El-Blog

I have to say I was a very happy Windows 8.1 user, after installing Classic Shell to recover my familiar Windows 7 Start menu.  The OS (operating system) worked reliably and was a vast improvement to my previous OS Windows Vista, which sucked bigtime!

I wasn't anxious to upgrade to Windows 10, simply because I was happy with what I had. So, I waited until Microsoft offered a couple of updates to 10 before proceeding.  There are two approaches to upgrading your OS.  You can perform an upgrade, which leaves your applications and data in place.  This saves you a lot of time and effort by avoiding having to reinstall all your applications from scratch.  Or, you can format your hard drive and install the OS and all your applications from scratch.  This is the preferred method by most tech professionals, since it gives your system a fresh start.

(Which ever method you choose the first thing you must do is perform a full system backup of your existing environment.  This is essential should anything go wrong.)

My choice was the lazy man's way, just running a simple OS upgrade.  I wasn't up for the slash and burn approach.  To Microsoft's credit the whole operation went very well and I'm running all my apps under Windows 10 now.  I found I had to update a couple applications to their latest versions, and I had to update some drivers for my external devices.  But, really it went very smoothly.  I'm especially happy with the speed improvement I've discovered.  Something as simple as copying or moving files has been greatly improved.  Starting with Vista these processes slowed significantly, and were not improved with Windows 8.  With 10 it's a whole different world.  Files copy and move quickly.

The only thing I dislike, so far, with Windows 10 is it's intrusion into your privacy.  This new OS likes to tell Microsoft everything about what you do, how you do it, and where you're doing it from.  For this reason I recommend the article below, from PC World's Ian Paul.  

How to reclaim your privacy in Windows 10, piece by piece

Windows 10 has deep cloud hooks and shares a lot of data with Microsoft in order to create a smart, seamless experience across devices. If you lean more toward privacy, here's how to disable all of it.

There’s no doubt about it: Windows 10 is studded with data-tracking tidbits and hooks into all sorts of Microsoft’s online services. Handing over all that data has some tangible benefits, like Windows 10’s OneDrive integration and the Bing-powered brains behind the Cortana digital assistant, but not everyone is thrilled with the idea of an operating system that’s constantly looking over their digital shoulder.

Don’t fret. I’m here to show you how to get your PC and its data out of the cloud and back on silicona firma. (Yes, I did just make that up.)

This guide will show you how to disable Windows 10’s integration, as well as provide tips on what those features actually do. That way you can decide whether you want to keep any of it active or just shut the door on it altogether.

Advertising

windows10 privacy settingsgeneral

One setting you should consider disabling is all the advertising integration in Windows 10. Some of this was also present in Windows 8, but if you’re just learning about it now you might as well turn it off.

Personally, I don’t mind seeing ads on websites, because that’s what pays for most of the free content we see online—including this site’s. What I do mind is “ad personalization.” I don’t need ads that are supposedly tailored to my personal tastes thanks to little cookie spies that follow my travels around the web. Generic ads targeted at a site or app’s most likely demographic are just fine by me, thanks.

Turning off personalized ads in Windows 10 is a two-step process. First, go toSettings > Privacy > General and slide the option that says ‘Let apps use my advertising ID for experience across apps (turning this off will reset your ID)’ toOff. (We’ll come back to the Settings app later to deal with the rest of those privacy settings.)

windows10 privacy microsoftpersonalizedadsettings

Next, open your web browser and go to choice.microsoft.com/en-us/opt-out. There, select Off for “Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account” and “Personalized ads in this browser.”

Tip: If you are using an ad blocker or an extension like the EFF’s Privacy Badger, you may have to turn it off for this site before you’ll see the option to turn off in-browser ad personalization. The site apparently has to set a cookie for this second option to work.

Cortana

Microsoft’s built-in digital assistant is incredibly useful for quickly setting reminders, calendar events, and sending email, among many other things. The information it collects is very similar to what Google does with Google Now, which you may already be using on your Android device.

windows10 privacy cortanasettings

But if you’re just not into Cortana, turning it off is very simple. And if you’ve never used Cortana then don’t worry about it! It’s already off.

