Q: When I logged into my Gmail account today, Google instructed me to add my birthday, saying this information is required to “comply with the law.” Is this a legitimate request? I have had a Google account for many years. Why would they suddenly need to know my birthday? I appreciate any enlightening information you may have on this subject!

— Anne Kuck, Bothell

A: I haven’t found a legal requirement for Google to ask for your birthday. But here’s what Google support says: “When you sign up for a Google Account, you may be asked to add your birthday. Knowing your birthday helps us use age-appropriate settings for your account. For example, minors may see a warning when we think they’ve found a site they may not want to see.”

If you’re like me, you may not want to give up personal information. Fortunately, there’s no checking on the date you enter, so feel free to get creative.

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>

Q: Are you aware of any conflict between Norton 360 anti-virus software and Malwarebytes Premium anti-malware software? I’ve used both for several years now with no apparent conflicts but since upgrading to version 2004 of Windows 10 Home edition, I’ve recently encountered something going on.

While working to resolve a first-time Malwarebytes problem with its license server, they had me remove Norton to see if it was all of a sudden interfering. I did so but the Malwarebytes problem remains. I then reinstalled Norton but first they specifically said to remove Malwarebytes. I did so successfully but when I then reinstalled Malwarebytes, the license server problem still exists. Malwarebytes told me I don’t need to have Norton since Malwarebytes “does it all.” I’ve double-checked my M/B license key & ID and both are currently valid. M/B is still working this issue.


But since both products have been working together for a long time AND since I had major problems with the Windows 10 version 2004 upgrade (the O/S was reinstalled three times), I’m currently blaming any anomalies on this upgrade. All my Google search results say the software should exist together but the dates on these are 2019 and earlier. Any ideas?

— Ted Landreth, Sammamish

A: I’m not aware of any conflicts between Norton 360 and Malwarebytes, though if you’re running real-time protection in both programs that could result in conflicts. And generally it’s not a good idea to run two programs that are trying to detect viruses. They can potentially see each other’s actions as indications of a virus or other malware.

My suggestion is to at least temporarily uninstall Norton 360, then reinstall Malwarebytes. If everything goes fine and you still feel you need additional anti-virus protection try Windows Defender. I’ve experienced no problems running the two programs together.

Q: Is it possible to access picture and music files on an old server if the password has been lost? I’ve inquired at Geek Squad and they tell me it would require hacking, which is against their company policy. Also, is there a resource in King County for computer help for low-income seniors?

— Karen Lund

A: Actually, if all you want is the files on the drive you should be able to get at them without hacking. Just remove the drive from the server and then use a SATA-USB adapter to plug it into your computer. As long as the drive is not encrypted, that should do the trick. If the drive is encrypted, however, you’d need the decryption key before you could access the data.

As for computer help for seniors — regardless of income — in King County I suggest contacting Komputer Enthusiasts of Greater Seattle (KEGS) at www.kegs.org. They are currently conducting meetings over Zoom.