Q: Should I be suspect of unsubscribing from email lists which ask me to confirm my email address?

When I unsubscribe from email lists belonging to known entities or businesses, it generally just states “you are now unsubscribed” or “are you sure you want to unsubscribe?” When I attempt to unsubscribe from emails from unknown groups I’ve never dealt with, they usually ask “please enter the email address you wish to unsubscribe.” Why would they need this since obviously they have my email address? I’m afraid it’s another opening they may have into my computer.

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>

Since the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve all been inundated with fraudulent emails and notifications, and I want to make sure this type of request isn’t another scam attempt. Am I being too paranoid? Thanks for helping.

— Sheila Walter

A: You’re not being too paranoid. There are people out there trolling for active email addresses and sending unsubscribe emails is one way they do that.

So, yes, I would refrain from responding to any emails from people, companies and organizations that you don’t know or trust.


Q: Since getting my laptop back from the Microsoft repair center it takes two times pressing the on/off switch for the laptop to come on. The first time after pressing the on/off switch I get the “DELL” name, then the four Microsoft blue windows … and then nothing — just a black screen.

Then after shutdown (pressing the on/off switch) and then waiting about 10 seconds or so, I press the on/off switch again and the laptop starts up properly. This has been happening every time I turn on the machine for the past two months now.

The laptop is a Dell XPS 15, and is just over 6 years old and I have never replaced the battery but do have one recently received from Dell.

What do you believe is happening? Do you think the battery replacement alone will fix the problem (even though I understand it should be replaced now anyway)?

— Mike Cowan

A: Your problem is unlikely to be related to the battery, especially if you have the same problem when the computer is plugged in.

My best guess is that Microsoft probably updated Windows when you had the device in for repair and there may be a conflict with the computer’s basic input output system (BIOS) or hardware.


Some other users who have encountered the same problem have found workarounds.

First, try turning off the “fast startup” feature. To do so, go to the Control Panel and launch the Power Options utility. Next, click on “Choose what the power button does.” Finally, click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable.” You’ll then be able to disable fast startup.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll find detailed directions for making changes in the laptop’s BIOS here: https://www.dell.com/community/Laptops-General-Read-Only/computer-need-to-boot-twice-for-windows-to-open/m-p/4042474#M706621

If neither solution works for you it’s time to consider whether you want to invest money in repairing what is now at the very least a middle-aged computer or put that money toward something new.

More Tech Reviews and Tips »


Q: The banner showing when I open Word or Excel has gone red with the announcement that support ends Oct. 13. Since Office 2010 still works for me, I have been ignoring this announcement.

What does it mean that support ends? Will Office continue to work?

— Martha Tofferi

A: When Microsoft ends support for a product it means that the company will no longer provide feature updates or fix security vulnerabilities in the product. Your Office 2010 will continue working as designed.