For everyone else, click the Cortana icon in the taskbar, and then click the notebook icon on the lefthand side of the pop-up panel. Select Settingsfrom the list of options that appear.

Now, just slide the top option that says ‘Cortana can give you suggestions, ideas, reminders, alerts, and more’ to Off.

Once Cortana is gone, you’ll see a new option that says ‘Search online and include web results.’ As its title suggests, this includes Bing results when you search for things on your PC. You’ll have to decide whether you want that enabled.

At this time, it’s also a good idea to jump back into the Settings app’s privacy section. Open Settings and go to Privacy > Speech, inking, and typing. This is a setting that allows Cortana to gather all kinds of data about you to help it deliver services. Click the Stop getting to know me button to end that. Note that this will delete collected data stored on your PC, and it also turns off dictation functionality.

Once that’s done, click ‘Go to Bing and manage personal info for all your devices.’ This is where you can scrub any data that Microsoft has collected about you from the company’s servers. Clearing this data will affect the performance of Cortana and other personalization services across your devices and Microsoft services. You can read through this page to understand what you’re losing, or just jump to the bottom and click Clear.

Wi-Fi Sense and peer-to-peer

Now let’s handle two features of Windows 10 that are innovative, but also concerning to privacy-minded people.

The first is Wi-Fi Sense. This is turned on by default, but it doesn’t do anything unless you explicitly use it. Wi-Fi Sense lets you share access to password-protected Wi-Fi routers. The passwords are shared silently in the background over encrypted connections. People with whom you share network access never see the actual passwords, and they cannot grant sharing permissions for theirfriends.

The idea is that if your friends or family come over to your house, they don’t have to ask for your password. Instead, anyone who uses a Windows 10 device and is a digital friend of yours is automatically logged in. This is arguably more secure than sharing your password—once a person knows your Wi-Fi password they can easily share it with others, after all.

windows10 privacy wifisense

To make sure Wi-Fi Sense is off and stays off, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Wi-Fi Settings. Then slide the two options that say 'Connect to suggested open hotspots' and 'Connect to open networks shared by my contacts' to Off.

Moving on, Windows 10 shares system files and updates downloaded to your PC with others by default. This peer-to-peer networking feature turns you into what you might call an unwitting good Windows citizen by helping others get updates and system files faster. In return, your PC also receives update bits via other people’s PCs. It’s like using a BitTorrent client, essentially.

If you don’t like the sound of that, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options > Choose how updates are delivered. By default, 'Updates from more than one place' is enabled and set to both local sources and other PCs on the Internet. You have two additional choices, however: You can distribute updates only to PCs on your local network, or shut off the P2P updates entirely and stick to using Microsoft’s servers alone.

If you want to shut off everything, just turn the slider on this screen to Off. If you want to share with PCs on your local network, leave the slider in the On position and select the radio button that says 'PCs on my local network.' For more detailed instructions, check out our primer on stopping P2P Windows 10 updates.

OneDrive

windows10 privacy onedrive

If you’re not interested in storing your files on Microsoft’s cloud servers, you can turn off OneDrive so it stops bugging you to configure it.

Just click the upward-facing arrow in the system tray on the righthand side of the taskbar. Then right-click the OneDrive icon and select Settings.

In the new window that opens, uncheck 'Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows.' You can also uncheck the other two boxes if they’re selected as well: 'Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC,' and 'Use Office to work on files with other people at the same time.'

Back to Settings

Woo! Let’s take a breather. Feeling good? We’ve got the most essential parts of our privacy lockdown finished. Ready for some more? It’s time to dive into all those other privacy options in the Settings app by going to Settings > Privacy.

This is really the core of Windows 10’s privacy controls, but most are not as critical as the other items we’ve covered. The exception would be the remaining items under Privacy > General. Here you’ll want to turn off 'Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future.' You may also want to shut off 'Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list.'

In an upcoming section we’ll talk about SmartScreen Filter and whether you want to turn that off.

