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Computeractive is the UK’s best-selling computer magazine and your friendly guide to PCs, gadgets and the web! It includes regular news updates, project ideas, help and advice on popular reader queries, articles on anti-virus software, features on consumer rights, and a whole lot more to help you get the very best out of your computer. Get PC advice in plain English today – get Computeractive!

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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£1.99(Incl. VAT)
£29.99(Incl. VAT)
26 Issues


access_time1 min.
from the editor

This issue’s Cover Feature takes you from the busy streets of Los Angeles in the 1920s (hooray for Harold Lloyd!) to Napoleonic-era Russia, via the Triangulum Galaxy three million light years from Earth. That’s a snapshot of the breathtaking range of free content you can download from the web.It’s important I warn you, though, that it’s the type of feature you should start reading only if you have nothing planned for the next few hours. One click quickly leads to another, as you find ebooks, posters, maps, simulators, old newspapers and more to download.There’s something strangely satisfying about immersing yourself in the abundance of content online, away from the bickering hordes on Twitter or selfie-obsessed masses on Facebook.I hope you enjoy our buffet of downloadable delights. Please tell me which…

access_time10 min.

Fix update problems quicker as Microsoft gives more infoYou should find it easier to fix problems that occur while installing the next Windows 10 Feature update, after Microsoft said it will use less jargon to explain what’s going wrong.Currently, error messages mention a KB number, referring to an entry in Microsoft’s Knowledge Base database of 200,000 online articles providing solutions to problems (www.snipca.com/30554).But as screenshot 1 shows (provided by Microsoft), these don’t have a link to the solution, forcing you to search the vast database instead. The Back and Refresh buttons rarely help, adding to the frustration.From the next Feature update (April’s version 1903) Microsoft will state clearly in the error message what you need to do to continue installing the update, and provide a link to a Knowledge Base…

access_time3 min.
in brief

SCAM VICTIMS LOSE £190,000 A DAYVictims of scams in the UK lose £190,000 a day, new police figures show. Action Fraud, part of City of London Police, said between April and September 2018, 13,357 people reported cybercrimes, losing a total of £34.6m. More than a third of victims were tricked by criminals hacking their social-media and email accounts.MARTIN LEWIS DROPS CASE AGAINST FACEBOOKConsumer campaigner Martin Lewis (pictured) has dropped his legal action against Facebook after it agreed to introduce an option to let users report scam adverts. The MoneySavingExpert website founder was suing the site for reputational damage after it showed adverts that falsely claimed he backed several risky investment schemes. Facebook will also donate £3m to a new Citizens Advice project to detect scams and support victims.FIREFOX SCREENSHOTS TO…

access_time3 min.
will smart meters help dementia patients live at home?

One of the things people with dementia fear most is losing independence. Typically, they want to live in their own home for as long as possible, before their illness gets so severe they need constant professional care. One solution being considered by the NHS is using home smart meters that track patients’ behaviour, then alert relatives if they detect a change in routine that may indicate the patient is in trouble.The meters, connected to a central computer system, monitor patients’ energy use every 10 seconds, learning their daily behaviour. So if, for example, it records a kettle being boiled at around 8am for six consecutive mornings, but not the seventh, the meter will send a message to the patient’s relative or carer.“If the meter records a kettle being boiled for…

access_time1 min.
scammers pretending to be ofcom

What’s the threat?Fraudsters are phoning people claiming to be from Ofcom in an attempt to obtain their bank details, and connect them to expensive premium-rate phone numbers.In one version of the con, the scammer tells you to pay an outstanding bill or payment on your phone or broadband service. You’re told that unless you hand over your bank details to pay, your service will be disconnected.The second type of scam is an automated voice message that tells you there’s a problem with your phone or broadband service. You’re urged to press a number on your keypad to discuss it further with Ofcom. Doing so connects you to a high-cost premium number.How can you stay safe?All the usual rules apply: be extremely suspicious about calls received out of the blue, and…

access_time1 min.
new tools

Spam doesn’t just clog up email inboxes - it’s becoming a considerable nuisance in text messages too. Google’s solution is ‘Spam protection’, a new feature switched on by default in Android Messages.It’s being rolled out to phones gradually, so check if you have it by opening the menu (three dots, top right), tapping Settings, then Advanced. If it’s turned on, you’ll see the blue button switched to ‘On’ (see screenshot).When Google thinks it has detected spam, you’ll see a message asking you to ‘Report spam’ or ‘Report not spam’. When you report spam, Google receives a copy of the spammer’s messages (up to 10), helping it to “understand spam patterns” to better detect and block it in future.On its Messages Help page (www.snipca.com/30453) Google says it temporarily stores the phone…