Reopen a Previously Closed Tab

This is my favorite Windows keyboard shortcut. In most web browsers, if you press Control-Shift-T, the previously closed tab will reopen.

So, if you closed a browser tab by accident, this shortcut undoes the mistake.

Even better: if you press this key-combo multiple times, your browser may be able to reopen many of the tabs you’ve recently closed. If your browser has been open for a long time, this may be able to reopen something you used many hours and tabs ago!

Sure, you can go through your browser’s history to relocate things you’ve closed, but this shortcut can save so much time. If you work in multiple browser tabs all day long, practice and use this one, I bet you’ll appreciate it at some point.

Oh, and it’s Command-Shift-T for Mac users!

The Native Land Website

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! I’ve got another glorious mapping website for you, for anyone interested in Native American or Indigenous Tribes of the world:

Native Land Digital

This website lets you explore the globe (or enter an address) to find a wealth of information about Indigenous Peoples and their history. You can find tribe names, boundary information, treaty-related history and links to modern websites of many tribes.

Whether you’re researching your own family history or teaching a future generation, this website may hold a ton of valuable information for you!

Dollar General Scam on Facebook

I’ve written before about a Lowes scam on Facebook, and the latest Dollar General scam is taken from the same playbook. If you see this post, claiming to offer free $30 vouchers from DG, know that it is a scam. Please don’t trust it or share it. If possible, report it to Facebook.

How do to tell that it’s a scam? There are some details to look out for:

First, visit the real Dollar General Facebook Page. On that page, you’ll see a blue badge stating this is a verified, authentic business page. Facebook has checked the identity of this page to make sure it’s not an impostor. You won’t see that badge when you go to the “Dollar General Fans” page.

Also consider: the true Dollar General Facebook Page has 3.4M Likes. The fake-Dollar General Facebook Page has 4,000.

The real Dollar General FB page was created in 2009, if you look under the Page Transparency section. The scammer’s page was created yesterday.

Here’s what’s so bad about this type of scam:

When you click Like on something, Facebook automatically promotes it to your Friends. Your connections on Facebook will probably see “John Doe Liked the Dollar General Voucher Giveaway” and they may visit the scam and click Like. And then their Friends will see what they Liked, leading them to visit the scam… It’s a bit like a toxic chain letter.

Next, here are some directions the scam may go:

1) A person running the promotion contacts you over FB Messenger to say that you’ve won! But first they need your name, address, DOB, and driver’s license info, credit card #. They claim you cannot claim your prize unless you comply, and this is all done to verify who you are.

2) Someone messages you to say that you’ve won and the prize is on its way, After they get your mailing address, they send you a check. For the wrong amount! They’ve sent a check for $1035, and they ask you to send them $1000 back. If you comply, you’ll soon be out $1000 thanks to a kind of fake check scam.

3) The Page manager contacts you, asking for your email, so that he can send you an official Winner document. You have to fill it out to claim your prize. But when you receive the attachment, it asks to install something on your computer.

The 1st example can lead to identity theft. The 2nd is a quick way to take untraceable money from you (and they’ll probably contact lots of people with this line, not just one lucky winner). And the 3rd is a common method of making people install malware on their computers.

There is no $30 Voucher Giveaway, no one will win anything from this! If you’ve interacted with this or any other Facebook scam Page, please: Unlike the Page or posts, delete any Shares you’ve made and report the Page to Facebook. Facebook might move faster to address the scam if it receives a higher volume of reports about it.

Last year, this scam was a chance at a free RV from a big mid-west company. Next month, it could be free Starbucks coffee for a year or government loan forgiveness. This sort of scam will keep happening on Facebook, a different bait each time. But the tactics and telltales will be the same. Stay dubious, my friends!

Using Open Shell with Windows 11

All these years later, and there are still many people who prefer the Start Menu from the Windows 7 era. Open Shell does the trick nicely, and is still a free download for all.