After taking care of the settings under General, what you’ll mostly see in the remaining sections are methods for apps to access your data.

Each panel is pretty self-explanatory.

windows10 privacy settingslocation

The Location section lets you control whether apps can use your location to deliver services like weather forecasts and local news. Location is a little unusual, because it can be set both on a per-device or per-user basis. To turn off location for the whole PC, click the Change button. To turn it off for only the logged-in user, turn the Location slider to Off.

You can also control location settings on a per-app basis by scrolling down to 'Choose apps that can use your location.'

After location is taken care of, the rest of the settings follow a similar format, allowing you to turn off access to things like your camera, microphone, contacts, and calendar on a system-wide or per-app basis. Just be careful not to let your privacy zeal impact truly useful features. The Mail app has reasonable justification for accessing your contacts, for example.

Microsoft Edge

Even if you use Microsoft’s fancy new browser, you may want to disable some features—like Cortana integration and typing prediction—if you don’t want to send any data back to Microsoft.

Open Edge and click on the menu icon in the far right corner (three horizontal dots). Go to Settings > View Advanced Settings. Here you have the option to turn off Adobe Flash—stop those Flash cookies!—and under 'Privacy and services' you can decide to switch off a number of settings.

windows10 privacy edgeadvanced

Microsoft Edge’s Advanced options.

  • 'Offer to save passwords' and 'Save form entries' are both on by default. They are handy features though. Your call!
  • 'Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge' lets Cortana work inside the browser. If you’ve already switched off Cortana, you definitely don’t want this feature on.
  • 'Show search suggestions as I type' uses Microsoft’s web-powered prediction service to guess what you’re searching for and fill it in automatically. Chrome and the standard version of Google search offer something similar, so you may already appreciate this convenience elsewhere and not realize it.
  • 'Use page prediction to speed up browsing, improve reading, and make my overall experience better' is similar to search suggestions in that it sends your browsing history to Microsoft. The company says this feature “uses aggregated browsing history data to predict which pages you’re likely to browse to next, and then loads those pages in the background for a faster browsing experience.” If you don’t like the sound of that, turn it off.
  • 'Help protect me from malicious sites and downloads with SmartScreen filter' lets Microsoft block malicious sites and downloads from infecting your PC. This feature lets Microsoft download a list of bad-acting URLs to your PC so Edge can block those sites. With SmartScreen active, whenever you land on a malicious URL you will be redirected to a Microsoft webpage that will get some PC information and the URL of the page you visited. If you ask me, the SmartScreen filter is pretty benign and well worth keeping activated. 

For more information, check out Microsoft’s Edge privacy FAQ.

Control Panel SmartScreen

windows10 privacy controlpanel

There are three—count ‘em, three—SmartScreen filters in Windows 10. The second one is in the Control Panel and stops you from installing potentially malicious desktop programs on your PC. It first appeared in Windows 8.

To offer this security feature, however, you have to share with Microsoft anonymized information about the programs you download and install.

Advanced users may just want to disable this feature, as it tends to be a nuisance. I’d strongly advise novice and intermediate users to leave SmartScreen as-is, however.

windows10 privacy windowssmartscreen

To disable it, right-click the Start menu button and select Control Panelfrom the context menu. Then, with the category view enabled, navigate toSystem and Security > Security and Maintenance. Select Change Windows SmartScreen settings from the left-side pane.

In the window that opens, select the radio button next to 'Don’t do anything (turn off Windows SmartScreen).'

Windows 10 and the web

Nope, we’re still not done. Two more sections to go—although the last one is only for the hardcore privacy types. First we want to deal with some odds and ends.

Let’s start by examining the way Windows 10 syncs your personalized settings across devices, including your desktop background, web browser settings, saved passwords, language preferences, ease of access, and so-called “other Windows settings.”

