Hello again, fellow Windows users! We’re in for another week with “Ask a Windows Expert,” where you ask the questions, and our resident Windows expert gives you fully tested and researched answers. To submit a question to our experts, click the “Ask Our Experts Now!” button on the sidebar at any page of MakeTechEasier, or you can hit us up with an email at windows-help [at] maketecheasier.com. It’s an experience you won’t regret! We’ll work with you for as long as you need to solve your problem, without charging you a penny!
Q: I’m using Windows 8 and am annoyed by the Metro desktop. Can I disable this?
A: Unfortunately, Metro is built into Windows 8 and cannot be disabled through conventional methods. As far as I’ve seen, there’s no possibility to do this through the registry, either. The Metro screen is the “new Start menu” of Windows 8 and some functionality will disappear with the interface.
What I’d suggest is to press “Win+D” on your keyboard to access the Desktop whenever you want to. You’d end up wasting less time doing this. Other than that, as with any other addition to Windows, we just have to live with it. Their removal of the Start button has also been rather bothersome to people who have tested Windows 8, and we only hope that Microsoft will bring it back before releasing the OS.
Q: Today, I noticed that my friends received emails from my email address but I don’t have any viruses, so it must have been a hacker. Can I prevent this from happening again?
A: Yes you can! You were either a victim of a
“man in the middle”“phishing” attack, or some clever password-guessing. Both of these are highly dangerous, and both can be prevented with easy precautions.
man in the middlephishing attack occurs when someone creates an exact replica of Facebook, Hotmail, or other services, and asks you to log in to your account. The only problem is that these sites don’t belong to the service they pose as, so they just store your password and tell you something’s wrong with authentication or take you back to your service page to make the illusion that you actually logged in. It’s one of the easiest ways of getting someone’s password and the consequences can be devastating! If you would like to stop a man in the middlephishing attack, just look carefully at the address bar whenever you enter a log-in page. If the address doesn’t correspond to whatever service you use, don’t click on it!
As a scenario, someone sends you an email with the subject “You HAVE to see this awesome video!!!!”
You click a link within the email, and it tells you “Please log in again to Hotmail/Gmail/etc.”
You type your log-in details and it takes you right back to your inbox or doesn’t have any other effect. The log-in details are sent to the hacker. This can happen in social media or any other sort of venue on the Web, and has often been used to grab passwords of innocent people and spam them. If you’re on Facebook, and see a log-in page, have a look at the address bar and make sure that it ends with “facebook.com” before the first backslash after the domain name.
The above image shows the address of a fake log-in page. Notice the long domain name and deceptive “www.facebook.com” in the front. Always make sure that your log-in page domain coincides with the provider’s.
The second scenario involves guessing your password. To prevent this, simply create a password that’s harder to guess.
In rare cases, a hacker takes advantage of something else to get into your account: Your computer’s network configuration, WiFi access, etc. To prevent this, make sure you use an up-to-date firewall like Windows Firewall and establish a WPA/WPA2 key on your wireless router. If you want help with that, hit us up in the comments section and we’ll help you right away! We hope this doesn’t repeat.
Q: I use Microsoft Outlook 2010 for Email, and am wondering what I can do to back up my emails. Any suggestions?
A: Email backup solutions have been around since humans first roamed the Internet. There’s a ton of material out there on how to properly ensure information security, but not all backup venues are capable of providing you with a fully secure solution. If you’re using Microsoft Outlook 2010, you’re in luck! It comes with a built-in backup solution called the “Import and Export” wizard. Use this feature to create a personal folders file (.psf).
Once you have exported your email, you can upload it to any backup medium you want. I’d recommend using a proper Cloud-based backup solution like ADrive. Note that you can also use an external backup medium such as an external hard drive. That’s most recommended for personal backup, since you don’t have to pay monthly to keep that hard drive in your home.
Q: My computer isn’t able to boot anymore after I modified the boot sector in Windows XP. How do I solve this problem without having to reinstall the operating system?
A: If you still have your OS CD somewhere, you’re in luck! Just boot up your computer using the CD and access the recovery console when given the option. You’ll know when to press “R” at the moment in which the bottom of the screen tells you to do so.
You’ll be asked to log in, so give the computer your credentials. If you do not have a password, just press “Enter” when prompted for one. After that, just type “bootcfg /rebuild.” This should completely rebuild your boot sector and find other Windows installations within your hard drive. Everything should be repaired by then. If you continue having problems, hit us up at the comments section and we’ll be glad to throw you a lifeline.
Oh, and if that doesn’t work, you can always use MBR Regenerator by Josh Cell Softwares. It’ll fix your boot configuration without a hitch.
Got Your Own Question?
Submit all future inquiries by email to windows-help [at] maketecheasier.com, or by clicking the “Ask Our Experts Now!” button on the sidebar of every page on this site! Have a productive day!