7 IT questions we get all the time, answered

One of the most amazing results of our high-tech world is the way our lives are interconnected. Now that we use multiple devices like smartphones and computers, there are many similarities we can connect with. Take, for example, the one unpleasant imperative we all deal with: technical issues.

If you’ve ever had a specific problem for which you can’t find a solution, drop a question on the Komando community’s Q&A forum. Our close-knit community of tech enthusiasts can provide some much-needed insight to get your gadgets up and running in no time. Or you can message The Kim Komando Show for a chance to join us live.

However, you can deal with a very common problem. Before you reach out and take that extra step, scroll down and see if we’ve already solved your problem. Here are the seven most common IT questions – along with easy solutions you can use right away.

1. Do I need a VPN if I have antivirus software?
Yes, because they have two different purposes. They are not interchangeable in the slightest. On a broad level, one provides privacy while the other enhances your security.

A VPN is a smokescreen that hides your internet activity from mindless creeps. An antivirus program is your own personal bodyguard that monitors viruses. However, an AV program will not hide your Internet activity. Furthermore, a VPN will not scan your device for threats.

Basically, they deal with different needs. They can work together, but neither one prepares for the other. Tap or click here to learn how antivirus software and VPNs keep you safe.

2. Is it safe to connect all these devices to my home Wi-Fi?
Yes, but you must have a strong password. Do not use the guest network. Our resident tech genius John says that’s because the equipment connected to the guest network is typically isolated. They can’t talk to each other.

The whole point of a smart home is to have gadgets that team up to make your life as easy as possible. (Speaking of which, here’s our handy guide to building a smart home for any budget.) So if you’re using a guest network, the opportunities for teamwork are limited. Sure, if your gadget only needs to be connected to the Internet, the guest network is fine.

But if you’re using gadgets that need to talk to each other, set up your own private network. And never mind, never use an easy to guess password like password12345! Tap or click here for five tips for Ironclad account security.

3. Why do I have to wait when I restart my router?
There is nothing more annoying than when your modem or router suddenly stops. Streaming video buffers, webpages won’t load and you’re rolling your eyes at the back of your head. At such times, you will need to restart your router by unplugging it, waiting 10 seconds, and then plugging it back in.

Many people are confused about the middle stage. “Why wait 10 seconds?” They wonder. “Why can’t I plug it in right away? Does it really matter?”

Actually yes. To make a long story short, sometimes, when you unplug the gadget, the power indicator light doesn’t flicker immediately. This is because the tiny batteries inside many electronics may not drain completely once they are turned off.

Waiting a few seconds gives those batteries the time they need to completely drain power… and when the power runs out, the memory is cleared. (And when the memory is cleared, all of the device’s settings get the time they really need to be reset.)

Of course, the whole purpose of resetting is to fix the problem caused by your device’s problems, so just wait 10 seconds. It is a small amount of time that can make a huge difference. If you don’t wait, you’re only prolonging your technical issues. Tap or click to learn how to reboot your modem like the experts.

4. I have changed my email address but I am unable to check my old email address. What should I do?

This is a very common problem, but luckily it is easy for you to migrate your email to and from the new inbox. For example, if you’re ready to leave Gmail behind, here’s how you can forward your messages to another account:

Now, all your Gmail messages will be sent to your new email address. If you have a Yahoo or Outlook account, here’s how to migrate your email to your brand new inbox.

While we’re on the topic of email, you should know that many free inboxes get through your private email for data they can sell to advertisers.

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