The ability to sit down with any Windows 10 device, log in with your Microsoft account, and have all your settings and preferences immediately show up is powerfully handy indeed. But if you’d rather not store all that information in Microsoft’s servers, the easiest thing to do here is just turn the Sync settings option found under Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings to Off. If you want to take a more fine-grain approach, you can drill down into the synced items under 'Individual sync settings.'

Finally, let’s move on to the SmartScreen Filter. No, not the Edge one. Nope, not the one for downloading apps either. This is the Windows Store version we saw previously under Settings > Privacy > General.

Like its Edge counterpart, SmartScreen Filter checks the URLs of Windows Store apps and makes sure they’re not up to anything fishy. It’s a security measure that I’d argue is worth turning on. But if you’d rather not use it, go to Settings > Privacy > General and slide the option that says 'Turn on SmartScreen Filter to check web content (URLs) that Windows Store apps use' to Off.

Local account

windows10 privacy windows10localaccount

Finally, we’ve come to the last step: using Windows 10 with a local account. This is basically like putting a Windows 7 user account on your PC, with few ties to the cloud.

Navigate to Settings > Accounts > Your account and then select “Sign in with a local account instead.” Then just follow the wizard to start using a local account on your PC—one that isn’t tied to your Microsoft account.

Using a local account will still let you access some built-in features in Windows 10, such as the Mail app, but you may also lose access to others that require a Microsoft account, such as the Windows Store. You also can’t sync your settings to other Windows devices, but if privacy is your focus you probably turned that off in the previous step anyway.

So there you have it: all the privacy steps you need to take to keep Windows 10 firmly planted on the desktop and not the cloud. It’s admittedly a lot of work, but the good news is it only takes a few minutes to stay local once you know what you need to do.

But wait, there may be more?

This guide is only meant to turn off the user-facing cloud-connected facets of Windows 10. When this piece was being readied for publication, Ars Techica’s Peter Bright reported that there appears to be more “phoning home” going on behind the scenes with Windows 10—even with all the previous privacy steps are completed.

For those who want to dig into the nuts and bolts of Windows 10 and its connection to Microsoft servers, we recommend you turn to Ars Technica’s report after you’ve taken the steps outlined here. Without taking these privacy measures first, dealing with what’s left won’t do much good.

This is probably the second most prevalent issue to face my clients.  Recovering from having your email account hacked.

The main thing to know is you must act immediately, if you hope to recover your privacy and your email.

Please, read this article from Leo Notenboom, AskLeo.com...

Email account theft is rampant. If it happens to you, there are several steps you need to take, not only to recover your account, but to prevent it from being easily hacked again.

It seems like not a day goes by where I don’t get a question from someone that boils down to their email account having been hacked.

Someone somewhere has gained access to their account and is using it to send spam. Sometimes passwords are changed, sometimes not. Sometimes traces are left, sometimes not. Sometimes everything in the account is erased – both contacts and saved email – and sometimes not.

But the one thing all of these events share is that suddenly, people (usually those on your contact list) start getting email from “you” that you didn’t send at all.

Your email account has been hacked.

Here’s what you need to do next.

 

1. Recover your account

Log in to your email account via your provider’s website.

If you can log in successfully, consider yourself extremely lucky, and proceed to step 2 right away.

If you can’t log in, even though you know you’re using the right password, then the hacker has probably changed your password. The password you know is no longer the correct password.

You must then use the “I forgot my password” or other account recovery options offered by the service.

This usually means the service will send password-reset instructions to an alternate email address that you do have access to, or send a text message to a mobile phone number that you set up previously.

If the recovery methods don’t work – because the hacker changed everything, or because you no longer have access to the old alternate email or phone – then you may be out of luck.

If recovery options don’t work for whatever reason, your only recourse is to use the customer service phone numbers or email addresses provided by that email service. For free email accounts, there usually is no customer service. Your options are generally limited to self-service recovery forms, knowledge base articles, and official discussion forums where service representatives may (or may not) participate. For paid accounts, there are typically additional customer service options that are more likely to be able to help.

Important: If you cannot recover access to your account, it is now someone else’s account. I can’t stress this enough. It is now the hacker’s account. Unless you’ve backed up, everything in it is gone forever, and you can skip the next two items. You’ll need to set up a new account from scratch and start over.

