Finding a good quality charger or battery for your phone might not be easy, which is why we bring you answers by phone expert on questions that might be bothering you.
Which AA batteries are the best?
Q: I noticed that Amazon.com is now selling batteries. How do they compare to the competition?
A: Consumer Reports recently tested 15 lithium and alkaline AA batteries from several brands. AmazonBasics Performance AA Alkaline batteries received an overall score of 71. That’s not very good when compared with the top battery on their list, Duracell Quantum AA Alkaline batteries, which received an overall score of 89.
Beware high-voltage phone chargers
Q: I recently lost my iPhone 6 charger, and my coworker has been letting me borrow hers. Then I realized that the charger’s voltage might be a lot higher. Should I be worried about that?
A: You should just replace the cable, and right away. Cheap Lightning cables can be found at almost any electronics store, and most chain pharmacies and gas stations. (Although beware of counterfeit Apple cables; the safest way to get the genuine thing is to buy directly through Apple.) More importantly, stop using the higher-voltage cable. It might work in a pinch, but over-charging is one reason lithium-ion batteries end up exploding. It’s not common, but it does happen, and using a high-voltage cord puts your battery at risk. You might also short out your phone; when this happens to a lithium battery, there aren’t as many fireworks as a full-on explosion, but you’ll still have to get the phone replaced.
Tossing an old computer can attract identity thieves
Q: I was clinging to my old ThinkPad, but it finally bit the dust. I saw that Staples could scrap your laptop for you for free. Is that a good idea?
A: If your computer doesn’t have any monetary value, sure, bid it goodbye. Office supply stores often run programs that help destroy or recycle your old computer. But before you give your laptop to anyone, even a trusty Staples employee, make sure to erase the hard drive. I don’t mean just deleting files; I mean destroy every piece of data on it. Scavenging old computers is one way that hackers can steal your information, because former owners don’t realize their data is still lingering there. You need to make sure every last line of code is erased.
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Silence the ads on Windows 10
Q: I finally upgraded to Windows 10 on my PC, but ads keep popping up, even though my screen is locked. Is there any way that I can ditch them?
A: First off, I’m glad you upgraded to Windows 10, if only for security reasons. The upgrade also gives you an excuse to take a hard look at your settings. Ads can be frustrating, especially when your computer is essentially off. To kill these unwanted ads, go to Settings, then to Personalization. Hit “Lock Screen” and then “Background.” Now you should see “Windows Spotlight.” Change the settings to “Picture” or “Slideshow.” That will do the trick!