Revert from Chrome’s New User Tab to Old User Icon

Edit: This changed again in August 2015. For the new post please see here
New User TabGoogle Chrome has a new User Tab interface, removing the old user icon from the top-left of Chrome and replacing it with a User Tab on the right. If you use a lot of tabs, the new user tab takes up valuable browser tab space, and switching between users takes three clicks instead of one. Old User IconHere’s how to revert from the “new avatar menu” (as they call it) to the old icons:   Open a new tab and type/paste “chrome://flags/#enable-new-avatar-menu” (without the quotes) where you would normally type in a website address, hit Enter/Return. Disable new avatar menu In the top drop-down box, select Disabled. Then close that tab. Next time you open Chrome, the new User tab will be gone and your your old icon will be back. If you have any problems, please get in touch and we’ll arrange a remote support session for me to do it for you. Please Like, Share, etc

How to see everything on Facebook (not just what Facebook thinks you should see)

By default, Facebook shows you what it thinks are the top stories from your friends. If you want to see everything your friends post with the most recent posts at the top then there’s a temporary option for that on Facebook, or you can bookmark a special link and use that each time. Here’s how to do both…

See everything on FacebookGo to your home page, look under your name and profile picture on the left. To the right of “News Feed” click on the triangle/down arrow, and select “Most Recent”. Or…

Click this link (opens in a new tab) and bookmark it. Then click the bookmark each time you want to go to Facebook or to refresh the page.

For more tips, click on “IT Tips” above.

Please like, share, and follow.

If you see anything like this, then you have a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program)


This is an example of a Potentially Unwanted Program (or PUP). These are generally offered as free scanners or bundled with other free software. PUPs are sometimes referred to as a virus, malware, fakeware or scareware. They offer little or no benefit. Moreover, they slow down the computer and generally annoy you.

Any program that gets onto you system and reports that you have problems is probably reporting fake issues. They generally ask you to register the software to clean up these fake problems, and part of the registration often includes paying money.

You should uninstall all such software, if you can. If you need help, please contact me. Most of this can be cleaned up remotely by me. The quicker you act, the less chance there is of this software messing up your computer even more or installing more software you don’t want.

Call me now if you want me to check your system security, remove software, sort out any other issues. Same day service often available!

Remove old versions of Java to help keep your computer secure (easy guide)

Remove old versions of Java to help keep your computer secure (easy guide)

If you want to know more about Java then there is some background information after these instructions.

Let’s get straight to it.  Here’s what to do today:

1. First, check that you have the current version of Java by going here and clicking “Verify Java Version”, and following the on-screen prompts, including “Run” to “Do you want to run this application”.

2.  When you have the recommended version, click the link (underlined text) in the box entitled “Windows Users”.  Again, Run the application when prompted.

3.  Click “I agree to the Terms and Want to Continue”.  Read the terms first, of course 😉

4.  Follow any instructions to remove old versions.

5.  When you see the page that says “There are no old versions of Java on your computer”, then you’re done for today.

If you get stuck, contact me to arrange for technical support from me.  If you’re local I can visit you, or if not I can access your computer remotely and securely (with your permission) and sort it out for you.

And, in the future:

1.  Always update Java when an update is available

2.  Be careful that it’s a genuine Java Update, not a fake one that is really a virus.

3.  When installing Java Updates, decline the extra software they recommend you install; this is a way Oracle earns money from Java, by installing other software too that generates income from them.  The generation of that income usually comes from the sale of your eyeballs by showing adverts, or your data by tracking your internet use.  See my post here

Background to Java

Java is a programming language.  You probably have it installed on your computer, phone, and tablet already.  It allows software writers to write one piece of software that will run on many types of device and operating system.  So, Java is very useful.