Is it my computer or not?

When faced with this situation, many people worry that malware on their computer is responsible.

That is rarely the case.

In the vast majority of these situations, your computer was never involved.

The problem is not on your computer. The problem is simply that someone else knows your password and has logged into your account. They could be on the other side of the planet, far from you and your computer (and often, they are).

Yes, it’s possible that a key-logger was used to capture your password. Yes, it’s possible that your PC was used improperly at an open WiFi hotspot. So, yes, absolutely, scan it for malware and use it safely, but don’t think for a moment that once you’re malware free, you’ve resolved the problem. You have not.

You need to follow the steps outlined here to regain access to your account and protect it from further compromise.

You’ll use your computer, but your computer is not the problem.

2. Change your password

Once you regain access to your account (or if you never lost it), immediately change your password.

As always, make sure that it’s a good password: easy to remember, difficult to guess, and long. In fact, the longer the better, but make sure your new password is at least 10 characters or more – ideally 12 or more, if the service supports it.

But don’t stop here.

Changing your password is not enough.

3. Change your recovery information

While a hacker has access to your account, they might leave your password alone so that you won’t notice the hack for a while longer.

But whether they change your password or not, they may change all of the recovery information.

The reason is simple: when you finally do change your password, the hacker can follow the “I forgot my password” steps and reset the password out from underneath you, using the recovery information they set.

Thus, you need to check all of it and change much of it … right away.

  • Change the answers to your secret questions. They don’t have to match the questions (you might say your mother’s maiden name is “Microsoft”); all that matters is that the answers you give during a future account recovery match the answers you set here today.
  • Check the alternate email address(es) associated with your account and remove any you don’t recognize or are no longer accessible to you. The hacker could have added his own. Make sure all alternate email addresses are accounts that belong to you, and you can access them.
  • Check any phone numbers associated with the account. The hacker could have set their own. Remove any you don’t recognize, and make sure that if a phone number is provided, it’s yours and no one else’s, and that you have access to it.

These are the major items, but some email services have additional information they use for account recovery. Take the time now to research what that information might be. If it’s something a hacker could have altered, change it to something else appropriate for you.

Overlooking information used for account recovery allows the hacker to easily hack back in; make sure you take the time to carefully check and reset all as appropriate.

4. Check related accounts

This is perhaps the scariest and most time consuming aspect of account recovery.

Fortunately, it’s not common, but the risks are high, so understanding this is important.

While the hacker has access to your account, they have access to your email, including what is in your account now as well as what arrives in the future.

Let’s say the hacker sees you have a notification email from your Facebook account. The hacker now knows you have a Facebook account, and what email address you use for it. The hacker can go to Facebook, enter your email address, and request a password reset.

A password reset sent to your email account … which the hacker has access to.

As a result, the hacker can now hack your Facebook account by virtue of having hacked your email account.

In fact, the hacker can now gain access to any account associated with the hacked email account.

Giving a Thief Your Password?Like your bank. Or Paypal.

Let me say that again: because the hacker has access to your email account, he can request a password reset be sent to it from any other account for which you use this email address. In doing so, the hacker can hack and gain access to those accounts.

What you need to do: check your other accounts for password resets you did not initiate, and any other suspicious activity.

If there’s any doubt, consider proactively changing the passwords on those accounts as well. (There’s a strong argument for checking or changing the recovery information for these accounts, just as you checked for your email account, for all the same reasons.)

Check “out of office” messages, reply-to, forwards, and signatures

If your email service provides an out-of-office or vacation-autoresponder feature, or some kind of automatic signature that appears at the bottom of every email you send, it’s possible people already know you’re hacked.

Hackers will often set an auto-responder in a hacked account to automatically reply with their spam. Each time someone emails you, they get this fake message in return – often written so it sounds like you actually sent it.

If your account includes the ability to set a different email address to reply to, make sure that’s not been set. Check also to make sure the your email is not being automatically forwarded to another email address.

