Q: I am having a problem connecting to Wi-Fi at some hotels. This started about two years ago. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5. Some hotels have a phone number to call and the person at that number can connect me. However, most hotels cannot help if I can’t connect. The people connecting me say it is a setting on my phone. I have gone to AT&T but they can’t help me find the setting. My son who is good with technology and has Samsung phones cannot find any setting that appears to be causing a problem.

When the phone doesn’t connect, I usually get a Google error that it timed out. The page with the place to enter the hotel password does not appear. I am hoping you can help me figure out what I need to do to connect. It is so frustrating.

— Linda Spaulding

A: My best guess? It’s a somewhat older phone, having been released in 2014, and doesn’t support the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard. So it’s possible that at the hotels where you’re able to connect you may be closer to the router or they have a Wi-Fi 6 router, which offers greater range than earlier standards. Or your phone may have a Wi-Fi hardware problem. Either way, you might have better luck with a newer phone. The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S20 both support Wi-Fi 6 connections.

Q: I’m looking for a replacement for Microsoft Outlook on my Windows 10 machine.

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I used Outlook for years. But since Google “improved” its email server security, I’ve been unable to use Outlook. (Well, I managed to get it to work for a while, but then … no.)


Gmail’s client is a poor substitute; its editor is a clunky feature desert. So, is there either a way to make Outlook work with Gmail or is there a replacement product?

— Herb Munson, Ballard

A: Actually, I haven’t run into any problems accessing a Gmail account via Outlook. You may, however, have to change settings in Gmail to enable IMAP and to set which ports to use. You’ll find details here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/fix-problems-connecting-your-google-account-to-the-microsoft-cloud-6b54d709-f8e9-4f61-8e4d-245d0a52bdd6

Q: I have a Dell Inspiron Laptop that is about 5 or 6 years old with Windows 7. I need to have Windows 10 installed. I went to Office Depot a while ago and someone there said they could do it for about $100. I also met an IT person who said you just have to go to Microsoft.com and search “Windows 10 Migration” and there should be a free popup. Both individuals made it sound easy, although the Office Depot man did say something about backing up files and having a license for MS Word to install, which I do have somewhere.

— Colleen Roach, Mountlake Terrace

A: Yes, in most cases upgrading to Windows 10 is very easy. And at least as of Friday, the link for a free upgrade is still working. You’ll find easy-to-follow instructions here: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-download-windows-10-for-free-now-that-windows-7-is-dead/.

First, however, you’ll want to check to make sure your computer meets the system requirement for Windows 10. You’ll find those here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-system-requirements-6d4e9a79-66bf-7950-467c-795cf0386715.

So why do I say “in most cases” the upgrade is easy? Several things can get in the way of a successful upgrade. At the top of the list are:

  • Out-of-date or incompatible device drivers
  • Incompatible external hardware
  • Anti-virus software
  • Insufficient free disk space