The Windows 10 anti-virus program isn’t among the most highly rated, but might be adequate for careful users who avoid online risks, Patrick Marshall writes. He also offers advice to readers having problems with emails and messages containing photos or attachments.
Q: Thanks for your recent column (Feb. 6) about not running two anti-virus programs at the same time. So would Windows 10 protect me as well as one of the commercial ones, or is Windows 10’s anti-virus just a basic one, with the commercial ones offering better protection and service?
— Harry M. Reichenberg
A: I haven’t done a detailed comparison of anti-virus programs in some time. You can find comparisons from creditable sources by searching for anti-virus comparison and selecting a comparison from an independent publication.
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That said, yes, the bundled Windows anti-virus program generally is rated as less effective than even other free programs. That leaves you the choice of paying for an anti-virus program or dealing with the advertising and, possibly, the sale of your Internet behavior to marketers that may come with free programs. At least one provider of free anti-virus has acknowledged that under its user agreement it could sell users’ browsing and search data to advertisers. If that’s a concern for you, read the user agreement carefully before installing any program.
Could you get by with Windows’ built-in protection? Probably, especially if you avoid risky behavior, such as opening email attachments from unknown senders or visiting untrusted websites. But there’s no denying that stronger protection is available.
Q: Occasionally, my wife gets an email from a friend but is unable to open it. I believe it is only when that person sends an attachment or a photo. We can see the Winmail.dat file but are unable to open it. Other friends on the routing can open it and some others cannot.
Any ideas on opening it?
This is happening on our HP PC Windows 7, as well as our iPhones with iOS 9.
I have seen a program that says you can download to be able to read it, but I’m not ready to try third-party software.
— Ted Williams
A: You can safely ignore the Winmail.dat files. Those files, which contain formatting information, appear only when the person sending to you is using Microsoft Outlook and is sending emails in Rich Text Format (RTF). Those files, in other words, don’t contain any content you’d want to see.
The emailed photo is not in the Winmail.dat file. So where is it? The way your client email is responding to the presence of Winmail.dat is preventing you from accessing the attachment, or even seeing that there is one.
The fix? You could switch to Outlook yourself, or you could advise the sender not to use RTF format for sending messages.
Q: We have Samsung 6S phones and a Dell laptop using Comcast Internet service and a Motorola Arris SB6121 Modem for wireless.
We can’t seem to send messages with photos or attachments from our home. Using the guest wireless system at work, these messages can be sent, and suddenly emails, messages, etc. will appear in quantity.
How can we check out why this isn’t working, or is working so slowly, at home?
— Cathy B.
A: If it was just happening with your cellphone, my best guess would be that the phone is configured to send and receive only when it’s connected to Wi-Fi and, for some reason, it’s apparently not connecting to your home Wi-Fi. When the phone connects to the wireless at your work, voilà!
Since the same problem seems to be happening on your laptop, which doesn’t offer that configuration option, suspicion has to turn on your home Wi-Fi router or the firewall in your Comcast router.
First, I’d contact Comcast and see if it can troubleshoot its router. If that doesn’t solve the problem, I’d contact Motorola support.