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Originally published Friday, May 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

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Phone-line faxes obsolete, but fax phone numbers linger

Special to The Seattle Times

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Q: I would like to set up receiving and sending fax through my Windows 7 computer. I just can’t understand how, though, people from overseas can send me faxes from their fax machines. I used to have a phone number for faxes. How does it work now? Email?

— Gail

A: You would still need to have a phone number, just not a phone or a telephone line. When you sign up with an Internet fax service, it will issue you a phone number to give out for incoming faxes. The service receives the faxes and converts them to digital images, which you then receive via email.

Once everyone has all-in-one printers with scanning capabilities, we can expect the fax machine to pretty much disappear, since sending faxes over the Internet is so much less expensive than using telephone lines. At that point, you won’t need to have a phone number. Instead, we will all fax directly to email addresses.

Q: When I power down my Windows 7 computer and power it back up, or simply do a restart, I get the error message “The user name or password is incorrect.” Underneath is an OK button. I click on the button and a page comes up with two boxes, mine with my user name and one with “Other User” in it. I click on my box, and another page comes up with a square with my user name in it, a square with the word “Password” and an arrow in a circle. Under that it says in a box, Reset Password or Switch User. If I click on the arrow, my home page comes up without typing in a password.

I have never set up a password on this PC, as I have no kids at home; my wife has her own PC, so no need to have a password. How do I get rid of this inconvenience?

— Joe Black, Copperas Cove, Texas

A: If the Windows 7 computer has only one user account, and if that account is not password protected, Windows 7 will load that account without asking for a password.

If you have more than one account and you want Windows 7 to boot automatically and load that account without requiring a password, here’s what to do. In order to accomplish this, however, you will need to be logged in as an administrator.

First, click on the Start menu and type netplwiz in the search box. In the dialog box that appears, make sure the box next to “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” is checked.

Next, select the user account that you want the computer to automatically load. After that, uncheck the box next to “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.”

Finally, click on Reset Password. Don’t enter anything in the password fields, and click on OK.

Q: Using Task Manager, I’ve noticed a program running that I’ve never heard of called “StrongVault Online Backup.” I went to the Programs and Features utility in the Control Panel to get rid of this program, but it isn’t listed. How can I get rid of it?

— B. Austin

A: StrongVault is a program that is automatically downloaded and installed with some other Internet downloads. While it is not obviously malicious, it does take up disc space and CPU time. I consider it bad form for this, or any other, program to behave this way.

To uninstall StrongVault, download Microsoft’s FixIt tool at: support.microsoft.com/mats/program_install_and_uninstall. Just follow the instructions and you should be rid of the pest.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/

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