A good computer techie can be hard to fine – Seattle Times

Q: You occasionally propose that we make changes/corrections to our computer system. e.g. how to check for malware? How to check drivers on my computer? Etc. Etc. Etc. As a unsophisticated computer user, who can I trust to help me make alterations to my computer and system.? I appreciate that you probably cannot name names (i.e. which stores to trust) but is there a way you can make a general statement about whom to connect with. Is it private individuals or are there some large stores (e.g. Best Buy? Office Depot?) where one can have confidence?

— Marne Parry

A: I understand your concern. Looking for a good computer techie is like looking for a good mechanic. For non-warranty covered issues, my first suggestion is to pull on the sleeve of a computer-savvy friend or relative. The difficulty, of course, is knowing just how savvy your friend or relative is. And the big benefit, of course, is that most of the time those folks don’t charge you.

Next comes word-of-mouth. Check with a local user group to see if there is a local shop that members have used and like.

Finally, if you don’t have help from friends, relatives or user groups and you’re looking at going to a neighborhood repair shop or a chain like the Geek Squad, I recommend doing an internet search of the company to see if there are any major complaints. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau. I haven’t found the bureau to be particularly good at flagging less-than-trustworthy businesses, but if they do show bad ratings, pay attention.

Q: I asked several knowing people, who weren’t sure if one could replace the old bulky monitors on an old Windows machine with a flat-screen monitor.

I have an old computer with the heavy fat monitor that has an older version of Windows on it, but I’d like to keep it to save the games that I like. The question is, can I trade out the old monitor and replace it with a flat-screen and be fully functional?

— Lib Patricelli

A: The simple answer is yes, you can in principle use a high-res flat-screen monitor with an old Windows machine. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’ll necessarily get high-res performance. The primary issue is your graphics adapter. First, you need to make sure your graphics adapter and the monitor have the same ports: VGA, DVI, HDMI. If performance is an issue, be aware that graphic adapters and ports both deliver different levels of performance. DVI connections, for example, deliver better performance than VGA connections.

Another thought: Check whether you can run those old games under Windows 10. Even if the game isn’t fully Windows 10-compatible you may be able to run the game in emulation mode. To do so, locate the game’s executable file in File Explorer, right-click and then select the Properties. Next click on the Compatibility tab. You can either run a troubleshooter or select an emulation mode — which means which older operating system you want Windows 10 to emulate — yourself.

Q: It’s not clear from your recent article about auto-forwarding text messages from one iPhone to another whether you need to have both phones active at the same time. I’m trying to use my one phone, but with a U.K. SIM card while I’m in the U.K. Any advice on how/whether this method can work?

— Matt

A.: As long as your Apple ID is on both SIM cards, you should be able to initiate the forward from the one SIM and then switch SIMs to receive forwarded messages.


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