Q: We have two Windows 10 PCs and would like to share documents and photos between them. On our Windows 7 PCs we would have used the "Homegroup" function, but it's been discontinued in newer versions of Windows 10. As a result, the two PCs can "see" each other on our home network, but they can't share files. What should we do?
-- Gregory Leyes, Mentor, Ohio
A: You can share files between PCs with a Windows 10 feature called "Nearby sharing." It uses Bluetooth wireless technology to detect nearby PCs, and shares files with them via either Bluetooth or your home Wi-Fi network (Wi-Fi is faster.)
To use Nearby sharing, you need to make sure the feature is enabled on both PCs. Open Settings (the gear wheel in the tool bar), then click System. On the left side of the screen, click "Shared experiences." Then, on the right side of the screen, make sure "Nearby sharing" is turned on. On the same menu, below Nearby sharing, you can choose which PCs are allowed to share files, and where shared files will be stored by the recipient PC.
Once that's done, open File Explorer on the PC that will share one of its files. Right-click the file you want to share, and in the resulting menu choose "Share." That will produce a list of nearby PCs. (Nearby typically means within about 30 feet, the maximum range of most Bluetooth devices.) Choose the PC with which you want to share the file.
Once you share the file, the recipient PC will get a message about the impending transfer, and its user must accept or decline. (For more details, see tinyurl.com/y7kr6qb2).
I recently answered a question from Phil Morton of Eden Prairie, about why his video image was lagging behind on a Zoom call (see tinyurl.com/y7uqemwt.) The problem hadn't occurred on a rival video call service, Microsoft Teams.
When my suggestions didn't solve the problem, Morton switched the camera from a USB 2.0 port on his PC to a USB 3.0 port. The video lag time then disappeared on Zoom calls.
Why did that work? I have three guesses:
-- Switching USB ports reset the camera-to-PC software connection. If a software glitch caused the problem, that resolved it.
-- The first USB port was flawed, and thus caused video problems.
-- The camera was switched from the USB 2.0 port to a faster USB 3.0 port. That shouldn't make a difference. Zoom and Morton's camera are both designed to use USB 2.0. But you never know.
Q: When my PC shut down, a message directed me to call a "Microsoft technician" who said the PC was infected. I paid $435 for a new "Microsoft license," IP address and firewall software, plus $275 for labor. I've asked for a partial refund, but all I've gotten so far is promises. Their help line doesn't work. Is this a scam? (I have 120 days to file a complaint at my bank.)
-- Sherri Pierce, Forestville, Calif.
A: Yes, it's a scam. Microsoft will never urge you to call them, and the list of repairs is bogus. The nonworking help line is the final tip-off. File a complaint with your bank, then download and run the free version of the Malwarebytes security program (see tinyurl.com/z8xsb8e).
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Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers may write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full name, city and phone number.
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