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Originally published Friday, June 13, 2014 at 4:13 PM

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Unsubscribe links raise suspicion in wanting user’s email address

A simple solution is to block emails from the source, writes Patrick Marshall. He also has advice on seeking an updated printer driver to use with a new operating system, and on getting rid of an unwanted plugin.


Special to The Seattle Times

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Q: Some unsubscribe links require entering your email address. Should I be wary that I am subscribing to a related list?

— Ken Dueker

A: You’re right to be concerned. Spammers love to get confirmation of valid email addresses. If you’re trying to unsubscribe from a trusted source, I wouldn’t worry about it. Otherwise, I’d simply add the source to your junk mail blocked-senders list.

Q: I have a Panasonic multifunction printer-scanner-copier that won’t connect with my PC when I try to use it. Error messages suggest a conflict between Windows updates and the Panasonic drivers that worked without fail for years.

After overcoming some customer-unfriendly Panasonic websites, its site allowed downloading of drivers for the device, but they were all zipped up and when unzipped turned into .cab files.

Windows 7, which says it doesn’t have any drivers for the device, did not know what to do with the downloaded driver files, and so the files remain in the download folder. I cannot get anything other than an oblique form response from Panasonic.

Can you help?

— Barry Keene, Seattle

A: Welcome to the twilight zone, that place between device manufacturers and your operating system where things may — or may not — work.

When a new version of an operating system comes out, it is up to the device manufacturer to write new drivers to ensure compatibility with the operating system. Your message didn’t specify which model of Panasonic printer you’re using, so I couldn’t check whether Windows 7 drivers are available. But it’s not unusual for device manufacturers to eventually stop writing new drivers for older equipment.

One suggestion: Search the Internet for your model printer and add “compatible Windows 7 driver.” Sometimes drivers in the same “family” of printers will work for a printer no longer directly supported.

Q: I have a laptop with Windows XP and Google Chrome. Somehow I have managed to acquire a Coupon Companion Plugin that cannot be deleted. When I look at Google extensions settings, this plugin is enabled. There is a box that says “Allow in incognito,” which is checked and cannot be accessed. The plugin will not go away.

I have complained to the Coupon Companion creators, but they will not provide a fix. This is annoying because it redirects my Internet connection to all kinds of ancillary sites that I do not care to visit.

I am tired of being redirected each time I try to log into specific sites.

What advice can you give me?

— E.G. Sergoyan

A: First, try going to the Control Panel and launching the Programs and Features utility. Scan the list of programs for Coupon Companion, highlight it and then click on Uninstall. In some cases, however, Coupon Companion sometimes is installed under other names, so uninstall any suspicious programs. (It would be a good idea to do this in any case.)

Next, go back to Chrome and try to remove the plugin.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll find additional steps to try at techvts.com/remove-coupon-companion-virus.

Q: I’m running a Dell computer with Windows XP. Most times that I try to shut down, I get a Task Manager error message that “Suspend” is not responding and do I want to end now? When I click “end now” it disappears and the computer shuts down. How can I get rid of it?

— Linda Pearl

A: This kind of issue generally arises from having incompatible or outdated drivers or peripherals attached to the computer.

But with Windows XP no longer supported by Microsoft, I wouldn’t bother looking for updated drivers. Instead, it’s time to move to a more recent operating system.

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/columnists.



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