Unfortunately, if it’s useful for people to write software we can all use, it’s also useful to those who want to use it for bad stuff.  Virus writers, hackers, and ‘potentially unwanted program’ designers can all use the flaws (vulnerabilities) in Java to infect your devices.  Oracle, the owners of Java, then realise their software has security vulnerabilities and then ‘patch’ the holes with Java updates.

Unfortunately, the Java updates sometimes leave old versions of Java on the computer, including the security vulnerabilities, which can still be used.

If you didn’t already do it, go back to the top of this page and check you have the current version and remove old versions using my instuctions.

If you get any problems, please contact me to arrange for tech support from me.


Using AdBlock Plus? Support the sites you use and like by white-listing them.

AdBlock Plus - Options

Using AdBlock Plus or other ad blockers?

Please consider white-listing sites you like and find useful, it helps support them financially.

I don’t have ads on my site, I detest (almost) all advertising.  Then again, I don’t update my site very often.  For some people though, their passion or their livelihood depends on advertising revenue, the income they get from ads that are displayed on their sites, or ads on their site that are clicked.  In other cases, behemoths like Google provide us with all these ‘free’ services because they earn (huge amounts) of money from advertising.


AdBlock Plus - WhitelistIf you like a site or a service, consider helping them out by white-listing their site for ads, or making a donation directly.

To white-list a site, click on the ABP icon, click Options, and add the domain to the whitelist.

Just an idea.

HP Print Service Plugin – how to get rid of it (well, at least disable it)

I tried to leave a review on the Play Store, but there is an “unexpected error” and it won’t let me.  Judging by the fact all recent reviews are 1-star, I suspect Google has blocked reviews until they figure out what to do.

So, since I can’t leave a review there, here’s my review.  The review is about this app, which was installed as part of the Android 4.4 Kitkat update.

I don’t own a HP printer. HP and Google have just upset me with this unwanted app. Now, I will never own a HP printer.

It’s unclear what effect it will have, but you can disable this plugin (at least on a Nexus 7 (2013)) by going to Settings, Apps, All, HP Print Service Plugin, Disable. It then doesn’t try to update either.

Nexus 7 is supposed to be pure Android. Adding a propriety app that most users don’t need is annoying. IMO, it’s adware, advertising a service that you don’t currently use. A trojan is something unwanted that you get in addition to something you want. This is therefore a trojan. Bad Google!

If Google later gives a rationale for including this in 4.4, explaining how non-HP owners get a benefit, then I will change my review. If it’s simply because “you may want to print from an HP someday”, then we can expect the same from Canon, Lexmark, and the rest, and Android will be a bloatfest.

Adobe Reader update – better still, replace it

Adobe Reader, previously known as Acrobat Reader, is well known piece of software for opening PDF files (portable document format files).  It is also well know for being a target for hackers.  Hackers find bugs in the program, and exploit them by various means.

If you use Adobe Reader, you probably see that updates are available frequently.  I hope that you do those updates, but that’s not going to keep you secure.  Adobe can’t fix the security flaws until they know they exist.  Hackers don’t give companies advanced warnings of a security flaws, they exploit the flaw for as long as possible until Adobe fix it.  By definition, hackers are using these loopholes before Adobe can fix them; they’re called “zero day exploits”.

In fairness, Adobe is not the only company to suffer from this problem.  Microsoft is constantly issuing patches to Windows vulnerabilities, likewise Java, and even Apple; no, iPads, iPhones, and iPods are not immune to these problems either.

So, what’s the solution?  Well, for a start, you can go to the settings and disable active content, but that only does part of the job.  A better solution would be to uninstall Adobe Reader and use an alternative instead. [EDIT Jan 2015 – my recommendation at the time now bundles malware with their free software. Contact me for my current recommendation] ….although you can’t guarantee it won’t have its own problems, hackers go for the biggest targets so this software is less likely to get hacked.

I can install safer software for you, and generally make your computer more secure.  I can do this in person with a visit to your home or office, or remotely via secure remote access software.  Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

“Monkey” is not a good password!

