Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: My question is about the lack of interoperability between iCloud and OneDrive. I’m a Windows user with a OneDrive account for storage in the cloud. When I send a file from OneDrive to a friend with Apple, they are asked for their OneDrive account. Likewise, when an Apple friend tries to send me a video, I am asked to set up an iCloud account. The exact file can be sent from my HD and received by my Apple friends. Can you help?
— Bob Geary, Newcastle
A: OneDrive simply stores and syncs files between the cloud and your computer. OneDrive doesn’t save the files in any kind of special format. A PDF file, for example, is stored as a PDF file. While you can access those files directly in the cloud via a web browser, most users generally access the local copy of those files. Sending a file, then, is simply a matter of attaching it to an email.
If you’re accessing the files in OneDrive using a web browser, you have two ways to share them with another user. First, you can use the Share option in OneDrive. Be aware, though, that you aren’t actually sending a file. Instead, you’re sending a link inviting the other user to access the file in OneDrive. In that case, yes, they’d need to have a OneDrive account to access the file.
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If you want to send the file itself, you’ll want to download it to your computer and then attach it to an email.
I assume something similar is going on with your iCloud-using friend. Ask your friend if he or she is actually sending you a file or, as I suspect, a link to a file that is still sitting in an iCloud account.
Q: Often, when I do a restart, I can’t get Chrome to open. I click on the icon in the taskbar over and over; the little spinning blue circle runs for a few seconds, then stops. I have to do a full shutdown to get Chrome to open. I have a Dell Inspiron desktop with Windows 10 installed.
A: You can find detailed troubleshooting steps here: http://st.news/repair-chrome. But the most likely cause is either a corrupt Chrome system file or a misbehaving add-on. My suggestion is to uninstall and then reinstall Chrome.
Q: Like most people I have more Ethernet needs than the four ports my router offers. Instead of musical chairs, I play musical wires depending on my needs. I now use a different color wire for each device needing the router, and I switch them when I need something else. I have two PCs, one Mac, two printers, one scanner, and two TVs with hard-wired Netflix. For less than $4 each, I purchased 25-foot cables and my guessing game is over. Even if I don’t know the color of each item by heart, one look at the living room wire and I know I need to plug in the purple wire for Netflix; for the office TV I use pink. To keep the wires from getting mashed by my feet, for those running out from under my desk I’ve fed the wires through PVC tubing. My wife can’t complain, as the tube is not visible.
— Tom Hennessy
A: I do have one suggestion. Why not buy a network switch so that everything can be connected all the time? They are available with anywhere from four to more than 40 ports. And prices have fallen quite a bit in the past few years. An eight-port switch runs about $25, and a 16-port switch costs about $60.