Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: Anytime I go to a website to read an article that offers ways to share the article, I can share on Facebook and Twitter but I cannot connect to a mail server to share via email. Instead of calling up my email, it just brings up a blank Google search page. However, I have no problem sharing via email on my Android phone. When I click on the email link with my phone, it goes to my Comcast email. Can you help?
— Terry Cook, Seattle
A: I can think of only two possible causes of your problem. First, you may have malware on your computer. Just in case, I suggest if you haven’t already installed and run a good malware program that you do so. Even if malware isn’t the cause of the problem it’s a good idea to do this when you encounter suspicious behavior.
The other thing to do is to check to see what application is designated as your default email program in Windows. Just launch the Control Panel and click on the Default Programs utility. In the dialogue that opens, select “Set your default programs.”
You can also check to see what application is designated to handle email requests in each Web browser. In Firefox, for example, click on the icon with three bars in the upper-right corner, then select Options. Scroll down until you see Applications and you’ll be able to see what program is specified for “mailto” requests. You can, of course, change the designated program if it’s not correct.
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Q: My computer is repeatedly losing its internet connection. I run Windows 10 and my web browser is Microsoft Edge. I can be looking at a site and frequently the machine will “lose contact” with the page by indicating the subject page is “not responding.” Frequently, I will shut the machine off and restart to remedy the problem. Any ideas?
A: You don’t say specifically how you’re connecting to the internet, but I’m guessing you’re using a Wi-Fi router. Wi-Fi connections are much more susceptible to connectivity problems than wired connections.
Anyway, if that’s the case you can check on this by looking at the Wi-Fi icon in the System Tray in the lower-right corner of Windows. It will show you how strong your Wi-Fi signal is. For a better test of internet connectivity you can go to www.speedtest.net.
There are many things that can reduce — or eliminate entirely — the signal strength you’re receiving from your Wi-Fi router, including distance from the router, signals being blocked by walls, or interference from microwave ovens or other devices. If connectivity with your Wi-Fi router is the problem, you may need to move the computer closer to the router, buy a higher-end router or try a Wi-Fi signal extender.
Clarification: In a recent column responding to a reader’s question about moving files to a new computer, I incorrectly advised the reader that they would have to reinstall programs on the new computer. I also advised that one relatively painless way to move data files to the new computer was to use PCmover, a program from Laplink. The folks at Laplink subsequently informed me that current versions of PCmover support the transfer of installed applications from one computer to another. Nice.