The best passwords are long and contain random letters, numbers and characters. That also makes them hard to remember. Here are some tips to help you commit them to memory.

This is an example of a good password, iwa86DeG&ef%tns. Don’t use this one, though!

To remember a random password like that, break it up into smaller chunks that are easier to remember. Certain combinations of letters seem to have paterns in them, so split it up in a way that the groups of letters are easier to remember. Write each group on a new line.

iwa86DeG&ef%tns becomes

iwa86 – pronounced ‘highway 86’
DeG – letters that rhyme, but you have to remember the first and last are capitals
&ef – ‘and e f’, no particular obvious meaning, but quite easy to remember
%t – ‘percent tax’, maybe
ns – hard to find a way to remember these two, maybe ‘not simple’

Now, don’t try to remember all the groups at once. Make a note of the password in a safe place, maybe your wallet or purse, but don’t label it “my top secret computer password” or anything obvious. Maybe add some letters of your own to the note (the first letters of the words in the first line of your favorite song maybe), so if anyone finds it and tries to use the password, it won’t work.

Then learn the first group of characters, ‘highway 86’ for ‘iwa86’. When you need to enter the password, type ‘iwa86’ from memory, and refer to your written-down password for the rest. Then try to remember the next group, ‘DeG’.

Next time you need the password, enter the two groups you remember, then use the written-down password for the rest, and so on.

This way, you will be able to remember each group in turn more easily than trying to remember the whole thing at once. The more times you type the password, the better you will remember it. And eventually, your fingers will fly around the keyboard without you having to think too hard about what the password is. Try typing in the whole password now, using the groups of characters, then come back tomorrow and see how much of the password you remember already. You might surprise yourself.

Ok, so you remember this crazy password. You shouldn’t use the same password for everything. Although if you’re going to use the same password for everything, it might as well be a good password rather than something like ‘monkey’.

You need different, good passwords for everything. But how will you remember all these crazy passwords? For stuff you do on your computer or phone, you don’t need to remember them all. What you need is a way to have one ‘Master Password’ that you can use to securely store all your other crazy passwords.

Anyone interested in finding out more? If so, leave a comment here, or on my facebook page, and I will try to find time to write more on the subject in a series of short posts, leading up to the ultimate solution for storing secure passwords, with one password to rule them all. And it’s free!

Updates, updates, updates!


Every second Tuesday of the month, Microsoft makes a batch of updates available for all their products.  If your computer is set up properly, these updates will trickle down to over the course of a week.  You will be notified that they’re either available to download, downloaded and ready to install, or downloaded and installed automatically.  You will be asked to restart your computer, and there may be more updates after the restart.

If you haven’t been notified of updates, it could be that your computer is not set up to receive automatic updates.  This is a serious problem, as many of the updates are to patch security vulnerabilities (solve security problems), which should help protect you against viruses, trojans, and hackers.  If you want help to make sure you’re getting updates, please contact me.

I’ve been busy over the last couple of days doing three Windows Reinstalls.  By far the most time consuming part is bringing Windows up to date afterwards; Windows Vista takes a day to update, and all versions of Windows need multiple reboots during the update process.  While I’ve been doing these reinstalls, my own PCs have been getting automatic updates too.  I’ve probably done close to 100 restarts this week!

Beware though, sometimes you could get pop-ups saying you need to update something, especially video players, which are actually viruses trying to infect your computer.  It’s pretty hard to tell the difference, so if you want to check with me before saying ‘yes’, then please do.  Sometimes, if you click ‘no’, that can still infect you with a virus.

If you’re a CBits subscriber (ie paying monthly for my services), you can ask me to log into your computer (if you give me the password) and check any messages to make sure they’re genuine.  10 minutes of care can prevent hours of work sorting out a fake update virus.  If you’re not a subscriber, please ask for details of becoming one; it’s pretty cheap, great value for money, and could save you a lot of hassle and expense.