

Q. I was just given a free iPad by my company. I’m worried it could be used to track my location. Is there a way I can prevent that?

A. There are apps for tracking iPhones and iPads. However, they typically require your consent to run. That’s so stalkers can’t use them. It’s unlikely that your company has installed one of these programs. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had Find My iPhone enabled, though. This is useful for tracking lost or stolen iPads. However, it can’t really be used for real-time tracking. Ask your company if any tracking software is installed. Also, check your workplace’s computing guidelines. That should tell you if tracking software is even allowed. If you’re really worried, put the iPad in airplane mode. This turns off all external signals. That way you can’t be tracked.

Q. I want to open my browser when my computer starts. How can I do this?

A. Having programs open on startup is a great way to save time. When you start your computer, everything you need will be ready to go. Go to Start>>All Programs. Then scroll down to the Startup folder. Any program shortcut you drag into the Startup folder will open on startup. A browser, email program, Word or even Word documents will open automatically. To stop a program from loading, just delete it from the Startup folder. Go to Start>>All Programs>>Startup. Right-click on the program icon and select Delete.

Q. Several new e-book readers were just launched. What makes them different?

A. Barnes & Noble and Kobo just launched new e-reader models. These are the Nook Simple Touch Reader ($140) and Kobo eReader Touch Edition ($130), respectively. As you can tell from the titles, both have touch screens. These aren’t LCD touch screens like an iPad, however. Both gadgets use the same 6-inch E-Ink Pearl screen found in the Kindle. An infrared system detects touch input. Touch can be used for navigation, page turns and on-screen typing. Learn more about both e-readers at Komando.com/news.

Copyright 2011, WestStar TalkRadio Network. All rights reserved.

Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim’s free e-mail newsletters, sign-up at: http://www.komando.com/newsletters.