But with Windows 11, you may not think so, at first. Open Shell users who upgrade to Windows 11 will not see the classic-looking Start menu they’re used to. Or if you freshly install Open Shell on your Win11 PC, you may see nothing happen. You’ll just have the new-fangled Windows 11 Start button. Which is strangely towards the middle of the taskbar…

But don’t worry. Open Shell Start Menu is there and will work. You just have to coax it out:

  • Click the new Start button and then click All Apps.
  • Scroll down and click Open-Shell, then click Open-Shell Menu Settings.
  • Check the box labeled “Replace Start button” and click OK.

Now you’ll have both Start buttons, the classic one to the left and the modern one to the middle. Use either one, depending on your preferences!

Windows 11 Is Here

If you’re eager to try out the new Windows 11, here are some useful links:

Check Your Computer’s Eligibility

Not all computers can get Windows 11. Use this Microsoft tool to check if your computer is eligible to receive Windows 11.

Download Your Upgrade

To put Windows 11 onto your computer, you could check the Windows Update panel under Settings. But that might not immediately offer the upgrade. Microsoft may stagger this rollout over weeks and months, so to get Windows 11 immediately, visit this page. Click the first Download Now button on that page to get started.

If you want to create a Windows 11 Installation Flash Drive, plug in your flash drive (8GB or larger) to your computer and use the second Download Now button on that page. Having such a flash drive is really useful if you plan to carry the installer to another computer, to put Windows 11 on it. And I like having these flash drives handy for advanced Windows repairs…

One recommendation: Don’t use a flash drive to install Windows 11 on a computer that is not eligible for Windows 11, per the above software tool. You probably could succeed at it, but we don’t yet know all of the side effects or problems that might result.

Not interested in Windows 11?

Please don’t feel like you need to perform this upgrade. Windows 11 is optional. Windows 10 will still work and be supported through 2025. You may remain with the Windows that you have. But please know that new computers are going to start coming with Windows 11 installed, and Windows 10 computers are going to become scarce in the coming months.

ISP Equipment: Rent Vs. Own

If your ISP requires you to have a modem, then you may have an important choice to make. It’s worth thinking about!

Some people rent or buy their equipment (modem, WiFi router or combo device) from the ISP. Others go out to a store to buy something they like. There are pros and cons to each of these. You should choose, based on two topics: your tech-ability and what your ISP allows.

ISP Allowances

Every ISP has different rules about their internet equipment, so you may have many options, or be very restricted. You’ll want to call them or check their website for their rules. They may have a list of specific modems that are allowed or prohibited for use with their service. They may offer to sell you a modem, or tell you that they only rent their modems, for a monthly fee.

You’ll want to study the associated prices, to make an informed decision. Ask about the rental prices vs. the purchase price for a modem, and you may find that one way saves you money over another. The Amazon price of a modem could be half of what the ISP charges for the same model.

Computer Skill Level

Are you skilled with technology? Can you fix your own computer problems? When your internet goes out, how comfortable are you at troubleshooting your own problems? Do you have someone in your household that takes care of that for you?

If you don’t have a comfort level for fixing computer problems, or if you don’t have tech-help close at hand, then you should strongly consider using the modem that your ISP provides. If they won’t sell it to you, then consider renting it. Using the ISP-provided equipment will make it easier for them to resolve your future internet issues. Consider this scenario:

Becky gets her internet service from Metamucil Fiber LLC, and she had the choice of renting her modem for $13/mo. But she’s thrifty and she went to buy her Piyala-brand modem from the local Malwart for $100. She patted herself on the back, because in less than a year, she was saving money by not renting her equipment.

But one day her internet goes out, and she doesn’t know what to do. She calls Metamucil, and they refuse to help her much. Why? Because she’s not using their modem, and they only train their reps on how to fix their equipment. They tell her to call Piyala for tech support.

She calls Piyala, and they aren’t much help, either. Why? Because they aren’t familiar with Metamucil Fiber. They ask Becky questions like Is their DSL PPPoE? and What’s their DNS server names? Piyala needs more info from Becky before they can do much. She doesn’t know what to tell them and feels overwhelmed.

In this scenario, Becky can struggle, going back and forth between two helplines, but the struggle is real. As in: really aggravating. She can also call in a professional tech, like yours truly, but that can result in a significant bill that may wipe out what money she saved by buying her Piyala modem. In the end, Becky may come to regret buying her modem from Malwart. If she had rented and paid the ISP’s monthly fee, then Metamucil wouldn’t’ve passed her off so quickly. They would’ve had to support her 100% with her problem!

