Computers

Tech Q&A: Fixing slow Wi-Fi, staying safe on Craigslist

Illustration picture.

Illustration picture.

See what’s slowing down your Wi-Fi network

Q. I think my neighbors might be using my Wi-Fi. How can I tell?

A.  The easiest way to tell if someone is using your Wi-Fi network is to use a free program like Wireless Network Watcher. It lists gadgets currently connected to your network, so you can spot anything that looks out of the ordinary. If you’re suspicious because your network is slowing, there may be other things causing it. It could be your router, or it could just be slowing in peak traffic times. Before blaming your neighbor, try these tips for testing your Wi-Fi network.

Make texting less annoying

Q. I’m sick of auto-correct. Is there any way to turn it off?

A. Yes, and it’s an easy fix. On iPhones, in your phone’s settings, click General and Keyboard, and tap Auto-Correct to turn it off. The steps are slightly different for Android users. Depending on which phone you use, the auto-correct settings can be found in the Language & Keyboard menu. For Android, auto-correct is also called Spell Checker. Why not give auto-correct one last chance? Click here to see the new one-handed keyboard that makes typing much easier.

Getting rid of computer viruses

Q. If I erase my hard drive, will that delete a computer virus?

A. Wiping your hard drive will delete most viruses, but it will also delete everything else, so it should be your last resort. First, you need to determine if your computer actually has a virus. It could be something else, such as outdated hardware or maxed-out storage. There are five major signs that your computer has a virus. Click here for 5 signs your computer has a virus.

Troubleshooting problems with your smartphone

Q. I’ve had my smartphone a year, but it already seems like it’s dying. What’s wrong?

A. First, check how much storage space you’ve used. If you have a 16 GB phone, keep in mind that the manufacturer has already installed around four gigabytes of stuff on it, including your operating system and pre-installed apps. So, if you’ve maxed out your storage with other downloads, that can make your phone run slowly. Fine-tune its battery life. If your phone loses power too quickly, it could be caused by a few settings you can easily tweak. Click here to see what’s draining your battery.

Protecting yourself from Craigslist rental scams

Q. I posted a listing on Craigslist to find a room to rent, but I’m really nervous about it. How can I make sure I’m safe?

A. Craigslist is definitely prone to scams, so be careful. When looking for a rental, it’s a big red flag if the person you’ll be renting from can’t meet with you and show you the location. You should also be skeptical of anyone who asks you to make a deposit using a wire transfer. Even if there aren’t signs that it’s a scam, it’s still a good idea to do your homework and look into your new landlord or roommate’s background. Fortunately, you can do this for free. Click here for a step-by-step guide.

Bonus: Keeping teenagers safe online

Q. My teenage son is always online, and uses a lot of forums for video games. Is this safe?

A. Like anything online, there are risks involved. You never know who’s really behind the profile name you see on a forum. If your son isn’t careful, he could wind up being tricked into giving out his personal information, sending money or worse. These forums aren’t the only places on the web you should warn him about. You’ll be surprised to hear that there are great risks involved with social media accounts. Click here to see three types of online creeps your son needs to avoid.

Copyright 2016, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

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.