Similarly, hackers often set up a signature so that every email you send includes whatever it is they’re promoting – often a link to a malicious web site.

Make sure to check any signature or automated response features once you regain access to your account.

5. Let your contacts know

Some disagree with me, but I recommend letting your contacts know that your account was hacked, either from the account once you’ve recovered it, or from your new email account.

Inform all the contacts in the online account’s address book; that’s the address book the hacker had access to.

I believe it’s important to notify your contacts so they know not to pay attention to email sent while the account was hacked. Occasionally, hackers try to impersonate you to extort money from your contacts. The sooner you let them know the account was hacked, the sooner they’ll know that any such request – or even the more traditional spam that might have come from your account – is bogus.

6. Start backing up

A common reaction to my recommendation that you let your contacts know is: “But my contacts are gone! The hacker erased them all, and all of my email as well!”

Yep. That happens.

It’s often part of a hacker not wanting to leave a trail – they delete everything they’ve done, along with everything you have. Or had.

If you’re like most people, you’ve not been backing up your online email. All I can suggest at this point is to see if your email service will restore it for you. In general, they will not. Because the deletion was not their doing, but rather the doing of someone logged into the account, they may simply claim it’s your responsibility.

Hard as it is to hear, they’re absolutely right.

Start backing up your email now. Start backing up your contacts now.

For email, that can be anything from setting up a PC to periodically download the email, to setting up an automatic forward of all incoming email to a different account, if your provider supports that. For contacts, it could be setting up a remote contact utility (relatively rare, I’m afraid) to mirror your contacts on your PC, or periodically exporting your contacts and downloading them, which is what I do.

7. Learn from the experience

Passwordhttps://askleo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/password-150x79.jpg 150w, https://askleo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/password-768x403.jpg 768w, https://askleo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/password-600x315.jpg 600w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; display: inline; float: right; text-align: right; margin: 0px 0px 24px 24px; border-width: initial !important; border-style: none !important;">Aside from “you should have been backing up,” one of the most important lessons to learn from this experience is to consider all of the ways your account could have been hacked, and then take appropriate steps to protect yourself from a repeat occurrence in the future.

  • Use strong passwords that can’t be guessed, and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Don’t fall for email phishing attempts. If they ask for your password, they are bogus. Don’t share your password with anyone.
  • Don’t click on links in email that you are not 100% certain of. Many phishing attempts lead you to bogus sites that ask you to log in and then steal your password when you try.
  • If you’re using WiFi hotspots, learn to use them safely.
  • Keep the operating system and other software on your machine up-to-date, and run up-to-date anti-malware tools.
  • Learn to use the internet safely.
  • Consider multi-factor authentication (in which simply knowing the password is not enough to gain access). More and more services are starting to support this, and for those that do (Gmail, for example), it’s worth considering.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to identify exactly how your password was compromised (it’s not common), then absolutely take measures so that it never happens again.

 

8. If you’re not sure, get help

If the steps above seem too daunting or confusing, then definitely get help. Find someone who can help you get out of the situation by working through the steps above.

While you’re at it, find someone who can help you set up a more secure system for your email, and advise you on the steps you need to take to prevent this from happening again.

And then follow those steps.

The reality is that you and I are ultimately responsible for our own security. That means taking the time to learn, and setting things up securely.

Yes, additional security can be seen as an inconvenience. In my opinion, dealing with a hacked email account is significantly more inconvenient, and occasionally downright dangerous. It’s worth the trouble to do things right.

If that’s still too much … well … expect your account to get hacked again.

9. Share this article

As I said, email account theft is rampant.

Share this article with friends and family. Statistically, you or they will encounter someone whose account has been hacked and will need this information.

  • Use the Share buttons included with this article.
  • Share this short-URL: https://askleo.com/hacked to go directly to this article online.

A recent story on KING TV (king5.com) reminded me how prevasive data tracking is on the Internet.