The TLDR Point

I apologize for so many words, but the end point is this: If you can’t fix your own tech, then you should get your ISP modem from your ISP. This puts the ISP “on the hook” for supporting you in times of trouble. If you buy someone else’s modem, then the ISP might refuse to help you later on.

Shentel Email Best Security Practices

Many of my clientele are in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the home territory of an ISP named Shentel. And like many ISPs, Shentel provides free, courtesy email addresses to its subscribers. It’s like a mint on your pillow, except this mint needs some extra warnings on its wrapper and may give you some indigestion…

I can level a variety of criticisms against any ISP-provided email another time. For this post, I need to write on how Shentel customers can keep their email more secure. There are frequent scams targeting Shentel email addresses, and I want to help as many people as I can to tighten their defenses.

If you don’t have a Shentel email address, this post will not directly apply to you, but the overall security recommendations do. So please consider these points, and implement anything you are comfortable with!

Password Strength

I’ve helped with Shentel email users for almost 20 years now, and from the beginning, I’ve noticed Shentel doling out really weak passwords to their email addresses. In 2002, it was common for a brand-new Shentel email address to come with a 6-digit password. It was typically 3 letters (part of the person’s name), and 3 numbers (often the phone exchange of the user). To this day, I still encounter Shentel email addresses with these old, short passwords, like “abc465” and “joe933”.

If your email password is this short and simple, please change it now. Email thieves can determine such short passwords quickly, without hacking you or tricking you. There are password-guessing programs readily available on the dark web that anyone buy and use for this. And once they guess your password, they can use your email to start scamming your friends and family, or worse.

Changing your Shentel email password is easy, especially if you know your current password.

  • Go to the Shentel Webmail website and login with your email credentials.
  • Click the cogwheel icon to the upper-right.
  • When the Settings screen appears, click Password.
  • Type in your old password and then enter a new password on the next two fields.
  • Click Save and you are done!

Try to choose a password that is 8 or more characters long, and use a capital letter, a number and a special symbol. An example of a strong password is: Maverick20#21 .

If you do not remember your Shentel password, call Shentel at 1-800-SHENTEL and ask their tech support to change your password over the phone.

Recovery Options

If your password is strong enough, you should still visit Shentel’s Webmail website. Shentel is starting to implement Password Recovery Options for its email users, but you won’t see these if you use Outlook, Thunderbird or a Mail app to see your messages. You must go to their Webmail site!

When you visit that site nowadays, you will be prompted to set a recovery email and recovery phone number. Fill out and satisfy these items as best you can, and call Shentel for assistance if there’s any difficulty. These are important to do! If some bad actor invades your email next month, these will help you more quickly to regain control of your account.

Request 2FA to Be Implemented

The best security tool to prevent email abuse is 2FA. This stands for two-factor authentication, and adds an extra layer to the login process for an account. When you use 2FA, you first login using your password, and next have to enter a token or code sent to your mobile number or other security device. If someone steals your email password, the second step will block them from accessing your account.

Shentel does not offer 2FA on their email accounts and has a hard time answering my most basic questions about it. But many other email providers do offer 2FA. If you are going to stick with your Shentel email address, you might reach out to Shentel to ask them to consider adding this security feature. It would greatly reduce the number of hacked Shentel email accounts!

When In Doubt, Pick Up the Phone

If you receive an email, and something doesn’t seem right, take your hand off the mouse. Take a moment to think about what isn’t sitting right with you, and contact someone without using that email in front of you.

That means: if you want to contact Shentel, dial 1-800-SHENTEL or any support number that is printed on their bills. Do not use any number in the fishy email! Contact info showing in a suspicious email will often put you in touch with criminals. And those guys will be all too happy to pretend that they are with whatever company you say you’re trying to reach.

If you can’t reach the company for advice, call someone else. Talk to a trusted friend, police officer, church pastor or relative. Or drop me a line for a second opinion, I am happy to sound off on all things, legitimate and scammy! You’re even welcome to forward odd emails to me, and I will quickly write you back with my verdict of them.

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