Ask the Ex­pert

Roland Wad­dilove, com­puter pro­gram­mer and PC jour­nal­ist since 1981, an­swers all your tech­ni­cal ques­tions. Email us for help at we­buser@den­

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All your tech­ni­cal ques­tions an­swered

Turn off an un­wanted email fil­ter

Q I once got so fed up with a spam email that I replied to the spam­mer to ask them to stop email­ing me. Now, ev­ery time I re­ceive an email, my ac­count au­to­mat­i­cally replies with “Stop email­ing me!”. I can’t fig­ure out how to stop this au­to­matic re­ply. It’s em­bar­rass­ing when it hap­pens to some­one I want to com­mu­ni­cate with. I use a Sam­sung Gal­axy Tab A.

Nick Marten, via email

A Email ser­vices let you cre­ate rules that are au­to­mat­i­cally ap­plied to in­com­ing mes­sages. Th­ese can delete, move or re­ply to a mes­sage when they de­tect cer­tain trig­gers, such as a par­tic­u­lar sender or a word ap­pear­ing in the sub­ject or body. It sounds as if you’ve cre­ated a sim­i­lar rule, but one with a trig­ger that’s so broad that ev­ery email trig­gers it.

You don’t say which email ser­vice or app you’re us­ing, so let’s use Gmail as an ex­am­ple. Open Gmail in a browser, click the cog icon, choose Set­tings and click the ‘ Fil­ters and blocked ad­dresses’ tab. Rules to deal with in­com­ing mes­sages are cre­ated and stored here. Check them and use the delete link on the right of a rule to re­move it. Now go to the Gen­eral tab and scroll down to find ‘Out of Of­fice Au­tore­ply’. Make sure it’s turned off.

Which­ever ser­vice or app you’re us­ing, check for rules and au­to­matic re­sponses in the app first, then go to the email ser­vice in a browser and check there, too.

Re­claim Chrome’s Back and For­ward ar­rows

Q The Back and For­ward ar­rows have dis­ap­peared from the top of my Chrome browser, so now when I click a link, I can’t re­turn to the pre­vi­ous page. This hap­pens on ev­ery site I visit, which means I have to open an­other win­dow, re-en­ter the search re­quest in Google, click an­other link and so on, which is time con­sum­ing and an­noy­ing. The

ar­rows haven’t van­ished com­pletely, but they’re a faint grey and don’t work.

I’ve dis­abled and re­moved ex­ten­sions, unin­stalled Chrome and re­in­stalled it, and re­stored from a pre­vi­ous backup point, but noth­ing works. The prob­lem seems to have ap­peared overnight. I’m run­ning Win­dows 7 and haven’t no­ticed any trou­ble with other soft­ware. PF Chope, via email

A There are some work­arounds you can try. For ex­am­ple, hold down the Ctrl key while click­ing a link to open search re­sults in a new tab; or hold down Shift to open it in a new win­dow. Close the tab or win­dow af­ter­wards to re­turn to the search re­sults. Alt+the left-ar­row key is an­other way to step back through the brows­ing his­tory with­out need­ing to click a but­ton.

To get Chrome’s nav­i­ga­tion but­tons work­ing again, go to the menu, choose Set­tings and click Ad­vanced. Scroll down to the bot­tom and turn off ‘ Use hard­ware ac­cel­er­a­tion when avail­able’. Restart Chrome. If that doesn’t solve the prob­lem, scroll down to the bot­tom of Chrome’s Ad­vanced set­tings to find ‘ Re­set and clean up’. Use both of them.

Re­move any themes you’ve in­stalled and re­store the browser to its de­fault state. Some peo­ple have found they can then re­in­stall the theme and the but­tons start work­ing again.

If all else fails, use an unin­staller such as Io­bit Unin­staller Free ( – making sure you de­cline any ad­di­tional soft­ware you don’t want. Re­move all traces of Chrome, then restart Win­dows and in­stall a fresh ver­sion.

Cre­ate photo slideshows with ac­com­pa­ny­ing mu­sic

Q I would love to make a DVD of my son’s wed­ding photos with back­ground mu­sic. Putting the pic­tures on a disc is no prob­lem, but I can’t work out how to add the mu­sic. Peter Turner, via email

A Sav­ing photos or mu­sic to play on a DVD is easy, but if you want photos and mu­sic, you need to cre­ate a video slideshow. This may re­quire the use of two pro­grams – one to cre­ate the video and an­other to write it to a DVD-R in a for­mat that a DVD player recog­nises. Some pro­grams can do both.

You can use Win­dows 10’s free Photos app to cre­ate videos from photos. Click the Cre­ate but­ton at the top and select ei­ther ‘Au­to­matic video with mu­sic’, or ‘Cus­tom video with mu­sic’. Select the

photos you want to in­clude in the video and click Cre­ate. The pro­gram ar­ranges the photos into a sto­ry­board, and you can then re­ar­range them, add fil­ters, change their du­ra­tion and so on.

