In the news:
Letting browser know site is a trusted one
Q: Occasionally, while using the Internet, I get the message that the current site wants to be my trusted friend. Since I don't know what...
Special to The Seattle Times
Q: Occasionally, while using the Internet, I get the message that the current site wants to be my trusted friend. Since I don't know what this means, and since I don't much like the sound of it, I invariably refuse the request. Usually that's the end of it, but a few sites are very persistent.
Amazon.com, for example, makes me refuse three times on each page in order to maneuver the site. One of its customer-service people told me the problem was with my security configuration.
What happens if I allow a site to be a trusted friend, and can my security software help me regulate this? I have a PC running on XP Home and Norton security. My browser is Internet Explorer.
— Mark Phillips
A: Actually, it's your browser that has the trust issues. The more access you give websites to your computer — by allowing them to run ActiveX scripts, for example — the more likely it is that you'll be hacked or inundated with malware.
So Internet Explorer is configured by default to allow only limited access. If you trust a site and if you're getting messages from Amazon, you can designate the site as "trusted" and you'll gain in functionality on that site.
To do so, go to the Tools menu and select Internet Options. Next, click on the Security tab and then on Trusted Sites. If you've already got the Amazon site loaded, the dialogue box will already have its URL and you can make it a trusted site with a single click.
Q: My printer keeps hanging up in the spooler. I have a Canon MP610 multifunction printer attached to my 7-year-old HP Pavilion Dv8000 laptop. All of a sudden it stopped printing and would not delete the document from the "see what's printing" window nor the spooler.
I can go into the spooler and sometimes remove it and then reboot. Sometimes it would then print the document on restart, sometimes not. I reloaded the print drivers and that did not fix it.
I took everything to the computer hospital to let the experts work on it. They did a clean upgrade to Windows 7 and it worked for about a week and the unit started doing the same. Usually it will print the first time I try, but then it hangs up on the next document. If I try to force quit the printer, it freezes my computer and I must force a computer shutdown.
The bottom line is: the printer works fine from my other computer (Toshiba netbook) and the HP Pavilion prints fine with my other printer (HP deskjet 3650). I am getting by for now but I need the multifunctions with my HP. Help!
— John Wickstrom, Auburn
A: The first thing I'd do is make sure you've got a good solid connection between computer and the printer.
Next, try shutting down the spooler. To do so, go to the Control Panel and open Administrative Tools. Next select Component Services and then Services (Local). Finally, find the Print Spooler in the list that appears. Shut it down and then start it up again.
Q: My husband restored the computer to its original state, and since then we've been cautious on adding on applications.
One that keeps coming up is the Windows Activation Technologies, which says that we need it to have the computer running properly. When I checked the privacy statement, it is from windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7 and I can't make the rest out. It says that it is from Microsoft. Would it be all right to add this on?
— Dottie Nicholson
A: Windows Activation Technologies is a component of Windows that Microsoft uses to ensure you've got a legitimate copy of Windows. As long as you're downloading from a Microsoft site, you should have nothing to worry about.
Note: Several readers responded to the recent query about travel routers (Q&A, June 23) to point out that such routers won't provide enhanced security if they're connected to an unsecured network. In fact, most travel routers do include firewalls that provide additional security against being hacked.
But it is true that any unencrypted traffic sent over an unsecured network can be captured.
The only way to avoid this risk is to use a virtual private network. That requires special software that must be in place both on your computer and the website you are communicating with.
The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at seattletimes.com/columnists.