The upshot of the story was that by using a web search tool (Google) to look for a new pair of black boots, and following a link to Macys.com to buy the boots, the reporter was tracked by 96 different companies after clicking on 4 links.

I had been thinking over the years that ad-blocker apps were detrimental to the 'free' Internet. A friend and I talked about this recently and he changed my perspective. And, he gave me two tools to help eliminate my web tracks. The two tools are 'Disconnect Me' and 'ublock origin'.

Depending on your web browser you'll have to install them in proper order to block tracking forever. (By the way I only recommend two web browsers. Firefox. Google Chrome.)

You can also get 'Disconnect Me' for Android phones. Unfortunately, 'uBlock Origin' is not available for Chrome on Android, only Firefox on Android.

Install Disconnect Me first, then ublock origin. Say goodbye to ads smile emoticon

Chrome:

https://chrome.google.com/…/jeoacafpbcihiomhlakheieifhpjdfe…

 

https://chrome.google.com/…/cjpalhdlnbpafiamejdnhcphjbkeiag…
 

Firefox:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/disconnect/

 

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-…/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/
 

Android:

Allow installation:
Navigate to your device’s Settings, select Security or Applications(depending on device) and check the Unknown Sources box.

We have to do this, because Disconnect is too private and secure for the Play Store.

Only available for Android 4.0 and higher
Date of most recent update to Disconnect Mobile: 
5/5/2015 (version 1.1.1 MD5=e653d91defd298dc2a08fa20c0670211).

From your android device visit 
https://disconnect.me/m

 
 using your web browser:

Install and enjoy!

That’s it. You’re done. Sit back, relax and enjoy a more private and secure Internet!

 
  •  
    Disconnect
     
  •  
    Disconnect
     
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    See more at CHROME.GOOGLE.COM
     
 

Have you ever had one of those slap yourself in the forehead moments?! I just did.

Today, is December 24th. Christmas Eve.

Too late to get a gift, right?!

Why not give those nerdie folks on your Christmas list the gift of Tech Support?

You could do it yourself, or you could send Elbowman to the rescue.

Just contact me, at heyelbowman.com.

 
 I'm happy to help anyone needing tech support, of any kind.

What a great gift idea! Why didn't I think of it sooner?

Home computer network wiring is problematic.  

Most of us live in older homes, condos, or apartments where the walls were long ago constructed. Opening them to string network cable is a less than desireable option. It's expensive and messy. Sure we're as good as Tim the Toolman, but honestly his rewiring projects seldom met with success.

But, hey! You just bought that new network streaming device and have it connected to your superbly beautiful 4K TV. How do you get the best network connection?

Wifi works but is slow and prone to stuttered (buffering) streaming. Even with the newest wireless modem, most streaming devices don't yet support the fastest Wifi, 802.11ac.

For me, the best choice was 'powerline' networking. netgearpowerlineadapter

What's that, you may ask?  

It's an excellent way to use your home's electrical power wiring to transmit data.  Plus, every room in your house is already wired for electricity, no tearing out the sheetrock.

I used powerline networking and had a connection from my router to my living room entertainment center in about 30 minutes.

What's the process?

Simple. Plug in one of the starter kit adapters into a power outlet near your network router. Connect a CAT5 cable from the adapter to the router. Walk into your living room and plug in the second adapter into a power receptacle near your home entertainment center. Run a CAT5 cable from the adapter to your network streaming device. You'll need to configure your network streamer for a 'wired' connection.

BadaBing BadaBoom. You've got a faster than Wifi network connection for around $100, or less.

One final word on options. If you're in a really old home with an ungrounded wiring system, you're going to be stuck at around 500 mbps.  Your adapter will have a simple two prong electrical plug. Don't try to buy the grounded three plug models because your home wiring won't support it.

If your home wiring is the newer grounded standard then you can achieve speeds nearer to 1200 mbps. Your adapter will have the familiar three prong electrical plug.

Finally, these adapters will block access to the outlet they're plugged into, unless you buy one with a pass thru adapter, like the one shown here. Of course, your mileage may vary on speed as you would expect.

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