Q: I received an email yesterday that indicated it was from my wife, but it wasn’t. I didn’t open the link. But what does my wife need to do to remove her name from these spam email lists?
— W. Sypesteyn.
A: Unfortunately, there’s nothing users can do to prevent spammers from spoofing others’ email addresses except to report the spammer to the Federal Trade Commission. That can be done by going to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just so you know, it’s very likely they didn’t even get the email address from her computer. They can get it from any infected computer that has her email address on it, including all computers that have received email from her.
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That’s one reason we are all responsible to each other to adopt practices that will limit the spread of spam and malware.
While most, if not all, email-service providers use spam filters, obviously a lot still gets through. You can reduce spam by reporting spam mail to your service provider.
You can also install spam filters on the client side. I’m trying out an interesting free program called MailWasher. It allows you to control spam before you download it to your computer.
That means it will filter mail before sending it to all devices you might check your mail with.
One thing not to do is click on any “unsubscribe” button you see in spam. All you’d be doing is confirming to the spammer that your email address is real.
• Don’t display your email address in public.
• Don’t submit your email address to websites.
• Select an unusual name for your email address.
Finally, keep your anti-virus and anti-malware software up to date. That will help prevent spammers from acquiring others’ email addresses from your computer.
Q: I have an HP Pavilion PC with Windows 7. Just in the past few days, whenever I turn the computer on and it finishes its startup process, I get a box with the query “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to your computer?” The program name is “A tool to aid in developing services for Windows NT” and the publisher is “Microsoft Windows.”
In the details I see a location as [”C:\windows\system32\sc.exe” start “Garmin Core Update Service”]. Whether I allow it or not, it shows up the next time I start the machine. How can I get rid of this pest?
— Dick Kuhner
A: Sounds like you have a Garmin product installed and it’s trying to update itself. If you’re not using the Garmin product, simply uninstall it by going to the Control Panel and selecting, Programs and Features. Next, highlight the program you want to remove, then click on Uninstall in the command bar.
If you want to keep the program but want to disable the Garmin Core Update Service, click on the Windows Start button and type MSCONFIG in the search field, then click on that program when it is displayed. When Msconfig appears, click on the Services tab, highlight Garmin Core Update Service and then click on the Disable button.
Q: I’ve installed Windows 7 in my other laptops. However, I still have two (for backup) running Windows XP Pro. Both of those XP computers, however, cannot process Windows updates, and Microsoft’s FixIt program can’t correct the update services problem. Do you think Microsoft has intentionally did this for Windows XP?
— Francisco Santos, Seattle
A: No, I don’t think Microsoft has intentionally introduced update problems for XP systems. Updates are challenging, since any poorly written third-party application or driver can cause problems.
In any case, I would upgrade those XP computers to Windows 7 or 8. As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. That means no more updates, security patches, etc.
Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111.
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