Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 328 27/09/14


Phishy Messages

My father received a couple of emails, supposedly from Yahoo, telling him that his email account has exceeded capacity and he must click on the link or he will no longer receive any messages. Being of a suspicious turn of mind (he is a retired policeman), he ignored the first one. When he received another we checked the link on my iPhone and it was flagged as probably having been hacked. I have advised him to ignore further messages. Have we done the right thing? Is this a scam?

Katie Burgess, by email


We done you, and your father, for being so cautious. It is a phishing scam and if you were to visit the website you would be told that your account will be closed in 24 hours if you do not go through the ‘verification’ procedure, which, surprise, surprise, involves entering your Yahoo login details. Once the crooks have control of the account they can intercept messages, or change the password and by stealing the owner’s identity, use it for all manner of nefarious purposes. Phishing attacks can be reported to Yahoo (, but you can be sure that they are fully aware of it, and hopefully will put a stop to it


Pointed Question

Is there a program that will remove the ‘shortcut’ arrows on desktop icons in Windows 8?

Ken Crooks, by email


Why these apparently innocuous little arrows cause so much irritation remains a mystery but we receive a flurry of requests to get rid of them with every release of Windows, so in response to several recent enquiries, here is a very simple and safe method. Windows Shortcut Arrow Editor ( is a small, portable, freeware utility that zaps those pesky arrows, replaces them with the smaller XP arrow or you can insert your own custom icons.


Video Flashback

I recently purchased a software package to run on my desktop under Windows 8.1, which has instruction videos with flv extensions. The first time I downloaded one it played in Windows Media Centre but subsequent attempts failed. The Windows Community website recommended a program that prompted McAfee antivirus to display warnings, then Windows Administrator refused to run it. Warning messages also appeared when I opened Firefox and it locked up. I finally used MalwareBytes to remove it. Is there a better solution?

Alan Cleugh 


Look no further than the excellent free VLC media payer (, which can handle pretty well all popular media formats, including Flash Video, which uses .flv and .f4v file extensions


Sky Go Stutter

I regularly watch Sky Go on my computer and also on my iPad. Picture quality and performance is excellent on both with no buffering, however on my computer there is a noticeable judder on fast movement, which is not there on the iPad. I wonder if there are any setting that should be altered or is this a problem with Sky Go?

Paul D. Nicklin


The fact that Sky Go picture quality is good and it plays smoothly on your iPad largely rules out problems with broadband connectivity and bandwidth. It may have something to do with your PC’s video settings but the first thing I would do is remove and then update Silverlight, which is a behind the scenes application used to display streamed media. To do the job properly entails removing Registry entries, which can be quite tricky, especially for novices, but fortunately Microsoft has developed a ‘Fix-It’ tool that does the job automatically and you will find it at: If that does not help then try experimenting with your display adaptor’s controls, which can often be found in Control Panel, otherwise right-click on the desktop and select Resolution then Advanced Settings.


Palm Port

I am loath to give up my Palm Z22, which in my opinion is vastly superior in data storage and handling to any smartphone. The HotSync feature worked perfectly under Windows 7 but I cannot get it to run in Windows 8. I get the error message "Unable to initiate HotSync because the port is in use by another application." Is there any way to find out which program is using the same port and more importantly a way to persuade it to use another port?

A. Aretz, by email


Getting some older port-reliant applications to work in W8 can be a frustrating business. In earlier versions of Windows usually all you had to do was configure the port number in Device Manager, but that option no longer appears. It is still there, though, but very well hidden. To restore it open Device Manager (Winkey +Break), go to the Action menu, click Add Legacy Hardware > Next > Install Hardware Manually, select Ports > Next. Follow the prompts and Ports (COM & LPT) will reappear on the Device Manager list. Now all you have to do is open the Properties dialogue box for the Ports you want to configure, click the Port Setting tab then the Advanced button and you can view and change the port allocation.


Windows 8 On The Slide

Recently we upgraded from XP to a new Windows 8 computer. I cannot find a way to start a slideshow of photos from any point (as you could in XP). In W8 it seems it always has to start from the first photo. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Huw Gibby, by email


The slide show option in W8 is very inflexible and there is no easy way to force it display images in anything other than alphanumeric order, determined by the photo’s filename. The simplest solution is to use something else, and there are plenty of free slideshow apps in the Windows Store, but check the star ratings and reviews first, to weed out the no-hopers. There are also lots of good Windows freeware offerings including old friends like IrfanView (, Microsoft Photo Story ( and of course Picasa (


© R. Maybury 2014 0809

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