What to do when your email address sends spam

Edward McCrea is “ getting returns of emails I didn’t send… How do I prevent this?”

What’s worse than getting spam? Unwittingly sending it. When bogus and probably malware-laden advertising goes out in your name, you look bad. And you get flooded with bounced messages from dead addresses that some crook attempted to spam in your name.

The good news: You’re not sending out spam. Neither is your computer or your IP address. But the bad news can still be pretty bad.

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Find duplicate photos: Two utilities that can help

Nick Bichsel wants a good way to find and sort out duplicate photos.

When it comes to photos, there’s no one definition of the word duplicate. Obviously, if two JPG files are pixel-by-pixel, bit-by-bit identical, they’re duplicates, and you can safely delete one of them. But what if one photo has been resized? Or cropped? Or color-corrected? Or what about very similar photos taken with your camera’s multi-shot mode?

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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When Windows refuses to eject mass storage: 5 ways to safely remove a USB drive

Edy Wan asked how to safely remove a flash drive, or an external hard drive, when Windows says it isn't safe to do so.

If you unplug a USB external drive before making sure it's safe to do so, you're courting disaster. The sudden, unprepared removal of a storage device can corrupt files. I've even heard stories of it bricking flash drives.

Here's how to remove the drive safely, even when Windows tells you it's not safe. Try these five steps in order until one of them works.

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How to find the secret Start Menu built into Windows 8.1

I usually advise readers, but this time a reader gave me advice. Joe Rubenstein told me that "There is a Start Menu in Windows 8.1," then explained how to make it work.

Yes, it's true. You can add a Start menu--of sorts--to the Windows 8.1 taskbar without installing a third-party program. All of the code is built into Windows itself.

Three caveats: First, it's too small for touchscreens; you'll need a mouse. Second, Metro/Modern apps can't launch from this menu. And finally, it doesn't work with Windows 8.0. (Oddly, it works in Windows 7, where it's completely redundant.)

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The dangers of Android malware may be exaggerated, but you should still play it safe

Jagdish Shrimali asked if “it is necessary to install antivirus software on an android mobile device?”

It may not be necessary, but it’s still a very good idea. There’s definitely Android malware out there. While the level of the threat may be exaggerated, it’s really a matter of being better safe than sorry.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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How to run Android apps in Windows with a virtual machine

Anil Kumar wants to run Android apps on his Windows PC.

Android and Windows are two very different operating systems; programs designed for one won’t normally work on the other. To get around this, you need to set up an Android virtual machine (VM) on your PC. And as a general rule, setting up a VM can be a challenge.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

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How to stop autoplaying HTML5 videos

P. Petropoulos blocked Flash videos from playing automatically without his permission. Now he wants to block HTML5 videos, as well.

On New Year’s Day, I told you how to block videos that play automatically when you visit a Web page. In fact, if such a video is starting to play right about…now, you may want to revisit that article.

My previous instructions concentrated on Flash videos, however, and Flash isn’t the only technology designed to annoy you with unwanted videos. So now I’ll tell you how to block HTML5 videos in Chrome and Firefox.

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