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Tech Q&A: Driverless cars, Windows 10 upgrade, monitoring kids' apps and more

File photo. A member of the media photographs the front end sensors of a 2011 Cadillac SRX autonomous car created by students and staff of Carnegie Mellon University in Washington June 24, 2014.

File photo. A member of the media photographs the front end sensors of a 2011 Cadillac SRX autonomous car created by students and staff of Carnegie Mellon University in Washington June 24, 2014.  (REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

The future of cars

Q. I've been hearing about driverless cars for a while now. When can I buy one?

A. Driverless cars seem like a technology that's always just out of reach, but they're almost here. Google's self-driving car fleet has been operating for more than 1 million miles with no major problems. Apple could reveal a self-driving car soon, and other manufacturers from Audi to Mercedes and others are working on their own versions. Like you, automated cars fascinate me. I also produce a weekly free podcast. I recently interviewed government, manufacturers and others about the future of self-driving cars. Get it on iTunes by searching the Podcasts section for "Kim Komando" or download it for free here on my site.

Forced Windows 10 upgrade?

Q. I've decided I don't want to upgrade to Windows 10, but a friend who listens to your national radio show said Microsoft is upgrading people anyway. Is that true?

A. What Microsoft is doing is downloading the files needed for the upgrade to every computer, whether they've asked for them or not. You still get to make the choice to upgrade. Of course, the Windows 10 files can be 2.5 to 6 gigabytes, which is a problem if you have a small hard drive, a slow Internet connection or your provider has monthly Internet data limits. Find out why Microsoft is doing this, how you can tell if it's already sent you the files, or keep it from sending them.

Apps kids use to hide secrets

Q. Based on something I heard on your show, I think my son is downloading inappropriate photos and videos to his smartphone, but when I check there's nothing. Is there a way he could be hiding them?

A. There are several apps that kids are using to hide things from their parents. Some of these apps create hidden password-protected folders, and others are disguised as calculators or other harmless apps. Check your son's list of installed apps and do a little research on each one in the Apple or Android app stores. They'll clearly say in the description if they hide things. Learn about some of the most popular hiding apps out there, and how to see what apps your child has installed without accessing their phone. Worried about what your child is doing on your family computer? Keep reading for a great safety option you might not know you already have.

Bring your photos together

Q. I've been storing photos online for a long time now, but I have a habit of switching photo sites every few years. Should I move them to one site, or is it safe to leave them separate?

A. For convenience, combining them is the way to go. However, you do want to make sure you have copies in more than just one place in case the site you use goes down. I would get them together on a site that's got plenty of space and is easy to sync up with folders on your computer like Google Photos or Dropbox. That way, you have two copies. Get more details about those sites I mentioned and other great photo-storing sites, as well as the best way to combine photos from multiple services.

Apple tricks you need to know

Q. I love my iPhone, but I worry about only locking it with a four-digit pass code. I'd rather use a longer password if that's possible. Is it?

A. A four-digit pass code only allows for 10,000 possible combinations, which sounds like a lot, but too many people use the easiest ones like 1234 or 0000. Plus, hackers are finding clever ways to guess four digits. Fortunately, you can go with a longer password. Go to Settings>>Touch ID & Passcode and turn off Simple Passcode. Then you can enter a longer password. If you liked that helpful tip, click here for four more that can supercharge your iPad and iPhone battery life, photos and more.

Bonus: Keep your kids safe with this Windows feature

Q. I want to let my kids use the family computer without too much supervision, but I'm worried about what they might stumble into. What's a good solution?

A. Microsoft actually has a free Family Safety feature built into its Microsoft accounts. That means it's also built into Windows 8 and 10, and you can use it in Windows 7 with a free download. Family Safety can monitor where your kids go online, what they search for, set time limits for computer use, and email you weekly reports on their activity. Find out how to set it up on your computer so you can start protecting your kids today.

On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.