Click Mu­sic at the top and ei­ther select from the app’s mu­sic col­lec­tion or choose your own mu­sic. When you’re happy with the re­sult, ex­port it, se­lect­ing the large for­mat for TV screens. Your ex­ported video will play on your PC and per­haps even on a DVD player and TV if you burn it to a DVD-R. How­ever, you may need to use an­other pro­gram to cre­ate a playable DVD.

DVD Flick ( www.dvd­ is a free tool that writes video files to DVD that can then be played on a DVD player or a com­puter. Click ‘Add ti­tle’ on the right to select the videos to in­clude, then click Cre­ate DVD in the tool­bar at the top. It burns the video to disc or saves it as an ISO file, which you can burn to disc later.

There are plenty of other com­mer­cial tools avail­able for making slideshows, in­clud­ing the video-edit­ing pro­grams in our Group Test on page 22.

Fix com­pet­ing add-ons

Q About two or three times a week, loads of im­ages dis­ap­pear from my Face­book pages, time­lines, pro­files and so on. I use the Pri­vacy Badger ( pbff453) and Ghostery ( ex­ten­sions on my Fire­fox browser.

Dis­abling ei­ther add-on doesn’t help, but if I dis­able them both, I can see the im­ages again. It con­tin­ues to work prop­erly if I re-en­able Pri­vacy Badger alone, but I can’t use both. Why am I us­ing both, I hear you ask. It’s be­cause I find that Ghostery blocks more track­ers than Pri­vacy Badger.

If this is a con­flict, why does it only hap­pen spo­rad­i­cally? What ex­actly is hid­ing in th­ese im­ages? Might they con­tain ma­li­cious code? Why do some im­ages ap­pear, while oth­ers don’t? And what in­for­ma­tion is Face­book try­ing to ob­tain from me any­way?

Chris Sil­ver­thorne, via email

A Pri­vacy Badger and Ghostery, which are also avail­able for Chrome ( pbch453 and, block cer­tain types of ac­tiv­i­ties on web pages. This can break some sites and cause the con­tent ei­ther to dis­ap­pear or ap­pear in­com­plete and in the wrong for­mat or po­si­tion. Most sites dis­play okay, but if prob­lems oc­cur, you should switch them off. Face­book may be one of those sites they don’t work with, although it seemed fine when we tried it.

An­other prob­lem that can arise is a clash of ex­ten­sions. Both ex­ten­sions per­form sim­i­lar func­tions, and this could lead to con­flicts be­cause they are com­pet­ing with each other. You should choose one and re­move the other.

Face­book tracks ev­ery­thing: what you see, what ap­pears in your news feed, what you post, where you post it, how many sec­onds of a video you watch, what you click and so on. The tech­nol­ogy be­hind Face­book changes weekly, and the code on to­day’s site could be dif­fer­ent to last week’s, which may be why the prob­lems you ex­pe­ri­ence are spo­radic. Some­times Face­book changes one thing that breaks an­other.

Re­move Avira to un­block Win­dows 10 April Up­date

Q I’ve tried to in­stall the Win­dows 10 April 2018 up­date sev­eral times, but it keeps telling me I have se­cu­rity soft­ware from Avira in­stalled that’s not com­pat­i­ble with this up­date. How­ever, I don’t have Avira in­stalled, and I can’t find any ref­er­ence to it in any of my files, fold­ers or the Reg­istry. Dave Con­nell, via email

A Some­thing is trig­ger­ing this mes­sage, and delet­ing it will al­low Win­dows to up­date. Check the fol­low­ing fold­ers for any men­tion of Avira: C:\pro­gram Files C:\pro­gram Files\com­mon Files C:\pro­gram Files (x86) C:\pro­gram Files (x86)\com­mon Files C:\pro­gram­data C:\users\your­name\ Ap­p­data\lo­cal C:\users\your­name\ Ap­p­data\ Lo­cal­low

C:\users\your­name\ Ap­p­data\ Roam­ing

Some peo­ple have found that a tool called UBCD4WIN (Ul­ti­mate Boot CD for Win­dows) trig­gers the mes­sage. Use an unin­staller such as Io­bit Unin­staller Free (, but de­cline the bun­dled junk) to re­move all traces of it.

Use DVD Flick to burn one or more videos to a DVD for play­ing on the TV

To solve Chrome prob­lems, turn off hard­ware ac­cel­er­a­tion and re­store set­tings

In­ad­ver­tently trig­ger­ing an out- ofof­fice re­sponse plays havoc with emails!

Only run one anti-track­ing tool, and dis­able it if you find prob­lems with a site

This fort­night, Roland has been strug­gling to fix PCS re­motely, us­ing photos of prob­lems sent via What­sapp

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